Thursday, May 29, 2008

Democrats Grow Up and Look in the Mirror

Thursday is normally a different day than most for me. I have a normal standing appointment that requires a 45 minute I-95 drive. The drive is certainly worthy of a dissertation unto itself but we leave that for the future. What it does allow is an extended radio time to listen to both news and political pundits who tell you they are not like all the other political pundits. Alas, the latter is again a topic for further discussion.

Today, it was reported that the Democrat rules committee will be meeting Saturday to decide what to do with Florida and Michigan. I know you have an idea what you would like to do with Florida but it does make the map balanced. It is also clear that you have no idea why anyone cares about Michigan at least since they stopped producing a real auto and by "real auto" I mean one that holds together at least one month beyond the 60 months it takes to pay for it.

Well, for background ... way back before the first primary, in fact last summer, states began to think, unfortunately for all of us incorrectly, that the primary season would be over on the first Tuesday in February. Oh my Lord if they were only correct and the pain would stop. Well, man plans and God laughs. So, many states started to jockey for a front position and began moving their primaries up in the calendar. Both the Republican and Democratic National Committees, the door keepers, told the states ... okay you can all move your primaries because we do not know how to demonstrate leadership and of course we do not know how to plan but please let us run the country and you can move your primary as early as the first week in February. Do not cross the great divide into January. If you cross the magic line of January 31st there will be consequences.

First, why the "consequences". Well, everyone knows that you can not have a primary season that does not start with the great states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Those states for about the last 50 years have had the first three primaries. Now everyone knows how important those states are in the nation. Why right after there once in four years moment in the spot light, we forget that they exist literally. I mean except if there is a tornado in Iowa or a meat packing plant is raided for illegals who cares what goes on in Iowa? We do acknowledge that baby brothers do care about Iowa when it comes to college football season having been banished to Iowa for college but then who cares? We also know that winning in Iowa brought us Jimmy "The Dumb" Carter ... so enough said about Iowa ... who cares.

Well, it is a simple rule. A very clear rule. Not hard to understand. You can have your primary whenever you want because we are a nation of limited rules. All you have to do is not have it before February 1st. Is that a hard date to remember?

Well, Florida and Michigan decided independently that they were above the rules. Yes, we are too good to have to abide by any silly rules. I mean California moved its primary from June to Super February Tuesday but we are certainly better than California. California has mudslides, droughts, fires, and an old Disney Land. All Florida has is hurricanes, droughts but we have Disney World which is so much cooler. So, again it is clear Florida should not have to be like other states. Remember 2000, we couldn't ( I wasn't here ) even vote like other states, we needed the Supreme Court to decide how we voted.

So, the Republican state legislature decided to thumb its collective nose at the DNC ... act shocked Republicans trying to make Democrats look silly, I mean Republicans look silly particularly in Florida so they just want to let the Democrats into the "silly" party ... and by collective nose that may be what the state looks like to some of you ... a collective nose ... and therefore move the primary to January 29th. The DNC said fine ... nobody campaigns there ... vote don't count ... no delegates at the big party in August. Simple? Florida has months to changes it mind and says "Screw you DNC!" Candidates what do they do ... they say "DNC - Yes / Florida and Michigan - No". Hillary as the apparent front runner back then said repeatedly ... the DNC is right.

Fast forward.

Florida and Michigan's non-primary were just that non-events. Super Tuesday does not decide anything. To make matters funnier, if Florida and Michigan had left their primaries at their original dates, both of them would have really mattered.

The primary season ... oh the primary season, will it ever end? A compromise is offered to Florida and Michigan. Have a do-over, take a mulligan, try it one more time and it will really have an impact.

Now, Floridians and Michiganders, do you want to be stuck with a guy with no plan, and by "no plan" I do not mean he that he doesn't have an idea, its just that he can not demonstrate by words, and he has so many nice words, or by prior action, cause he has no prior actions - and by no actions I mean he has never even convened his Senate sub committee that he chairs on "hope for someone somewhere", - how he can turn those "change words" into reality but he does have a lot of hope. Obama not to be upstaged by Hillary's rewriting history is now adding to his made up history with stories about relatives and concentration camps and how the people that helped him get elected in Illinois were only the simple people and by "simple" we mean real estate money people we need for access to state legislators.

