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July - September 2013

Signs of the Times III

Ballots & Bullets

The Gutfeld Plan

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

   Signs of the Times III -  Yes, I still do collect these odd displays of life on earth and it's about time I got around to adding in another group on my web site.  To wit...

What the public wants.  While on a trip back east I spent my first night in Weatherford, Oklahoma.  I got gas at the Conoco station right near the hotel and on their big road sign read the message, "Our fuel has no ethanol."  What a great way to poke their finger into the eye of the government!  Unfortunately, I often had to buy gas with ethanol in other states on my trip.  [Click on photo to see a larger image with a bigger view.]

The price of all beer!  In April I drove a couple of buddies up to a Grand Canyon trailhead on the north side of the canyon and we stopped at the Vermilion Cliffs establishment for lunch.  On the menu was this blurb extolling the virtues of their Happy Hour.  It seems like deal that is too good to be true - you can get all Mexican beers for a measly $2.  I'm sure I couldn't drink but maybe three or four, but that still would only work out to fifty cents a glass!

The New Deal.  Also in the cafe at the Vermilion Cliffs was this old timey sign from the NRA.  Now, most people will think of the National Rifle Association in this regard, but it stands for the National Reconstruction Act (or, Administration).  This was a license plate used by truckers to show that they complied with the industry's code of conduct.  I had never seen one before.

I like Texas!  On my way back from traveling back east, I decided to visit an old school chum who lives near Houston and to visit Carlsbad Caverns as my final stop before reaching home in Flagstaff.  Driving through west Texas was quite charming as you can tell from the posted speed limits in the interstate highway.  I felt . . . free!

How to cut costs!  Earlier in the year I was visiting my sister in Kingman, AZ and we went to lunch in nearby Laughlin.  Across the street from where we stopped was the "old" Ramada Express Hotel & Casino.  But, now it is the Tropicana Express.  We noticed that the signage looked funny and Sue nailed it - they saved all the old letters that they could and all the brighter letters were the new ones they had to buy.  That is, the R, A, A are from Ramada and EXPRESS is the same, while the T, O, P, I C, and N are new!!  LOL.  And, since the name is now longer it looks like they jammed the letters closer to one another.  I'll have to dig though some old photos to see if this is the case.  I visited Laughlin often in the early 1990s when they were going through their major building boom.

The past as prologue.  I recently re-watched the entire Prisoner series.  That probably sounds like a big deal, but it only ran for one season, back in the 1960s.  Starring the late Patrick McGoohan, it is something of a cult classic and one of my all time favorites.  One of the episodes featured a "speed learning" program that the villagers were all taking.  It just cracked me up because so many in the education establishment say similarly silly (or, stupid) things with a straight face.  In this scene, there is a poster advertising for this program.  It reads:
"our aim
one hundred per cent entry
one hundred per cent pass"  - the general
speed learn
a three year course in three minutes
it can be done.
trust me  - the professor

If you track the trajectory of our system of education, in the future this will be exactly what we will be promised!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

   Ballots & Bullets -  Earlier this summer the Supreme Court struck down certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  This lead to immediate breast-beating by liberals that we were regressing into an era of rampant discrimination.  Nonsense, of course.  The Supremes ruled that the 9 states that had been required to get federal approval before changing voting laws (and redistricting) no longer needed to do so, unless the Congress comes up with suitable measures showing that the problem still exists.  And, despite the hue and cry from the left, all this does is make these states (Arizona included) just like the other 41, which is how it should be.

     This is some of the backstory behind the efforts of various states to pass so-called voter I.D. laws.  Of course, it isn't just these nine states affected by the Voting Rights Act.  The governor of North Carolina recently signed into law new rules that require photo ID for voting, reduce the early balloting from 17 to 10 days and eliminate same day registration.  It seems to me that this is all quite reasonable, and I totally buy into the argument about trying to reduce voter fraud.  [Critics claim there is no evidence, but I think that is just in the nature of how corrupt the system really is; the potential is enormous and I tend to think this goes all the way up to the top, for example the presidential election of 1960.]

