Sunday, December 23, 2007

Expanding The Party

I have been analyzing the current situation and accept the fact that there is a problem. In addition, while going through the analysis, I was able to arrive at a real meaningful solution.

I have been having these discussions with myself. I have even told myself, self there will be no additions to our intimate conversations. There is only so my I can handle. So, self do not invite any other commentators to this get together. Self has grudgingly accepted.

Well, I see the errors of this decision. It is too difficult. I and myself do not provide enough depth for a meaningful conversation. Therefore, self, I am inviting some of the following to join the group. Of course, as an original founding member of the group, the founding member position has a veto. So, this is not some dictatorial degree that must be swallowed.

The parties that are being extended an invitation include: we, you, us and me. There will be occassions when them, they, him and her might need to be brought in for additional expert opinion or testimony.

So, self, I asked ... does this bring a smile to that face I am staring at? Self ... if you thing its right, it will be okay.

So, its official. Now you what would you like to discuss next time? ... mmm ... how about social etiquette?

You might not be ready for prime time, so I will get back to you when I think you might be ready to pose a topic.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Major Important Issue With Long Lasting Ramifications

While driving today, I had my almost daily discussion with myself and no it was not about the HOV lane issue ... there is more to our lives than that one issue. As a side note, without any means to prove it one way or the other I will continue to believe that I am writing to myself. So, I said to myself ... self what issue is of major pressing importance that should be vented about?

I was going to toy with myself mentally and list of a number of potential candidates for the major issue award. On the same hand I do like the mental gymnastics of toying. Today I must make it quickly clear to myself what the issue that needs to be the center of our focus. The issue we must address is this I told myself ... self, the crisis exists, at least for the next couple of news cycles, and that crisis has a name and its name is Jamie Lynn Spears.

Yes, Jamie Lynn Spears the younger sister of The New Updated Mickey Mouse Club icon Britney. In case you live on Mars, Jamie is a very cute ... careful old man ... 16 year old with her own Nickelodeon TV show.
If I was any computer savvy I would drop in her picture here but alas I am just trying to conquer this whole blog typing thing. Sounds like a nice lucky girl with the world on a string sitting on a rainbow. Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon your perspective, the show is wrestling with its need to take a plot twist because Miss Jamie, age 16, is with child. Yes, the 16 year old dumb sister of Britney is going to be a mommy. Self can you imagine that the sister of Britney would be a dumb white girl?

Now, who would make a 16 year old pregnant you ask. Well you are not part of the conversation. This is between myself and I and you will have to come back later or pick your own topic. The individual who provided the sperm to generate this living entity in the formerly flat tummy of Jamie is her long time boy friend (as reported in the news releases)Casey Aldridge, age 18. Only three months ago Casey
was just one of the group she hung with from time to time and was not her regular long-time boy friend. But that was before the strip from the pregnancy at home test turned blue and Casey got a promotion. So, I guess a way to get a TV star to acknowledge you as her boyfriend ... just get her pregnant. A great way to move up on the party guest list.

Now, lets see I asked myself. Legal adult has sex with a minor. Statutory Rape. Need any proof for the conviction? Well, I reminded myself about the fetus and the public statements by Miss Jamie. So slam dunk conviction. Now, for the attorneys in the crowd, the act of having sexual relations with a minor between the ages of 15-18 is only a misdemeanor if your less than three years older than her, in many states and it is consensual. I apologize for the break to bring a moment of reality into this ramble but I do have to defend me and myself from those who forget that we together can read the news stories and remember the less than fun parts. Sorry though the punishment is less, sex with a minor is a crime despite her willingness to cooperate. Alas, Casey is a white boy who made mad passionate love to a famous rich white 16 year old girl ... so no punishable crime was committed. Go directly to "GO" and collect lots of money in telling your story to the press ... how was she Casey?

So, this story which apparently is BIG news on all the major news outlets and on every one's mind constantly.

