Category: Government

April 24, 2012

Going postal

by Nori — Categories: Government, Social networking, Wising upComments Off on Going postal

The USPS is facing big problems.  They can’t afford to meet their pension obligations, a problem which is the result of poor management (nobody can do poor management quite like the government), union manipulation (the root of the pension problem in the first place) and a really poor business model.  So, what to do, what to do.

I have a few suggestions.

Charge a premium for home delivery.  The farther out you are, the more it costs and the cost is per mail delivery.  You have to pick how many times a week you want it delivered and on what day(s).  That would offset the cost of manpower and fuel to get the mail out to those of us who truly live in the sticks and reduce the man-hours of the people doing the delivery.  The postage charges would be for getting the mail from the sender’s local post office to the post office of the receiver, not for home or business pick up and delivery.

With this you have to have a way for people to get and send their mail at no additional charge, so offer a free drive through service for mail collection and dropoff.  Have it open from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  This would be good for people who work.  Postal customers could collect their mail before or after work or at lunch.  This would also greatly reduce rural mail theft.

Then add volunteers to the postal service like they’ve done at the libraries which have gone private.  Volunteers and a pickup window will have the benefit of rebuilding some of our sense of community.  Seniors and stay-at-home parents can work shifts.  Turn this into a community effort.  The unions will scream loudly, but I like that noise . . . yeah, I get sadistic glee when the unions scream.

To cut down on junk mail, which is a total waste, charge much more for bulk mail.  MUCH more.  With the internet, there’s less and less need for this type of mail and most people would be happy to see it go away.

Or, we could just privatize the USPS.  That would solve all the problems in one decisive action.  The government does nothing well, so let the private sector take over the task of handling our mail.


April 4, 2012

Assigning homework

by Nori — Categories: Government, Politics, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off on Assigning homework

If you’ve been following the news, you know SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) had hearings last week on three things involving the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act.

On day one they heard arguments to determine if they could hear arguments . . . it was one of those “it’s a tax!”, “no, it’s a penalty” things that involved defining the parameters of the argument based on past legislation and the wording of the law.

The second day had arguments about the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate (you MUST buy health care or pay a penalty).  The most profound bit of that was the question “can the government create commerce so they can regulate it” and that whole thing didn’t go very well for the government.  Their guy came across as far less than competent and prepared.  The final guy arguing for striking down the mandate was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.  I’ve listened to this bit more than once.  The guy is brilliant.

The last day was on another bit in the legislation involving Medicare/Medicaid.  That didn’t go so well for the defense either.  In all, as CNN attested, the current administration got their collective butts kicked.  It made me smile.

So POTUS (President of the United States) got all officious and up in the face of SCOTUS and said there was no precedent for SCOTUS to reject what the legislators had created, that it was totally constitutional, any rejection would be completely politically driven . . . blah, blah, blah.  The next day he backtracked a bit but essentially said the same thing, how dare SCOTUS take into question the constitutionality of this “essential” piece of legislation.

This political faux pas caused great humor, commentary and apoplexy (2)(3)(4)(5) among the constitutionally more savvy set as they compared POTUS’s history as a student and professor teaching the Constitution against the completely false assertion that SCOTUS has no power to overturn legislation that lacks a constitutional base.  In all, I find it pretty amusing.  If you want a sampling of what’s out there beyond what I’ve listed here, plug this into your search engine and start reading obama constitution professor supreme court.

POTUS’s inadvisable comments caused another court to exercise a little judicial outrage.  The federal judge in another case assigned the administration some apparently much needed homework.

…a federal appeals court judge in Texas — troubled by Obama’s remarks about the propriety of unelected judges striking down acts of Congress — ordered a Justice Department attorney to give him — within 48 hours — a three-page letter, single spaced, specifically referring the president’s statements and what they mean.

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith said he wants to know the position of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department on the concept of judicial review.

