Thursday, October 31, 2013

Buffet Rule

A reader sent the following to me to share with others.  I realize that this wisdom has been around the Internet for a while but, in case you haven’t seen it, I think it is worth a few moments of your time.   This text approximates Warren Buffet's suggestions for our government’s reform. We are the richest country in the world yet we have more debt than any other country.  How does this compute exactly? 
The following numbers apply for just one term of service: 

Salary of retired US Presidents . . . . . . $180,000 for life

Salary of House/Senate members .  . . . $174,000 for life … this is stupid

Salary of Speaker of the House  . . . .. . $223,500 for life … this is really stupid

Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders .  . $193,400 for life … ditto last line

Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . .. . . $40,065

Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . $38,000
Warren Buffet, in a recent interview with CNBC, also offered one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.”  He is also proposing the following reforms for our legislature:

Congressional Reform Act of 2013

1. No Tenure / No Pension -- A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security -- All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.  (I think this is now written in the Obamacare law.)

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/13. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
This, at least, is how to fix Congress! (It would be nice if Buffet also put forward some ideas for the Executive branch ... it too is far from perfect.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Gift

When asked, before he became President by a fellow U.S. Senator, why he spoke so well from a Teleprompter, Barack Obama replied, “It’s a gift.”  Yes, when reading someone else’s words, Obama was a savant. And he has gotten even better during his years in the White House – his staccato timing, his head bobs, his look-aways, his pursed lips, his pregnant pauses, his upraised chin, his cool demeanor, his well-timed hand gestures – all combine to make him a very convincing seller of his ghostwriter’s words.  His delivery is so special that, even after telling whopper after whopper (witness the recent revelations of all those Obamacare lies), much of the American public keeps nodding in sympathy with his next questionable pronouncement.  (I heard one wag on the radio today say that his Teleprompter needs to be replaced by a lie detector.)

Here is a taste of Obama’s gift for Teleprompter gab? See: YouTube video.

Afterward: The White House talking points which are being repeated in the main-stream media echo chamber say that, although millions of individuals are now losing their healthcare insurance, corporate plans are not affected under Obamacare.  Has everyone forgotten that the corporate mandate has recently been postponed by Obama for one year?  Is this just another fib in the fabric of fibs surrounding Obamacare?

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Buck Stops …

Somewhere else.  Apparently President Obama didn’t know about the NSA dragnet of electronic surveillance … including Angela Merkel’s cell-phone taps ... until this past August.  He didn’t know about the political malfeasance at the IRS despite hundreds of visits by IRS higher-up to the White House over the months leading up to the 2012 elections.  Apparently he was oblivious to the real cause of the Benghazi slaughter until weeks after the event … even though his surrogates kept up the fiction of the anti-Islam Internet video for months more.  He was also unaware that millions of Americans who buy private health insurance would lose this insurance under Obamacare even though he swore on a stack of Korans that this would not happen. 

He also had carefully-constructed plausible deniability in his administration’s unprecedented suppression of our Constitutional-guaranteed freedom of the press with the Justice Department’s (and now Homeland Security’s) seizure of reporter’s notes/computers and the JD’s illegal gun-running into Mexico under Fast and Furious.  He knew nothing about the woes of the website until just days before its launch … or presumably about Michelle Obama’s intimate connection to a Senior V.P., Toni Townes Whitley, at the Canadian firm, CGI, that screwed the pooch on this piece of software (after a no-bid contract and hundreds of millions of misappropriated taxpayer dollars).

You know dear reader, that with just a smidgen of effort, I could add many more paragraphs of Obama’s “ignorance” of things that have misfired under his administration … apparently all without his slightest foreknowledge.  I really sometimes wonder what he does to fill his days to be so much out of the loop about so many issues.  Perhaps he is too busy reading a biography of President Truman who kept on his desk a plaque with his motto, “The buck stops here.”

reddit Gallery LI

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Detroit Interior

Detroit Exterior

Red Sky at Night

East Essex, England

Prague Full Moon

This should be the last reddit Gallery for a while since this site is now chock-a-block full of Halloween costumers with lots of ego and little aesthetic taste.