Well, I asked myself what is the crisis ... rich white girl forgets to take birth control pills which she can certainly afford, screws white boy and a fetus starts growing in little girls womb. Yes, I know its not in her tummy self, its just one of those imagine things writers say. I mean is it that big of news? I guess so ... see we are tired of the fat, drunk, poor mother Britney and besides she, Britney is now 26 and over the hill.

Look, myself said every action must have a reason other than just sex which we can all agree is fun and for the male reason enough ... but Jamie is a female so one must conclude that she is either(a) just keeping up with her competition ... that is other female actresses who are having babies and making the front cover of every print publication or (b) she is avoiding the problem of a ticking biological clock and getting pregnant early to avoid any work career timing issues that later in life could cause a problem with taking a part a problem and therefore she wanted to get this pregnancy out of the way before she is say 18 or of legal age. Myself gave himself a proud smile that he had solved the problem and in his mind resolved the crisis. Jamie's pregnancy was not an accident but a premeditated career move.

Oh silly self, you missed the obviously multiple reasons why this is newsworthy.
  1. This story gives a distraction from the tedium of the excessively redundant presidential campaign with multiple candidates saying the same thing covering promises that they will not be able to deliver on.
  2. It allows a breather from our potential concern about the 9,000 earmarks Congress finally got into the budget they have been working on since January which was due on the teacher's desk before October 1st.
  3. The war in Iraq.
  4. There is a writers strike on so there is a pressing need for TV stories that do not require much thought process.
So, self remember that this is America where we fight for democracy around the world and work aggressively at home to create the dumbest population in the world. So, don't forget to watch ... "are you dumber than a 5th grader".

Its all part of the conspiracy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Day

Today, I heard some very good news. This news story which is so important because it truly has national and international significance. The very impact of this is potentially only overshadowed by what it might trigger.

Now, you say, of course only to myself what news could be so wonderful?

Well, it is not the surprise news that Condi Rice lost the White House vacation pool and had to go to Iraq. Seems all the good Christmas vacation options were already taken and how many times can you go to Crawford Texas anyways.

No, it was not Condi's travel and it was not the very sad sporting world news ... you know the one where the 2007 Miami Dolphins were denied their quest for a spot in the record books. Yes, that long sought after quest for the perfect season ... 0-16. It is much harder than you would imagine. I mean the the sports writers and bookies did not want to see this happen ... it has never happened ... the best you ever had was a 1-15 season. But the Dolphins had the chance and blew it. Despite their worst efforts they won a game and now can only hope to tie the record. Sorry that was not the news.

Wait you think you know ... you have to be bubbling over with the anticipation that my amazing news story is that Congress finally... at long last passed a spending bill ... well they lumped most of the bills they are supposed to pass into one Christmas present ... this is the one job they are required to do and you might think to do before the beginning of the fiscal year but no they have been to busy doing .... oh don't get me started I have good news so don't spoil it self with your negativity. So you are wrong again ... and that is not news it inevitable that Congress only two and a half months into the new year passes a budget for the remaining nine and a half months. Now with their work done poorly and late they will run home of the holidays to tell their constituents how great they are ... how much pork they were able to bring home. Sorry that is not it.

I guess I will have to tell me what the super story is ... it is the wonderful, tremendous, spectacular news that Leno and Letterman have announced that regardless of the status of the writers strike which I can only assume means that they assume it will not be settled soon ... they will begin airing brand new almost live shows on January 2, 2008. Although they say they are supporters of the writers strike, they must be concerned with the non writing staff who they were not worried about before when they laid them off without pay the day the strike began.

Big Deal I say to myself. Who cares you don't even watch their shows. Well, what I ... myself says ... is that you do not understand I tell myself is that in case you have not noticed ... we are in the 1,141st part of the 1,463 part series of ... "Oh my G-d we are going to elect another less than qualified person to be the President!!"

