Friday, September 30, 2011

Dis n' Dat While In Sox Mourning

Barney Frank who is an ardent advocate for online gaming received $18,600 in contributions from that industry - if one can say gaming is actually an industry. After being the poster child for financial malfeasance with his bluster, inane advocacy and then attempted avoidance of the Fanny scandals how appropriate it is that he supports such foolishness as online gaming. Did with housing.

Deval Patrick is furious over the mere idea of having to present proper ID to vote. We use ID’s for everything. Why not voting? Makes sense.

Green energy has certainly been green - real green - for some. The Solyndra mob appeared before a Congressional hearing and it seemed like the 50s and 60s again with pleas of “The 5th.” Appearing more and more like the executives were simply crooks and the administration is up to their eyeballs in this mess. Think Teapot Dome.

I watch excerpts from the Republican debate since about five minutes is my tolerance level. Huntsman and Paul seem reasonably normal but the rest?

The Town Manager and the DPW honcho seem to be approaching the storm rubbish issue the same way in that their first response is to try and figure out how not to do something rather than how to do it. Apparently neither have spent any time in customer service.

Some cities and towns will actually cut back on very visible items as a way of encouraging the peasants to pony up some more cash at TM or with a 2 and ½. I’m am sure nothing like that will ever happen in Middleboro.

Friendly’s is back on the brink of another Chapter 11 protection.

Deval Patrick continues to dismiss Secure Communities as the body toll rises.

Tom Brady’s bride got off with a warning for going 70MPH in a 55 zone. According to the State Police about half of those stopped got warnings so this was not any special treatment. The others were probably judges, court officers, Reps and others connected.

In the movie Contagion one of the characters utters the phrase “Blogging is graffiti with punctuation.”

Obama’s support among Black voters is now eroding.

Maxine Waters (D- Mothership) said “The Tea Party can go to hell.” Chris Matthews made a comment about the blowhard Limbaugh that just about said he hopes someone off’s him. Andre Carson - a Black Caucus Member - stated the tea party would like to see “Blacks hanging from trees.” Now if the right made comments like this it is hate speech.

I read that some fees such as the dump (AKA - Landfill) pass cannot be paid with cash. Now despite what it says on our greenbacks this is perfectly legal to refuse cash for public and private obligations. The legislation (coinage act of 1965) is poorly worded. To me it is an insult. I read into it a lack of trust of employees.

Chief Gates says being a policeman “Is a young man’s job.” Well so much for any 21st century enlightenment on the part of the chief. In case he missed out there happens to be women who actually do the job. Yes, Chief, they do things besides sell cosmetics and pop out babies. Maybe, Alice - a woman! - quoted him wrong?

A young man’s job part II. Has Chief Gates ever roamed around town and took a look at the police details? Some of these guys have been retired for years and I feel like setting up a lawn chair at the work site for them just to play it safe.

A young man’s job part III. Why? Is there some unique quality about being young that defines the job? Maybe you should just shove all those 40+ characters out the door? Say, Chief, how old are you? I guess our chief is both an ageist and sexist?

Design flaws is a way architects and engineers explain away problems some with monstrous consequences.

Aircraft design is fascinating since most experimental models go through vigorous testing before they are rolled out for military or commercial use so I will use that as an example for baseball.

The Comet was a magnificent aircraft and represented the first commercial jet. Built by de Havilland it was placed in service in 1952 and did have some issues that were resolved. Then came a series of mysterious and fatal crashes forcing the fleet to be grounded.

Now why is this related to baseball? Well the aircraft itself was agreed to be of quality by everyone involved. Hundreds of designers and engineers were involved and all agreed on its air worthiness. The fatal flaw was windows and you can read about it. Simple and unsuspecting. Actually new territory. This is similar to the Red Sox in 2011 as the fans and media all jumped up and saluted the choices made with signings, trades and who would get dumped. Heck most felt 100 wins were well within reach and I thought 105 could be obtained. But there are design flaws.

Some of the flaws became apparent from the 2-10 beginning and then magnified as certain expectations were not attained. Most were placed on the back burner as the team went on a 72-37 tear and then the flaws kicked in. Some seem to be how certain players approach the game. Others are the small stuff like not hitting with Runners In Scoring Position or not making a routine play that extends an inning. Then the issues of complacency, clubhouse karma and even ability start to surface. Like with the comet the design flaws are there and will have to be addressed.

