Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Stand Corrected

It's Amazing Who Reads What I Write...

I have ranted and raved about a bunch of stuff over the past few years, never expecting to really influence any person's opinion of me or my topic...I'm really just blowing off steam to keep my own internal boiler from blowing the top of my head off.


This morning I received this E-Mail from The Annie E. Casie Foundation:

Hello: Per you most recent blog, please note this correction:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation was founded by Jim Casey and his siblings in 1948 and named after their mother, not Jim Casey’s wife.

Thank you.

Sue Lin Chong

Sue Lin Chong
Public Affairs Manager
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
701 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 223-2836 - voice
(410 223-3714 - fax

Thank you Miss Chong for pointing out that I incorrectly stated that the foundation was named for Jim Casey' wife, not his mother.

His mom was the intended benefactor

I offer my sincerest apology for my error, and I gladly publish this correction at the top of my blog.

See, I'm really trying to be accurate in this process...

Continuing My Re-Runs

I'm Lazy, LAzy, LAZy, LAZY...

OK, continuing in the tradition of my recent blogging reruns, this little missive was written way back in October 2004:

The Working Poor Families Project just released a series of reports on the condition of “working families” in America.

The report is funded by the Anne E. Casey Foundation (AECF), the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation—all well financed “do-gooder” organizations.

Jim Casey, one of the founders of United Parcel Service, started the Anne E Casey Foundation in memory of his wife mother in 1948. A good example of a liberal putting his money where his mouth is.

In their opening statement of the Executive Summary, they offer the following passage:

"The United States of America is often called the “Land of Opportunity,” a place where hard work and sacrifice lead to economic success. Across generations, countless families have been able to live out that promise. However, more than one out of four American working families now earn wages so low that they have difficulty surviving financially.

These are families with responsible, hard-working breadwinners who want to get ahead but hold down low-paying jobs with inadequate benefits and little hope for advancement. Many lack the skills and education they need to move into jobs that pay better, even while the economy demands more highly trained employees.

And while our economy relies on the service jobs these low-paid workers fill—such as cashiers, janitors, security guards and home health aids—our society has not taken adequate steps to ensure that these workers can make ends meet and build a future for their families, no matter how determined they are to be self-sufficient."

First let ME (your lovely and talented blogger) say "What compassionate, sensitive, sincere words—on the surface."


Only when you look deeper into these utterances do you see the true meaning that lies (no pun intended) within.

Once again, here we find a reference to “working families.”

Working Families...working families, working families...

I demand to know what the term “working family” means.

Can any one tell me? (See Living Wages)

I believe that the term is intended to refer to a person with a spouse and kids to support who is trying to live on the wages earned working every day for most of their lifetime in a near minimum wage (what I call entry level) job.

What are they thinking?

Sure they may be “responsible and hard-working” but the best paid sanitation engineer (garbage man) still earns garbage man’s pay.

At least the report seems to acknowledge that the economy has good jobs available, but unfortunately there aren’t many employment want-ads for buggy whip makers and blacksmiths in The Atlanta Journal/Constitution newspaper today.

Times are a changin’, and we have to change also if we are to survive.

Where I come from, the incentive of “hav(ing) difficulty surviving financially" was both an everyday reality and acted as a powerful incentive to get off of your ass and make some serious changes.

I think that you would agree that most Americans have considered themselves to be squeezed financially for part of their working career, so what is so evil with this situation that government intervention should be mandated?

“Many lack,” they say, “the skills and education they need to move into jobs that pay better…”

Well boo hoo hoo, did they have to quit school before graduation to go to work to support themselves and their family like both of my Grandfathers did in pre-depression era America?

Probably not.

Most likely they slept through and played hooky through twelve years of free government education because they either didn’t care or didn't know any better.

The girls likely were certain that they were going to get married to a rich man and the boys were sure that they were going “Pro” in the NFL or the NBA.

Once they hit the big time they figured that they could pay someone else to do their ‘ritin, readin’, and ‘rithmatic.

“Let me ax you, do you know a good accountant? “


And then we are admonished that in fact our “society has not taken adequate steps to ensure that these workers can make ends meet.”

Upon utterance of this statement, my head starts violently spinning around uncontrollably.

How about asking these workers to take some steps on their own to ensure that they can make ends meet?

What else should we be required to continue to pay for without seeing some tangible improvement and/or actual results? I mean, after providing twelve years of free education and handing out additional financial support in the form of welfare and public housing, haven’t we done about enough?

