12-12-2003 Little Susquehanna and brass ones


You know I am really going to miss comments like this one from hizonner regarding the Barney St. overflow: "I don't think there were so many people using their bathroom facilities today they overflowed the line," emphasized McGroarty. "The problem was the rain and the runoff." Union Wife, Hose Chick, Larry, Kayak Dude, West Side Dude, and all the rest, where, tell me where, are we going to go for classics like this. I know we still have Kurt "Fogbank" from Scranton, but it's just not the same. Perhaps the new mayor could let hizonner address the citizens every so often. While we are at it, perhaps we should rename Barney St. to Little Susquehanna. Wait, wait. I'm suddenly getting visions of hizonner wearing an Admiral's hat standing proudly at the helm of the hover craft as it races across the floaters running down the street, hand proudly tucked in his coat. Kayak Dude, this is one river you don't want to brave.

Stand up and cheer victory for the Hose Dudes, their families, and all of W-B's families. Big time grant on the way for the purchase of a new ladder truck. Yeehaw! goes the shout as I raise my coffee filled Hose Dude mug. Hose Dudes, you will finally have a safe, effective piece of equipment. Make sure we know where it will be housed so we can drop by and get pics with the kiddies. I guess the powers that be in grant land realized that hizonner was on the way out and couldn't blow the $450K on a statue of himself for the square and decided it was okay to let some cabbage come this way. By the way, could someone please start a "Save the tiller campaign." Every time I look at the replica toy truck version of that grand old gal in my son's room I just sigh. Why let a treasure just rot away? I mean she is the last one-that's it. Don't let her go the way of the dinosaur. There's got to be something we can do.

I have to amend my prior comments a bit concerning raises and the amount of county managers-326! That's 326? For 2000 employees, give or take a few? Yikes! Normally, a 3% bump is a blip on the old P&L and Balance Sheet-but this does not seem to be a normal situation. In my former place of work I had 38 employees, and at times over 50. Does anyone know what the attrition rate is? Are there a bunch of them up for retirement? If not, this may indeed be a place that needs to be looked at unfortunately. I have a very close friend that might be losing her position right now. It's a painful thing. I have been on both sides. Telling 11 folks that I don't have a position for them right before the holidays was the hardest thing I ever had to do-it aged me five years. It's harder than firing someone. Having fired several folks, I can speak from experience. You can warn folks, suspend them, but in the end, when THEIR behavior doesn't change, you can fire them with a clear conscience. For my part, it bothered me, but it was also a weight off my shoulders. These other folks were good workers. They were folks I wanted to have around. It was probably the worst night of my life the night before. If cuts have to made in W-B, then they have to be made. It will not be easy. Lets hope it doesn't have to happen.

Can anyone tell me what all the racist remarks coming from Kerry, Dean, and Kennedy are proving? The worst was Kennedy calling a female, black, judicial candidate a Neanderthal, and managing to group all blacks in with her. One of the greatest hopes I have in my lifetime, is that my kids will grow up in a colorblind world. But comments from these three show just which party is talking out of both sides of their face. I've been through the numbers before, but I guess these three idiots forgot that it was the overwhelming Republican vote that got the Civil (and Equal) Rights laws passed. It was the good-old-boy Southern Democrats that opposed them, and it was Al Gore's father that added an amendment to still allow school segregation in the South. Kennedy gets another vote for idiot of the month.

Hats off to the big brass one's that Bush laid out to the Frenchys and Krauts-forget helping out with rebuilding Iraq and cashing in on some of the contracts, that was an easy one-wash my back, I'll wash yours. But to then request that they forgive their debts-BIG, FAT, BRASS, BANG. Except for one question that he didn't ask. He should have asked them where the debt came from. Or did everyone forget that these debts came from illegal participation in illegal trade agreements that the French and Germans BOTH agreed to after Desert Storm. I guess they forgot those 17 UN resolutions. The one's that stated we won't trade for oil or weapons (among other things). Yet Germany and France traded both. So now they want to get their money for something that was illegal? And the best part is that the lefties are rushing to defend them, pushing themselves further and further away from all the blue collar democrats that enjoy hunting and fishing, many of which did their time in the military-many that I know and work with.

Lastly, Halliburton. Once again putting Cheney and Bush in the crosshairs. Before we begin, does anyone realize how much money Cheney lost when he sold all of his Halliburton stock before he became Vice-president? Halliburton did nothing but improve after he left the company. He lost MILLIONS! Now we have idiot Henry Waxman concerned with Halliburton's performance record, which he called troubling. I guess he conveniently forgot their history of defense work for earlier administrations. Halliburton was a favorite contractor of the Clinton Pentagon, and in fact was mentioned quite favorably by Gore in his reinventing government philosophy and cost-plus contracting system.

The first defense services contract was awarded was in 1992. Four companies competed, and the winner was Brown & Root (now Kellogg Brown & Root) which was later acquired by Halliburton. The contract was in effect during the Clinton administration and provided services for the Army in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia, providing electrical power, food, transportation services and other necessities. While the contract was lost to Dyncorp in 1997, Clinton chose to stay with Halliburton as the cost of the contract coupled with the cost of switching to a new contractor would have cost more than staying with Halliburton in the first place-the overall cost was greater. Once again in 1999 contacts came up for bid again, this time Halliburton won on cost. In 2001 they won again as the low cost bidder under the Bush administration. Waxman's hypocrisy sticks out like a sore thumb considering he never had a single concern over the three agreements under Bubba's reign.

And now the flag comes up for price gouging of the military by Halliburton, of which to date there hasn't been any proof of contract violations. Is there a difference in price between Halliburton and Kuwait. For sure, but Halliburton is supplying not only the fuel, but the delivery system, scheduling and logistics, waste control, spill protection, safety gear, trucks and equipment, fire services, staff to support all this, etc. Kuwait is not. If there were cost overruns, they will be uncovered by the oversight committee, but even they have nothing to date outside of the existing contract. Oh yeah, by the way, somehow I don't think this is the first time that the defense department has been taken advantage of by a contractor. Remember the thousand dollar hammers and toilet seats? But back then there was no oversight committee. Now there is. And now there are military watchdogs as well (I turned down jobs with both the Army and Navy to be one of these watchdogs-too much travel). The difference is that now there are Republicans in office and one used to work for one of these contractors.

Well, great Christmas Party at one of my best friend's house this weekend. He and his brother both play guitar as do their kids and friends-in fact the kids have a band called Braintrim. They have a great sing along party, good food and adult beverages, games, stuff for the kids. My eight year old will be playing the piano with them. Can't wait.

Time for some Country Feedback by R.E.M. "We've been through fake a breakdown, self hurt, plastics, collections, self help, self pain, est, psychics, $#%& all. I was central, I had control, I lost my head, I need this, I need this..."

Keep the Faith.
Private Sector Dude.