The alternative is that we will be stuck with the "devil" woman and her insane husband - the definition of his insanity - he really thought we cared whether Monica went down on him in the Oval Office but lying about it, we really didn't care either only the Republican thought it was crime ... man getting head from woman ... that is a national crime to the Republicans and Bill arguing about the definition of "is", well insane and by the "devil" woman you know what I mean. She wants to you to think she is "just one of the lower working class downing shots of Chevis Regal" doesn't she know the shot of choice for the working class is Jack Daniels and so she is certainly not elite like Obama and his Harvard diploma, she only attended Wesleyan / Yale, as a former Arkansas attorney taking questionable payments can we say $100,000 one day stock market profits when you don't have any money while her hubby was running the state, was first lady for eight years dodging bullets, and by bullets I mean TV cameras as she spread goodwill around the world, kissing Mrs. Arafat while Mr. Arafat blasted Israel and the "devil" woman just nodding along while her translator whispered into her ear what was being said, while in a fit of rage fired the White House travel department because they couldn't get her an upgrade to fly on Air Force One ... seems the President had allocated the female companion ticket to someone else, and finally she will bring us health care reform ... she demonstrated how that should not be done ... her last attempt was so successful, she had a Democratic President, okay it was her insane husband but people liked him and she had a Democratic House and Senate ... her plan was DOA before it got out of the gate.

So, you can see Florida and Michigan now knew what there choice was. So, instead of a do-over or mulligan, the Democratic leadership in both states said "Screw You DNC". We are above the rules.

And Hillary, remember what she said? If you don't follow the rules then Florida and Michigan will have to take the consequences unless I am behind in May and the primaries where no one campaigned and I was the only one to leave my name on the ballot in Michigan should count because my husband was President and therefore everyone knows my name and I won the non-primary.

Meanwhile, radio stations and political pundits are fanning the fire by promoting the notion that the DNC and the other Democrats do not like Florida and Michigan. They are promoting the thought that if you do not seat our meaningless primary delegates we will be forced to either stay home or vote for McCain. Anyone wonder about the logic of the Democrats, radio stations or political pundits? Our primary vote because our state legislators broke the rules they knew in advance and did not take the opportunity to correct that arrogant mistake and respond "our vote did not count so we are going to take our precious vote and throw it away" ... can you say President Bush?

I am not saying you have to vote Democratic or that a vote for McCain is bad. But throw your November national vote away because your state legislators screwed you ... why not just throw out your state legislators. Remember don't vote in November and you will not have anything to complain or brag about ... you will be stuck.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Insults Of A Grand Style

I did not write this .. in fact all I did was copy and paste an email and I will not insult or praise the person I received it from although living in Pittsburgh should require something and even more so when the person who shall remain nameless teaches at a prominent university which shall remain nameless because he has ... oops did I say "he", I meant the individual has a reputation of being hard working and therefore above sending emails of non critical nature and far be it for me to soil the reputation of such a person ... since I spend so much time writing this introduction, I did not research its accuracy but I like it and deemed it worth saving in this very small universe of my writings for both of my readers ... I mean my one reader ... I mean just for me.

These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, 'If you were my husband I'd give you poison,' and he said, 'If you were my wife, I'd drink it.'

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: 'Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.' 'That depends, Sir,' said Disraeli, 'whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.'

'He had delusions of adequacy.' - Walter Kerr

'He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.' - Winston Churchill

'A modest little person, with much to be modest about.' - Winston Churchill

'I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.' Clarence Darrow

'He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.' - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

'Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?' - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

'Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it.' - Moses Hadas

'He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.' - Abraham Lincoln

'I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.' - Mark Twain

'He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.' - Oscar Wilde

'I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one.' - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

'Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one.' - Winston Churchill, in response.

