Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two "Dishes" and Food Too!

My oldest daughter flew in for a visit with us on Sunday.  Whenever one of our kids arrive my wife heats up the stove and begins cooking all of their favorite childhood meals.  And since my kids are half Vietnamese it is Vietnamese fare which take center stage.

However, this time we have chosen to eat the dinner meals at home and venture out to some of Phoenix's star restaurants in order to sample other great local foods.

Yesterday, we took our daughter to the Rio Mirage Mexican Restaurant in Surprise, Arizona.  My wife, not a huge fan of Mexican food, never the less, joined in the festivities and ordered a Taco.  My daughter had the Beef Machaca and Enchilada combo, complete with creamy refried beans and rice.  I had the Taco/Beef Enchilada combo with rice and beans as well.

This little gem of a restaurant provided superb service, attractive and colorful decor and some mighty tasty food.   Their homemade Salsa and chips were fresh and crisp and the salsa had just the right "bite" to add zest to the chips as well as cover for our main dish.  The Spanish rice was light and fluffy with the perfect blend of spices.  The beans, prepared with lard, were devilishly creamy and tasty and added just the right mix for the wonderful tacos and enchiladas.

Since we were there on Margarita Mondays Rio Mirage offered icy frozen Margaritas for .99 cents each.  We had no yen for drinking at lunch time but did admire the generous drinks being served to others and several parties seemed to be having a great ole lunch time fiesta, including a group of ten or twelve senior ladies who were dining when we arrived and were still there as we departed.  The restaurant does seem to be a local favorite and we could certainly see why.

The decor was colorful and bright and everyone we encountered on staff had a bright smile and cheerful hello and goodbye for us.

Please note the second pic; we polished off our meal by sharing a fried ice cream that proved to be a luxurious climax to a great meal.  Cradled in a deep fried taco shell was a huge scoop of frozen ice cream, topped with a honey and coconut sauce that was truly decadent.

So, after following our stomachs out the door, we groaned and crawled back into the car and headed home for a civilized afternoon siesta to allow proper digestion of a great Mexican meal.

Tomorrow we're headed out early for a factory tour of the half century old Cerrita's Candy Factory, a tourist favorite, then out to Scottsdale to see how the Arizona tourists live during their warm winter interludes in the desert.  After sating our curiosity we've scheduled a stop at a newly opened Toffee Candy store, then on to a "Arizona Check Please" favorite, an Asian restaurant called "Noodle Ranch", located just on the "working man fringes" of upscale Scottsdale.

Stay tuned readers.  I'll be keeping you updated on our culinary adventures this week!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Obama's Arab Spring


We woke up this morning to learn that the Afghanis have murdered two more of our American troops; that's a total of four human beings murdered in cold blood, all because someone mistakenly burned a few holy books.

Last year when the Obama Regime was rejoicing in the "Arab Spring", and declaring democracy in bloom in the Middle East, I cautioned to put all that elation on hold.  I have written numerous blogs outlining why democracy cannot be transplanted to a Muslim society.  I urged readers to disregard the joyous celebration of an Obama foreign policy based on apology and timidity.  I predicted the first crack in the euphoria would be seen in how Christians and Jews are treated in the aftermath of revolution.

What have we seen to date?  Not only are the radical Muslims burning synagogues and churches, but they are burning up people within those holy places.

I have been a loud and vocal critic of a Middle East occupation since Bush first invaded Iraq.  Obama's policies have  been no different.

We have now wasted 3,000 American lives and $4 trillion dollars of our treasure in a vain attempt to democratize societies that are both corrupt and live in a culture that diametrically opposed to the acceptance of democratic principles.

Perhaps as damaging as our reckless crusade to occupy and attempt to democratize the Muslim world has been Obama's total capitulation to Muslim criminality.

I am sick and tired of hearing Obama say America is not exceptional and am equally tired of his praise of a Muslim world bereft with corruption and violence.

I am tired of sending our troops on three or four or even five deployments to an area that's not worthy of "saving".

