Archive for April, 2010

Florida Fun

Occasionally a politician will switch parties. Some; like Ronald Reagan or Joe Lieberman do so because of very strongly held principles which they refuse to disavow when the policies of their party move in the opposite direction. Others like Arlen Specter or Rodney Tom switch solely as a desperate means of self preservation and the egotistical need to remain in office. Charlie Crist of Florida is a prime example of the latter.

Governor Crist is a poster boy RINO. His tenure in the Governor’s mansion started out all right, but was soon clouded by his sycophantic pandering to the Obama Administration. While most Republican governors resisted the gargantuan stimulus legislation, Crist welcomed it with open arms both figuratively and literally. This began a serious erosion of his popularity among Republican voters in the state.

Crist is a shining example of the effeminate metrosexual modern politician who loves to play huggy bear. A generation or more ago, the only politicians who physically embraced one another were the Communists. The sight of Leonid Brezhnev planting hugs and kisses on Eastern Bloc leaders was considered comical. This disgusting habit arose in this country with Bill Clinton. George W. Bush continued it, and President Obama has elevated it to an art form. The loving embrace between Obama and Crist on stage when the Stimulus Bill was being pushed was the beginning of the end for Crist’s future political career.

Crist is a Michael Bloomberg without the billions. When he announced he would follow his governorship with a run for the US Senate, his name recognition and party affiliation were wind at his back. Then there appeared out of nowhere – Marco Rubio – a true conservative young Republican with character and principles that Crist sorely lacked. In a head to head Republican primary run-up, Crist’s poll numbers tanked while Rubio’s soared. It was becoming obvious Rubio would win the primary.

Asked repeatedly if he was considering running as an independent, Crist just as repeatedly vowed to stay loyal to his party and run against Rubio. Yesterday Charlie Crist showed his true colors, bailed out, and announced his switch to independent status. This set up a three way run for the general election for the Senate seat.

Crist is a myopic, disloyal, egotistical, destructive dirt bomb of the highest order. Rather than admit his policies, positions, and past actions have garnered rejection form Florida voters, he insists on a third party candidacy. This will split the voters between a liberal Democrat; currently down in the polls, a conservative Republican; currently ahead, and Crist – a milquetoast squishy turncoat. Crist has the principles of a coyote, the character of a reptile, the spine of a jellyfish, and the common sense of a noseeum. He must be beaten so soundly that he never raises his head in the political arena again.

Crist’s bug-out destabilized the race such that this afternoon, Jeff Greene – a real estate billionaire – has suddenly jumped into the race as a Democrat. He has dough to burn, but will probably split the Democrat vote to the point that Rubio will basically be running against Crist. Stay tuned!

Marco Rubio is an inspiration. The son of Cuban immigrants, he has risen on solid principles and accomplishments through the Florida State legislature. His candidacy deserves the same support from around the nation as we gave to Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Here is Marco’s website. I just sent him a contribution. Please consider doing the same. Our children’s future depends on regaining control of Congress in November. Marco Rubio is very important to that goal.

Direct Donation site:  https://www.marcorubio.com/fliptheswitch/

Campaign website:  http://www.marcorubio.com/

Ray of Hope

Danny Westneat of The Seattle Times did a wonderful follow-up story on a kennel cleaning job that went to an 18-year old kid. (Link Below) Nearly 300 other people had applied for the job, some highly experienced and educated. The young man realized that his family couldn’t pay the bills. Giving up his leisure hours of computer games, soccer, skateboarding, and hanging out; the lad stepped up and applied for jobs until he was accepted. Now his days in high school are followed by evenings and weekends at the kennel. He and every other person who tried for that cleaning job are truly inspirational. They are examples of what made this country great and what will emerge as the glue that holds it together.

Somehow, over the past 50 years, Americans have gotten the idea that every kid has to go to college and end up as some sort of professional big shot. Dilbert cartoons and The Office TV show should give us a clue. Many young folks would be financially better off and much happier driving a truck instead of sitting in a cramped cubicle for a living. Today’s parents and kids think that manual trades such as laboring on a construction site, running a forklift, or driving nails in new homes are beneath them. Most kids these days live a life sheltered from any sort of hard, rewarding work. Parents provide their offspring with all their desires, drive them to and from sports events, feed and clothe them, buy them a car at 16, and often provide funds for higher education whether the child is suited for it or not.

Those whose parents are unable to provide college are urged to take on huge student loans that cripple them financially for years after graduation – if they manage that. Being pushed into college often leads to ineffectual majors like Folklore or Gender and Women’s Studies instead of mathematics, engineering, or science. How many times do we see rudderless graduates with esoteric degrees moving in with mom & dad awaiting their inheritance? We end up with “boomerang kids” who were raised that way by “helicopter parents.” These young people ended up that way because the work ethic was not instilled in them at a young age. The burning desire to succeed was extinguished before it could ever become a strength; replaced instead by a warped sense of unearned self esteem and entitlement.

