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Saturday, September 29, 2012

1st debate: Domestic Policy. Romney vs. The Race Card

There will be four different debates, from four different mainstream media sources with four different moderators, from: PBS, ABC, CNN, and CBS respectively. I notice FOX isn't on the list.

Do you remember the Republican primaries, those crazy months when nobody could tell who was going to be the nominee? The endless debates were maddening, the way the lead changed and changed and changed again. Four more debates remain, and in those debates Romney has one more shot to win this. The media has control over the show; they're the partisan referees; they get to choose the questions, but they can't change the nature of the game and they can't change the performance of the players. I remember well one debate when Newt Gingrich was race-baited by Juan Williams:

The conventional opinion for quite some time in those heady days, was that Newt was the strongest debater. Newt's common sense and his fearless refusal to kowtow to the race card flashing moderator resonated with the Republican base. We're so very sick and tired of this ragged and frayed old race card the Democrats keep waving around. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. He was a Republican. Martin Luther King, Jr., through his heroic struggle and because of his eventual martyrdom, succeeded in winning equal rights for all people—including black people. He was a Republican.

Romney are you studying this debate? This is how you win a debate. This is how you win a presidency. I'm almost certain that at some point they'll play the race card. They'll bring up Romneycare. They'll ask about Bain Capital and tax returns. Romney's style is unfortunately unaggressive. He's as politically correct as they come. The mainstream media has been studying him as attentively as an NFL coach studying the opposition. For this reason I expect the questions to be asked in the style of: Aren't most rich white men inherently racist? Don't you have to be selfish and evil to be as rich as you are, Governor Romney?

Obama will be asked: Was it difficult for you, growing up as an African American in an endemically racist culture and did experiencing that racism first hand cause you to want to finally be in a position to change that about America?

Romney will be asked: You grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth and wore magic underwear. Why do you imagine that you understand enough about the problems facing everyday Americans to ever be their leader?

The secret to winning a debate is answering questions that haven't been asked while ostensibly answering the one that was. If they bring religion into it don't cringingly deny or evade, instead attack. That's the only way through this gauntlet. They want to talk religion? Talk religion! Remember that every question is a two-way street. Romney should talk about Mormon values, about family values, about respect for elders and authority, and above all patriotism. That's what a Mormon is, not some weirdo in magic pajamas, but a hard worker a family man and a patriot.

But since we're talking about religion, why not unleash a few lightning bolts? I don't imagine Obama would enjoy defending his twenty years in attendance at the feet of the racist and America hating pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When they bring a knife you bring a gun. Isn't that how it goes? Mr. President, what positive moral values and philosophical understanding were imparted to you when you sat quietly in your seat while listening to your pastor scream "God Damn America?"

When they ask about failed steel mills and Bain Capital, talk about the successes, which were many. Talk about the fact that an executive makes tough decisions and that it is capitalism and a free market that has allowed the greatest expansion of wealth in the history of the world. When a business in the private sector succeeds it brings wealth not only to the owners, but to its employees, to its vendors, even to its clients. All those in any way related to a successful business are enriched by its success.

But since we're talking about successful businesses in a free market—President Obama—what successful businesses have you been a part of? What—if anything at all—do you know about how a business is run, about the challenges it faces, challenges which are now so much greater thanks to your administration Mr. President?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The way we pick our leader is really dumb.


They can talk the talk, there's no doubt about that. Today's politics seems like nothing but an endless bout of untreated logorrhea. Electing our political leaders by popularity is not the absolute worst way I suppose. We could pick our leaders with a lottery for instance. It just seems to me that picking a person to—for instance—be the leader of the free world just because he's articulate and attractive is not the smartest way to run a country. It's almost as though some agency in Hollywood designed our political system.

Are there better ways? Well, let me ask you this, how do you become a medical doctor? Do you prepare high-minded speeches, always have snappy comebacks to any criticism, and finally entice lots of people to agree that you'd be a good doctor? Or, do you study medicine for eight years before you become an apprentice doctor for several years—an intern—then pick a specialization and study that for several more years—medical resident? Total time in preparation is fourteen years or more of training before a doctor is trusted to perform unsupervised medicine.

Please understand that even though the doctor is highly trained to be a doctor he could not take that training and use it to be an engineer or administrator at a nuclear reactor facility on the basis of his medical training. The knowledge required for the three different professions—doctor, engineer, or administrator—is completely different for each profession as well as being highly specialized.

In United States politics there are three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial. The knowledge and experience and ability required to perform the functions of the three separate branches is absolutely and completely different for each respective branch.

A judge should study constitutional law, case law and precedent. He or she should be a practicing attorney for a number of years before being allowed to decide cases as a judge, and he or she should begin judging in the lower courts for a number of years before being allowed to try cases on a court of appeals. In the normal course of things this is exactly how it's done.

Unfortunately everything starts to break down on the legislative and the executive side. The study of law is of limited use as a legislator and of almost no use at all as an executive. I honestly don't know what students learn in law school, but if I was betting, I'd say that they learn the rules and ethics of trial law. They learn who what where and why lawsuits or criminal proceedings can and should be initiated. They learn how to ensure the conviction of a drunk driver and conversely how to get one off the hook. None of this kind of learning would be of much use in the course of a typical congressional proceeding, nor of any use at all as a government executive.

A politician shakes hands. He smiles. He gives speeches promising all things to all people. He debates other people who do the exact same thing. Everyone listens to the speeches, the debates, looks at their respective records and then makes the decision about which one they trust the most to run things. It sounds to me like it's the best salesman who'll will win almost every time. If I wanted to hire someone to sell my house or my car this is the way I'd want to pick one, but is it the best way to choose the best person to run the country, to enact laws that will affect not only me today but my children tomorrow?

What does a lawyer know about running a country? What does a lawyer know about foreign policy? How does studying law prepare you to understand the forces and factors which drive our national economy? What does a lawyer know about health-care, except the best way to prepare a lawsuit against the people who provide it? Not to put too fine a point on it, how can voting "present" a few times in a couple of years prepare a man to lead the most powerful nation in the history of the world?

In 2008 the nation was swindled by a smooth talking salesmen and a billion dollar ad campaign. Obama is self-evidently unprepared to lead this nation in any facet of its operations. After four years it's painfully clear that he's not just incompetent, he's still completely untrained, inexperienced, and inadequate to the task.

