Monday, April 30, 2012

Nobody read the fine print...

It seems that here in California, anyone who would like to see political shenanigans usually blamed on the republican party being committed by the democrats.  Shocking, I know.  But, unfortunately, nobody read the fine print when Prop 25 was passed in 2010, there was no "What if?" session done by those drafting the proposition.  Prop 25 suspends lawmakers pay if a budget is not passed on time.  However, while there is language regarding a balanced budget, there is no entry or section requiring that anyone competent in basic math actually check the figures.  So, as a consequence, despite the fact that last year someone (a democrat, even!) with a basic comprehension of math examined the budget and saw that sections of it were based on Phantom Revenue (also known as Unicorn Farts that shockingly never appeared) and said no, the inevitable happened.  The governor signed it.  And the Democrats sued.  And now have won.  This is my shocked face.

For those who are not familiar, this piece of legislation looked good on the surface.  However, there are always hallmarks that should be warning signs. 
1.  It was supported by the public employees unions.  Generally, if you don't like high taxes, anything being pushed by unions should be viewed with extreme trepidation.  And only touched with protective gloves.
2.  It was supported by the LA Times, the SJ Merc and the SF Chronicle.  I would check, double check and triple check everything recommended by this many major newspapers in California.  And then I would still likely not entirely believe it.  The term "Journalistic Integrity" is kept offsite at these publications, along with the fact checking department. 

So, we passed a piece of legislation that promised to ensure that balanced budgets were always here.  However, in addition to the lack of an independent math checking requirement, they failed to write in anything about who gets to determine if the budget was passed on time.  So it defaults to... the legislature... 

Imagine this, a second grade classroom:
Teacher - "Class, did you all do your homework?"
Class - "Yes Teacher."
No paperwork is forthcoming. 
Teacher - "Did you all do good enough to earn an A?"
Students - "Yes Teacher."
No paperwork is forthcoming.
Teacher - "Excellent, I'll mark that in my grade book.  Lets all go have ice cream."

This, my friends, is California politics.  Have some ice cream.

Ah, the incorruptable TSA...

Well, we see once again that the TSA is doing a top job.  While I give credit to the TSA employees that actually did their job and caught the drugs, it still doesn't change my view.  Given the choice, I will still take the train, since they told the TSA to go away. 

But once again here we have members of the TSA doing a fine job following in the footsteps of the ATF (purveyors of the finest firearms the drug cartels could buy), working with known drug runners to effectively run drugs through the lines while not inconveniencing anyone else in line.  Do you know what kind of disruption it causes when a suitcase full of drugs is found on the conveyor?  The paperwork alone takes days!  These employees were just doing their best to ensure that your TSA experience was as quick as possible.

Amazingly, I note that TSA Blogger Bob has nothing to say about the subject.  This is my shocked face...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are beer firms to blame for Native American drink woe?

This news article from the BBC actually has a refreshing view from both sides of the fence, although much more time is given to those filing the lawsuit than those on the other side. 

My view agrees with the general store owner on this one.  The beer sales in this small town are legal.  The people buying the beer have made a conscious decision to buy and consume the beer.  While I fully support Native American tribes working to better the life of their members (because god knows they have been generally screwed over for the last 200+ years) this is generally the wrong way to do it.  Blaming the beer companies for the state of your reservation will not solve the issue.  Will a big payoff from the beer companies solve the problem?  Nope.  Your tribe will have a lot of money, which when dispensed to the members of the tribe will be used to...  buy beer.  They may have to drive farther to get it, since you will have bankrupted the store owners, but it will still happen.  In fact, you will likely create more crime in the form of bootleggers who will charge much more money for their services and product. 

Do I have a better solution for you?  No.  However, suing people for conducting legal business transactions is not the solution to your problems.  Unless you live in California, then it appears to be a way of life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easy to remember...

Like most men, I have a hard time remembering certain dates.  Most birthdays slip by me unnoticed, including mine, except for my wife's which is very close to Valentine's day.  My parent's birthdays, my siblings birthdays and even my daughter's birthday require a nudge from my wife.  Birthday gifts for others are often as much a surprise to me as they are to the recipient.  Of course, most guys know certain dates off the top of their heads.  First day of Deer Season?  Check.  Start of the NHL Regular season?  Check.  Mom's birthday?  Ummmm......

If you have a hard time remembering date that are important to your spouse, some can be strategically planned so that you cannot forget them.  While children's birthdays are hard to do (and I question the sanity of people who can plan that...) other dates are not.  For instance, My wedding anniversary falls on April 15, which means that as long as I am a tax paying citizen of the United States, I will never forget my wedding anniversary.  Ever.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

NAFTA does what?

Yesterday I had to ship a laptop computer to Canada.  It took me two hours to set it up and add all of the programs.  It took me four hours to complete all of the paperwork and when I got to FedEx, I still had to correct some of it.  Really, was all of this needed?  The real entertaining part is that if I was to get on a plane with the same laptop to fly in, have lunch with the recipient and then fly home without the laptop, no questions or paperwork would be required.  Now I remember why I normally have the shipping department handle international shipments...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I've just made a tactical error...

While driving to lunch, my wife was offering advice on my driving. 

I replied that I was accellerating to the speed limit uphill and that made it seem like we were going faster than we were actually travelling.

She replied that she was just giving me information and followed up with this question:  "Does it sound like I'm bitching?"

I answered: "Yes."