Sunday, May 31, 2015

Time, so they say...

 
 


"Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four, turn around you are a young man going out of the door..."
 
Turn Around
1957



Yesterday we had a very important family event. Our grandson was baptized. It was right outside a church in a beautiful park next to a pond. You could have not asked for a more perfect spring day. The gathering was small, as it was only immediate family. As wonderful as the event was, it did give me pause to think, and to ponder. As my grandson was welcomed into the family of God through baptism, I thought of all the our family members who were not here to share it.

Time as we all know, is an immovable, unstoppable force in all of our lives. Every day of life is one less day we have in our future. I think of my parents, my wife's parents, my wife's younger brother, my son-in-law's father, all gone from here. It reminded me once again how important each and every day is. How important it is to be there for family and friends. To be true. To love justice. To love our freedom and liberty.

Time is the greatest thief of mankind. If you are not paying attention, or get too busy, time will steal you blind. It will steal your days. Without even knowing it, your days will start to disappear. A long time ago, someone gave me some very sage advice. Make each and every day special. Not just for yourself, but for others as well. Even though we can't stop time, we can laugh in it's face by the enrichment, the joy we can grab and relish each day, every day.

A friend of mine from high school keeps warning me not to shut my eyes with my grandson. I will miss quite a bit. They grow so fast that soon he will crawling. Then walking. Then in school. Time the thief, will steal those moments if we are not careful. As our children and grandchildren grow, I reminded of the old song I learned while growing up:

 "Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four, turn around and you are a young (man) going out of the door."

Later on today we are going to an anniversary celebration for some dear friends. It will be one of those moments we need grab on to and to cherish. Today, we are going to keep time at bay by richly enjoying the day and the company of friends. It will be a good day. Just like yesterday was a very good day.

So this weekend, time will be our friend, and not a foe. We will use time to make memories. To share joy. As our parents would counsel us,  time is short - don't waste it. And we won't.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

A plane, a drone, and the NSA

 
 


"Ha! And you thought 'Big Brother' was only something that existed in fiction!"




Quite a buzz around town this week. You know, the mystery plane circling around town for hours. Nobody seems to know where it came from or what it was doing. There is a hunch it belongs to the FBI. So then if that is true, why in the world would the FBI want to fly circles around both twin towns and the MOA at low speeds? Welcome to the new world of intrusive surveillance.

I hate to say it, but get used to it. More and more cameras, more and more ease dropping, more and more drones. And to what purpose? Why surveil our own people? Are we looking for ISIL cells? Drug runners? Tea Party Patriots? What in the world are we doing to ourselves? And who is authorizing this most egregious tear in the fabric of our Constitutional rights?

Funny how the NSA seems to have given everyone the middle finger with their collection of metadata. Heck, most people don't even understand what metadata is. Remember the Bluffdale, Utah facility? Still there. Still collecting. Collecting what you ask? Metadata, whatever that means. I do know this - at that facility there is enough computing and storage capacity to keep track on every movement, every person makes for their entire lives. So metadata really becomes the broad net, catching everything. Would you not love to get into the knickers of that facility to find out what information they are storing on you? On your family? I sure would.

I remember not too many years ago before the War on Terror, before the Patriot Act, when things were quite a bit different. There was a process to be followed before anyone with implied or expressed authority could "read someone's mail" or wiretap their phone. To do so would have resulted in some kind of "show cause" document that would have been presented to a judge. Because this type of intrusion would violate someone's Constitutional rights, the judge was usually very careful in approving any such order. Today, putting the FISA Court aside, I really wonder how much privacy we have lost to our new technologies.

Where does it go from here? I am afraid this is only the beginning. Soon due to the wonders of nanotechnology, drones will be the size of a fly or smaller. They will be able to enter a house undetected and have cameras and microphones to record everything. That information can then be uploaded to Bluffdale or whatever mega storage facility is being used at that time. Information about our lifestyles can be obtained. What we eat, how much we eat, if we smoke, if we drink, if we take sleeping pills, you name it. This information can also be used to determine how much of an ObamaCare premium we will pay.

So anyone who was disturbed this week by the low flying plane circling the cities, I feel you. I don't like it either. The whole thought of this intrusion makes me want to take another shower. But here we are, stuck in our Brave New World, with Big Brother breathing down our necks.  






Friday, May 29, 2015

A fine mess!

 
 



"The city of Baltimore has a huge problem right now. How to get the police re-engaged. First, the city government needs to support them, and not castigate them..."




Reading about what is going on in Baltimore just makes me cringe. This fine city, which has recently gone through a very expensive restoration in the inner harbor, is almost on a self imposed lockdown. It is a perfect example on how a big city should not be run. And this city is being run by amateurs with agendas.

There is a lesson here, not only for Baltimore, but also other large cities. When you live in a pluralistic, cosmopolitan environment, there are going to be some who disrespect or disobey the law. Some are "broken window" types, others are much worse. So what keeps a civilized city in the 21st century from becoming like Tombstone, Arizona in the 1800's? The Thin Blue Line.

Now I am not some Pollyanna who believes all police are perfect. Like any other profession, there are going to be some bad apples. The police are supposed to police themselves through internal affairs. But the DUMBEST thing any large city could do is throw the baby out with the bathwater. In other words, paint the entire department with the broad brush of discrimination. Once you have disemboweled the ones who are sworn to protect the citizens, it will be very hard to get that genie back into the bottle.

Here are some current facts about the situation in Baltimore:
  • Since the indictment of the six officers resulting from the Freddie Grey death, all crime, including shootings and murders, are way up.
  • The medical examiner in Baltimore knows how Freddie Grey died. However, it is still a mystery how exactly it happened. The most common theory is it happened during the arrest. He was not being cooperative while being arrested, so two officers had to hold him down while cuffs are applied. That is when the initial spinal injury might have happened. And then the "nickel ride" (unrestrained in the van) down to booking might have further aggravated the injury. 
  • In any event, it sounds like the procedures the police used should be the culprit, not the six officers being charged with everything up to murder. 
  • Regardless of what the Justice Department says, there was nothing racial about this. Three of the officers are black, the police commissioner is black, the city council is mostly black and the mayor is black.
Starting next month, we will be "officially" in summer. The way it is looking now it will be a long, hot summer. Baltimore for sure, maybe other cities as well. We ask so much from our brave men and women who comprise our Thin Blue Line. I cannot image a more difficult or dangerous job these days.

