Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

To Everyone: While we are snowbound and not able to visit our relatives, it gives our family a pause from the holiday rush to truly stop and give thanks for the blessings that make up our lives. May you have a chance to stop and reflect on what is really important in your life, and give thanks for those blessings. Tom

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Politician's Job

In case any of you didn't know, a typical politician's primary job is not to serve the people who elected him. His primary job is to get himself (or herself) elected or re-elected. Second job is to reward all those contributors that gave $$ to help him get elected. Third is to get as many perks & benefits as he can while he is in office. Last on the list is the common person like you & I.

What happens is that anything that the politician has promised, said they would do, or otherwise look into during the campaign is promptly forgotten, and we, as the stupid idiots that we are, forget right along with them. That is, until the next time re-election comes up... Then it's the "other party's" fault for putting up roadblocks, vetoes, filibusters, yadda, yadda, yadda as to why they couldn't fulfill their promises.

Does anyone remember from their civics class that our elected officials, as this country was officially founded, did not receive pay as their service was considered to be a civic responsibility and not, repeat, not a career? And now we have a bunch of career politicians that probably, for the most part, could not support themselves with a real job. It's reassuring that they just voted themselves a cost of living adjustment to offset inflation... Wouldn't want them to deprive themselves, even though they seem to snipe and pick and argue over the stupidest things.

I really think that a lot of these politicians are like little kids, always wanting to have their hand in the cookie jar and blaming someone else when they get caught. Personal responsibility seems to not be in the typical politician's dictionary. For instance....

How many times have you written your representative (it doesn't matter if it was local, state, or federal) and gotten back a very nice, official-looking form letter that states that your concern is of utmost importance to your representative, and that he (she) would take it under due consideration? I have several, and not one, repeat, not one has ever been acted upon, nor if I called the representative's office did anyone there know what the hell it was about!! The same has happened to several other friends as well.

How many billions of dollars went to the levees in Mississippi and Louisiana and they still did not hold? And who took responsibility? No one, until a scapegoat was found (who should not have been in the position that he was appointed to.) But the real people that should be held accountable will never be exposed for the immoral or criminal acts they committed.

How many politicians seem to be so inept or clueless that they just don't seem to be qualified to tie their own shoes much less run for public office? As examples, how about some famous quotes or situations like:

  • "I voted for the war before I voted against it!"
  • Where the Hell are those WMDs? They were here a few months ago!
  • Even though I had 3-days notice of the hurricane coming, I didn't have time to evacuate New Orleans...

Finally, who gives a rat's a** if major league baseball players have a steroid problem when there is a nominee to the Supreme Court to be confirmed? And the confirmation hearings are postponed while this "major problem to the country" is investigated to the hilt so that the politicians have some face time in front of the cameras to show that "they care". Where is the sense of priorities here? Certainly not with our elected officials...

That's all for now - no sense in getting the blood pressure any higher...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Insurance Rising

Got a statement from the mortgage company - they are raising the monthly payment on my mortgage by $70 to cover shortfalls in the escrow due to a rise in "taxes and insurance premiums." Taxes notwithstanding, the insurance rate rose more than what the taxes would normally do.

Why? Hurricane Katrina, of course. Insurance companies need to cover their losses somehow, so they raise our premiums. They are in it to make profits, but we pay for it (and how!).

Have you ever noticed that when someone else has a problem, you pay for it somehow?


Saturday, November 12, 2005


Globalization. World economy. NAFTA. CAFTA. Level playing field. Most favored trading status. All these buzzwords and phrases. What does this mean for the United States, and ultimately, you and your children?

Disaster, that's what it means!! What many people do not seem to understand is that the United States is in an economic war with the rest of the world, not a shooting one. We are in the middle of the bullseye, and our business leaders do not seem to care as long as they make a dollar or two for themselves and their shareholders. What's worse, our government doesn't seem to understand this concept. Here are a couple of examples.

Way back when Al Gore and Ross Perot were having a discussion (debate) on NAFTA. Al was trying to make the case for NAFTA by using the example of Valmont Electric moving their operations from Danville, Illinois to Mexico. He stated that Mexico's standard of living would eventually rise to meet that of the United States, and businesses like Valmont would stop moving to Mexico.

