Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'm Running!


Ladies and Gentlemen, dear readers, my fellow Americans!  Today I am announcing that I'm running for President of the United States!  I am running as an Independent on the Just Common Sense platform.   I, therefore, am seeking your support for my candidacy by laying out what I'll do on the first day in office.

1)  Effective immediately on 20 January, 2017, cocktails served in dinner restaurants will be reduced by 2/3rds.  Those restaurants are already gouging us on the meal; there is absolutely no excuse to pay five times wholesale for a beer and ten times wholesale for a shot of whiskey!

2)  When standing in grocery checkout lines it is immediately illegal to chat about the weather, grocery prices, your current love life, or to show the latest pics of your kids!  And checkout cashiers will no longer be permitted to ask if you found everything.....if you didn't find it yourself you don't need it!

3) Speaking of grocery shopping, beginning when I assume the Presidency I'm issuing an Executive Order that anyone who parallel parks their grocery cart in the middle of the grocery aisle will be summarily executed!

4)  Effective immediately all assembly instructions written in small type are illegal!  Also illegal are Chinese technical writers who insist you connect point B to point C while omitting what to do at point C!

5) Anyone who repeatedly punches an elevator button to get it moving are hereby not allowed to ride in elevators!

6)  From January 2017 on, any male or female who fails to thank me after I have held the door open for them will be tarred and feathered!

7) Effective immediately snacks place in hotel room convenience bars will be reduced by 500%!

8) Also effective in January, 2017, any old person who takes longer than 5 minutes to pull out small change out of their coin purse while in the checkout line are subject to review by my healthcare death panel!

9)  All doors to office buildings and retail establishments will conform to a uniform code specifying which directions the doors will no longer be permitted for one door to open outward, while another opens inward.  Get together and decide but you no longer have an option for both!

10)  Anyone who takes longer than five minutes to parallel park will have their automobile impounded and your driver's license revoked.  This policy is part of my energy savings program as the 20 cars waiting for you to park will no longer burn thousands of gallons of fuel while waiting for you to park.

11)  Anyone so engrossed in your cell phone conversation that you fail to move forward at a green traffic light will be shot on sight!  (Another energy saving policy)

12) All microwave oven instructions will be printed in large type for visually impaired seniors...and, effective June, 2020 all microwaves must recognize the food you put in them and heat accordingly, without anyone having to punch in a time!

13) Effective upon my inauguration those funny little code lights on your car dash board,  that no one knows their meaning, are immediately banned!  

14)  Also effective immediately, menudo and goat cheese are banned, and restaurants are hereby banned from including ingredients in your dinner salad that you often find growing on the side of a busy freeway!

15)  If you are not elderly or disabled you will no longer get a handout of any kind from the government without offering work in kind, whether it be raking leaves in a public park, serving as a teacher assistant, working in a child care office  or emptying bed pans in your local hospital.  No exceptions!

16) Finally, all laws will heretofore be obeyed!  If you're here illegally you'll be sent home.  Lawbreakers will be punished, whether you like cops, or the laws, or not!  

My fellow Americans!  I seek your vote!  When November, 2016 comes around, just write in "Dearel Friend" on your ballot and I'll pledge to carry out every one of my platform promises.

God Bless you all and God Bless America!

Monday, September 28, 2015

California; The Canary In The Coal Mine


For the past 125 years or so California has served as a microcosm for what's trending across our nation.    For good or bad, California has been the "canary in the coal mine" that tells us where we're going right or wrong.  Sadly, California is telling us that America is well on her way to ruin.

As far as we can tell, California has somewhere around 40 million residents, with as many as ten million of them illegal aliens.  (We don't know for sure because even the U.S. Census Bureau has become so politically skewed that we are no longer allowed to ask the right questions to determine an accurate total).   These totals represent a doubling of the state population since 1970.  

And what has the state population explosion wrought?  Let's first look at the state's water shortages.
I just read recently that hydrologists contend that California's current water drought is not because of some glitch in weather patterns; California has always been part of a temperate climate with finite water resources, especially in the south.  If we are to take the hydrologists at their word we can only assume that California, with that population doubling, have set themselves up for a lifestyle simply unsustainable, given their current and past water resources.

So what are California's long serving Democratic masters doing to solve the problem?  Well, they're laying out the welcome mat for even more illegal Mexicans of course!  Jerry Brown and gang believe that if they can force the populace to shower once a week, and flush the toilet just once a day, their problems will go away!

And how's California doing with her finances?  Well, again Brown and gang have raised taxes and fees.  And they've instituted budget set asides where they no longer have to account to the states citizens the massive public pension debt....which just happens to exceed a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities.  Of course this does not include the $340 billion dollar in general fund debt!  