I am tired of seeing our troops gunned down by these savages.  I am tired of reading about jailed journalists and aid workers in Egypt and having our President continuing his campaign of apologia.

Obama is a smooth Harvard Lawyer and a grand salesmen.  But, as God is my witness, I am having a hard time trying to figure out how he's going to justify issuing daily mea culpas to Middle East tyrants, even as they gun down our troops in the halls of the Aghan government.

Good luck Barack.  Time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.  Time to cease all foreign aid to every Middle East tyrant.

What a sad Saturday morning as we watch the bodies of four American troops being ferried back in body bags, their only crime being their dedication to a Commander In Chief who has no clue about how to lead....or for god's sake, at least cease apologizing and bowing to Muslim tyrants.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Illegal Immigration; Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Copy and Paste the above listed link in google.  If you don't email or phone or write your Congressman after reading this, well, all is probably lost anyway:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Pay Pal Widget

                      On 17 January I completed my first full year of blogging.  During that first year I wrote about 300 blog entries and had about 48,000 viewer hits.  My favorite measure of viewer response has been to look at the number of reader comments and how many readers click on one of my Amazon ads.  When readers click to Amazon through my site, and elect to buy anything from Amazon I receive a 1% advertising fee.

For the entire year of 2011 I realized profits of $12.83 cents from Amazon.  (Thanks, daughter)  Well, I thought, 48,000 blog visits and $12.83 in profits.  Not very impressive, I surmised.

Well, says, me.  Perhaps I can cover the cost of my internet fee by placing a PayPal Donate logo, linked to my PayPal account.

Surprise!  On the very first day of placing the PayPal widget , some fellow from Phoenix was nice enough to donate $2.00!  Wow!  Says, I.  At this rate perhaps I can fund both my internet fee and have enough to pay for my coffee fund!

Alas, it was not to be.  That initial $2.00 PayPal donation was the ONLY donation I have ever received for the 200 plus blogs written since I graced my home page with that little gold square.

Having grasped basic math in 3rd grade, I can now deduct that I am being paid 1 cent per blog, based on that one single $2.00 donation.

Thus, I am being paid one cent per blog for "giving my two cents" to my 200 daily readers.

You people are cheap.

Now let me get back to doing my taxes; I've got to figure out how I report $14.83 cents in "miscellaneous income".

Friday, February 17, 2012

He Didn't Want A Mother; Wanted A Slave To Abuse


I personally know a very sweet lady who just happens to be the mother of an abusive sociopath son.  The son, having already driven away his spouse's parents, was in need of a "Nana-Nanny" for his child.  As he has always done when in need, he turned to his mother for help.  And why would he not?  Despite enjoying an annual household income in the $300,000 range, when he decided to short sale his home and move to another, he asked his mother to pull out her meager $25,000 dollar IRA fund and loan it to him so that he could buy an equally plush home elsewhere.  Always willing to help her children, the mother withdrew her only savings and loaned him the money.  Because the money was not returned within the IRA time frame, she was unable to put all of her lifetime savings back into the tax-protected account.

That didn't matter to the mother.  She always placed the most importance on her children.  So, after retiring from her business and settling in for some serene retirement years, the son came calling; he asked her to come stay with him so that she could serve as nanny and nursemaid and chauffeur for her son's child.  Leaving her home unattended, the mother did so.  Upon her arrival the son's family benefited by being allowed to cut back expenses on a nanny that was costing the family a hundred dollars per day.  Even better, the mother cooked the family's favorite meals, cleaned and gave loving care for her grandchild.

This situation was working so well for the son's family that he proposed that the mother move permanently to the area.  To entice her, the son proposed possibly assisting her in the purchase of a home. However, the mother, fully aware that her son's promises were not always ironclad, opted to buy a home in the area, but only in a price range that would fit her limited budget.  After all, the son has previously promised to pay her $1,000 dollars a month to perform "nana care" and that was never forthcoming so she was adamant that she must rely on her own resources in buying a home.