Right now Boston is the Comet (de Havilland) and the Yankees are Boeing. de Havilland never really did recover.

IMO the blame for the entire mess of the Red Sox lands on Theo Epstein. Theo loves metrics or the numbers of baseball to make decisions on player acquisition. They use their own proprietary software to crunch the numbers but someone one piece is missing - character.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birthday Post

I suspected Roger may have been in trouble about five days before the election when I received an attack ad from Brunelle. When that happens it shows some internal polling may have said “trouble.”

Brunelle also lost Middleboro. Seems to have become a family tradition in the last year.

Despite Pacheco (D-Probation) Roger still lost Taunton. Maybe someone will also run against him?

Borders is just about done and the usual pithy article of hand wrenching lament appeared in the paper with a flurry of quotes from loyal customers and now pounding the pavement employees. The impression was this was some type of monolithic conspiracy to get rid of a landmark business. Huh? No, folks, it was a company whose business model was not updated and tragically failed.

I worked for Howard Johnson Companies from their robust days until the company was essentially dissolved after passing hands from Imperial Tobacco to Marriott. HJ was iconic and also a convoluted mess of mismanagement. They were rift with poor decisions that even those in the lower depths of management would shake our heads at and say “Why are they doing this?” When changes were being made it was without any real plan and was far too little too late. We could all make a list to rival anything put out by Harvard Business School on companies that either went belly-up or are a shell of their former self and a good portion of the common Joe and Jane’s could have told them well before the end came what was wrong and what needed to be done.

The latest in hand wringing guilt is legislation proposed for Massachusetts for businesses to disclose there links to slavery. Now this is not some type of slavery that still exists in parts of the world but their links to our own 18th and 19th century involvement of making a buck off of it. Slavery was extremely profitable in this country for both north and south and many businesses and institutions profited or were formed as a result of profits taken in human trafficking. But somehow this is just more self induced feel good legislation.

More new revenue needed. Is there still some folks incapable of connecting the dots? Revenue means taxes means less income means less food for the government machine.

Ron Paul has said he’d support an audit of the Federal Reserve. That alone might be enough to support him.

Deval Patrick is Mr. Bluster when it comes to the recent daycare tragedy and Mr. Silent when it comes to an illegal killing someone with vehicular homicide.

Why believe anyone? I went to have some muffler work done that I knew was necessary and the prognosis was also two other items that needed immediate attention and that would be about $700 so off I went to the service manager at a car dealership where I have established a business relationship. I was having a routine oil change and asked them to investigate. Items not needed. Always good to get a second opinion.

To the BOS - thank you for the kind words.

Try as they might the wizard’s in The Fed and the administration just cannot control the economy. It’s all about productivity and there is little of it.

The NFL now looks like Arena Football or the early days of the AFL. Wide open passing and inflated QB numbers.

Obama made a smart move with the millionaires tax proposal. The 250K is off the board as being “rich” and the super rich have been designated the fall guy and most seem rather cooperative from what I have read. Puts the Republicans in the corner as there is not much play in this for them when discussing a million bucks a year in income. Just wish I could join them.

Now about all those super rich. I saw an article using IRS figures that showed the zero tax status was for less than one per cent and most others paid at a significantly higher rate that reflected their income. Hmmm.

Reward systems are wonderful. In fact many are the foundation of behavior modification systems. You reward young children and older ones as a way of showing a job well done or some type of improvement that has been made. Applies to adults. In fact we have rewards and punishment built into our existence. So why is it that our tax system punishes success? Seems the more successful you are the bigger target you become.

I continue to read about how the tax burden has actually decreased and that is simply incorrect. When you talk taxes it just isn’t federal but any state tax and any type of adjustment to deductions. I save everything with taxes. Everything. I pulled returns over a forty year period and my percentage increased across the board and that was primarily do to deduction manipulation, increase in FICA and a huge growth in state tax especially sales tax. Some of us are old enough to remember Volpe’s “Temporary” 3% sales tax.

On the above there are several web sites that really show how much we pay in taxes. Amazing how much is hidden. Some will even differentiate between a tax and fee. I have even seen some exotic math that attempts to extrapolate the impact of corporate taxes, fees and mandatory regulations as a inflation index.

Now a local battery maker has decided to jump into bed with the Chinese and their operation will expand rapidly to a Chinese hedge fund involvement and 400 jobs will be added - in China. Huge subsidies by the Chinese who seem to make this work while The Great Community Organizer can hang his accomplishment teleprompter on Solyndra.

