Sunday, April 27, 2008

"..Well, There's The Juice.....We've Still Got Really Great Juice !!..."

The folks at Manpower have overlooked something.

They most recently published a list of the 10 “most difficult” jobs to fill in the workplace.

And while I can see where some of these occupations would be a tough sell, others seem like they would be fairly easy to fill, given the number of out of work folk looking.

But, I think they neglected to mention a couple I would think automatically qualify and one, absolutely difficult job to fill didn’t even make the list.

See what you think.
Here’s Manpower’s top ten:

1. Sales representative
2. Teacher
3. Mechanic
4. Technician
5. Management/executive
6. Truck driver
7. Driver/delivery
8. Accountant
9. Laborer
10. Machine operator

Now, petty hair splitting about those ten aside, here’s a few I think would be more difficult to find qualified and/or willing workers to take on than accounting or truck driving:

Naomi Campbell’s anger management therapist

Joel Osteen’s dental hygienist

Bill and Hillary’s marriage counselor

George W’s PR guy or gal

Katie Couric’s agent

Oh…and I would imagine the toughest of all, based on these news stories from the last couple of days:

TAMPA, Fla. -- A man fishing golf balls out of a pond at a Tampa country club was attacked by an 8-foot alligator over the weekend.
Dwight Monreal, 62, was wading in a pond at the Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club Saturday afternoon when the alligator latched onto his left arm and tried to drag him underwater.
Authorities said he was able to wrestle himself free, but he was left with a dislocated shoulder and several puncture wounds where the animal bit him.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -- A 21-year-old man was treated at a hospital after a shark bit his foot while he was surfing in New Smyrna Beach this weekend.
Officials said Mark Pattison of Lake Mary was injured Saturday after he got of his surfboard near a jetty in New Smyrna Beach.
Capt. Jack Driskell of the Volusia County Beach Patrol said the man's injuries were not life-threatening.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A 19-year-old vanished in the surf and nearly 100 others were rescued by lifeguards after they became trapped in powerful rip currents.
"It was very bad," a Daytona Beach swimmer said. "The current almost took me under the waves and I was so scared."
Lifeguards said two men swimming late Saturday became caught in a rip current about 200 yards north of the Main Pier in Daytona Beach
Lifeguards swept the area on jet skis for hours searching for the missing man who was identified as German Jasinto

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. -- A woman was killed and four others injured Saturday when two boats slammed into each other on the St. John's River.
Witnesses said the drivers of two boats tried to avoid each other before colliding near a campground on the St. Johns River in Debary.
A woman passenger was killed instantly from an apparent head injury, witnesses said

Granted, it might be tough to find good teachers or a decent mechanic.

But who’re you gonna find to take on the main gig at the Florida Department of Tourism?
And chads?
Don't get me started.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Honest, Your Honor...He Flew Around The Corner and Right Into My Knife...Fourteen Times...In The Back...."

One of my favorite comedians is Gallagher.

And while I think the whole watermelon smashing “Sledge-O-Matic” thing is only funny the first five or six times you see it, I have always admired the intelligence of his words as he talks about life in his stage shows.

One of my favorites…

“You’ve got to fight ignorance and stupidity….with ignorance and stupidity because that’s the only thing they understand.”

With that in mind, take a look at this story from

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A day after three New York police detectives were acquitted on all counts in the case of Sean Bell -- an unarmed man killed in a hail of 50 police gunshots -- his fiancee told supporters that the justice system let her down.

"On April 25, 2008, they killed Sean all over again," Nicole Paultre Bell told supporters at a rally organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

"That's what it felt like to us. That's what it felt like to us," she said Saturday.
"Yesterday, they -- the justice system -- let me down. I gave them the benefit of the doubt," she said. "I'm still praying for justice because it's not over. It's far from over."

Bell spoke after Sharpton criticized the judge who acquitted the three officers, saying the case should have been heard by a jury.

"If people are on the public payroll, doing their public duty, they should be required to face a public jury," Sharpton said at the National Action Network headquarters.

The officers chose to have a judge instead of a jury.

Sharpton said the victims were unfairly portrayed as dishonest.

