Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to the Family

"My wife is crying upstairs. I hear cars coming to the house. Consigliore of mine,
I think it's time you told your Don what everyone seems to know."
Don Corleone: [to the Heads of the Five Families] How did things ever get so far? I don't know. It was so unfortunate, so unnecessary. Tattaglia lost a son and I lost a son. We're quits. And if Tattaglia agrees, then I'm willing to let things go on the way they were before.
Don Barzini: We're all grateful to Don Corleone for calling this meeting. We all know him as a man of his word. A modest man who will always listen to reason.
Tattaglia: Yes, Barzini, he is too modest. He had all the judges and politicians in his pocket and refused to share them.
Don Corleone: When – when did I ever refuse an accommodation? All of you know me here. When did I ever refuse, except one time? And why? Because I believe this drug business is gonna destroy us in the years to come. I mean, it's not like gambling or liquor, even women, which is something that most people want nowadays and it's forbidden to them – by the church. Even the police departments have helped us in the past with gambling and other things. They're gonna refuse to help us when it comes to narcotics. And I believe that then, and I believe that now.
Don Barzini: Times have changed. It's not like the old days when we could do anything we want. A refusal is not the act of a friend. Don Corleone had all the judges and the politicians in New York, and he must share them. He must let us draw the water from the well. Certainly, he can present a bill for such services. After all, we are not Communists.
[Laughter]
Excerpt above from "The Godfather"


From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 30, 2011:
"Members of Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, have begun circulating letters to businesses in southeast Wisconsin, asking them to support workers’ rights by putting up a sign in their windows.

If businesses fail to comply, the letter says, “Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members."

Jim Parrett, a field representative of Council 24 for Southeast Wisconsin, confirmed the contents of the letter, which carries his signature. But he added that the union was also circulating letters to businesses thanking them for supporting workers’ rights.

Parrett said that since the letters were sent out, he has received threatening phone calls as well as calls from people supporting the state workers.

"I've gotten a lot of threatening phone calls," Parrett said.

Parrett said he believed the letter campaign was going on in other parts of the state. His region includes Racine and Kenosha counties, as well as parts of Waukesha and Walworth counties.

“It’s going on in other parts of the state,” he said Wednesday.

Parrett referred questions to Marty Beil, the head of the Wisconsin State Employees Union. Beil was not immediately available for comment."

...

Terri Gray, executive director of the Union Grove Chamber of Commerce, said she had received many calls from member businesses about the union-led effort. She said most of the calls came from businessmen and women who preferred to remain neutral in the dispute between Gov. Scott Walker and organized labor.

"They don't want to pick a side," she said. "I told them, 'I believe you can choose to not choose.'"

Gray said the campaign appeared to have started a day or two ago. She said she didn't know whether the sign campaign was having an impact.

Asked Wednesday about the boycott effort, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said "that any nonviolent tactic used to get attention to the steamroller tactics it seems to me are reasonable. I encourage people to remain nonviolent and disciplined in their protests."

Soooo, if you refuse to hang a 'pro-Worker' sign in your store front, Union Workers boycott your store and actively work to prevent you from making a living for expressing an 'Opinion'? 

This almost sounds like BlackMail.  Oops, need to be factually accurate, better look it up just to be sure...  

blackmail [ˈblækˌmeɪl]
n
1. (Law) the act of attempting to obtain money by intimidation, as by threats to disclose discreditable information
2. the exertion of pressure or threats, esp unfairly, in an attempt to influence someone's actions

Yeah, this looks like the one I was thinking about...

What did they say again???“Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means 'no' to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members."

You businesses in Wisconsin better get with the program. 


To support the 'Children'...

"Oh, I guess she didn't hear me?"  That's classic.




I especially like the three teachers at the end of preceding video clip (holding Starbucks cups) telling the reporter that this "Is just like Nazi Germany." 

Yes, I'm sure it's almost EXACTLY THE SAME AS Nazi Germany under Hitler...  Oh, wait, no Starbucks back then, so it's NOT exactly the same, but otherwise, yeah, pretty much...

These are the folks teaching your children. 

Dang.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Extreminator

Senator Chuck Schumer - D, NY
"The Extreminator"
Remember that song, "Chuck E's In Love" by Rickie Lee Jones?  In case you've forgotten, there's a YouTube video at the end of this post which will bring it all back to you.  If you don't want to read any political goofiness, you probably will want to jump straight there and bypass the next several paragraphs.   

Before we get to 'Chuck E' however, I need to vent a bit about a phone call between Chuck Schumer - D, NY, Barbara Boxer - D, CA, Tom Carper - D, DE, Ben Cardin - D, MD, and Richard Blumenthal, - D, CT earlier today. 

