Friday, January 30, 2009
This is a chart of U.S. dollars in circulation. The steady line up to about 1971 was when we were on the gold standard. The straight line up at the end is the result of the first stimulus package - you know the one where we were all going to die if Congress didn't put the money in. The next stimulus package being debated right now would take the line OFF THE CHART!
Ummm...and we should put MORE money in?
I just stumbled across this. Aside from being a very powerful video (three years old) it features a personal friend. General "Buck" Bedard was our Marine Officer Instructor at my Naval ROTC unit. He was impressive then too!
But, I guess under the Mighty O, the "War on Terror" has been wished away. If we keep clicking our heels in the Land of Hopeandchange, those nasty guys will leave us alone.
Monday, January 26, 2009
There's an e-mail circulating that features the above map. It purports that a Professor Joseph Olson has done a study that indicates that Republicans won large numbers of counties and a greater number of states but that in the end the higher population areas and areas where people are on the Federal dole essentially carried the election for Barry O. This is a hoax.
The map shown here, however, is not a hoax. This is the representation of the election on a county by county basis. Clearly, if the election were based on land mass, John McCain would be sitting in the White House right now. But, when we put that map into a cartogram, as the good folks at the University of Michigan have done, we get the following:
A cartogram adjusts the scale to reflect the population of the state. So Rhode Island, in effect, becomes bigger than Wyoming. What all of this illustrates is that we are living in a divided country with the coastal regions going one way and the central core going another and that the real race is on the margins, those areas between the two that will continue to swing elections. Places like Pennsylvania and Ohio, Colorado and central Florida. Purple is the new battleground for the hearts and minds of Americans.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Rumbler loves poetry, but this was silly. Can I still say that?
Here's my poet's response:
I am typing at my computer.
It has a wide screen.
My phone is ringing and
I turn my chair to answer
He speaks into the phone to
I wonder where he is.
It is lunchtime.
But seriously, one part of the poem she talks about the "dead who brought us here..." and she forgot to mention the thousands of Union soldiers that died but then, they were white. I am sickened by this reverse racism.
I love these word cloud gizmos! This is one of Obama's inauguration speech. Some obesrvations:
1. I found "hope" finally, but where in the heck is "change"???
2.Put all the big words together and you get "every common America new nation."
Oh well, it's interesting.
I thought in the wonderful world of HopeandChange where we all get a purple unicorn, that hostility between warring factions would be set aside. Maybe Barry can broker a peace treaty between the Carters and the Clintons! Watch Hillary! as the Carters pass...priceless.
If you need further evidence of the love, see below:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This fine gentleman, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, delivered the benediction at the "Historic Inauguration" today...in the more things change, the more they stay the same category, the good Rev offered this bit of wisdom to the gathered multitude:
"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,"
Do we have to get an African American into the Papacy before racists like Lowery will drop this?
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Trammell was a man of his word. In down swings, it was not uncommon for Trammel to work deals out with lenders just on the strength of his promise...and he always kept it. I had the honor of being one of his partners and will remember fondly, his gracious style and his incisive mind. (That pic is your humble Rumbler with Trammell in 1986.) When he hosted partner get-togethers at his house in Dallas, he and his wife, Margaret, were the consumate entertainers. They were married for 66 years and I know she will miss him dearly. There was a joke running around in the '80's about Trump gazing on the New York skyline, pointing at buildings and saying "Got it, got it, want it, got it..." Trammell could gaze on the Dallas skyline and the skylines and suburbs of countless cities and say the same thing.
"We get more than one hundred qualified applicants for every newcomer we take on, and have been singled out as one of the best companies to work for in the United States. Yet this really isn't quite accurate, since as indicated these people won't be working for us, but rather for themselves with us. When a good person is in that position you don't have to watch him too carefully, since he will knock himself out to make certain the project succeeds. Believe me, it does remarkable things to a person when he's an actual owner of a property he's working on. Become an owner and things inprove. I guess that's just the way people are created."
This is a lesson this incoming (and outgoing) administration and Congress should heed well. This is the essence of capitalism...let's keep what's left of it. We have lost a giant.
"A Letter From The Boss To His Valued Employees"
To All My Valued Employees,
There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.
However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interests.
First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story. This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You've seen my big home at last years Christmas party. I'm sure; all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life.
However, what you don't see is the back story.
I started this company 28 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living apartment was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.
My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business - hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.
Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting the Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's. My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.
So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to my hip like a 1 year old special-needs child. You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden - the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations ... you never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.
Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail-out all the people who didn't. The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for.
Yes, business ownership has is benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds.
Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:
I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes, Property taxes. Sales and use taxes, Payroll taxes, Workers compensation taxes, Unemployment taxes and Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero, Nada, Zilch.
The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.
The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy.
Here is what many of you don't understand ... to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.
When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the poor of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.
So where am I going with all this?
It's quite simple.
If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.
Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire. You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.
So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about...
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I am done with hearing the Main Stream Press yammer about how the Israelis are killing innocent civilians. Where were these folks when the Israelis were getting pounded by Hamas V-2's? The IDF is doing everything they can to avoid collateral damage and should be praised for attempting to run a "humane" war as they clean these evil rats out.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Joint Forces Warns of Mexico CollapseJanuary 14, 2009El Paso Times
EL PASO, Texas -- Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.
