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Thursday, August 28, 2014

I've got a bad feeling, a helpless feeling.

Russia invades Ukraine. The Ebola plague continues to spread exponentially. ISIL forces take more territory and commit further brutal atrocities. The economy continues to stagnate, and honesty, with war and rumors of war, it's got me wondering, what's next?

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I spend my days distracted. I can't concentrate completely on any task because in the back of my mind I'm waiting. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop or the sword to fall. I talk with co-workers and they also feel a similar unease. Obama fiddles while America burns or maybe he rearranges the deck chairs while America sinks. Pick your own cliché because there's something rotten in Denmark, is my feeling. Mitt Romney's famous "forty-seven percent" have already grown to more than fifty percent according to the Census Bureau. There are less people working than there are people who collect welfare.

So on the one hand it's war and rumors of war, on the other it's a plague, and all I can do is wait and worry. And while waiting occasionally I cringe as I imagine the crack of the whip or the fall of the sword. I wait blindly in the dark for the peal of thunder as the first of the Seven Seals is opened at last.
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
I've never felt this level of pressure before. I feel, believe, have a hunch, or perception that we stand at the brink.

When I was ten years old I got a miniature collie, a Sheltie, for my birthday.

One day when "Foxie" was ten months old, she got outside through a not quite shut front door while my grandmother and I were unloading groceries from the car. She made a beeline straight for the road—a fairly busy road. I watched parallelized as a car doing more than forty miles per hour ran over her, and screeched to a halt with smoking tires fifty feet down the road. It all happened in an instant. That feeling, that helpless feeling of impending doom as I waited to assess the final outcome is what I feel today, every day. Foxie wasn't run over by the tires. The car body passed over her without crushing her. She was greasy and scared and she ran yelping to me for comfort. As I gathered her up, I remember falling to the ground shuddering in relief as the adrenaline continued to pump through me. That feeling of impending doom is the feeling I feel everyday now. Back then when my arms were full of groceries and my puppy first pushed her way through the front door I was a bystander completely helpless. That's the way I feel, now.

I don't know what's going to happen. I don't think anybody does, but I've got a really bad feeling about it, a helpless feeling.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Laying blame in Ferguson is like peeling an onion

No one seems to be talking about the daily threat to life and limb that police officers endure. There is almost no reporter attempting to discuss what is really going on. This huge man, a thug, having robbed a store and beaten up the clerk, was resisting a police officer's repeated verbal commands. A thug who obviously thought the police were on to him and his criminality. It ended the way Michael Brown wrote the script of his life. There lies the blame for it all -- in a pool of his own blood. Thank goodness it wasn't the other way around, with another officer gone, trying to do his job in service to the community.

The police have every right to turn these neighborhoods into militarized zones with curfews and crackdowns. And more than that, an obligation to bring order to these inner-city cesspool plantations created by Democrat policies. Entitlement programs give rise to feral living and immorality -- especially after the people turn against law and order, equity and justice, civility and right, and stampede the businesses of others and take that which is not theirs. What do you do with an entire community of thieves?
Well, David S. Whitley, how did they become a "community of thieves?" Are you suggesting that this is their normal state of being? Furthermore, can't you see that the in-your-face provocation of cops dressed as storm troopers literally throwing their weight around, tossing tear-gas grenades, shooting rubber bullets, pushing, shoving, arresting, in ghetto neighborhoods—where they hate cops anyway—is insanely misguided, and perhaps intentionally so?

Looking at the raw numbers, the facts are clear: Police shoot civilians at four times the rate that civilians shoot cops. I'm not suggesting that this is bad. I'm not admitting that it's okay. What I'm saying is that perhaps police training should focus less on the gun and more on the people. To my mind, both Darren Wilson and the Ferguson police department are somewhat complicit in this entire destructive debacle. Isn't it possible that all of this could have been handled differently? Perhaps there wasn't an opportunity. Perhaps their wasn't sufficient training or equipment. Perhaps training officers to draw and fire as a reflex is a mistake.

I'll start with this presupposition: an individual law enforcement officer's success is defined not by how many crimes are prevented, but by how many criminals are put in prison. A patrols officer's success is not determined by how many people are obeying the speed limit, but by how many speeding tickets are handed out. Time after time in case after case law enforcement success is determined not by how many victims are hurt but by how many criminals are punished. Can't you see how horribly misguided our system is?