To the good people in Baltimore, good luck in getting things back to normal. By now you probably know one of the axioms of life - elections have consequences. When you elect amateurs with agendas, this is what you get. And it ain't pretty. 
  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It all starts with zero...(Epilogue to this morning)

 
 



"The difference between how the government works and how business works is more different than night and day..."



Many years ago, one of the finest men I ever worked for taught me quite a bit about the business world. He was no pushover. In fact, he was as tough as nails. At least once a week (sometimes more), he would call me in his office. He had just been promoted from Director to General Manager, so he had some stripes on his sleeve. He would say to me, "Tell me something I don't know". It was then up to me to show him I had been doing my homework. I had information from the customer which yielded fresh info for the company. One day I asked why my boss why he did that to his staff. His response was simple - "I may like you personally, but your value to me everyday is zero unless you can show me you are earning your paycheck. You need to show me you can do things I can't. If you can't, why keep you?" Tough words, but true words. What he really said was, it all starts with zero.

Zero. It is becoming one of my favorite words. When I worked on the Jeff Johnson campaign for Governor, Jeff spoke of that word frequently. He wanted to take the temperature of every program. Find out which are working. Which are redundant. He wanted to fund every program as zero. Then a case could be made for funding. No more of this, "Well last year we had this much, and next year we need "x" % higher. It was a true "show cause" type of budgeting.

Back to this morning. When the special session starts, the Speaker should begin by reminding the other two statists that it all starts with zero. The House in the state, just like the House of Representatives for the country, really belongs to the people. More so than the Senate or the Governor, or even the President. The House controls the purse strings. Our purse strings. It is the closest to the citizens. Therefore, the Speaker should listen to his people. The ones who elected him. We don't give a rat's butt if he becomes fast friends with the Senate Leader or the Governor. He can do that on his own time. We have a runaway government and we need to know the Speaker is on our side.

When I was working and would negotiate major deals, I always got excited before the even. Fired up if you will. Soon it would be go time. Now it is go time for the Speaker. Time to get this spending under control. Time to some we have some balls and just say NO! If the state shuts down, so what? Most will never know anyhow (unless they listen to the lap dog media).

Okay Kurt. Lets do it. Remember your base. Status quo will no longer work. Kurt, if you want to run for Governor (as has been rumored), you need to excite the base. Here is your chance to make a big splash with your constituents. The regular session excited nobody. Time to get it on Mr. Speaker. We need to get this beast under control. Are you with us? Or are you with the fishing buddies... 

A dream last night...

 
 



"It was the best of times and they can be the best of friends...of course when that happens, the taxpayers suffer..."



Okay, that was just a shameless way to get you hooked. I really did not dream about this. However, I have thought about it. Many times. I have been thinking about the upcoming special session. I know what the expectations are by many people. The Speaker will get in with Senate Leader Bakk as well as the Governor, and "cooler heads will prevail". Translation - Representative Daudt will get round heels, fold like a bad poker hand, and the size of our government will grow even larger.

Here is my thought how I would like to see things go. Once the Governor vetoed the education funding, the deal was dead. Gone. Back to square one. For the Speaker of the House this could be an excellent opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons. As most of us know, the growth of state government has been galloping like a wild stallion.

Just to keep things straight, lets look at the past 10 years to see how our state government is doing. During the biennium of 2004-2005, spending was just over $28B - a healthy sum in anyone's book. However, that was not good enough. As Samuel Gompers would often say, "more, more, more!" The current biennium which was not good enough for Governor spend-a-lot, is $39.5B. That is over a billion a year (on the average) increase for the past ten years. In other words, that is a 41% increase in the size of our government.

Looking at all kinds of different statistics, the one which remains constant is this - median family income in Minnesota has remained statistically flat for the past ten years (or longer). So as the growth of our state Government has gone up over 40%, our personal growth is zip. Nada.

My opening offer on K-12 in the special session would be less, much less than what was on the table before the veto. The Speaker should apologize for agreeing to a number which is unstainable. A sustainable number would be more in line with the growth of personal income. In other words, what the people of this great state can afford. The Speaker should also notify the Governor and the Senate Leader the next time around, the Heath and Human Service budget is going to get a hair cut. Not just a light trim, but a "high and tight" haircut.

I think it is great we can go fishing, smoke cigars and all that other crapola. But at the end of the day, the people we elected to govern us need to govern. Be good stewards of our tax dollars. CUT the size and scope of government. STOP allowing Minnesota to be a welfare beacon for people worldwide. STOP funding a broken education system until we kick the union out and effect some positive reforms. STOP taxing the socks off our seniors and our retired military.

You want a special session Governor? Bring it on. Many of us out here in the hinterland are very disgusted with how the regular session turned out. Many in our state government could take a clue or two from how Anoka County governs. All I get from Anoka County is more efficient services for less tax money. What a novel idea for the state (and federal) to emulate.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cops, Thugs and Politicians

 
 



"I was going to say Bill de Blasio was an idiot in the way he handles his police force. But that would be an insult to idiots..."


News flash: So far this year, which is not yet half over, nationwide there have been over 19,000 shootings resulting in almost 5,000 deaths. Most shootings have occurred in our larger cities. By comparison, since hostilities started in Afghanistan (an active combat zone), there have been slightly over 2,200 deaths. And that 2,200 dead since 2001.

As a closer and more recent example of this, we can only look at this past Memorial Day weekend. During that weekend, many of our large cities looked more like combat zones than cities Americans live in. For example:
  • In Baltimore, 26 people were shot and 9 died. That brings the total number of dead this year due to violence in Baltimore to 101. And the year is not half over.
  • In Chicago, 40 people were shot and 12 died. The past two years Chicago has had over 400 people die (each year) of violence. So far this year, there have been 158 homicides.
  • In New York, there were 23 wounded leaving 3 dead.
I bring this up for a reason. We expect quite a bit out of our police forces. Many times they are exposed to the worst of the worst. Our police don't have "shoot to kill" orders like our soldiers have in combat. Our police need to deal with some very bad people. They only resort to lethal force when there is no other choice. Our police officers need to make life or death decisions in an impossibly short period of time. Hesitation can be deadly.

This has sure been an educational year so far. I have been learning quite a bit about how some large cities do policing. And how some really muck it up bad. New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, you name the town. Our thin blue line has been stretched, trod upon, besmirched and some police have even been charged as criminals. And the thugs? When our thin blue line becomes pastel rather than the bold blue it should be, thugs run wild. And then people die.