Stop ... please explain. Well, self, the current Presidential campaign began on the date of the last Presidential election ... 11/2/04. This current campaign will end on 11/4/08. The approximate math if my dates are correct which chances are they are not ... is a total campaign lasting 1,463 days. As of today, using that math, we at the 1,141 day point. Only 322 more days to go before we start again.

So the big deal is that the majority of people do not get their political news from the CNN or Fox or NBC or CBS or ABC nightly news. The majority of people do not watch Tim Russert or any other political analysis program on Sunday morning. The majority of the American population that might vote in a presidential campaign do not read the first section of the newspaper if they get one. The majority of the American populations gets its political news from Leno and Letterman plus two other great political analysts. So, how have we been able to get along this far without their insight ... with their guidance. I do not know. We obviously have not been looking at the candidates with the proper insightful eye let alone not hearing what they are really saying. No we need the help of Leno and Letterman to get through these difficult times.

Side comment ... its not so bad since the majority of the people do not even vote but at least they will have Leno and Letterman back.

What this action by Leno and Letterman might hopefully trigger ... .Now the real key is if their move provides cover for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to come back to really provide the true wisdom that choosing our next leader of the free world. Please come back Jon ... please help us Stephen.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ordinary Rambler

Way back many moons ago, I began writing a pre blog ranting ... it was titled The Ramblings of an Ordinary Man ... in fact I typed it on my Handspring PDA ... that was a challenge ... but with no back-up, no download ... those initial ramblings went into the great abyss.

Now as a general statement of fact rambling is an easy thing ... you just start talking or writing moving from one topic to another ... just keep going ... it is critical to be a better than average rambler you must what anyone else has to say. Just ignore that others might want to add some serious thoughts or words to those you are spewing forth. You will know this if you are a true rambler that everything is about you. A friend starts to tell you a story and you quickly adjust the conversation trail to relate your experience in those circumstances. You know that their experiences can not possibly be as interesting as your experiences. Of course that given the opportunity, everyone would prefer hearing about your experiences. Your experiences really capture the essence of how those experiences should be experienced.

But, the Ordinary Man? How does one prove that you are an Ordinary Man? And why would want to be considered Ordinary?

Well, as to the second part ... Ordinary versus Not Ordinary? To be ordinary would be someone that was "Commonly encountered"; he would be usual
with no exceptional ability, degree, or quality; average ... for the legal wizards to be Ordinary would mean to "have an immediate rather than delegated jurisdiction, as a judge" ... remember that old adage ... those who can do will do ... those that can not do will teach ... and those that can not teach will teach gym ... and those that can not accomplish that will be come judges at athletic events or other tribunals ... back to our ramblings previously in progress ... or to the number people ... "Mathematics ... Designating a differential equation containing no more than one independent variable".

So you ask me or maybe I just ask myself because I don't know whether you are really there so I must presume that this is a conversation between myself ... why do you want to be considered "ordinary"?

Well, self I say, to be not ordinary requires something special to be "out of the ordinary" and that entails making yourself noticed and that could entail making someone else feeling less than they might already feel about themselves. You know people who seem to be so self confident ... so proud of who they seem to be to you from the outside. Well, it is not unusual ... almost ordinary to find that just those people you thought were "not ordinary" ... you would think they were certainly something special ... when in fact if you could look inside or watch them real close ... well they are more worried that they are not so special and its only other people who are extraordinary.

Then there is that bell curve thing ... not the bell curve that indicated that only
Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than the rest of the curve ... and that those persons from south of the equator are less than average ... no I am just referring to the normal grading bell curve ... where most people are in the middle and only a small portion of the group is truly above or below average. To be average is to be be part of the vast majority. So, one might or you might or anyone else might have to come to the mathematical conclusion is that we are all Ordinary / Average or at least the overwhelming majority are at that stage.

So the analysis ... one has to come to the conclusion that being Ordinary puts you with the masses. Accepting this position allows you to be at peace with yourself. You can try harder at some things and could be above average in a specific area ... but understand that in the overall your just one of the folks ... unless your on So, using the math ... watching the numbers ... doing the complete in depthsteroids in which case your just a hyped-up individual trying to make the most of your limited talent because you don't really care about yourself and are disappointed in what G-d gave you.