Now the other children in the family were extremely concerned about their mother moving to such close proximity to their brother.  They were well aware of his capability for extreme abuse, having witnessed the son screaming at their mother on numerous occasions and showing no respect for either his parents or the parents of his spouse.  In fact, last year while visiting, the son's father had kindly asked the son not to refer to his in-laws as "bitch" and "bastard" in front of him and was greeted by the foulest "fuck you" rant  one rarely hears voiced toward parents.   Within ten minutes the father exited the home and resolved to never tolerate abusive treatment from a child ever again.

No matter, the mother, seeing the son in need, moved last May to the son's home and began providing caring support for the grandchild, tried mightily to make her son happy by cooking his favorite meals, giving him haircuts that cost him $30 bucks in a barbershop, tailored his pants that he said often cost him in excess of $30 dollars per pair, did her share of food shopping and taking the grandchild to pre-school.

As with anyone who lives with the abusive son, the mother was extremely stressed all the time, having to keep up her guard and never saying anything that would send the son into "abuse mode"; when set off the son yelled and screamed verbally lashed out at anyone who emitted even a hint that he was not in total control of everyone around him.

Further stressed by the failure to locate an affordable home,  a home that she could pay the mortgage on with a $600 dollar Social Security check and a dependent allotment, the situation blew up last week.  The son's wife had proposed the purchase of a home that included, in addition to mortgage payments, both HOA and MELLO ROOS fees that made the home unsuitable for her income.

The son, overhearing the conversation from another room, entered the room and began screaming at his mother, lecturing her on the need to entertain his wife's suggestion and ranting in an out of control manner.  Being forewarned, and having reached her limit of abuse, the mother said nothing, merely retreating to her room and began preparing her suitcases for departure.

However, not content with the abuse he had already rained on his mother, the son pursued her to the bedroom and began screaming at her, sticking angry fingers in her face and telling her to shut up:  "Zip it Up", he screamed!  The mother did not open her mouth as she was in mortal fear of her life.

When the mother could not pack her belongings fast enough, the son began picking up her things and throwing them into the street.  When the mother called her husband, sobbing into the phone, and begging him to come and pick her up, the husband, who was 800 miles away, tried to calm her, and then called the local police, asking them to get the mother to a safe place until he could reach his wife and bring her back home.

Fortunately, the police responded quickly and helped her pick up her belongings in the street, then transporting her to the refuge of a hotel.  When the husband finally arrived late that night, he found a wife and mother emotionally crippled and devastated beyond belief.

The mother is now safely home, but scarred and ill at the moment.  Her immune system, devastated by the long pattern of months of abuse by her son, has left her sick and she will require months of recovery before she is again healthy in body and mind.

Sadly, she has learned the hard way that a sociopath has little regard for familial relationships, even for a mother whose only crime was trying to serve her son.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Michelle Obama's School Contraband

The Scene:  A street corner a hundred yards from an elementary school.

"Psst!  Hey kid!"....look what I got here.  (Pulls item from pocket of wrinkled trench coat, hides it in the palm of his hand.  "Wanna get a high kid?"  "This is gonna make you feel good, here's a little sample...and if you like it, I'll be here to sell you some more, only $4 bucks a hit".

The pusher then palms the item and slips it into the shirt pocket of the vulnerable teen, then walks away, his voice trailing "see you tomorrow, kid".

The kid trudges off to school, proceeds to his locker and slips the contraband behind the books in his locker....but not before being seen by his best buddy.  "Hey", says buddy, "where did you score, man?"

"Got my sources", the kid smirks.  His buddy pleads "oh, man, let me see it".  "Okay", says the kid,  "but keep it on the lowdown".

The kid looks both ways down the corridor before pulling the item out of the locker so that his buddy can admire the booty.  "Wow!, say his buddy, "how did you ever score a whole pack of Twinkies?"  "You know if you get caught with these you're gonna get a big time detention".  "When Ms. Obama got that law passed that banned junk food, soda and anything fried, the food police are death, man".

"Yeah, I know" says the kid "but sometimes ya just got to back away from celery and carrot sticks and baked squash, man".

"Hey", says the buddy, you think your "dealer" could score a can of Mountain Dew?"... "I'll pay big time for that".