'I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here.' - Stephen Bishop

'He is a self-made man and worships his creator.' - John Bright

'I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.' - Irvin S. Cobb

'He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.' - Samuel Johnson

'He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.' - Paul Keating

'There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.' Jack E. Leonard

'He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.' - Robert Redford

'The y never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.' - Thomas Brackett Reed

'In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.' - Charles, Count Talleyrand

'He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.' - Forrest Tucker

'Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?' - Mark Twain

'His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.' - Mae West

'Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.' - Oscar Wilde

'He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination.' - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

'He has Van Gogh's ear for music.' - Billy Wilder

'I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.' - Groucho Marx

Econ 101

Economics is one of those subject that most people zoned out on. Is something elastic or not? Is it macro or micro that matters?

Well, this week we have a clear lesson in economics. It was the Congressional grilling of the Oil Company execs. This has become an annual event. Congress brings in these executives and asks them the big questions. How come your company made so much money last quarter/year? Don't you thing that making $10 Billion a quarter, (see I can use commas) more than any other company ever makes is bad? And then, the big question we are all waiting for ... why does gasoline cost so much at the pump and what will it be 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months from now?

The answers ... (1) because we were lucky, remember you did not call us in when we were not making a lot of money to ask us why, (2)no and (3)I don't know.

See its all economics.

First, if you are a normal person, you know that things in demand have a higher cost. Oil is in demand. Remember Cabbage Patch Kids? When they first came out and were a "must have toy", you had to pay a premium to get one, if you could even find one in the store.

Second, a normal person understands that if you have bad credit, you will pay more for insurance, a mortgage or a loan.

If your a little slow, you do not understand why because you made a few late payments on your credit cards that you should be punished with a higher auto insurance premium. Well, its economics and another course you slept through statistics. Statistically speaking, and it is a language that normal people of even high intelligence do not understand, if you pay your debts late chances are you will drive your car into your neighbor's car. Pay your credit card late and your an insurance risk ... higher insurance premiums. So, bad credit is not good. Simple, you understand? You still with me?

Well, we elect people who demonstrate that they are not normal. These individuals continually demonstrate that they are a little slow. We elect the bottom of the class. Democrat or Republican when they get to D.C. they leave what ever intelligence they had at the door. The mantra seems to be "I am a Representative or Senator and now I am an idiot with privileges".

Seems Congress can not understand, despite their large staff to write memos in simple words, why oil costs more. Obviously they live in a cloud of polluted air.

Point One: China and India have started to come of age. What does that mean? Well, China has 1.5 billion people and India 1.1 billion. India alone has a new middle class of 300 million people. Their middle class is as large as the entire U.S. China's middle class also exceeds the size of the U.S. Now, surprisingly enough, these new middle class people want to own things. Things like cars. Cars need gas. These two countries will have or already have more drivers than the U.S. So, point one: there is more demand.

Now point one is hard to deal with except to reduce our demand. So, why doesn't Congress call in the auto makers and ask why they still sell 12 mpg SUVs? Make SUVs illegal. Change the highway to have an SUV only lane and make it a single lane on the right ... the slow lane. Why not ask the auto makers why they scream when asked to increase the mpg (miles per gallon) of the cars they manufacture? Why not increase the tax on gas to reduce consumption? Why not allow Americans to pay the same high price that the rest of the world is privileged to pay? Oh, stop supporting food into gasoline, this is ridiculous and only makes food cost more with zero benefit.

Point Two: Remember that bad credit? Well, how do you get bad credit? One way is to take on more debt than you can ever repay. Even more so, take on debt to pay the interest on the debt you can't afford. Well, that would be the U.S. Congress. Seems the concept of fiscal prudence went out with "oh my how am I going to get reelected?"

Congress routinely spends more than it takes in. Why? Well, raising taxes to pay for programs would hurt reelection chances. Stopping wasteful programs that benefit those voters back home would hurt reelection chances. But those things are not in your district, well you owe favors to your friends for helping you get your pork, so you owe them your vote for their pork.

Congress has run up deficits in the last seven years alone totally $4 Trillion Dollars. The U.S. national debt is now around $9+ Trillion and growing.