“I want to be sure that you are telling us that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice do recognize the authority of the federal courts through unelected judges to strike acts of Congress or portions thereof in appropriate cases,” Smith said.

The judge made the request during oral arguments in a separate challenge to another aspect of the federal health care law…

So we’re all waiting to see what the administration submits, if anything.  More hilarity is sure to ensue.

April 1, 2012

Still riding the “ain’t no such thing” global warming horse

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Energy, Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Wising upComments Off on Still riding the “ain’t no such thing” global warming horse

The rain can stop any time now. If it doesn’t, I’m considering ark building as a potential hobby.

There’s lots going on in the global warming debate. Much of the steam has seeped out of the global warmists’ engine. Poland, among other EU eastern border countries, has told the rest of the EU to eff off, they’re going to continue to use their plentiful coal to produce the energy needs of their country. While that was a big thing when they started spouting it at the initial upswell of the global warming debate, now the figurative flipping-off is causing nary a ripple.

India and China are building thorium nuclear power plants patterned on research the US did middle of the last century. As a country, our failure to embrace our own research and our inability to be nimble in retrenching to a better/safer/cheaper nuclear technology is leaving egg on our faces. It’ll be interesting to see what Japan does over the next 10 years.

The EPA has backed off on its suit against a gas drilling company in Texas. It seems the methane in the drinking water was a pre-existing condition. Who knew?!  <rolls eyes>  I’m hoping the ruling against the EPA on the Sackett case in the Supreme Court was a bit of a wake-up call but I’m wasting zero time and energy holding my breath in anticipation. Governmental arrogance is a well established trait unlikely to change.

I read a really good article on Climate Realists this morning about past warm periods/droughts (decimated the Roman population) and wet periods (people literally had limbs and digits falling off) and plague (fleas brought in by the rat migration due to drought). I need a time machine so I can send those who think we actually have any influence on climate back in time. I’ll even let them pick ice age or drought! See how generous I am?! And no, I’m not bringing them back. I envision this as a one-way trip. I see it as their civic duty to reduce the current population’s influence on the climate by engaging in a little population reduction, a nice little bit of forced altruism.

So, today we’re testing to see if you’re up on the facts on CO2. Yeah, that’s me, poking people through the bars of their cage.  <evil laugh> I have to get my ever-so-cheap thrills where I can. It is, after all, still raining.

So, pick one.

  • I think ALL of the CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere is from man.
  • I’m not sure how much “Man Made” CO2 is in the Earth’s Atmosphere.
  • There is .04% CO2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere and of that “Man” has added an extra 4% (1 part in 62,500)

If you pick the first, the time machine line forms to my left. If you picked the second, I’m a little surprised you stayed awake long enough to read all the way through this post. You can go back to sleep now.

March 27, 2012

On Nancy Reagan and Jane Fonda

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, PoliticsComments Off on On Nancy Reagan and Jane Fonda

Does it bother you at all that avowed socialist Jane Fonda is slated to play the iconic Nancy Reagan? I have to say . . . it bothers me a lot. Not only because I don’t want the nation’s memory of Mrs. Reagan soiled by being associated with such an un-American person, but because I don’t think Fonda is a good enough actress to pull of the quintessential and beloved First Lady and wife of one of our most successful Presidents ever.

March 24, 2012

What’s in it for me?

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Wising upComments Off on What’s in it for me?

Are you a fully actualized citizen? You can determine your status by answering one question. When you reflect on the federal government and ponder “what’s in it for me”, what are your expectations? What is it you expect the government to do for you?

If you haven’t really studied government, how it was designed to work by our founders, how it works now, how the changes impacts the citizenry and the direction our country’s headed, you may not see the pitfalls before us. Let me give you just a little food for thought.

In my view, a fully actualized citizen is one who, when questioning the role of government and what they have to gain, thinks about the natural rights of liberty and property as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They know to get ahead they must work harder AND smarter, but they expect to be able to benefit from their efforts and sacrifice. They expect to bear the penalties of their mistakes. They have embraced their freedom and revel in it.