Headline Misprint

The Brietbart Internet news site recently posted a story about how powerful Varerie Jarrett is within the Obama White House ... see: Brietbart Story.  The only thing is ... I think that there is a major misprint in the headline of this Brietbart story ...  What do you think?

The Hammer

The Obama administration has not been shy about using the levers of government to raise campaign cash or punish those companies or political blocs that have opposed them.  I suppose that this is the Chicago way and, to me, it is very disturbing.  We have seen it in how the IRS blatantly abused its powers during the 2012 elections. Now we are viewing it in how the Justice Department and other government agencies are extorting money from Wall Street firms that didn’t toe the line during these same elections … see: Breitbart Story.  Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) have dropped the hammer on J.P. Morgan to the tune of some $18 billion of unprecedented fines stemming out of the 2008 financial meltdown … see: CNN/Fortune Story and The Guardian Story.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I believe that there were oodles and oodles of real crimes that led up to the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  But have we seen any of the kingpins in these perpetrator firms even go on trial for these travesties?  No.  Most everyone knows who these guilty slimeballs are … yet they luxuriate in their buyout retirements. Instead, we are seeing financial blackmail and extortion.  Monumental fines and fees are being levied against those firms that were told by the United States Treasury Department to adsorb these miscreants’ entities and, now in return, are being financially shaken down.  There is clearly going to be more of this thuggery coming out of this administration … now that our financial firms have been propped up by the Federal Reserve Bank and are thus healthy enough to pony up with some significant pelf.

This behind-the-curtain method of our government’s picking corporate winners and losers is disturbing and presages even more blatant interference in what was once only a slightly corrupt system of political donations.  One can clearly read the message for the upcoming elections in 2014 and 2016.  Support Democrat candidates or suffer similar consequences to J.P. Morgan.  The hammer of big corrupt government is now corrupting the flow of money into political parties further still.  Take that you Supreme Court and your Citizens United decision!  You think that corporations are people and money is free speech?  We will show you that we, guttural government, can subvert the intent of this decision to a fare-thee-well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

reddit Gallery L

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Mount Fiji Cloud Mount


Single Scull

Ukraine Sunset

Alcazar Castle, Spain


Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster.  Not only is the insurance sign-up process in utter disarray (see: Test Pattern), but we now find out that hundreds of thousands of medical insurance holders are being canceled by their current providers because of the crippling tenants of this law (see: Daily Caller Story).  And these poor schlubs very often cannot find a new insurer because of the cyber-Hindenburg called … and, if they are somehow lucky enough to escape this burning zeppelin onto a new provider, the costs are frequently prohibitively high … much higher than their previous insurer (see: Forbes Story ... a very good read!).

Yes, I know our dear leader promised that such shenanigans would not happen with his signature piece of legislation (the un-Affordable Healthcare Law) that passed both houses of Congress without one single Republican vote … but he was once again lying … lying to an American public whose starry-eyed idolatry makes them oblivious to his mendacity.  But perhaps now enough of them will soon realize their idiocy and repent?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Test Pattern

I was just listening to the House of Representatives testimony from the contractors who built the Obamacare website ( that has had myriad user problems. The statement that cause me to sit up and take notice was that full system testing for this site began only two weeks before it was supposed to go live on this past October 1st ... see: CNN Story.  Two weeks!?!

Having run two system software companies that built user interfaces far less complicated than this Obamacare one, I can categorically state that this level of a testing is ludicrously inadequate.  Such a complicated system should have at least three months of extensive inside (Alpha) testing of the totally integrated software … after an equivalent amount of module testing (which I also doubt really happened).