Taking all that into account ... the bigger question to be addressed down the road of life ... if we are all most Ordinary .... how can I take the position of being the spokesperson for the Ordinary Rambling People? Because I can see the big picture ... stay tuned for more from the Ramblings of an Ordinary Man ...

Budget Math

Do you remember the movie Dave? Simple premise. The president of the U.S. has a heart attack while have sex with a women not his wife. Not an unusual theme ... that is a U.S. president having sex with a women not his wife. A historian friend of mine told me that not limited to the former president Clinton, every president since Calvin Coolidge with the exception of only Truman and maybe Carter each has had at least one extra marital affair while in office. With great power comes great benefits. So, Dave is hired to impersonate the president. Being a nice guy, Dave wants the money going to Washington to actually help some people without power. So, he brings in his friend the accountant and they make that happen. The conversations are great ... so rather than rewrite them ... just rent the movie. But, they make it happen because there is so much fat and excess it is easy. But that is Hollywood and we live in Reality Land.

Does anyone do the budget math or question the logic presented by people to elected office? Consider some of these questions.

The Federal budget includes over $532.8 billion dollars for the military. Yet, if you want that military to do anything it costs extra. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production (which is in the Department of Energy budget), Veterans Affairs or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which are largely funded through extra-budgetary supplements, e.g. $120 billion in 2007). It costs extra to go to Afghanistan! It now costs over two billion ($2,000,000,000) dollars a week extra to bring democracy to Iran and Afghanistan and we can certainly see that it is money well spent!! What do we get for $532.8billion dollars and why does it cost an extra two billion a week to use the people and equipment that we are already paying for?

Second question, the Federal and state governments plus various individuals have sued the tobacco companies for selling their cancer-producing product. The suing parties have won billions of dollars. The only way the tobacco companies can pay the billions of dollars is to sell more cigarettes. The money being received by state governments is being used primarily to balance their strapped budgets. We are punishing the tobacco companies for producing their cancer producing product and the way the pay for their mistake is to sell more of that product to pay the billions to balance budgets. How does this reduce the numbers dying from cigarette smoke? Does this make any sense?

Third question, the state of California has a $38 billion dollar deficit. Their elected officials are going to balance that budget in part by borrowing $10 billion dollars. Did anyone take Budgeting 101? Borrowed money is not income. Therefore, the budget is not balanced. So why can’t the legislators and press say … “California legislation fails to balance its budget and will borrow $10 billion to cover the cash shortfall”?

Last question, the drug companies sell the exact same drugs in Canada that they sell in the U.S. Where is the Congressional hearing asking why that same exact drug costs five times higher in the U.S.? And, why did the same non working Congress pass a law that makes it illegal for the Federal government or any of its agencies to negotiate with those drug companies to get a lower price for the Feds since it buys billions of drugs?

Please contact me when you see these headlines or the buried article answering any of these questions.

Property Tax and Silly People

Here in sunny Florida, we have a problem the problem is not so unique that no other state has it but we always try to demonstrate our level of state intelligence. For those of you who don't know, Florida derives its income from two sources ... property tax and sales tax. The property tax system is administrative in a less than intelligent manner. Add to this that our current governor did declare that he was going to put forth legislature that would make that same property tax drop like a rock. Now keep in mind that when you eliminate a source of money that produces only two options unless your Washington D.C. ... you lower spending or you raise other taxes to compensate. It is hard to have part A of the conversation without part B. The separate issue is taking a short sighted poorly designed property tax system and make a special effort to make it dumber. Oh we so want to be like Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana ... how low can we go.

So a couple of months ago Mr. Jeff Witkin wrote a letter to the Sun Sentinel on property tax reform. His letter to the editor has convinced me that people actually believe our politicians and those same people have a problem with those that do not.