Not to put too fine a point on it, the job of law enforcement should be to decrease the instances of law-breaking. That is all. Instead it seems to me—albeit through my own admittedly limited viewpoint—that law enforcement has forgotten what they are actually supposed to be doing and instead are engaging in pure one-upmanship and grandstanding simply for the notoriety and the admiration of their peers. The object of law enforcement should be much more about preventing crime, and not nearly so much about solving it after it's already happened. Law enforcement should be proactive not reactive. The example in Ferguson Missouri is merely another case in point.

Lacking specific information about the Ferguson case, I'm not going to level accusations regarding the criminality of the shooting or lack thereof. I think we'll all agree however that the militarization of law enforcement has in recent years become more and more obvious and ominous to all of us who watch it happen. But there's a whole lot more to consider.

Consider the outraged population in Ferguson demonstrating peacefully. They may not yet be throwing bottles and rocks, or setting fires, but even lacking these outward signs of rage, don't believe for one second that they are not all enraged to the breaking point. The protesting blacks in Ferguson all have one thing in common: they don't like the police. In a word they HATE the police. Police have come to symbolize and represent the systemic lack of black wealth, status, and power. The black race's near inability to shape their own destinies, to live as free men, to matter at all is expressed in this animalistic chaotic self-defeating violence that just won't go away.

Now don't get me wrong. I didn't say the rioting blacks in Ferguson who blame whites in general and the police specifically are correct in their judgment. Obviously black people themselves are the primary cause of their own misery. Whether they realize it or not, they are the architects of their own ghettos and their own prisons. They've built prisons for their own minds and there they are kept—or perhaps the better turn of phrase would be—there they stay.

The liberal left's decision to "empower" women by separating the fact of fatherhood from the responsibilities of fatherhood is the single most attributable cause of their suffering. We know from countless studies that children who grow up in families lacking a father-figure have vastly lower chances of positive outcomes. Another factor that must be considered in black suffering, is the negative consequence of being a studious black. Blacks reading text-books are ridiculed and tormented by their less studious peers as "acting white." Therefore consider their lives:
  • Everyone they know lives in section 8 housing
  • No father at home
  • Everyone they know buys food with an EBT card
  • Peers ridicule anyone who succeeds at school
  • Street gang members are admired
  • Popular entertainment features profanity and violence
In the computer programming profession we have an often used acronym: GIGO. It means garbage in garbage out. Well GIGO applies to people and society also. In the ghetto it's also garbage in garbage out. We're not going to turn out civilized productive members of society from the urban jungle where we house, clothe, and feed the savages who've enchained themselves therein.

How did these urban jungles develop? It was a series of ostensibly well-meaning, but ultimately misguided decisions by our leftists in Washington. Lyndon Banes Johnson famously stated to two governors on Air Force One:
"I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."

"These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference."
So there's the picture drawn for you. There's the powder-keg all set up next to the munitions factory with the fuse sticking out. Now, some would argue that Darren Wilson lit the fuse. Others would argue that it was Ferguson police wearing their battle armor, wielding their AR-15s and arriving in their armored Humvees and half-tracks, who lit the fuse. There are plenty of people around the country who place the blame solely on a trouble-making eighteen year-old who was apparently a strong-arm robber who needed cigars to roll his marijuana blunts with. We can argue back and forth about who lit the fuse of this powder-keg but I'd like to know who the son-of-a-bitch is who made the powder-keg and put it there in the first place.

The evidence I've seen places the blame primarily on the left, on the entitlement society, on presidents past and present who continually exacerbated an ever worsening situation until today we're at the verge of a full-on race war. And maybe, just maybe that was the plan all along?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh noes! Computer climate models are deniers, too!

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show temperature trends over the last 10,000 years there seemed to be an evident problem.

Zhengyu Liu from the University of Wisconsin says that data from observation suggests that the Earth is cooling while the physical data suggests the complete opposite.

