Monday, December 05, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Posted By Roug at 7:17 PM
Monday, October 10, 2016
Imagine my thrill at watching a wonderful lady several years my senior seek to make her fortune at an advanced age. I’m a chicken whose spring passed many years ago and this lady was scratching worms from the summer soil long before I ever witnessed my first equinox.
I discovered the spirit of America knows no age limit.
I truly appreciate inventiveness and the entrepreneurial spirit because, among other reasons, I verily appreciate America and the American spirit. America embraced the free market and capitalism at its founding and was willing to suffer decades of transition from the cash-poor/barter heavy society at the founding to one that burgeoned a slowly developed wealth as its first century waned.
And wealth is a wonderful thing for it is wealth, principally created by those who had a better idea, process or product, that produced a society largely capable of eliminating hunger, homelessness and disease. This is not to say that there are none who suffer hunger or homelessness or disease in this country, but only that those who are willing and able to interject themselves into the mainstream economy are largely capable of living lives today that completely avoid toothless scurvy ‘neath a cardboard box.
Yet America’s embrace of the free market has done more than simply reduce malnourishment, homelessness and disease. It has also helped to produce an American population entitled to a basic education, a very modest retirement, passable roads, protected landscapes, parks, libraries, and now, a disgustingly inefficient, impersonal and expensive heath care benefit.
Even beyond these supposedly deserved entitlements, we Americans have grown to expect reasonable access to groceries, health clubs, gas stations, auto parts stores, insurance agencies, pharmacies, theaters, restaurants, florists and the ever-necessary tattoo parlor/piercing studio. (The former benefits, of course, made possible by the producers of the latter.)
We should not forget that it is the government skimming of cream off the surface of privately produced milk that makes all entitlements possible but it is the milk itself that is, it seems to many, an ever-flowing stream of torrential mammalian nectar.
Assumed limitless production of this magic elixir makes the vision of entitlements also nearly limitless. Teddy’s progressivism begat Wilson’s socialism begat FDR’s New Deal begat Johnson’s Great Society begat Nixon’s HUD begat Clinton’s CRA begat W’s prescription drug benefit/NCLB which begat Obama’s everything under the sun which will sire the…what can we imagine…exactly?
A little pushback, I feel, is in order.
So, I stood in admiration of this woman at a local BP in northern Michigan who was working to create the wealthpot from which future generations might enjoy what is, even to this day, a yet unimagined entitlement. Like the industrialists of old she was willing to take her hard-earned capital and invest it wisely in an economy where capital is king and industry, both personal and collective, is royalty.
She marched to the counter and used her Bridge Card to buy the most expensive gallon of milk she could find in the county but wisely saved her start-up capital to buy herself 10 Michigan Lotto tickets (all the state enjoyed profits of which will go to Michigan schools!)
It is the wealth the free market created that makes such shenanigans possible. It is the unabated shenanigans that will lead to the collapse of our free market, one poor investment at a time.
Posted By Roug at 9:35 PM
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Tens of thousands of physically able persons of employable age left the Michigan workforce during the age of Obama. While it isn't entirely fair to blame this all on Obama (lets face it, Jennifer Granholm did a reasonably good job of pushing them toward the employment door) it does seem peculiar, does it not, that the unemployment rate can actually fall as fewer jobs are created? Yet this is what happened for many months.
Indeed, the national and state unemployment rates have been on a slow decline over the past couple of years even though slogging job seekers were enjoying little success looking for employment. And, while I'm thinking about it, many of those lucky workers who found work found themselves underemployed by education and fractionally employed when measured against a forty hour work week. Yet, the unemployment rate fell.
And the press celebrated.
Wannabe workers wore out shoe soles beating the pavement. Their distant relatives developed carpel tunnel syndrome filling out their unemployment claims. Businesses that hired did so reluctantly. Many other businesses reluctantly didn't hire as they waited out the uncertainty brought on by a burgeoning regulatory bureaucracy.
None of this did the unemployed much good and they tired of looking for work. They became qualified for disability in record numbers. They retired early in record numbers. They decided they actually could survive on government benefits in record numbers. They started watching Alice reruns.