When your child tells you a story that is purposefully untrue … you call it a lie, discipline them and teach them that only the truth works. Politicians say many things that are not based on fact but only what they want is to think. We allow the news outlets to report the “facts” of their statements except for the “opinion page” and we move on. We know what they said to be untrue. This happens so often that we stop listening to the political prattle.

A historical note: Former Governor Jeb Bush claimed to be the “Education Governor”. The Boards of Education shout with high praise the increased quality of our schools and the improved FCAT scores. What ends up on the inside of the news reports or unreported is that Florida is 47th state in education. We want to thank Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana for worse educational systems so that Florida is not lower on the list. Meanwhile our teachers are either retiring or moving to other states to earn a living wage. So Mr. Witkin, of course any change to the property tax will not affect the educational system because it is so far down it would be hard to go lower.

Now Governor Crist and the other Tallahassee gangs both Republican and Democrats are fighting over lowering our property tax. Now that sounds wonderful. Of course no one wants to make the system fair. These wonderful politicians are going to lower the tax while discussing the upcoming billion dollar deficit.

Mr. Witkin you say, no problem, the lowered revenue caused by the decrease in property tax will not affect the educational system or other services but only take the money the govern bodies are wasting out of the system. Now it is hard to make the education system worse. So how we will have at least equal services with less money, Mr. Witkin does not say.

Yes, our system is not perfect. All homes are not taxed equally. All taxpayers are not treated equally. The system currently and being proposed rewards the individual who is a resident of Florida and never moves. The new homeowner pays a higher property tax on a similarly valued home. The non resident bears a higher share of the property tax while using a lower portion of the services. The landlord who helps to provide housing for those who can afford or does not desire the American Dream of home ownership is punished with higher property tax. The young family just starting out with fewer resources is taxed based upon the current fair market value of the home but that family who does not move and just watches the value of their home increase while paying property tax based closer to their original purchase price.

Therefore, we have clear facts of why young families, teachers and others are leaving the state. One, high cost of living reflected in high property tax for new homeowners or renters. Two, as the State continues to provide low quality education for children. Three, hurricanes continue to plague the state. Well, we can’t fix the hurricane problem.

So, if you want a fair property tax system, value all real estate based upon its current fair market value. Total the amount of the fair market value in a tax district. Divide the total budget by that total fair market value. No significant difference for the length of ownership or type of ownership. Adjust the fair market value for all real estate every number of years, say three or five years.

Mr. Witkin stop listing to the rhetoric and non sense reported as if it really was fact. Per your statement, “many desirable working class families will continue to leave the state.” if you want Florida to be a better place … make the elected officials really improve the education system and make the property tax really fair and equal. As a side note, sending our children to school in the middle of August will not improve a poor system; other states with better systems still wait till after Labor Day to start. So take your blinders off and really look at your state.

It is amazing that people are actually allowed to vote at all for anyone or anything.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Angry Man

There are many things that upset me. You might even say I can be passionate in my anger. Well, the other day, I encountered something that made me supremely angry and deeply upset. Now, you may ask, what could it have been?

You might think it is the Israeli – Arab Meeting to Discuss the Possibility of Peace. You remember that I have written Op Ed pieces and many emails on this general subject. You ask "how can you not be at the blood boiling stage when there are a number of Op Ed pieces where wonderful individuals will with their presumed insight write at length on how all world problems would be solved if only Israel would just go quietly into the night?" Now all of this certainly raises my blood pressure level but it was not the startling emotionally distressing issue.

Then, you would presume it might be the current ongoing Four Year Presidential Campaign and its long list of non impressive candidates from either party but again, I have spoken about it a length but even that more puts me to sleep than raises my blood pressure. Most discussions have been reduced to who do I dislike the least and if that’s not bad enough, keep in mind that in all likelihood the next presidential campaign will start November 2008.