Rudy Giuliani, when he was the Mayor of New York, was a friend of the police. He liked and respected them, and it was reciprocal. Rudy was big on "broken window" policing. What that means is this - should someone break a window, and the law lets that person get away with it, the next crime could be worse. However if you treat the broken window as a crime and arrest the perp, there might not be a next time. The new Socialist Mayor, Bill de Blasio, believes just the opposite. He wants New York cops to look like the Bobbies in London.

What is the solution to getting our cities back? Walking down a dark street in many of our large cities just invites crime. I have said this before, and it has gotten me in trouble with some of my friends. I am a fan of a strong, yet constitutional police force. I believe in the "protect and serve" method of policing. When the police become "neutered", as they have now in some larger cities, carnage results. I also believe in law and order. Where there is law, there is order. Where the law is not enforced, there is no order. Again, law enforcement must be constitutional for this all to work right.

In combat, if we let the generals run the wars instead of the politicians, our win/lose record would be much better. In our large cities, it we let the police do their jobs rather than the politicians, our cities would be much safer. So safe it might even be okay to be out after dark.

  



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The missing heart of the Loony Left...

 
 


"Many on the Left are like the Grinch - born with a heart the size of a pea..."



One more time. There is nothing so bad we can do to the Loony Left that is any worse than what they do to themselves. Oh where do I start. Okay - George W. Bush. "Bush lied and people died. He just wants oil for blood." And on and on and on. We all know the drill. This was the mantra of the Left during the presidency of George W. Bush. I went to see President Bush when he spoke in St. Paul towards the end of his term. As we were leaving, long haired, maggot infested protesters were all over the place. Shouting invectives and being disrespectful. Many were holding up signs which said the most vulgar things about this President. Things if said about the current President would end up being reported on page one of the NYT or Washington Post.

What has happened to the "party of tolerance"? When they become so blatantly intolerant? So mean, so hateful? I am ashamed for them the way they sometime behave. Back to President Bush for a minute. On Sunday, Chris Wallace was interviewing Bob Woodward (of the famous Nixon haters, Woodward and Bernstein). Seems that Mr. Woodward has a new book out about how the United States got involved in the Iraq War. Woodward probably was looking for a smoking gun to hang the failure of Iraq around Bush's neck.

Instead he found out a couple of interesting facts. First off, President Bush did not lie. Not a bit. If anything, he tried to throttle back George Tenant on the WMD issue. No, President Bush was a straight shooter based on the information he was presented. Now mistakes were made once we got into Iraq. Both sides can agree on that. It was a learn as you go event. However the second thing Woodward found out was about our current President, the war hater. Woodward believes Obama is responsible for losing Iraq. Period. He ignored his experts at the Pentagon and made a political gamble. It failed and Iraq was lost. And now this gamble has given us the Islamic State (ISIL) and a mess beyond comprehension.

Take a look locally. The man who ran against Keith Ellison had his car recently vandalized. Why? Because he is not a member of the Loony Left. Plus he had the courage to challenge a sitting Congressman the Loony Left loves. Doug Daggett, the challenger, had "Bigot" and an upside down cross, and a pentagram, marked on the side of his car. Why? Who knows. Because he is a Christian? Maybe. Because he is white and ran against a black man? Could be. Because he is a Conservative? Most probable. In any event, it is a one-way street. Conservatives would NEVER do that to another person. Period.

I will hope before the 2016 election the Loony Left, the Progressives, will once again become just the party of loyal opposition. First however, they just need to learn respect and manners. We will forgive them, we will show them grace, but first they need to change. They need to grow up. Then they need to behave themselves and start acting like adults.    

Monday, May 25, 2015

At odds with the truth

 
 


"Many times telling the truth is not only the best thing to do, it is the only thing to do..."



In a disgusting show of candor this morning, one of the military analysts on Fox News said two separate things about members of our Administration. First, he said that Ash Carter is a (I will paraphrase) "breath of fresh air" and becoming a surprisingly good SECDEF. Then he talked about our President. I will try to quote him exactly -"He is a liar. Plus he does not understand our military. He does not understand the Middle East, and he does not understand the Constitution. However, that is a discussion for another day".

What would have caused such an outburst from this retired military officer? Seems that just days after the President told the minions Iraqi's Army was doing a fine job, Ash Carter told the real truth. The Iraqis don't want to fight. They have no stomach for the battle. Plus, should they be captured, they all know the fate which awaits them. No, calling the Iraqi Army an "army" is really stretching it. I am afraid the road to Baghdad will be an easy one for ISIL to take.

So what is up with the President not telling us the truth? We can take it. Does he think that lying will cause history to turn out differently? Won't happen. Here is the unvarnished truth. Against the wisdom and counsel of the Pentagon, the President ordered all combat troops out of Iraq before Iraq was ready to fight off a force such as ISIL. He also stripped the country naked of our valuable intelligence assets. We also have no forward air spotters to guide our bombs. Just last week, the head of Iraqi's military told us our bombing was "ineffective" at best. Duh!

As we head into June, the brutality and carnage continues in both Iraq and Syria. It is only a matter of time before both countries fall into the hands of ISIL. Today, ISIL controls huge parts of both countries. And after they fall, Libya will be next. Then ISIL might take a swing at Egypt, or maybe Jordan. Or they might feel emboldened to go after the big prize - Saudi Arabia. As the cancer continues to spread, our President will continue to spin. Hoping against hope some of the lemmings will believe the garbage he is selling.

Between Iran getting a nuke and ISIL continuing to conquer more and more land, the Middle East is one hot mess. The most dangerous of all neighborhoods has just become worse. Don't worry however - we will continue to be told it is nothing but sunshine and lollypops. And that is the truth. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The three day rush...



"Wow - what a rush! After fighting traffic all week, I get to do it again on a Friday afternoon!"




I think about this each and every Memorial Day. I am sure it is somewhat different in other parts of the country, but in Minnesota it is somewhat unique. After suffering through what seems like a mini-ice age most every winter, suddenly Spring hits with a vengeance. The air is crisp and warm and the landscape contains just about every color of green one could imagine. The countdown to summer has begun!