"These three families have had to endure and have had to abide through the most, in my judgment, scandalous denigration of victims that I've seen in my lifetime," he said.

On Friday, Justice Arthur Cooperman cleared Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora of manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell

Detective Marc Cooper was cleared of reckless endangerment.

Bell was killed just before dawn on his wedding day, November 25, 2006. He and several friends were winding up an all-night bachelor party at the Kalua Club in Queens, a strip club that was under investigation by a NYPD undercover unit looking into complaints of guns, drugs and prostitution.

Undercover detectives were inside the club, and plainclothes officers were stationed outside.

Witnesses said that about 4 a.m., closing time, as Bell and his friends left the club, an argument broke out. Believing that one of Bell's friends, Joseph Guzman, was going to get a gun from Bell's car, one of the undercover detectives followed the men and called for backup.

What happened next was at the heart of the trial, prosecuted by the assistant district attorney in Queens.

Bell, Guzman and Trent Benefield got into the car, with Bell at the wheel. The detectives drew their weapons, said Guzman and Benefield, who testified that they never heard the plainclothes detectives identify themselves as police.

Bell was in a panic to get away from the armed men, his friends testified.

But the detectives thought Bell was trying to run down one of them, believed that their lives were in danger and started shooting, according to their lawyers.

A total of 50 bullets were fired by five NYPD officers. Only three were charged with crimes.

No gun was found near Bell or his friends.

I don’t really have anything to add to this that I feel confident you haven’t already thought yourself.

I will say this.

The officers did exactly what anybody in their situation would do.

Oh, not the shooting.

A nine year old could see that their reactions were excessive.

What I’m talking about is the detectives decision to avoid a jury and have the case decided by a single judge.

Because the odds on finding twelve people who would, for a single second, believe that these cops acted responsibly are only slightly longer than the odds that Condoleeza Rice will go down as one of the great Secretaries of State.
And, benefit of the doubt, being what it is, maybe this judge really, truly believed that his decision was just, based on the evidence presented.

But any reasonably intelligent person is obviously going to feel like a whitewash (no pun intended) has taken place here.

And people, especially black people, who have too long been victimized in situations like these are going to recognize the whole outcome for what it is.

And stupid.

So, the end game turns out to be another opportunity lost to build bridges between the races and another piece of wood put on the already too bright fire of suspicion, mistrust and hatred.
And, in the end, a lot of people simply follow the philosophy articulated by that little guy who makes us laugh by smashing melons.

Fighting ignorance and stupidity…with ignorance and stupidity.

Like gunfire.

While we go around scratching our heads, wondering why we all can’t just get along.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"That's Al On The Left....."

The sixties folk/pop group, The Seekers, had a big hit with “I’ll Never Find Another You.”

Obviously, The Seekers didn’t write for television.

Because throughout the history of TV, when circumstances have created a need, producers and writers of hit shows have no problem with “replacing” a key character.

With another actor or actress playing the same character.

Here’s a few classic examples of the old switcheroo from my friends at Mental…

Barbara Bel Geddes originated the role of Southfork matriarch Miss Ellie on Dallas. She exuded a quiet strength that enabled her to stand up to J.R. while also nurturing Jock and letting him think that he ran the ranch. In 1984, Bel Geddes took a break from the show for heart bypass surgery, and during her post-operative recovery she decided that she’d worked long enough and it was time to retire. Donna Reed was brought in as the new Miss Ellie, but Dallas fans openly expressed their displeasure with Reed’s glamour versus Bel Geddes’ earth mother persona. More to the point, Larry Hagman disliked her. So when the show’s ratings dipped, he made a personal appeal to Bel Geddes to return to the series. Reed was dismissed despite having signed a three-year contract.