Oh, you think you have figured it out. Of course it is the state of Florida politics and education system. We all know that its great that Florida has its wonderful weather to entice people to move here because if you had to consider this state on the merits of the education it provides at the elementary or high school level … well it is 47th and the intelligence of the state politicians … well, consider how they are dealing with the property tax issue. Enough said but again, you are wrong.

So, I guess I will have to spell it out for you. This week I had occasion to be driving on different days both to north Palm Beach County and south through Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Two separate matters almost drove me to stop and seek out a source to purchase a shot-gun to solve these major serious issues.

The first, of these critical issues is the HOV lane. The High Occupancy Vehicle lane on the highway is intended during clearly labeled hours in the morning and afternoon to be for vehicles carrying two or more breathing people. In addition, if you have overspent for a hybrid vehicle you are allowed to use this lane during the restricted hours. This is a separate issue that has its own problems but not my issue on these particular trips. I was driving by myself so I could not use that lane. The lane I was using moved at its faster than crawl but less than the even the potential speed limit. At the speed I was driving, I was able to clearly see into the many cars and trucks utilizing the HOV lane. I wanted to know where the highway patrol was and why it was not monitoring the many single drivers, non hybrid cars using the HOV lane. There are an enormous number of cameras on the highway. These cameras are used on the turnpike to catch people going through the Sun-Pass Only gate without a working Sun-Pass. These drivers were moving at a substantially faster rate and no one was stopping them. I was extremely agitated. You wonder why if this was such an egregious wrong but people were getting away with it why I did not take advantage of the lack of supervision? Well, that is because I know my history. The moment I would move into the HOV in the restricted time the “no where to be seen policeman” would materialize. So, I was forced to merely utter a long stream of unsavory words that only my radio was there to hear.

Now, that would have been merely bad by itself had I not encountered the second major crime. Driving on I-95 at a good speed, I am routinely passed by individuals on motorcycles. Now, I am not speaking about my driving 70 and being passed by a biker going maybe 80. These bikers are flying by and bopping and weaving in and out of lanes leaving no margin for error. Just recently, I had to opportunity to be speaking with a motorcycle owner. He was not driving when we were speaking … just enjoying a wonderful dinner together. Before I knew he was a biker, I mentioned my experience. He told me that most likely the biker passing me was traveling between 100 and 120 miles per hour and might have been as fast as 160 mph. He told me it was okay because motorcycles have more control and respond so much better than a car does. I gave him my friend Dennis Maimon the neurosurgeon’s name so when his “better handling vehicle” did not perform as planned he could have someone to put him a back together. Again, where is highway patrol?

If I roll a stop sign and there is no pedestrian or other car within three miles, there will be a police car there to point on my major moving vehicle violation. If I drive on a license plate that was not two months past its renewal date, there is a policeman close enough to see that 1” x 1” sticker on the back of my car. When somebody violates the HOV lane during the busiest time of the morning or late afternoon, where are they? When that motorcycle rider with the death wish drives like there was no one else on the highway, why do never see them pulled over by the highway patrol?

These are major critical issues. I am not talking about arresting people who litter. I am not talking about rounding up and confining those people who take up two parking spaces in the mall parking lot. I am not even talking about the lady who took fifteen minutes to pay for her pizza the other night while eight people stood in line waiting for her to complete her major financial transaction. Our highways need to be protected so that I can go back to be oblivious while I drive and merely concentrate on the crazies calling into talk with the even more insane liberal and conservative talking heads. Save me.


Welcome to the ramblings and rantings of .... ta dah dah ... Rambling Man. There is a term my lovely wife say to to me in those quiet moments after the company has left. She calmly says ... next time would you stop all that rambling when we have company. ... we invite people so I can hear other opinions ... other view points ... and all I heard was you rambling on and on ... on top of that please stop telling those same old tired stories I know by heart ... your kids can even repeat those stories by heart they have heard them so often ...

Well, along comes blogs so I now have an avenue to ramble on.

If you choose to read these rantings ... thank you ... if you find them not so interesting ... please keep it to yourself because this is then not for you.