Someone who has not yet reached full maturity in their citizenship is someone very concerned about “fair”. Any benefit they could potentially receive by direct action of the government are perceived as rights to which they feel entitled . . . right to health care, right to a job, right to a house. The catch-word for this class of citizen is “fair”, I want my fair share, he has more than I do that’s not fair. They have no concept that “fair” is actually “fair and equal under the law”. It isn’t “you get the same”, it’s “you get treated the same”, a wholly different thing.

The only thing we are truly entitled to beyond the liberties and freedoms defined in the Constitution and Bill of rights is freedom of opportunity. Anything or anyone who reduces this right is negatively impacting your natural right to success as each of us defines it.

This country used to be about freedom, the right to work hard . . . or not, the right to strive to better your existence . . . or not, the right to think and dream and live to the best of your ability. This is the ideal of advanced citizenship as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights!

I read a really interesting article last week which resulted from the parasite woman in Boston wanting her birth control paid for by taxpayers. I posted the link to that article in a previous post. Sometimes things click and this morning the entitlement mentality, feminization of manly men and the dependency of women (see aforementioned article) all coalesced into a whole in my mind. Our country is made up of those who are philosophically women/children who want/need to be taken care of by others. These people don’t want to think for themselves or sacrifice/strive to the degree necessary to care for themselves. They are a sub-class of citizenry, the philosophically dependent.

Our country is also comprised of citizens who embrace our freedoms and celebrate the independence that goes with it. These citizens emulate our founding fathers in their desire for self-actualization. They work hard, they play hard, they sacrifice and suffer to achieve. They understand true freedom means being independent to succeed or fail. They understand failure isn’t the end, it’s just a lesson for what doesn’t work. They don’t turn to the government to fix their failure but retrench and start again. These are the advanced citizens.

December 3, 2011

Just when you thought the TSA couldn’t possibly get any stupider . . .

by Nori — Categories: Government, Politics, Wising up4 Comments

. . . they do.

Teen's purse prohibited on plane because it's a "replica" of a gun.

The whole story is here =>

For those of you needing a definition of “replica” . . .

n : copy that is not the original; something that has been replicated [syn: reproduction]

Now compare that to bas-relief.

bas-relief \Bas`-re*lief”\, n. [F. bas-relief; bas law + relief raised work, relever to raise: cf. It. bassorilievo.]
Low relief; sculpture, the figures of which project less than half of their true proportions; — called also bassrelief and basso-rilievo. See Alto-rilievo.

Now which do you think is the correct term for the gun on her purse? Yeah, I’m still rolling my eyes at the idiocy of the TSA.  They evidently have no idea how to use a dictionary in addition to being very poorly trained.  That’s our government at work folks, “protecting” us by being stupid.

November 18, 2011

Hearings on tax reform

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Government, Politics, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off on Hearings on tax reform

I watched the Senate’s hearing on “Could Tax Reform Boost Business Investment and Job Creation?“.  It’s fascinating. I’ve noted the important parts below. Listen to any bits that interest you.

There are four tax reform presenters (Entin, Stone, Mastromarco and Hanlon) and about a dozen lawmakers listening and answering questions. Each presenter has five minutes for opening remarks and each lawmaker has five minutes to comment and question.

Brady introduces the presenters with their education, significant job history and positions.

Entin talks about how taxation effects the economy negatively. He’s anti-Keynes and for tax reform and says taxes negatively impacts capital investment and ultimately hurts the workers. He’s for diddling with the current tax code which implies leaving the ability to engage in favoritism in place is a good thing. He’s well educated and smart but still sees the government as the “smart” manager of taxation and spending. Of the “retain the current tax code” crowd, he’s the most educated and aware of how theory and the real world don’t match.  He sees and understands the inequities in the current tax code.