"I'll check with him", says the kid.

"Cool", says the buddy.  "Hey", you going to the prom Saturday night?".  "Nah", says the kid.  "Heard they're serving soy meatballs and asparagus for prom dinner".  "Big Ugh".  "I'm set up to go to a rave party Saturday night".  "One of the guys has a pipeline to some heavy grub coming in from Tijuana...says he can score two or three dozen Quarter Pounders from a Micky D's down there"

"Fries too?" says the buddy.

"Get real", the kids says, then hurries off to first period Nutrition class.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Repost From Last Year

Hi folks,

Today is Valentines Day.  A Happy day to you.  Hope you had a loved one that bought you a Valentine, brought you chocolates, or took you out to dinner.

My sweetie and I celebrated on Sunday with a luxurious brunch.  We held hands, exchanged kisses, but exchanged no valentines...or candy (we seniors gotta watch our sugar levels now)  When we were younger we always attended the annual Valentine's Ball at our club on base.  A nice dinner, drinks and dancing, followed by a night of youthful passion...ah youth!  We must now husband our strength for any one of the three!

So now, as I get older, less focused on drinks and dancing and late night passions, my memories of Valentine's Day as a child come flooding back to me.  I remember our teacher supervising our construction of decorative paper bags, to be pinned on the classroom wall, so that our prospective sweethearts could surreptiously drop a Valentine's card into it.  At the end of the school day we would do our best to feign nonchalance as we retrieved our bag of goodwill to take home and count who and how many love us...or like us enough to give a Valentine.

Do kids still do that?  Drop me a note in the comments section and tell me, I'd love to know.  By god, now I am really curious!

I'm older now and it takes a little longer to stoke the embers...but I like to think I'm wiser.  As I think back on Valentine's Day and romance in my life the one strong note that strikes me is the old adage "love at first sight".  I can tell you younger "snappers" that it really does happen.  The first time I saw my wife my heart turned over and I fell madly in love with the woman who is now, 41 years later, as lovely as the first time I saw her. 

She's had a lot of heartache but she's always stood up to the hurt.  At an age when she seeks solace and comfort she's been treated by some with less respect than she deserves.  But she has always taken it like a true heroine.  Most of all, she has always been there for her loved ones and would do and give to them anything that she could.

Imagine a lady that came to this country, without a proficiency in English and facing strange customs, missing her homeland, yet abandoning it all for her family.  She learned to speak English, learn to sew and spent hundreds of hours making clothes for her kids, learned to cook their favorite foods, studied hard and got her GED degree, then went on to secure a degree in Cosmetology after 500 hours of study.

While being a wife and Mom, she also went out and began a career, ran businesses successfully, but always had the time for her kids.  Yes, she walks a little slower these days but she's never too tired or too committed to her own life, to drop everything she's doing and run to the rescue of others.

If you have a Valentine like that, honor her on this day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"What Do You Do If You Raise a Psychopath?"


I was just reading the latest news blurb about O.J. Simpson.  Apparently, as O.J. sits in prison, he still reaches out to verbally attack anyone who fails to conform to his idea about how the world should operate.  The height of irony is that he sits in prison, not for the two murders he committed, but for a lesser crime.  There is no doubt in my mind that the legal system was hell bent on correcting the error of acquittal granted him by a jury more accustomed to the street justice of West Central Avenue than that of the U.S. court system.  However, I believe O.J. is in jail because his sense of self-worth, despite getting away with murder, was such that perhaps unconsciously, he sought punishment for himself for the horrors he committed.

As I thought on Simpson's situation I couldn't help but think about what his mother is thinking.  Does she think about what she may have done to prevent the development of her psychopathic son?  One personality profile I found on line reported that, despite the warm and friendly public persona O.J. presented to his business associates, he was, in private, an abusive and over-controlling monster who tolerated no one who disagreed with anything he said.  Those who knew Simpson reported that he could be friendly, sentimental, generous and fun-loving but could, in the blink of an eye, turn into an abusive monster.  During these rants no one was safe from these abusive tirades, be it his wife, his family and anyone else who would cow-tow to his ravings.  Even his mother was not spared the abuse as Simpson had little regard or respect even for those who raised him.