The command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. "In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.
"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent
by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."
The Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., is a Defense Department combat command that includes different military service branches, active and reserves. One of its roles is to transform the military's capabilities.
In the report's foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the Joint Forces commander, said "Predictions about the future are always risky. ... Regardless, if we do not
try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America."
The report offers "a Polaroid snapshot," and conditions in Mexico and elsewhere are in a state of flux, said Brig. Gen. Jose Riojas, executive director of the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Texas at El Paso. "I'm not sure Mexico looks today like it did nine months ago," Riojas said.
The report is the latest focusing on Mexico's security problems, which stem mostly from drug violence and corruption. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar assessments.
Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico."
Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico. He's also vowed to continue the crackdown on drug cartels.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6140.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Please take a few minutes and watch this presentation by the Terrorism Aware Project. So much of what you hear about the formation of Israel, the Palestinians and the current conflict is just plain wrong. This is an excellent educational summary of what has happened and why we must stand by Israel.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
All philosophy begins in wonder, said the ancients. With exceptions, contemporary philosophy stops at wonder. We are told: don’t ask, don’t wonder, about what you cannot know for sure. But the most important things of everyday life we cannot know for sure. We cannot know them beyond all possibility of their turning out to be false. We order our loves and loyalties, we invest our years with meaning and our death with hope, not knowing for sure, beyond all reasonable doubt, whether we might not have gotten it wrong. What we need is a philosophy that enables us to speak truly, if not clearly, a wisdom that does not eliminate but comprehends our doubt. -Fr. Richard John Neuhaus
Hang on, let me untangle the signal halyard and hoist:
That's non-classified Navy-speak for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???
Where do I apply?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Now I notice Tony Blair is in there too, and that is appropriate. I have long held that the future of the civilized world may well depend upon an alliance of the English speaking peoples: US, Australia, Great Britain, India and New Zealand. But I have a special place in my heart for the Aussies - they are great friends of the US and noble competitors...only drinking contest I ever lost in my ill spent youth!
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush will award former Australian Prime Minister John Howard with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in fighting terrorism and promoting democracy, the White House said.
Bush will present the award, the U.S. government’s highest civilian honor, to Howard, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a press briefing yesterday, according to a transcript.
“All three leaders have been staunch allies of the United States, particularly in combating terrorism,” Perino said.
Howard was defeated by the Labor party’s Kevin Rudd in November elections. Howard was the second-longest serving prime minister in Australian history.
Howard, who Bush called a “personal friend” and a “man of steel,” joined Blair in committing troops to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
We need to remember this about John Howard, he was the only Western leader to speak out directly about the dangers of Islamic immigrants to a society. This from the AP in 2006:
Prime Minister John Howard says he has no need to apologise for telling Muslims they need to embrace Australian values.
Mr Howard sparked controversy yesterday by saying on talk-back radio a small group of Muslim migrants had refused to accept their adopted country's values and had not learned English.
He told Macquarie Radio Australia had benefited greatly from immigration, but “there is a section, a small section, of the Islamic population ... which is very resistant to integration”.
"What I want to do is to reinforce the need for everybody who comes to this country to fully integrate," Mr Howard said yesterday. "Fully integrating means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language if you don't already speak it.
"And it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women, the societies that some people have left were not as contemporary and as progressive as ours.
"People who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have got to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia."...
The prime minister’s comments sparked fury among some Muslim leaders who say they were offended by what the prime minister had said.
The chairman of the government's new Islamic advisory committee, Dr Ameer Ali, has warned of more trouble unless Mr Howard tones down his rhetoric on Muslim migrants.
"We have already witnessed one incident in Sydney recently in
Cronulla, I don't want these scenes to be repeated because when you antagonise the younger generation, younger group, they are bound to react," Dr Ali told Macquarie Radio.
Don't tell Muslims they must integrate, or they will attack you.
But Mr Howard today stood by his comments.Good on ya'mate, and if you ever want to quaff a round or two, give me a call!
"I don't apologise," he told reporters."I think they are missing the point and the point is that I don't care and the Australian people don't care where people come from.
"There's a small section of the Islamic population which is unwilling to integrate and I have said generally all migrants ... they have to integrate."...
"And I have said, generally, all migrants ... they have to integrate, and that means speaking English as quickly as possible, it means embracing Australian values and it also means making sure that no matter what the culture of the country from which they come might have been, Australia requires women to be treated fairly and equally and in the same fashion as men.
"And if any migrants that come into this country have a different view, they better get rid of that view very quickly. I don't retreat in any way from that. It doesn't involve singling out a group."
Monday, January 5, 2009
The sad fact is that unlike Iraq, which has a fairly large percentage of the population that is educated, this part of the world is truly 11th Century. This is a place where the concept of Christian compassion and equality will not be understood for hundreds of years. That concept, along with the Jewish precepts of Justice form the backbone of democratic society. This will not happen here. A good thug is probably our best bet.