Senator Schumer mistakenly thought that reporters were going to join the call 'later' - so before the reporters were to show up, he took a few moments to brief the troops. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Schumer, one, or more, reporters were already on the call and they had their recorders ON.  [Heh, heh, heh, couldn't happen to a nicer guy...]

So what did reporters hear?

Senator Schumer was heard briefing other Democrat Senate Leaders on how to blame a government shut down on John Boehner - R, and the TEA Party in general. 

Here's some of the conversation: 

"The main thrust is basically that we want to negotiate and we want to come up with a compromise but the Tea Party is pulling Boehner too far over to the right and so far over that there is no more fruitful negotiations," Schumer said on the call. "The only way we can avoid a shutdown is for Boehner to come up with a reasonable compromise and not just listen to what the Tea Party wants."

Senator Schumer is preparing talking points for a shut down of the government, knowing that his Democratic members of the Senate can make it 'happen'.  And they'll be laying it at the feet of Boehner and the TEA Party freshmen in the House. 

But I thought no one wanted a shut down?  Well, almost no one (in public) - but there are a few...
...

From ABC News: 
For months, Democrats have been accusing Republicans of pushing Congress toward a government shutdown that could be catastrophic for the economy.

But now one prominent Democrat says a government shutdown would be "the best thing in the world" for his party.

Howard Dean "You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Be Stoooooopid!"
"From a partisan point of view, I think it would be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown," Sen. Howard Dean said Tuesday at a National Journal Insider Conference's panel.

That's because, Dean said, Republicans would be blamed for it.

"If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it," Dean said. "I know who's going to get blamed. We've been down this road before."

Privately, many Democrats have been saying the same thing, but by putting it in such inelegant political terms, Dean's words make it harder for Democrats to argue that it is Republicans who are to blame if the current budget impasse leads to a government shutdown.

"Heeeeeeeeeeyaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!"  (Sorry, I added this, but it's still a classic)
...

Just so you know I'm not making this up, here's the actual recording of Mr. Schumer briefing his troops and also Mr. Dean outlining his personal 'Strategery for Success' in 2012:


I don't hear many Republicans talking about shutting down the government despite the coverage TV and online, but it's very telling when Democrats are 'plotting' to do so in public AND in private.

Makes you wonder whose side their on, doesn't it?  Who are they looking out for? 

Oh, and one more thing:  You know all these folks running around spouting off about how "Republicans want to shut down the Government?"  How come when the Democrats held the House, the Senate, and the White House, they never fulfilled their Constitutionally mandated responsibility of creating a Budget for FY 2011?

After all, it should have been completed prior to: October 1, 2010. 

That's the problem with kicking the can down the street - it stops somewhere and then someone else has to deal with it.  Hopefully it's an adult, and NOT a guy like either Chuck Schumer or Howard Dean.

Well, that's it for now, it's late and I'm tired.

Before I go, in honor of Chuck Schumer, a little "Chuck E's In Love" (with himself): 


Simply amazing...  Rickie Lee Jones is simply amazing. 

Chuck Schumer...  Well, he is what he is.

WARNING: Please Do Not Read This Post...

WARNING!  "This sign has sharp edges" (First Line)
"Also, the bridge is out ahead" (Second Line)
It's a Two-fer!
Hey Mike, what time is it!? 

a.)  Is it "Howdy Doody Time"?  NO! 


b.)  Is it time to write another blog about dogs who eat pooh?!  NO!  (Next week is better for me...)


c.)  Is it time for another 'Federal Stimulus Package'?  NO!  Although, any time at all is the perfect time for more government spending!  (Send money to me, to ME I tell you!) 


d.)  None of the above 

THE ANSWER?  "D"


Okay, so what time is it then? 

It's time for us to turn one jaundiced eye toward... 


WARNING LABELS!  (You have, and 'will be', warned no more)

Yes, the following actually appeared in products marketed in the United States (for you dyslexics out there, that would be the 'Untied Setats').  These are warning labels were originally intended to save life and limb.  Why no one took the time to actually READ the labels AFTER writing them -- I have no idea. 


Take the trip with me now.  You'll see soon enough...



Okay kids, do NOT eat the iPod shuffle.  It will ruin your appetite, and your music will really 'stink' the next time you see it again...





"Please do not hold the wrong end of the chainsaw"  This is accompanied by a drawing which illustrates clearly what 'NOT to do'.  Shouldn't there be a big read circle with a line through it or something?  Okay, so which is it -- read the words, or follow the picture?


"Daddy?"


"Yes Tommy?"


"What happened to your hand?"