None the less, the nation was shocked to wake up in 1994 to news reports that Simpson was a suspect in the murder of his wife and an unknown man.  How could this be?, a nation wondered.  Was the warm and friendly guy who leaped airport benches promoting Hertz Rent-A-Cars a murderer?  We were soon to learn that indeed Simpson's public persona was startlingly different than his private one.

As the trial progressed a parade of witnesses came forward to relate personal experiences of a monster quite out of control.  While presenting to his public and business associates the portrait of a sincere, eager-to-please and endearing human being, this same psychopath was abusing the only people he could be certain would not reveal his dark side; his family.  From what I've read on this, a psychopath is quite keen on knowing his limits; he will only abuse those who care about him the most and, accordingly, the most likely to protect others from seeing the inner monster.  A psychopath is inner-directed, feels that anyone who fails to agree with him is a threat, creates an artificial existence in which only his life, his feelings have value and denigrates and abuses anyone who is weak enough to tolerate it.  The psychopath preys on those he loves, believing that their failure to disagree with him denotes "weakness"; he fails to see that they simply wish to preserve the peace and is not an endorsement of his views.

So what is the family of a psychopath to do?  Many will enter into a denial of the situation since the alternative is against all familial leanings.  Others will endure the abuse until repeated occurrences of such abuse leads them to a final sad conclusion; they will endure the abuse no longer and sever the relationship completely and forever.  When that finally occurs it can be a cleansing release, an uplifting of the soul that says I will from this day forward refuse to be abused.  My life has more value than this.

It is not that easy for a mother.  I do not know much of Simpson's mother, or Hitler's, or Stalin's...or for that matter, the hundreds of thousands of parents who are abused and given less respect than the most casual business associate.  There is simply no comfort for any of them.

The final justice I guess is that, like Simpson, fate always steps in to smooth out the karma.  The psychopathic abuser will usually slip into abuse mode at the wrong time; at the office..or in a non-tolerating public arena.  When it finally happens the psychopath will sit in some dark corner of some remote place and wonder how it all came undone.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Was President Obama A "Pusher?"

This sounds a bit harsh but I sometimes wonder if President Obama has adopted the sales tactic of a drug pusher in executing his political goals.  We all know from his personal memoir that the President admitted to using drugs during his school years.  Sadly, after watching Obama's political deal-making during the past three years, I wonder if he didn't do a little "dealing" as well to supplement his drug habit.

I say this because of the way he has sold his socialization programs during his tenure.  For example, Obama rammed through Obamacare over the opposition of 70 percent of the American people.  How did he "sell it?"  By front loading the benefits and back loading the costs.  Isn't anyone else skeptical about Obama granting immediate benefits to folks unwilling to budget for health care premiums but back loading the bill to taxpayers to 2013?  Note that the bill doesn't come due for taxpayers until Obama is re-elected.  Did seniors note that the huge $500 billion dollar cut to Medicare does not take effect until after he's re-elected?

And how about his deficit cuts.  Did anyone miss the bargain he extracted from Congress to insure none of his agreed upon entitlement cuts do not take affect until 2013?

Did anyone note that Obama's $800 billion dollar cut in the defense budget comes in 2013?

Was Obama smarter than his entire diplomatic corp and all of his field generals in determining that 2013 is the year we pull out of Afghanistan?  Could it be that Obama does not want to be running for re-election at the same time the Afghani government is collapsing?

Just this past week Obama's Health and Human Services Chief ordered that Catholic health agencies must provide birth control services to anyone who asks for it, despite the church's moral opposition to this practice.  After running into a buzz saw of complaints from both Democrats and Republicans, specifically that Obama's federal government is overstepping its constitutional authority, Obama has now backed off and given Christian health agencies a one year reprieve...into, you guessed it, 2013.

