Monday, November 29, 2010

The old man of rimfire

One of my favorite rifles is the Marlin 60. Introduced in 1960 (hence the name), it is the most popular rifle ever sold.

Among the strengths of the platform, the Marlin 60 is exceptionally accurate, very reliable, and is one of the most inexpensive firearms that can be bought. A new "M60" can be had at many Wal Marts for less than $150.

The tube magazine is easy to load, and very reliable. No external magazines to lose or step on. The rifle is semiautomatic, making it easy to shoot again and again. It is also well balanced.

Among the few negatives, the Marlin 60 has a heavy trigger. This is easily remedied by a person with household tools, good instruction and about 10 minutes to spare.

Some people, mostly online, will say the platform suffers from reliability issues. I've seen this in person and the most common underlying reasons are:
1) Rifle is dirty.
2) Poor ammo
3) Ejector wire bent.

Of the errors listed, dirty rifle and poor ammo are the cause of 95% or more of the problems with the M60. Since the Marlin 60 is so inexpensive, and so reliable, people will fail to clean it. I have seen several rifles that were not cleaned for decades. The Marlin 60 tends not to have problems as fouling increases, then all of a sudden, it will have serious jamming issues.

So many people, by neglecting the rifle, will run it to a point that no rifle should go, then ditch it, calling the rifle unreliable. This is the little underground secret of Marlin lovers everywhere. I keep my Marlins meticulously clean, even though they do not need it.

At an Appleseed event back in May, there was a father-son combo who had just bought Marlin 60's for the event. The rifles they bought were used. Late in the first day, they both experienced jamming issues. Not surprisingly, they were using Remington ammo (the worst rimfire ammo out there, in my opinion), and the guns might never have been cleaned. Early on Day 2, I cleaned their rifles superficially, and they went without malfunction all of Day 2.

Bad ammo for the Marlin - Remington (Thunderbolts or Golden Bullets). Granted, the Marlin 60 will do better with these ammo types than most any other gun, but it is not ideal.
Good ammo for the Marlin - Federal Bulk or Winchester bulk.
Great ammo for the Marlin - CCI mini mags, or CCI standard velocity.

Can't tell if serious

An article on what to do if a Tea Party member moves in next door.

The simple fact that Progressives (read: liberals) get this worked up is enough for me to call this humorous.

My favorite part:
Frequency of deliveries such as UPS are also collectible information as most deliveries to such homes will be weapon related. Ammunition, guns, militia equipment…etc.
Unless one has an FFL, one cannot take delivery of firearms at one's residence. The only known exceptions are:
- An M1 from the CMP
- A firearm already owned by the individual that was sent off for repair.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Very sad news

Yesterday, a friend, softball teammate, and an all around good guy passed away.

Rick, I love you, man. Can't wait to see you again, one day in heaven!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We all have much to be thankful for. My sister in law has posted every day in November something she is thankful for.

I will do the same on this blog - just in a single blog post.

I am thankful for the following:

- My kids.
- My wife
- My family
- My God
- My guns
- The ability to shoot my guns
- The freedoms I still have left.
- The fact that I've not yet been molested by the TSA
- My Sunday School class.
- Food.
- Star Wars movies
- Fishing
- Warm clothes.
- A nice house
- Experiences - good and "bad"
- This blog.

More to come, I'm sure.

More on the TSA pat downs

Since the TSA has decided to violate the 4th Amendment rights of Americans, there has been much written and said on the topic.

I personally do not mind going through a metal detector Much more than that is an invasion of privacy. No way I'd do the body scans, or the pat down. I'm no criminal, and do not match the profile of one, so they have no probable cause.

If the TSA did have probable cause, then I would have to remind them that they are not a police entity, so they lack the authority to do so in the first place.

On a side note, Nancy Pelosi loses her private jet this January, so she will be forced to fly commercial. I wonder who gets to pat her down. No doubt, they will not want to.

Sarah Palin might be a different story...

Monday, November 22, 2010

More thoughts on working retail

Tonight, I work the fourth time in as many days with retailer, Target. I am a cashier for them in the Mount Juliet area store. Some more thoughts on the job:

- The people are nice. Much nicer than in minimum wage jobs I've held in the past.

- I used to, as a shopper, go to the quickest line. Even if it was one of the longer lines. It has been encouraging to see people do that same thing to me.

- At first, I wondered how long it might be before I got to ring up some poor, scared, young lady who was buying an emergency supply of feminine products.
Answer: First night, hour two.
And this happens regularly.

- When the young lady above, mentioned to her mom that she didn't want to check out in my lane, because I am a man, and her mom replied that all of the cashiers were men, it was evidently very good to tell the young lady that I am a father of a daughter. She seemed to relax a bit.
Plus, I moved it quick, and I'm sure she was glad to get out of there, too.

