Monday, December 20, 2010

As long as grass is green and the sky is blue…

There’s a line in the movie, Little Big Man , which sums up how government keeps promises. The movie’s message had to do with our Federal government’s treaties with the Indians as spoken by Little Big Man, a white man adopted by the Human Beings, “This land was promised to the Indians for as long as grass grows green and the sky is blue…”, as the U.S. Calvary massed its surprise attack on a snowy morning, the Human Beings peaceably secure on land promised them by treaty; “…but sometimes, the grass ain’t green and the sky ain’t blue”. It’s been a while so I hope the quote wasn’t botched; most folks would understand the meaning anyway, keeping promises ain’t a strong suit for government.

I joined the Houston Police Department in 1971 and agreed to the terms of employment which included a specific salary, health insurance and eventually retirement if I stuck around for a minimum of twenty years. The City would then pay 30% based on an average of the last 5 years of service upon reaching 20 years with incremental additions for each year of service beyond 20. Included in the package was the continuation of health insurance with a reasonable price tag for my spouse and any children living under your roof until they reached the age of 19.

Each time police officers went before the City to request a cost of living raise was a political battle. Sometimes we got a raise; but most of the time we ended up bargaining away a goodly portion as the City’s budget simply could not afford to keep up with cost of living adjustments. In return for being “reasonable employees” the City in turn promised to make up a small portion by adding to retirement benefits as they agreed a raise was reasonable; the City simply could not afford to pay its police officers a reasonable salary. Over the twenty years I served there were many raises which never came about; instead the 30% retirement figure originally agreed upon reached 55% of base pay.

Almost immediately after retiring from the Department in 1992 the cost of health insurance began to rise in leaps and bounds until most recently that figure has more than doubled along with our co-pay for each visit to our HMO. The city found ways to back away from their “fair share” and explained to retired officers that health care was never part of a “contract” as it is with active duty officers; that health coverage was a bonus rather than a promise, so much for grass is green and the sky is blue.

Bradley Olson’s article in this morning’s Houston Chronicle, Battle lines drawn over city pensions , raised the stakes and once again the political battle has been brought to my front door. Mayor Parker claimed she was working in the best interests of the City by asking for reductions in unreasonable retirement obligations.

“Voters elected me to make tough choices, and voters elected me to get the city’s budget in order,” Parker said. “We are hemorrhaging right now … in some of our pension costs. … There’s a difference between a fair pension and a gold-plated pension, and the citizens of Houston have to know that we can find a fair balance in there.”

When I hear things like, “it’s for the common good” or “everyone must make sacrifices”, it usually means those who have earned must share with those who haven’t; typical socialist dialogue to justify wealth redistribution. In this case Houston’s mayor wants to wheedle out of lawful contracts; not much different than her predecessor Bill White tried when he was mayor.

This is where my knee jerk reaction requires me to say, “Excuse me!”, loud and clear, enough that folks at City Hall will wonder if it hadn’t been a clap of thunder. At one time my words would have been less refined; but one of my supervisors instructed me to employ the term, “Male Bovine Excrement!” when reason and logic dictate a more harsh or common expression. I actually received an official reprimand for criticizing a junior officer who’d used poor judgment in dealing with the public. It never occurred to me a police officer would be disturbed to hear a fellow officer use the term, “Barbara Streisand!”; perhaps he’d picked the wrong profession, one can only wonder.

‘“Plans that allow people to retire after 20 or 25 years at the age of 50 or 55 and get 80 percent of your salary for life are just unsustainable in this day and age,” said Ramon Fernandez, a professor and specialist in government accounting at the University of St. Thomas.”

Maybe Mr. Fernandez is talking about some other police officer with inflated numbers like the ones pulled out of the blue; I’m still at the same 55% and don’t have any golden parachute. I had to put my staff on half salary; you know, the folks who polish the brass on my private yacht, the yacht my wife and I sail down to The Marina at Bimini Bay Resort on weekends. I had to let the bank take possession of my Lear Jet 60 with its interior done in HPD blue, custom mahogany inlay paneling and 24 carat gold embroidered executive package seating. It had been parked at Hobby Airport for months and I could no longer afford to pay a pilot to be at my beckoned call. Being retired just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If the City of Houston declared bankruptcy they could void any and all contracts previously made; handing the checkbook and everything else over to the courts. City services would come to an abrupt and noisy halt, chaos and pandemonium would be the norm as garbage service, firemen, ambulance, sewer and water services ceased and police officers no longer were paid; much less those who’d reached retirement. Civilization as we know it would pack its bags for other pastures where grass grows green and the sky is blue.