I invite you to go to Whitehouse.gov and take a good hard look at all of Obama's legislative efforts.  Every single one of the benefits are put in place immediately but the taxpayer bill doesn't come due until after this year's election.

How about Obama's payroll tax initiative?  Obama is robbing money from the Social Security system by underfunding Social Security taxes by 2 percent, thus putting further strain on a program already going bankrupt.  How long did Obama extend this?  You guess it, until January, 2013.

And the biggest one of all; the tax cut that Obama loves to call the "Bush Tax Cuts".  He has extended the tax cuts until January, 2013.  Obama is counting on being safely re-elected before he eliminates those tax cuts and raises your middle class tax bill to the tune of $800 billion dollars!  Yes, you read that right.

So, like a drug pusher getting his customers hooked on the "sweet stuff", Obama will, after his re-election, present you with a huge tax bill for all the freebies he's granted to win your favor.  And millions of you have bought his drugs.  The misery comes later.

NOTE:  Breaking News!  Just this morning Obama announced a waiver to states on No Child Left Behind standards, thus giving the Teachers Union a huge break...and, you guessed it, the waiver is for this year...won't take effect again until January, 2013.

Sad, Damned sad.                                  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Teacher-Student Ratio Alibi

Please take a moment to note the above photo of a typical 60's elementary school classroom.  Anyone notice that there are 25 kids in this class...and one teacher..and no "teachers aide".  How is this even possible?  How can one teacher hope to educate 25 kids alone?  How could he or she teach without the aid of modern multi-media or computers?    How is it possible that this generation of kids scored higher on national achievement tests and SAT scores than any time in our history?

Moreover, how did a single teacher manage to turn out students with nearly a hundred percent literacy in reading comprehension when only 60 percent of today's high school graduates cannot read at the 12th grade level?  How did this single teacher steer these students to competency in math and science?

Today's teacher unions do not want you to know this.  They insist that when the teacher-student ratio goes beyond 15-1 it becomes literally impossible to teach any of their students, even with those teachers aides, computers and fancy media machines.

And they may be right.

The difference between today's students and those you see in the photo are notable.  Those 60's kids, stood up and pledged allegiance to the flag to begin their school day.  Most of them were well rested and had not stayed up till midnight watching Glee and finishing off their evening on Facebook and a playing video games.

Most of those kids were fit because they played outside often.  They were given a recess every couple of hours, at which time they engaged in volleyball, dodge ball, tether ball, then returned to the classroom sweaty but calm, having released from the tension of study.  Those kids were largely fit because fast food was a hamburger and fries once a week.  The 20 percent of adult onset diabetes that plagues today's kids did not exist then.

If the kid acted up in class then he or she was sent to the principal for corporal punishment, then sent home to the parents for further discipline.  When behavior problems were persistent, or if the student's academic effort was questionable, the parents would hear about these deficiencies during the quarterly Parent-Teacher conferences.  If a teacher proved deficient that teacher would be the subject of highly attended PTA meetings.  Today the PTA is ineffective because parents no longer care enough to attend the meetings.

The decline in quality of our children's education is staggering.  40% of kids today drop out of school before finishing high school.  According to college entrance exams an astounding 60% of kids who finish high school and go on to college require remedial reading and writing classes to meet basic minimum college requirements.

The heavily politicized teachers unions will tell you that we're not spending enough money on education. However, it is a fact that the U.S. spends more on education that any nation on earth.  Remarkably, as education has declined, the funding per pupil has increased over 1,000 percent since the 60's!

Thanks to my first grade teacher I can still add 2 plus 2 and know it equals 4.  And, for anyone who honestly looks at today's education problems it is equally clear that parent involvement, parental discipline and teacher accountability are essential if little Johnny or Jill are ever going to read and write.  It is equally clear that throwing more money at the problem solves nothing.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The "Super" Super Bowl


The first Superbowl was played in January 1967.  The game was played to lend credibility to the newly merged AFL into the NFL.  Following the two league mergers the old AFL became the AFC, or American Football Conference.   The old heads in the NFL had, in the beginning, snubbed the idea that the old AFL would ever be a threat to the three-decade old NFL.  Then came Darrell Lamonica throwing 80 yard bombs over in Oakland and Lenny Dawson's masterly quarterbacking for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The old AFL was exciting football!  While the Bears and Detroit and the Giants were grinding it out; "three yards and a cloud of dust",  the AFL was throwing "carpet bombs" long and deep....and they were winning over the traditional football fan.