Elizabeth Warren will attempt to unseat Scott Brown. She has the usual liberal credentials so there will not be the slightest of maverick in her as with Scott Brown. Dems want this seat after the embarrassment of 2010 and the way things are going they may need it and a lot more.

I see occasional piles of brush lying around town and that rings of Citation City for the DPW. Ah, folks, not everyone pays attention to the latest missive from the DPW about under service. So maybe Andy Bagas will find some “manpower” to go around and tell these folks to get with Middleboro’s new do it yourself program. $208 does not buy you what it use to.

My running or waddling partner’s bride took a nasty spill on one of her bike excursions. Now unlike us she is actually a well conciliation athlete and that is a huge plus in any rehab since the body is already conditioned and the work ethic is present.

I buy junk food. Potato chips and honey roasted peanuts are two favs. I will take a non guilty pleasure of snacking on them but there is s problem. My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - can resist me but not the junk food. The peanuts I thought were sucked up by a vacuum they have disappeared so fast so the directive has come down - no more junk food! So I have to pay the penalty for maintaining my svelte body? Oh the pain!

You can live off the past for just so long and the Red Sox have done nothing since 2007 despite an expenditure of 600M. The latest round of free agent signings have been a monumental disaster. IMO the need is apparent. Theo’s shelf life has expired and I hope he resigns and takes over the Cubs. Theo has done a masterful job of building up the farm system and making beneficial trades but has been a failure at late season pitching additions and those FA signings.

I also feel Tito has lost control of this team and has been managing defensively for a few months. There seems to be increased concern over clubhouse dynamics and the Sox should also look for a change in that direction.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Ides Of September

Unions gave Democrats about 400M for the 2008 election cycle so what is the end result of that? About one fourth of the latest “Recovery” Act is targeting unions mostly of the public sector variety as money will flow to local governments to prevent layoffs in that sector - primarily teachers. Now you know why Roger Junior has all those pamphlets/mailers coming to your house with the various union labels assigned.

Rick Perry has decided to come into the territory of the blue sans Scott Brown. Perry - to us - talks funny, prays and has trouble keeping his mouth shut. Take away the pray portion and it sounds like a description of Barney Frank.

How do members of the BOS stay awake during those various hearings when all the blueprints are dragged out and the power point tuned up? I know I’m lost with everything but a map but when they start talking the engineering gibberish it is like a sleeping pill. I’d spend hours asking pointless question after question since my learning curve on this stuff would need a serious boost.

This poster nailed it on the daily stories on the Greek debt crisis. From Yahoo.

“Brand new day...same old contrived Greek Euro zone debt story. You could cut and paste this "news" 100 times and it wouldn't make a difference. They must think we're all idiots.”

I have been inundated with calls for both candidates for the 12th seat but there is a difference. The ones I get I ask a simple question “I’m in Middleboro. What county is that in?” Roger’s calls are from phone banks and all are clueless. Union water boy? You bet!

When an executive of a company has a consistent pattern of making fiscal blunders what is the eventually outcome? For Boston the 2011 free agency list is Crawford, Albers, Wheeler, Jenks and Aceves. The only productive one has been Aceves with Crawford being a huge disappointment at 22M a season. Just add these to an ever growing list and it should be enough to convince Theo Epstein to take that Cubs job. As a GM he has done a remarkable job of building a farm system, drafting and in player development but that is only a fraction of the team expenditures as the big ticket is free agents and he has failed.

The DPW has no manpower to remove brush yet has the manpower to cite folks who don’t remove it. Nothing more consistent than inconsistency.

It was “Inevitable.”

Now what would be interesting is no one bids on a license.

Wonder what “The Raven” is up to?

My real problem with a casino is that it is a form of income distribution with the distribution primarily going to those who don’t give a hoot about the folks where it is located.

Government stimulus means jobs but they will just be temp jobs since no real manufacturing will take place. Now with these infrastructure jobs will the materials be made in the U.S.A.? Or will this be like the Canadian Obama tour bus? Seems if you are going to use rebar, wire, construction tools, heavy equipment and so on it should be a priority to have domestic.

Michael Bloomberg - mayor of The Rotten Apple - claims the job picture is so bleak we could have riots in the street. If Mr. Mayor wants to see some problems I’d suggest he get off his billion dollar arse and examine the tax structure of his city and state. City tax, state tax, sales tax, exorbitant gas tax and on and on she goes.