The problem has been termed the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has tremendously important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models. The authors have however emphasized that this does not negate the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century. The question however remains, who is right? Liu suggests that maybe none of us are completely right, he suggests a data problems or perhaps a model problem, for example some physical mechanisms may be missing from the model.
Have you ever wondered what is wrong with some people? Their actions simply make no sense, whatsoever. In the Global Warming debate, there is this cadre of hardcore die-hard left-wing maniacs nuts and moonbats, possessing a near messianic zeal to drag mankind—some of us kicking and screaming—back to our pre-industrial roots. If you look back at that pre-industrial 'golden-age,' you'll find famine, plague, pestilence, grinding poverty, high infant mortality, and early death.

They say we have to stop the carbon emissions. They say we're filling up the air with our exhalations, engine exhaust, and coal-powered electrical plant emissions. Not just the USA, but the entire world must change—and soon—or it's "pockseclipse full of pain!"

There's a term for the world these climate "scientists" want: Dystopia. It's the stuff of both history and science-fiction. But see, now that's all going to change! Now that scientists have admitted discovered that their computer models are massively costly mistakes, publicly funded catastrophes, asinine boondoggles, etc., finally they'll all go back to doing their scientific investigations using that old dust-covered relic known as the scientific method ... won't they?
The Frustrating Climate Change Memes That Just Won’t Die
By Rebecca Leber @rebleber

Whenever I write about climate change, deniers quickly respond that I have it all wrong. Global warming actually stopped over a decade ago, they say. Sometimes they even supply a chart. Yesterday, I wrote about why this argument is completely wrong and why this myth persists. I cited a NASA scientist in my defense. But the reaction was more of the same: On Twitter, some called me a liar or, at best, willfully ignorant of the giant hoax.

Really, why don’t these memes ever go away? Climate deniers twisted NASA atmospheric scientist Norman Loeb’s words last week when he tried to explain that the recent slowdown in temperature rise, something scientists have observed for a while, is very much consistent with global warming. The reason: Oceans are heating up, while surface temperatures are still at their hottest. The deniers never tell that part.
Both of the articles that were quoted in this blog were published today, August 12, 2014. One article refreshingly offers hope that actual scientists using actual scientific observation might one day somehow derail the established IPCC Pharisees riding their gravy train down to Dystopia Town.

The other article is the kind we see much more commonly. It was yet another in the litany of jeremiads lamenting we oafish global warming deniers. It was yet another mocking screed published by the same sort of dunce who persists in arrogantly flaunting their wholly unearned degrees and laurels. It was yet further evidence that a degree is a net negative. After four or more years of "higher" education, graduates walk away from these storied campuses more ignorant than the day they first walked in.

The pseudo-intellectual rabble who currently infest modern-day universities are the sort who never once in their entire lives questioned the asinine dogma handed down by latter-day climate Pharisees. Warmists decided on a goal—a drastic reduction in humanity's average standard of living. They invented a plausible rationale—CO2 was acting as a green-house gas causing increasing global temperature. Finally, they gathered together, and circled their wagons. To them measured debate consists of simply mocking anyone who questions their "science."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A little concerned about Ebola yet?

The African Ebola outbreak may or may not have caught your attention, but it would be wise to remain extremely vigilant. While the relatively light sprinkle of disease remains far away in Africa, if it spreads widely through Nigeria—the most populous country in Africa—it will become increasingly difficult to control the outbreak and the light sprinkle of disease will grow into a torrential downpour of literally biblical proportions.

All the talking heads assure us that there's nothing to worry about. Go on about your business they say. Nothing to see here. Move along. They assure us that our chances of catching Ebola are so minuscule that it might as well be an Ebola lottery ticket. The headline at the Boston Globe asks: What are your chances of getting Ebola?. Reading the story assures us that there's absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact we should be more concerned about the flu:
News about the widening Ebola outbreak seems to get more alarming by the day. So far, roughly 1,700 people have been infected and over 900 have died. Last Friday, the World Health Organization said the spread of the virus was outpacing their response. And two American doctors who contracted the disease have been taken back to the US for treatment.

If these headlines have left you wondering whether we are fast approaching a global pandemic with scenes reminiscent of movies like “Outbreak” and “28 days later,” here are two things to keep in mind.