Now add to that our trade deficit. We, you and me, buy more things made oversees than we do "made in the U.S." So, on a monthly basis we send $60 Billion more dollars away than we earn, or $720 Billion per year. Doing the math, in the last seven years that would be $5 Trillion. The total $9 Trillion Dollars more in debt than we were seven years ago. The seven years is just so happens to coincide with the current administration but the problem did not start with them. The lack of planning has only increased at a gallop.

Remember economics? America is a debtor nation. America has lousy credit. China alone has a couple trillion dollars sitting in its retirement account. Your a prudent investor making a prudent decision. Dollars are not something you want to own, so you sell dollars and buy other currencies to protect yourself. You buy Euros. The dollar, once the king of currencies, is now a bad thing. Thank you Congress. The dollar was .97 to 1 Euro equals "dollar strong" is now 1.57 to 1 Euro translates into "dollar weak and getting weaker". The dollar we use to buy oil now is worth fifty percent less, so oil costs 100% more. Thank you Congress. Can you spell "bad credit?"

Back to oil. There is more demand, more competition for limited item. We are trying to buy the harder to get oil with our worthless dollars ... so price is higher. Remember limited supply combined with bad credit makes things cost more.

Well, Congress what can you do? Take actions to make the dollar stronger, balance the budget, stop borrowing, bring your debt into line with your means, stop buying things you can not afford. Then you can help the U.S. go back to producing things that U.S. consumers can buy "made in U.S." Congress can take actions to make this country more manufacturer friendly.

This later takes help from the American worker. Simple rules. Skilled labor pays more than unskilled labor. Labor in areas of higher demand or limited supply should pay higher than lower demand and higher supply. So, wages for factory unskilled labor should be low and not artificially high. Finally, businesses could afford to pay workers a higher wage if they stopped paying executives exorbitant salaries. An executive earning more than $10 million a year should have to pay 100% tax penalty on wages above $10 million and that number would include all compensation including stock options. Please send me the executive who can not live on $10 million a year.

Its all economics. Don't spend more than you can afford, control your spending, and make your purchases from the best place you can.

Finally, vote Congress out of office since they can not do the job. Send only intelligent people to D.C. and if those people can not do the job vote them out and try again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Feel Your Pain Dali Lama

The Dali Lama is a nice guy, or so I am told.

A year ago, and in recent years, when he has traveled the world he has been received at the highest levels. Prime Ministers, Presidents and other heads of state have rolled out the red carpet to meet with him. This was fine as long as the 500 pound gorilla that controls his country did not object, that would be China for all of you who do not know who controls Tibet.

Well, it seems that the Dali's peeps got a little out of hand recently and began actually protesting and rioting. Then, some people, reportedly were killed to stop the protests. I say reportedly because few reporters are actually let into Tibet and fewer can actually speak Tibet to ask questions.

Well, the world decided to take notice and by the world I mean ordinary citizens. There have been rallies and protest against the Chinese's handling of the Tibetans. Why there were even protests against the poor Olympic Torch because it is friendly to China.

So, how do the Prime Ministers and Presidents react now when the Dali Lama comes to town? They are busy or oops I had to go out of town. Would you like to meet with the assistant minister in charge of bus transportation? Seems China has spoken and the message is ... choose Dali Lama or cheap goods made from China and don't forget we have your money in our banks.

Yes, it seems that China is using its enormous business clout to fight the Dali Lama.

So what can you do? Do you support the Dali Lama and the poor oppressed people from Tibet? Don't know how to make a difference? Your just one person or one family, so how can you have an impact?

It is simple. Stop shopping Wal-Mart. Yes, my friends ... Wal-Mart is the enemy. Wal-Mart makes its billions by forcing its suppliers to provide cheaper and cheaper goods and the only source for goods that low down is China. So, more of our money goes to China.

Want another option? Vote your Congressman or Senator out of office. Yes, the entire Congress should be replaced with individuals who understand that you can't spend more than you have even if you control the printing press. See, we have an annual cash deficit of around $500 billion a year and we borrow from China to pay for all those goodies that we can not afford or choose not to pay for. So again, China controls our lives.