Every four years we hold a giant popularity contest and beauty pageant. We ask the contestants stupid questions and they smile and tell us what they think we want to hear. The way we pick our leader is really dumb. I guess that makes all of us pretty dumb too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

America, wake up and smell the coffee!

America can't survive four more years of Hope and Change. I'm not sure America can survive much longer, regardless of who wins the election.

I hit the snooze bar more than once this morning. Don't you have mornings like that, too? Procrastination is insidious and attractive. Well, I did finally get up about 30 minutes later than I had intended. I knocked on the doors of my two older boys and told them to get ready—and to hurry—because they had less time than usual. I got ready for work and as I was leaving twenty minutes later, neither boy had yet come out of his room. I told them once again that they didn't have much time left, that they'd really need to hustle if they wanted to catch the bus.

I seriously doubt they caught the bus. Luckily, they can probably walk the 2 miles to school in a shorter time than the bus usually takes on it's roundabout journey. They have the same procrastination problem that I do and only worry about the consequences once it's too late. Procrastination is an epidemic, and the consequences for America promise to be profound. This Titanic is roaring full-speed ahead towards a financial iceberg while the pilot is in his bunk hitting the snooze bar.

The Fed has started what they're calling QE3. Taxes are about to drastically increase when the Bush era tax cuts expire, and finally, the much maligned and greatly feared sequestration process is set to begin in 2013. America's credit rating was recently downgraded for the first time in history and it's about to be downgraded again. Yet notwithstanding all of the facts listed, if you believe the broad variety of national polls, it looks as though the November election will be another sleepy push of the snooze bar. Ho hum, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty of time to fix things. No need to hurry, or worry, or hustle. Just kind of lay there in bed and contemplate a hard day of work ahead. Yawn and stretch and yawn some more. Look at the clock...time to get up already?
The Financial Times quotes economist Chris Rupkey of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi warning, “First S&P and now Moody’s is threatening to lower the boom if Congress does not come up with a credible plan to bring down what the rating agencies think is reckless deficit spending with no end in sight.” The last plan didn’t work out terribly well, what with the farcical “Super Committee” and sequestration and all. And Congress might have called it the “Budget Control Act,” but the federal government still doesn’t actually have a budget – Senate Democrats haven’t produced one in 1,231 days.
If America doesn't change course immediately, this is what's going to happen: Our credit rating will be downgraded to the point where the dollar will no longer be desired as the world's reserve currency. If that happens the price of oil and all other imported goods are going to rise dramatically. This will cause further inflationary pressure—dramatically so when inflation is already ballooning out of control thanks to the the Fed's prodigal and short-sighted inflationary fiscal policy.

What is required at this point is hurry, worry, hustle, and bustle. But all we're getting from our leaders is yawns and elaborate stretching. While they take their languorous sweet time, refusing to be hurried, indeed becoming quite cross about the wake-up and get-to-work impetus in general, the economy is about to crash!

It's at this point that if there were a hickory-switch or a stick in hand and a suitably lazy body in proximity, we would furiously beat them like an angry fishwife. Get up! Get out of bed! Get to work you lazy bum! There's work to do and it won't do itself!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everything is going like clockwork

The power to tax is the power to destroy. Taxation sets up a false dichotomy. Most people think that you have only two options, that of paying taxes or watching your assets be seized and sold at auction. There is a third option. You can simply leave. A savvy person or organization could simply take what they have—lock stock and barrel—and go, and they will! As the most successful flee, the outright failures will demand ever-more wealth from the ever less-successful remaining taxpayers who lack the wealth and resources to flee for themselves.

Why does our government punish success and reward failure? Can you imagine a successful casino comping the penny slot players and ignoring the high-stakes craps table? The idea is absurd. Can you imagine that parents would be successful in raising well-behaved civilized and productive adults if they punished the child who makes good grades by loading him down with extra chores, while rewarding the child who gets bad grades by granting him extra video-game time?

We intuitively understand reward and punishment. These two tools of operant conditioning are used on a daily basis by every person in every walk of life. Whether it be a pleasant good morning and a cheerful smile in response to a held-open door, or the strident honk of a car-horn in response to a rude or reckless motorist's driving strategy, we reward what we want more of and punish what we want less of.

This is true everywhere for everything, except of course when it comes to taxation. Our government punishes financial success with higher taxes, but worse, it uses various strategies such as welfare, food stamps, assorted grants and the Earned Income Tax Credit to reward financial failure. A liberal will never admit this to you, or even perhaps to himself that what I've just said is the truth.

If you could ever pin a liberal down long enough to really debate our system of taxation what you'd hear would be an unending stream of fallacies. You'd never once hear a logical refutation of the above assertion. You'd hear emotional sob-stories about the poor lady who lives down the lane. You'd hear nonsensical soundbites about how rich people ought to just be grateful we even allow them to be rich in the first place, since they're using our roads and our employees educated in our schools, protected by our police and our various other government services. The debating Democrat would question your intelligence. He'd demean your level of education. He'd erect armies of strawmen and then try to change the subject. What he would never do is defend our system of taxation on its merits, because it has none.

It's a fact. Our government's fiscal policies which include taxation and government spending uniformly and without fail punish success and reward failure. No it's not a just a mistake, and it's not merely insane. If it was insanity or stupidity that would imply that things are not going according to plan, but nothing could be further from the truth; everything is going exactly according to plan. The most successful businesses are fleeing to China.

If you thought that the monumentally terrible situation in the mid-east was an unending litany of miscues, errors in judgment, and mistakes made by a bumbling fool who should never have set foot in the Oval Office, then you've forgotten how he got there in the first place. If you wondered how a once bankrupt and impotent Russian Empire has once again regained top-billing on the world's stage, wonder no more. Everything is going according to plan.

If you can't figure out how we arrived at 16 trillion dollars of debt, it's because that was the plan all along. If you never heard about the now nationwide wave of black flash mobs using smart-phones and social-networking to spontaneously converge on a particular commercial location and immediately begin looting property and viciously attacking any white bystanders found there, and then astoundingly not a peep of this astounding news is heard outside of the immediate area where it happened, then you haven't been paying attention. Everything is going like clockwork.