First, while Ebola is an extremely virulent disease, its impact pales in comparison to other global killers like measles, AIDS, or even the flu.

Second, the likelihood of Ebola spreading across the US is vanishingly small. It isn't a particularly contagious disease, and in a developed country with strong health infrastructure, it probably wouldn't spread much at all.
It turns out that in the United States the mortality rate for the flu is about 15 per 100,000. That's a little over one hundredth of one percent, or one in 6666 people.

As for measles, even before the vaccine, the mortality rate was infinitesimal, but today it's not really a factor at all. Finally there's the HIV virus that causes AIDS. It is of course still a deadly disease that is incurable and often fatal. However, if you simply refrain from having unprotected sex and sharing needles, you're just not going to get it. So please allow me to dispense with patronizing reassurance number one. This Ebola outbreak is killing six out of ten. That's Russian Roulette with four chambers loaded. Comparing Ebola to the flu is like comparing a tsunami to a frog leaping off a lily-pad in some pond.

As for bromide number two: Ebola's basic reproduction number is lower then some of mankind's previous plagues, but even so it's still above one. That means that a person with Ebola on average is likely to spread it to at least one to four other people—and possibly considerably more. What that means is that if Ebola comes here, it's likely to spread—if slowly. Diseases that can spread do spread. Short of declaring martial law and forcing everyone to stay in their homes, contagious diseases are simply going to spread.

One last thing to think about. Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist organization is already in the Ebola infected area. What is to prevent one or more infected terrorists from coming here and intentionally spreading the virus? The symptoms aren't visible or detectable until as many as twenty days after initial infection. Therefore, if they could spread Ebola here, why wouldn't you suppose they would? An Ebola infected terrorist feverishly trying on a hundred different shirts at Wal-Mart would be terrifyingly effective. As would a symptomatic terrorist pushing his way through a crowded subway during rush-hour.

This current Ebola outbreak may well be contained and eventually die out, but blithely publishing pacifying platitudes and bromides in that smug supercilious way that media figures do when they feel safe in their snug little cocoons does a great disservice to their readers. Don't try to scare us, but also, don't try to coddle us either.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if obsessive compulsive disorder might not be a survival trait. I've often sneered at the nervous-nellies who first swab their shopping-cart handles with a wet-wipe before touching them, but perhaps there is literally a method to their madness?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Doctor Frankenstein's social experiments

Senator Harkin of Iowa wants to allow disabled Americans into our armed forces:
[Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa] wants to push [providing disabled individuals with equality under the law] even further, including an amendment in a Senate draft of the annual defense appropriations bill last week that would require the military to study the possibility of allowing disabled individuals to enlist in the military in non-combat and support roles.

“The military now permits individuals to remain on active duty if they acquire a disability while serving their country,” Harkin said during an appropriations hearing July 17. “However, for a person with a similar disability who wants to enlist in the military and be a part of our defense establishment, they would not allow that, even if they needed the same reasonable accommodations.”

The Defense Department already follows federal law mandating “reasonable accommodations” for disabled civilian employees, but no such exceptions are made for enlistees.

“They're not going to be combat people, but we have a lot of people with disabilities who are lawyers who would like to enter the JAG Corps and be a part of our military,” Harkin said. “For every one combat person, there are 10 behind them.”
Meanwhile far from D.C. tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are inundating our borders ever since Obama advertised the big open bar party on the northern side of the border. When you ask who's to blame for the border crisis, all you get is deflection and talking points. The Democrats wanted this. Don't think for one minute that this insanity isn't by design.
Nearly a year before President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the border, a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for a deluge of foreign children.

Thirty Border Patrol agents were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers, wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. As soon as those children were placed in temporary shelters, more arrived. An average of 66 were apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse.
Meanwhile in your own neighborhoods and at your local orphanage and foster-homes It's apparently the age of inclusion. Queue the hippy music. You want to get married to a consenting adult? Two consenting adults, three? Polygamy? Incest? You want to marry your sister? We don't care! Have a ball!
Judge Garry Neilson, from the district court in the state of New South Wales, likened incest to homosexuality, which was once regarded as criminal and "unnatural" but is now widely accepted.

