Friday, December 27, 2013

Dreams Can Come True...

My dream is to buy some property in the mountains, and run a Christmas Tree farm.  Part of the property would just be the tree farm.



But, I want enough land that families can go up into the hills and find and cut down their own tree.



There would also be a place for the kids to visit Santa (not the real one), shop for Mrs Bannon's homemade honey and peanut butter stuff, buy hot cocoa, decorate cookies... (...all for a small fee.  But it would be sooo worth it!)...



Dreams can come true, I know that.  But....somebody will always try to crush them, and you have to be on guard:


"...some in the Christmas tree industry sought to develop a promotional program to assist its industry.  After three failed attempts to set up a voluntary system, they turned to the federal government to do what it couldn't: Force Christmas tree producers and imports to pay for Christmas tree promotion program.

...The government would set up a Christmas Tree Promotion Board...The new program would include a 15 cent "assessment" on fresh cut Christmas trees, which could eventually rise..."

Don't be fooled, this is crony capitalism at its worst.  Large Christmas Tree factories want to share the cost of advertising, and want to use the power of the federal government to force it upon competitors who do not want it.  15 cents a tree...is just a start.  Remember the Federal Income Tax was temporary and Social Security didn't start out as 1/3 of Federal Spending.  Next tree prices would be regulated, quality standards, choking hazards, CO2 emissions...and on, and on...

I have no fear that a Christmas Tree tax will take over like that in my lifetime.  But I do fear the force of government in every aspect of our lives, and the robbing of small business profits for the benefit of big business takeovers.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve!!!

IT'S HERE!  IT'S HERE!

My favorite Christmas Eve song...

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's That Time of Year Again...

No, not that.


The annual reposting of my favorite News Anchor blooper:

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Hate When They Do That...

"Don't be deceived.  Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual defenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers, they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. Its not right." - Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty





"What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers alike. By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value." - Wilson Cruz, GLAAD


One of them was quoting the Bible, the other was discriminating.  Don't be deceived.  Phil doesn't hate Wilson...I'm guessing that Wilson hates Phil.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Support our Troops....

No, not those ones.

When I once considered trying to become a federal law enforcement officer, my Dad said, "You won't like it, you won't put up with the bureaucracy...I know you."

Dad was right, I would not put up with bureaucracy.  I wonder if John Dodson's Dad told him the same thing.






"If it weren’t for John Dodson, Americans would never have known the truth about Operation Fast and Furious and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  This book is his story, a tale of the personal and professional journey of a man who decided to tell the truth, no matter the costs. He didn’t take the easy way out. For that and much more, the American people owe John Dodson a debt of gratitude.”
 - Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa


Do you know a cop? A criminal prosecutor? A federal agent?  This book would make a great Christmas gift.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's Good Work...

...if you can get it.

I have been very busy lately at work....but had to post.

This is one of the best stories in a long time.

You have to know the system, to work the system.  Or, to work in the system.

This guy (below) hit the jackpot.  Mandela's funeral.  He was chosen to be the sign language interpreter for the world's leaders.  More heads of state were at the funeral, than, well...ever!  Millions watching.  The only flaw in his plan.  He doesn't know sign language.

Or....he is the African Mr. Bean?


Friday, December 6, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Supply and Demand...

Years ago I was given a gift...(insert long emotional story)...it was a Glock 17.  I put the gun away, and let it sit, in the condition I received it.  Never fired, never cleaned.  Recently, I took possession of another Glock...(insert long emotional story)...which got me to thinking about the guns.

Yadda, yadda, yadda...

I needed to buy a 17 round Glock magazine.  Good luck!  Most websites just listed them as "Out of Stock."  Some let you get to the checkout, and then tell you "Sorry, Out of Stock."  So I went to two of the big ones, Glockmeister and the Glock Store, and both websites let me complete the order.

The next day...I received two emails, "...the product you ordered is out of stock."

Then I received a call from the Glock Store (which is why I normally order from them, very good service!).  The Glock Store guy told me that they separated my order, the parts were already on the way, but the 17 round magazine was on back order.  He asked if I wanted to keep the order and wait.  I told him that I would keep the order, as nobody else had them in stock either.  Then I asked him how long he thought it might be.  "We are back logged ten thousand magazines," he said.  Further, he did not know how long it would take, but that at one point they were twenty thousand magazines on back order, so they were catching up.