Just this morning I was reading a U.S. News and World Report article that says the city of San Francisco now allocates 23% of all municipal fees and taxes just to service their debt!  Add in the cost of educating both legal and illegal children and you find the city's revenue goes almost entirely toward schools and debt servicing and leaves very little left for anything else!  And this from a city wealthy beyond one's wildest dreams!

It's even worse in the southland.  Los Angeles carries over $11 billion dollars in debt for just their water system, their pension system is in ruin as the city pays out over 15% of their revenue just to service the pension debt for municipal employees!

The once admirable California University System is now carrying $23 billion dollars in debt even as tuition rates for students have tripled in the last two decades!  And even as the state offers generous scholarships and reduced tuition rates for tens of thousands of illegal Mexicans!

How's the state doing on infrastructure?  Well, the Dems in Sacramento are allocating untold billions of dollars to build a high speed train but they can't seem to fund pothole repair on city streets, or keep their freeways repaired!

How about K-12 education?  Fifty years ago, when we enforced our immigration laws, California led the nation in education, both at the K-12 level and in our universities.  Student SAT scores outdid any state in the nation.  Today California rates 35th among the states..and sinking....even as they outspend nearly everyone else!  

How's California doing on business?  Sadly, were it not for Silicon Valley, California would be Mexico City north.  The state has managed to drive out scores of businesses as utility rates have soared and regulatory nazism has made it tough to do business in the state.  Intel, Apple, Motorola and dozens of other business entities, if not leaving the state entirely, are building elsewhere; in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Texas.

And what does the governor and state legislature do about their problems?  Nothing!  They simply rearrange the seats on deck of the Titanic and involve themselves in implementing hotel maid labor conditions, benefit plans for babysitters, mandate a ban on flat fitted sheets in hotel rooms (hotel maids claimed making the beds were hard on the back) and telling her citizens not to flush their toilets.  

And, with the state's current man-made water shortage, Sacramento has told Central Valley farmers to go to hell....that the preservation of a small fish is worth sending trillions of gallons of fresh water down the American river and out to the sea.

So why should the other states worry about what's happening to California?  Because we are seeing California's troubles in other parts of the country!  In New Hampshire, in Missouri, in Pennsylvania, we're seeing town councils trying to implement bans on renting to illegal aliens...or attempting to ban illegals from welfare, or food stamps, or requiring proof of citizenship to register their children in schools...and each and every time being shot down by the liberal courts.

California is the gateway to our nation's drug trafficking, with every major city in America plagued by drug cartels and illegal street gangs and the accompanying soaring crime rates.

And the saddest thing about it all is that California residents sit in their own soiled diaper, become used to the stink, and learn not to mind it so much!  Take a trip to any city in the state and look at the problems they have; street gangs, graffiti, filthy conditions, overburdened and underperforming school systems, soaring crime, epidemic hit and run traffic rates, stolen car indexes in the stratosphere, bankrupt cities, with half the population who don't give a damn as California seems marginally better than their native it don't seem so bad!  And doesn't everybody dump their old mattresses and five gallon cans of motor oil on to the side of the road?

Up until 1986 coal miners used to carry a caged canary into the mine.  If the canary stopped chirping, or died, it was too dangerous for a coal miner to be down there.  Sadly, California has decided they don't want to put that "canary" down there because it might just tell them how bad they have it.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rest In Peace, Mr. Jefferson


For good or bad, America seemed to lose its collective soul when, in the 1930's, we began to become a nation of urban society rather than primarily an agrarian one.  When Thomas Jefferson purchased the West from France in 1803 he envisaged a country large enough to provide space for 200 generations of Americans.  He did not foresee the rapid expansion of the West, or mass migration.

Jefferson thought the best way to preserve our liberties was to avoid the plague of cities, with its high crime the plague of disease.  Jefferson's ideal citizen was a farmer who worked his crops by day and read Plutarch in the evening; citizens who were hard working, independent and educated enough not to fall for the false promises of an intrusive government.  He believed that the wisest social and political decisions could best be made at the lowest official level, city, county, state with federal oversight, incapable of knowing community values the farthest from the decision making progress.  He believed the federal government had but one overriding responsibility; to keep us safe and to leave us alone to live a life of our choosing.

Jefferson was wrong about our future.  And he was probably overly optimistic about an educated citizenry.  But, like the principles he espoused in our grand Declaration of Independence, he was our conscience, our idealistic father, who understood that we could not always be perfect but that we were at our finest when we were trying to be.

For two hundred years the Democratic Party have claimed Jefferson.  When I see how Democrats embrace a huge nanny government, trying to insinuate themselves in every facet of our lives, I just have to laugh at the grand hypocrisy.  Thankfully, of late, the Democrats have stopped mentioning Jefferson....political correctness cannot forgive the holding of slaves, even if that was the nature of his times.  And Jefferson's ideals are far too moral, far too old fashioned for the gay liberating, big spending "gender-bending", vote buying Democratic Party of today.  Jefferson's political party was "Democratic Republican" flash:  Jefferson was always who believed in reserving God given liberties to the individual and not the state.