No, they say.

Now WE need to somehow do whatever it takes to ensure these miserable, underprivileged souls move out of the ghetto and enjoy a lifetime of success. And God forbid that we attempt to tell our benefactors how to lead their lives in areas that are highly predictive of future outcome.

We can’t, for instance, criticize their lifestyle decisions like the company they keep, the way they speak, the way they dress, or their propensity to adopt expensive, self-destructive habits like alcohol and drug abuse.

No way, Jose.

And we can’t intervene in areas of intimate personal behavior like sex which inevitably have expensive side affects like producing unwanted/un-afforded children and/or the acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS.

We are, as a society, supposed to close our eyes, toss our money at the problem, and hope for the best outcome.

Ab-rah Kadab-rah, poof.....success!

In looking into the AEC Foundation, I found this statement from the current president, Doug Nelson:

“Applying Lessons Learned. The generation of American children born in the last two decades of the 20th century has been blessed by a period of unprecedented national prosperity. For most of these children and their families, this has been among the best of times.

Yet for fully one-fifth of this nation's kids, the economic boom has quite simply passed them by.

In small towns, many suburbs, and especially in large cities, millions of children remain largely untouched by the good times, with little prospect for connecting with the benefits of a soaring economy. Our most recent KIDS COUNT data report a significant increase since 1990 in the number of children—5.6 million—in families of the working poor.

In all, more than 14 million, or 21 percent of all kids under 18, still live in poverty-a higher proportion than in 1975.“ IF the data supporting these statistics are accurate, we are as a society guilty of a great failure.

But I say that the government hasn’t failed; the recipiants have—in spite of a large amount of public financial support. Remember that President Johnson’s series of economic initiatives announced in his 1964 Presidential campaign, called “The Great Society,” was largely implemented by the “Fabulous Eight-Ninth” congress.

Among their mandates were:

1. Achieved the goals of the Fair Deal.
2. Achieved the goals of the New Frontier.
3. Introduced Medicare programs.
4. Passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
5. Legislated a Housing and Urban Development program.
6. Ratified the highway beautification act, a pet project of Lady Bird Johnson, the First Lady.
7. Installed clean air and water regulations.
8. Ended the immigration quota system of the 1920s.
9. Set forth new city planning programs.

"New Deal," "Fair Frontier," "Education", "Housing," "Environment," "Healthcare"—don't these topics sound a bit familiar?

Same old same old...

Just throw some more money at the perceived problems and implement government mandated solutions and everything will be ok, right?

That’s what they say.

“To do that (improve the chances for all to advance,) we must effectively invest our public resources so that low-income working families have far better access to education, training, healthcare, parental leave, and other benefits.

People earning higher salaries typically have access to those things; those who are paid less need the same…In the long run we will maintain stable communities and keep our businesses competitive.”

Let me dissect this paragraph for you.

“We must invest our public resources”…that’s government terminology for spending other people’s tax money.

Our “investment” will give low-income “working families” all the things (education, training, healthcare, parental leave, and other benefits) that my parents and I have already paid dearly for in time and money in order for me to be able to work somewhere other than the McDonalds’ drive through window.

And this parental leave thing—where do they get off telling a business owner that when he hires a walking set of ovaries or testicles with no restraint that he has to hand out unlimited (or at least ridiculous) amounts of “parental leave” in order to take care of five or six children that were neither planned for nor can be afforded financially?

Then they actually have the guts to come out and say that, regardless of your personal effort or commitment to your education and employment efforts, you “need” (and by default and government mandate you deserve) the same compensation rewards provided to better educated and more productive employees.

Well, I NEED a vacation home on a Caribbean island, a 100 foot motoryacht, and a Lear Jet to get there—can someone in Washington help me please?

“In the long run we will maintain stable communities and keep our businesses competitive.”

Is this a threat that if we don’t hand over funding, anarchy will result and the stock market will crash?

Me and my Smith and Wesson Revolver don't think so...

I have every compassion for the children identified to be in these situations living in poverty. It’s not their fault, but the problem I have is that the government doesn’t cut checks to minor children. They do cut checks to adults who consciously make crappy life decisions, reproduce without conscience and V-O-T-E.

For forty years “Great Society” politics has yielded little improvement and constant demands for increased funding.

Enough is Enough...but then again I guess that you can just call me insensitive.

UPDATE October 14, 2004 5:30AM

The implied solution to the problems of the "working poor" is to raise the minimum wage.

