Thursday, January 05, 2012

Early Prediction: Obama wins Re-election

Yes, I hate to say it, but that's my prediction right now. If conditions in the county remain on election day as they are right now, Obama will win.

I base that on what I'm seeing and hearing on the political landscape right now, and how I interpret the overriding political nature of the Baby Boomers. I wrote about that before on this blog, calling them the Candy Store Generation (first one is here). In my mind they—or I guess I should say "we"—have screwed up much or most of what is good about the United States. It has gotten so bad that I look for a future generation, which I call the "Had Enough Generation", who will reject what the CSG did and right the ship of state.

I believe the 2010 mid-term elections was the first appearance of the Had Enoughs. I wasn't sure if they would show their head so soon, thinking it might not be Gen X or even Gen Y, but might be somewhere out in the future. But show up the Had Enoughs did, in large enough numbers to make partial changes in Congress and scare the daylights out of the political establishment on both sides of the aisle.

But, based simply on raw numbers, the Candy Store Generation still rules this country and determines who is elected. Where were they in 2010? It was just an off-year election. They were asleep, or stoned, or busy with whatever a privileged and spoiled people do. So the first appearance of the Had Enoughs had a minor victory. But in 2012, the Candy Store Generation will be out in force. Their gravy train is threatened by those who don't want to pay the freight. There are enough voters in the CSG that I believe they will carry the day for Obama. Regardless of what polls and approval ratings suggest now, the CSG is not going to vote for those who will grab them by their hair and yank their sorry faces out of the government feeding trough. The Had Enoughs will see a little bit of a smack down in 2012.

When will the Had Enoughs be large enough to overcome the Candy Store Generation? I’m not ready to make that prediction yet. But I don’t think it will be in 2014 or 2016. It will only be when the CSG shrinks to a small enough part of the voting public, and their leadership in elected positions gives way to a younger generation. In fact, I'm still not sure that Gen X will be the Had Enoughs. The Had Enoughs will come from every generation voting. Some will come from what Brokaw calls the Greatest Generation. A few Boomers will be among the Had Enoughs. Gen X will be well represented in the Had Enoughs, but possibly it will be Gen Y before the Had Enoughs are dominant enough to really turn things around.

Having said all this, I hope I’m wrong. I hope the Had Enoughs can make gains in 2012, rather than be set back. I'll have to revisit this after the elections, and see how close I came. Meanwhile, my neck is well stretched out.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Washington, Listen to Yourselves

President Obama said it in his address to the nation, the one that was followed by Speaker Boehner’s response. I have heard Obama’s claim repeated by other Democratic politicians. I haven’t researched the truth of it myself, but for now I’m going to believe it. It goes something like this.
I may be off a little in the number of times, but not too far off. Why the GHW Bush administration wasn’t included I don’t know, or maybe it was and my memory is faulty.

 
Hello, Mr. President and Congress, listen to what you are saying! In the 26 years covered by the administrations listed above the debt ceiling was raised 36 times. Doesn’t that give you cause for concern? Doesn’t that tell you that the entire system is broken? How can a debtor go out and get his credit limit raised 36 times in 26 years?

 
I had a family member do pretty much the same thing. He borrowed heavily to finance his small business. Through a combination of difficult business conditions, government regulation, and health issues, he lost his business to bankruptcy. He convinced others to finance a return of his business. That business faced the same conditions, and five years later was on the verge of bankruptcy. He convinced his son to buy his property as a way of rescuing the business. The business failed again. To float the business he took out a credit card in his son's name and maxed it out. He did that again, and again, for a total of five times. He borrowed payments from individuals. Finally with all his resources and sources gone, the bank seized the property from the son, who had to declare bankruptcy. Thus the son is off the hook, the father will shortly be homeless, and the bank’s owners have had to pick up at least some of the tab.

 
I realize using a personal situation is not quite the same thing as a government. The person can’t print money. On the other hand, the person can go out and get a second job. The person can easily cut spending and quit destructive behavior with immediate decisions. Large governments can’t do that. Large governments, representing a large citizenry, have to operate on the herd mentality. Until the herd quits its destructive behavior or goes over the cliff en mass, not much can be done.

 
I believe, however, that the frequent requests to and acquiescence in raising the debt ceiling is evidence that we are headed for destruction. Obama’s words, as repeated by his various lackeys, prove it. Congress, you are out of your minds. Thank God for those few among your moronic membership who dared to call you on your madness. May their tribe increase.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

The Borrowing Limit Deal: HE, or BAU by the Candy Store Generation?

I’ve been following this debt ceiling debate closer than I should. I watch the coverage on Fox News Channel till I get tired of that, then turn to MSNBC (mainly for laughs), till that makes my blood pressure go up, then to CNN, till I can’t stand any more. Then I turn to cable channel 46 or 30, and hope I catch a replay of an episode of Criminal Minds, and see what the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) is up to.

