Friday, November 1, 2013

Founders Harvest Ale...

Founder’s Harvest Ale is my favorite beer, and by far the best light/mid-weight IPA I have ever had – better even than the legendary Pliny The Elder. Though it is slightly different every year, it is consistantly the best of all the wet-hop ales. This year, the ship was much smaller than last, but I was able to get a case of it. I will ration over the next two months. Most stores break the four-packs up and sell as singles, or offer them as promo for other, larger purchases. A lot of it is back-doored, consumed by store employees and never makes it to the retail floor. This year’s batch is a little less “grapefruity” and a little more subtle, with good grassy and flowery tones. My favorite beer. Unfortunately Founders doesn’t make enough of it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ohio Taking Pennsylvania's Fracking Waste-water...

First question that comes to mind, is if the gas lobby's claims that the waste-water is safe are true, why doesn't PA dispose of it, instead of paying Ohio to take it?

Do you think our Gubmint is preying on our ignorance? I'm thinking yes...

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Weiner Files: Bankrupt morals and absence of ethical standards are indicators of incompetence..

When a politician, who is a public figure and not protected by the law the way private persons are, is his/her own undoing, as in Mr. Weiner’s case, then they should pay the consequences of being judged by the morals of their constituency.

In the act of not protecting his own privacy, Mr. Weiner proved his inability to serve – competency is the only measure, and he failed the test, as well as sacrificed any good-will due him by anyone. As long as private remains private, I don't care about his private life — but once it becomes public, not only is he fair game to detractors, his incompetence in failing to keep the private life private proves he doesn’t deserve his position.

While I do think competency, not morals, should be the measure of a politician, I also think that most of the time they go hand-in-hand. And, I happen to agree with most of the general public – any guy who will screw around on his wife will have absolutely no compunction and hesitation in screwing over the taxpayer - and Mr. Weiner has probably been on the take on many levels for as long as he has been able to exercise any influence his office grants him.

If current polls continue to indicate that this is the standard to which Mr. Weiner’s constituents – hold elected public representatives, then there is no doubt that WE are to blame for the economic problems our country is in.

If our representatives cannot be honest with their “life” partners, and we don’t expect it of them – nor do we hold them to any standard, or exact consequences – then expect ourselves to be lied to, screwed over, and bilked constantly by ourselves.

As this continues to happen, we show ourselves to be immorally feckless victims of our own crimes of willfull ignorance and stupidity and moral and ethical bankruptcy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Big Box Chains Buying Up State Liquor Licenses...

One of my pet peeves is grocery chains buying State Liquor Licenses and moving the State Store inside their big-box store.

Seems every time a major grocery chain buys a State liquor license to increase floor traffic for groceries (got to be the only reason) – and sometimes the only license in a small county – consumer choice goes DOWN.

It has happened with Giant Beagle in Lancaster, with the Pit Stop selling out, and now in Athens, with Kroger buying out Lucky Dog.

Go into any beer and liquor only store and look at the number of craft beers and specialty liquors. From my observation the choices decrease by at least two-thirds every time a chain takes over. In the case of Giant Beagle, it carries about 2/3 the number of beers sold by the Pit Stop. Krogers in Athens carries only about 1/8 of the beers that Lucky Dog carried. Pitiful.

I have heard that beer distributors operate much like suppliers in other industries. Chains deal with large distributors who can afford to buy shelf space and also provide a "bribe". It’s called a “rebate”, but it is basically a BID for business that the distributor guarantees the chain a lump sum up-front at contract time. If this is anything like my business, then those "rebates" are highly guarded secrets.

Be interested to know how accurate this is to the beer industry.

One thing I do know: grocery chains suck at selling craft beer.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"USA, USA..."

Two things struck me this morning…

1- Chanting crowds are chanting crowds the world over. Maybe we’re not as different as we like to think we are. Substitute “God is Great" for “USA, USA…", and if you were totally uninformed that the reason for the celebration was the justice done on a mass-murderer, it would sound - and effectively mean - exactly the same.

2- On the ride in this morning, I did nothing but switch back+forth between radio news shows, and despite existence of either real or supposed bias, NPR’s coverage was much more in-depth, fact-filled and well-rounded than any of the other news services.

Thing that bothers me, is the stupid celebrations. I can maybe see NY City and DC, but C-bus, Ohio? Students jumping in Mirror Lake? Come on.

How long do you think before some clown takes the video on those chants of “USA, USA…” and pastes in “God is Great, God is Great…”, and vice-versa?

What do they say about touchdown celebrations? “Act like you have been there before.”

Up to me, we’d be doing this four or five times a day, as long as it takes. – BUT, it is never the time or place to glorify in death.

Do what you have to do and move on – the weakest thing we can do is to show that this is not the normal result.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Self-defeating class warfare - Kasich and the Unions...

I'm beginning to believe Kasich is just not very smart. Good chance we've traded in one loser for another.

Either that or he knows that his constituents just don't have the ability to understand his comments, so he can fire off without consequence.

Talk about self-defeating... At least pretend you give a rat's ***...

Lessee, trying to follow his "reasoning" here… How do taking away collective bargaining benefits of one group of workers benefit another, less fortunate group?

May be news to some of you, but organizing unions is a right, not privilege. Anybody can organize a union. THAT DOES NOT MEAN owner/operator/bosses/companies OR STATES have to enter into contract and accept bargaining with any union.

I wish I had collective bargaining, but just because I don't, does not mean I want to take that right away from someone who does. That’s the old, class-warfare, eat-the-rich mentality.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Culture/Religions as international special interest groups...

Are we seeing the advent of the culture/religion as an interntional special interest group? Or has it been this way all along?

Does it make sense for one group to "officially" support non-biased equal treatment for all cultures/religions, and yet practically advocate for special, one-off treatment, and offer violence as the response to free speech?

Or, "What's good for the Muslim, isn't good for the (insert your culture/religion affiliation here)."

Doesn't this all just come down to Islam expecting/demanding to be treated differently than any other culture/religion?

Apart from Islam in the ME and Europe, are there any modern (last 50 years or so...) examples of large scale rioting and multiple killings resulting from a non-violent action that was interpreted as an offense to cultural and/or religious sensibilities?

Be interesting to know what other cultures and religions this happens with today... And if there aren't any credible examples, wouldn't that narrow it down to a conflict between a specific culture and religion with all others?

(Please don't go the obvious route and include riots that resulted from the eating of religious icons.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Libya, the ME revolts, and US national hubris...

... and we keep on keeping on with our master plan to indelibly mark our legacy as both the embodiment of national hubris and a living/acting picture of the definition of stupidity; repeating ourselves - in this case in three separate invasions at the same time (Woo-hoo!) - and expecting different results.