So, to recap ... stop shopping Wal-Mart, vote Congress out and sell your SUV and buy a car that makes sense with gas at $4.00 a gallon on its way to $5.00. Grow up and look beyond your own short-term make me feel better now, I am bored and need to be entertained, I don't want to think bring on reality TV ... needs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Respect

Rodney Dangerfield said it clearly and often and repeatedly and yet nothing seems to change. It is hard to get respect.

People do many things to get respect because it is a highly desired thing to have. To be respected by your peers or those referred to as "they". You know the "they" we all speak about when we say "they don't understand".

There was Prince who felt that his career was going no where, so he became "X formerly known as Prince" and then when that failed he became Prince formerly known as X.

We had Britney "The Mouseketeer" Spears who changed her name to Britney "The Sleezy Dancer" Spears. When that wasn't enough notoriety she changed it again to Britney "The Slut" Spears which has done wonders for her career.

Of course who could forget Lindsey "The Alcoholic / Drug Addict" Lohan who changed her persona to Lindsey "The Drug Addict / Alcoholic" Lohan and we were so excited for her.

But countries have their issues also, even on the world scale respect is desired but hard to get or maintain.

When you are a third world country with little going for it, in the shadow of truly major powers like China and India, its hard. Its harder still when your not even worthy of a War to call your own like Vietnam and Korea. Its even harder still when your not even worthy of getting the illegal overflow from one of those wars like Laos or Cambodia and harder even more still when you can't get a cute nickname like the Cambodia Killing Fields. What's a country to do?

So what can you do? Well your Burma, and how can you impress the girls with a name like Burma. I mean besides The Burma Road (look it up) what have you got going for yourself. Respect ... none.

So you change your name to something you think might be sexy and appealing ... like to Myanmar. Now its hard to pronounce, sounds kinda exotic ... it might work. And to make yourself more appealing, you put a Military Junta style government in charge to bring out your highlights and make you a hit with the kids.

And then comes the big test. You get hit by a Cyclone. Now what is a Cyclone? There are tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, mudslides, earthquakes and of course the worst ... to be hit by a "Bush/Cheney administration". So, what is a Cyclone? Well, who cares, its not good. So you are Myanmar and you get hit by one and now you're the top news story.

Well, you would think if your a "news" reporter you could at least get the country's name right or refer to it as 'formerly know as" but no poor Myanmar is referred to as Burma by reporters and government officials alike. We will not add more humiliation to this sad story by listing the long number who do not know it is Myanmar ... Wall Street Journal, New York Times, U.S. State Department among those we will not name, Where are the geography and map majors to publicly call then out for the fools they are? There is no Burma on the map . It is Myanmar.

I guess it is hard to get respect even if your a Military Junta stealing the rescue food and supplies for yourself. And then to show that you get no respect China wanting to put you in your place goes and has an earthquake to end your 15 minutes of fame. It is not easy being the country formerly known as Burma.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

McCain Are You Trying To Break My Heart?

Senator McCain, I had such great hopes for you.

You have been labeled a "maverick", an independent thinker. A man who can work with Democrats because you see "eye to eye" with them on important issues. You are strong on defense, but you understand that military action when taken should be planned out and properly staffed. For us sometimes single issue voters of the Jewish persuasion we know without a doubt that you understand that Israel must be supported and that their enemies are your enemy and not the Liberal view that we have to be nice to our enemies because they had a bad upbringing and were denied Playstations.

Your may not understand economics but you are clear that wasteful earmarks are just that wasteful.Your sorta for keeping undue excess private money out of politics as long as your opponent agrees. You seemed to recognize that pandering to people that their self created financial crisis should be bailed out by the Federal government.

Now, I understand where you did come from. I know that way back when you were an extremely right minded politician. In fact, I was surprised by your previous run for the presidency when you let W get to your right side. I didn't think there was any room there.

We were reassured that the "real Republican conservatives" didn't believe you were conservative enough and the press agreed with them. Your ancient history voting record had been long forgotten. You could really be a man of the center. The kind of man who could become a great President.