"Well son, your Mom bought me this really COOL chainsaw that runs about 72,000,000 RPM with a REALLY sharp chainsaw blade, and well, darn it, I picked it up by the WRONG end!  Imagine my surprise when I looked at the directions which 'seemed to imply by illustration' that I was supposed to pick up the 'spinning end'!  Turns out, I should have grabbed it by the 'handle'.  Who knew?"


"Daddy, how about your foot?"


"Oh, yeah, the 'lawnmower incident', yeah, we still have a case pending over THAT one."


"You're the best Dad!"


"You too Tommy.  Hey, would you mind passing me that 'arc welder' to me?


"Gee, sure Dad, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!"


"Don't worry Tommy boy, we have '911' on speed-dial.  We sure are un-lucky!  Um, do you know where the phone is, Sport?"









"Do NOT put any person in this washer" 


So, would pets and small children be okay?









"Please do not use this directory while operating a moving vehicle" 


Yes, you may get motion-sickness from reading and driving at the same time.  (Or, you could always plow into the back of that construction vehicle you didn't see because you were too busy looking up a number in the PHONE BOOK while you were driving because you're too stupid to live!)









Prescription for Parker (the family DOG) reads:  "May cause drowsiness.  Alcohol may intensify this effect.  Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery." 


"You got that Parker, no drinking OR driving until AFTER the medicine is all gone!  You got that you old Rump Sniffer?!  Now get out there and mow the lawn..."









"Do not use for personal hygiene"


This is the actual product:

So what 'personal parts' do they think we'd be cleaning with this thing?  Oh, never mind...  I learned a long time ago not to ask questions that I really don't want answers to...









"If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product."
.
Yup, that pretty much says it all...  (Company Motto:  A stupid consumer is OUR best customer!) 









"Warning:  Never use a lit match or open flame to check fuel level"


This warning found on a JetSki.  (Motto:  A stupid customer is an 'Exploding Customer')










"Never rock or tilt.  Machine can fall over and cause serious injury or death."


Yes, I guess you could call 'death' a serious injury.  AND you will NOT get a free Coke out of the vending machine if you're dead... 

I've tried this.  I am now dead.  Seriously...









"Warning:  Be careful of bad language in this mobile phone, because a partner's feeling is going to be bad.  Let's keep mobile manners."


Holy smokes, how did this one escape the blog post I did a couple of months ago entitled, While In Asia?  You can't tell me that some guy in Silicon Valley came up with this on his own.  This is NOT American...









I can't believe someone would say this about Barack Obama?!  I am so ashamed of these mean people!









Warning found on a Razor Scooter:  "Warning:  This product moves when used.  Exercise caution and common sense when riding"


Whoa, I feel better now!  Thanks for letting the kids know that the Razor Scooter can, in their own words, 'move'!  That's great information to have! 

(Company Motto:  We're too stupid to write a company motto; but we want you to be aware that things with wheels can 'move'...)


Unfortunately, I'm sure there are many more out there... 

If you find any similar to the above send them in, I'd be happy to steal it from you.  (My Motto:  Why do it yourself when you can have someone else do it for you?)


Good night Irene...

S.O.B. (Son of Badvertising)

Well, you knew it had to happen.  You knew I would go on the Internet and Google 'Funny Classified Ads' just to see if I could find MORE bad ads.  And what to my wondering eyes should appear?  More bad ads for you and me (dear). 

I compiled ads from many (many) sites and brought them here to our private 'happy place'.  I hope you enjoy looking at the following more than I did when I was culling through them on the Internet.  These are the 'G' and 'PG-rated' ones I found.  There were others, but they were just, what's the word...?  Oh, yeah, there were a lot that were just 'wrong'... 

Without further delay, I present to you, the SOB - "Son of Badvertising", more Classified Ads 'gone bad':

blog post photo
I'm reminded of Charleton Heston's legendary quote before the NRA as he held a rifle over his head, "From my cold, dead hands." 

You take the porn away from this guy (gal?) and I'm not sure you want him (her?) with un-registered weapons.  Next time we read about this guy, he'll be up in a bell tower shouting obscenities down at the on-lookers (a.k.a.:  Targets) as he inserts another clip.   




blog post photo
Somebody was eating cat food the night this ad was placed, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the 'beautiful 6 mo. old male kitten'.  If I were Jennifer, I'd hold out for an additional $2,000 for her husband.  The guy's worth something, right?  Oh, come on, that's mean!



blog post photo
Tina, you might want to get together with your crack (headed) advertising team on this one.  Showing rolls of toilet paper and claiming 'Flavors May Vary', well, that sort of boggles the mind. 

I would have thought that they were all 'paper-flavored'. 