Supply and demand folks.  Glock and others have said that they are at max capacity (pun intended) and simply can not keep up with demand.  The Glock Store says they believe this will continue for at least the next 3 years. I have done the math, and that is about the length of the remaining term of Barack Obama.

Mr President, we are a nation of laws...including the Law of Unintended Consequences.

...but the story does not end there.

The Glock Store called me again.  The young man informed me that I live in a state where 17 rounds are not permitted in one magazine.  This is considered a "high capacity" magazine, and the Glock Store could not ship it to my state of residence.  I had no idea.  I guess I should have known.  I could switch to a lower capacity magazine...and buy two.

Again folks...the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Standard Glock Magazine

Is this more deadly?

I was thinking of a way to explain this to somebody who does not know, why a 17 round magazine (illegal in my state) is not that much different from a 15 round magazine (legal in my state).  So I searched You Tube, and found this:


Friday, November 29, 2013

William Bradford, Pilgrim -VS- Karl Marx, Community Organizer





Karl Marx:

"...from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."






William Bradford:

"...The experience ...that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.

For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.

The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice.

The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them.

And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.

Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them.

And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving...



"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why...

Why are there RINOs....but no DINOs?



Republicans feel that they are Republicans because of principles, and when somebody in the party is not espousing those principles, they are belying what makes them a Republican.

Democrats feel good about being Democrats - so Democrats can be pro-life, pro-gun, fiscally-conservative, strong on national defense...and you will not hear them called DINOs.  It does not matter to Democrat politicians that our system of Social Security is a doomed Ponzi scheme.  It does not matter to Democrat politicians that Medicare and Medicaid can not pay for themselves.  It does not matter to Democrat politicians that the US Postal Service is costing billions each year.  To Democrat politicians there is always another law, always another program, always another slogan to look to.

Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare.


There is room for diversity in the Republican party.  It is hard to find a politician with which I agree 100% on the issues.  But...


...not that much room!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

White Guilt...

"Look friend, white suburban moms...eh!"
In our latest example of White Guilt, Arne Duncan - Secretary of Education, stated, "..white suburban moms who all of the sudden, their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were."

Duncan was commenting on opposition to Common Core.  Instead of addressing the concerns, he decided to make some enemies, and expose himself...verbally.

Does Duncan:

a) Not like white people

b) Not like suburban people

c) Not like schools that excel

d) Not like his intelligence to be challenged


I choose (d).  Duncan is a top-down kind of guy, why would people on the bottom (suburban mom's) know better than him?  He wanted to be heard by people in certain demographics (education activists, people paying attention and spending money in the inner cities), and in his little mind, that is all that was listening.  Based on his later apology, he realized that other demographics were listening too.  

What if he left out race? What if he said, "suburban mom's..."?  We would not have heard it, it would not have been reported.

Secretary Duncan, money and federal programs will not save inner city students from poor educations...and neither will changing the tests.  You won't believe this, but it takes a family, not a village...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Memories...

With the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, and the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, there has been a lot of reminiscing.

For the most part Kennedy is remembered nothing like he really was.  That is often the case.

I do not believe that is the case with Ronald Reagan.  I believe we, each and every American, remembers exactly what he did, what he stood for, and what he was:



...and remember, this was before Jurassic Park, most people didn't even know about Velociraptors!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

All In a Day's Work...


Sometimes work (as a secret agent, pilot, tutor, and bodyguard to one of the top five scientific minds in the world) takes me to interesting places...

The color did not come out in the pic, but each residence was...well...I don't think the Home Owner's Association in the US would approve of the color schemes.  To the left was a wall separating the barrio from the government funded assisted living facility.  The government funded assisted living facility was huge, well constructed...and empty...while the neighborhood residences were packed.  I don't know if that is good (i.e. families taking care of their own, rather than the government) or bad, but it was yet another display of how government can't solve problems.  

I took a photo of a co-worker because his wife had just given birth and I thought years from now the kid might like to see what his Dad was doing the week after he was born.  Then he took a photo of me.

Finger straight along the frame until you have made the decision to shoot...


When they fly you to foreign locations to grab very bad guys, they don't fly you first class - sometimes you ride with the gear, and sometimes you eat expired MREs, and are "on" for 24 or 36 hours at a time, in 90% humidity...

...and then when you go back to the hotel, you can BARELY even see the beach from your room! C'mon man!


You can't see Ruth's Chris Steakhouse from here...but it was within walking distance...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Random Thoughts...