- As much as the previous two things happen, I am perplexed why women don't just buy extra product, and rotate the boxes. Get an extra at the store every few weeks, along with other purchases, to stay ahead.

- Some people treat cashiers like dirt. Some are very courteous. I like the latter.

- Folks that also work in retail or food service generally treat you better.

- Kids think I'm funny. Maybe because I'm silly with them?

- Parents of kids that think I'm funny treat me best of all.

- Late night customers purchase strange combinations of merchandise.

- Sunday morning shoppers buy lots of cleaning materials.

- Retail managers like low-hassle employees.

Liberal "news" on guns

The Washington Post now has a segment on the "secret life of guns."

If you believed all this stuff, you'd think guns were only owned by criminals, who buy them in gun stores, and then go insane with the trigger power.

I've held thousands of guns. Not one of them has made me want to kill, or otherwise break the law. I must be doing it wrong...

Evidently I have been doing it wrong:

Seems from this article that I've been wrong to work all these years. My disposable income has been in the poverty level for quite some time, and I figured out why.

All the entitlements mean that if someone works a part-time minimum wage job, and collects all the entitlements, then they have as much money left over at the end of the month.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Funny stuff here...

With all the commotion about the TSA and their new outlandish tactics, I came across this site:

Link to funny shirts. (warning - adult humor)

My favorite? "Don't grope me, bro!"

Also, this has spawned a new entry in urban dictionary (warning, adult language): "gate rape."

Interesting notes from my first night on the job.

Last night was my first at Target. It was an orientation night. Some observations:

- Kids in college range from fairly responsible to dimwitted to the point of making me fear for the future. Last night's class of 6 people had two college kids - one of each of the above descriptions.

- I was not the only professional level adult in the group. There were two others: one who will be working for the benefits, and one who needs the extra money like me.

- My brother has long held the opinion that HR people are often less intelligent and less productive than the general population. The poor girl there was not helping improve this image any.

- People working for Target seem to be more upbeat and personable than folks at Wal Mart.

- Target forbids employees from having guns on their property. What they don't know won't hurt them.

- Why the anti-gun statement when your very name is "Target"??? Anybody else see the irony here???

- I missed seeing my kids last night.

- I was impressed that Target actually uses behavioral interview questions in the hiring process. I am amazed that some of my peers last night actually made it through them.

- Safety and anti-harassment videos can be pretty funny... unintentionally.

- Target is anti-union. Really, there was a 30-minute video harping against it. I liked it. Not everybody in my class did.

- I think I will enjoy working here. Make no mistake, the minute I can get a regular job to replace my primary employer, I will be leaving Target, too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Examiner, First Article

I recently was asked by to become a contributor for their segments on hiring practices. Of all the things I write about, they liked my comments on hiring practices? Wow.

Anyways, here's what I submitted:

Job Seeking Advice - with a Nashville, TN flavor.

It's no secret, the economy has been bad for several years. Many people have lost their jobs. Many more are underemployed. But there is a secret. Right now, there are people in the job market who are advancing their careers. There are others that, though they have lost a job, found a better job on the rebound.

How do they do it? Luck might be a factor. However, successful people do not rely on luck - it's akin to hoping to win the lottery once you get laid off. Instead, follow some tried and true methods. But, more than that, add some spice, and some techniques that have been found to work in the local Nashville area.A few simple changes to one's resume, interviewing skills, and assessment-taking skills can provide just enough of an advantage to help you land the job.

This is like the fisherman's bait. Use a resume that speaks to the individual employer - just like a fisherman knows what kind of bait will attract the desired trophy fish. Jobseekers should have two main documents: a resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV). The word "resume" essentially means "to sum up," and so it should. The term "Curriculum Vitae" could be literally translated as the "story of one's life."

The resume should be one page. It should highlight career experience, accomplishments, relevant certifications, and education. A good resume will include a brief statement of objective, and this is the best part to tailor to each prospective employer. Try to use key words that the employer puts in their job description.

The Curriculum Vitae should be a bit longer, with more detail. This document should not be tailored to each individual employer. A CV will typically run two pages in length for a professional with 3-5 years of experience, and up to as many as 8-10 pages for a professional with over 20 years professional employment. Generally, however, a good CV is between two and four pages in length.

Neither a resume or a CV should contain certain information. Specific information that should not be included would be:
- Why the candidate left a position
- Derogatory statements or information about the candidate, or any employer listed.
- Problems of a personal nature that affected the candidate's work.
- Negative information of any sort.

Interviews provide the candidate with an opportunity to sell himself/herself to the company. At the same time, the candidate should be observant for any potential red flags that indicate the employer might not be a good fit. Remember the sales aspect of this part of the hiring process, as the employer has many candidates applying, and will want to know why they should hire you over someone else.