Unless they're already...  Used?  Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!




blog post photo
Okay, thanks for clearing that up for me!  I'll be right over...



blog post photo
Yeah, I know it's NOT a classified ad, but if you lived in a town called, "Hell", you've got to get your yucks in when you can. 

So whatever you WERE waiting for, it's time, because "Hell" HAS frozen over.





blog post photo
Guys all across the Northeast are nodding their heads at this exact moment.





blog post photo
Luckily for them they don't need an Engrish Tudar too...





blog post photo
"Honey, can we get a dog, just like the one in that Marley and Me book?  I think I found the one!  He knows lots of tricks, and he's ONLY $1,200!"





blog post photo
"Looking for person who placed this ad.  Looks like a small intellect."





blog post photo
Complete text:  "Lester, this is Dawn.  Please be assured that I will be getting married no matter what you or my dysfunctional sister have to say.  We might have to go to Canada or Mexico but we are getting married.  I get what I want and this is very important to me.  Lester, you have a few secrets of your own that you want to keep down low, so watch out."

You know, I can't think of a thing to add to this one except maybe, do you think she placed a separate ad to trade her (or maybe, Lester's) Playboy magazines for guns? 

Lester, not only should you keep things on the 'down low', but buddy, you WILL want to keep your head down in general.  You meet the nicest people at the Bowling Alley...




blog post photo
Well, if you're going to have a party, it might as well be a Super Bowel Party (luckily there will be food to complete the ambience of the evening.  What's a bowel party without food?)! 

And on Tuesday, all Entres are 50% Off!  Only if you are OLD!



blog post photo
Need class, any class would be nice.  If class not available, feel free to respond to this ad... 

This guy has pretty stringent requirements 'between 18 & 80'.  Man, what a dog.



blog post photo
Finally, someone who says what they mean!  And means what they say!  Although it all sounds a little 'mean' to me...

May all your ads be properly type-set in 2012.

Moo,

Mike 

In 2012 help make the Moos of the Day blog your #1 place for Moos! 

We've got the competition licked! 

Don't believe me?  Click here to see for yourself! ->  Get along little doggie...

I KILL me.

See ya'!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Friend... Global Warming

I would like to thank everyone who has made this moment possible.  This is the day that I hoped, but never dreamed, would come true.

This is the day I learned that the National Geographic published an article stating that "greenhouse gases...are heating up the atmosphere to such an extent that the next ice age, predicted to be the deepest in millions of years, may be postponed indefinitely." 

Yes, you read the preceeding correctly.  Scientists (real scientists with clipboards) have developed computer models which indicate that the Earth is preparing to move into a new state wherein 'permanent ice sheets' will shroud much of Canada, Europe, and Asia. 

However, the ice cover will be 'postponed' by...  (Drumroll please) 

Global warming! 

This is not to say that the 'icing' of the Earth will be 'good', since they are predicting about two miles of ice on top of the spot where I am currently writing this post.  The GOOD news is that they are predicting ONLY two miles of ice, versus, what I can only assume (since they don't mention it in the article) something like ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN miles of ice (I, ah, made this number up).

I have a few problems with the article.  Simply stated, I, your friendly MoosRoom Blog Guy, am confused.  Like really, really confused.  Allow me to condense the reasons for my dementia into a simple listing of quotes to illustrate my cognitive dissonance after re-reading the article about eleven times.  The following are actual excerpts from the National Geographic article (excerpts are in "Quotes"):
"But the idea that global warming may be staving off an ice age is "not cause for relaxing, because we're actually moving into a highly unusual climate state," Crowley added."   (Note:  Oh, oh, that sounds bad.  Really bad.  I especially do not like the whole 'highly unusual climate state' part.)

"I think the present [carbon dioxide] levels are probably sufficient to prevent that (permanent ice sheets 2 miles thick over your head) from ever happening," said Crowley, whose study will appear tomorrow in the journal Nature.  (Note:  No ice age!  Yay, you folks go ahead and keep doing what you've been doing (for the last 2,000+ years!)  Nice job!)

"The researchers found that between 10,000 and 100,000 years from now, Earth would enter into a period of permanent ice sheets—more severe than any seen in millions of years.(Note:  Hey, but Doc Crowley said, "No way!".  Didn't you guys read the two quotes above?  Come on, you're quoted in the same article!  Dudes, you're killing me!)

"Though this extreme ice age would be unusual, so is the climate that people are creating by emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases, Crowley said (global warming fast facts)."