Rest in Peace, Thomas Jefferson, and rest in peace America...both now reside in the grave yard of broken dreams.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Great American Songbook


Appropriately, he was born on July 4th, 1826, the same day that founding fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson left this world, only hours apart.   Stephen Foster hailed from Pennsylvania, attended the University of Pittsburgh, then went out into the world to find his own special road to walk.

He would be the first American to ever try and make his living as a songwriter.  Encouraged in the beginning at receiving $100 dollars for "Oh Susannah", Foster would go on to write some 200 songs.  

But, while America loved singing his songs, and while they were always a hit in the many minstrel shows, no one cared to pay Foster for his work.    Eventually even his wife lost faith in him and took their child and went away.

So, Foster languished about in a hundred squalid tenement rooms and penned song after song that America would come to love...just not in time to save him.

"I Dream of Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair", "Camptown Races", and "Old Folks At Home" would later become anthems to anyone longing for "place" and "home".  Civil War soldiers would sing "My Old Kentucky Home" as they trudged back home after the Civil War.  

Foster would not see the end of that war; he died impoverished in a New York City tenement in the winter of 1864.  When they searched his body they found .38 cents in Confederate Script and three pennies.  He was 37 years old.   And his last song; perhaps his best; "Beautiful Dreamer".  

Stephen Foster's songs would grow in popularity after his death.  My generation grew up singing his songs in elementary school classrooms.  There always seemed to be an ache in our heart when we sang something from Stephen.  Now his songs are part of the Great American Songbook and are recorded by folk singers and presented by American symphony orchestras all across the land.

Today Roseanne Cash released an album of Foster's songs.  Partnered with the Cincinnati Orchestra she has once again reminded us of what it feels to be "American".  And, as we listen, we will once again feel that ache in our heart for the homes of our childhood.

Monday, September 21, 2015

God's Programming Code


With apologies to my Christian believing friends, I have to say I don't put much trust in the Bible.  Oh, I do believe in a divine creator, our God....I just have a really hard time believing in a book written by a bunch of Middle Eastern people thousands of years ago....then translated in and out of several dozen languages since, watered down, and translated according to a writer's own beliefs.

That doesn't mean I don't read the Bible.  I find parts of it some of the most beautiful and comforting literature we have, and some of it highly poetic.  My favorite part of the Bible comes in the red lettering of my old family Bible.......the red highlighting the words of a fine fellow named Jesus Christ.  I have no doubt that a man named Jesus lived.  Whether he was the son of God, to me, is another question.  But that too has never mattered to me....the teachings of Jesus Christ is something we can all learn from.  We would all live better lives were we to heed his words of guidance.  The old religion was nearly as harsh and hard to live by as Islam before Christ came along and said that it was okay to fail, that forgiveness is possible, that our creator is a kind and forgiving God, and not the vengeful god of Abraham.

And forgive me again here, but I believe the Garden of Eden story is just a crock of shit.  I don't believe God for one moment intended man to be perfect and without sin.  I believe we are made fallible, that we are allowed to make mistakes for the specific purpose of refining our immortal soul.

If you believe in a God supreme you almost have to believe that God would not have programmed us to be little breathing automatons.  Consider the computer code that drives the operations of the desktop computer you are even now using to read this.  That code is nothing more than a series of "0"s and "1"'s  listed in billions of variations in order to accomplish a programming task.

God could have easily just filled our brains with bunches of 0's and 1's and made us incapable of sin and failure.  But how boring would we limited in our capacity to fail and achieve redemption.  How incapable would we be in being heroic, in stumbling and falling, then reveling when we succeed in pulling ourselves upright again, and carrying on with the challenges of life.

Atheists love to argue that, if there were really a God, he wouldn't allow innocent children to get cancer, or starve to death on an African plain, or drown in a catastrophic flood.  To that, I can only say "who am I to question God?"  Maybe we are reincarnated souls, sent back to earth to endure what we must in order to achieve a greater degree of perfection of our soul...and if that comes with enduring the hardships as an infant, so be it, as we might have well chosen that path while sitting up there awaiting reincarnation.  Whether that is true or not, it is as good an explanation as any.

As little as I do know about God's grand design, I do believe, just as Des Cartes and Plato believed, that we have within ourselves an innate knowledge of what is moral, and what is right and wrong.  If something feels bad it probably is....and those things that leave us feel good after, probable are good.

But, with all my doubts about the veracity of the Bible, I have never had a doubt about the existence of our Creator.  I just don't believe that so much beauty around us was created by happenstance.  I believe our world was all part of a grand design and that God's power is limitless.