The role of eldest daughter Becky on Roseanne was something of a revolving door. Alicia “Lecy” Goranson played Becky from 1988 until 1992, when she graduated from high school and enrolled at Vassar College. At first, she was able to make occasional cameo appearances on the show, so the writers developed the Becky-elopes-with-Mark storyline to explain her absence. But soon her studies took priority, and Sarah Chalke was hired as Becky #2. By 1997, Goranson was again able to schedule some Roseanne time, temporarily bumping Chalke out of the role. Personal circumstances forced her to miss a few episodes, leaving Chalke to pinch-hit for her occasionally

Another famous example is Dick York, the original (and to many fans, the definitive) Darrin on Bewitched. York started his professional acting career in 1943 and found steady work both on TV and in films. While filming They Came to Cordoba with Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth in 1959,a mishap aboard a railroad handcar caused York to tear most of the muscles in the right side of his back, an injury that would plague him the rest of his life.During his tenure on Bewitched, the pain became increasingly worse, despite the studio doctors loading him up with painkillers. Eventually, he was only able to stand upright for 30 minutes at a time, so he retired his role to Dick Sargent.

Rosie O’Donnell tells the story of watching Bewitched as a young kid and when they switched Darrins, without explanation, she walked up to her dad, put her hand in his and said, “Daddy?”

To which her dad replied, “Yes, honey, what is it?”

“Nothing. Just checking.”

I think it says something about the connection that we make to the characters we see on our screens each week, sometimes for years, that a change in the actor playing that character can be so jarring.

On the stage, characters can be played over a period of time by a diverse variety of actors without raising so much as an eyebrow.

But, those folks don’t come into our living rooms do they?

TV characters practically become members of the family.

By the way, television isn’t the only place where the old switcheroo gets pulled.

Turns out, it happens in politics from time to time, too.

The last time was 2000.

When Al Gore was replaced by George W. Bush at the last minute.

Come November, John McCain will have a much tougher time pulling the old switcheroo.

Oh, I’m sure he’s a talented fellow.

But it’ll take more than greasepaint and/or chads to play a black or a woman.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Sure, He Resigned In Disgrace...But, He Still Deserves A Place In The Comedy Hall Of Fame..."

I’m not a big George Bush fan.

And according to the most recent polls, I’m not exactly in the minority.

But, Dubya is already yesterday’s news.

And I’m not in a mood to do any Bush bashing just for the sport of it.

Actually, at this point, putting him down would be a little like making jokes about Britney’s parenting skills.

Way too easy.

I will say this, though.

His total incompetence for the past eight years aside, one of the real reasons I never really liked the guy was that he’s just not very funny.

Not that I feel like qualifying for a spot on Last Comic Standing should be a criteria for picking a leader of the free world.

But a little wit lightens the load, you know?

And, if memory serves, almost all the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania in recent past had, at least, a witty side.

Bill Clinton was a pretty funny fellow.

I mean, come on, you can’t run a country, score with interns, avoid impeachment and stay married to Hillary without having a pretty finely tuned sense of humor.

Not to mention how he changed the “tone” of presidential campaigning back in 92.
Remember how he put on the shades and played the sax on “Arsenio”?

People look back at that and mark it as the beginning of hipper and looser style of running for President.

And ever since then, the bets are off.

This year, Hillary, Barack and John have been on everything from Dave to Jay, from The Daily Show to The Colbert Report and not just to mouth some lofty chunk of their stump speeches, either.

Each of the three have shown some pretty serious comic chops.

I can’t tell you why, but I find it kind of cool that the three top contenders for the highest office in the land don’t have to sweat being out of work if they don’t make it to the White House in November.

Any one of them could work Catch A Rising Star tomorrow.

And, to be sure, Bill did maintain a pretty cool persona when he was running lo those 16 years ago.

But, he wasn’t the first “stand up” politician.
Not by a long shot.

No, I think the case can be made that the guy who gets credit for that is, as life’s irony rears its head, a guy who not only wasn’t noted for his sense of humor, but wasn’t witty enough to charm his way out of the lie that he got caught in.

Richard Nixon.

Huh? You say?

1968. Nixon was running against Hubert Humphrey after having been outspent and maneuvered by JFK in 1960 and bitchslapped by the people of California in the Governor’s race in 1962.

And Mr. Frown Never Turned Upside Down (unless he was faking the smile) took a big ole pin and stuck it right into the balloon of his own pomposity as he appeared on national prime time television and uttered the phrase that will outlast “give me liberty or give me death”, “damn the torpedos” and “the buck stops here” combined.