The initial interview is commonly a phone screen. These are used to determine whether there is a broad fit between the applicant and employer. Often discussed are working conditions, duties, hours, salary, and other basic information. While some say that it is "conventional wisdom" to avoid discussing salary until later, the fact of the matter is that Nashville employers generally like to discuss whether salary ranges fit or not. Discussing salary ranges on the front end is not only advisable, but can really save the candidate's time and the employer's time, as well.

In person interviews are often the second or third step of the hiring process. Depending on the employer, there may be one or several interviews in person. Typically, an in person interview will take an hour, though some run much longer - including the occasional all-day interview.

A big topic of any interview is the questions that the interviewer might ask. Simple questions should be answered directly. Other, more detailed questions require a bit more thought and preparation on behalf of the candidate. These include thought provoking questions, questions regarding preferences, and behavioral questions (more on behavioral questions later). Ultimately, any interview question can be boiled down to one of three main topics: A) Why does this candidate want the job? B) Why should the company hire you? C) What value do you add?

Behavioral questions require the candidate to describe a particular situation, their response, and the end results of the actions taken. A quality candidate has several specific instances in mind that have been hashed out ahead of time. Many people will jot down several specific instances in preparation. Since the candidate almost never knows when a behavioral question might pop up, they will be prepared at all times.

Remember - the ultimate goal of the interview is to sell yourself. Hiring managers often hire people they like, so be likable. It should go without saying that appropriate dress, hygiene, and manners are to be expected. Promptness is always appreciated.

Many prospective employers will have the candidate submit to an assessment. These vary in nature and importance. Some companies will not hire a candidate unless they perform to a certain level on an assessment. Some companies simply use the assessment as yet another tool to understand the candidate in greater detail. In either event, the strongest strategy is to answer questions honestly and to the best of your ability.

Strong candidates will ask questions about the assessment before taking it. For example, many assessments in sales want an "either-or" mentality. But many others desire candidates to answer in shades of gray. A quality candidate will prepare by learning about the assessment in advance, and will answer honestly, while keeping in mind the way the assessment works. In the above example of a sales assessment, it is not false at all in most cases to change one's answer from a 5 to a 4 on a sliding scale - particularly on questions of personal opinion.

Unfortunately, many employers take assessment results far too seriously. So be mindful. And if you don't get the job because the assessment score was unacceptable, rest easy in the fact that the company either puts too much faith in the assessment, or you really were not a good fit. If they put too much stock in the assessment, it is an indicator that this company is not sure how to hire properly, and this is a good indicator that employment there will be on rocky grounds, at best. Conversely, if you aren't a good fit, your employment there would be on rocky grounds anyways.

Final thoughts
Searching for a job is an art form. There are many people out there looking, and many others trying to find quality candidates. It is not uncommon for one prospective employer to think your resume is the best they've seen, and the next to think that your resume is lackluster, at best. In short, interviewers are not perfect, companies are not perfect, and candidates are not perfect. The most successful people are the ones who can adjust with the times, and "go with the flow."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Violating rights

There has been much made recently of the new TSA regulations - requiring pat-downs, image scanning that essentially shows the TSA agent your naked body, and other silly measures.

One blogger points out how this is a violation of our constitutional rights, and the TSA admits it!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There they go again...

Trying to disprove the Bible.

I ran across this link, in a forum. The link is trying to prove the Bible wrong. To sum up, the author thinks that scribes either mis-translated, or otherwise edited old scripts.

The claim is that the mistranslation was done and ages of the original people in the Bible, such as Adam, Methuselah, Noah, and others from Genesis were overstated as a result of the mistranslation.  They went so far as to post an updated hypothesis of the "real ages" of these men, as well as explanations of how the "error" occurred. Naturally, this results in a completely altered history, where Noah is a king, and has a barge of grains and animals survive a local river flood.

Problems with the arguments:

This article fails in the following respects:
- It takes a known error in the Sumerian Kings list, and assumes a similar mistake was made by a Hebrew scribe.
- The similar mistake or mistranslation, involved the need to manipulate numbers, either on the order of ten, or one hundred. Base-10 numerology came about several hundred years after the Babylonian time frame to which they refer.
- Babylonian numerology was base-60, and so there would be no need or even desire to inflate the numbers by ten. Proof - the Smerian King list was known to have been mistranslated during the Babylonian time frame. The ages of the Sumerian Kings were off by a factor of 3600 - which just so happens to be 60 x 60.
- On this page, the author makes the argument that the author arbitrarily left out two other known survivors. Then asks the ridiculous question: "how many more did the author leave out?" We know people were left out, daughters and slaves were not mentioned in story lines unless they directly affected the story. That does not mean there were thousands of others that survived.
- The author reference the Epic of Gilgamesh many times. While this is an important historical document, it is also known to be a copy of a copy of another society's attempts to document history based on the Hebrew's documentation.
- The author frequently references Ziusudra as being the person the Hebrews called Noah. Problem is, there is no evidence of Ziusudra prior to the first Babylonian empire - when the Hebrews were taken hostage, and their history copied by the Babylonians (known to happen with many other ancient "stories"). It is safe to conclude that Ziusudra is the Babylonian copy of Noah. The Babylonians did this with other societies they captured, and historians call them on it. But historians with an attempted point to make (an anti-God point), will turn this around, and say the Hebrews borrowed this from the Babylonians. This despite the fact that the oldest texts we have are Biblical.
- The author "debunks" the Ark's size, based on the assumption that it was a local river flood. Of course, had it been a six-day river flood, there would have been no need for an ark at all - just move to the top of a mountain for a week. Also, there would be no need to transport any animals.