The stock market (DJIA) has been hitting record highs.  Why? Are the stocks overvalued?  Are bonds (the general alternative) ready for a crash?  

Does this chart help?  This is the DJIA from 1995 (the beginning of the tech surge) through the present:





Or, does this chart help - it is the last year:






What about this chart?  This chart shows slow and steady progress from 2003 up to the fiscal crisis of 2008 (caused by Congressional intervention in free markets), and then rapid, but more volatile growth to todays records:




How about this one, from 1955 to today:



What happened?  In 1980, somebody discovered the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of subsection 401(k) of the IRS tax code.  "Unintended" does not mean "bad," it just means it was not the intent of the law to have every worker in the U.S. to invest a portion of their annual salary in the stock market.  Overall, it has been a great success.  Investors have learned of "deferred compensation," and there has been a massive (Alp like) surge of private investment in American business.  As the Baby Boomers start to withdraw their savings, huge tax revenue increases to the US Gov (when the Boomers pay the taxes that were deferred) will go largely unnoticed (the REASON for the tax revenue increases will go largely unnoticed).  As the retirees (massive amounts of retirees) start to pull out their savings, they will start to SPEND their savings...paying more taxes...and proportionally propping the economy up despite what the government does.

I do not know what all the consequences will be (just like I don't know why Blogger won't let me Left Justify these paragraphs).  But my guess is it will go largely unnoticed, but that while GDP receives benefit (business activity from all that spending), the stock market will flatten out.  Which is probably a good thing.  


...but then Congress will find a way to interfere again...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fairness...

We have a "discriminatory" health insurance system, where people who are sick or need healthcare, pay more than people who are healthy, or don't need healthcare.  This is what you get when you send your kids to M.I.T.

Professor Johnathan Gruber explains in video below (I hope it loads, good stuff).

It should also be pointed out that we have a discriminatory food system, where those who are hungry, and need food, pay more than those who are not hungry, and don't want food.  

The NFL is highly discriminatory!  Those who get to go to the games and see them live, pay MUCH MORE than those who don't get to go to the game and see them live! 

The entire system is broke!




Thursday, November 14, 2013

I am here, and so is the food...

Two things I know for sure:

Anything that gets in between buyer and seller raises the price

and...

I like food trucks

My Dad would often grab a bite from a hot dog stand downtown, or at Priceclub.  His theory was, "I am here, and so is the food."  I do not think I have ever, except in Mexico, where I ate some of the best hot dogs and tacos I have ever had.  But, last year I watched Anthony Bourdain's show on food in LA.  I was amazed by the story of Kogi food trucks.  And, as usual, it gave me a GREAT idea that could make me a 1%'er, provide a service NOBODY has, and a product I WANT...HEALTHY food trucks.

People always complain that it is so difficult to eat healthy.  At work, in offices all over, people are eating fast food, or 1000 calorie meals (mostly sauces and carbs) because they do not have the time to buy fresh (you have to do it more often then packaged food) or time to prepare their own meals.  As I walk through my office, and others, I see people eating carrots, eating salads - they WANT to eat healthy.  When the food truck shows up - it is usually sandwiches, mostly bread, little meat, and LOTS of muffins and stuff.

Or, what about....a peanut butter and jelly sandwich truck!  Another large percentage of people (guys) are eating PB&Js, and would pay to have good ones delivered.  

Anyway, that is about as much though as I have given it.  Why?  Because 1) I already have a great, low paying job, working towards a minimal pension, and 2) I have run businesses - it is so much work to start up, so much regulation ADDED to the start up cost, especially in the food business.  I could fund the start up, I could fight the regulation...but I just don't have it in me right now to do both.

Just last week, some of the little Bannon's and I saw one of these for sale:



I said, "We should buy that! It would be fun!"  They were all for it.  Then I said, "Boys, I'm just sayin', I'm not really buyin', that is my pretend life."  They were a little confused.

Short story long, the video below won 3rd place in the 2013 Reason.com Video Awards for "short-form video, film, and moving pictures that explore, investigate, and enrich our appreciation of libertarian beliefs in individual rights, limited government, and especially human possibilities."



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New York court asked to safeguard journalists' right to protect sources

At issue - when privileged information (such as from a doctor, lawyer, clergy, etc) or classified information (such as government information, or legal information) is obtained by a reporter and then made public, and the matter is brought before a court, should a reporter have to reveal where the information came from?

It depends.