Many, mostly our president's supporters along with the NeoCon bunch (What a team!), sadly do not seem to understand or want to acknowledge the issues that ignoring the Constitution brings -- our executive branch is effectively choosing to invade a supposedly sovereign country who has not attacked us.

These ME revolts are civil wars, not genocides (or unprovoked invasions), and we have no way of knowing which party's interests coincide with US interests, let alone who the good guys are, if any...

This will come to no good. Fast.

In modern warfare "No troops on the ground" is no excuse, alibi, or a measure of invasion. A foreign "civil war" is not our war.

124 Tomahawk missiles, totaling $71 million in cost IS an invasion. That's not counting the cost of delivery and mop-up.

We will pay for this in many, probably painful, ways.

We should not reckon ourselves the judge and jury over the legitimacy of other nation's governments, ESPECIALLY when it is NOT clear that we have national interests at stake, or even WHICH SIDE best represents any national interests...

If we don't choose to intervene in human rights tragedies and ethic cleansing, what gives us the right to ignore our Constitution and do the bidding of the EU?

This goes for Afghanistan and Iraq, obviously, also...

How would you like it if another country decided that this government is illegitimate, and lobbed missiles at us? Would you care if the UN or EU agreed with them? I would hope not.

This is a bunch of convoluted BS, partly manufactured by our historical meddling in the ME, by our weird position in being the guts behind any EU initiative, and used by a president who is supposedly against the expansion of the executive branch power, to see just how far he can take his own executive powers.

Our sympathy for almost any country's revolt against a ruling class results in a reactive "world cop" mentality, and in giving our leaders too much authority and the rope to hang ourselves... BUT, the reality is that if we can't intervene in places like Rwanda, then we have absolutely no business protecting EU oil interests -- and couching it in fake humanitarianism... All while our young men and women pay the price.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SB-5 "Merit Assessment" for teachers...

"Merit assessment" of teachers opens up whole new horizons for abuse of power.

What about the incompetent principal or dean or school VP who holds a grudge for being continually proven wrong, and now has the power to do something about it?

You've heard of the term "teacher's pet", I am sure... Well, get ready for "principal's pet", "dean's pet", and "VP's pet", etc...

You think you just got rid of incompetent teachers, but all you did was open the door for favoritism.

Say goodbye to professionalism and collegiality.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More on Public Workers, job protection, etc...

You are hearing a lot of Public vs. Private salary comparisons. Broad comparisons are not accurate, because the private sector has so many more minimum wage working poor... That's where the "conservatives" are lying to you. Where the "liberals" are lying to you is on benefit packages - things that are not included in their salary comparisons.

Anyway... from my POV, amounts of salaries are not the issue -- IF the job is being done effectively.

Leaving the teacher unions aside and not even addressing that (there is such a huge disparity between the salary-benefit packages of Elementary/High School, career colleges and university systems) - what about the protections that public employees have, compared to those of us in the private sector? How do you control and evaluate job performance? How long does it take to rid the system of "dead wood" and "slackers"? Are our government’s offices tightly run operations, or full of salaries that just take up budget room and don't contribute to public service?

If my employer doesn't like the way I do my job - if I'm not effective and productive - then I'm gone - immediately. This doesn't seem to be the case with public employees.

My employer does not need a reason to get rid of me. Unless there is age, sex or religious discrimination involved, I am SOL.

And if we don't please our customers, we are out of bizness...

We - all of us - seem to be paying more for gubmint (look at the increases in local income and property taxes) and getting less return all the time.

There should be a way to keep collective bargaining, but still streamline and effectively downsize gubmint to look more like the private sector.

Many of us in the private sector feel that we are paying for things we don't receive. Top that out with those protections that most of us do not have, and you have a LOT of resentment...

On the other hand, I don't see how you can take someone's right to strike (or to quit their job) away... What happens if mass amounts of safety providers strike? Does the gubmint send "Brown Shirts" to their houses and force them back to work? Fine them twice their salaries and then put them in debtor's prision? If I'm reading the bill, with all the attendant provisons correctly, those things could happen. Sound's like Europe in the 30's...

Looks to me like the sponsors of SB-5 are counting on no strong reactions - what happens if they are wrong?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Collective Bargaining and Public Worker Unions...

After a little research and reading, I think I’ve done a complete about-face on public unions and collective bargaining.

Here is what I think is happening and gonna happen…


1- Despite what they are telling you, Republicans in gubmint are going after public worker unions as hard as they can because those unions are big supporters of the Democratic party. All you have to do is look at the big fish political donations over the last ten years – I think 14 out of the top twenty are unions, public and private – and exclusively Democratic.
2- Those Republicans are under intense pressure from their big supporters, bizness interests, to gut all unions. It just makes sense (see next point).
3- Financial concerns are real only if you look at this from the employer/investor point of view.* Proof of this is that police and fire unions, traditionally either Republican supporters and/or big lightning rods for public sentiment, are not being touched….
4- News coverage is being manipulated, to some extent. Example: you really don’t hear a lot about concessions unions have offered or already made.

Gonna happen:

1- Unions are going to be separated and lose their focus. That is one reason fire and police unions are not being targeted. It’s planned that way, which leads us to…
2- There won’t be a general strike – see above.
3- An even more confusing “right to work” landscape between the states. As more states adopt limits on collective bargaining and weaker public unions, courts will be flooded with all kinds of rights violations and challenges.
4- *Gutting unions and collective bargaining won’t help the economy. In supposedly “saving our progeny” from financial disaster, we’ll just be moving that financial disaster from one shell to another in the big game.

Baby boomers are retiring – all over, not just from gubmint. But retiring gubmint and public workers are the ones who stand to lose the most of their safety net from this political solution to gubmint’s cash crisis. We're just moving that stress from an already planned (That's the sick part of all this - we are planning on breaking promises and f-ing up peoples lives, and giving them practically no notice.) from the public to the private sector's not-so-golden parachute.

Most people aren’t seeing the difference between civil servants and teachers and their retirement packages. Teachers at public institutions pay a pretty large chunk of their salaries towards retirement. Most of them have to have 30 years in before it actually pays for them to retire. Thirty years.

5- Channeling GHWB, here “Not gonna help the economy. Not gonna…”

Ignoring the fact that in busting the unions to get at their retirement packages is breaking both a promise and in most cases a contract, it doesn’t make sense economically. Can we adjust the contract from here forward? Sure. But changing the rules in the middle or end of the game is just plain wrong. Wrong.

