Sunday, April 7, 2013

Being gay versus owning guns.

I'm motivated this morning as I am engaged in an online debate with some good people that have an opinion opposite mine on the topic of gun control.  Their argument, as passionate as they are about it, is based on emotion, not on fact.  It's hard to argue fact to people once their emotions get involved.  Harder still, is arguing with people that have based their strong opinion on the slanted angles of major media, but have never bothered to research for themselves the facts.

Hilter used propaganda in the media to control his countrymen.  Unfortunately in America, this same tactic is being used. 

I am against any sort of gun control.  Any.  In my opinion, when the founding fathers used the phrase "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed..." that the phrase is beyond argument.

The founding fathers didn't say " be regulated by government..." or "...rights are for the current government to decide."  The founding father also did not say "shall be infringed by the will of the government."  The founding fathers said "shall not be infringed."

This means:

infringe  [in-frinj]

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: violate

Synonyms: borrow, breach, break, contravene, crash, disobey, encroach, entrench, impose, infract, intrude, invade, lift, meddle, obtrude, offend, pirate, presume, steal, transgress, trespass

Notes: to impinge is to come into contact or encroach or have an impact; to infringe is to encroach on a right or privilege or to violate

Antonyms: comply, discharge, obey, observe


This is pretty clear to me.  There really can be no argument.

Let's compare gun related deaths to something else people are passionate about: Gay rights.

To quote from the CDC website from 2010:

"An estimated 15,529 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2010..."

To quote from another page of the CDC website from 2010:

Firearm homicides:  •Number of deaths: 11,078
                              •Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.6

(sources:, and

Gays murdered 4500 more people than guns in 2010 using gun control advocates' rationale.

So, maybe we should really be banning gays.

Being gay and having AIDS is MUCH more dangerous than owning guns.  Almost 4500 MORE people were killed by being gay and having AIDS in 2010 than were by guns. 

It isn't a Constitutional Right to be gay.

It isn't specifically written in the Bill of Rights for the United States that anyone can be gay.

Ban assault gays! Nobody NEEDS to be gay!

I only make these statements to illustrate how ridiculous the statements are to "Ban assault weapons!" and "Nobody NEEDS assault weapons!"

Truly, I don't have anything against gays, but I'm trying to make a point.

Really, I'm trying to trick you.  I want you to think.  I want you to argue with me that the rate of deaths by AIDS doesn't solidly reflect that everyone that died from AIDS was gay.


Using the rationale of gun murder data, it is also true to say that gun murder statistics do NOT include any sort of rate of gun murder from LAWFUL gun owners. The gun murder data also does NOT reflect the rate of gun murder in "gun free" zones.  Sounds a little fishy, yes?  Using this rationale,  if owning a semi automatic defense rifle makes you a murderer, being gay makes you a carrier of AIDS and a danger to others in society.  Being gay makes you a murderer of almost 4500 more people per year than guns kill.

Grouping all gun owners (lawful and criminals) into a category that suggest that they will commit violent crime is dangerous and irresponsible. It is NO different than suggesting that ALL gays can/might/will have AIDS and could be a danger to society via infection with their disease.

Also, I will argue that not everyone that has a gun of any sort has murdered anyone. If you consider that a MUCH greater percentage of the population has guns than is gay, the rate of death per gun owned in America is very, very low in comparison to the rate of death from AIDS by gays.

People are so quick to forget that the gun murder capitals of the USA right now have the strictest gun laws. You do know that it is fact that you are more likely to be killed by a gun as a civilian in Chicago than you are as military personal in the middle east. I will post one source of this information behind this post. If you think it's bullcrap, search for yourself.


Again, I have nothing against gays.  Nothing at all.  I'm just trying to make a point.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

George W. Bush

I got myself into an online argument yesterday and today on Facebook (strange, right?).  It's with a liberal who again, as they all seem to do, blames Bush for the war in the middle east.

I remember 9/11/01 like it was yesterday.  I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news of the attacks.  I remembered being saddened by the planes crashing into the buildings.  I was very saddened by the lives lost.  I remember the surge of patriotism that many Americans felt directly after these attacks.  America was fueled by emotion and wanting/needing to pounce on somebody like a rabid tiger.  Americans were buying flags to support America and shirts to proclaim their hatred of terrorism.  There was a flag slapped anywhere a flag could go.  Everyone was a patriot.  We were united as we had ever been as a country.
Unfortunately at the time, I was saddened by some of our responses as Americans.  In my opinion, many people allowed the emotion of the situation rule their thought process.  Americans became an ANGRY MOB THAT IS GOING AFTER ALL RAGHEADS!  It's true.  It was sad.  I kept wondering if killing people in revenge really the answer?  Is sending my friends to fight or die the correct course of action? Was that really the answer?  Did we want another Vietnam?

Also, why couldn't our little flags for our cars have been built in the USA and not China?  Did anyone realize that it has been said again and again that this war was all oil (and terror, right?), and when Americans put those little flags on their cars, they got worse gas mileage?  (RCA dog look)  Didn't we want less dependence on foreign oil?  I win?
Don't get me wrong, I'm as patriotic as a person can get.  I love America. 
I remembered some interesting facts about that time (circa 2001), and one of them was the procedure in which America went to war in the middle east.  Realize that it was the Bush years, not the farce of government we have now with King Obama.  So, what does that mean?
In the past few years, Obama placed us in Libya illegally and undeclared.  Obama has us messing around with Syria illegally and undeclared.  Obama does not care to follow Constitutional process to go to war.  Obama doesn't care about getting out of the wars we are in.  Obama wants us to be in more wars and wants to give more and more of our money away to people that want to kill us.  Liberals ignore these conflicts completely.

