Countdown

29 January, 2009

This is how it should be done.


You may or may not be aware that federal law requires the Post Office to deliver mail to all US addresses 6 days a week. It makes sense, but I just never really thought about it.

Well, as the world goes digital and as private couriers improve service, the volume of mail delivered by the USPS has declined. In 2008, the USPS saw a decline of 4.5% in the volume of mail it delivered compared to the previous year. That's over 9 billion fewer pieces of mail.

The Post Office is exploring ways to streamline its operations. One such option is to eliminate one day of delivery each week.

I want to applaud the Post Office for looking for ways to reduce cost, rather than by just raising taxes (i.e. stamp prices). This is the example that the rest of the government should follow.

Instead of raising taxes, look for ways to be more efficient. If, for example, a private entity can do a job, let them (the biggest example I can think of for this is municipal WiFi). Some things that the government does should be left to the private sector.

Instead of making people who don't use the services pay for them, how about re-examining the services in general, to see if they are something that the government should be doing in the first place.

I know that it's not uncommon for me to get nothing besides junk mail. There are several companies that I do business with that do not send me paper bills. I also, pay all of my bills online. I don't remember the last time I wrote a check to pay a bill. I couldn't even tell you what a stamp costs these days.

One more thing that the Post Office should do is to reconsider how they spend their advertising dollars. Does the USPS really need to sponsor a professional cycling team? That's not to say they shouldn't advertise, and that they shouldn't advertise on sports, but does it make sense to advertise on a sport that virtually no Americans follow except for 2 weeks in July?

24 January, 2009

Let's not send the wrong message.


It's not often that a girls high school basketball game makes national attention. In fact, it's rare that many outside of the players and coaches and their families and friends even know how girls teams are doing.

But a recent match up between the Covenant School and Dallas Academy has been all over the news of late.

These two private schools in Texas played a game, a game that probably should not have been scheduled. The results of the game were a 100-0 score in favor of the Covenant School.

Now, there is pressure from all over for the Covenant School to forfeit the game. That's going too far.

The point of sports is to do your best. Win or lose, you give it your all. This same story comes up every time a college football powerhouse plays a smaller school with much less in the way of resources to recruit and train their players.

"Call off the dogs" is the cry. I say, if you don't want to get beat by 100, play some defense. Players will tell you that when you stop playing your hardest, that is when you are more likely to get hurt.

If I were from the Dallas Academy, I think I would be more offended at the forfeit than the 100 point beat-down. And any true competitor would feel the same way.

OK, I just rolled over and got my butt handed to me, but in the stat column, I win, and you lose? How is that right?

For the Covenant School to forfeit, is on the same page as not keeping score at little league games. It sends the wrong message.

20 January, 2009

A new chapter for America


Today marks the next chapter in American History. Barack Hussein Obama will be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America.

There will be much ado going on in Washington DC as well as the rest of the country.

National TV coverage will be on all of the major networks.

Why such a commotion? Partly because it is the end of an era that the media and Hollywood celebrities portrayed as one of the darkest hours of American History.

One article I read reports that the outgoing president is "one of the nation's most unpopular and divisive presidents". It goes on to list several negative things that happened in the past 8 years.

One thing that was omitted from the article was the good that has happened during that time.

Things like the fact that the country has not been attacked on home soil since 9/11 (Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for attacks in London and Madrid since).

Or that despite being down now, the DOW has seen its highest levels during the Bush Presidency, but compare it to the level it was at when he took office, it isn't as bad as some would make it out to be.

Or that another country was liberated from a tyrannical dictator and had free and open elections.

Many will point to the number of dead American soldiers in Iraq (4229) and Afghanistan (641), but compare that to the dead on D-day (10,000 dead or missing) alone, never mind the 14 million ally soldiers dead during the entire WWII. What about the 36,516 American soldiers killed in Korea (not counting the 8276 MIA or 7245 POW). Or the 58,159 American Servicemen who never came back from Vietnam.

Sure this president did things that I disagreed with (the biggest being the bloated bailouts), but let's not discount the good that has come from it.