In essence Ramon Fernandez and Mayor Parker have made another statement, one which anyone can understand, reading between the lines. “While the City has entered into valid contracts with employees for retirement benefits, sometimes the grass ain’t green and the sky ain’t blue.”

Houston has joined many other cities across the nation, discovering their lack of fiscal responsibility. The liberal left’s entitlement programs have been instituted at the expense of necessary expenditures without a care for the eventual bill which always come due. As with any political football, police and fire employees are thrust front and center as a whipping boy, their salaries are the cause of all our ills and when they retire they live like kings off the backs of hard working citizens. Sorry Madam Mayor, I’ve heard this same song too many times; keep your hands off my retirement as long as grass grows green and the sky is blue!

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Rotate Key Every 3000 Miles

Every now and again you find a customer with a key story worth sharing; like the fellow who drilled a hole in the head of his key to make sure it wouldn’t fall off his key ring, drilled smack dab through the transponder of his key and wondered why his car wouldn’t start. I found another interesting key/story the other day.

“You have to jiggle the key up and down a bunch before it turns the ignition”, that’s exactly what the man told me. He’d heard from a friend that a good locksmith could replace a worn key by reading the pattern made by the cuts, even a severely worn key.


I looked at the key and winced at bit, tilted my head enough to ask the question without having to say a word as I wrote down what I thought were the proper cuts.

“Oh, that;…I pulled it out of my tire after it accidentally got run over.”

Judging from the wear and tear that key had to have made it past at least one oil change before he noticed a loss of tire pressure. Maybe he wanted to try the new “hide a key” tire by Goodyear, “Never get locked out”; don’t think Goodyear has such a product. Sure you can unlock the door; but who needs to if you’re sitting on a flat? Besides; “You have to jiggle the key up and down a bunch before it turns the ignition”.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simon’s Cat Video Cartoon

Here’s a tip of the cap to TMH at The Noisy Room for sharing an accurate representation of a cat's reaction to Christmas.

Going Postal?

In a world of uncertainty most folks understand the term “going postal”. It means the last nerve snapped and the person in question has returned to work with some form of firearm to get even with co-workers, supervisors or anyone who happens to be in front of his rage. The U.S. Postal service may not deserve association with such a term; then again it might. According to a story out of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin this morning one delivery worker decided to “post-all” for the public.

“A Wisconsin postal carrier says he simply wanted to cheer up a woman on his rounds who seemed “stressed out” when he decided to deliver mail in the buff.”

“But upon further review, the worker told police that delivering mail while completely naked probably wasn't a good idea.”

That last line could easily have read, “Butt on further review…”; a little too graphic perhaps? As Ray Stevens would have warned, “Don’t look Ethyl…too late; she’d already been mooned.”

Maybe he wanted to work for TSA and was trying to get “a feel” for the job. (bada bing)

It’s the middle of the week, “hump day”; is it any wonder the local paper doesn’t print my stuff? Okay; I’ll try to behave, not easy being me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obama’s EPA Goes After Coal Fired Energy

Do you remember Obama’s pledge back in 2008 when he was running for the Oval Office, a pledge to bankrupt the coal industry? At the time he threatened to make it too expensive to operate coal fired electrical plants via Cap & Trade legislation mandates in order to force Americans into “green” forms of energy production.

“Under my plan of cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Businesses would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that cost onto consumers.” (January 17, 2008 speaking on Cap and Trade, San Francisco Chronicle as recorded by Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit )

Cap and Trade legislation never made it past the floor of the House or Senate after Climategate brought about public outcry; the shady dealings and lies which are “man made global warming” had been exposed. Has that stopped the EPA from imposing their rules, rules built upon false and misleading data? Maybe I should have asked a different question; if you fail to pay income taxes  the IRS won't come after you, right? Same answer and neither one is very pretty.

