11-6-2005 Terrell, stingers, profit margins and fraud

Well? Is anyone surprised that it took more than one season for Terrell Owens to, well…be himself. Being dedicated Eagle bashers, my brother, my son and myself were absolutely thrilled when we first learned that the Eagles had signed Mr. Distraction. And true to form, he’s gone big freakin’ baby on both his coach and his teammates. Now we learn that he’s been sent packing by Reid for the second time this season. So, if you’re an Eagle fan (nobody’s perfect), what should be done with the man/child? I’ve got a couple of ideas. Let me know what you think.

Since Terrell took it upon himself to “out” a quarterback who has a knack for collecting beautiful women as being a gay man, maybe Owens should be traded to Detroit and be re-united with his former “gay” teammate. Better yet, how about trading Terrell to, say, the Houston Texans and see how much adoring press he receives while toiling away in near anonymity on a perennial loser. And just to add insult to injury, they could trade him for a 10th-round draft pick and two cheerleaders from the practice cheer squad. If trading him is out of the question, perhaps the Eagles should force him to appear on the Doctor Phil show and have his feeble little mind skull-f>cked. Coming up next: I am a toddler trapped in a man’s body. Or worse yet, they could force him to participate in a cry circle on the Oprah show. After the break: Terrell Owens bares his soul. That ought not take more than thirty seconds or so. Heyna?

Whatever. You get what you pay for, and the Eagles went out and got themselves $4 million in damaged goods. Andy Reid is a genius?


I see those “peace-loving“ religious kooks transplanted from the Middle East are now trying to burn the Paris suburbs to the ground. Nifty. French officials reported finding a Molotov cocktail factory replete with bomb-making materials. Nice. Oh, and those nut-jobs currently running loose after dark and burning neighborhoods have been reported to be screaming “Jihad!” Cool.

I’m feeling more and more tolerant of these people with each passing day.


I heard a major whopper the other day. Kevin Lynn told his MoveOn.org-inspired listeners that the “insurgents” in Iraq are using the Stinger missiles we provided to the embattled Afghanis during the 80s against our military aircraft these days. Really? Is that so?

During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1980-1988), the Soviets enjoyed complete air superiority and were bombing the Afghan fighters as well as the indigenous population at will. No, not back the Stone Age, even further back. The air assaults were as much deadly as they were relentless. Unlike their American military counterparts, the Soviets don’t worry themselves about silly things like collateral damage. If it moved, they bombed it. And if it didn’t move, they got suspicious and bombed it just in case. I once saw video footage of an Afghan village sitting directly under a bombing run being made by a Bear bomber. When the explosions began a couple hundred yards away and proceeded to get closer and closer, the American camera crews scrambled to take cover. But one camera guy kept his camera fixed on an Afghan kid sitting on a horse and the kid never moved, nor did he even flinch. The point being the kid was so completely used to these air sorties, he seemed nonplussed by them. He looked to be about 12-years-old.

So, the Russians were bombing these people with impunity and without as much as a care in the whole wide world. You see, sticks, stones and World War II era carbines weren’t much of a match for Hind-24 attack copters, various versions of MIG attack aircraft, and the aforementioned Bear bombers. Turns out, the Reagan administration decided to ship 2,000 Stingers to the flip-flop-clad Afghan fighters, and some friendly CIA covert-opts guys taught them how to use them. Well, there wasn’t much to learn.

Stingers are shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that lock on the exhaust heat generated by aircraft and rarely miss their intended targets flying below 11,000 feet. Basically, you just point, shoot, wait a second or two and then get to hootin’ and hollerin’ while the offending aircraft bursts into flames and such. Sounds like fun, don’t it? Needless to say, the Soviets no longer controlled the skies and were losing aircraft at an increasingly alarming rate. And within a year or so, they limped all the way back to Mother Russia with their tails between their legs, and with countless filled body bags.

Now, I ask you, have many of our aircraft have been brought down over both Afghanistan and Iraq during the past three years? Not really. We could probably count the number of aircraft brought down by hostile fire on one hand. Does it really sound as if our fly boys are being shot at with Stingers? Remember the impressive kill rate of the Stinger. You point, shoot and then celebrate. More likely, the insurgents are firing Russian-built Sam-7s, which can be easily steered away from their intended targets by the firing of defensive flares from the aircrafts themselves. Then you’ve got the much cheaper Chinese knock-offs of the shoulder-fired Sam-7s, which have been known to be fooled on occasion by that World War II relic--chafe. If things keep going at this rate, the military might be laying-off our search & rescue boys. That could be a challenge at the local job fair.