I will not agree with a majority of his policies, but I will respect the office. I will not be like the far left who crucified George W. Bush from day one. That is not to say that I won't stand up against policies that I disagree with. But my criticism will be policy based, not personal.

Thomas Jefferson said "That government is best which governs the least". It has also been said that "a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything that you have".

09 January, 2009

Does he really have nothing better to do?


It appears that all of our nation's problems have been solved. How do I know that? Well, Our soon to be fearless leader Emperor Obama has spoken out against the BCS again.

Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of a college football playoff of some sort. Or at least a 'Plus one' system where they play one more game to decide the championship. This year would feature either USC or Utah vs Florida.

Now, I am not discounting Obama's right to have an opinion about the BCS, nor his right to speak out about it. But he should be doing so as a fan, not as the Supreme Leader of the Galaxy. How the college football conferences operate is between them and their schools. If they choose to run the system in a way that generates more revenue than a clear cut champion, that is their decision. They are free to operate how they see fit.

Our government needs to occupy itself with more pressing matters than sports. We don't need to see Rafael Palmeiro insisting that he has never taken a banned substance in front of a congressional panel, only to test positive a few weeks later.

We also don't need to see Congressman Cliff Stearns (R, FL) asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) to reschedule votes scheduled for last night and this morning so that he could attend the game. The request was denied (one wonders if USC had been in the championship game, would her response have been different?) But should there be votes scheduled for a Thursday night? He could have done what Obama did, and just not be there for the votes.

What about Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff threatening to sue the BCS. He contends that the BCS unfairly favors schools from the larger conferences (i.e. the Pac 10, SEC, Big East, etc..) over schools from lesser conferences (like the Mountain West, home of the University of Utah Utes).

There is no shortage of talking heads on ESPN, Fox Sports, etc... who will debate on the air of different ways to decide the champion for the future, or who is the true champion this year. Let's leave the debate to them, leave the politicians out of it.

Memo to USC, U of U and UT: The Florida Gators are the National Champions of college football for the 2008 season. Until there is a different system, the BCS will decide it. (Oh and by the way, all of the conferences in the division of college football that play in the bowls agreed to the current system.)

On the other hand, if His Eminence and his colleagues occupy their time debating the details of a new college football playoff system, they will be to busy to drag us into full blow Marxist socialism.

06 January, 2009

Where do I sign up for one of these?


A settlement was reached between an airline passenger and Jet Blue airlines and agents of the NTSB. The settlement results in a payment of nearly a quarter million dollars.

How was this man wronged? He was asked to change his t-shirt at the airport. Call the ACLU! Well, someone did.

It turns out that Raed Jarrar was wearing a t-shirt that had, written in Arabic, "We will not be silent". When other customers voiced concern, he was asked by officials to change his shirt, and even provided a shirt to wear over his potentially offensive shirt.

I think that there are wrongs on many levels in this matter.

First of all, what have we learned about Islamic Extremist terrorists? They are trying to blend in. Many of them break the rules of Islam to blend in by shaving, cutting hair, even eating pork and drinking alcohol. Do you really think that if he was going to blow up the plane, that he would draw attention to himself before he gets on the plane? I doubt it.

The ACLU argues that it would be the same as someone "wearing a t-shirt at a bank stating, I am a robber". I beg to differ. Something written in Arabic at an airport is less of a threat than a robbery note written on a t-shirt at a bank.

Was it the best wardrobe decision that Jarrar could have made that day? Probably not. Maybe he was tired of the stereotyping that has been going on since 9/11. Is it fair that all Muslims and all Arabs are guilty until proven innocent in the court of public opinion at airports? Absolutely not. But given the current social climate, some people need to understand how things are. That's not to say that they should hide behind their heritage or beliefs, but they should choose their battles. While in the Lima, Peru airport in November, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that could have been considered more offensive than the one that Jerrar wore, it stated "100% Terrorist" and had a picture of an AK-47.