The big discussion leading up to the first Superbowl was whether or not the flashy new AFC was as good as the boys of the NFC.  That question wasn't answered by the first Superbowl.  Lenny Dawson and the Kansas City Chiefs ran into a buzz saw in playing the superbly coached Green Bay Packers.  The AFC would eventually get revenge a couple of years later when Joe Namath led the Jets to an improbable victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.

That first Superbowl was just really just another game.  If you wanted to attend the game you paid $12 dollars for a ticket.  If you watched it on TV you saw no special commercials designed just for the event.  You likely saw commercials for Old Spice Afershave and Eight Track tape drives, the latest electronic innovation.   Few women watched the Superbowl, but if they did they saw few commercials aimed their way, except perhaps for the leather faced Marlboro Man riding across a Montana plain.

Now we have Superbowl Week.  Players must participate in a huge week long dog and pony show leading up to Super Sunday.  Events are carefully choreographed and a price tag hangs on everything.  I just read that a ticket to this year's Superbowl averages $923 to $1100 dollars and if you are pursuing a seat on Stub Hub it'll cost you $2700 dollars for a seat.  One of Bob Costas's Superbowl eve guest coaches complained that a night at the Hampton Inn in Indianapolis will cost you $1900 for one night's stay.

If you are a big Superbowl fan you'll see six hours of programming leading up to the Superbowl.  Women watch the Superbowl now.  According to the advertising gurus, 66 percent of women tune into the Superbowl just to watch the commercials.  Those commercials are all sold out by Halloween and run at $2.5 million dollars per minute.

America will consume today a hundred million pounds of chicken wings, leaving 50 million chickens earth-bound.  We'll eat 40 million pizzas and consume 80 million bags of Doritos.  We'll see funny commercials and laugh like hell at them.

The Superbowl has evolved into a garish, gaudy and over-hyped spectacle....and we love it!  Warm up the chili, get the wings marinated and cool down the beer....baby!  The kick off is only eight hours away!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why The Fed Lies About The Inflation Rate

Last year the Federal Reserve declared that the U.S. inflation rate came in at 3.16 percent.  The data used by the Fed is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the figures coming from data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2010 the Fed declared an inflation rate of 1.64 percent and in 2009 the fed prices actually declined one percent!

The average consumer might wonder, how is this possible?  I certainly did. Here's why:  Grocery prices have increased by over 20 percent in the last two years alone.  Has anyone else noted the spike in grocery shelf prices?  Beef, milk, pork and chicken prices have all spiked.   One sees similar price hikes in flour, sugar and coffee.  And so many food manufacturers have done their best to disguise their price hikes by selling you a smaller quantity container for the same price so that you may believe they too aren't raising prices...but indeed they are!  And how about gas prices at the gas pump?  Gas prices have gone from $2.50 per gallon in 2008 to $3.50 in 2011.  My water, gas and electricity companies have all raised prices over 15 percent in the last two years!

So, how does the Federal Reserve get away with telling us our consumer prices have not risen as much as they actually have?  And why would they lie to us?

Well, to answer the first question, we have to look at the Consumer Price Index (CPI) itself.  You see, the CPI is actually broken down into two separate components.  One component, the component the Fed uses to determine inflation does not measure the increased costs of food and energy.  The second component of the CPI is called the Core CPI and this does indeed measure the costs of all products and services, to include food and energy.

So why does the Fed ignore the Core CPI, which represents the real measure of what Americans are actually paying for goods and services?  Because, folks, if they did, you would be up in arms, and perhaps marching on Washington in protest of a federal government run amok.