Now, your making sounds to pander to that conservative base. Your recent statements that your judicial nominations would not be "Activist judges".Meaning you will not appoint a liberal. You have gone so far so say that a judge that does not believe in Roe v Wade is ok with you. Maybe you are going to try a nomination like Eisenhower who nominated Earl Warren who despite his Republican background brought us Brown v Board of Education of Topeka and Miranda v. State of Arizona. So maybe your just trying to trick them. Maybe?

Now, we know that you have one of, if not the strongest, voting records against any form of abortion, that is a woman's right to choose but couldn't you remember the middle America or rather the 75% that believe a woman has the right to choose?

Do you really think those "conservatives will stay home on election day when faced with a possible Obama / Clinton ticket or something similar that would be so far to the left on every issue? Do you realize that the center would be left open to you?

Please Senator we are counting on you to be a bigger man. The man we have been hoping you could be as you near the possibility of being the President. Forget the W Bush conservatives. All they brought us was an unnecessary war costing $2 Billion per week, tax cuts and policies that resulted in $6.5 Trillion of national debt since being in office. A view of the world that has made us hated by the rest of the world. Eight year of non-caring and insensitive to any number of issues.

Please Senator be the man we know you could be.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Simple Question

I recently ... and by I mean this morning ... and by this morning I mean a half hour ago, I had the need to stop a a gasoline station. One of those places that you have to either stop at the bank prior to attempt to utilize or you have to go online to check available funds / credit with your bank or credit card company. Well, I did, fortunately since I was on the yellow warning light stage of fuel availability, have enough funds to fill up my car with deluxe gasoline. The gasoline was flown in on a private jet or at least that was the price value of the purchase.

But, that almost has nothing to do with my question.

I also was in need of utilizing the rest room facilities at this particular establishment. In the rest room facilities was a familiar sign. No, you pervert it was not the one stating that for the small amount of $1.00 you could purchase a nicely lubricated item to help insure that you would not either transmit or be infected by a sexual disease and in addition provide extra special pleasure to your partner while experiencing an additional wonderful sensation.

No, the sign said "employees must wash their hands after making use of the rest room facilities. Why only employees? Are they in some way special? Is there cleanliness more important than mine? Or, why must they wash but I can opt out of this task? Why couldn't the sign say something like "it is important for each individual to wash after touching themselves and for employees it would be also nice particularly if you want to receive your next paycheck".

And one other thought on this important issue, who checks that they, the employees did in fact wash? Is there a "wash monitor"? Is there a camera recording the actions in the rest room? There did not seem to be anyone attempting to shake my hand when I came out to see if it was still damp. Does someone run over to check for damp hands when an employee uses the room?

Is big brother / sister watching? That is my question.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I am extremely annoyed and it is really getting my goat, if I had a goat.

Now I am only moderately annoyed at the three cars that get on the highway each day and deliberately slow down causing traffic to back up for new good reason. I am put off by the by the older woman who parks her grocery cart blocking the aisle while she hobbles down the row to look for just the right bargain on canned fruit.

As annoying as it may seem, it is not the issue ... yes, walking into the post office and seeing that people pulling off the backing on stamps purchased from the machine can not find a garbage container but fall to the floor like peanut shells in a low class bar.

Oh my it can be annoying ... having the garbage men show up early and by early I mean while I am still catching those last five minutes and by five minutes I mean fifteen minutes of shut-eye ... so I am forced to run out in my pajamas. But again, this is not the king annoyance.

It is not even that annoying person who asks you how things are with you and just as your about to respond ... tells you ... it is okay with you but his/her life is in shambles and goes on for twenty minutes about some such boring nonsense and then when finished ... so have a nice day and walks away. But my problem ... well good luck with that.

No it is not as annoying as always getting in the wrong line. How come the line you get turns out to be the one with the trainee cashier combined with the "how am I going to pay for this ... and why isn't this coupon valid" customer.

You might think it was the repair shop that can not seem to get your car repair within the time they said or for the quote they gave you ... because there were unforeseen complications ... so the price will be $1,500 and we need your car for an extra day because we had to order the parts ... and that is not king.