You might ask, who is actually paid minimum wage?

This link gives the answer better than I ever could.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

They Say It's Going Down To 31 Degrees Here Thursday Night

I ask My Northern Friends To Pray...

And I guess I should check my antifreeze in the Suburban and the Mustang.

Dang this Global Warming Winter weather...


Even More Ancient Reruns

Here..Look at this good rant called "Living Wages" which I wrote back in October 2004 (slightly modified)...

"A Living wage.”

Exactly what does that statement mean?

Is a “living wage” something for which you build a little house in your back yard and put out a bowl of food and water to nourish and feed?

Activists and politicians love to talk about a “living wage,” and it always makes for good newspaper headlines.

The concept seems to basically involve the government telling the owner of a business how much to pay his employees, rather than letting the free market make that determination.

Well isn’t that special, I know all of those business owners will appreciate the assistance…

I, personally, got a little confused in the process when I started thinking about it, so now I invite you to follow along with me and let's see if I really have this thing straight in my mind.

For instance, suppose that I go out and borrow $200,000 from the bank, put up $100,000 of MY own money, rent a building on a small parcel of land, buy equipment, raw materials, and hire 20 employees (sales, administrative, and manufacturing) in order to produce and sell my own brand of "widgets."

Let's call my enterprise "Rogers' Widget Company, LLC."

(I build a really good Widget, by the way, and my Mother and my Girlfriend would probably be so proud...)

Happily, sales are booming, and now I need a vacation after working my rear end off over the past five years building the business.

But then along comes the government, with a gun and arrest powers, and they have some different ideas about how I should spend my time and what I should do with MY money.

I already have to handle the withholding of payroll taxes (income, FICA, FUTA, social security) from my employees, and collect sales taxes for my state and local governments. To do all of the resulting financial paperwork, I have to hire an accounting firm and a couple of bookkeepers and pay at least fifty or sixty thousand dollars annually for their services.

Then, if I actually have money left over after paying for the building, my employees, raw materials, and my accountants, then I have to pony up between 20% and 36% of the company’s net profit in the form of taxes to the federal and state government to pay “my fair share.”

Boy, am I and all of my employees here at "Rogers' Widget Company" glad that that whole situation is taken care of because apparently we couldn't be expected to accurately estimate on our own what we really owed society in return for our investments and physical/mental efforts...the Government Expertly wants to help us.

Annnnndddddd, by the way, we didn’t mention the cost of group health insurance yet, did we?

But wait a minute, there is another problem that the government is going to have to step in and help me fix.

Now I need help paying a "Living Wage."

I guess that my employees are all too stupid to negotiate one for themselves.

Turns out that it seems that I don’t pay enough in wages to some of my twenty employees I hired after spending three weeks interviewing the 150 applicants I got from the $100 newspaper ad I ran in the local paper.

So now the government will ride to the rescue and tell me how much I need to pay.

Boy, am I ever relieved.

The media loves to report stories about how it is impossible to support a family of three or four on one 40 hour a week job paying minimum wage, which happens to be $5.15 per hour in most states.

As a result, we are told, people are unfairly forced to work more than forty hours or worse, forced to work more than one job in order to “make ends meet.”

Where is my box of tissues…sob, sob.

What is not reported is the FACT that most if not all of the jobs paying minimum wage are ENTRY LEVEL.

Who in their right mind expects to work to retirement age in a position paying minimum wage?

Most of the people working in these jobs are teenagers or twenty something’s that spend a few months or at most a year at that compensation level on their way up the job ladder.

If they don’t move up, something is seriously wrong with the employee and/or their education. Of course there are always the obvious sob stories about the high school drop-out, single mother of three who can't afford daycare and can't afford the time to go back to school while working two minimum wage jobs.

What was she thinking to get herself and her family in that situation?

That's the problem, she and thousands like her aren't thinking--and now they want the government to solve their problem by artificailly forcing wages upward.

A total of twelve states have already taken it upon themselves to force employers to pay minimum wages in exess of the federal rate. For instance, the State of California has imposed a $6.75 minimum, with a special rate of $8.50 for the City of San Francisco, with sometimes devastating results.

Within months of this wage minimum being imposed, San Francisco based Chevy’s, the company that owned the Tex/Mex restaurant chain Rio Bravo that operated here in Georgia, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed all 26 Rio Bravo Restaurants. It’s sort of hard to profitably run a restaurant paying $8.50 an hour when your competitors are paying $3.25 plus tips.