He said incest was now only a crime because it may lead to abnormalities in offspring but this rationale was increasingly irrelevant because of the availability of contraception and abortion.

"A jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now 'available', not having [a] sexual partner," the judge said.

"If this was the 1950s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you'd invariably have, they would say it's unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone."
America's services—schools, welfare programs, emergency medicine, and sundry social services of one kind or another—are sort of like an open bar where the drinks are free for those who're invited. Invitees are permitted to partake of the refreshments at will. The people legally here are welcome. They're expected. They paid the entrance fee, or their parents did. But, what happens when you let legions of party crashers willy-nilly into your open bar? Vandalism, hooliganism, violence, broken furniture, fires, is what you get and worst of all you also run out of booze. A party where the bar-stools are all kindling, the jukebox is smashed, and the open bar has no more booze, is about as entertaining as a quadriplegic prostitute.

I'm blind in one eye. I have been since a car accident that happened when I was twenty years old. The various armed forces wouldn't allow me to sign up with my almost insignificant disability. If you think about it, you only shoot with one eye anyway so what was the big deal? The lesson from 300 is a good place to start.

The key phrase that Leonidas explained to Efialtes was this: "We fight as a single impenetrable unit." If I was a soldier and I failed to see something because of my blindness or failed to catch something that had been thrown to me because of my poor depth perception and either of those sorts of failures caused the death or injury of a fellow soldier or soldiers, then how would those who allowed me to sign up explain their decision?

Our soldiers fight as a single unit. They expect each man to do his job. It doesn't get more life and death than a battlefield, so how can anyone justify allowing our armed forces to be compromised with a bunch of weak links? It therefore baffles me that that our politically correct leaders have sprinkled our military with a selection of weak links.

The way they've sissified basic training is an example of misguided policy makers making fair-seeming decisions with unintended yet terrible consequences. Women, homosexuals, and now disabled will all be handed an M-16 and ushered onto some battlefield, somewhere. What's wrong with that you ask? For those of you who ask "why not?", I'll ask you just this one question. What if the managers of your favorite NFL football team make the decision to put women, transsexuals, and even cripples on the line of scrimmage? Well, are you okay with that? And even if you are, do you think the other players on the team will go for it? They play as a unit. If a weak-link keeps letting the defensive tackles breeze by and the quarterback keeps getting sacked and at some point injured, what then?

What about all these "social experiments" regarding marriage? We hear the phrase "social experiment" all the time and it just sort of flies by without triggering any emotional reflex. Social experiment ... ho-hum ... yawn. Here's a social experiment for you: Get a 45 caliber revolver and load all six chambers. Then carry the gun to your kindergarten son or daughter's classroom and hide it in the toy chest. Are you awake yet? I argue that allowing these "experimental families" the opportunity to adopt someone else's child is as equally insane. Are these people serious? I'm just shaking my head in dismay at what's happening in this country.

Finally, the border situation is on everybody's mind. Tens of thousands of illegals most with children, and even some children all by themselves are pouring across the border. They don't speak English. They don't have any job skills. They aren't properly vaccinated; many harbor deadly diseases; they're hiding within their multicultural throngs a variety of murderers, rapists, drug dealers, thieves, alcoholics, addicts, etc. Dingy Harry wants them here. Obama wants them here. Nancy Pelosi and the entire left side of the political aisle all want them here. Why? Simply for their votes of course. None of these illegals bring anything else with them. They bring hungry bellies, disease, crime, and a vote. If you're voting for the same people these illegals will end up voting for, then this is your mess. You statists and progressivists might as well have shouted "OPEN BAR! COME ON IN!" to every wino in Times Square.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Raise the sales tax again ... why not go ahead and make it 100% now?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sources tell WREG-TV the heads of the fire and police associations in Memphis have proposed raising the city sales tax to restore full healthcare benefits. The head of the Memphis Fire Association however told WREG that is not something that will go forward and be proposed to the public.

Current city employees and some retirees will pay 24% more for healthcare, while some retirees will lose their entire insurance subsidy. We are told there has been a proposal for a tax hike by half a cent to 9.75%. That rate would put Memphis equal with several surrounding municipalities which raised their sales tax to fund new schools.