The same idiots keep getting elected even though they keep raising taxes, even though our public schools keep getting worse despite the billions of dollars we keep shoveling into them. Whole cities are going bankrupt with whole states—such as California and Illinois—soon to follow. That's the plan.

What plan? The plan to destroy America using every available resource, from every possible direction, including from the inside. Whose plan? There's a short list headed by China and Russia. Why? Honestly I think the only reason is because misery loves company.

UPDATE Chosen 10/08/12 link of the day by IMAO Thanks Harvey!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be bureaucrats

Some people are just lazier than other people. I can't imagine any sane person disputing that point. Likewise, some people are greedier than other people. These poor character traits can be ameliorated by good parents or exacerbated by bad ones. There is this certain type of person who grows up with a faulty notion of fairness. To these people, fair means everyone gets the same as everybody else, regardless of a world of off-setting factors.

Imagine twin brothers approaching Christmas time. They look forward to lots of fun presents, that's as far as they think. On the other hand, their responsible and thoughtful parents think back on the past year and the twin's contributions to the family, to school-work, and chores, behavior, so many things that might well have an impact on the presents under the tree. Finally the parents take into account the  financial shape of the family. All this before the first present is purchased. Parents who don't consider all these factors are not in my opinion very good parents.

It's easy to see that a great deal of variation is going to be involved in both the quality and the quantity of presents under the tree for the respective twins. Certainly, because  of all these myriad variables neither boy should expect to be the recipient of an identical hoard of gifts.

As a parent I just do the best I can. Kids don't see the inherent fairness of reducing Christmas rewards when they make poor grades or misbehave. To a kid, Christmas is supposed to be unconditional. Parents are supposed to just get whatever the kids want regardless of ability to afford it and regardless of whether the kid has been good, bad, lazy, indifferent, studious, cheerful, or foul-tempered. And as parents don't we pretty much go along with that? Who really does a thorough evaluation of their kid's past year's performance before going shopping?

The result, unfortunately, is that the child is completely disconnected from the character building that results from understanding how hard work and exemplary behavior carry the opportunity for  great reward, while the opposite carries the consequence of not only punishment, but the elimination of reward opportunities. Picture a spoiled child who gets bad grades, refuses to do chores, and worse throws destructive temper-tantrums breaking things—both his own and that of others—while consumed by childish rage in the throes of some asinine fit. Picture this behavior for an entire year. I'm calling this Terrible Obstinate Naughty Year preceding Christmas a "TONY."

If your child has a TONY, he probably still expects just as much stuff as the good kids get. He probably can't imagine that what he gets for Christmas has any bearing whatsoever on his own behavior in the preceding year. When he grows up, he's going to carry one of two possible learned assumptions. Good parents will have taught the child that poor decisions have negative consequences, while good decisions have rewards. Bad parents will have taught the child that Christmas will be wonderful no matter how terribly he behaved.

When these children grow up, the good and thoughtful parents will have reared an adult with good character who intuitively understands that hard work and diligence will be rewarded while laziness and law-breaking will be punished. He's almost certainly going to work in the private sector and he will expect his boss to reward him for his accomplishments. If that reward is not forthcoming he'll move on to an employer who'll recognize his value.

The adult who was given the world for Christmas even though he didn't earn it, will probably join a union and work as a government bureaucrat. Unions are like those bad parents who never teach their children the facts of life. Being a union member is all about seniority. If you've been a public sector worker for X amount of years you get Y salary. Your ability to produce, your decision making, your hard work are irrelevant and count towards absolutely nothing. Only time-served matters. If you've ever received poor service from a government bureaucrat, just consider that he's just there for the paycheck, and he'll get the same amount no matter how shabbily he treats you. A bureaucrat sees absolutely no relationship between accomplishment and reward.

The day may come when America finally grows up and finally exterminates both the union and the bureaucrat, but until that day, you can still do your part, by getting the good kid something nice, and the bad kid a big box full of I told-you-so.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

IT'S WAR! Class war that is.

WASHINGTON — Democrats say Mitt Romney manipulated his deductions to keep his overall 2011 federal income tax rate below a certain level for political purposes. The Republican presidential nominee is certain to face new questions about his finances.

Romney and his wife, Ann, donated roughly $4 million to charities last year, but they only claimed a deduction of $2.25 million on their tax return, filed with the Internal Revenue Service on Friday.
"Ri¢hie Ri¢h," that's what they're calling him. Even though the article claims that Romney manipulated his deductions to keep his tax rate below a certain level, what he actually did was he tricked the IRS by arranging it so he could actually pay a higher tax rate. Which, in case you didn't know, is so much worse than the other way around.
Romney made $13.7 million last year and paid $1.94 million in federal income taxes, giving him an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. That was a bit above the 13.9 percent rate paid on 2010 income.

More precisely, the returns showed that the couple paid $1,935,708 in taxes on income of $13,696,951.
What an unbelievable bastard! Ri¢hie Ri¢h paid less than 2 million dollars in taxes! That's less than his butler—Jeeves—paid! I know that's bad. I know. But it gets worse! He manipulated his tax returns so that he could pay more taxes. I know what you're thinking, who does that? I'll tell you who does that, a rich guy with so much money, that he's actually willing to over pay his taxes! Now that's what I call out of touch. In related news it turns out that he gave four million dollars to charity. So, basically, he gave away 30% of his income to charity. And you thought people who tithed were nuts!

Well, I for one am appalled. The Evil Romney just gives away nearly a third of his money to charity, then as if that wasn't bad enough, the insufferable rich boy goes and pays too much in taxes. At the end of the day, Romney ends up keeping 7.75 million. or 57%.
Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama, said the release of Romney’s 2011 tax returns “confirms what we already knew - that people like Mitt Romney pay a lower tax rate than many middle-class families because of a set of complex loopholes and tax shelters only available to those at the top
Yes, I know Stephanie, I know. Here's a hankie. Try to keep it together. Yes, this confirms what everybody knows—that evil rich people who give a third of their money to charity pay a lower tax rate than middle class families who give nothing to charity. It's because of this evil system of tax deductions, like tax deductions for charitable contributions which—in case you didn't know—are totally not available to the rest of us. Hang-on...somebody just told me that charitable contributions are tax deductible to everyone, not just the rich. Well, even if that's true, who but an out of touch rich person could afford to give away 30% of their income? That's why rich people like Romney get a lower rate, because they deceitfully and spitefully arrange it so that charities get their money instead of Big Government where it belongs. They rob Peter to pay Paul.