Jim Hoft continued documenting the administration’s assault on coal on October 15, 2010 when Obama’s EPA shut down one of the largest coal mining operations in West Virgina; their permit was cancelled.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took courageous action today to protect the people and waterways of Appalachia when Shawn Garvin, the agency’s Region 3 Administrator, recommended the withdrawal of the mining permit for America’s largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.”

You might wonder why I keep referring to the Environmental Protection Agency as “Obama’s EPA”; a worthwhile consideration. The EPA was created under the Nixon administration, a tool to be used by the executive branch of government. Each president has implemented various policies through enforcement, or lack of enforcement of EPA rules and regulations in order to bring about “change” or keep the status quo.

Obama’s administration has gone for American’s free market system’s jugular vein by plotting to destroy the energy sources most commonly used, oil and coal. Obama’s moratorium on oil drilling is no fluke as it follows an agenda. It won’t be long before the masses riot in the streets as industry grinds slowly to its death, the price of basics commodities skyrocket or become unavailable entirely. At that moment in time “change” can be implemented; the last bricks of the free market system will have tumbled and the new socialist/Marxist/totalitarian/utopian (call it what ever you want; but it won’t resemble anything constitutional) restoration of order can take its place.

One of the lies Obama told was he was for “clean coal” as a source of energy; however, that claim doesn’t match up with statements made by Vice President Joe Bidden as recorded on a transcript of the Rush Limbaugh talk show.

“…back on September 17th during a rope line visit, he’s shaking hands with people, there’s an environmentalist wacko in the line, Carolyn Auwater, and she says, “Wind and solar are flourishing here in Ohio so why are you supporting clean coal?” and old Biden goes, “We’re not supporting clean coal! We don’t want clean coal. Let the Chinese build clean coal.” The Obama campaign has done its best to hide its intent from everybody.”

The State of Texas recently challenged the EPA’s expansion of rules and regulations forced on coal burning electric plants which go into effect January 2, 2011; but lost a temporary bid holding off implementation until the case had run through the courts.

“…the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the request to freeze the new regulations while the lawsuit is pending, ruling that the challengers failed to show that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative.”

“The decision of the three-judge panel clears the way for the rules to take effect Jan. 2, as planned. The federal rules require new controls on emissions from vehicles and industrial sources, such as power plants and refineries.”

Did you catch that, “the challengers failed to show that the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative”, as if the whole global climate warming scam was a certainty. Shopping for judges must be an art; find the right judges and the earth could be ruled flat because a computer generated model proves we’re all living on the edge.

“Scott Segal, a lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani, which represents utilities, refiners and manufacturers, said the court ruling is “unfortunate” because regulators will not be ready in time to impose the new permit requirements.”

‘“The court may have ensured an effective construction moratorium for industrial and power projects," Segal said. “Given the state of the economy, the decision is certainly not a welcome holiday present.”’

William L. Anderson, an associate professor of economics at Frostburg State University, recently wrote an article, Is the EPA Necessary , where he covered some of the deplorable practices used by the EPA in order to impose their will on industry. He then offered a pondering question:

“One wonders how much economic growth would have taken place had the EPA not existed. Obviously, that is a calculation no one is able to perform, but I suspect that some readers of this site who have had to deal with EPA bureaucrats can tell a few horror tales.”

The EPA’s goal isn’t to help the economy; no, just the opposite. The Obama administration is using the EPA to collapse industry, intentionally putting folks on unemployment in order to bring about “change”. When enough financial strain has been put on America’s suffering free market system those on the left “hope” it will snap and provide them with the opportunity denied them for so long; to usher in the new socialist/Marxist/totalitarian/utopian (call it what ever you want; but it won’t resemble anything constitutional) restoration of order can take its place. To answer William Anderson’s question, Is the EPA necessary; those following the Cloward/Piven strategy to destroy our economy would have a resounding, “Yes!”.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stop the Presses – Music to my Ears

The hills are alive with the sound of music, silence. Printing presses which have been diluting our money supply with an additional billion dollars in hundred dollar bills had to be shut down and at least a third of the hundred dollar bills printed will have to be destroyed because they printed improperly. That means our government's agenda to destroy the value of own money has had a monkey wrench thrown in the gears of progressivism. The article appeared on Fox news website on December 6th and credit was given to Reuters as having contributed to the story.

“1.1 billion high-tech hundred-dollar bills have been printed by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve -- and may never see circulation.”

