Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So much stupidity and no time to write…

Los Angeles, CA - Based on bits and pieces of various news items I've managed to catch over the couple weeks I've managed to figure out a few things.

We have some moron in Congress wanting to tax executive bonuses at 90%. There is another set of morons wanting to go after bonuses already paid out to people working for companies that accepted government money. Some combination of those congressional idiots wants to stop payouts of bonus money earned under the terms of employment contracts.

I'm not all that happy about CEOs getting multi-million dollar bonuses from a failing company. The problem is the terms of the contracts requires they be paid. The government bailed the company out and it did not fail. Therefore all those employment contracts are still valid enforceable by the courts if need be.

If we would have let the companies fail, we wouldn't be having this little tiff, would we?

Other members of Congress are hot to trot to limit executive compensation of corporations accepting government money to a grand total of $500,000 per year. Charley Wrangle, in his infinite capacity for complete ignorance, is proposing a bill that would extend the proposed executive salary cap to every corporation, not just the corporations accepting government money.

Yet another group of USDA Grade A Congressional idiots believes they can pass a law allowing bankruptcy judges to rewrite the terms of home mortgages to make them more favorable to the home owner. 

What do all these things have in common? They've all been tried in the past. Mostly during the Great Depression. Those laws that actually passed into law were promptly turned over by the courts. The high taxes simply drove desperately needed capitol of shore.

Companies that took government money accepted their own special brand of Hell. They deserve what ever happens to them for getting into bed with the US Government. There is no such thing as a quid without a pro quo when businesses, states, cities and counties accept government handouts.

For the rest of US Business, those that remained free and clear of government money and the sticky strings that go with it, none of these proposed steps into totalitarianism will stand a constitutional test.

From unconstitutional takings to running afoul the equal treatment provisions, each and everyone of these asinine will be struck down almost as fast as Congress can pass them. I think there is a one of three chance that even the companies on the government bail out programs will find some relief from the courts.

Alas, I would love to spend an afternoon researching all these things, getting quotes and finding case law on the matter. But the current job simply has not allowed the time. In fact my current time sheet shows a total of 181.5 hours over the last ten days ending yesterday.

Maybe later…

- 30 -

"These two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

- Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

I lost an hour of my life last night

Tampa, FL - May the fleas and ticks of a thousand camels infest the arm pits of the idiots that dictated we should all screw around with our clocks twice a year.

Oh yeah, If you didn't set your clocks forward an hour last night or today, they are wrong.

- 30 -

I don't mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I've saved all year.
- Victor Borge

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

To all the SUV hating, disciples of the Church of Global Warming…


Tampa, FL - Allow me to present the next pickup truck I am going to own. This is a P4XL from the Sport Chassis "Ultimate Pickup" line of trucks, a division of Freightliner. 

*Insert Tool Time's Tim Taylor "Ohhh-ho-ho-hoooh…" here.*


At a 174-inch wheelbase, 100-inch width and 264 inches from front to back, this truck is big. No two ways about it.

It comes standard with airbrakes and a Cummins 330 horse power engine. You can order it equipped with the very same Detroit Diesel engine the runs the satellite truck I drive. Can you imagine that 445 horse power engine, four-wheel drive and all that high torque?

If you want high tech the factory will equip it with rear and side view cameras as well as a forward-looking infrared night-vision camera by FLIR. And you can get it with an Italian leather-wrapped interior and suede headliner.

Oh yes, very nice indeed…

At least I'll try to get mine before Nancy, Harry and President Obama outlaw them.

For those of you that want one, you can find out more about them at the Sport Chassis web site.

- 30 -

"I want!"

- Me

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Doing away with secret ballots

Tampa, FL - One of the most fundamental tenants of our election system is the secret ballot. This method of voting allows voters to cast their vote without fear of recrimination by either the winning party or sore losers. The voter may express their choice free of peer pressure, glaring looks from parents or spouses and even the raised eyebrows of children who think they know everything.

In the old days, and even some rare cases now days, the secret ballot prevented violence against voters. A sheriff's race this last November in the Florida Pan Handle that got so hot that people were actually being stopped by sheriff's deputies for have the wrong bumper sticker on their car. Imagine what it would have been like if the losing incumbent sheriff knew who voted against him. That little stretch of time before the new sheriff was sworn in could have been very nerve racking fro those that voted against the old sheriff.

Now lets take that to a whole different level. We are talking far more personal where the results of that vote could effect your employment, your standing in the community and even your future for some time to come.