“….sock it to me!”

Or, more correctly, in Nixon’s totally surreal and, yet endearing, reading of the line:

“…sock it to ME?”

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In may have inadvertently done as much to elect Richard Nixon president in 1968 as the TV debates with JFK did to keep him from being elected in 1960.
Not sure how that plays in the whole ledger of their lives.

That’s their problem.
And beside the point.

The point being that if you’re going to give credit where it’s due to the
candidate who changed presidential campaigning from a stuffy, pompous,
rigid exercise in letter of the law adherence to a looser, funkier, funnier,
kinder, more human endeavor, you gotta give props where props belong.

Ladies and gentlemen…the comedy stylings of Richard Nixon.

Don’t forget to tip your waiters and waitresses.

Turns out, of course, that Nixon wasn’t much of a President.

Then, again, turns out that George W. hasn’t been much of one, either.

At least Nixon was funny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Wait A Minute......Take ANOTHER Look at that Grape Juice Stain in the Carpet...."

Years ago, when I lived in Nashville, there was a very popular bumper sticker used, primarily, by members of the local Church Of Christ.

“I Found It!”

Enthusiastic embracing of the Savior aside, I always thought the sentiment was, at best, smug and, at worst, short sighted.

Because in the best case scenario, the slogan could, I thought, be easily interpreted as a theologically veiled version of “neener, neener, we’re saved and you’re not”.
And in the worst case, it announces that the soul displaying the slogan feels like the “search” has come to an end.

Which might not be, I’ve thought now and then, the smart play.

Because I think I could do a pretty good job of making the case that it is the journey, and not the arrival, that gives this life the meaning it’s meant to have.

And that God, like any good parent, wants us to keep seeking and learning and asking questions.

Like the old saying.
You go as far as you can see…and when you get there...

You’ll see farther.

All of this theological theorizing was stirred up today when I got hold of this news story from AP:

ORLANDO, Fla. -- An unexplained image in a hospital prayer garden window moved some people to tears and drew groups of people to a hallway before vanishing, according to witnesses.
A crowd inside the Florida Hospital Medical Complex in Orlando snapped photos of the image apparently showing the profile of Jesus Christ crying.
A viewer said the image caused "a commotion" in the hallway near the prayer garden.
The hospital is calling it an unexplained image.
An official said as long as the image makes people feel good, that is all that matters,
Witnesses said after a few hours, the image vanished.

Admittedly, sightings of this nature are nothing new. From images in shrouds to divinely arranged tomato seeds, people have been “seeing” Jesus almost as often as we see Britney on Entertainment Tonight.
And in a world growing ever more chaotic and, dare I offer, Satanic, there is certainly some potential comfort to be found in anything that might be honestly considered an appearance of the son of God.

Not to mention that if it really is Jesus showing his face, the guy has one pretty cool sense of humor.

I mean, come on, you gotta give total props to a deity who teases the Second Coming by showing up as a silhouette on a piece of burned breakfast bread..

Trying to tell us that the non believers are all “toast”, perhaps?

Wickedly funny, if you ask me.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that we’re all entitled to our beliefs.

And if somebody wants to see Jesus in a piece of black toast or in an oddly shaped potato or reflected in the window of a prayer garden in Orlando, then more power to them.

Because an open mind and an open heart require us to, at least, consider the possibility that we are, in fact, being shown a sign by the carpenter from Nazareth.

Then again, this latest pic also looks an awful lot like the “All Things Must Pass” period George Harrison.

And wouldn’t THAT stir up rumors of an impending Second Coming?

Oh, not Jesus.

Beatles reunion.

If I see John’s profile floating in my Cheerios tomorrow morning, I’m gonna think we’re on to something here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Last April, It Was Cherry Blossoms and Beginnings.....This April, It's.....

No time to say hello.

Well, more like “see you later…”

I’m going to be away from blogville here for a few days as I pull the plug tonight on what has, in my experience, been the worst dial up connection in ISP history and move me and all my belongings south to get back into the radio business.