What generates a recovery is our consumerism and we just are becoming a bit more diligent about what we purchase and how we do it. So one way of curtailing that even more is to increase taxes and further reduce the spending power.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another Week Of Being A Malcontent

Storm hits and the BOS and DPW do a Casper The Ghost and disappear. The trash tax in play. $208 well spent. The usual pronouncement of manpower issues will prevent the additional pick-ups that may be necessary and how many other communities have managed to at least do something?

On Tuesday after the storm my running partner and I were cruising down to Eastover Farm for a run when we came across a convoy in Rochester complete with a wood chipper and front end loader. This was Marion Road and they were loading up the fallen wood including batches left out front by residents. Now just maybe this was something they were not suppose to do but did. Their primary objective was to insure that this roadway also had no obstacles left by the storm or was it just that in conjunction with providing service? On the way back to our usual stop at 7/11 we came across two Wareham DPW trucks doing similar activities. Guess other towns can cope with a “manpower shortage.”

Seems like Middleboro has decided to figure out ways of not doing things rather than doing them.

National Labor Relations Board is now going to require employers to have posters in the workplace describing the employees right to unionize. Wonder if they cleared this with Pacheco?

Huntsman. Perry. Bachmann. Romney. What a crew the Republicans have to fight it out for the nomination.

Martin Hanley and Charlie Lincoln appear to have a lot in common.

Probably the only thing more dysfunctional than my blog is Social Security. Rick Perry hammered away at this scheme during the Republican debate of which I saw an excerpt. Think I would actually watch that nonsense? I have been an advocate for partial dismantling of this system for decades and just maybe some in the political mainstream will finally do something about a program that makes Bernie Madoff look like a fiscal Mother Theresa.

The Obama latest stimulus is a mixture of little bits and pieces from proposals of both Republicans and Democrats so the term would be “nothing new here, folks, just move along.” The first stimulus was about twice as large and under its guidance unemployment went from 7.6 to 9+%. This one should bag us the coveted 10% plateau.

I am a Keiko supporter. My support is based entirely on two things. First is her fiscal positions and the second is the huge influx of union dollars for her opponent.

The infiltration of the Republican Party by overly religious elements disturbs me as much as the public employee union ties of the Democrats. I have often called myself a “political bisexual” in that I can go either party or none. I’m finding none becoming all to attractive lately.

When is enough enough? In Afghanistan our presence is about as valued as that woodchuck is in our garden. Simply put they hate us. They hate our government. They hate our religion. They hate our money. Well…maybe not the money since they seem to be putting that to good personal use. I just can’t see any value to our continuing to nest in that country, I thought “The Big Zero” would have had us out the door by now but he is also buying into that famed “Strategic withdrawal” mantra that the military experts continue to espouse.

Football season is about to start which means a goodly portion of the female population will be without male companionship for five months. Six if your team is in the playoffs. Then there is Fantasy Football which also requires huge blocks of time. Have fun, ladies.

Sal DiMasi is going to the federal can. Is that three or four speakers in a row? Easy to lose count.

What do police do? Proposals are put forward to get more “on the street.” Why? Well how about an outdated and failed policy on all levels to deal with drugs. Simple as that. More cops to address an issue that needs a different perspective. It is fiscally attractive to sell. To buy you need enormous sums of money and an easy way to acquire it is via grabbing it from someone else. We really need a controlled substance to be controlled, taxed, regulated and enforcement for serious violations such as we have under DUI’s. What we do now has not worked. It never will work.

Our drug policies have not only impacted our country but others. Mexico is in a shambles and much of it is because of pitched battles between drug cartels. The same applies to Columbia. Many others countries are also in the mix.

The DARE program was a total disaster. It did nothing and there is enough hard evidence to show that.

Obama’s proposals had an interesting impact on financial markets - they lost big time.

I had a recent meeting and espoused a position that has always done me well. I always examine the negative first. I always consider what can absolutely go wrong and assume it will. I first started to employ this mechanism as a baseball fan but found it did wonders in everything from purchasing items to buying/selling stocks. Perfect? Certainly not but it is always better to embrace the positive after you have fully examined in detail the negative.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Storms And Other Stuff

Once again an illegal has been involved in a horrid crime. Once again it could have been avoided. Once again an illegal had an extensive resume of legal entanglements. Once again the Patrick Administration refuses to address the logic of rudimentary law enforcement. If the law had been applied to getting this character sent to jail or “home” this could have been avoided.