No one knows for sure how many of those 2,000 Stingers shipped to the Afghans are still in existence, and the U.S. government did institute an expensive buy-back program in both Afghanistan and Pakistan after we invaded Osama’s lair. But one thing is certain. The U.S.-built Stingers were engineered in such a way that would preclude them from remaining operable indefinitely. This was done just in case they ever fell into the wrong hands. The fact is, the triggers, uniquely-crafted batteries and some internal components were built in such a way so as to guarantee significant degradation if not used in a somewhat timely manner. In other words, they do not enjoy a long shelf life.

With that in mind, consider the fact that it’s been twenty years since we shipped those Stingers to the Afghan fighters. And since our military aircraft are not, and have not been falling like flies in any theater of operation, a thinking man would have to conclude that those ancient Stingers are in fact totally inoperable at this time. Make sense?

Ah, a thinking man. A thinking man would not be letting loose with anti-American rants on the local radio airwaves. A thinking man would not be making it up as he goes along. A thinking man would not be given to bouts of pacifism in the face of a world-wide conflict. Nyet?

Rather than spewing wildly about how we “gave” those people WMDs, or Stingers once upon a time, maybe someone should do a Google search and read up on Sunburn missiles. The Chinese Navy is currently stockpiling the Russian-built Sunburns which have one purpose, and one purpose only. You see, the see-skimming Sunburns are shipped-launched cruise missiles designed entirely to sink American aircraft carriers. Plus, the Chinese recently launched their first ever Aegis-capable surface ship with more to follow. By the way, the Aegis technology was stolen from us due to Chinese espionage. But there’s more. The Chinese are re-modeling and re-arming a once mothballed Russian-built Kiev-class aircraft carrier. Being under-sized by displacing some 46,000 tons, they are reduced to harrier aircraft only and aren’t much of a threat to the air superiority our mammoth carriers provide. But, they are building a carrier in the Essex-class range, say, some 76,000 tons or so. I forget exactly.

My point is, we’ve got lots more to worry about and plan for than some twenty-year-old Stingers being stored in a mud hut somewhere. And you would think that a local radio know-it-all would understand as much. You would think. Right?

I’m just sayin’.

I tend to do that.


This is for all of you anti-capitalist lefties currently frothing at the mouth in place. My current concern? The dreaded and "evil" Big Oil companies and their price-gouging tendencies. Let's do it.

I've seen all of your textual hysterics ad nauseum. Record profits! Those evil corporate bastards have reported record profits. Worse yet, Bush was an oil man too. Guilt by association, nyet? Oh, no! I demand legislation designed to put them in bankruptcy court by next Wednesday! Or, better yet, force them by legislative fiat to provide free gasoline until, say, 2010. A kind of Marxist probation, if you will. Sorry, but you folks come off as sounding completely brainwashed at this point. All it took was for a few Democrats to keep lamenting the evils of Big Oil for a couple of years, and you folks marched to that drumbeat with an unchecked fervor reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Just demonize, demonize and demonize some more and you're sure to fool most of the fools that can't think for themselves. Nyet? After all, repetition is reputation. Nyet?

Were will this Billary Clinton-inspired bullspit come to and end? First it was cigarette and beer companies with his nonsensical "sin taxes." Frankly, those were easy targets. Then, it was sin taxes on the yacht manufacturers. The thinking being that those rich enough to own a yacht should be punished for their obvious excesses. The result being many, many lay-offs in the boating manufacturing industry. Real good jobs lost. These (mostly disquieting) days, Big Pharmaceuticals are evil, as are Big Oil companies. (?) Never being one reduced to making arguments based strictly upon Republican vs. Democrat, or Capitalists vs. Communists, does that demonizing of profit--the American way--not smack of a strictly communist indoctrination? My life will never be complete until I find a way to stick it to Exxon??? Some of you people are scaring me.

Let's try reducing this "greedy capitalist pig" argument to a much, much smaller scale that some of you might be able to comprehend. If my local gas station had sales of, say, $100,000 during fiscal '04, and then doubled it's sales during fiscal '05, is this proof of price-gouging, while the cost of crude oil set new record highs? Why, sure it does. Right?

But the glaring error you people are making is your being fixated on gross profits, why profit margins go totally ignored. If your profit happens to double during one fiscal year, while your profit margin remains stagnant--much the same--there is no price-gouging going on. Evidence of price-gouging would be rising profit margins, but Big Oil's profit margins are much the same as they were before the price of crude oil all but exploded to new heights.

If it once cost me $7 to put a platter of great food priced at $10 in front of you, how am I gouging you by charging you $20 for that very same platter a while later when my mostly fixed costs have risen to $14??? We're still operating at a 30% profit, nyet?

Despite being a near hopeless neanderthal these days, I did happen to possess a sprinkling of business acumen during a previous life back in the 70s and 80s. Oh, and part of the 90s, too. And I'm here to tell you that you need to consider profit margins before setting off on some internet rant sure to impress the imbeciles currently passing themselves off as informed citizens.