Bush followed constitutional procedure to go to war.  He was advised on courses of action.   He and his advisers presented Congress with a plan.  Congress approved that plan with the overwhelming support of the American people.  It was a declared war that had congressional approval.  This is our Constitutional process. It had very, very high public approval.  At the time, Bush had the highest presidential approval numbers ever by any president. Ever. In case you missed it: Any. Ever.
Anyway, no liberal seems to remember this.  How quick they are to forget the facts that do not serve their current agenda.

This morning, I found the Gallup poll from Bush's response to terror.  I posted a link to it and the actual data below.

Do all of you liberals want to blame somebody for going to war?  Blame yourselves, you hypocrites.  It's mathematically impossible to reach 90% approval of war across the American population without at least 60-80% of Democrats being FOR WAR at the time.

So liberals, shut your pie holes.   Place your blame where it should go.  Own the mistakes of the socialist in chief that you have again elected.  Own the FACT that he doesn't care about you or your causes, but rather he just tells you that he does so he can get your support.  He exploits you by his actions and he makes you look like fools in any argument supporting his actions to anyone that is informed.  You liberals helped open this can of worms, so quit shrugging off the blame.  Don't be like the POTUS and get all whiny when you are presented with facts that contradict your half truths.
I'm going to be in the minority here.  I officially blame the liberals for war since I was never for it and I am not liberal.  There.  There's some of your own liberal logic right back to you.
September 24, 2001

Bush Job Approval Highest in Gallup History

Widespread public support for war on terrorism

by David W. Moore
PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush's call to arms in a nationwide address last Thursday evening has elicited widespread public support for a war against terrorism, as well as the highest presidential job approval rating ever measured by Gallup since it began asking the public for its evaluation of presidents over six decades ago.
According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted September 21-22, 90% of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president, up four percentage points from a poll last weekend.
George W. Bush's Job Approval Rating
President Bush's current job approval rating is one point higher than the previous high point, registered by his father at the end of hostilities in the Persian Gulf War in late February/early March 1991. Prior to that time, the highest approval rating ever recorded by Gallup was 87%, received by President Harry S. Truman just after the end of World War II hostilities in Europe:
The record high approval rating for George W. Bush comes in the wake of his address to the nation last week, in which he outlined his approach both to retaliating against the terrorists for attacking the United States on September 11 and to mounting a concerted effort to stop global terrorism altogether. Almost three-quarters of all Americans say they saw the address live, and another 14% saw rebroadcasts or excerpts of the speech.
As you may know, President Bush addressed Congress and the nation on Thursday night about the recent terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Did you happen to see President Bush's address to Congress and the nation on Thursday night, or not?
Did you see parts of the address rebroadcast later on the news or other programs, or did you not see any part of the address?
2001 Sep 21-22
Saw Bush's address to Congress and the nation
Saw rebroadcasts or excerpts of Bush's address
Did not see either
No opinion
* Less than 0.5%

Nine in 10 Americans give Bush high marks for the speech, with 62% saying the speech was "excellent" and 25% "good." Another 8% say it was "just okay." Only 1% of Americans say it was a "poor" speech. Among those who watched the speech live, 71% say it was excellent and 22% good.
From what you have heard or read, would you rate George W. Bush's speech to Congress and the nation on Thursday night as -- excellent, good, just okay, poor, or terrible?






2001 Sep 21-22
2000 Aug 4-5 ^
^ From what you have heard or read, would you rate George W. Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican convention [on Thursday night] as -- excellent, good, just okay, poor, or terrible?
* Less than 0.5%
(vol.) Volunteered response

The vast majority of Americans also feel that the president did a good job in his speech of explaining the goals of any military action that may occur as a result of the war on terrorism. Among all Americans, 78% say he has explained the goals clearly enough. Among just those who watched the speech live, 83% find the explanation clear.
Do you think President Bush explained the goals of current U.S. military action clearly enough, or not?
Yes, explained enough
No, did not
No opinion
2001 Sep 21-22

Bush's high approval ratings are no doubt in part due to the widespread support Americans give to the president's plan of action. The poll shows that about three in four Americans say that Bush's proposed military response, as well as his proposed diplomatic and economic pressures, are "about right," while among those who disagree, most would opt for more rather than less action.
Do you think President Bush has -- [ROTATED: gone too far in terms of a military response to the terrorist attacks, done about right, or not gone far enough in terms of a military response to the terrorist attacks]?

Gone too far
about right
Not gone far enough
2001 Sep 21-22

Do you think President Bush has -- [ROTATED: gone too far in terms of an economic and diplomatic response to the terrorist attacks, done about right, or not gone far enough in terms of an economic and diplomatic response to the terrorist attacks]?