If the proposal were to moved forward, voters would have to approve it. There are estimates the hike could raise more than $45 million per year. A similar change in the sales tax, to fund pre-k, was defeated last November.

The Segal Company, a human resources consulting firm, found the city pension is underfunded by $467 million. That contradicts a report commissioned by the firefighters union which put the number at $301 million and a report done by PricewaterhouseCoopers which put it at $682 million.

As of July 1, the State of Tennessee requires local governments to contribute 100% of the cost, determined by outside agencies, needed to keep their pension funded.
Oh those poor police and fire-fighters! It's possible if I don't take a half-percent pay-cut that they could lose their 100% paid for insurance and pension plans. What an injustice that would be! Never mind that the privately owned company that I work for doesn't even have a pension plan. never mind that my family's insurance plan gets crappier every year, and for this ever-crappier insurance, I pay more and more and more every year. But never mind all of that. Why should my family's suffering have any bearing whatsoever on the city's decision to forcibly extract even more money from my own family's ever tightening budget?

I can tell you from personal experience that everything costs so much more these days than it did just six years ago. I haven't gotten a raise in those six years, so effectively I've already taken a 30% pay-cut. Now they want to make it 30.5%. And the best thing of all is that I have essentially no power at all to affect this decision. It seems like every year the city has another reason to raise the sales tax. In fact it seems like it was just last year when they wanted to raise sales tax to pay for pre-kindergarten.

Guys, I want to talk for a moment about simple math and simple economics for just a minute. I'm sorry if the following explanation gets a little dry and boring but I'll try to be brief.

For simplicity's sake let's take one guy with a family of four making $50,000 per year. After taxes that's $42,617.64. So you say, that's not so bad. 15% off the top for federal tax and social security. In other states there would be state income tax also deducted. But wait! There's less! After subtracting sales tax at 9.25% our seemingly fairly successful middle-class worker takes home only $37,875.00.

People who work for the city of Memphis say...well yes everything costs more. Rent, utilities, food, clothing, utilities, healthcare, everything costs more. So we need more money. Yes, but the city budget is paid for primarily with sales and property taxes. If food costs more then obviously the city gets more sales tax revenue. If a $10.00 ham has a sales tax of $0.92 and the grocery store increases the price of that ham to $15.00, then the sales tax collected is $1.39. This represents a 50% increase in the price of the ham and in the revenue generated from its sale. No matter how much prices rise, the city should still be floating like a boat rising higher no matter how high the waters rise.

Therefore if rent costs more it's because property costs more, meaning ever-higher property tax revenue. If food costs more it means increased sales tax revenue from its sale. If utilities cost more it means the city brings in increased revenue from taxes imposed on utilities. There's a direct one for one increase in revenue vs. prices no matter how much prices rise. Memphis takes the same percentage of money from every resident and visitor who purchases goods and services in the city.

I'm trying to explain that the excuse of inflation to explain raising sales tax is a low-down rotten stinking good-for-nothing excuse and nothing more. If everything costs more then that means the city makes that much more in tax revenue.

So why is there a budget shortfall? Is it perhaps because the city of Memphis promised pie-in-the-sky pensions for every city employee who puts in their 10 years? Is it perhaps because the city of Memphis promised pie-in-the-sky lifetime health-care for every city employee who puts in their 10 years?

A 20 year old man works for the city for 10 years and becomes fully 'vested' which means he qualifies for full retirement benefits from the city. He goes to another city and does the same thing, and another and another. He retires at age 65 with 4 pensions plus his social security benefits. Every year thereafter he'll cost taxpayers considerably more to sit on a couch and watch the TV than he ever did while he was working. Some cities or municipalities require a different period of time to become fully vested but the effect is the same to a greater or lesser degree. Public sector employees frequently if not ubiquitously retire with multiple full-pensions.

If you want to know why cities and states keep increasing the percentage of money they take it's because with advances in medicine—medicine paid for by the tax-payer—retirees live to greater and greater ages. This has an exponentially multiplying effect on city budgets. If people live ten years longer they cost the city double. twenty years longer and they cost the city quadruple.