Do you really want the price of crude oil to drop? Want to pay $1.29 at the pump again? Then go and find some more. Drill, kiddies. It's all a matter of supply and demand. Unfortunately, the world's demand has all but equaled it's current supply.

Big Oil is no more your enemy than Big Potato Chips is. If Idaho were to be completely flooded by tommorrow, you'd be paying record prices for some Herr's. There's supply...and there's demand. And no self-serving capitalist should be demonized when demand outstrips supply.

Shame on y'all for being so completely hoodwinked by hollow political rhetoric.

Sez me.

Whatever, man!

Okay! Okay! I give! I'll friggin' vote for you. Just don't run me over when I'm out enjoying a walkabout.

We believe in keeping our sidewalks safe.

Wasn't this guy the one that had absolutely no problem with charter schools right from the get-go?

And aren't his military credentials virtually impeccable, while he remains second to none as far as being well-educated goes?


I'm just sayin'.

The latest e-mail update from The Club for Growth:

From the e-mail inbox House Votes For Limits on Kelo Decision

The House on Thursday passed a bill that cuts off federal development funds for two years to states and local governments that take private property for private development. It also bans the federal government from doing such acts as well. This was a huge step that largely reverses the outrageous Kelo decision handed down by the Supreme Court earlier this year. During the debate, several pro-growth lawmakers went to the floor to support the proposal. Sixteen representatives who were elected with Club member support were among the sponsors. Here are a few excerpts from them:

"That goes back to the days of King George when he says, gee, you have been a good friend, you have paid taxes, but this guy over here has promised me a bigger kickback, so I am kicking you off your property." - Congressman Louie Gohmert

"This law will prevent government land-grabbing authorized by the Supreme Court. Their ruling was an error in judgment of constitutional proportions and hopefully the Supreme Court will find its way and reverse this absurd ruling." - Congressman Ted Poe

"This spring, the Supreme Court put a 'For Sale by Government' sign in front of every American home, farm and business." - Congressman Steve King

Lukewarm Tax Reform

Here is the press release that we issued after the president's tax reform panel officially offered its recommendations earlier this week:

Pat Toomey, President of the Club for Growth, the nation?s leading free-market advocacy organization with over 33,000 members, issued the following statement in response to the final recommendations submitted today by the President?s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform:

"While some of the Tax Reform Panel?s recommendations would make the Federal tax code more pro-growth on the margins, it?s disappointing that the Panel didn?t use the unique opportunity they were given to advocate a broad, sweeping overhaul of a tax code in desperate need of it.

"Since the terrific tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, economic conservatives have been very disappointed in the runaway spending that has emerged as a trademark of Washington Republicans. If the Administration went on the domestic policy offense with a bolder, more ambitious pro-growth tax reform plan, it would give economic conservatives across the country a Bush policy proposal to rally around."

A Simple Spending Cut

Earlier this week, the Club for Growth scored a "YES" vote as a pro-economic growth vote in its annual rating of Congress on an amendment offered by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The amendment would require a 3/5 vote, beginning with Fiscal Year 2007, if nondefense, non-trust-fund, discretionary spending exceeds the previous fiscal year's levels.

While all of the free-market thinkers in the Senate including Jim DeMint, John Sununu and Tom Coburn (all elected with Club member support), voted in favor of this amendment, it unfortunately failed 32-67. We commend the Senators who voted for it. It certainly separates the wheat from the chaff by identifying those senators who are committed to cutting spending and promoting economic freedom.

Shh! Don't Say That

Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas (Club PAC class of 2002) made a valiant attempt to pass a bill he sponsored that would exempt online speech from campaign finance laws, but his efforts came up short-handed last night even though the House voted 225-182 in favor of the bill (because the vote was under a special rule, it needed a 2/3 majority, or 272 votes, to pass).

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (also elected with support from many Club members in 2002) had this to say about the bill:

One of the reasons I think you've seen some oppose H.R. 1606 is because they supported the 2002 campaign finance reform legislation and they're trying to defend that vote still. In many ways H.R. 1606 is a recognition that the 2002 reform has been a disaster. And I have no doubt at least a few voted no on H.R. 1606 in order to bolster their assertion that the 2002 reform was a positive. You had a lot of people on soapboxes denouncing those opposed to the 2002 reform as despicable and corrupt, and it has turned out that the 2002 reform has only complicated the system and infringed on free speech. In my opinion we ought to scrap the 2002 bill altogether before it gets its hooks into the internet.

I can't even remember how many times I have typed the following words: "Do you really want to put these people in charge?"

My basic premise was that the supposed beacons of abject virtue--the local political activists--are never, ever challenged whereas their ethics, or qualifications are concerned. I know this goes against the well-ingrained grain in this backward county that has been ripe with political corruption for quite a few threadbare generations now, but being an oft-quoted activist should never be confused with being the next Mother Theresa.

