Friday, August 25, 2017
I was sitting in my study this morning, minding my own business, CNBC playing in the background, when I heard something that jarred me into paying full attention. It seems that there's one of those socialist coffee kiosks down in Miami Beach that pay their employees 30 percent more than the minimum wage....and are now demanding that our government masters make everyone else do the same.
Let's cut to the basics. This coffee kiosk, called Panther Coffee Company, is demanding that Miami Beach flaunt the states minimum wage laws, and write their own. Tossing out the cents, Panther Coffee wants to increase the city's minimum wage to $11.00 dollars per hour with dollar per hour increases schedule in the immediate future years.
Am I the only one that has a problem with this? I mean, if Panther Coffee Company wants to pay their employees $11 an hour, plus tips, that's great! But why are they sticking their nose into the business of others? And why do they want those increases codified in law, to force other businesses to be equally generous? Why are liberals always asking for the heavy hand of government at every turn?
If this doesn't bother you, consider this. I just did a little research on the coffee business. According to the National Retail Federation, the average costs for a cup of coffee at Starbucks and Dunkins is .31 cents. You don't have to be a rocket scientists to figure out that at, from $3 to $7 bucks a pop, the margins on coffee are huge. And as long as American lemmings are willing to pay those margins, coffee businesses are doing great...and can certainly afford to pay their employees $11 dollars per hour. In fact, they could probably afford to pay even more! A visit to Panther Coffee Company's website will reveal that Panther offers no less than 20 "special coffees", stuff they label "Single Origin Brews"...and those coffees are priced at $11 to $20 dollars per cup! Yeah! $20 bucks for a cup of java! And lets face it folks, those $20 dollar cups of coffee wouldn't be on the menu if they weren't selling.
So folks, what you have here is still another "corporate socialist" company, following in the footsteps of Starbucks, who are gouging their customers in order to implement their "socially designed" political aims. And yet, time and again, a million times a day, Americans stroll into a coffee house, and fork over huge sums to subsidize the generous salaries of folks who do no more than pour you a cup of coffee...and that's after these consumer lemmings have already forked out enough taxes to fund welfare and WIC and food stamps and free health care and free school breakfast and lunch for the "47 percenters"...that wide swath of Americans who find working an offensive activity!
But, let's get back to Miami Beach, shall we? If Panther Coffee gets their way, and gets the heavy hand of government mandates involved, that second hand bookstore down the street is going to go under. As will the travel agency, the mattress store, the mom and pop convenience store, or the barber shop that's been in business for half a century. Why? Because none of them have the allure of a fancy coffee, nor can they hope to match those kinds of profit margins as the coffee barons who have managed to fool "some of the people, all of the time".
Why the hell can't liberal people just stay the hell out of everyone else's business and allow the law of supply and demand to determine wages and prices? Why do they insist on making everyone else accede to their demands...even when the playing field is not level and never has been?
Sad. Damned Sad.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Not far from me sat a ten acre vacant field just two months ago. Then, a sign was posted, reading "Future Home of Franklin Preparartory". And, in the next few weeks, the foundation went up, then the industrial steel walls of pre-fab. And, each time I drove by, the building inspectors, and electrical contractors, and landscaping crews swarmed over the site. And, just last week the sidewalks went in, and a huge temporary canvas canopy went up out back....to shade the children at play. Beyond them stood acres of green, and playground equipment, baseball fields already laid out. Open for business in eight weeks!
This is a story that is playing out all over Arizona, as spanking new private schools spring up like daisies. Schools affiliated with religious institutions are thriving. Neighborhoods are growing their own schools. Why? Because Arizona is leading the nation in a campaign to build institutions that will finally educate our children. And we are not just "talking". We are putting our money where our mouths are.....thanks to state laws that now give tax credits for every donation made to private or charter schools. And we are donating on our tax returns by the hundreds of millions.
And the teachers unions don't like it. They claim our tax credits are money that should rightly go to the public school system....and any dollars given to charter schools are dollars "taken" from the public school. The problem with that is that it's not true. The Arizona public school system now consumes about half of our annual state budget. And the public schools only get worse, even as that ultra liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has mandated we chip in billions more for a failing system.