Stone plays the part of the village idiot, unable to connect theory to history/proven fact. He’s straight Keynesian, advocating for increased taxes and thinks government taxation and government spending is the only answer to every question. He is unable to see or admit what he’s advocating has never worked and he does a lot of fumbling to try and avoid admitting or facing it. When the Senators start commenting and questioning him, one of them (Mulvaney @ 65:08) excoriates him for advocating policies that have been proven not to work. While Entin may see the tax code as fixable, which is bad, this guy is much much worst. He is advocating bigger government with the government distributing the taxes to influence/control (“fix”) the economy. This guy is bad news. It’s a good thing he’s not very articulate. Only people who already believe his warped logic are going to listen to him.

Mastromarco advocates for the Fair Tax. His intro speech starts at 42:24. While it’s well worth listening to he wastes a lot of time in the beginning blasting other plans instead of highlighting the excellence of the Fair Tax plan. That bit made me wince. Brady questions him at 54:25. One of the senators asks him about the likelyhood of tax avoidance (Campbell @ 86:21). Stone comments on the Fair Tax at 59:18. I don’t think Stone realizes how strongly he’s advocating for the benefits of the Fair Tax. He talks about how it would encourage hard work and investment like that is a bad thing, calling those activities a “natural disaster.” I did say he was the village idiot, didn’t I? The guy is as dumb as a rock. Mastromarco rebuts Stone’s Fair Tax comments at 63:39.

Hanlon advocates reform of the current tax system. He’s for greater infrastructure spending, increased taxation, taxing the rich and raising corporate tax rates. Hanlon’s the village idiot’s slightly more articulate understudy.  He may have been included to give Stone’s position support.  I don’t see that as one of the outcomes of the hearing.  I think he just widened the target area for some of the lawmakers’ shots.

61:18 – Casey talks about the inequity between types of companies in the current tax code to which Hanlon responds. More past, present and future ineffective tax code tweaking mentioned here.

65:08 – Mulvaney has some excellent comments about the current tax code and the comparison of real world versus theory. His section is a must watch. Stone props up his position as the village idiot in non-answering Mulvaney’s questions. “I think, I think, I think, I think . . . ” Who decided this was the guy to support the Keynesian model? Personally, I think they erred in their choice of an advocate.

After a bit of self-back-patting blah-blah-blah, Coats talks about good stuff starting at about 71:18. Start listening closely when he talks about consensus and the corporate tax rate/code and how uneven/unfair/unequal it is. That bit’s really good and Entin’s response to him is excellent and highlights how confusing and unequal the current tax code is.

77:20 – Duffy talks about the global marketplace and how our current tax code impacts our global competitiveness. He nails Stone and Hanlon by questioning them about taxes in other countries. Stone again reprises his village idiot role. The guy just doesn’t learn. In his responses, Hanlon again holds up his village idiot’s understudy role.  Duffy’s articulate and informed and Stone and Hanlon look even worse in comparison.

90:00 – Duffy asks Hanlon about a carbon tax, global warming and taxation. Well worth watching Duffy’s five minutes just for Hanlon’s squirming to avoid answering Duffy’s questions. Stone’s fumblings are equally amusing. Duffy’s responses to Stone are spot on. Entin’s comments are very interesting as are his revelations about burden tables. This last bit is in response to Stone’s comments about the “right size” of government and are some of the most enlightening of the hearing. Entin’s comments at the end support the Fair Tax plan without naming names.

95:43 – Brady’s closing remarks are good.  I got the impression most of the lawmakers are truly fed up with the current tax system, lobbyists and corruption.  If they can hold that light up and stay strong, we may actually make progress from their efforts.

Watch or don’t watch. I thought it was good.  If we’re informed we can fight for smaller government and a more effective and prosperity generating tax code.  I know enough to tell my legislators which way I expect them to jump.

Conversely, if we aren’t informed, we are going to believe legislators and lobbyists without it tipping our bullshit meter.