Do you think that cutting the retirement benefits of teachers – many of whom could have made more money in private sector employment, but chose teaching as a calling, not a job – is really going to save the state money, when they have to go back to work, after working thirty years, just to pay for their health care? Whose job will they take? Maybe yours? Your just-out-of-college-and-trying-to-pay-off-their-loans child’s job? If there’s justice – yes.

In the end, public is now going to mirror private sector compensation, but it’s not going to result in a better life for middle-management on down...

Political appointees and their staff (the VPs of the public sector working-world) are going to end up with all the perks and huge salaries (This is already happening in public institutions such as colleges, where Deans and VPs and Presidents make three-four-five times more than even the longest tenured teachers.), while average worker pay and compensation decreases. Lower budget deficits equal higher profit margins… only they don’t – because the “middle-class” takes a huge hit as public workers join the working poor of the public sector, and the “American Dream” will exist only for an even fewer few.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Military advertising on NASCAR vehicles…

The House has voted to let the Pentagon continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams.

By a 281-148 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum that would have ended the practice. McCollum aides said the Army is spending $7 million on a sponsorship this year, and the Air Force and National Guard are spending additional money.

They are after their targeted demographic: Young, mechanically inclined males, with little (or no) education. Cheap fodder. Where better to find that than at or watching NASCAR, the people who go in circles for 4-500 miles at a time and call it entertainment.

After an afternoon of that, riding in a HumVee while dodging IEDs probably sounds good...

I guess it makes sense from a marketing and economic angle -- BUT in my POV this is NOT something gubmint should be involved in.

I certainly don't want my tax dollars going to it...

For those young people who are targeted by these advertisements, the decision is mostly one made of economic necessity compounded by generationally learned habitual ignorance and multiple failures inside our educational system, including inequitable funding and failure in the family structure.

Look where the majority of our soldiers come from - the poor and disadvantaged - and over our history, not just right now. (But I will note that for many, if they survive, it will be a step up - at least for the lucky smart ones...)

Advertising is used for the same reasons as elsewhere - and it is carefully targeted. Measured against the results, this may not be wasted money. But is it right or for a righteous purpose? No.

Demographically, the military is profoundly different from civilian society. It's drawn disproportionately from households in rural areas. The South and Southwest are substantially overrepresented within the military, while the Northeast is dramatically underrepresented.

Social and economic elites are dramatically underrepresented in the military.

The percentage of enlisted military personnel from households with more than $60,000 in annual income is close to zero.

As recently as 1994, 44% of members of Congress were veterans. Today, it's only 26%.

Only about 1% of U.S. representatives and senators have a son or daughter in uniform.

Want to make sure that the U.S. never again gets stuck in a pointless war? Draft Congress!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No need to raise taxes to balance the State of Ohio budget...

There is a movement among Athens County "Friends" to pledge part of their incomes to increased taxes.

These (well meaning) but uninformed citizens think the guvmint will actually spend our money the way we want it spent. Gubmint is busy stealing from your retirement right now!

We don't need higher income taxes to balance the budget. We need choices. Heck, right now I can take the state budget, end up with a surplus and not take one cent from education or social services.

My score from the C-bus Dispatch online State Budget APP:

* State sales tax: Increase sales tax rate to 7% (raises $3.9 billion)
* State income tax: Cut income taxes by 5% to help Ohioans (costs $800 million)
* 'Pop' tax: One cent per ounce (raises $800 million)
* Exemptions: End sales-tax break for packaging and packaging equipment (raises $460 million)
* Exemptions: End sales-tax exemption for mining and farming equipment (raises $300 million)
* Exemptions: End sales-tax exemption for equipment sold to electricity providers (raises $650 million)

* No spending cuts were made.

Sell or lease state assets
* Sell state lottery to private operator (raises $5 billion, but ends lottery revenue)
* Sell some state buildings, then lease them back (raises $800 million, but requires future rent payments)

Your budget results
* You have a budget surplus of $3.11 billion.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The "revolution" most often goes like this:

-groundswell for "democracy" erupts, driven by several different sources with different political ends (please note that very few of these people understand or have experienced democracy, so what results from initial proposals has no real resemblance)

-after much bloodshed, dictator government is ousted

-struggle to aim and control government ensues between these different sources

-after two or three botched elections, an extremist religious group takes over

-back to square one, with a much weaker country and opposition

Too bad religion plays such a large part in the politics of the region.

Terrorists and their supporting organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and their outside backers like Hamas and Iran would love for this to turn totally chaotic. Make it easier to subvert any attempts at organized democracy and turn it into another Iranian type situation. Look for Mullahs and Clerics to start speaking for the "revolutionaries".

We'll see if the educated westernized Egyptians can pull this together, or the religious extremists will take over.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guvmint, jobs, reading the fine print and expectations...

Uhhhh... guvmint stupid. Not read fine print. But politicos be last to lose jobs...

Face it. We can't compete in a world economy without tariffs and laws that make it hard for companies selling goods in America to manufacture them outside the good ol' USA.

But we done lost that fight.

One of the reasons - outside our own greed and short-sightedness (look at our work expectations, unions, pension funds, tax structure, everything adds up to failure) - is that both corporationalists and globalists want to even the world-wide economic playing field -- and if that means a lower SOL in the USA, then so be it... So we have persons of power in our own guvmint whose ends do not meet their own constituency's best interests.

Whole thing will backfire. End up with lower SOL for everyone, everywhere.

Mebbe NO SOL for anybody.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


People have less money to spend, so they are spending less; and with less spending, the economy is having a difficult time getting back on track.

If employers hired more people and paid better wages then people could purchase more of their products and those businesses would be better off.

However, businesses don't have the money to hire new people and pay better wages because consumers are not buying their goods and services like they once did.

If you can figure this one out, I'll buy you a beer -- and, you get my vote for president...

But... Quoting a poster "Hermit" on a local forum:

"I think our economy's big problem is that it is built on the premise that people have to buy crap they don't need to keep the wheels of commerce in motion.

When people stop buying crap they don't need, the economy tanks. I'm not so sure it's a good idea for the government to pick up the crap-buying slack to get the wheels spinning again.

I never thought I'd see the day when the act of saving was considered bad for the economy."


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tucson Shooter and "Political Discourse"...

"If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun" - Barack Obama

Both sides seem to be trying to "establish a narrative" and "manufacture a meta-meme" that absolutely ignores what known facts there are regarding the Tucson shootings, and to use whatever means, including outright lies, to promote those manufactured narratives as truths...

Funny how so many of us are just pulling statements and questionable "proofs" off of these sites and pasting them into our litte spats.

Disgustingly familiar. We are thinking it's a "media" problem, while we need to look in the miirror.

Maybe if we want to throw labels and call names, we need to do so in the privacy of our own homes and in that mirror...