And I'm even glad that the wise man upstairs didn't program us with those 0's and 01's...what dreadful, soulless beings would we be had He done so.  Sin and failure are part of our nature...but redemption is a fine thing indeed, and makes us better people because we stumbled and then pulled ourselves up and kept going.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Obama Needs A Remedial History Course


In 2009, just weeks after taking office, Barack Obama flew over to Stockholm Sweden, picked up his Nobel Peace Prize (apparently only for being elected for the color of his skin), then flew down to Cairo, Egypt to address the Egyptian Parliament. Obama stood on the podium that day and said "American Exceptionalism" is a myth perpetuated by a militant American populace too fond of war.
I'm told Barack Obama is a smart liberal friends all tell me that. But, I wonder if he studied any history. If he had he would have learned that America waited until the very last minute to join the allies in World War I. Europe, in their latest brawl, had been warring with each other for centuries and WWI had been going on for three years before America entered it...and finished off the aggressors.
In World War II, the Axis and the Allies had been at it for more than five years before America got involved. Not until the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor would we get involved, forced into war by enemy aggression. When we finally entered the war Winston Churchill was ebullient as he remarked "America is with us and we'll finally win this thing".
America fond of war? 
America was crucial to victory in both World War I and World War II. And, had Obama read his history, he might have been surprised to learn that, unlike any world power in human history, we sought no territory. In fact, it was President Woodrow Wilson who imagined a League of Nations that might finally stop these world wars that cost so much in human treasure.
And maybe Obama should have read about the Marshall Plan, when America dedicated a substantial portion of our Gross Domestic Product for five full years to rebuild Europe. Or the billions we spent to rebuild Japan, the aggressor.
Or perhaps Obama might have visited the American Military Cemetery at Luxembourg where thousands of white crosses represent those who died for the cause of freedom....freedom for others, not ourselves!

Yes, America did claim a tiny bit of foreign territory....those few acres of American graves in Normandy, or the thousands of pristine white crosses at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg.
I believe Obama needs a remedial history course...especially on American Exceptionalism.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"Good Shepherds"


Spend ten minutes with a mom with little kids. Watch how she allows them to wander around a bit....but she rarely lets them get beyond an arm's length. You see that with puppies too....the doggie mom will allow her brood to get out and explore a bit, but, come night time, she's rounded them up and and have them safely around her.
A good community will do well to emulate those mommies. We're blessed to have several agencies that try to gather in society's "stragglers" and help them connect with community.
One such organization here in Phoenix is called the Golden Gate Community Center. The organization was started in 1936 by a sweet hearted group in the Episcopal Church who took our Creator's message seriously....that a good shepherd will always look after the "stragglers".
Now in it's 79th year the Golden Gate Community Center has been rescuing the lost. That effort was enhanced in the early 50's when the Phoenix Junior League donated $10,000 dollars to give Golden Gate a home. 
The community center, manned by community volunteers, do wondrous things to bring the lost sheep back into the fold. They'll feed them, give them clean clothes, give them a place to clean up, find them a sleeping shelter, and give those lost sheep hope that they can rise and stand on their two feet once again.
They'll help a homeless man fill out an application for a Social Security he can work, or collect earned benefits. They'll give a single mom career counseling and help her fill out an application for work. They sweep up senior citizens and bring them to the socialize with each other, to have a meal, or even teach them how to operate a computer so that they can communicate with their loved ones or connect to the world outside.
The center has a wealth of youth get the kids off the street, give them a basketball court or playground ...a place to spend time in a safe and loving environment.
Golden Gate holds health fairs and immunization clinics and teach English as a Second Language, give citizenship test training, tutors children needing special care. They even have programs to help grandparents who are now raising their "children's children".
I've lived in Arizona for eleven years now and I've never seen such private charities as the ones offered here for folks that need it. The Golden Gate Community Center is just one of dozens of agencies who do it, not to seek a government handout, not to aspire to be another government bureaucracy...but because they believe we should all be good shepherds and tend to "all of the flock".
God bless them.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why Not Voting Can Hurt You