I have a great solution to this pension problem. Do the same thing health insurance companies do. If you have two policies covering the same person then one takes precedence. The insurance companies may quibble amongst themselves about which policy takes precedence but still and all, only one insurance company pays the bill, not both. Public sector pensions should follow the same rules. You have three public sector pensions? Sorry, but only one will be paying you. In the interests of fairness, that paying pension should at least be the highest paying one. Don't forget you still get Social Security, so cheer up officer Bob.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Teenager's Letter to Obama

Dear President Barack Obama,

Like you, I’m a superhero. I’ve been watching you, and I think we both have the same superpower.
Unlike you, the problem for me is that nobody realizes this fact.
Maybe everyone should be paying closer attention to me. It’s like I know everything for instance. There’s a word for that—omni-something or other. Omni LOL! Sounds like some 70’s era station-wagon. Like you President Obama, I am also incredibly generous. If I had millions of dollars I’d definitely give away thousands of dollars of it to charitable causes. The problem is that my parents haven’t given me millions of dollars yet.
Even though I know everything, I’m still not doing that well in school because—as usual—my teachers are all stupid. Why should I memorize boring names, titles, dates, facts, figures, etc., when you can look all that stuff up on Google? And also, what good is it to know everything, when professors expect you to dance around reciting boring facts as though you were some kind of monkey dancing to the tune of a peddler’s Hurdy-Gurdy?
I would have been more successful in school if my parents had done more. There were days when dinner totally sucked. How am I supposed to do homework when I’m hungry? There were days when I went to school hungry because the cereal was all gone or the milk was all gone or the pop-tarts were all gone. What, am I supposed to cook eggs or something? Plus, my parents don’t even have a toaster! How am I supposed to toast bread without a toaster? In the oven? Please!
I was all set to be the valedictorian of my high school, you know. There I was in Idaho and everything was perfect. Then, before my tenth grade year, my parents just up and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, because of my dad’s stupid job or something. And because of that I started failing classes.
Teachers here in Memphis, Suckasee, are so stupid. OMG! If you don’t believe me just ask some of my friends. It’s like you ask a simple question and then they have to give you some kind of an hour long lecture that even if anyone could stand to listen to the whole long boring stupid thing, it would totally make no sense at all.
It’s not fair!
All my friends have cars. If my parents had gotten me a car I would have done better in school. Even though I’m a superhero, flying isn’t one of my super powers. Which also isn’t fair by the way. How am I supposed to do all the things I have to do, like get homework done, then eat breakfast, then get ready, then finally, finally—OMG!—make it out to the bus stop before the sun even comes out? It’s like the universe has it in for me. And my parents too! And my stupid school with all its stupid-stupid-stupid teachers.
Did I mention that I have to do chores? I mean, my parents, my school, and all my stupid teachers constantly dump all over me. I’m standing here, holding the entire world on my shoulders—like that Greek Pizza-Pizza guy—and they just keep dumping more and more stuff on me. I’m so sorry world! It turns out that my super power is not doing homework and chores at the speed of light! Take out the garbage. Mow the lawn. Do this do that! OMG! It sucks so totally, so completely totally much that … I’m just over it. You know what I mean? OVER IT!
I had a D in my freshman English class in Idaho. I know that’s not great, but it was passing. In Idaho a 65 is a D. Here in Memphis, Suckasee, you have to have a 70 to pass. I was passing in Idaho but in this craptastic countryass town it’s a fail. So why should I have to repeat it? Why should I bother studying, reading, and doing homework for a class I already passed? Now I’ve taken that same stupid freshman English class three times! They just don’t get it do they? Hello! I already passed!
It really breaks my heart. I could have really been somebody if it wasn’t for everybody else holding me back. Every time I started to get ahead, they pulled me back. It just goes to show that even when you’re a superhero, if they crap on you enough, your life will totally suck.
 So, you’re probably wondering what my super power is? Whenever anything bad happens that seems to be my fault, I have the ability to explain whose fault it really is. My parents call this power of mine making excuses, but President Obama, you and I both know it’s called an explanation.
PS—My freshman English teacher made me write this stupid letter. I hope she’s happy…NOT!
PPS—Edited spellchecked and rewritten literally from beginning-to-end by the stupid parents of this amazingly incredibly intelligent, wise, and awesome high school-soon-to-be-a-dropout superhero.