Amazing the number of acquaintances of the shooter who come out of the wood-work and in effect say "I knew he was going to do something like this...”

Even given the probability that half of these people are just getting on camera, I don't think that it is a violation of personal rights for anyone who notes unusual and what they might consider dangerous behavior to at least take the action of contacting local law enforcement. Not that there would necessarily be action taken, but at least this would up the odds on such people being caught and even helped before something bad happens...

I also want to say that people who are pointing fingers at heightened political discourse as a trigger for what went wrong with this young man are probably mistaken. I think they will find that he has paranoid schizophrenia and suffers from delusions -- and there may be no telling why people with schizophrenia choose to latch onto and obsess over any particular subject or object.

That said, I do believe that this will have consequences on the ease of individual purchase of weapons, especially handguns; maybe only in Arizona, but there is going to be some serious anti-gun rhetoric coming down over the next little while. Of course, that will only worsen the "heightened political discourse" that is being mistakenly blamed for a crazy man's actions...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WikiLeaks, Korea, and Goldman-Sachs...

With the release of the info that China may support a combined N+S Korea, under South rule, WikiLeaks may have brought the North closer to instigating war. That is bad. Possibly criminal.

On the other hand, I am looking forward to their promised fisking of Goldman-Sachs.

Of course, that will probably show even greater involvment and control over the FED and monetary policy and politicians by G-S, and might be worth the death penalty…

Watch – our government is going to get much more upset about any release of G-S info, than they have over compromising our diplomatic communications…

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA Scans are not really about Terrorism...

I don't believe the TSA body scans and increased security is necessarily a reaction to terrorism, although it is being marketed as such -- as are a multitude of government invasions of and limitations on freedom.

We're seeing a continuous purposeful pushing at an extension of what is "allowable" government control -- it's the "how you cook a frog" system of getting a populace to submit.

From Red-light to public surveillance cameras, to citizens not being allowed to video or audio-record police (a one-way street there), to violations of 4th Amendment protection of search and seizure in traffic checkpoints and inventive "probable cause", to government covert tracking devices, secret warrants, indictments with withheld evidence, the information gleaned from gun sales and CCW permits -- on and on...

Thirty years ago, people would have laughed at the possibility of these steps even being mentioned... but, I'm just being paranoid.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Governments don't offer good return on tax dollars...

Now I realize that I function best as critic and pitchfork wielder -- and it's more fun than actually solving the problems.

But I keep thinking that maybe things would go better if we kept more of our tax money at home, instead of sending the bulk of it off to DC, and then waiting and wishing for the promised hand-outs...? But that would require a real revolution - not the co-opted and branded kind.

We piggies at the trough seem to forget that the little bit of local reflux we glean out of the belly of the beast consists of our own earnings - with the bulk siphoned off to who-knows-where. It's certainly not going to reduce the deficit, because GOV spending just keeps going up...

And now the FED is trying to push up inflation, which in turn, through weakening the dollar, results in rising gas prices, more expensive food (more expensive everything) and of course more dollars spent in taxes - putting even more pressure on the middle class, because ALL this is happening while most individual workers have seen no increase in earnings. In years!

A good example is this: If we can't keep things on an even keel in the little liberal hothouse that is Athens Co., then how can we expect the same policies to work at the national level?

How do we fix this seemingly endless cycle of more money for less service (look at our local township roads - and we just approved another extension and an addition for maintenance tax)? Not paying will make things worse, no one wants that, but what happens when we reach the bottom of the wallet?

And now, people like Krugman are demonizing citizens who save money instead of spending during a recession - grasshoppers who cause the probem insanely putting the onus on the ants that take care of their own.

It comes down to different views of Government. Krugman, do not see Government's function as unbiased service to the citizenry, but as a tool of "moral" redistribution as they see fit. And, THIS is what we get. And it doesn't work.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Palin candidacy will be death to any revolution...

I cannot understand, and dare not imagine, the desperate straits that about half of our country finds itself in: that through collective ignorance (defined as willful stupidity) the possibility that they will nominate not only the least qualified presidential candidate ever, but one that will doom what started as a pretty good idea - before it was co-opted.

Liberals all over the country are literally praying – she’s turning stone-atheists into groveling religious supplicants – that Sarah Palin runs and is nominated as the GOP candidate for POTUS.

I also cannot believe that this movement can't find another candidate -- until I remember just how MUCH they have been sidetracked and co-opted.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funeral Songs... Everybody needs a list.

Subject to revision, I hope.

Funeral Songs

Elegy -Bruce Cockburn
Flying Red Horse -John Gorka
You’re On Your Way -John Gorka
Love Is Our Cross To Bear -John Gorka
If I Could Forget to Breathe -John Gorka
Kind Woman -Chris Smither (Richie Furay cover)
‘Til I Gain Control Again -Blue Rodeo (Rodney Crowell cover)
Dark Angel -Blue Rodeo
Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dreams -Blue Rodeo
Simple Song -Lyle Lovett
Family Reserve -Lyle Lovett
Glory of True Love -John Prine
Clay Pigeons -John Prine (Blaze Foley cover)
Bear Creek -John Prine (Carter Family cover)
Long Monday -John Prine
Festival of Friends -Bruce Cockburn
Last Night of the World -Bruce Cockburn
He Came From the Mountain -Bruce Cockburn
Southland of the Heart -Bruce Cockburn
All The Diamonds -Bruce Cockburn
The Color Green -Rich Mullins
Silver Garden -The Everybodyfields
Elegy -Bruce Cockburn

Monday, October 25, 2010

Questioning Islam equals Racism... ????

Anonymous poster to HuffPost:

"Islam is a such, it is fair game for criticism, lampoon, ridicule, analysis, as is any other religion--whether we're talking Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Scientology or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And when a statistically significant number of people claiming to be faithful adherents of ANY religion engage in acts of violence in the name of that religion (or support or refuse to condemn those acts), engages in varying degrees of repression and abuse of women and girls, engages in repression of and violence against gays and lesbians--then I'd say it's fair for rational people to take a closer look and to speak out.

Whether it's pedophiles in the Catholic clergy or fundamentalist Protestants subverting the Bill of Rights or extremist Jewish settlers harassing West Bank Arabs or school-bus bombing Arabs -- if a significant number of adherents are engaged in such acts and claim to be acting out their beliefs, then their religion is open for scrutiny. Criticising Islam or poking fun at it is not "racism"; that won't wash."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Best comment on NPR...

This is what I believe is an accurate description of NPR.