Unless of course your name is Ri¢hie Ri¢h Romney. Not only does he give to charity, he doesn't even claim it on his tax return. So he ends up paying both Peter and Paul. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have something for George and Ringo too! Rich people! They have absolutely no shame at all. They'll stop at nothing to manipulate the system and force everyone to constantly reevaluate their preconceived misconceptions. Well, what if we don't want to? Did you ever think of that?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Translation Please?

The art of politics is telling everyone exactly what they want to hear even though each of us wants to hear something that's probably substantially different from everybody else. This is done by using words which contain more than one meaning. This is done by making general statements which appear to be intentions but in fact are nothing more than general statements. A politician has to able to tell a lie without coming right out and actually lying. For example:
RAMALLAH, West Bank—Mitt Romney is undermining hopes for peace and democracy in the Middle East, a senior Palestinian official said Thursday in response to recent remarks to donors by the Republican presidential candidate that Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever” in peace. Saeb Erekat, a top aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected Romney’s claim.

“No one stands to gain more from peace than the Palestinians, and no one stands to lose from the absence of peace like the Palestinians,” Erekat told reporters. Those who tolerated Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories, are “working against democracy and peace,” he added.
A quick read of this Washington Post article would leave most people thinking that leaders in Palestine desire nothing more than peace, and that Romney's opinion is just wrong. This conclusion flies in the face of the obvious fact that it's total crap. Every adult of at least normal intelligence—and who's paying attention to world events—is aware that Palestinian actions over the past several decades absolutely refute that conclusion.

Imagine for a moment that you are a police officer interrogating a suspect. You ask the suspect, "Did you murder the victim?" and the suspect replies: "No one stands to gain more than me from the victim being alive, and no one stands to lose more than me from the victim being dead." Well, yes perhaps, but did you kill the victim?

Obama is fond of telling us that America must invest in the future. To ensure future prosperity we must invest in infrastructure, in roads bridges and schools, and shovel ready jobs. A casual reader would perhaps assume that Obama wants more roads bridges and schools. See? It's code. He's telling the big public sector unions that if he wins he'll make sure Big Government bankrolls the unions. He's telling the unions that therefore it's in their own best interest to bankroll his campaign. Meanwhile Regular Joe thinks he's trying to "jump-start" the economy. (Not-to-swift Regular Joe is under the mistaken impression that the economy has a dead-battery and only needs a jump-start to get it going.) Two different people hearing the same statement understand two entirely different messages. Politics is the art of deceit. Maybe that's why so many lawyers end up there?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama desecrated the wrong flag


There are no red states
or blue states,
only the state.


Robin Hood Politics = Extinction

Mitt Romney finds himself continually skewered by mainstream media hacks who take every opportunity to call everything he says a gaffe. If I got all my news from the major networks and the New York Times, I'd only know that Romney is an utter moron, that he's a bigot, a polygamist, and so incredibly rich and out-of-touch with the common man that he might as well be a Martian. Meanwhile, Obama is smooth, debonair, suave, urbane, and sophisticated. I stopped asking why the media is so partisan a long time ago. Maybe it's one of those questions like: why is there disease? Why do some people want to hurt other people? I just have to accept these terrible facts as some of the inevitable consequences of existence.

Scientists would have us believe that all our woes—like disease and hostility—are brought about because of the nature and process of evolution. Theoretically, we are all engaged in all-out-war with every other species for ever scarcer resources. The fact that we humans live means that other species must die. Evolution is a zero-sum game. Evolution is kill or be killed i.e. survival of the fittest. Anything that seems to contradict this theory is labeled an artificial construct, an evolutionary device, or an instinct which guides our behavior and in general tends to promote survival of the species vs. survival of the self. This theory does a poor job of explaining why a mother would rush out in front of an on-coming bus to push her child out of the way. In the zero-sum game of evolution, if the mother dies so does the child. Self-sacrifice is therefore anti-evolutionary.

Taking from the rich and giving to the poor—the Robin Hood paradigm—is considered admirable and to be desired by a large cross-section of society. How does the evolutionary model explain Robin Hood? One could legitimately argue that the rich have proven themselves to be the fittest already. In the war for scarce resources, who is obviously the winner and who is the loser, the rich man or the poor one? When Robin Hood takes from the rich—by force—he is acting out the evolutionary model. He's doing what scientists would expect from a Darwinian organism. However, when he then gives all those scarce resources away to the poor he's now seemingly acting in a manner that is precisely contrary to what Darwin would expect. Robin Hood's war against Evolution would promote the existence of ever weaker and more helpless organisms.

If there was an omniscient and omnipotent Robin Hood running around redistributing all the scarce resources precisely and perfectly, those who created wealth i.e. farmers, builders, workers, would stop farming, building, and working. The takers—those who consume scarce resources while contributing nothing whatsoever in return—would have nothing else to take. Once the scarce redistributed resources were consumed, starvation would ensue. Except of course that the makers facing starvation would start making again. Unfortunately there would be Robin Hood to once again redistribute the now even scarcer resources. Carried out to its logical conclusion, Robin Hood would be there when the last measly worm-infested early potato was at last pulled from the ground. He'd be there with his measuring tape and his paring knives to slice out one millionth potato portions to a million starving fools—[Reductio ad absurdum.]

Why does Robin Hood do what he does? How does he do it? The why explains the how. He takes from the rich and gives to the poor in order to gain followers. With followers he is ever more successful in taking from the rich. With ever more riches to redistribute, he is ever more successful in gaining followers from the poor. The followers follow in the hopes of receiving a bigger share of the redistributed wealth than the rest. There's nothing mysterious about Robin Hood. He's not generous. He's not noble. He's a power-hungry politician who'll do anything to attract more followers.

(In case you were uncertain, I've just cleverly segued back into talking about the Democratic Party.) The entire Democratic party is supported by a base that pays no Federal income taxes—Romney's 47%. Think of a vote as a one-dollar-bill in the economy of political power. This political economy is definitely a zero-sum game. There are only so many votes and if you succeed in gaining one vote, you've always taken that vote from someone else.