Gone too far
about right
Not gone far enough
2001 Sep 21-22

More generally, 89% of the American public say they favor the United States taking military action in retaliation for the September 11 attacks, essentially unchanged from responses to the same question asked one week previous.
Do you think the United States should -- or should not -- take military action in retaliation for Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
Should not
No opinion
2001 Sep 21-22
2001 Sep 14-15

Survey Methods
These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,005 adults, 18 years and older, conducted September 21-22, 2001. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?
No opinion
2001 Sep 21-22
2001 Sep 14-15
2001 Sep 7-10
2001 Aug 24-26
2001 Aug 16-19
2001 Aug 10-12
2001 Aug 3-5
2001 Jul 19-22
2001 Jul 10-11
2001 Jun 28-Jul 1
2001 Jun 11-17
2001 Jun 8-10
2001 May 18-20
2001 May 10-14
2001 May 7-9
2001 Apr 20-22
2001 Apr 6-8
2001 Mar 26-28
2001 Mar 9-11
2001 Mar 5-7
2001 Feb 19-21
2001 Feb 9-11
2001 Feb 1-4

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Electile Dysfunction?

Tired of the election coverage yet?


Who knows what to believe? It's all spin, spin, and spin some more. The televison ads from both parties are ridiculous and misleading. Either candidate speaking is ridiculous and misleading.

Truth is, even if the "facts" are sourced from,, snopes, factcheck, fox, cbs, cnn, or msnbc we really don't know how factual they are. Every article/story is written from the author's point of view. Take Chris Matthews for example. Can you believe anything he says? Not really. Even though some of what he says might contain the truth, by the time it leaves his mouth it is spun into "facts" the way he sees them. He is very respected in the news media by many of his peers.

The biggest sales job that the media does in any election is distract the general public from the important real issues by emotionally involving them in trivial issues. I'm a very good salesman and I have been very successful in sales for many years, so I know a line of bullcrap when I see it. Every political ad I have see from either party is a line of bullcrap.

What's more important? Gay marriage or NDAA? Abortion rights or the destruction of our currency? Religious freedom or nation building?  A free phone or employment?  In regards to all of these things, who among us is willing to let fear and emotion take over rational thinking? Who is so short sighted that they cannot see past the carrot in front of their face?  The media wants to scare you into thinking that if we (the USA) don't police the world, we will die.  Or, that if we don't be sure to elect candidate "A", we will lose our rights when candidate "B" is elected even though both of the candidates are truly candidate "F". Fear and emotion is all the media spoon feeds Americans.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for American freedom in every area of our lives whether or not I advocate it or participate in it. The intended beauty of our system of government is that even if one group is radically against what the other group advocates, the two groups balance each other out in the end. We hope.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Olympics! Hooray!

As many of you know, I am not a fan of the Olympics. Well, it isn't truly that I am not a fan, rather more that I think the money we spend to have the Olympics seems extremely excessive when we have starving people in our country and our government borrows $.40 of every dollar it spends. Also, it seem like every year there are more and more of the atheletes in competition busted for using illegal performance enhancing drugs. Seems a bit like other professional sports that we unfortunately glorify in the fine country.

In my opinion, we should sit out of the Olympics until we can afford to pay our own way with our own money. But, that wouldn't stroke most of Americans "superior over the rest of the world" ego we have, so we borrow the money (thanks, China!) and compete anyway. So, in celebration of these amazing atheletes, here are some great quotes from NBC sports.

Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators during the London Summer Olympics that they would like to take back:

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

And it looked like a penis?

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

Horses are lovely to mount?

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

Hooray to my mother and father!  And, to my mother and father!

4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

Lucky for you, death is NOT serious.

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again." (this must be from 2008?)

Did I just say that?  Did I just say that?

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."
Skilled in dribbling all over faces.

7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

If they start going down on each other, I'm turning the channel.

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

Nothing like a field full of Dicks.

9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them... .... Oh my God, what have I just said?"
Kissing balls goes a long way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Obey your thirst?

To me image is everything (not really), but despite that I bought some new workout shirts (polyester quick dry) the other day.  I'm very sorry to report that they are really comfortable.  Too bad.  Unfortunately for me (and the others around me), I have started wearing them most the time when I am going out. 

I have officially become one of the people that I mock.  You know the type I am speaking about, right?  They ALWAYS (not just at the gym or at an event, ALWAYS) have on a cycling shirt or some sort of athletic shirt (even if they are challenged in the midriff) no matter what the occasion is.

Looking sharp!

Now, I'm that guy.  Well, sort of.  At least the shirts that I purchased and now wear aren't loud and flamboyant (not that there is anything wrong with that) with crazy multi-colored advertisements for random products like jelly beans, bread, tampons, manure spreaders, hair removal ointments, Chinese puppy flavored diet pills, hair replacement surgury or male enhancement devices.  Not yet, anyway. Those are all noble products and services, BTW.

Is it progression or regression?  At what point in my life did I decide that although comfortable, long lasting, easy wearing, and good looking, cotton is out?  Huh?
This is an illustration of my ass post Taco Johns.

Is that pesky cotton just too expensive?  Nope.
Is it too hot?  No. 
Does it stain too easily?  Well, it does stain, but I am pretty sure so does polyester, right?
Is there any good reason to wear plastic workout shirts instead of cotton shirts?  Not really.

I might as well start wearing a fanny pack all the time.  I think that might go nicely with the polyester shirt.  I can't look much more silly.  I guess a fanny pack could have true benefit.  It covers up my love handles (that no matter HOW much time I spend at the gym I cannot get rid of.  There is nothing taking those suckers off.).  I suppose there is nothing better than having granola bars or other healthy snacks at my fingertips all the time in my fanny purse?!?  Maybe some Band-Aids?  Chapstick?  Midol?  (cringes)

*rolls eyes*

I do sweat a lot.  Like a lot.  Like even more than you were just thinking.  I don't know why.  I have done it my whole life.  It could be my fast metabolism (lie to self number 1).  Maybe it's endorphins built up from my workout (lie to self number 2).  It's normal to sweat a lot in the summer (lie to self number 3).  It might be the humidity in Minnesota, right (wrong again, piglet).
Does ANYONE know what Neulestra pegafartaskin is?  Didn't think so. Sounds like a food additive.