You might be heartened to know that we Arizonans ourselves overwhelming voted in favor of funding these private and charter schools...that the poorest kid can afford to attend through a voucher. However, just this past month, the teacher's unions, both state and federal, have procured funding from the Democrats, and George Soros's of the world, to collect 75,000 signatures to put still another initiative on the ballot to stop allowing these school tax credits. They claim the public schools are suffering from decreased attendance, that teachers are being forced into layoffs, that our charter and private schools favor the wealthy and punish the poor....except the poor are enjoying the fruits of these private school tax credits by a ratio of 8 to 1! Alas, these signature collectors are asking the courts to stop private school vouchers until the 2018 election initiative can again be voted on.
What we really have here folks, is an underlying resentment that illegal Mexicans might not be able to attend these tax supported private schools...that at some point in the very generous scholarship process, someone here illegally may not be able to clear the hurdle of legitimacy. And, of course we have also seen several public schools closed from lack of student attendance, the more successful school districts now enjoying higher attendance numbers.
Just this morning our Gannett owned liberal Arizona Republic issued a report on the matter. While deathly afraid to point out the success of our private and charter schools, they did show a slight bit of sympathy for those teachers unions who are trying harder to stop success than they do to actually get in there and compete...and actually educate our kids.
Every pundit around says the teachers union efforts are bound to fail. Arizona spoke long ago...and gave our public schools an "F". Now it seems the teachers unions are asking for a "makeup test"...and being told "no".
Okay, so you're not in Arizona. But Arizona has been leading the way on private school vouchers, and private school tax credits for many years now. We are the "canary in the coal mine" for every state in America....and you should be paying attention. If you live in a state where reason still prevails, you ought to be sending "education ambassadors" to Arizona...to find out how its done.
Oh, by the way, we are getting more and more large corporations settling here in Arizona, many of them migrants from California. On the business surveys they are given, know why they said they decided to move here? 1) Tax friendliness 2) Lack of Regulatory burdens 3) A commitment to innovative solutions for K-12 education.
Like the Phoenix, our education system is rising from the ashes...and actually educating our children!
Monday, August 21, 2017
Remember that classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine found out her vaginal sponge manufacturer was going out of business? (Google "Elaine's sponges" if you are not familiar.) Anyway, in that Seinfeld episode, Elaine fanned out all over town and began buying up all the vaginal sponges available. Then, realizing the preciousness of her vaginal sponges, she began interviewing potential bedmates, to determine if they were "sponge worthy".
Well, in this era, where my internet company now says my monthly internet megabytes are now finite, I'm being even more selective about what I see on the internet and what I watch on TV. With respect to TV viewing, I've been even more selective about what I watch, admittedly for a multitude of reasons.
For example, I never watch news from CNN, CBS, NBC, and now won't even flip over to MSNBC for a good laugh. And, since the last election, I don't watch Fox News anymore either....Fox and Friends now Trump's "Morning Show" and Hannity so partisan he's now comedic. None of news shows are "meg worthy".
Also not "meg worthy" are Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, any of the CSI family, and pretty much anything on the mainstream stations, now that "Last Man Standing" has been cancelled.
So, on the internet, I've given up monitoring "The Huffington Post" (just to see what the enemy is up to) and I skip the New York Times and Washington Post teasers, cause I know it's going to be liberal gruel. I do read seven online papers each morning, perhaps Google News being the most objective (they even report their own scandals!)
And on TV I'll watch any and all three of the C-Span channels. And I watch Turner Classic Movies...the channel that still streams movies with a plot and without pyrotechnics. And old Andy and Barney are still charming. And Perry Mason is still as smart as he ever was. And, after leaving The Waltons for a few months, letting those wonderful shows to lay fallow, I'll come back and watch them again. And that's pretty much it.
Instead, I spend a lot of time reading books, either in paper form, mostly on my Kindle E-Reader. Amazon offers me lots of free books, and I'll willingly purchase any book that falls to a reasonable ten bucks. And, on that Kindle, there's not "Meg-Master" tallying how long I'm spending lost in the world of reading.
"Sponge-Worthy" or "Meg-Worthy"..the principle's the same...and I'm becoming a better person for becoming more discerning.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Well, it looks like the VA has finally discovered a way to pare down that long line of veterans awaiting treatment....just say "no". A report just issued this past week, and reported by USA Today, says the VA has been denying war related injury and illness claims at a 90 percent clip, that denial rate the highest in modern times. We haven't seen denial rates like this since the VA declared Agent Orange a harmless exfoliant that only clears the nasal passages.