While the falling unemployment rate was celebrated by the media and helped a benevolent government lay plausible claim to a warming economic climate, people suffered. One hundred thousand newly created jobs month after month became "positive evidence of an expanding economy for the country." First time weekly jobless claims of 350,000 or so were again signs of a strengthening economy. Neither of these numbers is at all positive yet they were represented as such by a left leaning media adherent to government worship.
Unemployed Masters of Business Administration became Masters of Burger Flipping. Former sales managers became sales clerks. On the bright side, those with Women's Studies majors remained unemployed but now have more leisure time in which to protest a paternalistic society's war on women.
Now we are seeing the flip side. The underrepresented unemployment rate is beginning to rise even though a relatively larger number of jobs are being created, all this because the discouraged are once again seeking work.
Obama has already been reelected and many of his policies still aren't done damaging the work force. Obamacare is going to be disastrous, the EPAs war on coal and oil is going to be a brutal punishment for anyone trying to pay the bills and buy food on his own dime, while overarching intrusions into other formerly free markets will (and have) needlessly chill profits and their greatest byproduct--private sector jobs.
More people are already on public assistance than at any other time in American history and poverty rates are rising even as that unemployment rate begins to creep up again.
More road signs than ever point to Greece.
Posted By Roug at 10:28 PM
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
I travel on a budget. I have to. My expense account will only pay for so much while I'm in the great city of Atlanta.
When I first began traveling here my expense account was even smaller than it is now and it required of me some great maneuvering (and a bit of a strong stomach) to survive without picking up something questionable.
The worst horror story I have is of a place called the Austell Inn, now, thankfully, under new management. I had stayed there on two prior occasions and each time had told myself I would never come back. So, of course, there I was on my third visit.
I had the misfortune of visiting during the week of transition from a horrible and perhaps nonexistent management team to a team of naivete so beyond its capabilities it would today make John Kerry look magnificent in his duties of Sec. of State.
Anyway, it was the final night of my stay and after working a typical twelve to fourteen hour day in the fair city I got back to my room to find no towels, no bathroom tissue, and the bed stripped with the bedding laying in a pile on the bed. I immediately marched down to the management office to claim a refund and, just so that you know I was marching on the moral high ground, I didn't even plan to complain about the spilled Chinese delivery in the elevator that had been there for two days or the disposable baby diapers that were hanging from the tree in front of my room that had been there for the duration of my stay. After all, this wasn't the Loews Anatole.
I entered the office with steam coming from my ears and began lodging my list of complaints. Bedding, blah, dirty shower, blah, towels, blah, toilet tissue, blah blah.
I was assured that management was truly sorry and that, when I came back next time, I wouldn't be subjected to the same poor conditions. Oh, he was sorry to say, the room rate was going up about $120 per week. Incidentally, there was no refund.
Which brings me to Detroit's newest favorite dope, the swill peddling Rep. Gary Peters who wants to assure the federal government that the next time his fair city receives a bunch of federal grant money that the city will change its ways and spend that money wisely. If they will only give the city one more chance and spend some money on Detroit the habitual dysfunction will be miraculously replaced with efficiency.
To assure this transition all the federal government has to do is create a federal interagency task force to watch the dollars so they don't just disappear in a puff of smoke like most of the last few billion did.
I want to make sure I have this straight...a government now behind on its bills some $17,000,000,000.000.00 (if you don't count the $80,000,000,000,000.00 or so in unfunded liabilities) will become, if Peters has his way, the actuary-savior over Detroit's malfeasance. Or, put another way, removing local responsibility and control and transferring it hundreds of miles outside the city limits will somehow make it easier to scrutinize the next sludge removal contract while improving the preventative maintenance program for city ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers. Or, put even another way, that same government $17,000,000,000,000.00 in debt and hundreds of miles away from the city of Detroit, will help create more efficiency and cost effectiveness by growing larger and throwing money down a sleeker rat hole.
I didn't go back to the Austell Inn even though it was under new management. For all I know the linen is still stacked on the bed some three years later. And Detroit doesn't deserve one more federal dollar and no sane individual on Earth would ever write it another check. But in all fairness to Peters, he isn't suggesting that individuals give the city any more money. No, he is suggesting that the federal government borrow huge amounts of additional dollars in the name of those individuals to send to his city to be overseen by the likes of that dope Gary Peters.