Okay, so I'm a pig that way.  A sweaty pig.  I wake up in the morning with part of one eye open, stumble into the kitchen (begins to hum Dolly Parton's song "9 to 5"), and pour a huge cup of coffee.  I only have one cup before going to the gym.  In all honesty, the cup is like 18/10th's scale of most coffee cups.  But it's only ONE cup (I win!).  Then, I workout.  Then, I come home soaking wet, shower and slam two cups of yogurt and 2 Red Bulls and go to work.  Throughout my day, I drink a couple more caffeinated sugary drinks.  I SUPPOSE that might have something to do with this sweat issue.  Maybe.

Either way, the polyester quick dry clothing is great in that despite my sweaty nature, I stay pretty dry and fresh over the course of the day.  Doesn't THAT sound like an advertisement for some sort of unmentionable, embarrassing product?

Salsa AND cycles?  I can ride and dip my chips all at once! Tada!

"Want to stay dry, fresh, and clean all day long despite your 'problem?' Try polyester clothing.  Nothing keeps you drier than clothing made from ground up pop bottles (that contain chemicals known in the state of California to cause cancer)."

I hope it's a fad.  Either that, or I am subconsciously planning on spilling a lot of shit on my clothes in the near future.  Seriously though, who am I kidding?  I'm sloppy as fuck.  Most things wipe off of polyester.  Cotton, not so much. 

It's just wipe and wear, baby.  Wipe and wear.

Regardless, my pride has been publicly detonated to the point where I could be just another random stand-in on the set of "Idiocracy." 

Oh well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Do you want to teach your kids something?

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." Frank Lloyd Wright

Do you really want to teach your kids something?  Really? 

In the age of technology we live in, most of us count on our gizmos and gadgets to help us through our day almost everyday.  Is the road closed?  That's okay, use the GPS in your phone to find an alternate route.  Is the store closed?  That's okay, use Google on your phone to find an different store.  How do I feed these hamsters I just bought?  Easy.  Go on the internet and learn how.  What kind of rash is this?  WebMD knows.  There really are millions of ways technology shapes the world we live in.
"Man is a slow, sloppy and brilliant thinker; the machine is fast, accurate and stupid." William M. Kelly

I spoke with a friend a while back that said his son had called him and told him that all the electrical "stuff" is dead in his truck.  His son told him that it started and runs fine, but it doesn't have any headlights or tail lights. My friend was initially concerned, but then paused for a second and asked his son if he had turned on the headlights. His son replied, "You have to turn them on?" His 20ish year old son had never driven a vehicle that did not have automatic headlights.  This really got me thinking about all this technology in our world.  What will this next generation do if they have to solve these problems on their own?  I know it sounds a little silly, but think about it.  Could your kids figure out how to turn on the headlights when the switch doesn't even say headlights anymore?  All the headlight switches now just have generic symbols on them lest we discriminate against people that don't speak fluent English.  Back to my point though, what would these kids do if they have to figure this stuff out themselves?  I hate to be a doomsday speaker or a wacko, but what would we do if all these technologies failed?  What would they do without electricity?  What would our kids do with no real skills to survive?  Isn't it a big gamble to assume that things will always be okay?
"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards." Aldous Huxley

Take almost any area of our lives and technology is in it.  Look at your wristwatch.  What would you do if the battery failed and you couldn't get a new one?  Would you wind it?  Or, would it become useless?  I imagine a discussion with a group of people comparing their watches in an braggish fashion.

"My watch is back lit and waterproof to 500 meters " says one person.

"Oh yeah?  My watch is back lit and the color of the back light changes with my mood.  It's waterproof to 600 meters" says the next person.

"That's wonderful, but my watch does all of those things and also measures my walking steps per day, my heart rate, my blood pressure,  gives me GPS readings of everywhere I have gone all day, and it is waterproof to 1000 meters" proclaims the next person.

Then, it comes to me.

"What does your watch do?"  They ask.

"My watch tells me what time it is.  Each day I wind it up and it's very accurate.  If I forget to wind it and the time gets off, I can reset it at noon with some sunshine.  It isn't back lit at all but I don't really care. If I need to know what time it is after dark, I can lean closer to the fire to illuminate the dials.  Since I don't want to see what time it is at the bottom of the ocean and I doubt I could survive at that depth, mine doesn't need to be waterproof to 1000 meters.   My watch really needs to be just waterproof enough so I can wash my hands and shower with it on if I forget to take it off without ruining it.  My watch does this all without batteries.  What will yours do without batteries?"

"Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink." Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I was trying to decide what is most important to sustain life if everything else in our world fell apart.  Simple enough, right?  Food and water would be needed by everyone to live.  Water more immediately important than food, but both are needed to survive any significant length of time.  So, you want your kids to learn?  Teach them to purify water.  Hopefully there never comes a time when they need to purify water to survive, but it's a great skill to have.  What if there is no bottled water?  What if you have to drink the river water or no water? Do you know how to purify water for drinking?  Do you know how much to set aside for daily consumption?  You should.  Your kids should, too.  It would be easy to have purification tablets or filters to should your kids how to purify water, but what should they do when they run out of those things?  Your kids should know to boil water to purify it.  Your kids should know that you can add small amounts of iodine or bleach to water to make it safe to drink if it is questionable.  If nobody teaches your kids this stuff, how would they know?  If they fail to make their water safe for drinking, they get sick and there is no readily available medical attention, what would they do?  If we have a technological collapse, who will be able to Google this stuff?  So, it's a good skill to know.