"It's hard to say what's going to happen," Crowley said. "The very fact that you have this nonglacial [warming] atmosphere with polar ice caps [still present], presents a bizarre scenario.  (Note:  Hey, Doc, but you said...  NOW you're saying that there WILL be lots of 'Love on the rocks'?  Come on, it's science.  It is either correct, or it's not.  You can't have two 'Hypotheses' for the same set of variables.  Can you!?)

Okay, let's go to an 'Expert'

Prehistoric-climate expert Lorraine Lisiecki said, "This is the only study of which I am aware that suggests the next ice age could be much more extreme than those of the previous one million years ago."   (Note:  So does Dr. Lisiecki HAVE an opinion?  An opinion of her own?  Keep reading...)

But she (Lisiecki) agreed that we 'might never find out what would have happened naturally, due to human-caused global warming'.  (Note:  She has no opinion of her own because WE are alive and messed up HER calculations.)

"Current greenhouse gas concentrations are probably similar to those that occurred three million years ago and are high enough to prevent an ice age for hundreds of thousands of years," she said.  (Note:  No, hold on, she DOES have an opinion!  'Greenhouse gas concentrations are probably similar to those that occurred three million years ago...'   Yeah, when dinosaurs drove SUV's and 'Extincted' themselves by burning each other as 'fossil fuel'.)  

Okay, to sum up 'scientifically':
  • We MAY have no more ice ages for a very long time - Yay!
  • We MAY have ice ages MUCH more severe than the planet has experienced ever before - Boo!
  • Dinosaurs produced, and burned, fossil fuels (and drove SUV's) - Boo!  (And Yay! because I want to see dinos drive again in the future, or past, whatever!)
  • This ice-borne apocalypse ONLY 10,000 to 100,000 years away!   (FREAK at any time.  Again, this is both a Boo!  And, a Yay! event.  Boo because it could happen in MY lifetime, and Yay because I could die long before the 10,000 years are up)
What YOU can do to make a positive impact on the future:
  • Buy a really powerful SUV with a ice-breaking drill mounted to the front of it.  Don't forget the cool 'Deck mounted machine gun option' in case you run into 'Ice Mutants' or 'Canadians' looking for the beach).  Stud those tires because it's going to be 'hard' to climb up that two-mile high sheet of ice sliding towards your home in 12,008AD
  • Purchase a really good (and really LONG) extended warranty agreement on your vehicle (Duration?  Oh, 10 to 100 thousand years should cover it)
  • Warn everyone you know about this impending disaster (more disasters coming next week, but this disaster is THIS WEEK's disaster)
  • Remember, without a solid Hypothesis and evidence there is no science.  There is only guessing.  (Or, thinking back to when you were little...  "Making stuff up")
  • Oh yeah, and have a good week (while you can...)
If you would like to read the actual article, you may do so by clicking the following link:  National Geographic

Next week's disaster:  World ends on December 21st, 2012!  (Oh, and forget THIS week's disaster because, well, the reality is that you'll never see it because we're all gone in less than one and a half years when the Earth shifts on its axis and you find yourself living in "Nuevo Atlantis" (with the fish))

I'd better not wait too long to post that blog, because there's not a lot of time left to worry...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The CBO is 'Driven'


"About 25 percent of the nation’s highways, which carry about 85 percent of all road traffic, are paid for in part by the federal government; the remaining funding for highways comes from state and local governments.

Federal spending on highways is funded primarily by taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, but those and other taxes paid by highway users do not yield enough revenue to support either current federal spending on highways or the higher levels of spending that have been proposed by some observers.

Although raising those taxes would bring in a larger amount of revenue, a more fundamental issue would remain: By themselves, fuel taxes cannot provide a strong incentive for people to avoid overusing highways— that is, to forgo trips for which the costs to themselves and others exceed the benefits.

This study examines broad alternatives for federal funding of highways, focusing on fuel taxes and on taxes that could be assessed on the basis of the number of miles that vehicles travel."

So begins the Congressional Budget Office's "Alternative Approaches to Funding Highways", March 2011's 38-page report.

Yes, in an effort to get 'money from somewhere because we're spending it everywhere', the CBO is studying options on how to fund highways.  This is a good thing.  I'm all for finding alternative sources of revenue from 'everyone' vs. continually focusing on the  'wealthiest Americans'.   

Let's dig a bit deeper into the report, shall we?  From the report:

Some policymakers and transportation analysts have expressed interest in developing new sources of funding, for two main reasons.

One is that, over fiscal years 2008 to 2010, federal spending on highways exceeded the revenues available in the trust fund, and the government supplemented the fund with about $30 billion from the Treasury’s general revenues.