Forty-Seven percent of voters have no reason to support anyone but Obama. They have no skin in the game. No matter what happens they won't lose. If Robama Hood wins, he'll work hard to redistribute wealth, but even if Romney wins, those who pay no taxes and live on food-stamps still won't get a job, and they still won't pay any taxes.

The best that the 53% can hope for is that things won't get worse this election cycle. A razor thin 3% separates the two classes—those who make and those who take. If that 3% shifts towards the left more than a point, then our country will have just tipped over the tipping point. We're on a teeter-board that is balanced on a high-wire. Once the vote of the takers, outweighs the vote of the makers, we will be faced with Rule By Robin Hood, and once we can't beat them, we might as well join them. This means quit your job, sign up for your EBT card, and enjoy what's left of a very short ride...straight down.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Chick-Fil-A Solution

I was clocked out and heading back to work around 1:00 PM, Monday, the 17th of September, 2012. I'd just finished being thoroughly unnerved and unmanned by my urologist, who'd attempted to remove a stent with no anesthetic. [Free tip to the whole world...never...never...never accept the phrase: 'we'll just run a scope up there and pull it out here in the office,' to pass without beginning a long discussion on what kind of pain this will entail. For me on the 1-to-10 scale it's a ten. Hey doc, go ahead and smash it with a hammer; that might hurt less.] Nevertheless, as I said, I was clocked out and so I decided to have some Chick-Fil-A, perhaps as comfort food to help me forget the unforgettable.

I couldn't even get into the parking lot. Notice that lunch hour for most people is long over by 1:00 PM, yet still on a Monday—nothing particularly special about this day—they were so crowded with customers there was no way to even pull into their parking area from off of the street. I ended up settling for Sonic. My day just kept getting better and better.

Chick-Fil-A has a problem, and they'd better get a handle on it. Even great food and an admirable political ideology won't save them from permanent loss of business when demand greatly exceeds ability to provide the supply. When I think about what I'll have for lunch, I never think Chick-Fil-A, because I know how long it takes to finally get my order. Like most everyone else in America—with a job—I don't get that much time for lunch and if I don't have time to sit down and eat it, even the best food in the world is not that good.

Chick-Fil-A—perhaps because of Dan Cathy's recent defense of traditional marriage comments—is unable to adequately provide food to all its available customers within the two-hour window known as the "lunch rush." Parking lots are too full, drive-thru-lines are too long, and lunch-½-hours are too short.

The solution is simplicity itself. Remember that demand exceeds supply...or in this case ability to provide supply. Whenever this is the case an opportunity is there for an enterprising entrepreneur to make bank. The price for a regular Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich is $2.75. Sales tax is 9.25% Total cost is exactly $3.00. (The Deluxe is $3.75 with sales tax it's $4.10) Your local prices and sales tax may vary, but it's probably going to be at or near the three dollar mark.

If I managed a Chick-Fil-A, I would have an employee stationed at the corner of the lot—as far past the parking-lot turn in as possible. The employee would have a warming cart stocked with two sandwich options, plain and Deluxe. The cart would have a prominent sign reading "cash only." I'd keep the plain sandwich at $2.75 because with tax it comes to a nice even $3.00, but I'd reduce the price of the Deluxe to $3.66 because with tax that's exactly $4.00.

The name of the game here is speed. Many customers would be very pleased to forego Waffle-Fries, soda, nuggets, as well as assorted other miscellaneous menu options for the incredible convenience of purchasing sandwiches with practically no waiting at all. Remember, this potential customer has already passed the turn-in. This warming cart represents the absolute last chance to make a sale. Cash only and no coins.

Not sure of the legality, but an unemployed go-getter could buy something like the item pictured below and "scalp" enough Chick-Fil-A sandwiches to pay the rent. It beats holding up a "will work for food" sign.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Instant gratification is the problem.

Last night, around 6:00 PM, my 14-year old son was hungry. He let me know this fact, by suddenly and loudly exclaiming: "I'm hungry!" So I told him to have a corndog. "In fact," I said, "I'll have one too." I turned on the oven to 350° and then sat back down with my book. Trey looked at this, and then looked at me in disbelief and said with a kind of Elvis-lipped sneer: "I'm not waiting on the oven!" He put his corndog in the microwave and set it for one minute.

One minute later he ate his crappy corndog. The breading looked softer than a pancake. It was split-open and falling off of the hot-dog. Trey let me know that his microwaved corndog was delicious. Sure it was. Twenty-five minutes later I had my corndog. It was lightly browned. It was crisp, sweet, and—most vitally important—it was intact. You only get so many corndogs. You only get so many meals when it comes right down to it. Some people fail to realize this simple fact and they settle. Maybe they're in a hurry. Maybe they're short of cash. Maybe they're really hungry. Whatever the reason, they cheat themselves. They eat something that's just not that great. It's okay. It's food. Now they're not hungry anymore. I have to shake my head in disbelief at the short-sighted idiocy of settling for something that is inferior yet quick, instead of waiting for the perfection that can only be achieved in the fullness of time.

It's not the wisdom of age. I won't believe that, because my wife is just like my son. She's my age, and after all these years she'd still rather have "okay" now, than wait a little while longer for great. This short-sighted impatience is noticeable throughout the American experience. We want the American dream, but we don't want to wait for it. We want the nice home in the nice neighborhood. We want the two-car garage complete with two cars—one being an SUV—and we want the picket-fence. We rush into having a couple of kids and soon after, Fido.



The United States is sixteen trillion dollars in debt. (16,000,000,000,000.00) At some point the numbers just kind of run together and become meaningless. I wonder if that's the problem? My good friend at Hankering For History was kind enough to send me a link which provides a little perspective. By watching the following video, you may be able to begin to conceptualize the unimaginable enormity of our national debt:



What is debt? The best way to describe it that I've ever come up with is instant gratification. You get what you want now, and then you pay for it later. No matter what kind of debt it is however, when you read the fine print it's always a bad deal.
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:12-13, KJV
Our bellies have overruled our minds and as a result we've been fed a dog's dinner. I could ask at what point will we put down our forks and push away the nauseous mess they've been feeding us, but we are so very hungry aren't we?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shut up and hold your sign


Thousands of THANK YOU signs were on-hand to greet the anointed one. Every sign was the same. Every sign said "THANK YOU." Click on the image and try to wrap your head around this. Not a single sign was evident that said anything else. That can only mean that they took everyone's other signs away at the door! You brought your own homemade sign? Sorry you can't bring that in. It would ruin the production values.
This was theater. This was a production. Everyone had their roles; everyone had their signs. What this was, was the most disgusting and shabby travesty of a convention that I've ever heard of. Those signs, they make me wonder. Did any of those faceless sign-holders look around at all the "THANK YOU" signs, and at any time feel a moment of shame or humiliation? What is the matter with them? Whose idea was it to hand out all those signs and take all the other signs away? It had to be Obama's idea. Or if not his idea, he at least authorized it.