But there's another wording for BAU: business as usual. I can't help but think that’s exactly what this debt ceiling increase deal is: business as usual. Increase our ability to borrow to fund cowboy poetry festivals across the nation for the next two years of so, make a few designated cuts, and delay all the difficult decisions until later.

Anyone care to predict what will happen when this new super-duper congressional committee comes up with its recommended cuts just before Thanksgiving? Congress won’t approve them by Christmas. These "automatic triggers" will go into effect, but when the many members of Congress realize exactly what that means, we will have a major battle over that. Maybe some spending cuts will come to the table for debate, but so will tax increases. "The wealthy don't pay their fare share" will come up as it always does, and proponents of that will not tell the American people that taxes fall heaviest on the poor and middle class, regardless of who writes the check to the government. Indeed, they don't recognize or accept that themselves.

This will become the main issue of the election of 2012 at the presidential and congressional levels. I suppose that’s a good thing. Once again social issues will take a back seat to economic issues. Those of "Tea Party" leanings will either be strengthened or, if the Democrats and the press can succeed at branding them radical obstructionists, lose ground. I can't see clearly enough to have a clue of what will happen to Tea Party strength in that election.

This all makes me wonder if what we are seeing now the first battle between the Had Enough Generation and The Candy Store Generation. The CSG are the Baby Boomers, those who had everything given to them on a platter by a once great generation who didn't want their children to go through the hardships they did. The HEG is someone who comes after the CSG and cleans up their mess. Possibly this is the first struggle between those two for supremacy. If so, the HEG has shown up quicker than I expected it to.

But we've still got a lot of the CSG in the Congress. Just how stupid are these people? I hate to keep coming back to the Nevada Cowboy Poetry Festival, but Harry "The Gray" Reid brought it up, saying how awful it would be to de-fund them. Now Reid is not technically a member of the CSG. Born in 1939, seven years before the official start of the Boomers, he theoretically belongs to what Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation". But clearly there is a transitional group, born late in one generation but who didn't participate with the older ones in their struggles. That's Reid. That's Pelosi. They are older Boomers at heart, leaders of one wing of the CSG.

They think it is perfectly acceptable to borrow $35,000 from the People's Republic of China to fund a poetry festival, and expect their children to pay the interest on that money for perhaps twenty years and then have their grandchildren pay the bill itself sometime after that. As I said before, this is beyond ridiculous; it's moronic.

But I don't see anything yet that is going really make a dent in this out of control spending. The committee that's part of the deal probably won't work. The battle will continue. And the election of 2012 will let us know if the Had Enoughs have arrived or not. My guess is they are beginning to show, but that the Candy Store Generation will still have sufficient power to continue to make a mess of everything up until 2014. That’s when we might see the HEG make enough of a move to really change things.

Until then, it's BAU with the CSG. Let's hope they don’t run us over a cliff in these last three years. We're very close right now.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hands Off My Money

Barack, Harry, and Nancy:

The USA government has enough money coming in to service its debt and cover everything that is really essential. Everything we are borrowing money for is, in my not so humble opinion, non-essential.

So if you don't get authorization to borrow more, prioritize. This is called "money management", something you never seem to have learned.
Barack, you say you want more revenue--lots more revenue--as compensation for spending cuts. But you say the revenue will come from the richest Americans, those who earn more than $200 or $250 thousand (whatever that number is today), claiming that won't hurt the poor or the middle class.

I've got news for you, Barack, Harry, and Nancy: Taxes don't really work that way. Raise taxes on the rich, and they'll just charge more for their goods and services. They are the ones who have the power to do so. Market forces put some limit on this, but not enough to prevent some rise in prices. So it's the poor and middle class who give the rich the money they use to pay their taxes. Do you really think the rich are just going to sit idly and not recover from the poor what you take from them?

Tax the rich and you tax indirectly tax me in the middle class. Why don't you get that?

But tell you what. Harry Reid wants this cowboy poetry festival in Nevada, and thinks I should contribute to the cost of the cowboy poets getting together. I'll listen to your arguments about the need for more revenue if Harry pays for this festival out of his own pocket for the next five years, and refunds to the American people (via the US Treasury) the last five years. He's worth over $2 million (mostly accumulated since he's been a senator), and that's only $350,000. He can afford it, if he really thinks it's so important.

Why should a poor person in Rhode Island, or a middle class guy in Arkansas pay for cowboy poets to get together in Nevada? If you all think it's so important they have a forum, you should be willing to pay for it yourselves. Or, think of it this way: Would you borrow money to pay for cowboy poets to get together in Nevada? Doesn't that sound absolutely ridiculous?