Secured Communities is a great piece of legislation designed to help combat the infiltration of illegal’s and especially attempt to deal with those who accumulate an extensive criminal record. Why the Patrick administration is so reluctant address this issue and cooperate is just beyond me. Is it some type of warped political philosophy? Is it for fear of offending a potential voting block of legal’s? The governor has repeatedly ignored questions that put him on the spot light with this issue and uses his usual canned responses.

Now Obama’s uncle is arrested for a DUI and he had a license and an SS card. Another “Humanitarian” entry?

If a president does what he said he would do during the campaign cycle and when elected he will be successful. That is what he was hired to do and what the voters bought into. With the current president does that apply?

The Weather Channel was a wonder during the storm. They had what passes for reporters everywhere. How do they manage to get those characters in evacuation areas? I thought that was like a “no fly zone” to keep your arse out?

Of course I went out and purchased 50 gallons of milk, a 100+ loafs of bread and went to “The hood” and got an AK-47 to fend off the looters in my neighborhood.

The real truth to us locals is we know beyond a doubt what the storm is capable of especially along the coast and we also know that the real bad boys are the winter Nor’easters that really do the damage. They have consistent winds that can last for a few days. Then there is the ice storms. They really chew up the landscape.

Now in Middleboro the usual power outages happened and it will take a bit of time to get everything up and running. The damage seemed minor with the occasional building going one on one with a tree.

What will happen with the damage claims is we all come face to face with that lovely term “deductible” which is insurance talk for screwing us out of a few dollars. Then will come the adventures of the adjusters whose primary job is to low ball any damage claim and frame it in such a way that you think you have to accept it. To get a legitimate claim paid to restore your property usually means an extended song and dance that could involve lawyers and arbitration. The idea is to wear you down.

In Kansas I bought a $5 lottery scratch ticket which was - surprise - a loser. The top prize listed on the ticket was $1,000. Amazingly low. I didn’t check to see if they dole out a substantial number of top prizes but in Massachusetts a $5 scratchie usually means a minimum of one million as a top prize.

I love the liberal whine about FOX News. Then the benchmark of their pride and joy - MSNBC - goes out and hires Al Sharpton.

Speaking of liberal do I sense that that key Obama voting block - liberal white guilt - is starting to fade?

Obama is proposing tax credits to businesses that hire vets and especially wounded warriors. I imagine a Jim Thomas letter is in the works on this.

In China there is no old age pension system. No Social Security to fall back on. What they do have is a substantial savings rate since it is save or rely on relatives.

I wonder why there is no connection between our Medicare and Social Security retirement age. I retired at 62 yet had to wait until 65 to get on Medicare. Now the retirement age has been raised but the Medicare remains at 65.

Tiger Woods and PED’s. I’m starting to believe some of the connections that make it plausible. Based on his past history probably extensive use of Viagra.

The New York Football Giants (via NJ) are a physical wreck. The ever expanding injury list has put a damper on any expectations which were relatively low to begin with.

The Red Sox continue to hover around north of .600 and considering that woeful 2-10 start is a remarkable resurgence. They are playoff bound.

The recent primary showed the power of special interest groups and IMO that most powerful are still unions. They can generate sure fire voters and provide a bundle of cash. Even the influence peddlers like Koch and Soros pale. They deep-sixed Frawley in the last election despite his being a Democratic loyalist and a pragmatic one. Last thing the MTA or any other union - especially of the public variety - needs is someone who they cannot totally control. Pacheco is up to his eyeballs in orchestrating this election and he is just a premier example of what happens in a one party dominated state.

On the national front Obama continues to amaze! That the long list of Republican lightweights actually match up with him is a telling tale of just how far down Hope & Change has sunk.

Consumer confidence continues to sink and you can tie that in to voter sentiment. Gotta blame someone.

I have had a real flurry of emails from some unknown countries in Africa lately. What happens is someone’s email gets compromised and the address book becomes a target for mass mailings. I mean I didn’t know so many died in plane crashes, auto accidents, falls and anything else that is a storyline on a 1001 Ways To Die.

Several years ago I answered a telephone inquiery about a “prize” I had won. All I had to do was pay shipping and handling. They were located in Chicago and I said: “Hey, I’ll be there in a few weeks and pick it up.” They hung up. Goodbye plasma TV.

My son Bob never wanted a Kindle until he saw mine. Didn’t realize how versatile and lightweight it was.