Boy, there are a lot of annoying things ... I will have to let you know later what is king.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Statistics - Part II

On Thursday as some of you may know ... well at least three of my four readers because that is often when I attempt to call you on my forty five minute drive home ... I get to listen to an extended section of talk / news radio.

Now why talk / news radio and not music which would certainly be more relaxing ... I guess I like to either (a) laugh at the callers, (b) be mystified by the idiocy of the people allowed to spill forth their conspiracy theories both right and left and how either the right or the left is so wrong, and finally (c) to learn some useless facts to impress my dinner table companions. At least I have a reason, why do you listen to than nonsense music by people you would not share a beer with in the real world not your fantasy imagination.

Well, tonight I listened to two more wonderful statistics.

First up, how much did the economy grow or shrink last quarter? For those of you not so knowledgeable ... that would be the months January to March 2008. Well, the announcer was sorry to say that it grew at an anemic .6% ... that is six tenths of one percent. Now, since you might not be so all knowing of what context that is in, the U.S. economy grows, in good times, at between 2.5 - 3.5%. China is currently growing at 12 - 15%. Now, here is where the statistics are so much fun. Which number is better and which is worse?

Of course, .6% is bad and 12% is good ... right? Sorry only if that is what you want the answer to be. See if you say that the U.S. is in a recession or almost in a recession or teetering on a recession then the growth rate would be a negative number. So for the non recession boosters, a positive number no matter how small is a good thing. And the other number? Well, China is trying to slow its growth because 12 - 15% is dangerously too fast. So, its a number and its what you what it to be. But alas, the reporter only gave us "anemic" and "robust".

Gas prices are souring ... by summer time the average price should be over $4.00 per gallon. Republicans and Democrats alike are clamoring for political points advocating a tax holiday from the onerous Federal and state taxes on gasoline. At the same time a major oil company reported a 17% increase in profits over last year. These two numbers were not something the reporter tried to bring together and ask the big question. Oil is a cost of goods sold for the Oil Companies, that is purchasing oil is what it costs the Oil Companies to sell to the thirsty public. Well, last year oil cost around $80 per barrel and now a year later its $115 per barrel. So, the cost to sell went up $35 dollars. Now normally when a companies cost of goods sold go up almost 50% you would think that logically a company's profit would go down but no that is not what happened. Profit went up 17%. Anyone curious how that works and no one asks why?

Numbers, so many numbers and no real questions.


Happy Happy May Day!

Well that is enough for positive attitude ... now on to normal negativity ... it is so much easier ... not maybe so happy ... but then it does put you in line with the majority of people.

Well it seems that as one listens to the commentators of all stripes, they seem to have some commonality. Everyone talks in percentages. 52% prefer X over Y. The DOW was up .2% today. Office Depot quarterly earnings were down 55% beating analysts predictions sending it stock up 3.8%. Joe Quarterback completed 65% of his passes on the left side of the field and only 50% to the right side.

What do we know? Do we know how many people were asked? Do we understand that if you ask 600 people from around a state and we asked them a tainted question that we will get a predetermined answer?

If the DOW thirty stocks were up .2% what does that mean for the Russell 1000 which is a broader measure of how the market did yesterday? Should we care what a manufactured number, the DOW is a manufactured number to only go up over the long haul. When a company is not growing they throw it out and find a new growth stock so the average will only go up over the long term. But, come on its 30 stocks and you probably don't own them.

The bottom line, the critical point is that you did not pay attention in your statistics class if you took one. Four died in Ohio when I took my course and it was basically a canceled class because we had great sympathy in Illinois for students being shot by 19 year old National Guardsmen in Ohio. So, statistics is something that 98% of all people do not understand. Statistical sampling used by pollsters is something they do not understand and rarely tell you that their number is plus or minus 4-6 ... so a 52 - 48 difference is really 50-50 and no significant difference but CNN and Fox will tell you how one candidate is leading the other.

Stop with the made up numbers until you educate the uneducated. Stop trying to sound smart ... we know you are only reading a tell-a-prompter ... we know you could not explain anything you are saying ... why does anyone list to you spouting those stupid numbers? Please make the numbers go away!