Why do we have over 12 million illegal aliens doing the jobs “Americans won’t do”? See the above. You won’t see young Americans plucking chickens, milking cows, digging ditches, or pounding on factory doors willing to start out sweeping up and cleaning grease pits. All this while willing immigrants, from around the world show up, do what they are asked, and don’t talk back. Legal or otherwise, we have to admire these people for their grit and determination, and thank them for contributing to our economy – because many of our young adults will do neither.

Democrats badly want an immigration reform law that will turn aliens into voters. Business owners want the same because they need manual labor to do the tough jobs young Americans have been bred to avoid. Until we disabuse ourselves of this dangerous and asinine idea that every American kid must go to college, the immigration problem will be with us

How long since you have seen a native born American standing outside Home Depot looking for a day job? Here is a spoof on that situation you will enjoy:

Here is the link to Danny Westneat’s great Column:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2011695103_danny25.html

Obama’s Hockey Stick

“I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. … and an enormous debt to boot.”

These were the words of Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau spoken to Congress in May, 1939. Exasperated after experiencing massive unemployment for 10 years and spending heavily year after year to try to end it, Morgenthau was a beaten man. He was admitting that massive government spending and make-work projects had failed to revive the American economy. Over that period, unemployment had peaked at 25%, never went below 14%, and was 20% again when those words were spoken.

Now we have an administration in office that is mimicking the acts of the Roosevelt years with unprecedented borrowing and spending in their attempt to revive the economy. No less than Vice President Joe Biden recently stated: “We have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt.” These people refuse to acknowledge history.

Below is a graph which I call “Obama’s Hockey Stick”. The environmental “hockey stick graph” has been discredited, but this one is frighteningly real. It shows that the US Budget Deficit has gone over a cliff; the deficit quadrupling between 2008 & 2009.

The next graph is projected future deficits based on present government budget plans. One estimate is from the Obama Administration, the other from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):

The plunge in 2009 (which added $6,065 of debt for every living American) appears to begin to recede in 2010 and after until retracing back deeper starting in 2013. Note that the White House projections are far more optimistic than CBO. Who are we to believe; an administration attempting to cling to power, or a non-partisan budget watchdog? No matter which is right, the scenario is dire.

Based on 1933-41 experience, the above projected deficits appear a recipe for disaster. Government borrowing sucks available capital out of the system starving business of loans to expand and hire. Interest rates will rise choking off recovery of the housing market. Taxes will be raised to pay both the debt and interest; draining vital earnings of firms and individuals for decades to come.

Deficit spending does not create recovery; it only buys votes today with the fruits of future labor. Our government is selling our children’s future down a rat hole. Next time you see a baby, think seriously about apologizing in advance.

Here is a cute one that has been around a while about the TARP bailout:

Generation Zero

“The current economic crisis is not a failure of capitalism, but a failure of culture.”

This is an apt description of this documentary that every American adult should see – perhaps twice. It moves fast, with many vivid images interspersed with narration from a number of individual experts in finance, government, culture, and history.

It basically demonstrates the truth about how the Boomer Generation was raised, matured, and eventually became leaders in government, finance and academia. Not discussed is the fact that this generation split along cultural lines in the 1960s. Here is a trailer from the movie. The generational split is discussed below:

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A vivid cultural division occurred in the ‘60s between those who were raised with almost anything they wanted by doting parents and others who grew up having to work hard for nearly everything they got. Millions of young people were sent away to college fully financed by family money, safe from the draft on student deferments. Once away from home, they rebelled, rejecting the values on which they had been raised and embracing the counter- culture of pleasure, drugs, free love, protest demonstrations, and contented living in filth.

These individuals eventually outgrew the hippie lifestyle, cleaned up their acts, embraced materialism, and matured into yuppie types. With their education credentials, they moved up in the ranks of academia, law, finance, and government, eventually attaining leadership positions as the old guard who had experienced the great Depression and WW II retired. Their main flaw was a lack of experiencing any hardship, and a narcissistic expectation of good times and easy money forever. They became prone to taking huge risks with other peoples’ money; blindly ignoring the potential devastating consequences.

The other half of the Boomer Generation entered young adulthood without the advantages of family money, could not afford college, and millions ended up serving in Viet Nam. Their work ethic enhanced by military discipline, they returned home despised by those with whom they had grown up who had avoided service. They tended to drink heavily for years; self medicating against what is now called PTSD. Most eventually settled into blue collar jobs, raised families, and maintained the value system of the middle class.

Generation Zero aptly lays out the journey of the privileged from childhood to DC and Wall Street; focusing on the root causes of the present financial crises. It is a very compelling examination of how America went from the prosperous ‘50s to the present economic contagion.