Marianne McDonald made this comment on the NPR Ombudsman forum:

"...If Fox News is a hang out for playground bullies, then NPR operates like a calm, smiling Mean Girl with a hidden control agenda. As a daily listener, I believe that NPR provides a valuable public service in reporting, but no one exposed to more than one point of view on a regular basis thinks you are unbiased. By firing liberal Juan Williams for expressing a feeling shared by many non-bigoted people around the world, you just inspired a new generation to label American public radio as the voice of the politically correct intolerant Left. Even worse, independent thinking journalists might avoid NPR for the same reason. That's a loss for all of us."

NPR funding reality...

I would like to say this: despite my critique of NPR, the federal funding kerfuffle is kind of a political football -- NPR gets approximately 2% of their funding from FED money -- 1% from the FED directly and another 1% from the NEA.

Also, if you can wade through the very subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) spin that NPR puts on most stories through who it chooses to interview and the questions asked, you still get waaaaaaay more hard info from them than you get from Fox or MSNBC, CNN or any of the other major media outlets...

NPR asks more hard questions and provides more info in five minutes than the rest do in an hour.

This doesn't excuse what they did with Juan Williams -- BUT, the FED funding thing is mostly politicians, most of them working for Fox (How does that happen, anyway?), trying to score points and raise the rage level with their voting block, most of whom are not informed about the issue -- which is what the pols are counting on...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NPR FIres Juan Williams... ... ly-factor/

Speaking Truth to Political Correctness

I condemn this knee-jerk reaction. WOUB will be getting a note, along with my empty renewal envelope.

Bad time to do this, with it being fundraising season and all...

I am a longtime listener to Juan since the Talk of the Nation days. I love the way he can cut through the BS to the heart of the matter. He is one of my favorite broadcasting personalities.

NPR is lately taking an even more partisan line than usual, with most of their guests/experts from far left-leaning organizations.

I am reminded of a recent Morning Edition episode, when the guest was a polling expert who is an employee of The Huffington Post. He was presented as an unbiased analyst, but through the slant to his comments and the data he mentioned it was exceedingly obvious that we were getting only the information supporting the viewpoint he wanted to promote.

Where's the damn middle, anymore? I can't watch Faux or MessyNBC, and until now I just had to put up with continually self-editing through the admittedly more subtle NPR spin.

This is just another domino down the road to partisanship totally ruling all available broadcast media, and soon I won't be able to tell the difference between NPR and MSNBC. They'll probably bring "The Olbermeister" on as an anchor. Uhhhh.

Juan was a news ANALYST at NPR - NOT a reporter.

Isn't it a reach to fire an analyst for expressing views, especially in relation to an ongoing news story or popular subject that demands analysis? Especially when half of your programming is spun one way or another, depending on who's providing the commentating?

"His status was earlier shifted from staff correspondent to analyst after he took clear-cut positions about public policy on television and in newspaper opinion pieces."

Will NPR use the emotional reaction this is generating as justification for this action?

My bet is yes. They will hide behind the fray and firestorm of dissent and keep as far as they can from honest discussion as to why they acted as they did...

Good fortune to you Juan. This is what you get for "speaking truth to political correctness".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pipe dreams...

How about a flat income tax that EVERYBODY PAYS, along with state sales tax with each state then funding the FED based on population/sales tax collected. Nobody rides for free, but nobody gets hurt too bad. Make the FED depend on the states, not the other way around.

Lets all join hands, what a wonderful world that could be... (Come on everybody, all together on the chorus now: What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful world...)

Never happen. Too many peeps on the gravy train with free tickets.

And we'll all be on that gravy train (wonder who pays for it?) when the US defaults, they devalue the dollar, and go to a virtual credit currency (ostensibly to do away with the underground economy).

Monday, October 4, 2010

We are...

...lazy and afraid, and willingly deaf, dumb and blind; like all declining empires.

And we like cheap products more than we like being an individual country with an individual economy and culture.

And with a false monetary system invented to keep our centralized government powerful, we function (temporarily) within a false economy built not on real need, but wants and wishes.

And our government is owned by multinational interests that could not care less about people and culture and care only about the bottom line.

And the bottom line is that if you won't do the job for peanuts (or rice, or potatoes), then they can find somebody who can and will.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Huh...? SInce when is 250K/yr rich?

Amazing how the definition of "rich" changes depending where you are and your circumstances relative to those around you...

250K/yr is a very arbitrary sum. Does "rich" now equate to "evil" in common belief? Is 250K is the new jump from "hard working" to "silver spoon"?

There are many areas in our country where that salary puts you solidly in the middle-class -- not rich at all...

I think the problem is not "taxing the rich" enough (although I think most really RICH people have way too many advantages through access to knowledge and help with loopholes) -- I think the problem is a vanishing middle class.

In my area, at least, even though on average they take home much more money, most "middle-class" families are living a comparative lifestyle to the lower-middle-class of 20-30 years ago.

One thing I have noticed, though - and this is not an indictment, just an observation: people who do make good money, and have done so long enough to have gotten used to it, do not really relate to lower-middle and working class people who are just scraping by. They may say they can "relate", but in my experience they cannot; any more than I can relate to a person raised in a blighted and famine torn country.

This may be why we get so little from government for our money: people we elect don't REALLY relate to us...

I think that the Vanishing Middle-Class is the reason we are seeing "class warfare", this little bit of which is over income taxes.

If the US had a solidly growing middle-class paying a growing chunk of taxes, the economy would be healthier (Duh!) and there wouldn't be the pressure to find revenue expressed in this increase in extreme anti-rich verbiage we are seeing ("Eat The Rich", "Bring back the guillotine", etc...) lately...

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Global economic equality is coming... Woo-hoo.

Most people don't realize that the "equality" they dreamed of, have fought for and voted for, didn't end up being equality with your neighbors down the street and under the protections of a beneficent government and guarded by The Constitution, but equality with the Chinese worker, the Brazilian worker, and the Indian worker.

Guess what? Surprise! The Stones were wrong -- you don't get what you need, either...

Unfortunately, like illegal immigration, the people in whose best interest lies in keeping NAFTA afloat are the people who own our government and our representatives - both party's worth. And guess what? Both GWB and Barack are globalists, neither of them has your best interests at heart, the end result that our (the common US worker) boats don't rise, but continue to sink to meet the mean.

Our economy has gone global. Most available jobs will have no protection and become more menial with longer hours and lower pay. The horse has done left the barn.

This doesn't sound very libertarian of me, but the rich will continue to get richer and the poor, poorer, but on a global scale, which means that most of us may end up poorer than we ever imagined possible.

The math says it is too late for the US. If there is much of a pre-tribulation future left, and I do not believe there is, its history will say we were just a very short-sighted people who benefited over a short period of time from our short-lived empire.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Top 10 Influential Fiction Books...