If you still believe staying home on election day doesn't hurt anyone, consider this:
 Phoenix just had a municipal election. The two biggest issues on the ballot were the election of a mayor and a prop that would levy an additional 1% sales tax for the next 35 years to build an addition to the current municipal transit system. Total costs: $35 billion dollars. 
Now we look at the numbers. The total population of municipal Phoenix is 1.5 million people, 800,000 of which are registered voters. During the summer months a good many of those Phoenix residents are either spending their summers up at their summer home in Flagstaff or vacationing out of state. And despite massive protest the city of Phoenix opted to have this election in August when they knew the number of people in residence would be at their lowest. This almost assured the city masters that this massive $35 billion dollar mass transit bill would pass, even though the transit extension routes will not accommodate 75% of Phoenix residents! 
As to the re-election of the Mayor, that too would have been problematic in a November election. An "illegal amnesty wonk", the current Mayor has done nothing to reduce crime and he's run up horrible deficits while in office.
Now the sad part. Of the 1.5 million Phoenix residents only 165 thousand voted yesterday. And that massive $35 billion dollar transit prop passed...and that awful mayor got re-elected! In other words ten percent of Phoenix residents decided how the other 90% would spend their tax dollars and how Phoenix shall be run!
How does that apply to you? Everyone in America seems really down on Obama's performance. And yet, 50% of America sat on their collective asses watching re-runs of Seinfeld in the last Presidential election! Bottom line: If you want a better country get off your asses, register to vote and take a half hour of your precious time to go out and vote on election day! Otherwise, shut the f**k up!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Trump's "Military" Experience


Donald Trump said yesterday that, because he went to a private military academy, because he wore a uniform, because he learned to march in formation, he equates that with being in the military.
Nope. Sorry. Being in the military means you've learned to care more about the others in the unit than you care about yourself. Being in the military means "real" bullets whizzing about your head, or rockets and mortars soaring into the sky above you, a fiery tail trailing the horizon, leaving you pondering the chill bumps up your arm and wondering where that sucker's gonna land.
Being in the military is going out as a unit, in the last light of day, and drilling that one guy who couldn't master a "to the right, harch" or even keep his feet in synch. And because 30 guys cared about one guy washing out you marched till your legs ached, trying to get that guy through training. Or you stood at the top of a tower and shouted encouragement below to the guy who couldn't muster the arm strength to reach the top and vault over. Or keeping your buddy awake in the bunker you shared by listening to him talk about his home town and his home town sweetheart. Or consoling a comrade who just received a "Dear John" letter.
And you somehow have to find a way to raise a family on $200 bucks a month, or when your next pay raise wouldn't foot the cost of movie tickets for your family.
And you no longer go to the military because you got into trouble in public school. You go into the military to serve your country...and they only take you in if your character is good and you meet rigid physical standards.
But most of all, being in the military is standing at the terminal gate and looking back at your wife and three little kids and taking one last look through misted eyes...cause you know you're gonna have to be away from them for a year. Or having Christmas a week early because you'll be manning a military post somewhere in Korea when Christmas rolls around. And missing your kid's birthday, or their first day of school, or just being there at a time when they really needed you.
Nope, Donald, your private military academy is not the military.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Defeating The "Occupiers"


I guess, in honor of Labor Day, Forbes Business Magazine just published a piece about how the American business model is changing, with most of the change about how they intend to hire, pay and manage employment.

As an example, Walmart is planning to implement an employment plan closer to how Costco hires and manages their employees.  The idea is to hire higher quality employees, spend more time in training them, and pay them a higher salary.

The rationale behind this tact is that, by hiring better educated, more motivate people you increase employee productivity, reduce personnel turnover, and increase "sales per employee".  The Costco model says each of their employees generate $250,000 dollars per employee, per year, per store, far more than the typical Walmart high school drop out or marginal worker.   Of course the big "gotcha" in this is that Walmart and other American businesses will be able to hire fewer employees because they are hiring a better educated, better trained worker.

I have some serious doubts that this will work out for Walmart, for the simple reason that, when you look at who shops at Walmart, and who shops at Costco, you see a big difference in customer demographics.  I've read before that, were it not for the Food Stamp program, Walmart wouldn't make a dime in profits.  But then I'm not a business guru so maybe the new model would succeed in drawing in a higher class of customer.  But, to do so, you'd have to filter folks at the front door of Walmart and ban bikinis and pajamas and plus size ladies wearing petite size clothing.  Barring that I'm not seeing a Nordstrom's shopper setting their foot in a Walmart store.

But Walmart is not alone in the pursuit of a better employee business model.  Under assault from the $15 dollar per hour demands of the Occupier crowd fast food franchises are seriously consider going to automated ordering kiosks and eliminating the near comatose high school dropouts currently managing the order counter.  And they figure if they can hire someone with an IQ above 100 they just might be able to hire fewer burger flippers and assemblers.

Of course this innovative new employee business model, while it may be better, and more profitable for business, leaves the $64,000 dollar question.  What do we then do with the millions of the mentally challenged high school dropouts who won't be able to score a job with either Walmart or McDonalds?  

How much more will taxpayers have to shell out for serial breeding welfare moms?  How many more University Philosophy majors will we have to support with food stamps and student loan forgiveness?