November 10, 2011

The Affordable Housing scam

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Government, Politics, Wising upComments Off on The Affordable Housing scam

For a long time I’ve been a fairly silent advocate of “real life” classes for high school and college students.  With our current ability to write gaming programs we could develop a Real Life game to be played by every high school and college student to teach them about finance, politics and personal responsibility.

While this is actually the job of parents, mine didn’t do it and I know few of the teaming masses whose parents actually did instill fiscal and personal responsibility in their get.  Instead of learning how to manage a budget (and WHY you should HAVE a budget), how to save for a rainy day and retirement, how to stay out of trouble personally and legally, many of us had to learn at least a portion of that in the school of hard knocks.  If you haven’t attended that school, let me tell you, maturity and true adulthood comes only after this knowledge is fully assimilated.

There is currently a game called the “Game of Real Life” but it’s based on rolling dice, not on a “choose from this list of actions” personal decision making ideology.  I envision a computer based game that would let you make choices and your outcome (let’s assume the game lasts the length of a typical educational semester) at the end is based solely on the choices you made.  There needs to be an element of chaos in the algorithm because shit happens.  That thing did fall out of the sky, you did get rear ended and the windstorm did blow that tree into your house.  The game would encompass all the students in all the real life classes running for that semester so your “real life” activity would influence and be influenced by all the other students.

At the end you’d get a pass/fail based on attendance and participation.  The goal is to teach fiscal and personal responsibility, not score students based on how many karma points they acquired through the semester

I got off on a bit of a tangent.

Wadly and I are three years and two months away from having no mortgage.  When we bought this place we put a big chunk down and we’ve paid ahead every month we could.  The decision to do those two relatively responsible things has saved our butts twice.  If we can keep this up for the remaining three years and two months we will be rid of our last consumer credit bill.

The reason I tell you this is because of the problems in the housing market brought on by the machinations of James A. Johnson, CEO of Fannie Mae.  The housing market train wreck is explained in the new book Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner.

This rather rambling heads up is in part due to the governments’ creation of another panel to craft legislation to “fix” the housing market.  Haven’t they done enough already?

November 10, 2011

The Occupy crowd, climate change and Greek socialism

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Government, Politics, Social networking, Wising upComments Off on The Occupy crowd, climate change and Greek socialism

There are a lot of concepts, concerns and ideas whirling around in my brain.  I’ve heard or read bits of stuff that have struck a chord but most of these bits are so brief they don’t warrant a post of their own.

This week I heard someone say the occupy crowd were children in adult bodies.  That is SO true for a number of reasons.

  • If you do an internet search on “occupy violence vagrancy” you’ll get over 35,000 hits.  <wince>  To give you a flavor of why this is significant, the majority of major news outlets support the occupy movement so the reports of incidents of violence include assault, rape, theft and property damage are not carried by the big liberal media.  The reported poor behavior, separate from the flawed ideology being spouted, is an indicator of the lack of sophistication/education/maturity of the movement and its supporters.  This behavior is the complete opposite of the Tea Party rallys.  No violence, no property damage, no crimes against persons.  The “tea baggers” showed respect each other, the constitution and the rule of law.  I don’t think that’s something you can say about the occupy movement.
  • CATO’s daily podcast for today is Donald J. Boudreau talking about the 1% and income mobility.  The podcast is well worth listening to.  I think I listened to it four or five times to really let it soak in.  According to Boudreau, the rich don’t stay rich.  The percentage of income increase actually falls as the levels of income and upward mobility for the other classes rise.  It took me a while to understand that, which is why I listened to the podcast so many times.  I’m a visually learner, not an auditory one.  Boudreau also ties income mobility to our free market system.  To translate what I learned from Boudreau into “me” speech, the Occupy movement is uneducated, clueless or deceptive.  At this point I’m going to say, take your pick.  Listen to the podcast and see if you don’t agree.

A lot of the floaty bits are climate related.