This is how it plays out for thousands of Minnesotans. Prior to the Memorial Day weekend, intense cabin planning has taken place. Stuff which has been stored at home is taken out and inventoried. A list is made for what to bring to the cabin. How to open it up. Whom to call for services restored. The boat has been tested and ready to go. Grocery shopping has been done for not only the upcoming work week, but also staples bought for the cabin.

At 2pm you sweet talk your boss in letting you leave a bit early. Seems like everyone else did also. Leaving a bit early allows a jump on the traffic headed north. So you thought. As you travel home, you hear on the radio there is still construction on I-94, which had taken out one lane for the entire summer. Also, there has been a bad accident on Highway 169 just outside of Elk River. The traffic is already backed up miles before Otsego. As usual, Highway 10 is a parking lot. Weekend vacationers always seem to flock to that artery thinking it will be better than I-94 or 169. It never is. And that is when it sinks in - you are screwed. You should have taken one of your valuable vacation days.

By the time you get home, get the family ready, hook up and load the boat with everything needed, you are dead tired and hungry. No time to eat however- try to grab something on the road. Unfortunately, that is the same thought everyone else has. Every restaurant or fast food joint is packed to the gills. As the radio had forecasted, traffic is at a standstill. Sitting in traffic you can hear the clock going "tick, tick, tick" as your three day weekend becomes shorter with every minute stuck in traffic.

By the time you get outside of Longville, the family is maxed out. Another 20 minutes and you should be at the cabin. Once you arrive, it looks like something from a Steven King novel. Rather than inviting, it looks scary. It is a deserted mess. Grass needs to be cut, the dock needs to be put in, the boat needs to be launched, and the inside of the cabin needs a top to bottom cleaning. By 10pm it is almost pitch black dark. The family has had enough and falls into bed exhausted. More to do, much more to do tomorrow.

The next day the family awakens and a breakfast is prepared. You think of how much is left to do to complete the "cabin opener". Just thinking about it makes you want to crawl back into bed. What you really want to do is chuck everything and just go fishing. That is after all, what you fanaticized about all winter. However the kids want to go tubing, even though you told them the lake water is still freezing. Just as you finish breakfast and are finally ready to get some outside work done - it starts to rain. Starts light, and then starts raining harder. And then harder yet. Rains hard for hours, most of the day.

Sunday is somewhat better, but everything is wet. The rain has stopped, but it is not even 60 degrees. It is a dark and dank day. You do what you can with the day being just short of a washout.

On Memorial Day, the weather finally improves. Even though it is supposed to be in the mid 70's and sunny, it is now time to pack up. About noon, the cabin is locked up and the family is loaded in the car for the journey home. Only a fraction of what needed to be done was accomplished. Plus, not one minute of fishing. Nor tubing. The ride home is somber with everyone mulling over another disappointing three day weekend. Plus reality is now setting in. More huge traffic jams on the way home. Getting an entire weekend of work done a in a couple of hours before dark once arriving home. Finally, getting ready to back to work or school on Tuesday.

The following weekend(s) are somewhat similar. Each weekend things seem to get a bit better, but there is never enough time. And the traffic sucks. Some weekends, it is worse than others, but even the good weekends are painful. Come Labor Day, the cabin will be put back to bed again, and weekends at home will return to somewhat normal.

Until Labor Day however, every weekend is a rush. Starting with Memorial Day. The three day rush. But living in Minnesota, for some reason these weekends are a right of passage. The mayhem, the traffic, and the expense are all part of it. Minnesota summer weekends are ours, and we are not trading them. As painful as they can be, we are keeping them.



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mike's story

 
 
 


"He gave up his dreams and his future so the rest of us could have ours..."

 
 

There were three of us who worked at Montgomery Wards in the late 60's. We all heard the call to duty about the same time. I was going to school and working part time in the paint department. Steve was full time on the dock. Mike like me, was also going to school and worked part time in the garden department.
 
Mike was always the guy that was fun to hang around with. Why? He had Don Johnson good looks, a great sense of humor, and to top it all off, he was an all-around good guy. The woman would flock around him, which was a huge bonus to being his friend.
 
Whereas I went into the Navy, Steve and Mike went into the Army. Both went through infantry training. By a twist of fate after training, Steve got orders to Germany. Rare back in those days, as most who went through infantry training went straight to Viet Nam. Mike on the other hand, walked a different path. The Army saw something special in him, and opened a door of opportunity for him to take.
 
In 1969, there was a shortage of helicopter pilots. To become one, you needed to go through advanced training and should you complete it, you would graduate as a non-commissioned warrant officer. Mike saw this as a great opportunity to learn how to fly. He would have to extend his time served, but is was going to be worth it. Besides, it sure beat being a "ground pounder".
 
Mike finished his helicopter training and was immediately sent to Viet Nam. He was living a dream. He could serve his country, fill out his service obligation, plus learn how to fly helicopters to boot. Once he finished his time, he could go back to school under the G.I. Bill and finish his degree.
 
Nobody seemed to know what happened that day. I can't even remember the location, if it was in the Central Highlands or where it was. All I know is word got back home that Mike was killed in action. He was not shot nor shot down. He was coming back from a typical mission when upon landing, his rear blade hit some power lines. His copter flipped over and burned.
 
Every Memorial Day I think of all the men and women who gave up their dreams and futures to ensure the rest of us could have ours. I think of the "greatest generation", who gave so much in the 1940's. Without their sacrifice, we would all be living in a dystopian type of world full of dictators. I think of the men in the 1950's who went to Korea, to face a new menace called Communism. I think of the men and women in the 1960's and 1970's who were called to fight an ever unpopular war against a hidden enemy who did often did not fight fairly. And of course, I think about those who fought and still fight in our modern wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, where fighting often times devolves into urban guerrilla warfare. 
 
However, mostly I think about the young boys in my graduating class who heard the call and never came home. I think of Mike, my friend from Montgomery Wards, the young man who had it all, and ended up giving it all. These brave souls are for whom the bells toll, on this and every Memorial Day.
 
 
In honor of  

Michael Alan LamusgaWarrant Officer, U.S. Army

Michael Alan Lamusga was a warrant officer for the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He died on June 02, 1971 at the age of 21 .

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tomorrowland

 
 


"No, this is not about the new George Clooney movie. This is much more interesting..."