The only way out of this as I see it is to ship our societal offal to China, or Mexico, or elsewhere in South America.  China has been buying up American food companies such as Smithfield Foods.  Kraft is now owned by a South American hedge fund manager.  Maybe we can contract with Disney or Carnival Cruise lines and ship our high school failures, 5,000 at a time, to sweat shops in China and Mexico and Rio.

One thing  for sure...when they come back from those places they damn sure wouldn't be demanding $15 an hour to flip and assemble a Whopper!

Monday, September 7, 2015

"30 Million Couch Potatoes Celebrate Labor Day"


Note:  This was written awhile back.  It has gotten worse.  According to the Labor Department, as of Labor Day 2015,  93.6 million have workers have left the labor force and no longer even bother trying to find a job.  

Labor Day has traditionally been a day of celebration and festivity.  It was America's last fond grasping of an ebbing summer, celebrated with steak cookouts, picnics and the frenetic play of children before submission to the rigors and discipline of the classroom.

Labor Day also served as a celebration of the working man, the opportunity to honor our ancestral toils as well as ourselves for the remarkable American productivity that fed and clothed the world and instilled in them the dream that futures could indeed be golden.

Today 30 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.  The bright shiny dreams of "tomorrow" are lost in the cold hard realities of an economy on the brink of collapse.  30 million dreams have been shattered and those millions of lost souls wander from the Ethernet submissions of resumes on home computers to the mail box to retrieve the unemployment check from a nation that says "we just don't need you anymore". 

The "Easy Chair" is no longer easy.  Where once those lost souls took respite from a proud day of work, the chair now reflects a permanent impression of ennui, serves as a confining realization that the world has moved on callously, and without them.  The Project Manager has been replaced by computer automated auditing.  The fellow who made fine Arrow Dress Shirts has been replaced by prison labor in China.  The lady who sewed the Swoosh on the Nike shoe was shunted aside by a factory worker in Vietnam who collects his "dollar per hour" pay check in Saigon.  By necessity to survive, the American factory foreman now mans the greeting desk at Walmart.

The American dream was shattered by NAFTA and Friedman's "Flat World" and, more recently, by Washington liberal minions who believe that Government (they of the big "G") create jobs. 

So, 30 million Americans sit on that couch, or in the Easy Chair, angry and frustrated at a remote "them".

"Them" is more elusive than we might wish.  It is the large American corporations that deemed themselves as "citizens of the world", no longer "American".  They retain a laser focus on "the bottom line" of their corporate earnings report.  They no longer embrace the idea that "what's good for business is good for America".  They have abandoned the idea that they must champion community values, quality education or render support for the nation that birthed them.  Target and Walmart will publicize their "million dollar" contribution to local hunger programs, or childhood nutrition, or "backpacks for school kids" campaigns, even as they rip the job rug from beneath a parents feet by filling their stores with cheap Chinese-made products.

"Them" is your Mastercard or Visa or AT&T  masters who shift their customer service operations to India; never mind that one struggles with "sing-song" accents, an Indian will work cheaper, surrender work benefits...and that is so good for the bottom line.

"Them" are those wise government whose-its that deemed NAFTA and all other trade agreements as favorable for a more viable "world economy".  Never mind that those trade agreements did not take into account the variances in fair labor laws, environmental restrictions or product quality audits. 

"Them" are the American employers who worship the almighty dollar so much they choose to hire 20 million illegal Mexicans because they can pay them less in cash money and withhold paying benefits and damn the American who has to fund illegal medical, food stamps and education for all of them.

So, 30 million unemployed Americans wait...wait for an American awakening, an American renewal.  Being Americans, they have not forsaken their dreams, just deferred them; waiting for America to hear them. 

Meantime, they fore go the steak cookout for a hot dog roast.  They fore go the last vacation of summer because gas prices are high, the car, if they still have one, needs work and...hey, they better stay near the phone....they might get a call for a job interview.