Let's look at what would happen if the Federal Reserve actually used realistic price data to determine our annual rates of inflation:

1)  First of all, everyone receiving a government check, whether it be federal and military retirees, social security and welfare recipients, all would be due, by law, an increase in their pensions equal to the actual rates of inflation.   While perhaps fair to recipients of federal entitlements it would add another trillion dollars or so to Obama's already massive annual deficits.

2)  If the Feds actually declared an inflation rate closer to the actual 6% annual rate, rather than their "3% lie", the Federal Reserve would be under so much political pressure to stop printing worthless currency and to raise the interest on treasury borrowing to a corresponding 6%, thus increasing the federal government's cost of borrowing from 3 percent to 6 percent!  Since the feds are already spending 43 cents of every tax dollar to pay interest on our $16.5 trillion dollar deficit, the percentage of our tax dollars going to service debt would soar to 80% of every tax dollar collected just to pay the interest on our debt!  And of course our deficit would soar completely out of control and bring about a national default as has happened in Greece and Italy and threatens Portugal, Spain and Ireland.

3)  If the Feds told you the truth on inflation, and operated on the truth, you can readily see that all of these government entitlements, all of the Obamacare, all of these unemployment checks now extended to 36 months, all of the welfare spending, all of the Medicare and Social Security spending could not happen!  Not unless the feds can figure out how to maintain current spending levels on the remaining 20 percent of tax dollars remaining after paying interest on our deficit!

4)  Finally, if the American people ever actually realized that the actual rate of inflation is higher than the feds report, if they actually realized that their paycheck is buying less and less each year, they just might go out and vote those responsible for this mess right out of office!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why Banks Aren't Making Home Loans


Bill Gross is the Chief Bond Investment Advisor for Pimco Investing.  He's recognized as the guru of bond investments on Wall Street.  Today Mr. Gross said that the Fed's maintenance of low interest loan rates to banks is actually harming the home loan business.

It seems that ever since the Dodd-Frank law passed in the Democratic controlled congress two years ago banks have been reluctant to lend because of all the restrictions placed on them by Dodd-Frank.  While both Bush and Obama had no problem bailing out the big Wall Street banks, no assistance was offered to community banks who had nothing to do with the collapse.  However, in doing so, Obama opted to demonize all banks, including the thousands of community banks across the nation, who received no bailouts and were not responsible for those wacky CDO'S that Citi-Bank and other Wall Streeters played with.

However, Dodd-Frank punished all banks equally.  Cash reserve restrictions were so onerous under Dodd-Frank that banks have opted to borrow from the fed at zero interest, then turn around and buy 3 percent treasury bonds, thus achieving a modest three percent return with no risk to bank assets.

Mr. Gross says this is killing the housing market as banks see little need to make home loans and be punished for it by Dodd-Frank if any of those home loans prove to be unserviceable.

It is also extremely harmful to those who are getting a quarter point of interest on their savings.  Why should the bank pays depositor any interest on their savings when they can get all the money they want from the Federal Reserve Bank at zero percent?  When Americans see no gains from their savings deposits they tend to pull back on consumer spending and investing, thus extending the recession.

So, again we have an example of how liberals in government can manage to screw up anything their tentacles touch.  Rather than allowing the free market to determine home values, rather than allowing the normal free flow of contract law, banks are pulling in their horns and hibernating.  This has resulted in loan money for small business to become extinct.  And, for those who weathered this recession, and now prepared to buy a home, too few banks are willing to lend.

Mr. Gross says, until the government gets out of the way, America can expect a continued lag in both home prices and home loans.

Tuesday morning Obama, in an effort to win political favor, announced still another big government program to try to stimulate the housing market.  He's pledged another $37 billion of taxpayer dollars in an effort to skirt contract law and bailout folks who made bad investment decisions.  Like the three other multi-billion dollar programs this one too is bound to fail.   When 30 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed, when the government continues to prevent home prices to find free market values, and when Dodd-Frank punishes banks for extending home loans those same banks are going to sit back and funnel those zero interest Fed loans into 3% treasuries and wait until Obama finally learns of the ultimate power of the free markets.

Sad, Damned Sad.  How many days till the election?