Think about it for a moment. There you are at a political convention. You're there to support the person that you think best represents your political viewpoint. You're there to help reelect the guy who will best represent the way you think the country ought to be run. Well, I'll tell you how he runs a convention. You don't get to say what you want to say. Obama doesn't care what you think. You ought to be grateful. You'll just hold up the "THANK YOU" sign and you'll shut your giant flapping mouth. Shut up and hold your sign.

This is a Bill Engvall joke! Here's your sign. Is this how Obama and the Democrats think freedom is supposed to work? Is this Obama Horror Picture Show supposed to convince anyone to vote for him? Only a lemming would be influenced by something like this...oh wait...now it all makes sense.

h/t IMAO

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When Capitalism Fails

What if? My mother always used to respond to my what-ifs by asking "what if a wild bear crapped in the bathtub?" This was meant to assure me that my hypothetical pondering was highly unlikely. Nevertheless I've never lost that habit of asking what if. Yesterday I wrote a post which touched on something that I've been doing a lot of thinking about lately. That subject is what I'm calling the automation of industry. It's really the Google car that is the touchstone for me. Before someone invented a car that could drive around by itself, recognizing traffic, signs, lights, speed-limits, pedestrians, etc., the automation of everyday unskilled tasks remained in the realm of science fiction.

What if, soon, your Pizza-Hut order rolled up in a small electrically-powered robot-controlled cart with a swipecard strip on the top. You'd swipe your card, enter your pin and from a side slot your pizza and bread-sticks would be dispensed. The cart would be small, light, eco-friendly, and safe. Pizza Hut wouldn't need delivery drivers anymore and consumers would finally be allowed to just pay what the pizza costs without having to worry about adding a tip to the final price tag.

That's not really that big of a "what if." We're right on the verge of that, right now. Sophisticated artificially intelligent computer systems that understand language, and can follow instructions, search information databases, and respond appropriately are already here. Just a couple of years ago a computer called "Watson" beat the stuffing out of a couple of former Jeopardy champions. What if, instead of looking up the answer to: In 2000 they became the only sisters in Olympic history to win gold in women's doubles in tennis[1], your Watson assisted 411 call instead looked up the number to Jimmy's Bowling Emporium? No human operator is required. The phone company could downsize and also increase customer satisfaction by reducing or eliminating the charges for 411 calls.

Let's go back to Pizza Hut. A computer would take the order, and an automated kitchen would prepare the order as required. The order would be rolled into the electric cart and the cart would deliver the order, all without the need for a single human hand to be involved in the process. Obviously this would cut down the franchise owner's overhead tremendously. He or she would be able to reduce the price of the products accordingly.

This all sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Win win all around. So a few people are left without jobs, they'll find other work, and in the meantime everyone has access to faster, better, cheaper, and more hygienic pizza. If it was just pizza I might agree, but it won't just be pizza.

I work for a security guard company. We have more than a thousand security guards around the country who provide security service to a broad swath of retail, manufacturing, and logistics clients. Where do businesses needing security for loss prevention go in the future?
The technology is called AISight (pronounced eye sight), and what it does is automatically monitor hundreds of cameras simultaneously using computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The system learns what behaviors are typical of a certain place, and which are atypical to generate real-time alerts when it identifies the atypical behavior. Alerts are sent in the form of e-mail or main frame security alerts. A more cost efficient and effective choice than hiring a security guard to monitor a property, this technology never needs a break, runs 24/7, and can monitor all the cameras all at once.
Well now! That's pretty scary, since I work in the contract security profession. My ancillary IT job wouldn't even exist if there weren't a need for security guards throughout the country. Luckily my knowledge is valuable enough that I can if need be take a job somewhere else in some other field, wherever they need IT professionals. Too bad for the 1000 security guards though, I guess.

What if I carry this trend towards replacement of people by automated processes to it's logical conclusion? There won't just be machines making products, there will at some point be machines assembling the machines that make the products. There will also be machines repairing these machines. And machines that assemble the repair machines. And machines that repair the repair assembly machines...ad infinitum. And perhaps one guy sitting in front of a big red stop button. Yes, my mother would be talking about bears misusing the sanitary facilities at this point.

How would capitalism work in a fully automated economy? What if there were a vastly smaller amount of careers available for a very limited and highly trained segment of the private sector population? The rest of the jobs would be public sector, of course.

There's no way your U.S. mail would be delivered by an automated electric cart. The United States Postal Service's union the AFL-CIO is not going to stand for "good union jobs" being lost to a bunch of robots. Likewise, all the other assorted public sector union jobs will continue to be performed by people, for the same reason...the sheer political power of public sector unions.

Meanwhile private sector job opportunities will continue to drop until there is next-to-nothing. Less private sector workers and more public sector workers means that government revenue will drop while government expenses will increase. Taxes will have to necessarily be raised or borrowing increased...but as we've already discovered, borrowing is a temporary fix that only compounds the underlying problem.

When I imagine this "what if," the only solution that I can see might work is the same way that the stock market works. Goods and services are produced by companies using robots. You own a certain number of shares in stocks of companies, or perhaps mutual funds that own stocks of companies that actually own these robots, or companies that build these robots, or that repair them. Depending on your own market savvy, or perhaps intelligent research, and some luck, your mutual fund or stocks do well. You are awarded dividends, or your shares go up and you sell some of them. Now you have the money to buy this weeks groceries and pay your rent and utilities.