Imagine your place of employment is undergoing a union vote. Things are getting very heated between union supporters and those that are happy with the way things are. The employer is putting the pressure on, the union organizers are pressuring you every chance they get, friends at work are pressuring you in both directions and the over all environment is getting very ugly. There have been shoving matches in the parking lot. Some vandalism of cars. Several people have been reassigned or had their hours or jobs cut because for purely business reasons, but they are also big union cheer leaders. People have had very aggressive visits at their homes by union organizers not prepared to accept "no" or "I prefer not to discuss it" as an answer.

So the big day comes. The vote is going to be taken. Thank all that is Holy and a number of things that aren't that no one but you will know how you voted. If the union gets in and you voted against it, no one will ever know. If the union does not get in and you voted for it, your employer will never know. The best part is that friends and colleagues will not be treating you as if you just crawled out of the outhouse pit.

But now that cherished portion of American tradition is in serious jeopardy.

President Barack Obama told AFL-CIO union leaders Tuesday in a videotaped address that the controversial Employee Free Choice Act will pass, signaling his full backing for legislation that makes union organizing easier.

"We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act," President Obama told more than 100 top labor officials in a closed-door meeting at the labor federation's winter gathering in Miami, according to people at the meeting.

The Wall Street Journal: President Tells Unions Organizing Act Will Pass

Well now isn't that special. Sounds like the unions are calling in the note on the election and the President is stepping up to pay with interest.

The program the President is promising to sign into law is also known as the "Check Card" system. That would allow union organizers to unionize any place of employment by simply getting a majority of people to sign the cards. It would do away with currently required secret ballot election.

Effectively what this does is allow the unions to get signatures, maybe even in secret, while denying the employer a chance to state their case. Perhaps even robbing workers of vital knowledge. For example: Within a month after unionizing this job site, your job will move to Taiwan.

There are some heavily union regions, especially Chicago, Detroit and New York, where that change in the law will effectively force unions down the throats of  80% percent of business.  We're talking everyone from Arby's to Zoo Keepers.

Think about this for a minute. Two large men approach you, maybe even outside your home, and shove a card in your hands. One of them says, "We want you should sign 'dis card. Yo Rocko, help 'dis nice person find a pen."

The other one says, "You gots a nice house here. Pretty daughter too. I want she should stay pretty, don't you?"

What are you going to do at that point? Refuse to sign the card?

In a milder example, let's think about the situation outlined above. You could have close friends and colleagues pressing the card in your hands with words like, "Do the right thing for all of us" when you know in your heart it is not the right thing. But the peer pressure is incredible when people you like and work with are standing there looking you in the eye. We all want to please our friends and not all that many will stand up to friends under that kind of group pressure.

The last thing we need to do in this country is make it easier for a union to be forced on a company. We have shipped enough jobs to the Pacific Rim and Mexico.

If this passes, it will be the most devastating blow yet to our floundering economy. The number of businesses that would fold or flee the country rather then endure the headaches of dealing with a union is a damn site higher then anyone from the left will admit.

The more I listen to President Obama or read what he has to say, the worse and worse our future looks. The President's legacy is already shaping up to make President Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust" look conservative.

Author's Note: I have been in a total of seven unions over the course of my life. As close as I can tell checking tonight I am still considered an active member in four of them, inactive in one and there is no way to find out on the other two tonight. With one small exception, none of those unions did anything for me except take a percentage of my paycheck and then give some of that to people I wouldn't vote for in my worse nightmare. In two union jobs I would have earned a higher salary if I were non-union but was held at the union scale because of the contract.

It is my experience that working under or around a union job makes for a work environment where it is difficult to get the job done without jumping through an extraordinary number of hoops. I have little patience for bullshit rules (other then safety) when I am trying to get a job done. I find unions to be extremely expensive not only from inflated wages and benefits, but also in stupid things like having an entire crew sitting on their collective butts waiting for someone from the right union to be found so four boxes can be unloaded from a truck. Or wait for a union member to move a TV camera cable out of a shot. (Got a grievance over that one… got tired of waiting.) Or having to pay a four digit "honorarium" (a bribe by any other name…) to a union boss so my non-union people can do their jobs on his union turf.

- 30 -

Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Kay Adams: What was that?
Michael: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.

- Al Pacino as Michael Corleone talking to Diane Keaton as Kay Adams in the movie "The Godfather"

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The President, Commerce and the US Census

Tampa, FL - Here's a quick poll through a show of hands. All of you that would want to see President George W. Bush directly in charge of the 2010 US Census raise your hands…


Ok, all of you that want to see the President Barack H. Obama directly in charge of the 2010 US census raise your hands.

Here's a heads up for those of you that raised a hand for one or both Presidents. Neither should be in charge of it. In fact, that particular branch of the commerce department should be hands off for all elected officials. Elected officials cannot help but have a conflict of interest when it comes to the final official numbers.