Hopefully, the new residence (I used to like to use the slang term “abode”, but that, like so many other things these past months, has become the cause of the kind of chest pains that only come from something broken) will have cable and/or DSL so I can actually join the 21st Century again.
Actually, I’ve promised myself that I’ll forgo running water if I never have to deal with dial up again.

Meanwhile…I will be out of touch for a while as I get moved, get settled, get started on the new gig and get started on the new life.

I, like you, have heard all my life that things happen for a reason.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that they never say it has to be a good reason.

Having said that, I am excited about new opportunity, anxious to get back to the work that I love to do and excel at (if I do say so myself) and ready to prove to those who couldn’t or wouldn’t have faith in me when it mattered most that they made a mistake.

In one case, a mistake that cost them a life of support, devotion and love that they will never come close to imagining.

I hope every tropical cruise takes you where you want to go.
Because it left me lost at sea.

Thanks to everybody for their love and support and kind words about my words over these past weeks. I’ll be back to blog just as soon as the dust of relocation settles…

Thanks to G…for wit, wisdom and whimsy

Special thanks to Eliza…who God sent when I most needed a woman who meant it when she said we were best friends.

So, until we meet again, love each other…really love each other.
We say life is short.
But we don’t really have a clue what that really means.

And I’m sorry I can’t offer you “reruns” like the “Best Of Phelpspeak” while I’m out of pocket.
Then again, just reread what I already wrote.

That IS the “Best of Phelpspeak”

He said, with his usual modesty.

Be safe.

"The TV Comic Who Elected A President..."

Never been a big fan of reality TV.

Oh, I’ve watched the tube (to extremes and to a fault) since I was a little kid back in the fifties.

So, it’s not like I’m one of those snobby types who drives around with a “Kill Your Television” bumper sticker.

But I don’t care much for reality TV.

Primarily because I get enough reality in real life.

I watch television to get away from all of that.

And one need not be a Rhodes scholar to understand the reason why the reality shows are so popular.
Same reason that we invariably slow down to take a look when we pass an accident scene on the highway.

Every viewer has a bit of voyeur in them.

And when I say reality TV, I’m not talking about shows like American Idol or Deal Or No Deal.
Those aren’t “reality” shows.

They’re the proud fourth or fifth generation offspring of “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour” and “Let’s Make A Deal”, respectively.

I’m talking about shows like “Big Brother”, et al.

Peeking behind the scenes of real life situations to see how the human animal acts and reacts when penned up with others of the species.
Except it’s not really reality, is it?

It’s an “artificial” reality created for “entertainment” purposes.

It’s no more real than the courthouse where Andy and Barney dispensed comic justice for years.

As a child of the television era, though, I do have a better than average understanding and appreciation for the impact that TV has had on the culture and the world, for that matter.
In ways you might already be aware of.

Historians, for example, pretty much credit the debates between JFK and Nixon as the deciding factor in the election of 1960.

And in some ways that might surprise you.
For example…did you know that a famous comedy variety program was probably responsible for finally putting Richard Nixon in the White House?

Mark, from Mental Floss.Com wrote about it…

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was many things. It was the first network TV show to make fun of the Establishment, support America’s counterculture, and have enough nerve to put blacklisted singers (such as Joan Baez and Pete Seeger) back on the air. Ironically, however, the show’s major achievement might have been making Richard Nixon president.
As a gag, show star Pat Paulsen ran for office during the 1968 presidential election. “I’m consistently vague on the issues,” announced Paulsen on national television, “and I’m continuing to make promises that I’ll be unable to fulfill.” Regardless of his humorous motives, Paulsen seemed to have a “Ralph Nader Effect,” stealing 200,000 votes from the Democrats and helping to swing one of the closest elections in history. Thanks to Paulsen’s efforts, Nixon narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey. “Hubert Humphrey told me I cost him the election,” recalled Paulsen, “and he wasn’t smiling when he said it.”
Whether you’re a fan of television or not, there is clearly no denying the influence that the medium can exert on the people who watch it.

I’m not a zealot about it.
But, I’m a believer.

Enough that I’m really sorry Pat Paulsen wasn’t around to siphon off a few votes from George W. eight years ago.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"The Lovin Spoonful Said It Best....."

“Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”

Catchy ditty. You’ve likely heard it on a favorite oldies station.

And although the song is about romance, the idea is relatable to all of us.

Because life is full of times when we have to make up our minds.
It’s only April, but it’s pretty obvious it’s going to be a year of tough decisions.

Some of us will have to decide whether to use paychecks to buy groceries or pay the rent.

Some of us will have to decide whether to keep driving solo to work or resign ourselves to carpooling.

Some of us will have to decide whether supporting the troops and supporting the war is the same thing.

Or not.

And we’re still facing a tough decision about who we believe will best serve us as President come next January.

Spring has only just arrived.
And we’re going to have to make some pretty tough decisions.

Could be worse.

We could have been put in the position that some people in York, Pennsylvania are going to be facing later this year.

If they get called for jury duty.

YORK, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A 2-year-old girl died after being beaten with a video game controller by her mother's boyfriend, police said Tuesday.
Darisabel Baez's mother overheard the beating Sunday but did nothing until she realized the girl was unconscious, police said. The girl was pronounced dead late Monday at Hershey Medical Center, police Lt. Ron Camacho said.
Homicide was added to the list of charges against Harve L. Johnson on Tuesday; he was already in jail on counts including aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
The girl's mother, Neida E. Baez, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
It was clear from the bruises and other injuries on the little girl's body that Sunday was not the first time she had been abused, Dauphin County coroner Graham Hetrick told WGAL-TV. He said it was one of the worst cases of
child abuse he has ever seen.
Baez, 19, called for an ambulance Sunday and said Johnson had brought the unconscious child to her, limp and wet from an attempt to revive her in a bathtub, a police affidavit said.
Johnson, 26, acknowledged beating the girl with a video game controller but did not say why, police said. Baez said that Johnson had abused the girl in the past and that she heard the girl scream after Johnson beat her Sunday, according to the affidavit.
Detective Dana Ward said Baez was charged because she did not intervene or try to get help for Darisabel.
Johnson and Baez remained in custody Tuesday. His bail was set at $200,000; hers was $25,000.

Some things in this life obviously speak totally and irrevocably for themselves.
And, just as obviously, no editorial or commentary about evil in this life is necessary here.

But, in a few months, twelve people and two alternates in York, Pennsylvania are going to sit in a jury box and hear the details of unspeakable evil and be asked to make a choice between two options.

“Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”.

Strap him in, attach the electrodes and flip the switch with not one nano second of hesitation or guilt.

It’s only April.

And it’s going to be a year of tough decisions.

Friday, April 4, 2008

"They Said, Work Saturday and Sunday...and Take Off Monday Through Friday...and We Said "WHAT!?..And Give Up Our Weekends?"

Some things are as inevitable as the sunrise.

A piece of bread that gets dropped will almost surely land jelly side down.

A mouse that’s given a cookie will almost surely ask for a glass of milk.

And a government looking for ways to increase efficiency and stop waste will almost surely bend over backwards finding ways to increase efficiency.

Without ever putting a dent in the waste.

Here’s the latest “it’s broke, so let’s do everything but fix it” from the capital of the First State.

DOVER, Del. - Delaware lawmakers are considering shortening the work week for some state workers from five days a week to four. But, there is a catch, employees would still have to work the same number of hours.

By having non-essential state employees work only four days a week, some state officials said they could save workers and the state money.

"People would still work 40 hours a week, they would just travel to work four times a week instead of five times and you save on gas, time and stress," said Representative Nancy Wagner.

Officials said State Police would not be affected by the proposal and neither would Delaware's public schools.

According to the legislation, lawmakers said just having fewer people in state offices could save on administrative costs. Some state employees said they would not mind having a four-day work week.

Other state employees said they do not want to work later into the evening and they do not want to be forced to change their schedules. Lawmakers said state agencies would decide whether to make the four-day week mandatory or voluntary.

I think the networks are missing a serious bet by not creating a new reality series that follows legislators around as they dream up these plans and schemes and get ambushed into justifying the real reason that they’re planning and scheming.

Think Michael Moore meets “Moment of Truth”.