"Life's a garden, dig it?"  Joe Dirt

You want your kids to learn something else valuable?  Teach them to garden.  I don't mean that you should go to the store, buy a grown tomato plant, water it, and count that as gardening.  In a way, it's still a good lesson (a little like cheating), but what would you do it you couldn't buy a plant?  I think you should take it a few steps further.  I think you should buy seeds to plant.  You should find suitable soil to plant them in.  You should care for them as they grow.  You should fight off insects and rodents.  You should aerate their soil and remove the weeds.  You should harvest them as they mature.  Then, you should save your seeds for next year and do it all over again.  This is something you should teach your kids.  This would be a great lesson.

"Everyplace is walking distance if you have the time."  Steven Wright

Teach your kids to walk.  That's a great lesson.  Most kids you talk to these days seem to think that walking 10 miles is impossible.  Or, they think that if you can walk 10 miles that you are some sort of freak.  All generations of humans before ours did a lot of walking.  In the last couple hundred years we have become used to letting something else like a car or horse carry us.  Our bodies are incredible when it comes to exercise and walking.  Our bodies are well equipped to walk and can easily carry our own weight for many, many miles.  In fact, we can carry a lot more than our own weight for a long, long time.  What if a trip to town meant a walking trip to town instead of a drive?  Could you do it?  Would you do it?  It's something to think about.

"Technology... the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it." Max Frisch

Can any kids read a map these days?  I wanted to buy a map a while back and I see it is easiest to find one in a bookstore.  In days past, every gas station had them for sale.  Most gas stations had one posted for public viewing.  But now, if you ask for a map, they look at you like you just asked for lead shot your musket.  What would these kids do if we were unable to tell them how to get where they are going?  What would they do without GPS?  What would we do without it?  My fiance is a avid map reader.  I used to give her a steady stream of teasing about it, but she's right.  The ability to navigate with a map is a great skill.  The ability the navigate north, south, east and west without a map is even a better skill.  So, touche Amanda.  You are wise.

"What the country needs are a few labor-making inventions." Arnold Glasow

Teach your kids how to work.  I don't mean go to a job and run a cash register, although that's valuable, too.  Teach them to physically work.  Teach them that it's sometimes necessary and always okay to get sweaty and dirty.  Teach them that to get a job done, it's sometimes unavoidable to get dirty.  Encourage them to jump right in and help.  Our bodies can be washed.  Our clothing can be washed.  You cannot put a cost on sweat equity.  Teach your kids that there are many, many people in this world that aren't able-bodied whether it's from illness, accident or circumstance, but that those people wish that they could work physically.  Impress upon your kids that having the ability to work physically is not something to be taken for granted.  Trust me.  There are thousands of people that wish they had the physical capabilities that our kids do.  Our kids need to be mindful of that.  It's a good lesson.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." Albert Einstein

Teach your kids to help take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. When they are cutting wood, they can cut some extra for the neighbor not because they can get paid, but because it's the right thing to do. They can pick branches off of the neighbor's lawn and open doors for them.  They can help out others just to keep themselves busy. They need to learn to do these things for not reward, but just because. These days, it seems many of our kids don't want to be "bothered" visiting grandma or grandpa.  Or, they can't be "bothered" going to help out relatives.  As if our kids are really that busy? They're kids, right? Don't we plan their days for them?  They are never "too busy" to see their family.  They are never "too busy" to help out the neighbors.

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three." Alice Kahn

I think our kids just need to be taught. That might be the most difficult job of all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Minnesota Freeloaders

I'm frustrated.
I'm confused.

I don't think I am really arrogant or cocky.  I definitely don't think that the way I think of things is the "right" way if it means that to be "right" the views of others would have to be "wrong."  But, still I am confused.  I simply don't understand many of the views of my peers.  For the most part, I don't bother them with my views regardless if they bother me with theirs.

Jeepers.  The last thing I want to be is political or be a guy that rants about current events.   It truly is the last thing I want to be.  I feel like I am forced to be the crazy extremist political ranter in light of the ideas of our state.  I feel for the most part I am pleading with everyone around me and expressing views on things that they do not share.  But, does nobody else see the financial state of Minnesota and our world the way I do?  I mean, you are all intelligent people and are perfectly capable to make decisions.  Each and every person in this world deserves to state their opinion and be heard.  Everyone deserves to be able to hold their opinion without criticism or guilt.  I guess to me, I don't understand why my views might be the unpopular ones.  Here's what I am confused about today.

The Minnesota Vikings more or less believe that they "deserve" a new stadium to play in if they are to remain in Minnesota.  It isn't that they want permission to build one.  They don't even want an option on land or a tax break.  They more or less want us to build it for them.  I think they are willing to chip in a little money, but the bulk of this stadium they want for free.  The project began with an estimated $500 million dollar budget and has since expanded into a $1.2 billion dollar project.  To put this into perspective, that $1.2 billion dollar amount divides out to be $224.51 for each and every person in Minnesota.  This is every man, woman, and child using 2011 census numbers, not just taxpayers.  How could this ever be a viable endeavour?  How could this even ever be a remote consideration?  What would ever give government the power to spend $224 of my money without any sort of choice in the matter on my part?  Well, since my daughter is still a minor, I guess I get to pay $448.  Better still, right? 