Somehow that makes it okay.
Posted By Roug at 7:56 PM
Thursday, September 12, 2013
By golly, that's the kind of foreign policy I want my country to pursue, a backtracked sleep induced befuddlement that ends up perfectly parked in front of the Motel 6 that even Clark Griswold would be proud of. And Jugears is there in the front seat declaring "we've made good time."
We don't want any more war. We certainly don't want any more war where our armed forces are required to fight on the side of al Qaeda. No national interest apparent. No unwavering proof that Assad has actually used chemical weapons (though certainly our supposed allies in this fight will use them if given the chance on those filthy Jews living just across the border.) Not. Going. To. End. Well.
We've made good time here indeed. Only one week out from shooting off a couple bottle rockets across the Syrian border in an attack of "unbelievably small" proportions, Vladdy Putin has managed to shove our Fearless Leader into a lunch sack size room of maneuverability. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Lurch is busy scurrying around trying to find someone else's medals to toss into the White House grass while Eric Holder, for his part, will settle at suing Texas.
It's as if a kindergarten class was placed in charge of our foreign policy just before nap time.
Putin, a classic tyrant of historic proportions is able to spout his KGB styled propaganda across American newsprint because our Commander in Chief is totally out of his element. Elections do matter after all. Even beyond the economics and the racial divide, beyond the fascism and central planning, beyond the tyranny and a departure from the rule of law, this country is being laughed at by the biggest ass on the world stage.
An "I told you so" at this point is totally gratuitous. Besides, Putin already said it.
What a sad day.
Posted By Roug at 9:54 PM
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Methinks rape does not mean what he thinks it means.
Full professor William Penn of MSU has made his judgment about Republicans. He has labeled them racist, rapists, userers and, come to think of it, he isn't too impressed with their complexions either. To the degree that they are human at all, GOPers have become neo-zombies having sucked their ill begotten wealth from its planet victim.
It is an odd judgment coming from someone who can put in a 15 hour work week huddled warmly amongst like minded (and like challenged) peers pulling down $150,000 a year while also collecting some of the best employment benefits known to modern man.
Penn teaches creative writing--a lofty profession to be sure. (Hey, I like me some fancy sugar-coated words as good as the next guy that happens to survive on three part time jobs while sending two kids to the same university at which Penn arrogantly scales his glittery soap box of judgment.) It's just that, well, perhaps Penn's students would be better served if he concentrated a bit more on the teaching writing aspect of his job and a bit less on glandular economics.
But let's give Penn his due credit. He is, if nothing else, a brave, brave man. Just like those patriots of old who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in face of pure evil, he will not hesitate to jump in to offend whatever straw man he creates though, understandably, only outside of class. No offense is intended inside those hallowed halls.
Well practiced college professors can look particularly brave when facing off against persons half their own age in an environment in which they have total control--just like George Washington!
Incidentally, our academic hero isn't a scaredy cat either when it comes to bravely slathering himself with the riches created by those for whom he believes he holds in such utter contempt.
What Penn labels rape is the creation of wealth that for the first time in human history has produced societies capable of purging starvation, eliminating disease, providing reliable heat and indoor plumbing in all of our homes, and creating cool apps for my droid--it can even finance the misguided economics lectures of creative writing professors who hopefully write better off the cuff than they speak in its absence.
Make no mistake, the history of man on this planet is famine, starvation, pestilence, disease, tyranny, warmongering, human degradation and perhaps worst of all, Alice reruns.
Wealth, what Penn seems to consider the fruit of rape, has virtually eliminated what we used to think of as poverty in this country. Sure, Bridge Card buyers might be malnourished, but its remarkable how many ill conceived calories a bag of greasy chips can contain sans any real nutritional value.
It doesn't end there. Housing assistance. Utility assistance. Government provided daycare. Mass transit. Medicaid. Educational assistance. Obamaphones. A recent survey showed that 35 states provide welfare recipients more dollar value than they could get for themselves working 40 hours per week at minimum wage. When poverty used to mean no food in the cupboard and no food on the plate, poverty now more often means meals eaten in front of a big screen television while the kids text their friends.