When I was a wee lad, my family took a road trip (in our non-air-conditioned car) out west. It was the summer of 1959. Our journey was going to be a three week event with the main attraction being Los Angles. When we got there, were going to visit this four year old amusement part which had opened in sleepy suburb called Anaheim. That brand new park was called Disneyland. It was so new, parts of it were still being constructed while we were there.

Of the four theme parks in Disneyland (Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland), Tomorrowland was by far and away my favorite. I think it might have been Walt's favorite also. In that park, Walt could really let his imagination run wild. He could paint his vision of the future - and he could do it in such a way that most visitors could catch and feel his passion. To this day, I still remember it.

Today, I think about the two visions for tomorrow. The global visions which are about as different as night and day. One vision is that of the Islamists. It is a vision of pain, misery, suffering and death. Life is cheap and death is worshiped. It is a return to a time from centuries ago - the dark ages. It is like Dante's Inferno on steroids. There is no betterment of mankind in this future - only weeding out the "infidels" and exterminating those who do not share the Islamist's vision. For most, it will be the worst of times.

The other vision is what most of us have. Hope for tomorrow. This Tomorrowland is one where more and more diseases are eradicated, oceans are explored, the stars are journeyed to, and hunger is term found only in history books. It is a time where machines making machines which will enhance our existence like never before. This Tomorrowland will be a time of renaissance - not only for people but our thinking. For many, this Tomorrowland will be the best of times.

How will these two futures co-exist? They won't. One future will have to go. And that is where the battle will be joined. Which future will prevail? I believe it will be the one which people believe in the strongest. Where there is the most passion. Unfortunately, I believe it is the Islamists who today have the most passion. Many of us don't take them seriously. Don't want to take them seriously. That could be a fatal mistake.

I want our Tomorrowland to prevail. Our Tomorrowland chooses life over death, hope over despair. The old saying remains true today - the future belongs to those who believe in it the most. It just hope that future, that Tomorrowland, is ours.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A nice gig...

 
 


"Mr. Bakk has become good, very good at spending other people's money. That makes him a damn good DEMOCRAT..."




There is an old saying in the business world. It is what you say when you come across someone who has an especially cushy job. "It sure is a nice gig if you can find it." I thought about that today when finding out Tom Bakk (DEMOCRAT Senate Majority Leader) would like to spend another $7+M on an underground parking ramp built for 3,000 cars. Or was it 300 cars. No, I guess it was only 30 cars.

Before I go into a rant about this not so gentle giant from the north country, a quick aside. As a diversion when I am on the internet, I play an gambling game. I actually have become quite good at it. I have won billions and lost billions. No harm, no foul. I have learned how to amass huge amounts of money without having to "buy" chips with real money. It is a fantasy game as the money does not mean much. It is not real. If I lose a bunch, or win a bunch, life goes on as usual.

Mr. Bakk and others of his ilk, seem to think the same of our tax dollars. Spending them becomes like a fantasy game. They are not real. During the last legislation session, when the clock was about to strike midnight, Bakk and his fellow DEMOCRATS snuck in a $90M project into a 300+ page bill. For what you might ask? For a new "Taj Mahal" Senate office building. To house a bunch of part time workers. But who cares? The money does not matter. It is there to spend.

The question I have is what is next? Is Bakk going to cave in and side with our statist Governor on Pre-K? How about the gas tax? How about more money for light rail so the SWLRT does not have to be cut back? How about some more money for welfare so we can continue to draw people to Minnesota from all over the country - and also the world. Because we eschew "zero based budgeting", we simply don't care about accountability. Nope. We have given up on it. As we used to say in the Navy, "smoke em' it you got em'."

So life is good in "Moneyapolis". And in the rest of "Moneysota". And St. Paul is the epicenter for the endless river of money which feeds both "Moneyapolis" as well as the rest of "Moneysota". Next session, we need to find funding for the soccer stadium. Trendy you know. And now there are (believe it or not) people who want to build a stadium up in Duluth for a second pro football team. No - this is not a joke.

So the beat goes on. Well played Mr. Bakk! Just keep the pork coming! Many of us would love to have your job. It is better than internet gaming. You do have a great gig sir! And your job is a nice gig, it you can find it...  



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Showering with a raincoat on

 
 
 



"Is not showering with a raincoat on a waste of time? Kind of like our last legislative session was..."



Well, well, well. The session is over and everyone has left the building. It is somewhat fitting that one minute after the last person was gone the dismantling of the building began. How would many of us sum up this session? A mess. A tremendous waste of time and money. In short, it was like kissing your sister. Or, taking a shower with a raincoat on.

This was a golden opportunity squandered (once again). The Republicans, the Party of Lincoln, could have really shown the public what we are all about. By staking our principled positions, the worst thing that could have happened was a "no deal" or veto. Wait! We got that anyhow! After trying to play nice and be "Democrat Lite" once again, we still end up with no deal and a pissed off, petulant Governor.

What was accomplished? We kept the Governor from getting an unsustainable gas tax. Okay, I will grant that. If the Democrats still controlled the House, Senate and Governor's mansion, that would now be a fait accompli. In other words, a done deal. Other than that, much vitally important unfinished business was left on the table.

Taxes - I am so sick of every time business tax reform is mentioned, the other side tells the public that we are "only concerned about the rich". Gag me with a spoon. OUR PRINCIPLED position is simply this - a healthy business climate attracts businesses which in turn creates jobs. That is a position we should always hang our hat on.

IN ADDITION, we left a golden plumb laying in the ditch. This should have been a "no-brainer", even for Progressives. Taxing our veteran retirement pay, who mostly make spit during their service years, borders on being a crime. PLUS, our seniors, regardless of how much retirement they are getting, should NOT have to pay a DIME in Social Security taxes. Period.

I am going to do some research and find out WHO and WHICH PARTY were the stoppers to this common sense tax reform. And when I find out, I am declaring war on paper. If any the stoppers were from our party, heaven help them - because I won't.

Education - Here was a perfect (let me say again PERFECT) opportunity to expose education in this state for what it is. Not with rhetoric and bluster, but empirical evidence. Education in this state has become nothing more than a union land grab. It is Education Minnesota playing the DFL like they are marionettes on strings. It has been proven over and over and over and over again that money and results have no correlation what so ever. In fact (going back to my statistics days), they might even have a negative correlation.