I have had multiple discussions with people about this topic and they seem to just shrug it off and not care about it.  Think about this seriously.  Do you want government to forcedly take money from everyone in the state disregarding their will?  Is it a fair situation to you since you want to Vikings to stay in Minnesota?  Are you really so selfish to think that keeping the Vikings in Minnesota by bribing them with a new stadium "works" for everybody whether they like football or not?  Or, do you just disregard others completely?

In 2011, it was the original projection that the state of Minnesota had a rather large deficit.  The state of Minnesota actually shut down for a while last year because of budget proposal failures.  But, then the topic got changed to the Vikings "needing" a new stadium and the budget "crisis" disappeared and was replaced with a surplus.

Now, in light of negative talks about the new stadium, Minnesota tax payers have been notified that the state capital building is more or less "in ruins" and they might need $241 million to fix that up.  Just so we are clear on this.  The figure I saw on the news for repair of the building was $241 MILLION dollars.  Yes, $241 MILLION dollars to REPAIR a building.  I bet I could have at LEAST 482 huge pole buildings built and furnished for $241 million.  I bet our state government could all fit into one or two of them.  That would leave about 480 of them empty for use for housing or some other noble cause.  How can the state government ever justify this sort of spending?  How can all of you, my peers, not be really, really pissed about this?  It's your money.  It's my money. 

Precedent for this silly spending was set in 2007 when the state of Minnesota added additional sales taxes to help fund a $522 million dollar stadium for the Twins baseball club.  That worked like a charm when it rained most of this past spring and game after game was cancelled.  When there was a chance of poor weather, attendance was next to nothing, yet the games went on.  But, they were better off there than in the Metrodome, right? 

What are some of the arguments for the new stadium?

It will create jobs.

It will create jobs.  I agree completely.  While it is being built, a lot of new jobs will exist.  But, after it is completed, most of those jobs will end.  So, we could argue that job creation, even it if is short term (1-3 years) is still a good thing.  Again, I would agree.  But, I would ask you to consider at what cost per job for these jobs?  What about fixing up our state highways, streets and bridges?  Why don't we demolish some of the rundown buildings in the metro and create some parking ramps or something to help everybody have good access to the events that we already have?  Could we level out a block of decrepit buildings and make a park or something?  Don't these things create jobs?  I mean, the situation isn't really any different except these works would benefit everyone rather than just Vikings fans.  Also, I don't know about you, but I get around the metro and out state quite a bit.  Our roads are rough and terrible.

The argument has been made to me that the actual finished Viking facility would employ more people long term.  I guess I can see some property management and public relations sort of jobs, but I really can't see the point of them.  Creating jobs in a sense of day to day operations for an establishment that is built and operated with tax money is nothing more than another liability.  As far as food service goes, I think the discussion is even more moot.  There will not be any significant new food service or janitorial jobs created for the new Vikings stadium that don't directly damage the supply of jobs available at the Metrodome.  Don't kid yourself.  The food service people work their butts off and get paid very little because the margins are fairly tight on food service.  The managers of those food service companies will continue to trim back jobs at one location and move staff to the other and will likely even use most of the same staff.  It isn't like they are going to schedule huge events at the Metrodome on the same day as Vikings games.  It isn't going to happen.  Think of it this way:  Susie works at the wiener stand on the Metrodome on Tuesday for an event and then again on Friday for Monster Trucks.  Then, Susie works the wiener stand at the Twins game Saturday.  Then on Sunday,  Susie works the wiener stand at the preseason rally at the new Vikings stadium.  Susie CAN work at all locations on different days.  And, why wouldn't she want to?  I see no new jobs here.  Well, maybe there is a few, but again, try to justify spending over a billion dollars to create these jobs.

The new complex will make over $85,000 per event in parking alone.

This is really silly and it makes an assumption.  This statement assumes that the events will all sell out.  This statement assumes that all parking will be purchased at full retail.  You cannot believe that if Xcel Energy, Coke, Pepsi, Target, or anyone else wanted to throw a big party for their employees and take them to a game that the management of the new stadium wouldn't cut them a deal on parking for multiple cars?  You better believe they would give them a break.  They better.  Vikings stadium management would be fools not to.  It's only good business.  Either way, the Twins pitched us all on a profitability scale figuring that almost all of the seats were full.  How much do they make if nobody goes to the games?  Hard to bank on unrealized income.

The new complex will bring lots of tax money into Minnesota.

I guess I don't understand this idea, either.  Who is this additional tax money coming from?  The players?  Most of the players don't even live in Minnesota.  Is this additional tax money coming from fans?  Is it from increased capacity of the new complex?  If it is, it is also banking on unrealized income from an unproven source.  I don't remember too many sold out Vikings games in this lifetime.  So, does that mean if we the people build a new stadium that seats more people that magically more people will come?  No, it doesn't mean that at all.  In fact, it is financially irresponsible to assume that it would.  But, it comes to your opinion about it, not mine.  I do not want my money handled irresponsibly.  Do you?

I think the only way I could see more tax money coming into Minnesota is that the property values of housing and of the property the new stadium is built on would change.  There is potential for huge property tax gains.  But, that really seems to help out the city and county where the new stadium is.  It does not help out anyone else in Minnesota.

The new stadium is an investment in the future of our state.