This isn't a "most important" list, although some of them are. These are books that established my likes and (fiction) reading habits for a lifetime.

The Chronicles of Narnia – Lewis
Tom Sawyer - Clemens
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Pyle
Ivanhoe - Scott
Glory Road – Heinlein
Dandelion Wine – Bradbury
The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings – Tolkien
Jack of Shadows – Zelazny
The Dying Earth – Vance
The Foundation Trilogy – Asimov

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"The Amercian Dream" - George Carlin...

Ok. Discuss...

George Carlin – “The American Dream”:

“...But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never … ever … EVER be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. … … … BECAUSE … THE OWNERS, OF THIS COUNTRY, DON’T WANT THAT! … … I’m talking about the real owners now … … … … … the BIG owners! … … … The Wealthy … … … … … the REAL owners! … The big wealthy business interests that control things … and make all the important decisions. … … … … Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. … … The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice . . . … you don’t. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. … They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. … They got you by the balls. … … They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying … . . . lobbying, … to get what they want . . . … Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but Ill tell you what they don’t want . . . they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. … … They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that . . . that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. … … They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting F’D by a system that threw them overboard 30 FN years ago. … … They don’t want that! You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. … And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly Sh*tty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your … Social Security money. … … … They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? … … … They’ll get it . . . they’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this FN place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! … … … … You, and I, are not in The big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people . . . white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means . . . continue to elect these rich C--K S--KERS who don’t give a F about you. They don’t give a F about you . . . … they don’t give a F about you. …. …. They don’t care about you at all . . . at all . . . at all, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their a--holes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, … cause you have to be asleep to believe it . . .”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why no balanced budget ?

Why no balanced budget?

Simple everyday people, like you and me, often wonder why Guvmint can’t “live within its means”. Well, for one thing, it doesn’t have to…

Those in favour of deficit spending always say "Guvmint spending is different than household spending." - and that's true - Guvmint never has to balance the budget. Actual intake never has to equal output's perceived value because Guvmint (through the corrupt FED system) prints its own money and tries (somewhat) to control the supply.

As for your budget comparison, there isn't one - as Guvmint really has no budget - it's all a shell game... and Guvmint has gone from being a necessary evil to a necessity.

Guvmint has always been, and is still in the bizness of growing Guvmint. And the way Guvmint (lately) keeps itself in power is not really through taxes, but by regulating money supply. Guvmint operates under a mandate to do this through its several different supporting bases who believe that they each in particular will benefit from Guvmint’s action (through taxation/redistribution/provision of perceived rightful needs). Whether recipient or supplier, these bases view Guvmint as a gigantic charity, responsible, through said mandate, for all of society.

Our representative republic slows it down a touch, until everybody starts to jostle and grab for a space at the trough and our representatives become jaded and corrupt. Then the trough gets smaller and smaller and the group of piggies gets bigger and bigger.

The piggies are about to overwhelm the trough.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We give up so much to the Guvmint...

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Ben Franklin

Friday, June 18, 2010

The 4th Amendment no longer exists...

Just thought I'd mention that. Too many references to list...

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized..."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guvmint will make sure BP pays... But to who? Guvmint, of course.


I’ll bet yer (ahem) that bad public sentiment will spawn a favorable outlook on new taxes industry-wide — intitially to make up for BP’s inability to cover all the liabilities involved.

They'll call it a "risk tax', or some sort. As if we can afford more risk like this.

But don't you wonder, given the Guvmint's record on robbing Peter to pay Paul, and then mugging Peter's children too, how much of that revenue will actually be used for the vocalized purpose? Or will the majority of the tax/ongoing fine be arbitrarily apportioned to prop up public works and pump up the balance sheet of the general budget?

Watch: If Guvmint gets its paws on more funds/fines because of this, it won’t go where needed…

Do I believe that BP et al should pay out the nose (Heck, just cut the nose off.)? Sure. But putting BP out of business won't solve anything; and I am sure that will be another argument used for an industry-wide tax/ongoing fine.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

When the Faux Stimulus dries up...

One of the better anonymous comments from the A-News "Letters" section:

Oh yes, it sure would be nice to have some economic activity around here besides the university and the businesses that support it and for the most part, grovel before it like it was the Golden Calf that might be angered lest ye not grovel!

The smart development folks have been quite quiet recently. It was easy to point to bad development; when the economy was booming, but now, not many people are coming up with any realistic ideas to get some money moving our way.

The stimulus money from the federal government is going to dry up in the next year and that money has been propping up our cities and villages, our schools, the universities, and building things like the Nelsonville bypass.

Once the bypass is finished, the construction jobs will go away. I don't see things getting much better around here for a while. The stock market went back to 1999 levels last week. And the stimulus money was borrowed money. At some point the US taxpayers will have to pay it back, with interest.

Our politicians sold us out. They bought the propaganda of the wealthy elite and dismantled our country's manufacturing infrastructure, believing we would evolve into a service economy; and not have to be bothered by dirty jobs like manufacturing.

Now the service economy is collapsing. Outsourcing is just beginning to swing its wrecking ball around America. Anything that can be sent via email (e.g. writing, accounting, legal research, software development) or transacted over the telephone (customer service, including order taking) will continue to go to India and other countries where the pay is a fraction of US wages.

US professors will slowly but surely be reduced in numbers by online education and the stream of international students coming to America to study will slow down as China, India, and other countries build up their universities. These are the countries that will actually have jobs for engineers, for example, because they still have a manufacturing base in their economy. Not a rosy scenario for Athens biggest industry.

Ross Perot was right when he predicted the huge number of jobs that would be lost here due to fair trade. It took longer than he predicted, but now we can see he was correct. Of course, it isn't fair trade if the other country doesn't have a minimum wage like ours or the same degree of environmental standards.

The only industry thriving in the USA right now is the so-called defense industry. A never ending series of wars will be needed to keep our largest industry in business. A never ending supply of young men and women will be needed to be sacrificed for the never ending wars.

Who are they fighting for? Is it really for the government of the people and by the people or is it for the super rich bankers who pull the strings of their puppets in Washington?

Something to think about on Memorial Day. God bless America!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand Paul, the GOP co-opted Tea Party, and Anti-Discrimination Laws...

Rand Paul a racist?

No. He was presented with what comes off every time as a classic false dichotomy argument based on what he sees in this instance as an example of the always false premise that the end justifies the means. He is objecting to anti-discrimination laws being applied to individuals and individual businesses because of his stance/belief/view of the Constitutional effects of such laws on individual liberty.

Remember that big-L Libertarianism is ALL based on property rights. From his POV (not necessarily my view - I think the whole question is more complicated than that) civil rights laws are bad because they keep people from using their own private property as they see fit.