Then, in order to have the slightest chance of working smoothly, this system should be turned over for six more months of end-user (Beta) and insurance company testing with at least an additional month or two under a simulated full load.  If this were done, then one might have a reasonable chance (fingers crossed) of a system launch that would not bring embarrassment to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Thus, instead of almost a year of testing after the modules had been fully checked out and debugged (pants on fire!), this system had two weeks!  Yikes!  And we taxpayers spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the development of this piece of dreck.  To launch a software product without the level of testing described above is a criminal act propagated by charlatans of the first order.

This surely will bring seas of shame on Secretary Sebelius and the Obama administration … humility I doubt.

Afterthought: Little noticed (but probably more important) in this debacle about the Obamacare website failures are the security problems that abound around it. Much of the testing that was apparently not done should also have been directed at protecting all the confidential information being collected there ... and also insuring that cyber-squatters could not take advantage of this internet disarray to misdirect naive medical insurance seekers onto bogus websites ... see: Newsmax Story

These cyber-security issues, in the end, may be the real straw that eventually breaks Obamacare's back.

reddit Gallery XLIX

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Carving

Solar Boat

Birch Trees

Deadly Combat

Poe and Lincoln

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

reddit Gallery XLVIII

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!


Bonn, Germany

Rio de Janeiro



The Ship of State

Old Ironsides
The United States must really have some special resilience going for it to have survived the last five years ... maybe even longer ... of domestic and international screw-ups.  Whether this mismanagement is purposeful or as a result of incompetence is almost beside the point.  Our country has been buffeted by a series of fiscal, operational, and diplomatic tidal waves that would have sunk even the sturdiest of ships … yet we sail on … a little slower and shakier than would be nice … but we are thankfully still afloat.

I hope I need not detail these tsunamis … which should be quite obvious to those seamen even traveling in steerage.  Can I just tweak a few reminders …  the IRS, huge deficit spending, Benghazi, Iran, NSA, Obamacare, the Muslim Brotherhood, Fast and Furious, North Korea, the stimulus, amnesty, Solendra, illegal immigrants, Assad, the fiscal cliff, EBT cards, unemployment, Afghanistan, global warming, Edward Snowden, SDI, increased tax rates, the debt ceiling, Excel pipeline, etc.?  We have placed a tyro at the helm of our ship of state who appears somehow oblivious to these buffetings … just as long as he can play some golf, have his White House soirees, and pick his March Madness brackets.

Our man-o-war surely must be rock-ribbed.

reddit Gallery XLVII

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Autumn Reflection

UK Imperial State Crown


Real-life Peeps

European Castle

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

reddit Gallery XLVI

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!






Conspicuous Consumption

The gusher of oil money flooding into the Middle East has created an equally gigantic problem .... how to spend it?  In the United Arab Emirates, the city of Dubai has found a number of novel ways to piss away this largess ... an edifice complex.  Here are some notable examples:

World's Largest Aquarium

Artifical Islands

Crescent Building

Indoor Ski Slope

World's Tallest Building

Underwater Hotel
There are dozens more examples of such eccentric (can I say tasteless?) extravagance.  I wonder what will happen to these structures in the not too distant future once this supply of petroleum pelf dries up?

Monday, October 21, 2013

reddit Gallery XLV

Another excursion into the world of reddit pictures.  See reddit Pics for sources.  Click on pictures to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Iceland Sunset


Wisconsin Nook

No Swimming

Another Raw Opal


There is now a recognition that boys who have been abandoned by their fathers very early in life can grow into extremely successful adults.  The examples currently being bandied about are former President, Bill Clinton; Jeff Bezos of; President Barack Obama; Steve Jobs of Apple Computer; and Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp.  … and I’m sure that there are probably many others.  Whatever the underlying psychology of this phenomenon turns out to be, it does seem to suggest a possible interesting future potential.

Considering the degree of fatherly desertion that is now occurring pell mell in the United States among the black and Hispanic communities … and also growing among Caucasians … it would seem to me that America should expect a barrage of hard-driving prosperous males ... maybe females too … in the not too distant future.