This article fails like this:
- First, it makes the same base-10 assumptions, then disproves them. Then in an effort to pick back up, it makes some very unlikely divisions of age using the father and the son, and then for the ones that don't fit are simply added with 100, or 10. Again, these numbers were not the base unit we think of them as. The scribes of the day would not likely have used them. It would be far more likely they would have used 60 than 100, and six than ten.
- There is no account for the known Hebrew tradition of 7's and 13's. The week was seven days, the year was thirteen 4-week 'months,' or four 13-week 'seasons.'
- Instead, they did assume that there was an error translating twelve months into the known thirteen that the Hebrews observed. Problem with that is that the 12-month calendar, known as the Gregorian Calendar, was not introduced until 1500, with it's 12-month predecessor, the Julian Calendar, being introduced just before the time of Christ in 46 BC.
- If you look at some of the proposed mistranslations, you would have to believe the scribes were about six-years old to make those mistakes.
- It uses the list of Sumerian Kings - already known to be factually flawed - as a base point from which to compare.

Both articles fail with known time lines:
- Abraham is known to be the tenth generation from Noah, and the twentieth from Adam. Both articles here will presume that Noah (or Ziusudra) lived around 2900 BC. Neither article disputes that. Neither article disputes the lineage or time frame from Noah to Abraham - ten generations. Abraham is known to have lived from 2000 BC to 1800 BC, or thereabouts. Ten generations spanning a thousand years? Nope. Noah landed more recently than that - about 2350 BC, according to the Bible. That means about 35 years per generation. Pretty standard throughout history.
- The remains of the Ark were discovered in 1948. It was found right where the Bible said it came to rest. The length was exactly 300 cubits. 300 Egyptian cubits. Remember, Moses wrote Genesis - he would have described the ark based on his (extensive) schooling in all modern Egyptian studies of the day.

Again, folks with an agenda are out to try to disprove the Bible. Why?
Follow the money.

If there were more money in the Bible, then there would be more churches, and more people in these churches, and many of these same folks that try to disprove the Bible would be trying to preach the Bible for the money.

Also, old-Earth hypothesis is contrary to the scientific method, and is not, therefore, science. From a quote on what the scientific method:

To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
 Folks, we have no accurate method of testing ages past 10,000 years. But some "scientists will deduce that, because they do not want to answer to a Holy and Righteous God, they can find a way of proving the Earth is over 4 billion years old. Nobody was there to observe it, and the methods to date the materials cannot be reproduced, as people have not been around millions of years to observe, so these claims are all phony science.

Who looks silly now?

Last night, Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles looked flawless in a dominating performance over the Washington Redskins.

The side story to this was that Redskins QB, Donovan McNabb, had been traded away last off-season. Many fans regretted that decision.

Last night, that particular decision looked pretty good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Looking forward to Sunday School

For the past four weeks, we have been splitting Sunday school time half and half between the regularly scheduled lesson, and a cliff's notes version of the sermon by the pastor.

This was requested, by the pastor, for the four weeks of all Sunday school classes. Part of the reason, I think, is because the church has proposed a giving campaign to fund the down payment for construction on a new "children's wing." The claim is that space is severely limited.

While that claim might be true to an extent, I do not personally condone the project at this time. Simply put, we are in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Starting a giving campaign in a church where revenues are just now back to pre-2008 levels is asking a bit much, I think.

And going into debt to build a building at this time does not make a lick of sense. I suggest the church wait until things turn around a bit. And then, I would suggest they do not take out a loan to do the construction.

As a small demonstration of protest, I have decided to wear jeans to church, and have been doing this for several weeks for just this reason. It is my way of showing outwardly that many families, my own included, are being forced to cut back. It is only responsible that the church do the same.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Banning Phone Books

On the Huckabee Report this morning, it was discussed that some areas are looking at legislation to ban phone books.

The idea is that people really don't use the phone book any more. Most people google the number. And those too old to google the number, likely cannot read the small print of a phone book, according to Huckabee.