Until Harry does that, I conclude you really don't have a clue about money management, and thus don't qualify to get a larger amount of public money to mismanage. You asked everyone to contact their national legislators and make their feelings known. I will do that today. What I will say is: YOU DON'T DESERVE ANY MORE MONEY TO MISMANAGE. NO TAX INCREASES ON ANYONE. Increase taxes on the rich and the poor and middle class end up paying them.

Nitwits.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

What WAS Shovel-Ready

Did President Obama not have any civil engineers on his staff? Or anywhere in his administration? It would appear not. All those "shovel-ready jobs" he talked about were public works projects. Well, that happens to be in my bailiwick. I've made a career or doing the civil engineering part of public works projects. And not only me, but a lot of civil engineers have done even more public works than I have, since part of my career has also involved commercial projects.

Back in early 2009 when the president was saying that ARRA funds would go to shovel-ready jobs and put people right to work, I wanted to scream "You don't know what you're talking about." The fact is, there are very few public works projects just sitting around waiting to be funded. Since most of the time funding is required to do the engineering for these projects, the engineering isn't going to be done until at least some of the funding is in place.

Northwest Arkansas recently had a "shovel-ready" job go to construction. It's the Bella Vista By-pass, an interstate highway that will fill a gap in intestate quality roads linking Missouri and Arkansas. This is a road that was not part of the original interstate highway program, but was added some years ago based on population expansion in northwest Arkansas. It will connect Fort Smith AR and Joplin MO, both of which have interstates extending some distance north and south respectively. As either state had some money to spend, they would extend their road another ten or twenty miles, and the gap narrowed.

By 2005 the gap was down to about 25 miles. The two states did some joint planning, decided on a route that would meet, and began their respective work of seeking money and acquiring rights-of-way. Missouri got ahead of Arkansas, has their money in the bank, and has been waiting on Arkansas to get their act together. Somehow, the act never got together. Arkansas sought Federal funds and never received them. They cut back the scale of the project, proposing to initially build only a high-quality controlled access two lane road. Still, since Arkansas, for some reason, thought the good people of the United States of America, rich and poor, eastern and western, north and south, should build their road for them, the project languished.

Until ARRA. Sometime in 2010 ARRA funds filled the money gap to fill the road gap, and the project became a go. The Arkansas highway department got after a client of our engineering company to get an 18-inch water line moved, and after another utility to get a 10-inch water line moved, and after phone, gas, electrical, and cable TV companies to get their utilities moved. At some point engineering documents were completed, the road project bid in March 2011, and a road contractor mobilized in May.

Last Friday, July 8, 2011, approximately 29 months after ARRA was passed, the ribbon cutting was held for this construction project. But I need to be fair. Funds were being expended as early as August 2010, a mere 19 months after ARRA was passed, and maybe a little sooner. But the lion's share of those expenditures on this project are only now about to hit the work force.

A civil engineer could have told Barack in a heartbeat that no shovel ready jobs existed in the architecture-engineering-construction industry. Construction drawings had to be drawn and construction specifications written. Land had to be acquired or condemned. Bids had to be received and low bidders qualified. Mobilization time had to be spent.

A civil engineer could have told you, Mr. President. But then your lie would have become known. Everyone would have known that it wasn't the construction projects and construction jobs that were "shovel-ready", but something else entirely, which we usually talk about in euphemisms with shoveling-like gestures. Yes, something was shovel-ready from your administration, but it wasn't the jobs.

Get ready, America. We've got at least 18 more months of having to watch where we step.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Shameless Self-Promotion

Hopefully my good friend, the Senescent Man, will not mind my making a shameless commerical plug for myself. If I'm out of line, Chuch, feel free to delete this. Given that the blog has been dormant for four months, I'm not sure who will see it anyway.

I have completed a book, and it is for sale at the Kindle store. It is:

Documenting America: Lessons from the United States' Historical Documents

Here's the link, and here's the description:
The United States is rich in documents, many which remain in obscurity, but which contain valuable information about the formation of this nation, while at the same time contain lessons for where we are right now. In this book, a number of these documents are quoted in large blocks, the importance of the document explained, and relevancy for America shown. The documents selected cover the 18th and 19th centuries. The colonial era, the run up to Independence, the formative years, and the rise to the beginning of being a great world power are all herein.
I'll say here what I didn't say in the on-line description: I wrote the book from a conservative political perspective. What I get into a document, and try to draw a lesson for the 21st century, I calls 'em like I sees 'em. But, if the document seems to espouse a non-conservative theme, I try to bring it back to a conservative understanding.