As scheduled increases in federal standards for average vehicle fuel efficiency take effect, dedicated revenues may fall further below spending. The other main reason is that the current taxes do not give highway users an incentive to consider all of the costs their use of roads imposes on others; as a consequence, road use exceeds the efficient amount, and the quality of service that users receive from the highway network is lower than it would be otherwise.


Okay, got that?  The Congressional Budget office wants to impose additional taxes on you because:

BOTTOM LINE(S):
  • Increasing gasoline mileage of your vehicle is bad for everyone (although required by 'law')  and,
  • 'you people' had better become aware of the impact that 'your life' is having upon others...  (And while you're at it, would you mind not EATING so much, there are starving children all over the world...)
I don't know about you, but I feel like a CHART is in order!  Hey, look, here's one now...



From the chart above... 
VMT (Vehicle Mileage Taxes, on the Second Line) will 'Significantly' address costs, address mileage-related costs, incur 'High collection costs' AND [Bonus!] produce 'Privacy Issues'

[Because presumably, you'll be required to buy something to slap in your car to track your mileage.  This would be like being required to BUY healthcare based upon your mere 'Existence'.  Not that it's un-Constitutional, or anything...]


Just out of curiousity, what are the sources of revenue to Tax Receipts for the Highway Trust Fund in Fiscal 2010?

Cool, a PIE Chart!!!
So, from the chart above, we paid about $34+ Billion in taxes, surcharges, tire charges, etc., to drive from Point A to Point B in Fiscal 2010. 

According to the CBO, what kind of shortfall are we looking at, year over year?   Quoting the CBO Report:

"For example, the FHWA estimates, on the basis of 2006 data, that from 2007 to 2026, total federal, state, and local capital spending would need to average $126 billion per year (in 2009 dollars) to maintain the highway system’s current “performance,” which is defined in terms of average user costs for travel time, operations, and accidents.

By contrast, actual capital spending in fiscal year 2008 was $91 billion.  The estimate reflects the effects of pavement age and economic and population growth and accounts for signs that the road network is under strain today."

Question for you:  What happened to all the 'Shovel Ready Projects' from the American Reinvestment and Stimulus Act?  You remember, the one where you saw a sign similar to the following every sixth mile while traveling on highways across America?

Cost for these signs across America?  $15 Million Dollars
Jobs created?  17
Irony?  Priceless
Source:  Daily Caller
Didn't we, as a Nation, commit something like $863 BILLION to these improvements as part of this 'Shovel Ready' Act? 

So if our federal highway deficit is estimated to be $90 Billion per year going forward, shouldn't we have pre-paid this debt for, um, like roughly the next 9.588888888888889 years?  Hey, it's not my fault, it's a MATH thing.

One can only assume then, that the money went 'somewhere else' and is not available to pay down this debt on our behalf.  Dang, and here I was wishing that I wouldn't have to get an un-Constitutional 'little black box' installed in my Chrysler to track my work mileage.  Well, like one of the guys I worked once told me, "Poop in one hand, wish in the other.  See which one fills up first."  I never shook this man's hand again after this - he always wondered why...

Okay, bottom line (again) is that there was a lot of thought, and money put into this report.  But in the end, it all comes to the same...

Once again, excerpting from the report, this time from page 29: 
Although VMT taxes can do more than fuel taxes to encourage the efficient use of highways, a combination of both can do better still. If there were no fuel taxes, the efficient VMT taxes would be somewhat higher than otherwise, because they would serve to reduce the costs that are directly associated with fuel use as well as those that are more directly related to miles driven.

However, that would be a second-best approach. VMT charges would not provide the best incentive for reducing fuel-related costs because they cannot account for differences in fuel economy among vehicles and thus would not give drivers an incentive to switch to vehicles that are more fuel efficient.
...
Varying VMT Taxes by Location and Time. To account for location and time of use, efficient user charges would not be based on nationwide averages. Instead, they would cost of miles driven under low-volume, uncongested conditions and an additional local or regional charge assessed and imposed as appropriate, particularly during peak travel hours.

Such time-and-place-specific pricing would improve efficiency not only by reducing the delays, schedule uncertainty, and fuel waste associated with congestion but also by reducing demand for additional capacity.

The FHWA has estimated that widespread congestion pricing could reduce by nearly one-third the investment needed to sustain the operational performance and condition of the highway system—an average savings of $41 billion per year (in 2009 dollars).

In addition, other estimates reviewed by CBO suggest that the operational benefits of congestion pricing in reduced delays and fuel consumption could equal roughly $20 billion to $50 billion per year. Thus, the total annual benefits could be roughly $60 billion to $90 billion.
   