What an idealistic but flawed idea! As a matter of fact, it's a large load of BS. How many generations of American workers will be put out of work while this great social and economic experiment runs its course? Considering that the Mexican government sets ceilings on wages for the majority of jobs in Mexico, I would say just about the next couple of hundred years worth until all the jobs are gone from our country. As long as there is an advantage to businesses moving to Mexico or some other country to reduce their costs and maximize their profits, they will.

Second example is that there are numerous countries that subsidize their industries for economic and political reasons. France, Korea, and Japan are just a few of these countries. At the same time, they implement tariffs on US goods, and threaten economic war if the US tries to do the same on those countries products.

The problems that threaten our country's economy are many. There is not a global level-playing field as our politicians from both parties repeatedly state. Not when there are wage differences throughout the world as well as working and standard of living issues, and foreign countries protecting their own economies. Global economy is just another phrase that means that the country with the lowest (and probably worst working conditions) will get the jobs, which leaves the rest of us without jobs and no way to sustain ourselves.

What needs to be done is for our government, our duly elected officials, to put aside their political aspirations for greater power & control, get a spine, and fight fire with fire. Subsidize or create nationwide incentives for industry to grow. Raise or create tariffs on goods & services we import from other countries that are similar to what we produce domestically to equalize the values of the various products. To those people who cry "That's not fair! Those countries will raise tariffs on us & block our products from their markets!" I say, what's different from the present situation? We are on the losing end of the trading war with other countries. Would there be a tariff war? Most likely, but we should be able to use the same tools to protect our country, our citizens, and our economy as other countries use to protect themselves.

Is this protectionism? You bet! Look at Europe. They went to a common currency solely to compete with the United States and not each other. Going to the Euro standard equalized wages across all the countries of Europe, so they have the "level playing field" between themselves, and now have a larger market in which to compete with the rest of the world. Don't believe me? Do some research on your own & educate yourself.

Now I realize that the above is a very simplified solution. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an idea that needs to be considered by our politicians on both sides of the aisle. Otherwise, the jobs and economic wealth of this country will become eroded to the point that we will become a second- or third-rate country. And that is a sure bet…

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blog's New Look

Hello All: Although some of the previous posts are a little dark, the blog design was even darker. I hope that the new look agrees with all my fans (all two of them). But still, please note that I haven't posted a whole lot, even though I went into this with the usual lofty expectations of posting stuff every day. Unfortunately, life comes on in and changes everything. As the old joke goes, "How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans." Let me know what you think about the previous posts, and email me if you want to take the discussions off-line. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rosa Park's Tribute

Rosa Parks had the reputation of being a kind, gentle, and humble soul. She was quiet and respectful of those around her. The celebration of her life at her funeral should have matched that personality.

Those people who decided to use this occasion as a forum to advance their political views were absolutely out of line. Instead of focusing on the life of this human being and the advancements of the cause sparked by her protest, they decided to advance their personal agenda. There is a time and place for these comments and statements, but this was the most inappropriate circumstance. It did not serve Ms. Park's memory and continued hope of unity.

To those persons who decided to advance themselves and their causes at the expense of this solemn occasion, shame be upon you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Reality TV

Thought it was time to rant about something that doesn't mean squat, but it kind of shows where we are headed: Reality TV

There is absolutely nothing real with Reality TV with maybe the exception of "The Donald's" and Martha's versions since there's a job at the end of the TV Hell. Survivor is scripted as well as Big Brother and the rest of the ilk. I guess what disturbs me about these shows is that in order to get ahead, you pretty well have to stab someone else in the back.

What a sad note to see that you have to step all over someone else to move up. True, that mirrors real life, but I don't really want to be entertained by it. Are we so desperate to have a better self-image that we want to watch someone else get shafted and say "HA HA!! Glad that wasn't me! I'd never do that!!"

Truth is that if most of us got stuck in some of the same situations that are depicted in these shows, we probably wouldn't fair much better. In fact, in most cases, if you were dropped in the middle of a jungle with nothing but a few items, you would be so much fertilizer in a matter of days. That is, unless you had taken a survivor course somewhere in your life, then you might last a couple of weeks...

But that's entertainment for you. Titillate or show how stupid someone else is, and TV has the majority of people watching their shows. How sad that we, as one of the greatest civilizations in history, are regressing to the moronic roots that we supposedly have overcome.

A great line from a movie that I've forgotten the title of sums it up nicely: "You can take the girl out of the trailer-park, but you can't take the trailer-park out of the girl." I'll leave it to you, the reader, to figure out the analogies.