In the metro area (after spending a whopping amount of money), we have kids dropping out of school in tidal waves. And many who do graduate don't know how to tie their shoes. And what does our incoherent Governor want to do? Spend a ton more money. Start a year before Kindergarten. It even gets worse. The statist Mayor of Minneapolis wants to spend money on the little darlings starting a birth. The "birth to Kindergarten" approach. Sounds like something out of a dystopian novel to me.

No, we had he chance to put a plan forward (sans Education Minnesota) which would yield better results by spending much less money. But no. First we saw the bid and called it. Then maybe we raised it, just to play nice. Pouring good money after bad on a broken (and very expensive) system. It was taking a shower with a raincoat on. No satisfaction with the outcome.

So now the powers that be will be laying out the ground rules for the "Special Session". If I were in the Speaker's shoes, the first thing out of my mouth after the veto is this - "Your best offer was on the table. That offer is now withdrawn. The next one will not be nearly as good." That is the way you negotiate. That is the way you win. That is the way you truly become stewards of the taxpayer's precious resources. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iraq's Army

 
 



"The slaughterhouse in Iraq continues to grow, as the world continues to watch and do nothing..."



Question: What is a bigger waste of taxpayer money than building a bridge to nowhere? Answer: Giving any US supplied equipment or funding to the Iraqi Army. And I am using the term "army" very loosely.

As most have heard by now, the town of Ramadi in the Anwar Provence of Iraq fell yesterday. Not much of a battle really. The United States had just supplied them with more top notch equipment and fighting vehicles a few days prior. When the battle started, the Iraqi Army dropped their weapons and fled. Some were immediately captured and killed. ISIL then took ownership of all the stuff we had just given to the Iraqi Army.

So what ever happened to the million man Iraqi army some of the world feared for so long? Quite simply, some of what is left of it has reconstituted. Reconstituted within the ISIL ranks. Now we have skilled, seasoned (and bloodthirsty) fighters on one side fighting for ISIL, and a bunch of untrained, unmotivated troops fighting for the Iraqi Army. I can't say I blame anyone for wanting to run away from ISIL. They are as vicious and cruel and one could imagine. Only a highly skilled army could take care of ISIL.

Why should we care if Ramadi fell? First off, reports from the region are more than gruesome. Being a survivor is not a very good fate once ISIL takes over. There are mass murders, rapes, theft, and so on. It is ethnic cleansing with a religious twist. Next, Ramadi is a stepping stone to the grand prize - Baghdad. And when Baghdad falls, it is game over. The dominos will be lined up. Next with be Syria, then Libya then more. It will be bad beyond belief.

General Hayden was on the news today. I like him, and I respect him. He was very clear with his message. Doing nothing will be a disaster. The irony of this disaster is simply this - if our President, our nation had the will right now, we could go in and clean house. ISIL is very good at killing innocents or ill-trained armies. They would not do well against United States forces. Going in right now would cost United States more treasure and blood. Doing nothing would also cost United States treasure and blood, only the battle would be much closer - maybe even here.

Here we sit, between the devil and the deep blue sea. All choices are bad. I do know this - the savior of liberty, freedom and millions of people during in WW II, is now absent. As evil roams the land and grows everyday, the one nation who could stop it, chooses not to. Just like in Rwanda in 1994, our choice is to once again be a spectator. A spectator to what is becoming one of the goriest chapters of modern history. As innocent blood continues to flow like rivers in the Middle East, we are focused on getting our cabins open for the Memorial Day weekend.

One of my favorite lines from the movie Pearl Harbor was when a British officer asked an young American pilot why he was so anxious to help out since he was flying with the RAF as a volunteer. His response was short - he just wanted to matter. Many of us want to matter right now. In the midst of this modern day mass genocide, it would be nice to matter.      

Monday, May 18, 2015

Has Iraq become Lord Voldemort?

 
 



"Iraq is worst than a four letter word. It is now a word which cannot even be mentioned - like the name of Lord Voldemort"




We seem to have a new four letter word in our lexicon. Somehow this word has become more heinous than the "f word". Our newest invective is Iraq. And it is like poison for any Republican running for President. It is now like the name of Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. In other words, it is the name which shall never be uttered.

I have very few qualifications to run for President. And even less desire. However, I would love - that is LOVE, to handle any question the press would throw at me about Iraq. You see, I know stuff. Some stuff that I can't disclose as I learned it while still in the Navy and under the oath of a high level clearance. The other stuff I will disclose, I learned while doing some simple research. Every candidate could do the same research and then make mince meat out of any reporter's question.

First off, going into Iraq and getting rid of Saddam was the right thing to do. Saddam sealed his fate when he gassed the Kurds in Northern Iraq with an illegal (Mustard) gas. He doubly sealed his fate when he authorized the illegal and immoral occupation of Kuwait. The United States, along with a coalition of the willing, went into Kuwait and removed Iraqi troops from Kuwaiti territory. And did it under the Aegis of a United Nations mandate.

Here is where people get very fuzzy on history. They separate the Iraqi War of 2003 from the Gulf War of 1991. In reality, they are related. When the Gulf War ended, it ended under a cease fire sealed by treaty. And the treaty had some iron clad provisos in it. And should any of those provisos be breached, United Nation's forces had the right to resume hostilities.

Unfortunately as most of us know, the United Nations is feckless. Every time the United States brought Iraqi infractions up in front of the United Nations General Assembly, another resolution would be promulgated about how really, really mad every one is. And Iraq had better stop it - or else. It did not take long for Saddam to figure out this game. There was not a "or else" coming. He became more and more brazen in his treaty infractions. Finally President Bush had enough. He made the decision to follow the UN treaty provisos from 1991 and go finish the job.

The only part of the preamble to the Iraqi War which upset me was the WMD issue. Sure Iraq had them. And Saddam would have used them again. History will show Saddam did a great job in hiding them in friendly confines. But the reason we went into Iraq was nothing more than we had the legal authority via United Nations treaty to do so. Period. Saddam was a world class tyrant and criminal. He deserved to be removed. Iraq deserved to be free from tyranny. It is just too bad our golf swing had such a terrible follow through.

Back to right now. The real crime in Iraq happened when President Bystander decided to get out lock, stock and barrel. It became fertile ground for a cancer called ISIL. Now that cancer is not only in Iraq, but Syria and Libya as well. Most people of honesty know the only answer to curing that cancer. It is the United States military. Period. I am afraid we need an "Act 3" to the Iraqi issue. We need to stabilize Iraq, Syria, Libya and where ever else over there evil threatens innocents. That is the truth. Tough to hear, but the truth. And as a candidate for President, that is what I would tell the people.