In concept, I agree with this thinking. This is one of the few times I will agree with the environmental argument on this issue. This blogger started this organization, and they make some good points.

In principle, I disagree with the ban, as there is no need to legislate this - let the market decide. I know I take phone books and use them for two important things:

A) Booster seating for my daughter (who will be 3 on Sunday).
B) Shooting targets

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Antiquity in the Martial Arts

This is an essay for the removal of forms ("kata" in Japanese) from the martial arts.

At the outset, I'd like to make clear that I do not think we will see this happen in my lifetime, but that does not mean we shouldn't push for it.

Originally, kata were the root of all forms in the martial arts we see today, with the exception of a very few Chinese arts, which actually served as the inspiration for kata. Kata were developed in Okinawa. The majority of kata were developed within the last 120 years or so. There is only anecdotal evidence of any kata being developed or created more than 150 years ago.

During the development of most of the major kata that have been preserved to this day, there were several major causes for the development. In Okinawa and Japan at the time, martial arts practice was forbidden by law. Japan had just endured its version of a civil war, and in an attempt to quell insurgencies, banned the wearing of weapons, the practice of martial arts, and the wearing of the Samurai topknot - among other things.

Since people have always wanted to learn martial arts, they found ways to learn in private meetings. Usually these were held in secret - often in a back yard surrounded by fences. Keen instructors realized that with limited student bases, and with the government trying to find and out their practice, it would be wise to disguise the training. At the time, local folk dances were not prohibited. Folk dance was, in fact, promoted.

These keen instructors - likely Itosu and Asato (the instructors of Gichin Funakoshi) - collaborated and disguised the movements of karate into what we now know as kata. The movements were patterned, and often had a mirror quality - being performed the same way to each side, as well as ending near the same point as they started.

Needs of the time:
Since martial arts were not legal to practice, and were therefore forced "underground" as it were, two major problems were solved by the invention of kata.

First, many people could study under one instructor. The instructor could stay in a location for a while, teaching a catalog of basics, and reinforcing these with kata to be studied. Then the instructor could travel to another location and do the same. By the time he got back around to the first set of students, they would have mastered the basics, and he could then teach more advanced movements, and a new kata. Then he made the circuit again.

This allowed one instructor to teach many students in many areas. It also allowed for a uniform set of instructions. It also allowed for local diversity - the arts of Shuri-te, Naha-te, and Tomari-te. Originally, each of these arts only had a few kata. As time progressed, they added more.

What had happened was essentially the same as modern studies that take place - the important details were noted and cataloged. These days, we catalog with pen and paper, or via electronic file. Older things that are worthy of note are placed in museums. Kata should be, too, as it is a karate museum.

These days, to learn effective martial arts moves, we have videos and many live instructors. The advent of television and the internet has replaced the need to catalog via kata. Plus, it is not illegal to practice martial arts in the United States - or most countries for that fact.

Since kata was originally designed to fill the purpose of a museum,  I suggest we now retire kata to the museum. We have the footage of the masters of old doing kata. There is no need for more. Besides, we have far more modern and effective methods of teaching karate, and other martial arts.

There are some arts, like Iaido and Aikido, that are museums in and of themselves. These arts should retain their kata. Here's why I suggest these two arts retain their practice of kata:

Aikido is an art based around an armored samurai, who has been disarmed, using techniques to defeat enemy combatants armed with swords or maybe a staff. This limited number of techniques, limited in application, yield an art that is essentially comprised of kata alone. Yes, I am aware that Aikido claims not to have kata, but their techniques are so limited in scope, application, and practice that the entire art is essentially five large kata, with eight additional throws added in for "flavor."

Iaido is an antiquated art - for the same reasons as Aikido. Iaido was the Samurai art of swordsmanship. Since swords are no longer used in battle, the practical aspect of this art is almost never referred to. Aikido should man up and admit the same.

In case you haven't figured it out, I think we should antiquate kata formally. Forms competitions are fine. But no longer should we pretend that kata will yield to more advanced combat applications. That is akin to suggesting that we should consult scientific literature from the 1700's for modern reference and learning.

However, practicing antiquated ways, for the purpose of enjoyment, is reason enough to do whatever it is that you want to do. Just don't deceive yourself into thinking kata will be of any practical application.

In honor of Veterans' Day - 2010

It is easy to remember outstanding veterans like Sgt. Alvin York (captured 128 Germans in a single day) or Audie Murphy (who single-handedly took on four German tanks... and won!)

Here is an article about veterans you likely haven't heard of (Warning - adult language and themes):
Eight Completely Bad@$$ Veterans You've Never Heard Of.

My favorite?
Captain George Mallon.
He not only killed the enemy with guns and knives, but he also attacked a heavy artillery post with his fists!

Who is your favorite of the group?
Who is your other favorite "bad@$$" veteran?