The silence made by printing presses sitting idle is music to my ears. The glitch in production means it will take a bit longer for the Fed to devalue what little money I have left after having redistributed a good percentage of it for programs only a progressive could love.

“When the release of the bills was announced, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stressed that both the current bills and the new ones will both be legal tender.”

What you won’t hear Bernanke say, at least not while any microphone is handy, “These new hundred dollar bills will look great when used as wall paper in your bathroom or favorite empty closet. They will give contrast to old German Rhichmarks or Zimbabwe’s worthless currency .”

We can only hope the printing presses remain silent for an extended period, that our lame duck Congress adjourns early for Christmas and Santa finds the note I sent detailing how I’ve tried very hard to behave most of the time. What’s that song by Meatloaf, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad? I’ll take two out of three in a heartbeat. Right now I’m just enjoying the silence.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Senior Cat Moment

Our inside the house senior kitty, Bubba, puts up with the outside Hobo Kitties; well, mostly. As long as they keep their distance, don’t come in the house and walk on her floor, breathe her air or eat her food she puts up with them. She especially doesn’t like Silver Bubba and will chase her down just to beat her up; must be something about them both having a short fuse. Bubba’s` turned a blind eye to Head Buttr’ coming in the house; go figure.

Bubba stays to herself most of the time; sleeps on the massage table or at the top of the stairs depending on the time of day. When I get out of the shower she’s learned that being covered with a towel serves as her own private cave. She’ll stay under the towel for hours, an invisibility cloak that helps her forget that there are nine Hobo Kitties outside her house sleeping in her garage.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gingerbread Cookie Time

Around our house the aroma of gingerbread cookies is a sure sign Christmas is around the corner. Lucy put all the dry ingredients in a bowl the other day and had to wait until she had fresh oranges so she could grate the peel into the recipe. Once all the ingredients were assembled, the whole mess had to chill in the refrigerator over night prior to rolling out the dough.

This morning the cookie assembly line was in place; dough being rolled out, cookie cutters of every variety lined up, cookie sheets to go in the oven and cooling racks where cookie monsters can sample the finished product. This year’s dough is a bit darker and Lucy was concerned; but having tested several cookies for texture and quality, they taste just fine.

We have a handful of “hand me downs”, cookie cutters my mom gave Lucy when the family gingerbread recipe was entrusted to her. These require flour applied to the cutting surface or the dough sticks to the fancy detail work. We’ve added Santa, reindeer, gingerbread men in different sizes and Christmas trees along with Chinese Throwing Stars (Snowflakes, as I’ve been corrected), one-bite gingerbread men and a huge Texas A&M cutter.

“Cookie, cookie; give me cookies!” What would we do without Sesame Street characters to awaken the child within? I may have to taste test other batches as they hit the cooling rack; but only to make sure the gingerbread formula is up to long established standards of this family tradition.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

“It’s the end of the world!”

The other evening a classic Hitchcock movie was on, The Birds; terror perched upon every power line as millions of birds descended on the frightened townspeople of Bodega Bay. Remember the scene at the diner where the little man kept remarking, “It’s the end of the world!”, his mind having absorbed one too many drinks?

I watched another movie this past week, Knowing ; a page of seemingly random numbers which apparently listed every major catastrophe in the past 50 years sets up the movie’s theme. There’s a site which covers actors and movie scripts, enough to get an idea of any movie out there.

“In the fall of 1959, for a time capsule, students draw pictures of life as they imagine it will be in 50 years. Lucinda, an odd child who hears voices, swiftly writes a long string of numbers. In 2009, the capsule is opened; student Caleb Koestler gets Lucinda’s “drawing” and his father John, an astrophysicist and grieving widower, takes a look. He discovers dates of disasters over the past 50 years with the number who died. Three dates remain, all coming soon. He investigates, learns of Lucinda, and looks for her family. He fears for his son, who's started to hear voices and who is visited by a silent stranger who shows him a vision of fire and destruction.”

Nicolas Cage played the part of the astrophysicist and might want to find better scripts in the future; however, on a chilly Monday evening with limited entertainment options available, the New England Patriots beating the snot out of the New York Jets; the movie wasn’t that bad. If it were a better movie I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending; but in this case, “It’s the end of the world!”