I think there are people trying to brand him a racist. I don't think he is, but I do think he is not the brightest bulb in the political building. Of course, he's not going to show as a real libertarian, as the Tea Party has been co-opted by the far right wing of the GOP. I don't think there is justification for the attacks on Paul as a racist. Paul says he is against racism even in private businesses, the issue being one of political and Constitutional philosophy as to anti-discrimination enforcement on and over private property.

It seems to me that Dr. Paul understands that discrimination based on race is unjust but still thinks that the legislative effort to address it does not pass Constitutional muster.

I wonder if we are establishing that it is unacceptable to commit to a Constitutional principle to the point of rejecting legal remedies for injustice; i.e.: anti-discrimination laws that control the activities of individuals and individual businesses.

Immigration realities...

I was doing pre-inspects on a couple houses yesterday afternoon.

This is often what happens when I walk into an under-construction house:

There look to be about 5-6 Mexicans working out of an old van finishing up insulation and starting drywall - I can tell that somebody has been cooking food in the garage.

When I walk into the house, one of them sees me and vanishes into the family room, 3 or 4 of them leave the family room through the garage entry and get in the van. One comes inside the foyer to watch me and the other keeps working. I just nod to the one watching, he nods back, and I do my inspect and leave. (As soon as I leave the others will go back to work.)

In my experience it goes like this: there is only one English speaker, and probably only one or two "legals" in the crew. They are one of several crews, often family members, who are hired by one guy contracting with one of the builder's subcontractors (this insulates the builder from any immigration questions or legal responsibilities), who takes a big chunk of the workers' earnings in turn for letting them work for him.

The same organization (foreman or farm boss thing) happens with the Koreans, except that most of them are legal. The Koreans tend to do more intricate, time intensive labor across several trades, and the Mexicans do most of the grunt-type construction work.

This happens all over, in all good-size cities. Those of you who live and work in smaller cities may understand the problem, but probably don't grasp the size of it...

As far as I can tell, there is never any enforcement of immigration law, never even any questions asked by anyone.

The only time you hear of "raids" or any inspections, are with factory employees. Factory situations where illegals are employed are a very small percentage of the illegals working. I venture that most illegals are employed in construction and restaurant/hospitality and itinerate farm-work - although in the south, I have read that a lot of them are employed in the trucking industry.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The most dangerous words...

"If you're not doing anything wrong, then you've got nothing to fear."

It's a pretty far-reaching attitude problem with both Conservatives and Liberals. People who've never been persecuted give up their rights sooooo easily, when someone tells them it's for "the greater good."

Those words are about the most dangerous to ever come out of a supposedly free person's mouth...

Lotta rights been lost on that road... Funny how they're much easier given up than gotten back, ain't it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Legalizing Pot: Pointless...

Note this: People who grow pot in quantity for money now, don't want it legalized.

These are some predictions from “Hermit” -- if pot is legalized:

1. It will still be illegal to grow your own supply.

2. A lot of money and time will go into enforcing #1.

3. Government sanctioned dope will probably be pretty weak stuff, and everything stronger will still be illegal.

4. A lot of money and time will go into enforcing #3.

5. There is a slight chance that MJ will become a pharmaceutical, which may mean the only legal form will be some sort of marijuana pill, available by prescription only and closely monitored.

6. Whatever happens, the cost of dope will go up, and most of it will still be illegal, with all the associated crime that we have today.

So in other words, getting what you wish for may not be such a good thing.

Regulation and taxes would take quite a bite off the front end.

Those who do use, might want to realize that the Meig's Co Green portion of your budget will probably go up - not down.

Border violence may decrease on the Mexican side, but violence related to a very active black market here (regulations and taxes, remember...) would increase.

Cost of regulation and taxing will replace dollar for dollar the amounts spent on the pot part of "da War on Drugs". Those DEA agents just get another card and name tag.

Given all the above, there are still those who believe Guv'mint should regulate and tax this (another) product. In fact, many still believe Guv'mint has the right and responsibility to do so. No matter that it would increase the size of Guv'mint (Again, remember that the DEA would still be out there doing what they do. Meth and Oxy and H will still be running our trailer parks and hollers...), and cost the taxpayer even more money in bureaucracy and regulation than is gained through taxation.

The same way people relate the need for Guv'mint to nanny us through MJ legalization (no matter how pointless it is now), is the way they view almost everything else....

If you're going to do it, then legalize it ---- and then do the prudent thing... NOTHING.

And just an observation from a former (tobacco) user: anytime you inhale smoke of any kind from any source into your lungs, the long-term result is guaranteed to not be good.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In a nutshell...

Quoting a poster "Hermit" on a local forum:

"I think our economy's big problem is that it is built on the premise that people have to buy crap they don't need to keep the wheels of commerce in motion.

When people stop buying crap they don't need, the economy tanks. I'm not so sure it's a good idea for the government to pick up the crap-buying slack to get the wheels spinning again.

I never thought I'd see the day when the act of saving was considered bad for the economy."


I don't see a single business out there that is not living off of its balance sheet and loans. Nobody has a reserve of any kind -- why keep a reserve when money is cheap and you can funnel profit back into growth?

Well we just found out.

Used to be, if you borrowed money and couldn't pay it back, you went bankrupt and somebody who could do the job better (if it needed to be done) replaced you. Things rolled on.

But because our businesses and banking system have been centralized and have become under the FED so intertwined, and because our currency is continually manipulated by said FED, and isn't worth tissue paper, we are caught in this shell game of buying crap with borrowed s**t.

So, instead of letting things find a balance, and retreating to a point where our s**t might actually be worth something, we flood the system in a big ol' Keynesian fountain of ever more worthless s**t. The more of it there is, the more worthless....

But regular Joe Working Guy, he learns his lesson a little too late to save his bacon... and a little too soon for fake bailouts to work. Because the economy is mostly made up of Joe Working Guy, and if he decides not to play, then the FED can move those fake shells around in a frenzy all they want to -- Joe ain't playing now, and he ain't comin' back to the table soon enough to pull the FED out of its own fire.

Just wait until it gets out that most of the state pension funds are gonna go broke over the next few years. Wait until the infrastructure starts to go -- simply because we put fake money where good, hard, honest work should have gone.

We're all grasshoppers.

When the only thing your business has to weigh against your loans is a warehouse full of crap that Joe Working Guy isn't buying anymore....

There, I feel some better now....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I changed my mind on Health Care...

... or at least, one of the reasons.

What brought this on was one common blood draw and test, and one extremity x-ray.

My insurance normally pays $19 for the draw and $19 for the read (which isn't a read at all, since they just forward a print-out to my Doc).

The pay for the x-ray is normally $24 + $67 for "hospital services".