Please order and watch this movie. Share it with those you know. This is a story that every responsible American must understand. It will be the most informative $25 you ever spent. Understanding how the economy got to this point will arm you with the knowledge of how to safeguard your future. The link to the site is below:

http://www.generationzeromovie.com/

Graceful Bird

As a kid, I had the fantastic good fortune to experience air travel as it used to be. Growing up in the ‘50s was a true gift. Those who came along later will never have the thrill of racing a huge steam locomotive along a 2-lane highway adjacent to the tracks. They will never experience the neighborhood excitement of the day the family down the street brought home their new ’55 Buick. Above all, younger folks have completely missed the excitement when air travel was a truly wonderful experience laced with a bit of adventure or tension.

Probably the most beautiful example of utility and grace of the period was the Lockheed Super Constellation. With its dolphin shaped fuselage and triple tail, it combined form and function with power and allure. The shaking, snarling, belching-to-life of its 4 huge radial engines totaling 13,000 horsepower would stir the blood of pilots and passengers alike as they announced we were about to “slip the surly bonds of earth. ” As a machine; it represented a technology at its zenith, soon to eclipsed by the evolving jet airliners that would sweep the Connie from the skies.

Here are a few minutes of shots of the Breitling Watch Company Constellation that was restored from junk and now flies the air show circuit in Europe.

An air trip was a magnificent pleasure when these planes plied the continental and ocean routes at about 340 MPH. Tickets were expensive because the government prevented much competition between airlines. Only the well-off or business traveler could afford an air journey. The middle class took a car, train or bus to go cross country.

We endured no security lines or metal detectors. Bombs, hijackers, and terrorists were not a threat. However with thousands of individual moving parts in powerful, temperamental gasoline engines, there was always a chance of some heart palpitations enroute. The Wright 3350 engines on the Connie had cut their teeth in B-29s during WW II, but still had their quirks. Occasionally one would not just expire peacefully. Throwing a prop blade or a master rod could lead to nail-biting emergency landings or an occasional spectacular crash.  An old pilot joke about Connies goes like this:

“A DC-6 is a 4 engine plane with 3 blade propellers. A Constellation is a 3 engine plane with 4 blade propellers.”  The main difference being the DC-6 had Pratt & Whitney engines, and that often one of the Connie’s Wrights would toss its cookies along the way.

Once aboard the Connie, the seats were well spaced and comfortable. The food was good, and there was even a small pack of cigarettes served with each meal so passengers could light up after lunch. We kids would slip them into our pockets to show off when we got home.  The vibration and monotonous drone of the engines had an affect of lulling one to sleep, which was beneficial as the trips lasted a lot longer than now. Flight Attendants were called “Stewardesses” who acted and looked the part. Passengers were pampered as honored guests; not crammed in like cattle.

These days air travel has all the unpleasantness of a long bus trip complete with hygienically challenged fellow passengers; some so big they must be greased with Crisco to fit in a seat. Adding to this are the hassles of crowded airports, security screening, minimal food service, packed seating, baggage fees, robot check-in, and the occasional frowzy and grumpy flight attendant. Contemplating a plane trip is about as pleasant as heading for the dentist’s office. Yes the fares are much lower, and millions more people can enjoy the speed of air travel today, but the trade-offs may not be worth it.

Personally, this writer has reverted to land travel whenever possible. The moment that new toll bridge to Hawaii is opened, my old ’93 Jeep shall be the first in line.

If you are really interested, check out the first few minutes of this old California promo film. You will be amazed at the comfort, treatment, food, and some beautiful in flight shots. Flying into LAX, my little brother and I were astounded to see the “Daily Planet” building from the Superman TV series. It appears at about 8 minutes in if you have the time.

http://www.travelfilmarchive.com/item.php?id=11994

The Rallyer

There he stands with a woman about his age; he holding a sign, she an American flag. His apparent age reveals the fact that he probably grew up subject to the draft. If his hair is completely gray, he may have stormed the beach at Normandy in 1944 or suffered the freezing weeks at the Chosin Reservoirin ’50. A little less gray, he may have experienced Khe Sahn in ’68 or the heat of Iraq in ’91.

He probably worked hard all his life. Maybe he spent endless hours as a line haul truck driver. Perhaps he riveted aircraft wings for 40 years. He could be an engineer designing machines to improve our standard of living. There is a good chance he may be a doctor, accountant, manager, or mechanic. His life profession does not matter. His purpose here is to show his concern for the direction his beloved country seems to be headed.

He has served with and worked alongside others of all races and creeds and is not a bigot. He respects anyone with a work ethic and a spirit of self reliance. He believes in private and government support for those unfortunate enough to have been dealt the hand of disability. He has little understanding or patience for those who seek support to alleviate difficulties brought on by their own actions of lack thereof.