Happy Day!

Last night I interviewed with Target in Mount Juliet. I was hired on the spot for part time seasonal employment, provided I can pass a drug screen this evening.

Pay is not great, but the hours will be the main thing here, as they will not interfere with my regular hours.

I was surprised that they asked behavioral interview questions for a simple cashier position. Pleasantly surprised.

The soon-to-be boss stated this is seasonal, but that if I do well, it is likely I would be kept past the Holiday season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Classic Repo story with a funny ending

This did not happen to me. Instead, this was shared with me by a current co-worker who is also former Enterprise.

The renter rents a car and, not surprisingly, does not return the car. My coworker (MC for this post) goes through the motions. The renter just will not return the car. MC turns it over to the loss control department, and they go through the needed processes to report the car stolen.

Part of that process is sending certified mail, demanding the return of the vehicle. There is a 10-day waiting period after this before a rented car can be reported stolen.

This all happened at the end of this 10-day window.

MC is driving through downtown Nashville, when he spots the vehicle in question - a silver Nissan Maxima. In his rearview mirror, he sees the renter crossing the street and getting into the car.

A few deft driving moves puts him right behind the delinquent renter, and right in the way of flipped birds from angry drivers nearby!

MC uses his cell phone to call the renter.

"You need to return the car now," says MC.

"I'm in Memphis attending a funeral. I can't return it now." said the renter.

"No you aren't. You are in Nashville."

"I am in Memphis. What's wrong with you!" says the renter.

MC: "Ms. Renter, look in your rear-view mirror."

>>> MC waves to delinquent renter <<<

Delinquent renter pulls over. They happen to be out front of a major, famous hotel in downtown Nashville. MC assists the renter in extracting the 287 pounds of odd belongings the renter has stuffed into the car.

Renter: "What am I going to do with all my stuff?"

MC: "I don't care. It's your stuff!"

Bellhop (from Hotel): Man, this is messed up. You are humiliating her!

MC: "She owes me $4000. Now, if you want to pay that, I'll be glad to help put the things right back in the car."

Bellhop - walks away sheepishly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Medical coverage and socialized medical care

By special reader request:

A bit on health care coverage. 

Years ago, one paid for all health care expenses. Individuals sought medical treatment only when necessary, as they had to pay for it all. Home remedies were common for most minor illnesses or injuries.

Based on this, and with the objective of (gasp) making a profit, while offering a convenient service, the insurance industry started offering health care coverage. At first, much like life insurance, the coverage was designed to be a protection against catastrophic losses. In other words - the individual would still pay for any small treatments, but major hospitalization would be covered. This protected a household from bankruptcy in the event of a major accident or illness.

This concept was the ideal. Much like today's automobile owners must pay for small mechanical repairs, but have insurance for major collision or comprehensive losses.

Enter Congress. 

Some say that since "pro" is the opposite of "con," then it implies that "congress" would be the opposite of "progress."

In 1971, Congress was forced into reactive mode. Only six years earlier the Medicare program was enacted through the same legislation that brought Social Security, placing the burden of many more health care expenses on the government. During the next six years, physician costs went up over 7%, hospital charges went up over 13%, while GDP only increased 5.3%. Costs were being artificially inflated so that physicians and hospitals could make more money off of the government.

Additionally, consumers (regular people covered by medicare / medicaid) had no financial interest, so they sought medical coverage for EVERYTHING. Hey, it was "free" after all! They could go to the doctor or hospital for every little thing that they used to cover themselves.

Congress struck back in 1971, enacting laws that placed restrictions on coverage. This prevented people from going to the doctor or hospital for every little thing.

The legislation from 1971 also placed restriction on price increases for costs of services. Now, the government dictated what a doctor or hospital could charge. The free market on health care was now dead - it just didn't know it yet.

Excellent essay on these events.

From there, Congress also loosened up laws on Managed Care Organizations (MCO's - the forerunner of modern HMO's). Previously, it had been largely illegal for a single interest to control the pricing of another business. The term we use is "price fixing." With relaxed laws on this for the medical profession, the insurance companies united, and started dictating rates to physicians and hospitals.

Nowhere else in our free society does the purchaser DICTATE the pricing for the merchant. We are a capitalist society - the market as a whole dictates prices.

But this was no longer true for health care.

Back to the Private Sector

Now, we have group programs that pay for not quite as much as they used to - primarily because the insurance companies have learned to limit benefits, lest the policy-holders spend the money willy-nilly. Agian, the concept of people not having a financial interest in the care allows them to seek care for unnecessary injuries and illness.

That is also why we see rising deductibles - the insurance companies put some of the financial burden back on the policy holder - making for more responsible choices by the individuals.