Wouldn’t you know, this morning had a Sci-Tech piece on the Fox website, Immense Plasma Blast Erupts From Sun ; maybe they watched the movie and accidentally fell for the movie’s limp ending. They had a neat looking picture of Solar Prominence worth grabbing so now you can save a couple of bucks at the movie rental store, “It’s the end of the world!”

Send in the Clowns

Maybe elephants dropped a load on Main Street as Ringling Brothers came to town; while that isn’t the case, don’t take your brown shoes off just yet.  Here in Houston, Texas, Harris County District (Activist) Judge Kevin Fine will hold hearings on the constitutionality of the capital punishment prior to a murder trial in which the defendant could face the death penalty.

The problem with a District Court judge holding these hearings; he has no authority to do so, the State Court of Appeals and Supreme Court having already ruled on this issue. (Activist) Judge Fine’s job is to rule on the admissibility of evidence as pertain to a particular case, not the constitutionality of laws already established.

(Activist) Judge Fine wishes to open this circus with testimony from various groups which oppose capital punishment in order to justify his own anti- capital punishment leanings. I’d written an article last March when this first came to light and mentioned that judges are required to follow the law as written; not legislate from the bench.  This morning I read:

“The first witness called was Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based group that has been critical of capital punishment.”


“Dieter said his group’s review of these exonerations has shown that faulty eyewitness testimony, unreliable informant testimony and false confessions are some of the factors that have contributed to innocent people being wrongfully convicted.”

We might as well open the prison doors and let them all go; witnesses are occasionally unreliable, we shouldn’t trust informants and every now and again a suspect confesses to a crime he/she didn’t commit. Our entire judicial system should be scrapped in favor of a perfect system, one yet to be found; but one which guarantees Utopian results.

While we’re at it (Activist) Judge Fine can decide on other issues which don’t fall under his digression. Perhaps he can hold hearings on the oil industry and pretend to have an open mind on the subject; but stop all drilling for oil since one in a hundred might leak and destroy the world. (Activist) Judge Fine has plenty to do; send in the clowns.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Holly and the Ivy

Here’s a Christmas carol believed to have Pagan origins from over a thousand years ago. I found the lyrics here via Google search and then a version which pleased my ear as will be found below.

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

The holly and the ivy
Now both are full well grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Dream Act - A Chance to Pass Amnesty

The lame duck session fully intends to destroy America from within by passing the “Dream Act” ; taking advantage of an overwhelming majority of Democrats in the House and Senate with a guaranteed signature from the White House. Harry Reid is determined to ram amnesty down our throats before the balance of powers is restored in January.

“A statement to put out by the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee said all four versions have the same “fundamental” problems, but that Democrats’ approach causes unnecessary confusion. “Democrat leaders, in their rush to pass an unpopular bill during the lame-duck session, have completely bypassed the Judiciary Committee. They have introduced four separate versions of the same bill and, without any committee review, placed each and every one of them on the legislative calendar,” the statement said. “This unusual approach creates a chaotic situation, one that makes it more difficult for the public and their representatives -- as well as the press -- to review this deeply controversial measure.”’

It occurred to me that in order to accomplish the destruction of America from within, certain elements would have to align perfectly or such monstrous attacks on our senses could not be accomplished. How often in our history has such an imbalance of powers existed?

On an unrelated subject, I watched a show on the Planets the other night in HD; I think it was on the Science Channel. The narrator explained how the launch of the Voyager’s mission was reliant on the planets being in a certain alignment in order for their gravitational fields to slingshot the spacecraft on to each successive planet.

“It would be 176 years before the next planetary alignment would allow for a trip like this. As Tom Paine {former NASA Administrator and Planetary Society director} used to say –“The last time that {alignment} happened was when Thomas Jefferson was President, and he blew it.”’

With that in mind, Democrats intent on granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens against the wishes of the majority of citizens have a narrow window of opportunity to pass the Dream Act. The House and Senate are populated by a strong majority capable of passing anything their hearts desire without any possible defeat by the GOP until January when newly elected representatives will restore a balance of power to Washington. Hopefully it will be another 176 years before the planets align giving either party such a majority of power capable of passing legislation without a care for public opinion, plain and simple right or wrong. Maybe it will be said of Obama’s administration, “…and he blew it”.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.