Well, there's the promotion. The book is a bargain at $1.25, all 40,000 words (about 160 pages of a standard print book. I hope some readers of TSM will buy it and post reviews on the Kindle store. Oh, and I understand that just about any electronic device can display the book, though you might need to download the free Kindle app.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goodnight Les Miserables

Here I am at home listening to much of the same Christmas music I enjoy each season, some wonderfully orchestral, some more vocal and even pop.  For instance, I really enjoy Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra singing the old carols.  They unabashedly sing about “Christ the King,” “born to give us second birth,…” from a time when it was considered normal operating procedure to sing Christmas carols with all glory of their original lyrics.

The other night on his regular evening program, Bill O’Reilly opined as to whether or not it was offensive to some when “flash mobs” gather in shopping malls across the country to sing Handel’s Alleluia Chorus from his exquisite Oratorio “Messiah” because the words might be offensive to some, presumably “some” are people who shop and celebrate small “c” Christmas and prefer to evacuate all meaning of its origin and significance, who have made it just another secular day off from work. 

My first reaction to Bill’s question was consternation because it caused me to wonder why this question should even be asked in the first place?  But even if he didn’t, and I know what he was likely driving at – that people who are offended as such were “pinheads” in his vernacular – the question in these times nonetheless is begged every day.

There is a working dynamic here.  It is not just the usual offense that the gospel represents to the unchurched.  I fear we are entering a new age where everything and anything that directly or indirectly makes reference of the true and original nature and meaning of Christmas will be, little by little, extricated from the public square as arcane, dogmatic, irrelevant and biased against those who prefer never to hear a word on the True Light and Hope of the world, which all of this music in effect points to.

When we fully enter that post-postmodern age where everything is completely devoid of all meaning and all reference to this wonderful message of hope, how shall we then live?  What then of our world?  Our society? Dear Virginia, yes there may be a Santa Claus, but as for hope?  Well, I’m sorry Virginia, there is no hope for you beyond this world. There was no Savior who came to remove the dross from this fallen earth to pave a path to a new world, and hence there is only today, so live for today, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” and it all ends, and sooner rather than later. 

What would be next to remove from public view? Any classical literature the makes veiled references to redemption?  Goodnight Les Miserables.  Farewell to Milton, Adios “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

What then of our coming new and hopeless age? When we are on our respective deathbeds, and become more supple to that last chance at hope, there will be no redemptive literature to reflect upon, no lyrics to ponder, no music to listen to that gives consideration to a coming New and durable life without flaw, in the full light of the Dayspring, the Beautiful Rose of Sharon, whose Kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ. Alleluia.


Goodnight Les Miserables

Here I am at home listening to much of the same Christmas music I enjoy each season, some wonderfully orchestral, some more vocal and even pop.  For instance, I really enjoy Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra singing the old carols.  They unabashedly sing about “Christ the King,” “born to give us second birth,…” from a time when it was considered normal operating procedure to sing Christmas carols with all glory of their original lyrics.

The other night on his regular evening program, Bill O’Reilly opined as to whether or not it was offensive to some when “flash mobs” gather in shopping malls across the country to sing Handel’s Alleluia Chorus from his exquisite Oratorio “Messiah” because the words might be offensive to some, presumably “some” are people who shop and celebrate small “c” Christmas and prefer to evacuate all meaning of its origin and significance, who have made it just another secular day off from work. 

My first reaction to Bill’s question was consternation because it caused me to wonder why this question should even be asked in the first place?  But even if he didn’t, and I know what he was likely driving at – that people who are offended as such were “pinheads” in his vernacular – the question in these times nonetheless is begged every day.

There is a working dynamic here.  It is not just the usual offense that the gospel represents to the unchurched.  I fear we are entering a new age where everything and anything that directly or indirectly makes reference of the true and original nature and meaning of Christmas will be, little by little, extricated from the public square as arcane, dogmatic, irrelevant and biased against those who prefer never to hear a word on the True Light and Hope of the world, which all of this music in effect points to.

When we fully enter that post-postmodern age where everything is completely devoid of all meaning and all reference to this wonderful message of hope, how shall we then live?  What then of our world?  Our society? Dear Virginia, yes there may be a Santa Claus, but as for hope?  Well, I’m sorry Virginia, there is no hope for you beyond this world. There was no Savior who came to remove the dross from this fallen earth to pave a path to a new world, and hence these is only today, so live for today, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” and it all ends, and sooner than later. 

What would be next to remove from public view? Any classical literature the makes veiled references to redemption.  Goodnight Les Miserables.  Farewell to Milton, Adios “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

What then of our coming new and hopeless age? When we are on our respective deathbeds, and become more supple to that last chance at hope, there will be no redemptive literature to reflect upon, no lyrics to ponder, no music to listen to that gives consideration to a coming New and durable life without flaw, in the full light of the Dayspring, the Beautiful Rose of Sharon, whose Kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ. Alleluia.

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