So these recommendations, if adopted, would:

  • Create additional tax revenues by taxing BOTH fuel and vehicle useage
  • Incent drivers to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles (which we saw above was part of the PROBLEM to begin with)
  • Help you decide WHEN you should drive your vehicle (by charging more for travel during 'congested' periods)
  • Save $41BILLION a year in '2009 dollars'
Once again, the friendly folks in your Federal government want to tell you how much you can drive, what you can drive, and when you can drive by punishing your driving behavior.  (This they call 'Incenting' you, as it was referenced above.)

In the end, it's about raising taxes, influencing behavior, and infringing on your rights to, well, 'move about' the Nation freely. 

That "Clink, clink, clink" sound you hear as you lay your head on your pillow at night?  It's the sound of more freedoms being chipped away while you sleep.

After all, it's all about:


Their collection results. 

Not yours. 

Remember the old Beatles' song, "Taxman"? 

Feel free to hum it quietly to yourself now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

B-Advertising (as in "Badvertising")

Marketing makes the world go around.  Good marketing makes the world go around 'faster'.  I know this because I have spent most of my life (since college) 'selling stuff' for a living.

Want to understand the Sales Process? 

Watch and listen to any three year-old kid in a shopping cart at WalMart.  He / she has the basic skills required to sell...  And it comes naturally.  No formal training, or Martini lunch required. 

The child's 'selling secret'? 

It's as simple as 'ABC'

  'A'lways
  'B'e
  'C'losing

When a three year-old sees something they want, they 'vocalize' their need as, "Mommy, Daddy, I really need to have that toy!"  (or doll, or hamster, or BB gun, or whatever he happens to see RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT, AND IT'S RIGHT OVER THERE, AND YOU SHOULD BUY IT FOR ME NOW!) 

In addition to the directness of the request, the child is also relentless, persistent, and single-minded - these are all excellent traits for anyone considering a career in 'Sales'. 

The child intuitively knows the message they want to convey to the parent and they repeat it over, and over, and over, and over, and...   

Well, you get the idea. 

It's too bad that most people lose their ability to 'sell' as they get older (as they get more 'civilized').  Once you're over the age of 144 months (a.k.a.:  '12' in people years), you just sound 'whiney' to the rest of us when you repeat yourself over, and over, and over, and...  

Allow me to submit examples which prove irrefuteably that kids are better at marketing than most adults (who get paid for this stuff) are.  The following ads were found in actual publications.   They were produced by paid 'Marketing Professionals' in the Advertising 'Biz'. 

They SHOULD have been written by three year-olds.  They would have been more effective, and possibly, better understood.

Travel with me now to the land where "Advertising goes to die..." 

Badvertising 101

Looking to have a nuisance animal removed? 

(Defined in this ad as a bat, a skunk, a racoon, or perhaps even a HUMAN child?)
blog post photo





Okay, I'm pretty sure that someone is taking liberties with the whole 'Truth in Advertising' thing... 

This does not rule out the possibility that the 'Before' woman is a 'Witch' and IS the same woman in the 'After' photo. 

"Do that voodoo that you do..."
blog post photo

(Check out the:  "Your results may vary" disclaimer.  Nice touch... Liars!)




I'm not sure that this is what they really meant to say...
blog post photo
Bring your favorite Mexican?  What if you don't HAVE a Mexican?  What if you only have a Canadian?  



Nope, I'm not getting this next one at all... 

If you could help me out here, I'd really, really appreciate it.  Did the dentist wire her jaw shut so she could lose weight? 

Did the dentist charge so much for the veneers that she can no longer afford food and now her pants fit?  

I do not have a clue as to what they are trying to sell here...
blog post photo





Okay, now this one I understand just fine... 

Each adult entree consists of 2 kids.  Do you get a starch and veggie with those two kids? 

How about a free baby for dessert - I couldn't eat another 'Whole Kid' - I'm stuffed! 

Too bad it's a Friday, I missed it (the '2 Kid Special' is only on Monday nights)
blog post photo





I can't believe I saw the '2 Kids Free' ad above...  I wish there was a way that I could never see anything like that ever again...  Luckily, there is!  And it's 'Gentle' (as it removes your eyes)!
blog post photo





I really can't add ANYTHING to the following - it just says it ALL.  I'll bet somebody got a bonus for coming up with this winning campaign...
blog post photo

Someone might want to warn the young woman with memory loss that she's getting ready to ride her bike INTO THE OCEAN! 



"Honey, I was thinking that for Valentine's Day that I'd get you a crypt!" 

4:1 Odds that the guy would be dead before he hit floor after delivering this 'pre-needs planning' message to his loved one on Valentine's Day. 
blog post photo





Oh Daddy, get away, get away!  Get away! 