On the other hand, is a $240,000 payout justified? No. He wasn't refused the flight, he was given a t-shirt to cover the one he was wearing. I think that if anything, it could have been settled with a comped flight. But getting what equates to 5 years salary for many Americans for being asked to change his shirt? That is going too far. I think that the family that was denied service on an Airtran flight has more of a beef than Jarrer.


05 January, 2009

Have we really come this far?

It's a good thing the smart people all get jobs with the government.

Otherwise, how would we all still be alive?

It seems that if we didn't have the government to tell us what we can and can't do, and what is and isn't safe, we would be doomed to do something destined to kill us.

This latest example comes to us from the UK, but it is only a matter of time before a municipality in the States (Or in the colonies as they say in the UK).

It seems that the government there isn't convinced that the people who run children's paddling (wadding) pools are smart enough to run their own businesses.

A new regulation requires all pools 18 inches deep be patrolled by trained life guards. Traditionally, the staff is trained in life saving skills, but aren't licensed lifeguards. Those who don't meet the requirement, face the risk of being shut down.

I guess that they should be glad that this new regulation exists.

Sure, it's going to raise operating costs, since licensed lifeguards would need to be paid more than regular staff who merely has life saving training.

But look at it from another perspective.. since it is going to lower the risk of someone actually drowning in the glorified puddles. It prevents a potential wrongful death suit. I'm not sure if the Britts are as litigious as we are, but I imagine it's close.

Before you say “that will never happen here”, remember, our leaders think that we aren't smart enough to decide whether or not its safe to talk on the phone when we drive, or that we need to be protected from those evil restaurateurs who serve that poison 'trans-fat', or that it is wrong to sell wine gift bags at liquor stores, or that a bar or restaurant owner cannot allow patrons to use a legal product in their establishment.

Whatever happened to personal accountability? They are legislating social Darwinism out of society. It used to be that stupid people did stupid things, and didn't last long enough to reproduce. But I guess it comes down to the fact that politicians need stupid people to keep them in office.

What's next? What personal liberty is on death row? Talk radio seems to be on life support, thanks to the impending rebirth of the 'Fairness Doctrine'.

03 January, 2009

It's that time of year again.


If it's New Years Day, then it can mean just one thing.. We are smack dab in the middle of college football bowl season. At least the ones that matter.

Let's face it, if you play in a bowl game before Christmas, it is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Remember when going to a bowl meant you had a good season? Well, that's not the case any more. Not in the days of the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the Insight.com Bowl, the GMAC Bowl, the PapaJohns.com Bowl, and the Eaglebank Bowl. Don't get me wrong.. I have nothing against a corporate sponsor for the bowls, (I'm looking for sponsors for my charity golf tournament), but when they don't even bother to name the bowls anymore, that's a sure sign that there are too many of them. They even had to go to Canada to find a site to play.

And getting back to the whole idea of earning a spot in a bowl being a sign of a good season, when you have teams like Notre Dame, who needed a win over Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl to finish above .500, it raises the question, what's the difference between the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and Corn Flakes? Give up? Corn Flakes belong in a bowl! Let's be serious, winning 1/2 of your games is no accomplishment, and is not deserving of a reward, (unless you are the San Diego Chargers, and win the pathetic AFC West with a stellar 8-8 record).

Let's do some math. There are 119 teams in the NCAA D-I Bowl Subdivision. There are 34 Bowl games being contested in association with the 2008 season.

Assuming there are 2 teams in each bowl, (follow me here..) that means that 68 teams are playing in a bowl game this year. 68 is just under 60% of 119.

That means that 6 of 10 college football teams are ending their season at a bowl game. If more people do something than don't, it makes it less unique. If 6 of your 10 cars on the street was a Bentley, all of the sudden, a Bentley is just another car.

If the NFL decided its champion like the NCAA does, than last year's Superbowl would have been the Patriots against the Cowboys, and the Giants would have had to settle with the equivalent of the Cotton Bowl.

This is probably the only time I am going to say this, but Obama is right. There needs to be a play-off system for college football. D-I football is the only college sport that doesn't have an NCAA sanctioned national champion. In fact, the bowl games aren't even NCAA events.