Speaking of the real reason…want to take a peek?

Try these on for size.

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,500,000 million to promote silk production in Laos

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1 ,000,000 for the "eradication of Brown Tree Snakes" (Hawaii).

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $1,000,000 to "develop and train Alaska natives for employment in the petroleum industry."

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for water taxis in Savannah (Georgia)

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $200,000 for a transit center for the Toledo Mud Hens minor league baseball team.

In 1999 $1,200,000 million to subsidize a park on the Galapagos Islands.

In 2000 the U.S. government spent $100,000 to study the causes of sediment buildup at a Santa Cruz, New Mexico dam.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $50,000 for a tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo, California.

In 2002 the U.S. government spent $400,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute to improve the profitability of the state's sheep industry.

And, of course, the one that cant help but sum up all of the others…

In 1999 the U.S. government spent $500,000 for a Mississippi research project on "manure handling and disposal".

Actually, every state has its own fully funded system of manure handling.

It’s called the legislature.

And they’ve already tried that four day work week thing.
Hell, sometimes they're off for days and weeks at a time.

Obviously, it’s not making things anymore efficient.

And the system provides for manure disposal, as well.

It’s called Election Day.

Apparently, that’s not working so well either

Because there still seems to be an awful lot of money being wasted.

Not to worry, though

Our “leaders” will inevitably spend a whole lot of money on a study to find out why so much money is being wasted.

Just as soon as they get back from their three day weekend.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Some Kids Never Grow Up....They Just Become CEO's...

“But, Mom….Dad…..everybody else is doing it…!”

If you’re a parent of a kid over the age of 6, you know the drill.

Probably the first time in life that a child instinctively tries to simultaneously do what ever they want to do, regardless of the right or wrong of it, while self teaching one of life’s most basic lessons.

There’s safety in numbers.

And what, fellow parents, is the time tested, never fail to shut em up response to their self serving logic?

“Well, if everybody else jumped off a cliff, would you want to do it, too?”

Downcast eyes. Sad voice.


Nothing new going on here. That argument has been offered up by kids since the days of T Rex.

And parents since day one have pretty much shot down said argument the very first time their kid draws and fires.

Too bad we don’t stick to our guns when it comes to dealing with the grown ups who pull that trick.

They’ve been getting away with it for years.
They’re getting away with it as we speak.

Yesterday, CEO’s from various and sundry major oil companies were in Washington, DC “testifying” in front of Congress and trying to explain why they think their companies should continue to get tax breaks when they collectively made 143 billion dollars in profits last year and we’re paying almost four dollars a gallon for gasoline.

Personally, I say screw the tax breaks, I’d like to hear them explain why they shouldn’t go to jail for taking home that kind of money while people are falling behind in their house payments so they can drive their cars to get to work.

Let alone heat their houses.

Obviously, you can guess what the wheels had to say.

One VP from ExxonMobil said that the industry knows that fuel costs are hurting people but they say it’s not their fault and their profits are in line with other industries.

It’s that last part that hit me right between the gas pumps.

“…profits are in line with other industries….”

In other words…

“…But…Mr. Consumer….Mrs. Consumer….everybody else is doing it…!

The transparent attempt at justifying totally obscene profits would be funny and somewhat poignant, given the way it makes us all think back to the days of raising our little schemers.
Or even the days when we were the little schemers.

And we’ve all heard the standard drone that in a free market economy, there is no such thing as too much profit..

Making more money than God is the centerpiece of the American dream.
That’s how capitalism works.

But when I have so much food in my cupboard I cant close the door and my neighbor is starving to death, common sense, let alone common decency, dictates that I should share the wealth.

That’s how compassion works.

And what does compassion have to do with business, it might be asked?

That’s my point.

Judge not, the old Scripture goes, but I cant help but wonder what these fat cat folks with more money than morals are gonna offer up when they have to stand and the gate and justify their gasoline gouging gluttony.

“…But, God……everybody else was doing it…..”

“ Well, when everyone else was jumping off a cliff, did you want to do it, too?”

Downcast eyes. Sad voice.


“Right….now go to Hell.”