Monday, August 8, 2011

Beer/EBT/Safer/Personal Racism

Craft Brewers are the latest to get screwed over in the convoluted regulations that seem to impede business and job growth at every step in Massachusetts. Regulations would almost mandate the purchasing of a Manufactures License since they could not necessarily meet the requirements for a Farmers License regarding using locally grown hops. Some of these small brewers are living on the edge as all expect to be the next Sam Adams but fall short. Some fail and some plug along with a nice work force, a quality product and a reasonable profit. All that seems to go out the door when the regulatory police step in. Does anyone actually sit down with these people? Do they actually look at the consequences of their actions? These are not polluters dumping who knows what in the middle of the night but small businessmen and women being strangled by an unresponsive and no thinking government.

I saw an article the other day in the Enterprise where new legislation is aimed towards attempting to curb some of the more elegant ways those using the automated welfare cards - EBT - spend their or is it our money. Seems that alcohol and cigs can be purchased but what is interesting is the rampant abuse. The Boston Herald ran their usual dump on the poor or disadvantaged or downtrodden or however you wish to describe the recipients series of articles or exposes several months ago. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming on abuse and fraud in the entire system. Lax controls and easily to manipulate scams abound.

In Brockton I have a rental property and near the property is a convenience store owned and operated by “Jeff.” “Put a camera in my store for 24 hours and put it on TV” is his usual rant. If it was up to “Jeff” he probably would not allow half the purchases that go through his store but the last thing he needs in his life is some heat coming down on him from some governments agency charging discrimination. His biggest complaint is the prices that folks pay at his store when a Shaw’s is less than a mile away. “Why would someone do $40 worth of shopping from me when they can get the same from Shaw’s for $25? I’ve seen people come in and do that and drive away. I’ve seen them buy stuff and then go out the door and sell it for peanuts to get cash.”

And speaking of Brockton I just think of the total mess that they have regarding past due water bills. The spin from the city officials - especially the water department - is to try and place as much onus as possible on the homeowners. Well enough information has surfaced to show that the most significant problem in the entire mess is not the homeowners but the sloppy operation and billing practices of the water department.

S & P downgraded the U.S. rating but it was not based on the ability to pay but the ability to reach a consensus. Congress reminds me of two pubescent girls fighting over a Justin Beiber autograph. Now several years ago Japan had a downgrade and the financial experts stated that the result would be an increase in bond interest rates but just the opposite happened. The only ones in Washington that seem to have a clue are the Tea Party members. Oh how I hate to say that but I give them there props.

Bad economic sign #3,786 is that consumer borrowing is at its highest level in four years.

“Throw the bums out” seems to be the prevailing logic in dealing with the morass of inefficiency that is Washington. If I recall that has been tried the last two election cycles. Maybe third time is a charm?

A golden opportunity is at hand to revise our tax codes. Maybe actually not punish folks for making wise financial decisions?

The economic mess of 2008 took most 401(k)’s the last three years to recover. Now comes the latest blip and what may happen is a massive sell off that will really cause a tumble as folks get gun shy.

The Red Sox banged out another series against NY on the plus side. In 12 games it is now 10 wins but all that is meaningless as the two baseball titans are on a playoff collision course.

The Patriots seem to be collecting a few players of questionable character.

The Safer Grant appears in trouble as our vagabond fire chief has managed to get the whole process questioned. Now his Sharon gig supposedly fell apart over a residency restriction so why didn’t he just have a time frame for a move, then get it extended and then get another job?

With the double dip recession or is it just one very long recession the mood of taxpayers is going to be rather interesting. Look for public service employees to have a nice target on their backs. The pensions and benefits exceed that of the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector) so when cuts are mentioned by Joe and Jane taxpayer you know who and what will be targeted.

I have written to many politicians about adjustments to traditional 401(k)’s in regards to substantial losses some have incurred. These are tax deferred but it would be rather easy to target losses and make an adjustment based on either new tax policy or adjusting old policy. The idea is the money would grow and for many it has not. Some are forced into minimal withdrawal on greatly reduced portfolio’s. Barney Frank’s office has repeatedly refused to even respond to the issue and Scott Brown is just the opposite.

On a recent trip I had the opportunity to board the bus that Rosa Parks did her thing on and even sat in the very seat. It caused a flood of memories of when I was exposed to that “Quaint Custom” as a teenager. More on that below.

On a talk show the commentator was talking about a conversation he had while getting his coffee “With a lovely Chinese lady.” I have no idea why that was even pertinent to the topic. I doubt he would say “I had a conversation with a lovely White woman.”

Years ago two of my very liberal friends were commenting on the Obama speech given at the Democratic convention. I have heard them comment many times on other speakers but they both said “He was so articulate.” I chuckled to myself thinking what do they really mean? We found a Black guy who can speak a sentence with Ebonics?

I taught with someone many years ago who was Black and a forceful speaker. He told me when he got a comment like that his usual retort was “And I am house broken, too.”

When I speak to a person who is different in color or ethnic background what registers first is - and I will focus on color - Black. What I have to do is set makers in my mind to take all stereotypes and keep them locked away and make judgments based on what takes place. I have discussed this trait with folks other than White and have discovered it appears universal. Maybe a form of universal racism? Maybe just human nature?

I remember many years ago being in Charleston for several months. I was about fourteen years of age and my parents were spending some time in the area while my father set up a business. In those days you would take the bus everywhere and I remember boarding the bus to take me to the area of the movie theaters. I always loved to sit in the back where you had these round seats. Very roomy so I went and plopped myself down.

After a few minutes the bus halted and the driver scurried to the back. “What are you doing there, boy?” I responded with a simple “Sitting, sir.” “You not from around here are you, boy?” “No…I’m from Massachusetts.” So he says “Those seats is for the Nigras!” “What’s a Nigra?” “Those is colored folks, boy, now you move you ass down front or I’ll toss you off the bus!”

I remember the separation as you had the various signs that said “Colored” and “White” on restrooms and fountains. I remember having dinner at the house of a prominent Black who was a scrap dealer that my father would sell his scrape to. This man was wealthy and lived in a large home that was in a Black neighborhood. The irony is we could go to his home without incident but he could not go to ours. My father didn’t give a damn about color except green.

I experienced many other such demonstrations while down south and in the years that followed discussed with many folks of color about it. I was always shocked to hear so many with southern roots say in many ways it was better than the north. Up here it was all under the surface and hidden with smiles and platitudes. Down there you knew it.


Mark Belanger said...

In the early 80's I was returning home from a trip to North Carolina - getting a ride from a black cabbie from Logan to my apartment. He told me he had recently visited friends in NC. They were all walking home one night on a dark country road. A car approached and his friends all jumped into the bushes. He asked them what the h*** they were doing. Apparently they were in fear of being run down by white drivers on desolate stretches of road.

I never forgot that story.

chica said...

I can afford any expenses down the road on the grant but the question is can my neighbors?