I just don't think so.  I think roads are an investment.  I think education is an investment.  I think parks are an investment.  I do not think that a stadium is.  Even if we build it, we aren't guaranteed that the Vikings won't leave five years from now anyway.  Or, maybe ten years from now they will demand another new stadium that costs $5 billion?  Who is to say?  I do think that if the stadium idea was such an absolute cash cow and a terrific multi-billion dollar making idea, the owner of the Vikings would want to build it himself.  Why wouldn't he?  He could afford it.  He doesn't build it himself because then he is tied to Minnesota.  If he built it himself, it would be his neck in the line if it didn't work out, not the tax payers of Minnesota.  These risks are not acceptable to him.  So, the other way to get the stadium is to threaten to leave and watch Minnesotans that like football kick, scream, and cry about it.  Then, when enough pressure gets put on politicians, the Vikings get their stadium for free.

The Vikings will leave without a new stadium.

Wow.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.  Sorry Vikings, but this just isn't working out.  You can't win a Superbowl and a good portion of your players are being bailed out of jail regularly.  I'm sorry, Vikings, but I think we need to see other people.  Really, let them leave if they want to.  If they don't want to be in Minnesota, let them go.  Are you willing to pay $1.2 billion dollars so they stay?  If they leave the state, they will still be on television, would they?  Or, if they leave the state do they just ride off into the sunset on a dusty saddle with worn out spurs?  Seriously?  What appeal does any of this argument have to a person like me that just doesn't care about the Vikings?

Last but not least is my favorite argument.

Well, I like football so I want a new stadium.  If it was something you liked, you would want it, too.

Wrong again.  If our state had a product and giving money to the state via taxes actually earned something, an investment in a project of the state might be more appealing.  But, when our state does little other than argue over insignificant things, blow billions and billions of dollars of our money, lie right to our face in the media, and place blame in a he said/she said fashion the idea of believing or backing any of the politicians or their ideas has very little luster.  I'm sorry, but I just don't trust them.  I don't trust the governor.  I don't trust any of the house or senate politicians.  I think they look out for themselves, their careers, and they pass legislation to help out those that got them elected.  They do this much of the time at the expense of what would be decent or good.  There frankly is NO project that I can think of that could benefit me that I would think the using tax dollars from everyone in Minnesota would be justified. I would never think it's okay to steal money from you so I can be entertained on the weekends.

But, what do I know.  I am just a crazy political ranter.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You lose with big gas prices.

Gas prices being high.  Who benefits? Why?  How?

Obama and his administration benefit.

Obama campaigned for "green" energy and still gets support for this unrealized campaign idea.  What's the reality?

Big gas prices benefit him and his administration.  How do they? 

Well, ultra liberals will support him despite high energy costs because not unlike ANY  "ultra" stance, they do not want to be confused with facts or reality because their minds are already made up.  Their persistence is respectable, but the inability to accept true reality makes them unreliable sources of facts.  Also, if they are crazy (like PETA crazy) they would not care about spending their inheritance on gasoline because they are under the illusion that it needs to be expensive to do "the right thing" or what they might think "the right thing" is.  So, ultra liberals will love Obama despite whatever energy costs are because they are sure they are correct.

More moderate liberals will tolerate these inflated fuel prices because gas might not be nearly as big or a topic to them in their world as say abortion, gay marriage or naturalization of illegal immigrants.  These people realize that if they fail financially due to excess government taxes, fees, spending, and fuel costs, that the Obama administration has created multiple safety nets for them to live anyway funded by the tax dollars of others.  They are under the impression that this is America and they have a "right" to money and a "right" to a good living.

Obama has also deficit spent more money than all other presidents through Bush combined.  A high gas price brings in billions of additional monies in gas taxes and this may help ease the drought of federal money that states have available to them.  A representative of the state of New York was on record a couple years back praising high gas prices for helping them balance their budget as a state.   Most states have a gas tax of some sort and many of these states use a tax based on the dollar, not on the gallon.  So, higher gas prices equals more money for state government.  More money for state government means state government spends more money.  All in all this just means less money for consumers.

A few of Obama's biggest financial backers are Wall Street banks and oil companies.  British Petroleum is a huge contributor to the Obama cause.  So is Goldman Sachs.  Do you remember them?  They are one of the banks "too big to fail" and they received $10 billion dollars of "stimulus" money because they were in such financial peril.  Wait, do you mean Obama has helped out some of the banks that gave him campaign money?  Really?

A high gas price certainly helps out any gas company in the world.  In the days of Bush, liberals everywhere would be crying foul and burning crosses on the White House lawn if G.W. would have directly had a hand in helping out oil companies.  How does Obama directly have a hand in high gas prices?  By banning offshore drilling, his administration has created higher demand and thus higher prices.  By letting drilling permits expire without renewal, he has further increased demand and prices and also unemployed thousands of America workers.  His excuse for banning drilling and permit renewal was because of the Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico where millions and millions of gallons of crude oil were spilled when a rig blew up and the safety valve failed.  The idea that because of disaster, ALL oil drilling and exploration is hazardous to the environment would be same thinking that if one school bus crashes, ALL school buses are unsafe.  Or, if we have one car accident in this country, all car driving will result in an accident.  Or, if we have one case of food poisoning in this country, food should be banned because food isn't safe.  Obama was on record "punishing" BP for their negligence, but then helped gas prices soar and remain high for a prolonged period of time and that allowed BP to pay for their "punishment" money right out of excess cash flow. Convenient. 

Big banks benefit.

