sporadic posts, some considered

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Government Past Due

I happened across “Susan's Musings” (www.rabbidaniellapin.com/dynpage.php?id=5). Her following musing under the heading “More Money, Please” caught my attention,

“- - -“

“It is time for Congress to take lessons in household management. Mothers understand that you don't bring a pet into the house without completely thrashing out the details of taking care of the pet and paying for its upkeep. You also assume that there will be unexpected expenses. Similarly, it is ludicrous to pass a law while ignoring the funding and infrastructure needed to implement it.

“Most importantly, we citizens must switch from a mindset that expects our government to do things based on whether they sound like good ideas and indeed may be good ideas. As a mother, I may have thought that my child would profit from music lessons and art lessons and computer classes and karate, etc., etc., etc. How much these programs could assist my child's future success in life was irrelevant. We still could only spend the money we had. Choosing to do one thing meant choosing not to do something else, no matter how valuable or desired.

“Funding for VA hospitals is in a different category than spinal injury research because we already have a commitment to those who serve us. But we need an entirely new way of looking at the government budget. Pruning here and there isn't going to work. Right now the attempts at budget cutting in Congress are the equivalent of a financially stressed household saying, “Well, when Tommy goes to summer camp, we'll send $15 less in spending money than we did last year.” Guess what? In real life, not only does he not go to summer camp, but that is only the first of the sacrifices made. It's time for real people who are becoming increasingly aware of what serious budgeting means to send a message that we wish no less from our government, even as we work to support our men and women in uniform.”

Enough said. It is past time to pull Government out of “Wonderland” and plant it securely in reality!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Truth in Fiction

“Popular rule is not democracy; it gives people what they want, not what they need,” Senator PadmĂ© Amidala, Star Wars, Episode II, deleted scene 4

Monday, December 28, 2009

"The War Weary Farmer"

"I should like to find the existence of what my father called "Plain living and high thinking."

"I want some fields and hills, woodlands and streams I can call my own. I want to spend my strength in making fields green, and the cattle fat, so that I may give sustenance to my loved ones, and aid to those neighbors who suffer misfortune; I do not want a life of monotonous paper-shuffling or of trafficking with money-mad traders.

"I only want enough of science to enable fruitful husbandry of the land with simple tools, a time for leisure, and the guarding of my family's health. I do not care to be absorbed in the endless examining of force and space and matter, which I believe can only slowly lead to God.

"I do not want a hectic hurrying from place to place on whizzing machines or busy streets. I do not want an elbowing through crowds of impatient strangers who have time neither to think their own thoughts nor to know real friendship. I want to live slowly, to relax with my family before a glowing fireplace, to welcome the visits of my neighbors, to worship God, to enjoy a book, to lie on a shaded grassy bank and watch the clouds sail across the blue.

"I want to love a wife who prefers rural peace to urban excitement, one who would rather climb a hilltop to watch a sunset with me than to take a taxi to any Broadway play. I want a woman who is not afraid of bearing children, and who is able to rear them with a love for home and the soil, and the fear of God.

"I want of government only protection against the violence and injustices of evil or selfish men.

"I want to reach the sunset of life sound in body and mind, flanked by strong sons and grandsons, enjoying the friendship and respect of neighbors, surrounded by fertile fields and sleek cattle, and retaining my boyhood faith in Him who promised a life to come.

"Where can I find this world? Would its anachronism doom it to ridicule or loneliness? Is there yet a place for such simple ways in my own America or must I seek a vale in [Chinese] Turkestan where peaceful flocks still graze the quiet hills?"

- - -

Circa 1945 by a fundamentalist Baptist missionary named John Birch

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where's the Facts

Have you noticed?

Have you noticed the transition from news reporting, from facts? Remember the 4 W’s and H, who, what, where, when, and how?

The transition progressed slowly and patiently, yet steadfastly

For many years I have commented that I do not recall the last time that I had seen a ‘news’ report; rather than someone’s interpretation

So called news is now opinion, editorial; it’s ‘spin.’ When was the first time we (collectively) identified the ‘spin,’ the spin doctor?

We are departed from actual news. The story, preferably compelling story, is now the object of reporting

Had not you noticed? It is official. The object of so called news reporting is not to report news (facts). Back in ‘the day,’ news (facts) was reported and conclusions and implications were drawn by the recipient (you and me; we, the public)

It’s official, our job (we the public) is to merely soak in the spin

“Our job is to make sense of it all,” Brian Williams, NBC News, so called

Waste, Futility, Strife, - - -

One healthcare reform document is presented, namely, the House Bill (HR 3200). A lot of effort and energy is being wasted allegedly discussing this Bill

Yet Mr. Obama consistently speaks of his healthcare plan and in direct conflict with the House Bill

The time is past. Mr. Obama present the document! Mr. Obama present your healthcare plan

Congress must stop the inane squabbling, fueled by confusion regarding the House Bill and Mr. Obama’s fictitious plan. Clearly, Mr. Obama does not speak of the House Bill. Congress must table the matter until Mr. Obama presents his healthcare plan document

Alternatively, Mr. Obama must stop infusing confusion with his fictitious plan, “get onboard,” and speak directly to the House Bill

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mama taught, "It don't cost nuthin' to be nice"

Recently received this story. Thought I'd share it.