(Nice 'Type-O' folks.  Next time, spend the $1.28 and get a 'Proof' first.  "Daddy, why does our Family Tree only have a trunk...?")
blog post photo





"Learn as you learned the Spanish and I gave in English everything what you mean!" 

Yeah, English is 'Like a second language to me, too!'.  This guy graduated in 'Single 6 Months'... 

He probably should have stayed in for the full four year course...
blog post photo

  


"Yes!  You can learn to play Harmonica by blowing jets of of air out from your tear ducts!" 

All rightey then...  Keep moo-ving, keep moo-ving...
blog post photo




"Welcome to Colorado where men are men, and sheep ski fast!" 

Okay, did anyone READ the text before they paid for the ad?  I mean it's not b-a-a-a-a-a-a-d, but I might have chosen a different tag line (i.e.:  "Looking to enter the field of animal husbandry?!"
blog post photo




Look at these remarkable non-PhotoShop'd images!  How did they get her to stand in the exact same position following her TUMMY TUCK BY BARSKY (and Hutch)? 
This is amazing!
blog post photo

"Tummy Tuck by Barsky?"  It's more like, "Advertising copy and photo tampering while drinking on a Barstool."

Well, that's it.  I want to thank you for hanging in there while we both learned why some marketing people should not be allowed to reproduce.  Although, after seeing the ad for "Sheep fun," perhaps they won't be reproducing after all...

We can always hope...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

'Waiving The Weiner' In New York

Anthony Weiner, D, NY is on record saying he fully supports the 2010 Health Care legislation rammed through the House and Senate by Democrats and President Obama signed into law last year. 

Super!  Way to go Sparky!

At least we know where you stand...

The following is excerpted from an article on ForestHillsPatch.com from January, 2011:
 
"Republicans want another debate about health care reform? Well, so should Democrats. They beat us in round one with lies and scare tactics — we welcome a second shot," Weiner said. "By planning to introduce a bill to repeal health care reform the first week of the 112th Congress, Republicans have made it very clear what direction they intend to take the country — backwards."

Health care reform became an issue during Weiner's own reelection campaign in the fall thanks to his first contested election since 2004. Weiner's opponent, businessman Bob Turner, was adamant that the 112th Congress should work to repeal the health care reform package.

...

"Republicans are against a lot of things, but they are for kicking young Americans off their parents' insurance plans, for reinstating copayments for preventive measures like cancer screenings, and for denying children coverage based on preexisting conditions," Weiner said. "This is a dangerously misguided interpretation of what Americans voted for in November."

...

Jump ahead to March 15th, 2011 for this interview with Politico.com:

From the above video:
“Look, we tried the hiding-under-our-desk strategy on this issue during campaign 2010. Too many candidates who did that lost,” Weiner said in an interview for the POLITICO series “Health Care Reform: One Year Later.”

The better strategy, he said, is a “leaning into it” approach, which recognizes that Republicans will force the issue and that voters will want to hear about it.


Fast Forwarding one week...
Clouds fly by quickly from left to right as we flash forward from last week to early this week... 
(Try not to get motion sick - 'Cookie Tossin' is NOT covered under Obama Care)

Let us re-visit Anthony Weiner, D, NY, Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 once again speaking with the nice folks at Politico.com:

The congressman was trying to debunk Republican “myths” about the health care law during a speech at the Center for American Progress. He used the waivers as way to describe how flexible the law actually is and how “this notion that the government is shoving the bill down people’s throats” is not true.


“The administration needs to make this argument more forcefully,” he said. “A lot of people who got waivers were … people who are our friends.”


The New York Democrat said that he does not have the power to get the city to apply for a waiver but that he is “personally looking at whether he can make the numbers work.”


“We in New York already have hospitals, we already employ doctors and we employ nurses. We have a lot of uninsured people. … [Setting up] the exchanges is the one piece of the puzzle that would be difficult for us to do,” he said. “I’m just looking internally to whether the city can save money and have more control over its own destiny.


Weiner is slated to hold at least five events on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and has been one of the most outspoken Democratic supporters of the law.

BOTTOM LINE:  Yes, Anthony Weiner is now investigating a 'Weiner Waiver' exempting New York from ObamaCare to allow the city to have "more control over its own destiny".  His 'investigation' pursuit, if successful would be in addition to the growing list of 729 companies + 4 states + 4 new SEIU waivers already approved by the Obama Administration.

Don't blame me, I didn't put ANY of these words into his mouth... 

He's the plan's biggest supporter, he just doesn't want it impacting him.   

It's just the way he is, all Weiner, all the time.

"Anthony, your ride is here!!!"
"Anthony, please move to the back of the bus where you belong.  Thank you sweetheart...."