So there it is. I am not afraid to mention Iraq. Not afraid to recount history. Many are trying to re-write history at this very moment. Bush went into Iraq to get their oil. To get revenge for an assassination attempt on his father. All crap. Bush went into Iraq because it was the right thing to do - and still is.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Death of a term...

 
 


"Farewell K-12...we hardly knew thee..."



Well, that did not take long. And I was just getting used to it. The political and educational jargon just keeps on a changing. For the better we are told. It is important we are told. It is for the children (gag me with a spoon) we are told. So today I am mourning the death of a term I had finally become accustomed to. Good-bye K-12. Hello E-12.

E-12 is now so vital, so very important to the future brainpower of our state, our Governor is threatening to shut down the state government if he does not get funding for it this year. I guess the recently added full time Kindergarten was just not good enough. After we agreed to juice up our highly inflated education budget even more to get full time Kindergarten, the needle has not moved.

No problem. Early childhood learning will take care of the achievement gap. And the growing literacy problem. And the disgustingly low graduation rate in many Twin City high schools. And the teenage pregnancy problem. And the juvenile crime problem. Blah, blah, blah.

Some believe the Governor knows in his heart of hearts this entire early childhood stuff is a bunch of crap. This is nothing more than a payback to Education Minnesota. Education Minnesota - the union who votes lock step with the DFL each and every election. Education Minnesota - the union who would endorse Bullwinkle the Moose if Bullwinkle was a Democrat. Education Minnesota - the union who does not give a tinker's damn about kids - only themselves.

So that is the line in the sand. For politics only, we are getting ready to "shut her down" once again. The DFL spin machine is ready to release a barrage of advertising showing that the mean old Republicans are once again starving Granny and dumbing down our kids. Boo freaking hoo. Never mind that about half our state budget already is spent on education. Never mind many kids who graduate still don't know spit - and are sure not ready to compete on a world stage.

But knowing how things work around here, we will soon get E-12. With or without a government shutdown, somehow we are going get it. But don't get too used to it. Prior to the 2018 election, when the needle does not move again, Education Minnesota will have their lobbyists out in full force. Why we need E-14! For a variety of reasons. Plus we should stop testing the little darlings. More social promotion. More focus about how kiddies feel, rather than what they learn. As usual, there will be a bevy of goofy ideas ready to float.

One final thought before I close this out. I have mentioned this before several times over the years. I am in favor of longer school days, longer school years, and maybe a 13th and 14th grade. That is, ONLY if the right curriculum is taught. We could send kids to school for 30 years, and if they were learning from a Common Core type curriculum, they will still graduate stupid.

So fare thee well K-12. It was nice while it lasted. Sorry you had to be the scapegoat for a broken system. Someday smarter heads will prevail on how to fix education. Not only in this state, but the country as well. Some day - but not today.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Planes, trains and automobiles (revisited)

 
 


"Sorry - this has nothing to do with a movie..."



Okay, things are really getting interesting with the tragic Amtrak derailment outside of Philadelphia. First off, still no definite reason on why the train sped up from 70mph to 106mph right before of one of Amtrak's "dead man's curves". The train engineer has tested negative for drugs and alcohol and has a good record. He is not cooperating with the NTSB as he sustained a concussion and told investigators he does remember any part of the accident. On the news this morning, it was reported there is now evidence developing the train might have been hit by some kind of "projectile".

I have told this story a year or two ago. One of my two week active duties as a reservist was done at a base I was stationed at as a "white hat" back in the early 70's. When I checked in and met the base CO, he asked me if I would be up for a much different assignment. The command was getting ready for a tri-annual physical security audit, and the CO wanted to make sure they were trump tight. His request to me was simple - take off your Navy hat and put on a terrorist hat (back in the 80's, the big concern was Soviet moles). Without telling me anything about the station, the CO said it would be my job to figure out how to take it offline. In other words, sabotage by an outsider.

It was by far and away, one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had. I did figure out numerous ways to take the station down. It all went in my report. At the end of my tour when I presented my findings to the CO, all he could say was "I had no idea". I had done my homework. I worked with law enforcement both locally and on a state level. I knew response times, phone and electrical vulnerabilities and so on. I used my imagination tempered with reality. It was truly a "thinking outside the box" exercise.

Back to the train derailment. It was also disclosed that other trains in the area had been either shot at, or hit in the windshield with some kind of projectile. If it is true and there are anywhere from 71 to "over a thousand" Islamic terrorists on our soil, finding vulnerabilities to cause mayhem is not really that tough. In fact, it would be quite simple.

One of the problems is our nation is not on a "war footing". The naiveté demonstrated by many of our leaders will not allow us to think this way. The bad guys however, are in the battle of their lives. Many believe the upcoming battle has been predicted for centuries, maybe for millennia.

So what is vulnerable in our country? To start with, planes, trains and automobiles. Then shopping malls, sporting events, places of worship. Power plants, our electric grid, water treatment plants and so on. Shooting a high powered rifle at a train coming up to a tight curve in the railroad tracks would be easy as pie. Plenty of places to hide. Plus, if you can get a train to derail, it would have been an easy day for the terrorists. 

This one deserves to be watched. If might end up just being nothing. Or, it might end up being a whole new chapter in the terror war many refuse to acknowledge.



  

Still Unsure about MNSure

 
 


"Trying to understand the nuances in ObamaCare is like trying to understand MNSure while standing on your head..."



There was a great article on the news the other day. Since I have been somewhat sidelined by an early summer bug this week, I have had the chance to watch more news than I usually do. The article talked about the number of people who received "sticker shock" this year when they had their taxes done. And it all had to do with our "good friend", ObamaCare. Or in this state, the evil offspring of ObamaCare, MNSure.

So what happened? First off, nobody on the face of this planet can make things more complicated than the government. And that is with simple things. They took ObamaCare and doubled down, tripled down, or whatever down on how confusing the average law is. In short, ObamaCare is a mess. It is a Rubik's Cube with tens of thousands of pages of regulations attached. And people responsible to ferret out all the confusion and nonsense with this mess is the IRS. Oh joy.

Here is the issue. Some people who signed up for a lower (subsidized) rate on their insurance based on income, did it wrong. Some maybe intentionally, most probably not. Many became lost in the "bureaucratic bubble". So when they went to their tax preparer to find out how much of a refund they will get, they received a tax bill instead. Some got a bill for $700. All because of this unwanted mess called ObamaCare.