It depends on the information, it depends on the circumstances, it depends on the reporter, etc.  I can see it both ways.  What I can NOT see, is some blanket law that protects all reporters in all circumstances.

So, it is up to the "journalist" to determine if publishing the information is worth it.  Is the information a MUST KNOW for the public?  Is the source worth protecting?

Many times I read these stories and it appears as if the reporter took a short cut.  The reporter received the information, and it was big news, so they put it out there.  It is very similar to what can happen in a criminal investigation.  Often times, informants, or witnesses, provide valuable information that, if made public, would put their lives in jeopardy.  An investigator has to weigh the information against the risk to the source of the information.  One technique is to "wall off" the source of the information, and to find an alternative way to obtain it.  This can require great skill, and many do not do it well.  Just as in the case with reporters.

In the above case, a FOX reporter obtained information that is believed to have been given in VIOLATION of a gag order from a court.  Meaning, a judge ruled that information regarding the case is not to be discussed in public, or with outsiders.  The gag order applies to officers of the court and participants in the case (law enforcement, prosecutors, defense, witnesses, etc.).  What was the information that was reported?  That the shooter in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre sent a journal to his psychiatrist BEFORE the shooting.  Is this news that the public HAS to know?  I don't think so.  It can wait until the gag order is lifted - it will be "news" then too.  Her only reason was to trump other news media.

There are other cases where sources must be protected.  There are other cases where the public must be made aware...

Was he one of those cases?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dreams...

I have a post I'm working on regarding the minimum wage (The People's State of New Jersey just raised theirs and permanently linked it to the cost-of-living, and Obama is going after the federal minimum wage...nothing like using the power of government to take from one group and give to another).

But, today I would just rather dream about going Galt. Here's the plan...

To buy some land in the West.  Preferably with a nice home away from town.  Away from a small town, and way away from any big city.


This would be nice:




...or this:



...or even THIS:





Enough land to have chickens on the ranch:



...because I love chicken and ranch:




Most importantly, I want to have a guest house, or small guest houses, for family and friends to stay, for short, or long periods of time. Enough to call it a "compound," like this:


...or this:


...or this



And, Mrs. Bannon and I have always wanted to rehab an old barn:





And, of course, a little space for this:



...or this:


And, Mrs. Bannon wants a little of this:





And, private out of the way little places for this:


...and this:


And where I can wear this:


...and work on this:





Sunday, November 3, 2013

Choice...

The freedom to choose.  It is not just a quaint saying.

A competitive marketplace not only provides the buyer the enjoyment of options (uniqueness or conformity, quality or quantity, economy or fashion, etc.) it forces sellers to be efficient, and to conform to what people want.  Yes, sellers will be wrong sometimes, but only by being wrong, and exploring, will sellers learn what buyers want exactly.

[ The White House is saying that the insurance plans that people are being dropped from were not good plans - but was anybody "forced" into those plans?  The Left says yes, by greedy employers who do not want to pay for better plans, or by greedy insurance providers who do not want to provide better plans.  But what the dropped consumers are learning is that there are more expensive plans out there - but does that mean "better?"  The power of government is being used to force consumers to pay for these plans, but then the power of government has to be used to subsidize these plans with OPM - Other People's Money.  We already have this in Medicare - it is called the Doc Fix.  Doctors are forced to accept Medicare at lower prices...and then the Government pays them back with OPM.  ]

If a car company is making great cars, entertaining commercials, and providing great service...but not at a price sufficient to cover the cost of all that...the car company will learn to cut back somewhere, or raise prices.  Maybe the car company decides to pay employees less, or not advertise during the Superbowl (who buys a car because of a funny, well timed add?).  Or, the government will give OPM to the car company - and the car company will not learn what buyers want, or what workers are willing to work for.


I wanted to purchase a new hat.  I have one in mind, it has a logo on the front, mesh in the back, slouch style, lightweight, adjustable.  I went to a website.  There were 246 options.  Below are just 10% of the choices.


Choice is a good thing*...

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23




I like all these hats, but I will only part with my money for some of them.  #12 and #23 are in the running - but you never know when ordering a picture on the Internet.

As buyers decide not to buy certain hats, the sellers will stop making them.  Unless the sellers drop the price, enticing more buyers to choose them.

Thank God the government does not care about headware...yet.

Me being me, I will likely not make my purchase decision based on these pictures, as I can not try them on.  But, if I could try it on, and I liked the way it fit, price would not matter.




(*But there is a real meaning behind it - we can not "choose" when life begins...but that is another post)