So, once I reach my deductible the total for this bill would normally be $129 to my insurance company and nothing to me. (Not bad, huh?)

Because I have not reached my deductible, Fairfield Medical Center bills my insurance company $465, of which the allowable is $363.

Here is the breakdown:

x-Ray = $268
Basic Metabolic panel = $68
Ast/Sgot = $19
Ast/Sgpt = $19
Lipid Profile = $63
Cbc with Diff = $20
Venipuncture fee = $8
Total = $465
Allowable = $363

The 15% discount for paying early (the outrageous overbilling is not why I am bitching - yet) is $54.

Someone without insurance is going to be billed at least $465 -- if they pay it early, they pay $398. I have heard that the bills to persons with no insurance can reach the quadrupled total of the amount billed insurance companies. I am told that this is to "fluff" certain statistics, and to make a higher profit off of the discounted percentage from the sale of bad debt to outside collectors (Incredibly evil, if true). I have heard of hospitals even operating their own debt collection agencies as separate entities, in effect selling debt to themselves. (Now that would make even Dr. Evil squirm.)

Someone who cannot afford to pay in full is going to be paying at least $468 for a service that will cost my insurance company $129 and me nothing once I reach my deductible.

For those of you who say that the deduct of 15% is just to cover costs, I have this:

The "interest" or AR cost is covered in this notice: "If you choose to send a partial payment your account will be subject to a onetime 12% late payment fee or $100, which ever is less, with the obligation that all accounts will be paid in one year."

Lessee, that's 27% on any bill under $835, if you have to make payments, if my math is correct?

Amazing they didn't go out of business when we did in payday lenders.

An automatic 15% discount for paying a bill is not a good thing. It means the initial charge is too high... It also puts an undue burden on those who are less fortunate but still determined to pay their bill.

The full price should be a fair price, with no special deals that only apply for the more fortunate of us, especially if they are a "not-for-profit", as FMC is structured to be (they are technically a 501c 3, but they outsource most work to money-making corporations, doctors, labs, and the like).

This is patently unfair. And I'm the guy taking advantage of the "discount", which in reality isn't -- a discount.

Them that's got, get... Which is usually fine, but not when there is no alternative except drawn out sickness and/or eventual death.

There it is.

And here's another tidbit:

It takes some wading through, but this sheds some light on the scam that is most "not-for-profit" hospitals.

It's basically a way for them to expand; making the debt they accrue less risky by selling bonds, even while exempt from tax, profiting from their tax exempt status, while in reality remaining for-profit corporations.

Check it out:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Palin as a Presidential candidate? Come on...

Ok, the scam has gone on long enough. Collect all the money you can, but don't make like you are any kind of viable candidate for anything outside of PTA president.

Go back on a book tour or something. You are sucking up air that the eventual opposition candidate needs.

It's sad that we have reached the point in our Republic where partisan sound bite mentality and the resulting dumbing down of the electorate has made a "viable" candidate for the most powerful elected office in the world out of a woman who can't make a speech without bullitt points markered onto her palm. Oh, and and current holder of that most-high office has a teleprompter for a wing-man.

Sarah Palin is no more a Presidential candidate than I am, and the only hope that she gets elected is that our already stupendously stupid populace loses another averaged 20+ IQ points.

Sarah Palin will not be able to hold her own in any debate with any serious candidate from her own party (Neo-con 'pubs), unless the whole shindig is fixed.

The "Tea Party" movement and message has been totally co-opted and re-aimed by Neo-Con Republicans, and as such is unsalvagable. I truly do not know how real libertarians can affect this corrupt two-party system.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Recession" = Sanity...

Good article from Old Hop.

The way I understand it: "Recession" is when the economy corrects itself back toward sanity, and everybody who was buying crap they don't need stops buying crap they don't need and starts spending their "discretionary" income -- if any, considering the fact that if you make stuff people don't need you will shortly be out of a job or out of a business -- on sensible stuff they, if not now, will need in the future. Their focus is on saving, and their consumerism is limited to purchasing "stuff" with long-term use and true resalable or tradable value.

It is frightening how much of our economy depends/depended on creating buzz or false need for useless items.

If you are in business to make crap that people don't need, you need to get into a business that makes "stuff" people need.

Otherwise, see the first paragraph, because you are SOL.

And another thing: If you are someone who gets their economic information and outlook from TV "stock advice" shows, a la Cramer, or reads the WSJ Stock pages, then you may be in for a shock when the promised "recovery' doesn't happen and when the economy gets worse.

The reason we seem to be in what we are being told is "recovery", is because companies are showing profits with more production per person, but less production overall. They are cutting salaries and employees, and showing more profit per person, but there is a smaller market, fewer people employed and purchasing product. This will eventually catch up as more jobs vanish, and the government "safety nets" fail.

The effective unemployment stands at 15-17% right now. Don't expect that to improve.

We chose to "rescue" useless banks instead of instituting some sort of National work program improving our crumbling infrastructure.

Payin' the piper. I can hear him winding down the glen right now.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I love trains, but...

I love trains, BUT...

For those of you comparing the proposed (I guess it's a done deal?) government supplied train travel here in Ohio to the government subsidy of roadways:

We pay for a large portion of highway funds through the gasoline tax. An overwhelmingly large portion of the population uses and needs the roads -- some small percentage of them to drive to and park for a train ride that takes twice as long as the same trip in a car.

Are there any passenger trains between large cities that currently run through Ohio? I'd be interested to know how many Ohioans currently use trains, compared to the population to which train travel is available, AND how many of them trip between cities.

This is the game we see time after time: Unveil some extraordinary government program, tell you it's good for you and expect you to live with it, knuckle under and pay for programs that YOU don't use. Then the stories come out that the program doesn't quite work, and that it would never survive without increased taxes (In this instance, ridership will be half of what is predicted, it's more expensive than what they said and the state is stuck with this mess and has to raise taxes to pay for it.). If it is operated and run by the government, no matter whether it is a failure, the workforce never gets laid off, its workers receive benefits largely unavailable to the taxpayers footing the bill, and get to retire after 30 years with 90% of their incomes - and inflationary increases.

And another thing while I'm on a roll: $400m is almost twice as much money as we are budgeting for Haiti next year... Haiti, a problem that will take BILLIONS of $ to make a dent.

"Senators working on the next annual foreign assistance budget have proposed at least $282 million for Haiti; the House proposal would provide at least $165 million."

We need real solutions for jobs, not make-work government programs that benefit a very small percentage of the population, and that have no measurable value return to the people who pay for them.

"I love trains", but they really need to put some more thought in this. Shouldn't they start with light rail IN the cities before they try to connect them?