It seems that California tries to force firms based in their state to pay the mandated minimum wage on all jobs regardless of where the employee is located. The long arm of the law just keeps getting longer.

In my opinion, what is at the heart of the “living wage” controversy and resulting higher minimum wage push is an obvious culprit.

Let me point it out to you if you haven't already been notified.

One word...


OK two words...


You see, while it is usually disguised as a humanitarian effort, the reality is that union pay scales are directly tied to the local minimum wage, something that the labor unions and the Democrats don’t want you to know about.

If the minimum wage goes up, union labor rates automatically go up across the board, without having to re-negotiate the existing labor contract!

How about them apples?????


Blaa, Blaa, Blaa

Random Thoughs On The State Of The Union Address...

1. Is Dick Cheney's head really twice a large as Nancy Pelosi's?

2. Is Dikembe Mutombo twice as tall as Laura Bush and the little oriential chick standing next to him?

3. Was that a flask I saw Ted Kennedy holding in his hand so he couldn't clap during the standing ovations?

Other than that, I think I've heard it all before.

Media synopsis...Democrats Good...Republicans Bad.

Any other questions?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Liberal Government Double-Speak

Tired Of Having To Learn New Meanings for Old Words???

Sorry folks, but I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning, and after watching the TV news endlessly chanting the words "Hillary" and "Obama" and bashing President Bush's upcoming State of the Union Speach, I decided to go back and republish some of my Golden Oldie rants that my newer readers may have not seen and my older readers may have forgotten that I wrote.

First up, here's one from September of 2004 entitled Tax Cuts For Working Families:

I’ll open this discussion on income taxes with the following statement:


Did you get that?

Adding a further collorary to this concept:


I’m afraid that today at least half of the US population has lost track of these concepts.

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry loves to talk about tax fairness for Americans. If he and Mr. Edwards (two so called “limousine liberals”) were to win the election this November, he says that the first thing they would do next January is to roll back all of President Bush’s tax cuts..

Mr. Kerry’s campaign dialogue is peppered with references to President Bush and the Republican Congress enacting “tax cuts for the rich” instead of “tax cuts for working families.”

A report issued in late August by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that nothing could be further from the truth.

But Kerry wants tax cuts for “working families.”

Let me ask the question, exactly what is a "working family?"

Does the term “working family” mean that both parents, all of the children, and the family pets each hold full time or part time jobs?

Does the term “working family” only apply if you make less than $50,000 per year in total income?

Does the term imply that people making over $100,000 don’t work for a living and/or don't have families ?

In fact, Senator Kerry, the Democrat’s, and other liberals of all stripes and colors use of the term “working family” plays to the most basic form of envy and class warfare that has been a staple of politics since the income tax was enacted in the early 1900's.

As this editorial in the Detroit News (a newspaper in a city full of Kerry’s so called “working families”) so eloquently opines, Bush hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves.
Consider this...

After the hated tax cut, in 2001 the top 10% of taxpayers earned 38.3% of the total taxable federal household income, but they actually paid 66.7% of the federal income taxes. The top 20% of taxpayers earned 51.1% and paid 74.8%.

What else do they want?

I know, I know…”those evil rich people supposedly don’t really NEED all of their money.”

Seriously folks, how can you cut taxes on someone that already doesn’t pay taxes?

The bottom 20% of income earners already get an earned income credit and a resulting tax refund equaling 5.7% of their non-taxable income. The bottom 40% of households earned 9.7% of the total household income and had a negative tax rate of 2.8%.

This means, even after Bush’s tax reform, that the imperial federal government of the United States uses the IRS to take money from the top 60% of income earners and give it to the bottom 40%.

Now the Dem’s figure that if they can just increase this figure from 40% to 51% that they will be guaranteed re-election to local and national offices for eternity. (See Mob Rule Part I)

When faced with the above facts supporting that the tax cut is truly across the board, the liberal Democrats then take another track.

They start jumping up and down about how the tax cut fueled a record setting Federal Budget Deficit.

Again, it's simply not true.

While the 2003 deficit is a record number of total dollars, at 3.1% it was in fact smaller as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than it was in 1976 under Carter (4.1%,) in 1985 under Reagan (5.1%,) and 1992 under Clinton (4.4%.)

The problem is government spending, not income (tax revenues.)

Why does that matter, you might ask?