Yes, the proletariat as a whole has now—through the exigencies of forced automation migration—been converted to the bourgeoisie. Isaac Asimov had three laws, which I won't go into here. Let's just assume that robots aren't directly killing or injuring people. They could still destroy competitor robots. How will competitive industries compete in the new automated economy? Will they resort to sabotage? I can only imagine that viruses will be an even bigger problem than ever, in the future. As will perhaps a new breed of sabotage robots whose job it is to damage competitor robots. So there will have to be guard robots at some point. Awesome! If nothing else, the future promises to be interesting....


[1]Venus and Serena Williams.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When the rich get poorer, we're going to regret it.

I haven't posted in a while and for that I apologize.

I'm taking a class on Maintaining a Microsoft SQL Server Database(2008 Release 2) It's five days of non-stop eight hour classes. I'm currently taking this 40 hour class and also later that night I go to work and complete my various assignments which typically takes an additional 40 to 60 hours. Also did I mention that my wife wants our storm damaged fence rebuilt? Also, my two younger boys need me to take them to their first cub scouts meeting. This doesn't leave me much time for sleep much less blogging, but I have a few minutes during my lunch break so here's what I've got:

There's something I've been thinking about recently. Assuming the ever-growing role of automation in all areas of the world economy, whether that be industry with robots assembling products, or whether that be customer service with computers answering phones, or even perhaps the logistical side with perhaps soon, robot-operated delivery vehicles, eighteen wheelers, taxis, who knows?, one thing is certain, the need for unskilled labor seems set to diminish more and more.

In 2008 we saw a massive resettling of the working infrastructure. Looking back twenty years, the labor participation rate has consistently stayed above 66 percent, even during the various recessions in that time period. Today that rate is at 63 percent. Nine million people are no longer in the labor force. Some of them retired; some of them went on disability, and some of them are living on food stamps and other government assistance.

Yet in spite of this massive downsizing of our labor force, American Gross Domestic Product is as high as it's ever been. How is this possible? When I look at what happened with me where I work, I expect that a similar model was followed throughout the economy. Lay-offs happened, but tasks needing completion stayed the same. I stepped up and so did those of us who were left. We managed. We found short-cuts and methods to automate various repetitive tasks that until then had been done by hand. This happened in every area of the private sector. We grew leaner, meaner, and after a while we realized we didn't need all those extra hands, after all.

Honestly, looking forward at a future where more and more, the boring daily repetitive tasks that any high school graduate could do will slowly but surely be replaced by automated machinery of one sort or another, I can't predict the ultimate results. More robots working means more people unable to find work. Production—or supply—will remain undiminished because of automation, but demand necessarily must drop due to the lack of purchasers able to afford the good or service. Less people working means less people receiving pay which means less money to purchase the undiminished supply of goods and services. So the rich will get poorer. Right?

Our Dear Leaders may go through some sort of misguided "Atlas Shrugged" moment and pass laws attempting to limit or slowdown the automation replacement movement, but in so doing all they will accomplish is bankrupting American businesses competing in the world market.

I don't have any answers here. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Winning Friends and Influencing Democrats

Are you ready? We all know how important it is to vote, but seriously, are you ready to really make your vote count? As the daily countdown...counts down...you may be thinking: How do I convince my neighbors to vote for Mitt Romney instead of teh loser Obama? The answer is, of course, you can't! You can't! Don't try. You're just bumping around in your little box and seriously? You're not going to be able to talk anybody in your neighborhood into voting for Romney. Maybe you don't live in a neighborhood that is predominantly Democrat. Well then, it sounds to me like you just plan on preaching to the choir. Grow a pair! Here's what you do: first, rent a house in the hood, because it's time you made some new friends.

This fall the Democrats are going to really push the "get out the vote" drive. They know that when someone doesn't vote it's usually because they are young, or apathetic, or a pot head, or a loser, or jobless, or have no transportation, or hopeless, or all of the above. In short, the people who're not voting, would almost certainly vote for anyone who'd promise to help them continue to do what they're already doing...which is nothing at all. If you want your vote to count you have to stop these losers from voting. Don't let them get out the vote. Your job is to stop the vote.

If you want to relate to your new friends in the hood, you're going to have to practice your Ebonics. Ebonics can seem intimidating, but it has very simple rules really. Make sure to use the plural form of the verb when the subject is singular, and the singular form when the subject is plural. Example: She eat apples. They eats apples. Never use the possessive case for any reason! Example: Who apple dat? Dat Shontay apple. Omit most forms of the verb [to be] and use a simplified form when using past plu-perfect. Example: I going, he going, they going, they was going, we was going.

Sometimes you'll get confused. Chances are that you've just downed several highly alcoholic 40 oz beverages and furthermore someone probably just shoved a cigar stuffed with drugs in your mouth, called a 'blunt.' You need to keep it together. You've forgotten how to talk, but that doesn't really even matter. You'll know what you want to say but it's important that you carefully parse through it before you say it. While your ticking through each word one by one, you'll need to have an appropriate expression.

Try out a confused yet purposeful look in the mirror. Practice it, and get it down pat. Your "patented" look—which should adequately convey the combination of wholesale ignorance, blind-drunken stupidity, mindless drug-induced imbecility, and absolute certainty—will take the place of actual minutes of conversation.

Decide if it sounds too white before you let a sentence come out of your mouth. If you're unsure, just keep repeating the last thing you said over and over, interspersed with 'no-wha-eym-saying...etc.'

Once you can talk the talk, it's time to walk the walk. "This is how we do it," as Montell Jordan might say. Paint your house fluorescent orange with verticle fluorescent green tiger stripes. I know playah, that ain't yo style, but you do want yo vote to count, dontchu? Put that Obama/Biden sign out in yo front yard. Next to it put out another sign that say:

BIGGEST PARTY EVAH!
NOVEMBER 05, 2012
OBAMA 2012 FROWDOWN!

Put some advotizement in the paper. Put some broshure at the local Obama campaign headquarter. Stock up on some chip, some dip, lots of wing, and a basement full of 40s. You might even wants to hire a DJ. Right now maybe you thinking the idea is to gets them so drunk they sleep right through election day. Chile, you still bumping around in yo square little box, dog. That night after everyone really lit, have yo DJ seriously blast tha beats. Wake up yo whole neighborhood! That party be so live you just know five-oh on they way.