Pricing and costs had started to level back out, as they do in a free market. Most people had chosen to move away from HMO's, as they were inferior coverage to other plans on the market - both in cost and in benefits provided. The free market had almost overtaken all of the artificial government entrapments.

Again, enter Congress.

In 2010, the heath care reform act was passed. Again, Congress saw fit to legislate what a company could and could not cover. Pricing restrictions were put in place. Essentially, Congress stated that the government wanted to take over all health care coverage - by making it impossible for a private company to sell coverage at a (gasp) profit.

But the government has proven they cannot manage anything correctly.

Government run health care 2009 and prior

Prior to the government takeover, there were two arms of government funded health care -
1) Medicare - health care for the elderly.
2) Medicaid - health care for the poor.

At the time, Medicare was written by actuaries to take effect when an individual reached the age of 65. At the time, the average life expectancy was 70. Therefore, a recipient was expected to draw benefits for an average of only five years.

Today, life expectancy is 87. Meaning a recipient is expected to draw benefits for an average of 22 years. This has made the program far more costly than originally intended.

Medicaid, at the time, was designed for the poor. Today, people can qualify for Medicaid if they have a monthly income of less than $2000. Since this is calculated after taxes, one could qualify for Medicaid if one earns as much as $30K per year. Hardly poor. 

Medicaid has expanded tremendously since 2000. There are several underlying reasons:
1) The Medicare Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2003 expanded medications covered under Medicaid (and Medicare, too). Now, with no financial responsibility, patients can get all the Medicines they want.
This act was passed by all but one Democrat voting for it in the Congress, and a few turncoat Republicans. The Senate vote was substantially similar in makeup.
This was one of the handful of mistakes that President Bush made - by signing it into law.

2) Congress, seeing how quickly the program was expanding (along with Medicare), enacted a plan to reduce the spending. The Deficit Reduction act of 2005 was their answer. As always, it is impossible to undo the new laws and new tax burdens. The new law did slow growth - by limiting coverages (just like the insurance companies do when they want to preserve their *gasp* profits).

And the limitations on coverages have made the product (Medicaid / Medicare) worse for its consumers. 

To add insult to injury, Medicaid has continued to grow.

Yes - it covers less, and still is growing out of control!

3) Medicaid is not run solely by the Federal government. Medicaid is funded predominantly by the Federal Government, but is operated (and partially funded) by the states.
This is like having the fox run the hen house!
States, in opposition to the Deficit Reduction Act, have been legislating like wildfire, to keep their Federal money flowing in. More Medicaid abuses and fraud have been the result.


We have yet to see the final result, but the fact is that we cannot afford Medicare and Medicaid any more.
We cannot afford the 2010 health care mandates.

We can afford going back to the old fashioned way of doing things.
We can afford traditionally underwritten insurance.

And I know - there will be rioting in the streets when the government no longer provides insurance.

My only questions:
1) Where in the Constitution is government funded health care even permitted?
2) When will the current government operations actually go belly-up?
3) For those that believe in the government providing all, would you please name one thing the government has run well? Or even correctly?
I've only ever seen the government run things into the ground.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Debunking Democrats

"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so."
- Ronald Reagan

Myth 1 - Democrats stand up for the poor.

If this were true, Democrats would be trying to empower the poor. Or educate them. Or otherwise provide a mechanism for the poor to move up, out of poverty, and into financial success.

The truth is, Democrats often vote for measures that keep poor people in poverty. This is because it is impossible to make the poor wealthy by taking the money from the rich. The poor have to appreciate the correlation between hard work, and the money they earn.

Ingenuity, work ethic, and a little luck can help make anybody wealthy. But when was the last time you met a millionaire that got that way through government handouts?

Myth 2 - Democrats stand up for women / minorities.

This is actually the worst myth of the bunch.

In 1919, a Republican majority Congress voted to propose the 19th Amendment. Because of how Congress works, had a majority of Republicans not wanted the bill, it would never have made it out of committee.

In 1869. a Republican majority Congress voted to propose the 15th Amendment. This guaranteed the rights of all people to vote, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude (whether or not they are or were slaves).

From Wikipedia, on the 15th Amendment (emphasis is mine):
"The vote in the House was 144 to 44 with 35 members not voting. The House vote was almost entirely along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the bill..."

More to come on this one...

A Facebook Rebuttal

Posted by a democratic friend on Facebook:

"I am a democrat because I believe in the equality of all people. I believe in socialized medicine, quality educations, womens rights...

I believe we should keep our noses out of other peoples bedrooms. I believe in supporting the arts. I believe that we should stop allowing big businesses to take our jobs overseas. I believe that I am not better than the homeless man I pass on the street, and the man in the Mercedes passing me..... is no better than me.

I believe the biggest reason is WWJD. So many attributes of a true Democrat is exactly how Jesus would have acted if he were walking on Earth today. Those humanitarian basics. Treat people with respect, make sure everyone has proper food, clothing and shelter."