Here’s an example: Say that one year a business has a $50,000 net income, but expenses also equaled $50,000 and the owner choose to borrow and additional $10,000 during the year to fund new product development costs.

The next year, however, the new products sell well and the gross income doubles to $100,000, but expenses go up proportionally and the owner keeps working on expanding the business and as a result the total debt increases to...say...$15,000.

Record deficit scream the stockholders! Fire the company president. government school educated imbeciles.

While the amount spent in excess of income rose by $5,000, the debt as a percentage of income actually fell from 20% to 15%, a deficit spending reduction of 25%. Put away the calculator and college diploma, simple 6th grade math tells the story.

Why can’t the AP, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times get this right?

As a last resort, the Democrats and other liberals come out and claim that the middle class is unfairly burdened by FICA/FUTA/Social Security taxes.

In former President Reagan’s words: “there (they) go again…”

Just in case you didn't know, FICA/FUTA/Social Security taxes apply equally to everyone at all income levels and are in fact stolen by the federal government from today’s wage earners to pay the obligations they have accumulated and owe to unemployed, disabled, and retired members of past generations of taxpayers.

Further, the so-called rich taxpayers already pay these taxes on disproportionate amounts of their incomes and at most only see pennies on the dollar in benefits because they earn and save too much money in private retirement accounts.

President Bush didn’t invent these taxes, but I seem to remember several famous Democrats like Roosevelt and Johnson whose fingerprints are all over these bait and switch programs.

Yes they are unfair and need reform or outright elimination, but every time Bush and the Republican congress even try to talk about changes and improvements, they suffer under the age old liberal tactic of “scaring the old people” to get votes. “The Republicans are gonna take away your Social Security benefits…run to the polls and vote for us and we'll save you...”

Numerous web sites like
go even further with their arguments, indicating that, beyond the excessive amounts of money “given” to the rich in this country by existing tax cuts, the Federal government’s tax policies have actually shifted additional costs to the middle class in the form of increased property taxes and greater tuition costs at state colleges and universities as the state governments see a reduction in the federal gravy-train of grants and other funding.

Give me another break, plu-eaze.

So more and more "working families" are able to actually own their own homes and as a result have to pay corresponding property taxes; and more and more children of "working families" are graduating from high school and entering college and incurring the associated tuition costs.

Here's an option for those of you that want to complain--rent a house and get a job at McDonalds after you finish 12 grades of FREE government school instead of borrowing money to go to college.

While I'm at it, let me mention another problem--up to the late 1970’s or early 1980’s most state governments operated with a budget surplus. Since that time however, most states and many cities have engaged in a spree of hiring employees, building new programs, and generally increasing their spending—following the federal business model—and now they are all facing deficits of THEIR OWN MAKING.

It is not the federal government’s job to step in and bail the Governors, state legislatures, and city councils out of their mess. Let the voters go to the polls and correct their spending problems at the state and local level this fall.

In my opinion, term limits, rational spending policies and letting people keep more of their hard earned money will allow the Federal and Local Budgets to take care of themselves.

Continued income redistribution through taxation and expanding dependence on government for employment, health care, and retirement will ultimately be the death of us all fiscally.

Monday, January 22, 2007

While I'm Busy Posting Photos...

I Might As Well Start Out Your Week Seeing Me Being Rude as usual

Doesn't this image for some reason remind you of Whoopie Goldburg???

(Or possibly something out of the Star Wars movies...)

Yeah, I thought so...

Photoshopping My Life Away

Hey, Check These Out...

First I tried a "filter function" called "Posterize" that gave me this Image...

Then there is just a little old fashoned brightness and contrast adjustment and a little slight of hand that gives you this (click on the images to enlarge)...

More...this is sorta cool also...

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The Moon And Venus

I've been chasing this photo opportunity for almost two years now.

What I was looking for was a crescent moon hanging low in the western sky at sunset, with decent weather conditions. In this exasperating process and time frame I've learned that it is a very rare event indeed.

Until yesterday...

Last evening I had the added bonus of the planet Venus keeping the Moon and the Sidney Lanier Bridge company over downtown Brunswick, Georgia.

Here, take a look (click on each photo to enlarge)...

Here's a zoomed image (notice that Venus has phases just like the Moon does)...

I need to work on my technique to get the focus and depth of field fine tuned, but it was still a spectacular vista. I almost caused a couple of car wrecks by simply standing on the side of the road with my camera and tripod when people noticed what I was looking at.