People who work for colleges are supposed to be smart people.. That's why they work at colleges, right? (the old 'those who can, do, those who can't, teach' adage, can't be true, can it?) Let's let them get together and hash something out.

I guess it's just more fair if everyone wins. We wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of the team that lost half of their games, would we?


Oh yea, Happy New Year!

02 January, 2009

The latest sign of the Apocalypse


Just when you thought you'd heard it all, a government official goes and does something that makes you just shake your head and wonder..

Dateline Spokane Valley, WA. The Pacific Northwest community has gotten record snow fall this year, and the municipal snow removal crews are having difficulty keeping up with the shear mass of snow.

They are initially focusing on the main thoroughfares and highways. That's all well and good, but people don't live on the main thoroughfares and highways, they live in residential areas.

That's where Troy Garcia comes into play. Troy is a real American. He saw a problem, and a way to fix it. That is until the government stepped in to put a stop to anything that doesn't cost tax dollars, or employ minorities.

You see, Tony saw his 4 wheeler that happened to be fitted with a plow and set to work plowing his driveway, his neighbors' driveways and the streets that had yet to be plowed by the city.

One neighbor, who happens to be a county roads supervisor (how much do you want to bet that he is union?) called the police.

Garcia was cited for several 'crimes' for disorderly conduct.

What happens if one of there was a fire and the FD couldn't get there in time because the streets weren't plowed? What about an elderly resident who may not have been able to get out to go to the pharmacy? The list of 'what ifs' limitless.

We can't allow this sort of anarchy! We can't be left to our own devices, that's what the government is for! Everyone's favorite words to hear "We're from the government, and we're here to help".

Maybe we are further down the road to complete socialism than I had feared. It has spread out of the Peoples Republic of New York and the Peoples Republic of California.

01 January, 2009

It's that time of year again.


If it's New Years Day, then it can mean just one thing.. We are smack dab in the middle of college football bowl season. At least the ones that matter.

Let's face it; if you play in a bowl game before Christmas, it is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Remember when going to a bowl meant you had a good season? Well, that's not the case any more. Not in the days of the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the Insight.com Bowl, the GMAC Bowl, the PapaJohns.com Bowl, and the Eaglebank Bowl. Don't get me wrong.. I have nothing against a corporate sponsor for the bowls, (I'm looking for sponsors for my charity golf tournament), but when they don't even bother to name the bowls anymore, that's a sure sign that there are too many of them. They even had to go to Canada to find a site to play.

And getting back to the whole idea of earning a spot in a bowl being a sign of a good season, when you have teams like Notre Dame, who needed a win over Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl to finish above .500, it raises the question, what's the difference between the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and Corn Flakes? Give up? Corn Flakes belong in a bowl! Let's be serious, winning 1/2 of your games is no accomplishment, and is not deserving of a reward, (unless you are the San Diego Chargers, and win the pathetic AFC West with a stellar 8-8 record).

Let's do some math. There are 119 teams in the NCAA D-I Bowl Subdivision. There are 34 Bowl games being contested in association with the 2008 season.

Assuming there are 2 teams in each bowl, (stay with me..) that means that 68 teams are playing in a bowl game this year. For those of you bad at math, 68 is just under 60% of 119.

That means that 6 of 10 college football teams are ending their season at a bowl game. If more people do something than don't, it makes it less unique. If 6 of 10 cars on the street was a Bentley, all of the sudden, a Bentley is just another car.

If the NFL decided its champion like the NCAA does, than last year's Superbowl would have been the Patriots against the Cowboys, and the Giants would have had to settle with the equivalent of the Cotton Bowl.

This is probably the only time I am going to say this, but Obama is right. There needs to be a play-off system for college football. D-I football is the only college sport that doesn't have an NCAA sanctioned national champion. In fact, the bowl games aren't even NCAA events.

People who work for colleges are supposed to be smart people.. That's why they work at colleges, right? (the old 'those who can, do, those who can't, teach' adage, can't be true, can it?) Let's let them get together and hash something out.

I guess it's just more fair if everyone wins. We wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of the team that lost half of their games, would we?


Oh yea, Happy New Year!

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