Sunday, July 31, 2011

Daddy, can I have an increase in my allowance?

Us parents who have had teenagers all too well know that sound. The kid want's more money, but most often they don't want to do anything extra for it. And on the occasion that we do increase the allowance, do you think the kid puts part of it away? No, they will spend it.

Cue the folks in congress: The latest proposal is to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion dollars over two years. Is that just in case of an emergency like a credit card that we keep for just that purpose? No, they plan on spending the whole damn thing! Our federal deficit is expected to hit $1.5 trillion this year. Out total debt is over $14 trillion. This will amount to a 17% increase!

After that, will we try to lower the deficit? No, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since 1962, and each time the debt ceiling has been hit. As long as we keep increasing it, the debt will get higher. It's time to cut up the credit card. the only way to force congress to stop spending increases is to hold firm on the debt ceiling.

According to a NPR article, New York Professor James Ramsey is quoted as saying: "[As Samuel] Johnson said about hanging, it concentrates the mind wonderfully," Ramsey says. "I would say if we were in a position of not being able to pay our debts in the short term, it would concentrate the politicians' minds dramatically."

In February 2010, Rep Cantor (R-VA) said this about efforts to raise the debt to $14 trillion: “It is a travesty,” said Cantor. “The writing is on the wall. Congress needs to wake up and realize that the future of American prosperity is in dire straits, mortal danger..."

Would it be the right thing to do right now? My thoughts are that not raising it would cause the economy to slow down, so we should raise it by maybe only by 2-3%, but federal spending (in 2012, not ten years down the road) should be cut more than the increase (let's start with 10%). Start cutting spending now so we don't have to raise it again.

Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA): "I don't like the bill" "This is the best deal we can get"

Quotes from Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) regarding the GOP debt "reduction" bill according to Jami Dupree:

"This is the best deal we can get,"

"I've always been an undecided,"

"I don't like the bill; I think it was negotiated terrible, but it's a start...I think this is a good start."

This is from a candidate who promised to cut spending back to the 2008 levels, and to make "some real cuts to our federal budget"

When a compromise bill is passed (and it will pass), both the GOP and Dems will strain muscles slapping themselves on the back and come back to their districts spouting bullshit about how they cut spending when in fact the final bill will probably do nothing to cut next year's budget.

We have to face it, the old school Republicans do not want to cut spending, that's how they get elected, by bring money back to their district. Money the government either took from someone else, or borrowed. I'm not 100% on the Tea Party yet, but they have shown that they can get elected. We need to give them a chance. I suggest that if your GOP congressman is challenged by a Tea Party-er, it might be a good idea to see what this person can do.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Westmoreland gets his ass in line

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) voted for the GOP "deficit reduction" bill  that does not cut spending in 2012. On his website he states:" In the 112th Congress, I look forward to joining my Republican colleagues to cutting federal spending back to its 2008, pre-stimulus level, to ending the failed trillion dollar stimulus package, and to making some real cuts to our federal budget." What happened? Did he follow Boehners order to "get your ass in line"?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Welcome to mediocrity!!

It used to be that when you went into an establishment, such as a restaurant or fast food place, there was a certain "flavor" of the place. The Employees (waitresses waitstaff, servers, servatrons, counter people, whatever) were either friendly, grumpy or somewhere in between. Now it seems like whatever corporation runs them is dictating not just how they are to act (and it IS an act), but what they are to say.

There is a chain of burrito restaurants that was started in the Atlanta (not "the A.T.L.") area called "Moe's". The whole concept of the chain is a little quirky, the music they play is only from dead musicians, the food has weird names like "Homewrecker", "Joey bag of Donuts", "Alfredo Garcia", etc. But one thing that made the place unique, was, every time a customer walked into the place, everybody behind the counter would holler "WELCOME TO MOE'S!!!" It was kinda corny, and cool at the same time. Well, the concept caught on, and now so many times, when you walk into a restaurant, someone hollers "WELCOME TO (insert name here)!!!" Couldn't they figure out something different?  

Also in Atlanta, there is a wonderful restaurant chain called "Chick Fil-A". I know some of you only know them as a fast food-type restaurant, but here they have actual sit down areas with servers. I noticed a few months ago that whenever you say "thank you" to an employee, their response was "My pleasure". I mean EVERYBODY says "My pleasure". You can sometimes get three or four "My pleasures" out of an employee. Now do you think Chick Fil-A only hires people that say "My Pleasure"? Of course not. The company is dictating to all employees that the only response to "Thank you" is "My pleasure". They can't say "You're welcome", "Sure", or "No problem" (I hate hate one anyway). It sounds like the Stepford Wives. It can get knee-deep in "My pleasures" in there.

American business has dumbed down customer service so much so they don't actually have to hire people with customer service skills, they can just hire someone and order them to say certain things in certain situations. This relieves the manager or HR from actually having to think. I can see an evaluation going like this: "OK, Jane, you get Needs Improvement in "Welcome to Bob's", but Exceeds Expectations in "My pleasure". Why, I once heard you say "My pleasure" 14 times to one customer, keep up the good work." I expect and demand that my employees be friendly to customers, but they are free to use their own words.

This carries forward in other aspects of life, as soon as one company comes up with an original idea, everybody has to copy it. It's like "Oh, Apple made a music player? Let's make one that looks just like it and does the same thing." Speaking of which, how many things can be called i(something)? Make a hit TV show, and there are dozens of clones, many by the same producers.

Now, there's parody, which I love. This blog is a take off on Bill O'Reilly's "The No Spin Zone". Parody and satire is different than just copying something. Mad Magazine and SNL makes a good living making fun of something else.

The fashion fad world is also infamous for the lack of originality. One person wears their shirt 4 sizes too big, and everybody does the same. Hang your pants below your ass and the world will follow. " Boy, that's unique, let's copy it!"

And don't get me started on the spoken word. "Where's the beef?", "I can't believe I ate the whole thing", "Dine-o-mite", etc. These were creations of Madison avenue and Hollywood. One that's taken over the world the past few months is...

Well, let's just say that I'd like to throw "throw (blank) under the bus" under the bus.

That Weird Uncle