Sad. Damned Sad

Friday, September 4, 2015



Like many of you, I've got one of those Costco Affiliated American Express Cards. If you do have an Amex card you have already been notified that Amex and Costco are getting a divorce. Costco apparently figured they weren't getting enough cut from Amex and has decided leave and marry up with Citibank. Of course when Costco and whatever credit card company they partner with split up, it's us Costco "children" that are left in the lurch. 
Well I'm a bit tired of Costco and American Express. Here's why. American Express has been courting me for the last three months. They've done everything but send me flowers and an edible fruit bouquet to get me to stay with them. Alas, American Express has always been my nemesis throughout my credit life. I can remember lusting after an American Express card back in the old days when a credit card held some elevated social status for one who had one. Now Amex is just your run of the mill credit card; perhaps worse than the others because it is not nearly as widely accepted with merchants because Amex takes an "arm and a leg" cut from any business that accepts them. 
As I grew older, and a bit more prosperous, I finally did get an Amex card, and found out it was kind of like lusting after Jennifer Aniston for years, then when you finally score a date, you find out she's got a terrible case of halitosis. 
So, I gave up my Amex card about twenty years ago. Cut it up in little pieces and sent it back to them and said "thanks but no thanks."
The reason Amex is courting me is that I've got a FICO score that would make Donald Trump envious. But my sterling credit score was not always so. I remember our first credit card, of sorts. It was with Sears Roebuck. My wife and I had just returned from Vietnam and we had no credit record at all. Well, while shopping at a Sears in Merced, California we saw all these alluring signs inviting us to sign up for credit. Since it was school clothes season we sat down with a Sears Credit Clerk to apply for a Sears Charge Card. That poor fellow must have run our credit history and gasped...having lived overseas we didn't even have a gas card. Well, being the simpatico guy he was, that credit clerk took one look at my wife and I, and our three little urchins, and gave us a little paper card, good for charging up to $200 dollars within a six month period....and if we were really good at paying our bills, we might somehow earn "plastic status". That was my our first foray into the world of credit.
Some forty years later my wife and I are "credit snobs". We turn down potential suiters as often as Kate Upton turns down dates. The problem I have with credit cards is that the offering banks are getting a zero interest loan at the Federal Reserve Window each and every morning, yet they want to charge me 12.99 percent to carry a balance on their card...that's on top of the two or three percent they squeeze out of the businesses one frequents! 
So, I only carry three credit cards; my USAA Mastercard (7.99 percent), this Costco Amex card (which I will be surrendering soon) and a Wells Fargo Visa (only because the financial experts say you should own at least two credit cards). 
Back to Costco if I might....I have a few pet peeves about Costco too. I wonder how many of you know that, if you read a Costco shareholders report, you'll find that Costco's entire profit comes from their membership fees, minus their negotiated meager fee from their affiliated credit card company. Were it not for the membership fees Costco would not make a dime of profit. Pretty weird business model, huh?
Well, I've been a member of Costco for thirty years; starting back in San Diego when it was still "The Price Club". What I've found over the years is that I don't really need Costco! With just my wife and I we just can't use those 5 pound cans of jalapeƱo peppers, or hundred pound bags of pinto beans! I use to curse the fates as I walked up the aisles and ponder "Costco, where the hell were you when I had four kids at home?" Used to stand over a five gallon can of chili and wonder how long would it take my kids to plow through that monster. And where was Costco and those monstrous buckets of ice cream when my ice cream urchins were at home?
After all the children left home I kind of stayed with Costco for two things; their coffee and their Michelin tires. Alas, I always had bad luck with their Michelins....mine seem to give out after a year (usually on a Los Angeles freeway while driving my wife to L.A. airport for an international flight, or to drive my daughter up to Hollywood to take her cosmetology license! Never had a problem with Michelins bought anywhere else....just at Costco so I figured Michelin was stiffing Costco by sending them their "seconds!"
So I really don't know why I'm still a Costco member. Maybe I just like lunching on food samples heated in microwaves by 70 year old "cougars". And I still love their Kirkland Decaf Coffee and their albacore tuna. Other than that I kind of have to hunt pretty hard to find anything that wouldn't take us two years to consume!
So, in a few months I'm going to write Amex and send them a dear john letter. I may send one to Costco too...haven't firmly decided that yet.
Right now I'm playing hard to get with American Express....I'm hoping they'll send me a box of Godiva chocolates and a box of Omaha steaks. Jennifer Anniston; eat your heart out!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"If A Tree Falls...."


The other night my wife and I went out for dinner. When we came out and got in the car we could see impressive lightning strikes to the west, accompanied by dark funnel clouds descending over the White Tank Mountains. When we got out on the road we could see that same strong storm activity to the north and to the east of us. And yet, we didn't have a single drop of rain touch our windshield.
This year's monsoon season has been as strange as Bruce Jenner's wardrobe. A few weeks ago, just to the west of us, the little town of Wickenburg had a "hundred year flood"...and we didn't get a drop of rain over our way. Last week was the same. As we were bone dry in Sun City and Surprise, folks over in Scottsdale were drowning, their cars doing the dog paddle down the East 101 freeway. On Friday I drove over to Safeway. The wind was blowing forcefully, shingles on roofs were flying about like frisbees, but we didn't get enough rain to fill a shot glass!
So, as we drove home, I looked about, west, north, south and east, and torrential rains and gale force winds were having a party up in Cave Creek, over in Scottsdale, in Tempe....and we were driving along a highway in calm seas just a few miles from those storms!
The next morning I opened up my morning paper and looked at pics of trees fallen in long impressive rows over on the East side. The electric company says 14,000 people are without power due to the storm bringing down power lines. And we are still sitting here high and dry! Amazing!
Arizona's monsoon has now eclipsed the awe that we once felt about the weather when we lived in Hawaii. In Hawaii you could stand on one side of the street, the sun shining and not a drop of rain, and the other side of the street would be drenched in a downpour, an impressive stream of water flowing down the street gutters. But an Arizona storm is absolutely'll level a house with a microburst, fill a whole neighborhood with a foot of water, and the other side of town will be sunny and dry and leaving one to say "what storm?"
Monsoon season in Arizona ends every year around the 15th of September. We won't miss it. "Monsoon, we hardly knew ye".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Obama; Hate Monger