The working poor get poorer financing the dreams of regulators and benevolent overlords, the non-working poor lose what little incentive there ever was to do that old 9 to 5, all the while a barely working elitist at MSU can bravely call me a rapist while securely enshrouded within the impenetrable walls of tenure. (That would be 'tuition paying rapist' to you, Sir!)
Tuition, to help put this in perspective, is over $350 per credit hour at that fine university which means, roughly, that each student in Dr. Penn's class gets to spend about $23 per hour listening to Penn espouse laughable economics and identity politics with, hopefully, a little creative writing thrown in.
Meanwhile the university is on the hook for approximately $200,000 in salary and benefits for a tenured professor whose carcass it couldn't dispense with even if it wanted to, which, of course, it doesn't--bird of a feather and all that.
Danny Guthrie, the soft porn photography professor might be gone these days, and so too might be a closet Marxist here and there after serving a lifetime in academia working for the movement, but Penn will remain employed by the tax and tuition payers of Michigan for as long as he feels compelled to rape those for whom he is committed to serve and, uncomfortably, sometimes to offend. (Though once again, only out of class!)
Its the new American way.
Posted By Roug at 2:06 PM
Friday, June 21, 2013
I don't blog much any more. I think that ranting daily about the same old things finally led to me exhausting everything I had to say.
Then, today happened. The Freep on this fine June day exposed me to some of the most mind numbingly disconnected journalism to ever grace the pages of that electronic rag.
Nancy Kaffer wants to know:
Why do moderate (or, at least, more traditional) GOP lawmakers continue to do backflips to appease the party’s most extreme wing? Anyone got an answer?
What events has this supposed journalist been covering lately?
The Tea Party is not party affiliated. While most would classify themselves as GOP members, most of them vote GOP because those dopes (the GOP establishment players) have at least historically given lip service to conservative causes before surrendering on nearly all counts. The GOP at least said it had the same belief system and principles as its conservative members. But, as debt crashed through $8 trillion, $10 trillion, $12 trillion and now sitting north of $16 trillion, garden variety lip service started coming with too big a price tag.
Tea party identifiers are abandoning the GOP in droves as presumed GOP leaders backslide on issue after issue. With huge blocks of salt, conservatives tolerated the big spending policies of George W. Bush because most of them believed in defending the country against terror. They didn't like W's big spending, but at least he would try and protect the country.
They hated No Child Left Behind. They hated the prescription drug benefit. They hated overreaches in regulation, expansions of federal department after department, and the sad hobbles placed on industries not blessed by government operative idealists. Bush was right on tax cuts and on a couple of other issues for which he was appreciated, but when he was wrong he was spectacularly wrong. And he was wrong a lot. And he was always called on it.
Bush operatives still permeate the national GOP and little Jeb is quickly rising to a level of potential GOP nominee. (Oh, I'll never vote for him.) Establishment Republicans control most party positions. Karl Rove, a man who has damaged the GOP as much as any man alive, has formed one of the largest and richest PACS for the purpose of denying tea party candidates the opportunity to make general election ballots.
Tea party favorites like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz are criticized by the likes of moderate "maverick" John McCain whenever they mark the conservative course. Lindsay Graham is a low-intelligence attack dog routinely invited on the Sunday morning talk show circuit where he can drop an attack or two on Mike Lee or Cruz or Palin.
Nancy Kaffer doesn't know the GOP or the tea party, but that is understandable as she is a journalist and a card-carrying member of the Democrat Party--of course, I repeat myself.
I'm not certain it makes much difference. The GOP is in disarray and has decided to cut its losses and embrace moderate/progressive ideology in favor of maintaining whatever small amount of political power it can muster. Principles aren't too important in this day and age for those in the GOP ruling class that want to cling to power.
That this fact cannot be seen by a political columnist like Nancy Kaffer says a lot about journalism today. When I said all i had to say I pretty much shut up. When Nancy has run out of things to say she just makes shit up.
Posted By Roug at 6:19 PM
Sunday, March 31, 2013
When did it become incomprehensible that a government would reach into your savings account and grab itself a fistful of cash when it has been reaching into your paycheck and grabbing fistfuls for decades?