I wish I could say I'm surprised. But I still remember my own VA retirement physical. Despite my service related injuries the VA would only award me ten percent. Adding insult to injury, back in the late 80's and 90's, anyone from full Colonel to Four Star General were routinely awarded 90% disability, the better to shelter those handsome senior officer retirement pensions. The VA was more political than a political convention. Of course we military lowlifes just had to accept it, as the "fruit salad set" walked out of a VA hospital, smirks on their faces...big money in their dress blues.
So, boys and girls....brace yourself for rosy newspaper headlines...touting a huge reduction in those awaiting a VA hospital appointment. And all the VA had to do was to utter the word "no"...and the problems disappear.
Sad. Damned Sad.
Monday, August 14, 2017
You've seen the ads. They're most prominent on Facebook....an ad that says "Tell Congress We Don't Need Any More Foreign Workers!"
Well, guess what? We do! A combination of events has made those foreign workers necessary, none bigger than the Welfare State itself. Any careful review of the programs made available to those who refuse to work shows the government gravy bowl is growing ever larger...a welfare check, food stamps (even for perfectly healthy adults...including college students), Section 8 housing vouchers, WIC for the breeders, free Medicaid, free or reduced tuition for the fruit of the breeders...with free school breakfasts and lunches thrown in, state sponsored kindergarten and pre-school and day care for infants, extremely generous Child Welfare Tax Credits, free cell phones and even reduced cost utilities, paid for by you through your own higher utility payments.
And that welfare state has produced at least two, sometimes three generations who abhor work of any kind. How many high school kids today work the farm fields to earn the money for their school clothes these days? How many illegal Mexicans now work at the order window of your local fast food joint....broken English thrown in for free?
Even good paying jobs go unfilled. Each month the Labor Department reports that more than 7 million high paying blue collar jobs go unfilled...with employers desperate for someone who'll learn to weld, or run a lathe, or maintain a junction box!
In Science and Engineering careers it's even worse. High school graduates, if they are able to read and write at all, are poorly qualified for jobs that require them to know basic math or science...the fruit of your national and state teachers unions, continually rewarded for failure.
For every outlandish story about Disney importing Indian Nationals to run their high tech entertainment networks there are a hundred stories of metal working firms, industrial firms, who beg for workers....workers who they'll even train "on the job" if someone will just step up. Except that "blue collar" is now nastier than the word "fuck" to those "safe space-seeking" college kids who aspire to degrees in "The History Of Transgenders In Colonial America" or "The Philosophy of Marx In The Post Industrial World". No welding wands or electric hammers for those kids.
Nope, the Welfare Generation wishes not to work. They grew up without shop class in school..that program replaced by the play of "musical chairs" where everyone has a seat waiting when the music stops.
We use to be able to solve our labor problems through the importation of Mexicans for field work, and some manner of European for industrial or artisan work. Except, now, so damn many of our immigrants arrive without notice, as illegal as hell, and then quickly learn about that huge bowl of government gravy that can be had with either an anchor baby, or fake ID, or some imaginative paperwork...no work required!
So, sadly, as we in-process each new crop of tit-suckers, and as we encourage the "everyone gets a blue ribbon" generation to resist labor..and live off the fat of the land, our labor needs simply go wanting...and we import someone...any damned one...whose willing to punch a time card ...to monitor an electrical station, or weld bar, or pick our lettuce.
Let's stop fooling ourselves. We do need those foreign workers...if for nothing else to fill in while both Mama and Papa take six month maternity leaves, or take sabbaticals to Africa, or leave industry to sign up for a government job (to administer the gravy bowl), or, sigh...just because "work" is both tiring and unrewarding...and not nearly as easy as drinking gravy from that big bowl brewed up in Washington D.C.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Well, it's August. Time for the annual rumblings about a government shutdown to emanate from our nation's capitol. The 40 or so members of the Conservative Caucus say, unless they see significant decreases in the rate of debt growth, they won't vote for that annual debt ceiling increase. The Dems say they want $16.8 billion to buff up Obamacare...cause their able bodied sissies want their free health care. The Republicans want $1.6 billion to build the border wall......but the Dems say $1.6 billion to build a wall is outrageous and is offensive to our 30 million illegals, and Mexico as well.
The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report, warning that, if something is not done to begin paring our $20 trillion dollar debt, we'll be paying $870 billion in interest payments on that debt (and much, much more if bond rates rise further). Think about it. That's $870 billion dollars by 2024, spent just on the interest on our national debt...funds that can't be used for our national defense, or to educate our youth, or heal the sick....just money to keep us from defaulting on our debt and achieving genuine 3rd world, banana republic status. Consider this...that $870 billion dollars is one quarter of the entire amount the government takes in in fees and tax revenues.