When five-oh roll up in yo drive way you gonna set off an M-80 in the backyard. You already Wearin' yo blood-stained hoodie. Don't forget to pick-up the tea and skittles, before you stagger into the midst of the party and fall to yo knees. Let dat fake blood drip from yo teef. You gonna scream "Dem cops! Dey shot me! I am Trayvon Martin." (You're allowed to use proper grammar if it's already written on your t-shirt) Then you die, loudly and dramatically.

You may not win an Oscar, but chances are your act of patriotic theater will incite a Democrat neighborhood to literally implode, taking with it a unionized fire-department and a unionized police-department, a Democrat centered polling center, the local media, teachers, case workers, the list goes on and on and on...

Monday, September 3, 2012

ECOTUS

Clint Eastwood has been ridiculed by the mainstream media for his humorous gimmick of addressing an empty chair during the Republican National Convention. In response to the one-way MSM blitzkrieg of Mr. Eastwood, conservatives across the land have declared Labor Day 2012 to be Empty Chair Day. This is what I think an empty chair looks like. Click on picture to see it in full size.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Overcriminalization is Overreaction

I'm forty-five years old. When I was growing up as a military brat and attending school in a variety of different school systems over the years, it was common for students to have pocket-knives. I had one, and so did all the other boys in the school. There were fights, and I was in a few of those fights, but not once did it occur to me that I should pull that pocketknife out and use it in the fight. I guess times have changed. I guess kids have changed, too. Nowadays we can't trust kids with a pocketknife for fear they might stab another kid with it.
After a student reported to his teacher that [12 year-old] Miles Rankin had been showing his friends a 2 inch pocket knife in the school bathroom, Miles, a dedicated student with good grades, was handcuffed and taken away in a police vehicle—in view of his classmates—to a juvenile detention center.

At a hearing in juvenile court, Miles was shackled and handcuffed as if he were a dangerous criminal. The judge presiding over the hearing, who also happened to be the attorney for the school board, decided that Miles should remain in the detention center. Miles’s parents were only able to pick him up on conditional release the following evening, after he had been imprisoned for over 48 hours. The punishment didn't end there...click here to read the full story
Some people reading this might be nodding their heads in full agreement and mouthing trite platitudes about rules being rules. The same man that would stand up and declaim self-righteously and sanctimoniously that rules are rules is also the same man that used to take a very similar pocketknife to school himself as a young boy. So I ask you, how can a person in good conscience decide that wrack, ruin, and obliteration is a just punishment for breaking a school rule which has only existed for at most two or three decades?

You see, nowadays we just can't trust our children. We can't allow them to have a two-inch-long pocketknife in school at the age of seventeen. Things change so quickly though, don't they? One month later, when this untrustworthy seventeen-year-old turns eighteen, and with high-school diploma in hand, we will then, suddenly, be able to trust him to enlist in the Marine Corps and swear sacred and binding oaths. A few months after that, we'll be able to trust him with an M-16 and a couple of clips full of 5.56×45mm shells.

Our entire justice system is reactionary, not preventative. Everything is geared towards finding the perpetrator after the commission of the crime and then putting him in the care of the state for a number of years. Now that we have this walking statistic in state hands, he must be taken care of much like slaves were taken care of while working at old pre-Civil-War plantations. If you think about the life of a prisoner, about how he's treated, about how's he's fed and clothed, and worked, some startling similarities begin to align themselves don't they?

Did you know that the only anti-theft device that is currently endorsed by the law-enforcement community is the Lo-Jack? How ironic that the only anti-theft device endorsed by law-enforcement only starts working once the crime has already been committed. Once your car is stolen police move Heaven and Earth to get that car back and put that criminal in jail. He may have already totaled your vehicle, but the good news is that the perpetrator has been permanently installed in one of our new modern penal plantations.

Whether it's a speeding ticket, shoplifting, a drug offense, or a violent crime like rape and murder, the police only respond once it's already too late. This reactionary model is similar in schools. Yes, they've got metal detectors which no kid who knows he's carrying a weapon is going to walk through...full-stop. Yes they have zero-tolerance policies which are only unfairly harsh to the non-violent students. This is not prevention! This is Kabuki Theater and it is the same sad and pointless theatrical production the TSA is performing every day at your local airport.

The lesson we learn in school nowadays is that we can't trust our children with a two-inch pocket knife, but we can trust them with an eight-inch long wooden stake which we will help them sharpen in every class-room. Yes, vampires would definitely feel a tad bit nervous in our modern classroom setting.

How did our great society of basically good people go from where we were, to where we are today? How did we go from god-fearing to just plain fearing? The direction this country has been headed for the past thirty years or so is the wrong direction. I think we all know it. I could point some fingers, I suppose. I could lay a great deal of the problem at the feet of our entertainment industry. Whether that is violent music, violent movies, or violent video-games, they each and all seemed designed to be veritable blueprints of mayhem.

Some people reading this might be shaking their heads in disagreement. You might argue that just because you watch a movie about a mass-murderer killing a bunch of kids one-by-one at some kind of summer camp doesn't mean you're going to go postal at your local school. That's true of course, but there's always that one isn't there? There's always that one person who actually believes the email from the Nigerian who just wants some nice Christian American to accept his seventy-two million dollars—[72,000,000.00 USD.] for purposes of investing in American business. Just pay the Nigerian's lawyer an ever-longer assortment of odd-sounding fees and those millions will be winging their way to the states.

My grocery store actually has an "As-seen-on-TV" aisle! If you've flipped past infomercial after infomercial, it may have occurred to you that people are taken in by these things time after time. So there's always that one kid who may take a two-inch pocket-knife and run amok. Sure it could happen. It's the kind of thing that luckily is much less common than for instance someone from your own hometown hitting the mega-millions jackpot. Meanwhile a thousand boys are expelled and sent to an alternative school which is really more of a reform school than an alternative school. They're not going to be learning positive role-model lessons from their peers in this environment, I can assure you.

I'll point one more accusatory finger. The lion’s share of the blame for the ever-more shameful situation our civilization finds itself, rests with our litigious minded court and its associated attorneys. No fault divorce and child-support are to blame for hundreds of millions of single-parent homes. Tamper-evident seals on everything from toothpaste to Tampax—and the passed-along packaging expense associated—are because of a legion of civil attorneys and their bread-and-butter—the lawsuit. When a lawyer can sue a school over the Pledge of Allegiance, what remains off the table?

h/t Conservative Compendium