President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to "restore science to its rightful place" in government. That's a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn't think it would mean having the director of next year's Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. "There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. "And it's called politics, not science."

The decision was made last week after California Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire slated to head Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete Census. The National Association of Latino Officials said it had "serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 Census produces the most accurate possible count."

The Wall Street Journal: Why Obama Wants Control of the Census

Here is another flash for a whole bunch of people that see the US Census Bureau as just another political football.

The people of the US Census Bureau have been doing their job and doing it well since the bureau was founded. Those people are counting a population that is in constant flux. Think of it as trying to heard and count cats on the open range. The fact that some people living in a dumpster and a few illegal immigrants didn't get their noses counted is simply a part of the margin of error that comes with a process that cannot be made perfect without nailing everyone in place and demanding two forms of ID while the count takes place. I don't hear anyone screaming over the illegal immigrants that did get counted. 

It is funny that we did not hear any outrage over the people the census takers missed because they travel the country with crews that harvest wheat, run carnivals, drill and assemble oil wells, set up rodeos or simply live in motor-homes using where ever they park that night as their address. But most of those people tend to vote conservative so we wouldn't hear all that much complaining, would we?

The bottom line is that we need the White House (any White House not just this one) meddling around in the count like we need a hole in the head. 

Census takers do not need their work tarnished by The President, his minions, Acorn, Jessie Jackson, California Rep. Barbara Lee who is chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Al Franken, The American Civil Liberties Union, Al Sharpton, The Southern Law Center, The National Association of Latino Officials or any of the pathetically misinformed Hollywood Elite that see themselves as some kind of world changing activists.

I would also like to point out that the The National Association of Latino Officials and California Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) gave us an egregious display of pathetic pandering and mud slinging when they complained to the President that former Commerce Department Secretary appointee Sen. Judd Gregg could not be trusted to conduct a proper count.

It is truly a shame none of those people can be dragged before the public, placed under oath and then pressed to name reasons and facts behind their slanderous claims. I would buy a ticket to watch that one.

If President Obama takes over direct oversight of the US Census there will be questions and law suits lasting until 2020. That is like having a contestant's father on the board of judges for a beauty contest.

If the President and his staff have any grasp of reality left between them, the White House will drop this plan as a really bad idea. If for no other reason then for appearances sake alone they will walk away from this one.


In the closing weeks of last year's election campaign, we wrote that Democrats had in mind the most sweeping expansion of government in decades. Liberals clucked, but it turns out even we've been outbid. With yesterday's fiscal 2010 budget proposal, President Obama is attempting not merely to expand the role of the federal government but to put it in such a dominant position that its power can never be rolled back.
- The Wall Street Journal: The Obama Revolution - Paid for by the people.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Paul Harvey… Good day

Tampa, Fl – It is with great sadness that I learn yet another media legend passed. Paul Harvey died Saturday at the age of 90.

He began his radio career at the age of 14 and it seems to me I heard him on the air not all that long ago. His radio show, “News and Comment by Paul Harvey” was carried around lunch time on radio stations across the nation and the Armed Forces Radio Network around the world for as long as I can remember. In that show he brought the headlines, the offbeat and the obscure along with his take on things.

I remember once he talked about someone in a Spiderman costume that scaled a skyscraper somewhere. He said something like, “I’m sure the attention seeking daredevil would love for us to mention his name…” Then he went on to the next story without doing so.

Most of those stations also carried “Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story.” This is where we learned the story behind the story. There were so many and sadly I cannot remember one to share here.

As with anyone running their own radio show, Harvey had sponsors. Fiercely loyal to “those people that write my checks” Harvey would make the sales pitch himself and in his own way. A handful of people with nothing better to do raised a fuss saying that Harvey was misleading consumers. 

Harvey was heavily traditional and conservative in his leanings. In later years that brought attacks to his credibility. Some feared his views and enormous popularity would sway voters, especially in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa where he is a household word. Various organizations began simultaneous smear campaigns consisting of statements falsely attributed to Harvey and his radio show.  All of those claims were shown through transcripts to be false or twisted completely out context. (Thinking people with even a dash of common sense would have realized that all those shows are archived on tape.)

Harvey had a platform that reached millions. He could have blasted these people and organizations in a way that would have swung public opinion against them for years. But he said nothing, choosing to ignore the storm and just keep doing what he did best.

Harvey often spoke of his wife, Angel. It was clear his love for her was deep and caring in everything he said. Angel passed away last May. As is often the case with elderly couples, I think it is possible that Harvey missed her so much that on some level or another he simply chose to join her.

I hope they have a radio station where ever they are now.


I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.
- Paul Harvey

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