What I find amusing is every time someone with courage gets up on the floor of the US House or Senate and declares we need to scrap this mess and start all over, that person is looked upon with the same distain that Captain Bligh had for Fletcher Christian. The same holds true locally with our MNSure. Rather than try to do major surgery on this thing, or better yet just euthanize it, the proponents of ObamaCare (and its evil offspring MNSure) are going to ride this pony right into the ground.

So a few years into this new medical program, what have we learned? The good news. More people are getting insured. The bad news. There were zero cost containment features built into this bill. Nobody is getting it for "free". Like entitlements before it, ObamaCare is ready to be a huge budget buster for our nation and state. And people who are not getting subsidized premiums are paying more than before ObamaCare. For many, quite a bit more. 

If I were the President and wanted a "signature" piece of legislation to define my legacy, I sure would not want this one. However, this is only one of many things this Administration does which I do not and cannot understand.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Troubles in bunches

 
 



"I bet if we just ignored this problem, it will go away. Or not..."



Troubles always seem to come in bunches. Always have, probably always will. Mary sat on the curb, taking the last few puffs off her "bummed" cigarette. Been a long time since she had the money enough to buy a pack. Not at these prices. Not in this economy. Besides, right now she has bigger fish to fry. Like where can she get a meal tonight, and more importantly, where to sleep.

Just for a minute, Mary once again reflected on how she became homeless. It was not in her life plan, for sure. But the troubles. They came, and came hard. And they came in bunches. First there was the accident. Mary stepped on a board that had something sharp sticking out of it. Because her new "exchange" health insurance had a $2,500 deductible, she tried to treat it herself. Big mistake. It became infected, the infection spread, and the next thing she knew she was in the ER. After two days in the hospital, and she now had a healed foot and a $2,500 bill.

She tried to work out a deal with her landlord to be late or go in the rears for a month or two with her rent until the hospital bill was settled. The landlord, based on Mary's spotty payment history, only gave her 15 days of grace. If she was later than 15 days, the landlord would enforce the terms of the lease, and Mary would be evicted. Before long, Mary was evicted and looking for a place to live.

Mary had a job at a local craft shop. It paid $10/hour, so it barely covered her expenses. To supplement her income, once her shift at the craft shop was up, she would walk down the block and work a four hour shift at a submarine sandwich shop. Between the two jobs she could hang on by her fingernails.

Mary had no car. That was sold long ago to take care of other bills. No big thing. The house she was renting was close to the bus line. However, when she lost her housing, she also lost her way to work, as she could get nothing close to the bus line. Within a week, she lost her housing and both jobs. She had now become just like the people she once passed on the street. In other words, she was homeless - and deeply in need of help.

I write this fictional story to make a point. My wife and I have been involved with the homeless and hunger issues for a few years now. My youngest daughter even longer. Both hunger and homelessness are issues which are growing. Becoming more pervasive. The vast majority of people who are hungry and homeless don't want to be. Some choose to be homeless. Some are only con artists. But those are a small minority.

In Minnesota alone, there are thousands of people who are homeless at this moment. Old people, vets, youth, families, people who also have mental illness, people who also have substance abuse, people who have been physically abused - the list goes on and on. Again, the vast majority of these people DON'T want to be homeless. Most never thought they would be. But now they are.

So why help these people? Some of the questions I have received once I have told stories of the hungry and homeless illustrate how little we understand these problems. For example, "Is the government not enough for them?" Or, "Why can't they help themselves more?" Or, "What is wrong with them?" Finally my favorite on homeless youth, "Why can't they just move home?"

We help these people for this one, simple reason - it is the right thing to do. It is the moral thing to do. We are our brother's (or sister's) keeper. For those of us who are not homeless, we have been blessed. Now is our chance to bless others by helping them. Not asking anything - just helping. As we have been blessed, we can bless others. For the age old saying remains true today, "There but by the grace of God go I."  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Porkulus", one more time

 
 


"Oh yes, the little piggies were all at the trough, ready for more, more and then more again..."



As most of us can remember, early in the Presidency of our current leader, an idea was hatched. It was thought to really "kick start" our stalled economy, some WPA type spending would be in order. Thus became the Stimulus Bill. Actually, that is not entirely true. We had two stimulus bills. The first one in February of 2008 was called the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. This bill, valued at around $150B was suppose to shore up the economy to head off a recession.

Well it did not work. We still had the Great Recession. So what next? Another stimulus bill with the prodding of our new President. This bill was known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and valued at $850B. Obama just doubled down (and then some) on the bill President Bush signed the previous year. This new bill was nicknamed either the Stimulus Bill (or as Rush called it, the "Porkulus Bill"). It was tailor made for "shovel ready jobs". In reality it did....nothing.

Last night there was a terrible accident with an Amtrak train on its way from Washington to New York City. The train derailed, people were killed and injured, and there was much damage. It only took a few hours for the blame game to start. And the culprit? The Republicans of course, for not spending enough on infrastructure. Forget the fact in 2008 and 2009 we spent $1T on what was supposed to be infrastructure. The Republicans were smart enough in 2009 to know the "Porkulus Bill" was a sham and not of them voted for it. Regardless of that fact, the lap dog media as well as the Dems are still blaming the Party of Lincoln for our dated infrastructure.

Only a fool today would say we don't need some vastly needed improvements and upgrades to our infrastructure. The trick is how to pay for them when we are drowning in debt. Also (and some pundit brought this up on the news this morning), the government has a very bad reputation in building "bridges to nowhere", and "gold plated" highways. In short, we need improvements, but our government has proven over and over again to be VERY poor stewards of our tax dollars.

It is always nice to finish up a problem statement and then offer some possible solutions. On this one I have nothing. I keep coming up empty. Any solution I have thought of is full of consequences, both intended and unintended. Truthfully, to upgrade our infrastructure as much as the American Society of Civil Engineer say we should by the year 2020, it would cost a whopping $3.6T. The best of the bad alternatives would be to bite the bullet and really inflate the debt by spending it and getting it done with.

We will keep limping along until the next event, the next wreck, the next tragedy. We have had our chances to fix things, to make them better. But we did not. Now we are stuck with a house with 30 year old appliances, and no repair plan. It is no wonder so many people are skeptical about our future these days.