Why do people feel the savings set aside is somehow sacred when the paycheck is fertile hunting grounds? They are, it seems to me, one and the same--a government helping itself to the productivity of its workers.
Last year the debate over a "wealth tax" was a top story in the UK. Knowing full well that a stagnant economy could never touch the staggering debt enjoyed by that country, UK politicians brought the wealth tax up to debate. Taking it one step further than debate, EU bureaucrats have decided that a tax on savings deposits in Greece would be an excellent way to help finance Greece's ever present extended hand for charity.
And then the uproar.
It isn't as if government hasn't been taking the money out of the people's pockets forever. It strictly represents a new strategy to pick that same pocket a bit deeper.
We all know what the EU was thinking...domestic Greek wealth is less than hearty while foreign entities, notably the Russian mob, has been taking advantage of Greece's lax banking regulations for years. Why not hit the Russians where it hurts at the same time helping mitigate the pain on the Greeks.
Don't sweat it folks, its only the Greeks and the Russians. At least today.
There is not enough annual income among the wealthy to even scratch the surface of the debts piled up by benevolent bureaucrats here and elsewhere. Without a serious attempt to roll back spending one of two things must occur; an increase in tax rates that dips ever lower into income scales, or the type of pickpocketing employed by the EU on Greek savings.
They want money and they have none of their own. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and the government has needs.
Posted By Roug at 11:24 AM
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Make no mistake that this was a war that the unions were pining for. They may have screwed up and misjudged the outcome, but they were hankerin' for a fight. Now they want a do over.
They looked at Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder and they believed the picture that his moderate to centrist portrait portrayed--he simply wanted all this arguing over Michigan's right-to-work nonsense to go away. He told more conservative leaning members of his own party to back off right to work and they obliged. He did not want any such legislation to reach his desk and it did not.
But Snyder also made his position known to the unions. In trade for his stance on r-t-w, the union machine would not push for an amendment enshrining a closed shop mentality into the state's constitution. Michigan certainly did not need that in an age where job providers must seek business friendly climates in which to eke out a profit.
While Snyder stayed his course during his first two years (disappointing me and many others,) the unions predictably saw blood in the water and reneged on their portion of the understanding. Unions loudly placed the ill-advised Proposition 2 onto the ballot while also putting their cumulative weights behind two other propositions.
Sadly for the unions, this all occurred under a well focused spotlight.
The voters of Michigan had tired of seeing an adversarial union work force attack the foundation of Michigan's competitiveness in the national and global marketplaces. Bleeding jobs, potential workers, and the family members that must tag along when Mommy and Daddy move elsewhere to collect a paycheck, Michigan saw its population drop over the decade past. The unemployed, underemployed and the newly moved flooded residential curbs with colorful for sale signs as school hallway traffic thinned.
GM stayed afloat but by an ill advised government bailout. Chrysler was gift wrapped and presented to the Italians by the benevolent hand of the US government. The union dominated Detroit Public Schools racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while graduating about a quarter of its students. The union dominated city of Detroit, while fearing an emergency manager, riffled through so much cash that its city council members today are begging for a bailout of their own. Let's not forget union dominated Wayne County where democrat elected cronies toss around taxpayer graft like twist wrapped candies from the back of a parade float.
In front of this disturbing backdrop a disgusted voting population saw a union that was, to borrow a contemporary campaign phrase, moving forward. They maneuvered themselves into a position, with the help of Jennifer Granholm, where they could collect millions of dollars in union dues from people for whom they neither negotiated for nor from whom they had received the nod of representation. I'm certain yet how that didn't amount to theft.
They hinted at illegal strikes in school districts, picketed at universities where tuition levels are so high that many college age citizens can no longer afford to enroll, and put all their weight behind a divisive occupy movement that mocked productive citizens as heartily as it did personal hygiene.
Amid loud raucous chants, bullying, obstruction, and the more than occasional expletive, the unions made their never slaked rage and never satisfied demands known! Too bad for them, it appears that along with the disgusted voters watching the slow to convince Governor had also pulled up a chair.
The union championed Proposition 2 went down in flames and not without consequences.
The unions wanted this fight. They nurtured it by stoking the flames of covetousness among their members, and then turning them loose on a public that was tired of being victimized by the actions of goons.