Last night in Houston a sheriff's deputy was gunned down by an unknown assailant.  The execution came just days after a group of Black Lives Matter declared a war on law enforcement officers. The brief news article says the man was "dark complected" but law enforcement investigators hope to find a more definitive description of the shooter from security cameras.

As I read that crime story my first thought, my first emotion was white hot hate for those Black Lives Matter thugs.  Then, I began thinking of this incident in a larger frame of reference.

I began to think about how Obama and his mindless liberals have fostered such a climate of hate so that all of us have nerves on the raw edge, ready to explode at any hint of offense.  That is what America has become after seven years of our government masters creating racial, political and class warfare.  It now seems  bizarre that we elected an African American President and race relations have never been worse.  After five decades of Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" Blacks, having taken a welfare check and overly generous government benefits, hate every one of us who funded that grand giveaway.  And not a single Democrat has stood up and admonished the Black community for their slothful, violent and abhorrent behavior.  In fact they foment Black vs White hate by continuing to argue that somehow Blacks have not been given a fair shake......hell, most of us would eagerly take the preferential treatment and benefits Blacks have been given!  But, old Lyndon is no doubt spinning in his grave these days, amazed at what he thought was a good thing has turned out so disastrous.  And Martin Luther King is spinning just as fast!

Sadly, it's just not race relations that have gone down the toilet.  An avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, is drawing huge crowds as he travels around the country espousing the confiscation of the nation's wealth and redistributing it, this despite every economic study that shows if we confiscated 100% of the nation's wealth it wouldn't be enough to raise the poor from poverty!  No one seems to understand these days that an education and the collective work efforts of the individual is the only thing that solves poverty!

Yet Obama flits around the country brow beating businesses to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  He recently shamed Silicon Valley for not hiring more minorities even though those businesses can't find enough "minorities" who are qualified to fill high tech positions....because minorities tend not to value an education...which one needs to fill high salaried positions!  

Just yesterday Obama's politically appointed labor relations board ruled that corporations with franchise businesses must now be responsible for negotiating labor rates for their independent franchises.  I wonder how many of you realize the consequences of that ruling.  Up until that ruling Mr. Smith would buy a McDonald's franchise, pay a franchise fee, then hire his own labor, paying the going local rate for minimum wage labor in their respective city.  Now the NLRB has ruled workers can join up with those mafia loving Teamsters Union and demand the corporate head pay whatever the union demands!  Just as the unions destroyed Detroit and the American automobile industry, the Teamsters are eager to have the consumer pay $10 bucks for a Big Mac....until you stop buying and the McDonald's franchise goes out of business...then no one's working and we make our hamburgers at home!

As I sat here contemplating the "big picture" of our racial and economic hate, as I stood ready to condemn Blacks for that sheriff's killing, without a single shred of evidence yet, I could not help but equate our present situation with a couple of Henry Fonda movies.  The first was The Oxbow Incident.  A group of ranchers are all ready to hang three guys who they believe are rustlers.  These ranchers are foaming at the mouth with hate and anger, and they end up hanging the wrong people.  The second movie is Twelve Angry Men, a story about a jury of twelve men, who all bring their personal prejudices into the process of determining the guilt or innocence of a young Hispanic man.  In the few hours of deliberation we see how each man makes his decision, based on his own life experiences.  Much of it is what someone told them, or what they read in the paper, or a perceived slight somewhere within their own personal experiences.

That is what we have all become today.  Our nerves are raw.  Our capacity for hate is ever increasing.  We are quick to condemn, even when we don't have all the information to make a logical and fair decision.  Our battle lines are drawn and everyone is ready to pick up a club and bash someone in the head.

And it all stems from that America hating, socialist son of a bitch in the White House.  He's got us warring with each other as no time before in our history.  And Barry has plenty of allies in the Democratic party, a party who wouldn't know a moral value if it bit them in the ass, a party that clings to power only by keeping people depending on them for a government handout, a party that buys their votes with our tax dollars, a party that can only survive as long as hate and greed and sloth and envy exist.

So I sit here on this Saturday morning, not knowing who shot that sheriff's deputy.  But I'm all too ready to hear that it was a Black thug.  How sad is that?