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...