He was raised understanding that opportunity in America is boundless and limited only by the abilities and efforts of the individual. He paid his taxes, paid his bills, bought a home he could afford, saved some money, and raised children always believing that their future would be brighter than his. Now this belief has been shaken.

The many thousands he paid into Social Security were spent – never “saved” – and his kids will now be taxed to pay his benefits. The extravagant promises of Medicare appear to be slowly dissolving before his eyes, and whatever benefits he is to receive from that program will also be financed by his children. He is stunned by the trillions being added to the national debt for the purposes of propping up failing business models and retaining government workers.

The man is angry – angry at the spending with no apparent end or means to pay for it. Angry; at the certainty of higher taxes on the horizon. Angry; that the Administration and Congress wasted over a year on a health care fiasco instead of concentrating on the economy. Angry; at the dilution of US defenses and the de-emphasis on the opposition to terrorists. Angry at the shabby treatment of staunch allies like Israel, Columbia, Honduras, South Korea, and Poland. This paragraph could go on for many lines, but the point is made.

He is “angry” but does that make him “dangerous”?  No.  The man has probably seen more than his share of war and bloodshed.  He loves his country and its people far too much to even consider taking up arms.  He cherishes our Constitution and the protection of rights it enshrines.  He is exercising those rights at this very moment and quietly treasuring the fact that he can do so here while billions in other nations can not.

The Administration and its media sycophants fear this man, and with good reason.  His opinions are spreading across the land in opposition to the reckless policies mentioned above.  As the weeks pass toward Election Day, his quiet, courageous stand against the devolving of the American dream are being taken up by millions of like minded citizens. This man, with determination, dedication, sinew and guts helped defend and build this nation and he will not sit idly by and watch it rot from within. He is to be revered – not denigrated. We owe him our deepest gratitude for answering the call once again to preserve America and our way of life.

The only thanks this man desires is that you stand up and join him.

Freakonomics Idea

Obamacare will cause people to take better care of themselves, which will lead to a healthier America according to Stephen Dubner, the co-author of Super Freakonomics. Obamacare will ultimately benefit the populace because people are basically animals. When the environment around them changes, people change to meet the new circumstances.

Most Americans have health insurance. The people who earn insurance by virtue of having a job or paying premiums themselves are rewarded with small co-pays for doctor visits and often, low deductibles for major treatments. These folks or their employer pay a certain amount each year to an insurance company. In return, the person gets what seems to be “free” health care in the finest medical institutions in the world.

Knowing that unlimited care is always available, it is very easy to softly abuse oneself with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, overeating, lack of exercise, and any number of bad habits that lead to ill health. This brings to mind the old joke about having to weigh at least 300 pounds to trigger the Wal-Mart automatic door. Those shoppers subconsciously realize that if they fold a knee joint, develop diabetes, or cough up a lung, all they have to do is show up and be cured. What motivation do they have to take good care of themselves – none!

Patience please – the real door-trigger folks show up in the second half!

Enter Obamacare: About 30 million new participants will now be insured by fiat – many at taxpayer expense. They will also act like medical treatment is free and just a phone call away. More medical services will be used nationwide. This aspect will strain the capacity of our present system. Meanwhile the devil’s brew of government domination over private insurance will try to control costs by increasing paperwork and paying doctors less to perform more procedures. Two studies ** have shown that doctors under such pressure will begin to retire early or switch to other careers. More patients with more ailments visiting fewer doctors will lead to shortages and waits. Whether dictated by government or by necessity, the result will be rationing of care of some sort.

Here is where the behavioral adjustment will come in. Rational people will realize that medical care – free or not – is not what it used to be. Waiting periods for treatments will lengthen. Replacement physicians will be imported from abroad on H1-B visas and certified after minimal American internships. The quality of care and hospital conditions will in all likelihood deteriorate, leading to eventual government takeovers. The result will be that many Americans will want to avoid serious medical treatment at all costs knowing it could lead to a potentially less than perfect outcome. The idea of trusting oneself to a hospital run by the Postal Workers Union will cause many to do everything in their power to avoid such a necessity.

Wal-Mart shoppers will bypass the supersize doughnuts and purchase salads instead. Gym business will increase along with exercise equipment sales. Health food securities will soar while fast food stocks tank. Jogging shoes will fly off the shelves. Alcohol sales will suffer, and smoking will decline. Sports on the big screen will become touch football games in the great outdoors. Nutri-System and Jenny Craig will triple in size and sales.

The journey to a healthier America may have begun. It won’t happen the way our President envisioned.

**
http://www.themedicusfirm.com/pages/medicus-media-survey-reveals-impact-health-reform

The Medicus Firm is a respected physician search and retainment company with offices in Dallas and Atlanta.

Investor’s Business Daily conducted a similar poll in August, 2009 with 1376 responses and came to almost identical conclusions. The report was panned in the press at the time. The Medicus poll confirms the IBD results.