And yet, for a decade and longer, Congress grumbles about this massive debt, then passes still another budget that will send the debt ceiling ever higher. Our "dear leader", Obama, ran up $10 trillion of that debt, with Bush coming in an impressive 2nd, credited with running up $6 trillion during his two terms.
Is there any hope that we can avoid a Greece style default? Not likely. Folks might be surprised to learn that Greece ran up debt that was 78% of their total Gross Domestic Product. How many of you would be surprised to know that, last year, our debt exceeded 108 percent of our GDP. (We just get by with it since we have a better credit rating than Greece.)
Will Congress ever gain the will to fix this? Well, we know our so called Republican "conservatives" can't grow the balls to kill Obamacare so what hope can we have for an even more gargantuan problem.
Brace yourselves folks. Our leaders will issue hues and cries over our massive debt...then they'll pass a "compromise bill", and later a budget that sends our debt ceiling ever higher.
Monday, August 7, 2017
By the time this blog goes to press there will probably be another casualty of that game called "Musical Chairs" emanating from the White House. First went Comey...because he wouldn't stand up, salute the Trump flag, and pledge a loyalty oath. Then it was Spicer (Was it his gum-chewing or was it because his alter ego was really funny on Saturday Night Live?) Then Chief of Staff Preibus bit the dust when the Mafia Don, Anthony Scaramucci didn't like the cut of his jib. Then Scaramucci himself fell on his sword, old Anthony's federal career lasting ten days on the Trump Express, where folks are tossed off the back of the caboose with much fanfare and few explanations. Can Attorney General Jeff Sessions be far behind? After all, it doesn't matter that Sessions has been rounding up illegal Mexicans and wholesaling them back to Mexico. Or that he's declared war on M13 gangs. Or that he's handed funding to our law enforcement officers and loosening the shackles that Obama had them wrapped up in. Sessions has even performed a miracle....getting those immigration judges off their ass and quickening the deportation process...even to the point of making them go into the detention centers and issuing deportation orders.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Well, first of all I want to thank all of those who took the time to comment on the worthiness of my blog, either here, or over on Facebook. And special thanks to those who said they had difficulty getting their comments to post. I was heartened to see so many wonderful comments about what this blog has meant to them, either for those who only recently arrived, and for those who have been here almost from the beginning.
I do admit to being a bit surprised by the turnout......somewhat larger than I expected, given the dearth of comments that usually show up after something I've written. But, ironically, the plethora of comments was encouraging, as I feared I was once again "giving speeches to an empty hall". So it was nice to know that many more are reading on a regular basis than I expected.
Lest anyone think this old scribbler had run out of things to write about, I've found the opposite to be true. Given the proof of Capitol Hill's cowardice, and Trump's mad antics, and the near "ghostly" Democratic Party, it is actually very hard to pare down to a manageable level those things that need discussion and rumination.
I was especially touched by some folks who emailed me privately and expressed an appreciation for my "human interest" pieces...those blogs void of politics...just recounting some moral or life lesson, or life experience I've encountered in my daily wanderings. After all, politics, though extremely important, is not all there is to life.
So, okay, boys and girls. I'll continue to post here for the immediate future. And if you'll forgive this bit of surveying, I'll try not to bother you with one again for awhile. The survey was prompted not so much of a need for reassurance, but for the fact that, like the aging ball player, one never knows when his legs are failing him and his time from home to first is a tad slow...and he needs to hang up his cleats.
One last note: You will perhaps never fully appreciate how much your readership means to me. Through your comments I have come to know a bit about many of you. And, even when we disagree on a particular issue, those comments give me pause to think..to chew a bit on my own views, to consider yours...and to resolve it one way or another. And of course I still mourn for the lost ones...those ancient readers, those who were with me in the very beginning, who, because of death, or incapacity, or even abandonment, have left a void in my heart....the "Grenadavet", the "Jo" who grew up in Maine, and was living out her years now in California, and even the thousands of "anonymous" who have wandered my way and shared something of themselves.
So, put on your thinking caps, and your reading glasses if you need them, and let's get started. Party at my house come 2AM, Monday morning.
Give and Take Care,
The Modest Scribbler