My response:

Funny. The exact same reasons listed are why I am conservative. I tried being liberal - then reality hit... HARD. Free healthcare for everybody sounds great - problem is, there is not enough money to pay for it. Quality education is what we should all want for our children - but the government has proven over and over that it cannot provide. Women's rights were voted in by Republicans - conservatives - as were equal rights for all races.

I agree we should keep our noses out of others' bedrooms - the sanctity of marriage or any other relationship is too important for big government to have any say in. I believe we should stop letting the government tell any business how it should be run - the .gov never gets it right anyways.

I believe all men are created equal - and should be equally allowed to succeed or fail without government intervention. Everything else .gov intervenes in gets screwed up!

I agree that the biggest and greatest thing we can do is ask WWJD - Jesus gave freely of his unlimited resources. We, as imperfect people, do not have unlimited resources. Jesus knew this, so he asked us to give 1/10 - "Tithe." With the tithes, the church can do far more than .gov could ever dream of. They have been doing far more for centuries with far less than 10%!

Jesus did not provide everything for everyone. Instead, he helped people so that they could eventually help themselves. He knows that government cannot provide. Heck, .gov can't do much of anything right. I think we should follow that principle.

And I think the majority of Americans agree with me... because they just overwhelmingly voted in that direction.

And I think this post will get deleted. Truth often hurts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Make up your mind about what you are going to lie about

BEFORE you lie. That way, it's easier to keep up with the lie.

CNN personality Chris Matthews interviews Michelle Bachman. It is clear that Chris is irritated at the Republican sweep this evening. Here is the interview.

My favorite part?
Glad you asked!
"I think people are thrilling tonight, I imagine that thrill is maybe not quite so tingly on your leg anymore, I'm not sure anymore," Rep. Bachmann told Matthews.
In response, Matthews said:
"I never used that word"
But, reality is a bit different than Matthews' recollection this evening: Link here.

Mid-election results and thoughts

Tonight has been a memorandum on Obama, his failed policies, and liberalism in general.

At the time of this writing, it is predicted that Tennessee congressional representation will shift from a 5-4 Democrat edge to a 7-2 Republican representation.

Nationwide, it is expected at this time for Republicans to gain 60-65 seats.
The Senate is expected to be CLOSE. 

It would appear that the next governor will be Bill Haslam.   :(

Looks like we will have the state constitutional amendment to protect the rights of Tennesseans to hunt and fish. 

Mae Beavers leads in the State Senate race, and Linda Elam leads in the State Representative race.

No word yet on James Maness, my choice for city commissioner. Also, no word on the city charter amendment prohibiting Mt. Juliet city officials from holding other political office.

No word either on my mother's bid for Alderman in Gallatin.


Post - edit:
As of now, the Tennessean is reporting that James Maness has a substantial lead on Will Sellars.


Post-edit 2:
It would seem James Maness has handily defeated Will Sellars. Again, freedom wins out!

My mother placed second in her race, garnering nearly 600 votes.

Mae Beavers has won the State Senatorial race by a wide margin.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hungry for change

Tomorrow is election day. There are hotly contested races all over the nation that will be followed well into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

At present count, it is expected that Republicans will see a net gain of 65 seats in the Congress and a net gain of nine seats in the Senate. If the poll numbers hold true, this would be one of the most dramatic landslide overhauls ever to happen across the US.

MSNBC, sensing the change, put out an article today on why Americans want more change. I think they touched on some of the reasons, but didn't get it quite on the money.

The article states:
"Either the change wasn't what a restive public wanted or it didn't come fast enough."
 I think that is partially true. And I think it is completely true. Here's how:

First, I think that most conservative  people wanted a change of how Washington does things. (The article does point this out in a quote of Howard "The Scream" Dean).

Second, I think independents, moderates, and other people who are too weak-minded to consistently vote what they believe voted to get Bush out of office. Problem was, Bush wasn't running. So they took it out on McCain. Now, these people have seen what the liberals really wanted to do and they want none of it.

Third, I think liberals wanted what we got, just faster, more of it, and for it to be more socialized than it was. They now see Obama and his liberal minion as being liberal-lite. Thing is, Obama and company did pass the liberal stuff through in the only way they could have considering they wanted to remain re-electable - they just got exposed along the way and guaranteed that a majority of them will not be re-elected.

The point that was completely missed was this:
The voters of 2008 wanted to move the country to more traditional (I say conservative) roots. Obama and the Democrats promised that, with no intention of delivering. That's why they used the mantra "change" (avoiding of course, detailing what kind of change)
The voters got change - just not what they were looking for.
We wanted more freedoms back, less taxes, less intrusive government, and the ability to earn our way out of this recession / depression.
We got the exact opposite.

Tomorrow, we take it back.