They made the bed after washing the sheets and pressing the comforter. They patted out all the wrinkles, aligned all the seams, and fluffed the pillows. Now they just don't want to lay down.
Posted By Roug at 10:45 AM
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
What a sad political party the GOP has become. Foundationless. Directionless. Clueless. At least they're pragmatic!
Today the Republican Steering Committee decided that those within the party who disagree with establishment party ideals (i.e. none) must be pushed aside in favor of those within the party who have nothing new to add.
Among the punished is Justin Amash who decided, unpopularly with the establishment, that the Paul Ryan 40 year plan to reach a balanced budget was not aggressive enough.
Let's face it, the GOP is as unserious about dealing with this enormous debt as are the Democrats.
Posted By Roug at 7:33 PM
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
There is no Akin relativism here; this was not some GOP party candidate who opened his yap without thinking. Nope, this is a finely crafted piece of progressive propaganda brought to you by the Democratic National Committee for their convention in Charlotte.
That stupid comment?
"Government is the only thing that we all belong to."
It looks like we need to change that old "of the people, by the people, for the people" axe to a more simple "over the people."
Benevolent progressives are so beholden to the government on which they hold the reins that they cannot even identify the animal that they are riding.
h/t Ace of Spades
Posted By Roug at 7:54 PM
Monday, September 03, 2012
A Detroit News columnist accidentally unearths an economic truth:
Clearly, we have a national economic disaster at hand, unless you figure out that you can offset the rising gas price menace by packing your own lunch three days a month, or just buying the cheap scotch.
It is true that a few cents here and there do not have a significant impact on many consumers. While we do have to go to work with gasoline in our tanks, if we wish to offset the pittance of higher gas prices with a counterbalance of personal austerity, we can always cut back somewhere else. The example in the article is great--it points out that the problem can be solved by carving out but three unnecessary restaurant meals a month (apparently sans tip.) Voila!
Solved, that is, for the gasoline consumer, but not so much for the restaurant owner and her employees. If there are (as the unblemished source of all things referable, Wikipedia, has to say) 254.4 million registered vehicles in the United States these days, and each of these vehicles represents the loss of three restaurant meals per month, we are looking at 9,000,000,000 fewer meals eaten at restaurants around the nation each year.
The fact is, whether the consumer voluntarily makes a choice to enter into personal austerity or whether the cutting back is mandated by idiotic government intervention into the free market, consumers, employers, and ultimately employees (or the unfortunately unemployed) suffer. And lets be honest, just because Debbie Stabenow could maybe use a few less burgers over the course of twelve months, that doesn't necessarily mean that she wouldn't be foregoing a delicious salad. Who are we to judge?
It shouldn't be shocking to anyone that $20.28 a month can be easily compensated for by a gainfully employed columnist at a major metropolitan newspaper, after all such literati would likely have the disposable income necessary to hurdle such manageable obstacles. Or, for that matter, avoided by a buffoon-Senator whose hard-earned wages automatically rise to compensate for those pesky $20 per month price hikes that routinely befall humble and heavily-lipsticked public servants.
However, I cannot help but wonder how easy it will be for the average waitress to make up that $20.28 per month, particularly when restaurant revenues shrink--what with baloney and cheese celebrating en vogue status. And saving $20 a month won't get any easier on reduced hours especially with certain customers already tipping decidedly less than the full 15 percent.
We also should not forget that while gasoline prices do affect our pocketbooks when we drive to work, they also have a big impact on every product that is transported by truck along America's highways. Perhaps we'll all have to forgo a fourth meal.
So, screw the waitresses and cooks, the cashiers, the entry level custodians and just about every other unskilled laborer in this country who has to drive to work to collect a paycheck. Let them buy a garage sale bike, apply at school for reduced-price lunches, or answer a government ad for food stamps--after all, we're just cutting back on three meals a month, buying cheaper scotch, staying out of the movie theater, vacationing less, going longer between oil changes and, my personal favorite, showering less while foregoing deodorants.
Artificially high gasoline prices are easy to compensate for! All you need is to do a little math, make some personal sacrifices, and beg big brother for a helping hand.
It's the new American Dream.
Posted By Roug at 2:44 PM