     But, let's back off this issue a bit.  On Fox's Special Report, commentator Juan Williams said, "[V]oting is a constitutional right and that you shouldn't have any impediment to pursue your constitutional rights ... This really is an effort to suppress the vote."  Now, Williams seems like a reasonable guy and I'm willing to listen to reasonable criticism.  But, this fails the smell test.  There are three logical flaws in his argument:

Suppression has no meaning  If reducing the early balloting days from 17 to 10 is "voter suppression," then it must be true that 17 days is suppression relative to 18 days.  And, 19 days.  And, 20 days.  And on and on.  There is no solution to such a "suppression" problem!!  Therefore, it has no meaning.

We live in a world of scarcity  In the real world, resources are scarce and we have to find ways to best use them to maximize our well-being.  We can extend the criticism of the suppression argument to include the fact that it ignores scarcity.  Getting every single person of voting eligibility registered and having them vote is not worth the resources.  Indeed, some have argued (and, I think, persuasively) that voting shouldn't be easy.  The easier it is, the more uninformed voters will be.  That's a law of human nature.

Apply this reasoning to other constitutional rights  What got me started down this path was the lack of consistency in this argument relative to other constitutional rights.  If requiring a voter to have a photo ID (which the state will do for free) is an unconstitutional burden, then let's revisit the second amendment.  In part it reads, "[T]he right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  Seems like a pretty definitive statement.  So, why do we tolerate gun laws?  Why do we require gun registration?  Why do we even tax gun sales?  It seems to me that taxing guns suppresses our ability to exercise our constitutional rights.  Can we get libs to sign a petition that asks for the government to roll back voter ID laws and gun laws?  Well, of course not!

     One of the real good voices on the issue of voter fraud is John Fund.  His book, Stealing Elections, is a great read.  Well, OK, it is a terrible read!!  Because the system is so corrupt.  I read the first edition when it came out and couldn't put it down.  If you want to look at something more recent, check out these two articles of his:
     The Reality of Voter Fraud  (5/2/2012)

     The Voter Fraud That ‘Never Happens’ Keeps Coming Back  (2/8/2013)

Monday, August 26, 2013

   The Gutfeld Plan -  Lovable late night talk show host Greg Gutfeld, if that’s his real name, came up with an audacious plan that kills two birds with one stone.  Not literally, of course, as that is quite hard to do.  Hit two birds with one stone that is.  Unless, the stone is enormous, like the size of a house.  And, lifting it up in the air is certainly going to take all the pool boys you can round up.  Knowing Greg, he probably can round up a lot.

     While his plan is audacious, it is also quite simple.  Well, we are talking about Greg Gutfeld after all, and not the president of the Red Eye fan club (that would be John Bolton).  Indeed, if the plan was any simpler, Bill Schulz would have come up with it.

     OK, OK, so here’s the plan – let all the illegal immigrants in the U.S. stay here (and more are welcome to come) if they move to Detroit!  We can give them some property and let them work hard to turn that awful nest of socialism into a paragon of capitalism.  I would suspect that within just a generation the per capita income there would rank among the highest in the U.S.  [It probably wouldn’t top the suburbs of Washington D.C. where crony capitalism and corruption flourish.]

     In fact, I would extend this plan to include any area declared a “national disaster.”  Like New Orleans back during the days of Hurricane Katrina.  Then, we can be more relaxed on whether or not to let some local official (a governor, I guess) declare such an emergency.  That is, now there are costs as well as benefits.  Under the current system there really isn’t any downside to asking for such a designation.  [Our own governor of Arizona was recently turned down for such a request following the wildfire in the Prescott area that killed 19 firefighters.]

     Maybe we can call my plan, “Gutfeld Plus” although I might be talked into "Gutfeld Extra Strength."

Detroit's population bombs!

We can give it opportunity!!

Fallback option - Robocop!!!

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