I've definately gone on the record as stating that I have had just about enough of all of this Initiative & Referendum citizen lawmaking nonsense in Wilkes-Barre, and in direct response, a few of you have made some good arguments to the contrary. Real good arguments, mind you. Quite frankly, based on my stated position, it was probably easy to take a contrary position and lecture me about whatever it was that some sought to lecture me about. Whatever. I'm cool with all of that. It was some good fun, heyna?

But, after close examination, I never for a moment thought that the leaders of the activist uprising in this city were a cut above the folks we elected to lead us a couple of years ago. I know I'm a loon-job, but raising hell on a consistent basis is not proof of any leadership qualities, or proof of one's possessing a master plan much better than what we've been treated to so far. No, rather, what we've been treated to was self-aggrandizing folks short on facts, short on figures and, in my mind, short on credibility.

And having had some experience of my own whereas this petitioning of public referendums is concerned, I fully realize that the entire petitioning process is completely fraught with error, if not, fraught with the whims of unscrupulous folks who might cheat to see their political ends met. The fact is, I could scribble in your name, your address and your occupation on my page of the petition, hand it in to the voter services office, and then hope and pray like hell that the city's paid solicitors decline to take a much, much closer look at my attempts at citizen-inspired legislating.

I have found myself chuckling away numerous times at the oft-suggested notion that the elected folks are all scoundrels, while the relentless folks that hope and pray to one day replace them are above all repute. In this smoke-and-mirrors activist Mecca of ours, nothing could be much further from the truth, but who's bothering to hold the activists accountable other than myself and Judge Conahan? He lives in a comfy mansion somewhere, and I have to wonder which car it is that will one day veer hard right and run right over me. Maybe I should have done a bit more than tapping barrel after barrel while I was I stumbling my way through the local community college. Then again...nah. I got exactly what I wanted out of my college days.

The thing is, when it comes to corruption and election fraud, there seems to be a psychological resistance to conceiving of anyone other than the elected folks bending the easy to follow rules. The holier-than-though activists would never, ever bend those rules, would they? No! It couldn't be! They're fighting corruption and they would never stoop to the level of the elected. Right?

Well, as it turns out, there are those activists running loose among us that would dare to break the rules, er, election laws. No, I can't go into any great detail right about now, but suffice it to say that in this age of photo-shop doctored documents, and photo-shop altered photos...somebody took it upon themself to photo-shop a county letterhead and then submit it to, as far as I can tell, the voter services office. And if culpability can be assigned to anyone in particular, severe legal repercussions may follow.

The Pennsylvania Election Code contains several statutes that apply. All are misdemeanors that carry fines ranging from $100 to $500 and jail terms of three months to two years in the event of a conviction.

But there’s another punitive step that could confront anyone convicted of tampering with election documents.

Section 3552 of the election code says, “Any person convicted of any provision of this act shall, in addition to any of the penalties herein provided for, be deprived of the right of suffrage absolutely for a term of four years.”

In other words, a person would forfeit the right to vote for four years.

That could be the deathblow to someone involved in politics, said Harvey.

“Although it doesn’t involve a term in prison, (the conviction) would be quite devastating to someone who is active in politics because the loss of suffrage for four years would disqualify the person deprived of those rights from involvement in party politics,” he explained. There also is the option of criminal charges if the authorities investigating alleged incidents of election-law violation feel the evidence supports them.--(Sorry. I don't remember where I snagged that from. I'm trying to do this internet stuff, deal with two sugar-crazed grandkids, and watch the NFL pregame show at the same freakin' time.)

So, while some in this city stubbornly continue to argue the merits of Initative & Referendum, some other I&R proponents might be on the hook for election-law violations. Yup, forging election documents is not cool no matter what side of the council chamber you happen to sit on. Whether the elected folks do it, or the petition canvassers conspire to do it, document-tampering can only be classified as being criminal activity as it pertains to electioneering. It's a noble endeavor to push contentious issues to the fore, but it's a whole other thing to file forged election documents.

I've often told people that quizzed me about my efforts than I can't change the world, I can't change the country and I can't change the state. But with enough effort, in my mind, it is possible to affect the outcome of local politics. And if we elect good people here at the grass roots level, hopefully they will one day gravitate upwards and change the state, the country, and maybe, one day the world. This is where we should be concentrating the bulk of our herculean efforts: At the grass roots level. But piling sh*t upon piles of sh*t will only damage the grass roots.

Stay tuned. Somebody might have a big legal problem on their hands.

Do you really want to put these people in charge?


Thanks entirely to the folks at the downtown Gallery of Sound, my hearing took another big hit last night.

If it ain't loud, it ain't worth a f**k! Nyet?

Go Jints!!! We're hoping for another perfect day today. The Jints win, and either the Eagles or the Redscums are guaranteed another loss.