Yes, that's right.  Banks benefit greatly from a high gas price.  So, all this time spent by Obama and other politicians complaining about "big banking" and how the banks "rip off" consumers is a complete crock of crap.  Don't get me wrong, I am not defending the banks.  I am just stating the FACT that bank fees are based on the dollar, not on the gallon when it comes to gas.  The banks that run Visa/Mastercard/Amex can now charge me the retailer a lot more money for their services even though I am handling less gasoline.  Every gasoline retailer pays credit card fees based on the dollar, not on the gallon.  Also, if you charge your gas on a credit card and don't get the balance paid monthly, more than likely the dollar amount of gas consumed is higher than it used to be.  Then, the banks make more interest off of you, the consumer.  What better way to earn money off of the public than increase fees on something that most people cannot operate without?  As a consumer, you end up paying for it in the long run as retailers cannot continue to absorb more and more overhead when already faced with low margins.

Wall Street traders benefit.

Banks also back Wall Street traders in the gasoline and oil markets.  Even though the markets are volatile, the markets end up being manipulated by their trading.  Figure it this way:  If you are a market trader and are averaging 5% profit per trade, do you make more money in the product is worth $10, or in the product is worth $100?  If the margins remain, the traders cash in on high gas prices.  Also, in the stock market, if enough people buy up supplies and hold onto them, they price has to go up.  It's because of supply and demand.  Now, if you and a bunch of your billionaire buddies want to make a bunch of money, why wouldn't you buy up as much of the supply as possible, sit on that supply until the market goes up, and them dump it all on the market?  Then, as the market prices fall from being saturated with product, you buy it again at the bottom price, hold on to it until demand gets high again, then sell it again high.  Rinse, recycle, repeat.  This is what is happening right now every single day.  But, instead of the traders making 5% on $10 crude, they are making 5% on $100 crude.

Alternative energy sources benefit.

Obama was on record a couple years ago saying that to make solar or wind power a viable energy option, fossil fuels would have to go up drastically in price.  This is and has happened.  The Al Gores of the world are celebrating I'm sure as he has made billions and billions of dollars preaching his unproven climate claims.

Our government has justified spending in companies like Solyndra for this very reason.  The premise is that before when fossil fuels were cheap, we didn't NEED to look for other choices.  Now that fossil fuels aren't cheap, we NEED to.  The problem with this theory is that the government fails to acknowledge that they are the ones causing the inflated fuel prices in the first place.  Doesn't really seem like much of a crisis if they are in control of it, does it?

Who doesn't benefit?  Everyone else.

Without a choice in the matter you get to pay more for everything.

Taxes.  Sales tax will increase on each and every item you buy.  Why?  Because each and every item that is sold in this country will have to cost more to offset additional overhead due to additional fuel costs in trucking and production of these items.  The government wins again because anytime that goods cost more, they collect more tax.  This is just simple math.  If you are paying 10% sales tax on an item that costs $2.00, you pay $.20.  Increase the cost of that item to $3.00 and now you pay $.30.  This applies to any taxed item.  Government wins.  You lose.

Crops are grown and harvested using diesel fuel.  Corn is used in 75-95% of products in the grocery store (depending on where I sourced).  So, soda will be more expensive because of the high fructose corn syrup.  Ketchup will go up.  Also Oreo cookies, Wonderbread, Corn Flakes, Eggo Waffles and about a million other products.  When the cost of production of corn goes up, the cost of the finished goods almost has to go up.  A high petroleum market also means drastic increases in fertilizer costs, too. This increased cost of production will have an effect on every product that is farmed in this country.  What's the solution?  Import more crops?  I mean, we have government mandated ethanol blended into our gasoline in this country, but we aren't buying the ethanol here.  We are importing it from South America because it's cheaper.  Should we do this with all of our food, too?

Chickens, cows and pigs all eat crops or by-products of crops, so the price of meat goes up.  This increase comes from a few other different ways here, too.  Inflated fuel cost adds to increased feed input costs for animals, increased waste handling costs, and also increased costs for trucking and shipping the animals.  As a consumer, you lose again.

Everything you can buy in this country is trucked, trained, or boated to you.  Many of the things you buy are handled all three of those ways.  With higher fuel costs, the added costs of fuel gets passed down to the consumer.  Every shirt, computer, candy bar, cell phone pair of socks, anything and everything is shipped, trucked or trained to you.  As a consumer again, you lose.

Tires for your car have already seen a huge price increase from a high crude oil market.  Not only are they manufactured from oil, but they are also shipped and freighted many times before they get to you.  Again, you are paying more as a consumer.

The government in Minnesota is talking about reducing the gas tax and adding a mileage tax.  Although the government wants you to drive a very fuel efficient car, they aren't making enough money off of you if you do since you buy less gas.  Their solution is to tax you additionally for your mileage.  So, even though the government has manipulated gas pricing so you have to pay dearly, they are still unhappy with how much money you give them and they still want more of your money.

I could site dozens and dozens of examples here, but I hope you get the idea.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not opposed to green, renewable energy.  But, if the government destroys our economy and keeps us broke, how will we be able to afford to try new things that could lead to breakthroughs in energy?  Do you think the government should be telling us how to solve these problems?   Truly there is no innovation in government.  All innovation, creativity and problem solving comes from sources outside of government each and every time.  I don't know about you, but I frankly don't think government is the most qualified for the job of creating new ways to be environmentally friendly coupled with financial responsibility.  They can't even deliver our mail without going broke.  Do you think they can handle this?

Is your life better now than it was?