  • With the launch by Japan of the new CO2 measuring satellite the carbon tax scheme is crashing like a poorly constructed house of cards.  The satellite proves countries who supposedly produced all the CO2 actually don’t.  I can hear the anthropogenic warming crowd scrambling to do damage control as we speak.  I’m watching to see how they explain the elevated CO2 levels over uninhabited and heavily forested bits of the globe as well as the significantly reduced CO2 levels of the industrialized nations.  It should be pretty entertaining to watch the spin.
  • The BEST data is another scheme by which climate alarmists are trying to manipulate public opinion.  Of course they won’t release their data until AFTER the IPCC meets.  That prevents the more responsible scientists from dissecting the data.  I’ll bet you lunch at Plaza Jaliscos or the beer of your choice it will come out that the data was manipulated to show it supports man-caused global warming.  Anyone want to take that bet?
  • The anthropogenic climate change debates in Australia and England are very hot right now.  It’s like watching kabuki theater.  Politicians seeking to gain power are screaming that Australia will be a dust bowl and it’s all due to man’s evil actions.  Of course this stentorian rhetoric was given just as a tremendous thunder storm rolled in and thoroughly soaks the “dust bowl” area.  Oops.  As they say, timing is everything.
  • England’s facing rising energy prices and 1 in 4 families are facing choices in whether they stay warm, drive to work or eat.  This is beyond stupid when England has just discovered a huge reserve of natural gas that could heat their citizenry’s home at a fraction of the current rate.  Instead of leaping on this new find they’re still putting up inefficient and ruinously expensive windmills.  Due to a really poor showing by their government run meteorology office, they’re requested the funds for better computers.  I wonder how much this latest scramble has to do with their abysmal performance when compared to the absolutely brilliant forecasts by Piers Corbyn.
  • Changes in CO2 are proving to not be tied to global temperature, proving the lack of validity of the greenhouse gas effect.  The levels of CO2 are rising while global temps are dropping.  Can you say “junk science”?
  • And one more goody on this front.  I watched somebody explain how the use of windmills actually causes more pollution because the wind is a variable commodity and the power plants have to ramp up and back down constantly to cover the ever changing power deficit.  A defined amount of power must be produced consistently and windmills can’t do that without power plant backup.  If you understand fuel economy you know the harder you step on the gas the more fuel you use to produce the same end result.  If you’re constantly on and off the accelerator you will have really poor gas mileage.  Power plants are no different.  Smooth and even saves fuel and the up and down of wind power actually wastes fuel and causes greater pollution.  I think this is one of those “unintended consequences” we keep hearing about.

And a tiny bit about Greece.  The president of that fine nation (note sarcasm) is a socialist.  That government, has been following socialist tenets and is now facing an identical ending to that of every country governed using that ideology, a heart breaking financial, emotional and political mess.  This is another case of those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.  The question in the case of the leadership of Greece is, was it stupidity or arrogance.  Was the president so arrogant that he felt would work under his leadership despite having never worked before?  Or was he so stupid he couldn’t look at history and understand what happened to other failed socialist nations?  If you are an Occupy sympathizer, you might want to take note.  Aside from being contrary to our Constitution and Bill of Rights, income redistribution and the idea that a job is a right are both socialist tenets.  Socialism has never worked in the past which gives an excellent indicator of how well they would work in the future.

I’m sure there are other bits floating behind my eyeballs but they haven’t fermented long enough.


November 8, 2011

DOS attack on HeritageAction?

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Energy, Government, Social networking, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off on DOS attack on HeritageAction?

One of the sites that’s doing a good job of highlighting the disparity between liberal spin and cold hard fact is the Heritage Foundation.  I tried to get to their spin-off Heritage Action this morning and got a 503 (no server available) this morning.  Denial of service attack was the first thing that came to mind.  I’ve seen it before . . . if someone doesn’t like the the view they try and paint over the window.

The word IS getting out.  It’s getting out on CO2 and anthropogenic global warming.  It’s getting out on what’s really going on in government.  It’s getting out on how bigger government is stripping us of our rights and freedoms.  The word IS getting out.

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