- - - - -
Bear Bryant - knew how to be nice! At a TD Club meeting many years before his death, Coach told the following story... typical of the way he operated.

"I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin' trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant".

I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?" I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today? He says, "You probably won't like it here, today we're having chiltlin's, collard greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlin's are, do you?"

I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas, I've probly eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place." They all smiled he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, you ain't from around here then? And I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find what ever that boys name was, and he says, yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good. And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

As I'm paying up to leave I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one, and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph of something he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one. I met the kid I was lookin' for later that afternoon, and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.

When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I put that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Hell, back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. And the next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had, Paul Bear Bryant.

Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Yall remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I'm down there. Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama?" And I said hell yes I sure do. And he says, OK, he'll come. And I say, well son, what changed your mind? And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since yall met." Well I didn't know his grandad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his grand daddy was and he said, "You probly don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlin's with him. My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him, and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

"I was floored", he said. "But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin' your word to someone. When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now, and he didn't have chitlin's that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures, and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him too, along with a signed football. I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. And if you remember anything else from me, remember this, It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable."

from www.redelephants.com/CoachBearBryant.html
also at www.coachjayjohn.com/jjohns/articledetail.aspx?ArticleId=865&Id=1
- - - - -

The true character of people is shown by how they treat those who can not affect them

Friday, June 26, 2009

US Economy

According to BBC News [newsvote.bbc.co.uk], 18 June 2008, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed banking reforms, including

• A dedicated agency to protect consumer interests and regulate mortgages and credit cards.
• Consolidating some regulatory agencies and giving the Federal Reserve greater oversight powers
• A new oversight council uniting the heads of existing agencies to improve regulation
• Greater financial cooperation internationally.

- As to the first point, another Federal agency is historically not in the interest of US citizens and only serves to further grow, entrench, and secure the Federal government. The biggest improvement in consumer protection may be effected with a simple usury law.

At present there is no Federal usury law and lenders may legally charge in excess of 30% effective interest under State's laws. This rate was set in the early 1980’s when inflation was high and approaching the near 20% usury interest rate limits that had been in place at the time. New usury rates were, unfortunately, set at an absolute or fixed rate rather than a relative rate that may float with market conditions. Thus, we have been experiencing the results of lenders charging about 30% as their cost of money has fallen below 3%.

The usury rate should be set as a ratio of a market indicator, including a Federal Reserve rate, inflation rate, or prime rate. The experience of the early 80’s indicates that a usury rate of 3/2 the Prime rate would be fair. And, there is no reason other than greed that the usury rate should not include all fees and charges.

An effective Federal usury law may look like:

No lender shall impose an effective fixed interest rate, including actual fixed interest rate and all fees and charges, greater than 3/2 the Prime Rate at the time the fixed interest rate is fixed. In the alternative, no lender shall impose an effective adjustable interest rate, including actual adjustable interest rate and all fees and charges, greater than 3/2 the Prime Rate at the time the adjustable interest rate is adjusted.

Further, simple bolstering of financial institutions may be effected by legislative establishment of a high ratio of secured to unsecured investments, say 70:30. An effective investment limit law may look like:

No bank, no credit union, no insurer, and no other financial institution that generally provides either savings account or insurance services shall invest more than 30% of new receipts in any non-secured investment, shall in any way convert secured investment funds to any non-secured investment, and shall in any way invest proceeds of a secured investment in any non-secured investment. This provision shall expressly not apply to investment of funds of each of an individual, a closely held private entity, and a publicly traded entity having invested assets not greater than one billion dollars, which invested asset valuation shall be in dollars adjusted to year 2000 dollar value.

- As to the second and third points of regulation, we have not had unregulated capitalism since before anyone living may remember. Unknowledgeable Congresses and Presidents have meddled with the US economy for decades, if not generations. Most notably, loose credit policies have been pressed since at least as early as the 1970’s. The forming of Fannie Mae and of Freddie Mac by Congress was a feeble attempt to provide safety nets under loose credit policy. That has not worked.

Specifically as to the Federal Reserve, the “Fed” is a non-US financial company (actually a British company, perhaps) that has been around since the early 1900’s without effecting the financial stability for which it was established. We could have had an equally unsettled financial experience without the “Fed.” A better plan may be to diminish and ultimately eliminate the “Fed.”

As before, another Federal council is historically not in the interest of US citizens and only serves to further grow, entrench, and secure the Federal government. The biggest improvement in regulation may be effected with consolidating and diminishing Federal agencies and councils. Too much of US resources [the economy] is expended on government itself, which does not produce anything and is aptly identified as a parasite on the US economy.

A community with a great number of doctors is a sick community. Likewise, a country with a large government is a sick country, not free and robust.