Workers Of The World, Unite…

It’s almost deliciously great as an example of the power of unions in California.

The ports of Long Beach and LA have about 600 “clerical workers” – who typically ONLY earn $165,000. They have been offered $195,000 and 11 weeks of vacation time, but that is not enough! The union has been on strike, and since the other unions are honoring the strike, the Ports of Long Beach and LA are virtually shut down and have been for four days.

So, what more could the union want? How about “Featherbedding” – the union demands that when the workers go on vacations – and with 11 weeks of vacation time a year there will be a lot of “workers” on vacation at any given time – the union demands that replacements be hired even if there is not sufficient work for those replacement.

Long Beach and LA ports combine to handle 40% of the nations’ imports, and currently there are 18 ships idled, and others that have left for other ports. In 2002 there was a 10 day strike on many West Coast ports that cost the nation $10 billion.

I Love California, But…

The O’Reillly TV show had a segment comparing Texas to California.

Nothing new here, California wins just on climate – if Texas was half smart they would follow the lead of football stadiums and build a city with a dome!

I was raised in Texas. I KNOW the difference. Yankee Philip Henry Sheridan

Said during the Civil War, ““If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell”

Yes, Texas has it all over California except for the temperatures. All of the maps of the best places to live in America show the best climate in the US is within 40 miles of the Pacific Ocean, and those maps are absolutely correct.

In my youth, like most young people I did not have a thermostat. It was never too hot or too cold, and I lived in San Antonio without air conditioning.

But I am almost 80 years old, and I need comfort – so I live in San Diego County and just pretend that I live in Belize, or on Kauai – and in neither place would I care what the economies were, or the politics. I have spent a LOT of time on Kauai, and I love it enough to have moved their gardens, and home decorations, here to the mainland.

On Kauai, other than an initial study so I could write about it on my website covering the culture, history and politics of the island, I care not a whit about the politics.

I could not live in Texas, in spite of their advanced economies, compatible politics, ultra-nice people, and accommodating culture.

I live in San Diego County because of the agreeable weather. The idiots of this state elected to the Governorship the same joke of a Governor who first let the government workers unionize (in spite of FDR’s warning against that), and we have subsequently had Orange County, Vallejo, and San Bernardino cities declare bankruptcy.

More cities and counties are in the wings – all as a result of government worker unions’ pension plans. California has $185 billion in unfunded debt, and runs an annual $20 Billion deficit. Already with a top five tax burden, California must tax heavily, and suffer some of the worst schools and roads in the nation just to meet the annual pension costs.

California is indeed a mess. It will get worse. Much worse.

But the weather is terrific, and it does not have the bugs and humidity of Florida.

I think I’ll stay.



Argentina Follows Europe (Sound of flushing…)

Fitch’s rating service has downgraded Argentina’s financial standing, once again, and predicted financial default.

Argentina’s socialist president, who is scrambling as fast as she can but in the wrong direction, is exacerbating the problem, and has just lost a major $15 billion court case in the State of New York over the repayment of Wall Street loans.

Most Americans could not find Argentina on a map, and to most Americans “de- fault” is a ghetto term as in, “Ain’t my fault. De fault is with The Man!”

As to our political class, who actually know better, if they can just kick the can far enough they can continue to use Air Force One, or in the case of Boehner, a chauffeur-driven limo, or as Congresscritters more money than they ever saw in their previous  lives, plus a taxpayer staff and an ever- fawning public.

But as the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) + ARGENTINA ABLY DEMONSTRATE, there is an inevitable end-game that is unavoidable, even if the blame is still largely avoidable. (Who remembers the politicians who stuck us with the Big Dig, or the California Center For the Arts, Escondido, or the Sprinter, or …)

Until we find a way to inflict immediate pain for political failure, this system will not work as well as it should, but then Big Business is just as bad with Golden parachutes, but at least it is with money voluntarily placed there.

Your Word of the Day (and Mine)

I was perusing the headlines in the on-line Washington Post, and the headline jumped out: ““A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico” by Amy S. Greenberg.

Yes, I read book reviews so that I can find good books to read, or listen to if they appear on, and the word “Polk” hit a spot, because I am Allen Polk Hemphill.

Yep, that family.

Reading further, it appears that this new book is one of those “Presentism” books.

O.K. that is a new word for me also, and I learned it in the WaPo article – and I thought I had a pretty good vocabulary, so I put the word into Google, and Wikipedia defined it.

I knew the definition, and have been writing about it for years, I just had never known the concept had a name.

Presentism is simply placing today’s ethical standards on times past, when they had a different and not so enlightened ethical standards.

We see that often, from those who blast Columbus for the sins of his crew bringing Western decadence to the peace-loving, nature-living Native Americans to the denying of excellence to the Founding Fathers because many were slave owners.

It is primarily “Progressives” who are so deluded as to think that everyone who ever held views consistent with their time, should have known enough to have held today’s modern ethical standards.

Well, they didn’t, and although the Great Pyramids may well have been built by slaves, we can still enjoy their majesty, and while President Polk’s expansionist views may not fit today views, we in California are very happy he did. And, yes, I strongly suspect Polk did pick a fight with Mexico – or at least took minor assaults over the border as an excuse to invade Mexico – but it was the order of the day internationally to seize and hold land.

So the author of this screed against Polk, The Mexican War and expansionism as practiced by Polk (and others) is an example of “Presentism.”

Your Word Of The Day. Certainly mine.

Some Days….

Some days you just can’t win!

I have been lusting after a new set of earphones for my rather constant music on my iPhone, and since everything in my home and portable units is Bose, I ordered a set of Bose earphones just a few days ago.

I should know better. Black Monday was right around the corner.

And, a quick check of CNET on Black Monday told me that had a Black Monday Special on CNET’s top rated earphones – regularly $199, for only $75!

Some days are like that.

I have always contended that I buy what I want when I want, and if someone tells me that I could have paid less I just say, “It was worth it to me.”

Still…it grates that I missed that buy although I love the soft sound provided by Bose, and that is why I stick with the name. Yes, Bose units are overpriced but sound quality is a very subjective thing, and besides quality counts. A Timex keeps just as good time as does a Rolex — but quality counts.

But, next year…

George Will Nails It!

London’s Financial Times says one of the European nations in deep doo-doo (a technical economic term), Portugal, is reconsidering the Welfare State.

“The country has to choose between higher taxes or fewer state services, Vítor Gaspar, finance minister, said. “There appears to be an enormous divergence between what the Portuguese believe the state should deliver and the amount of taxes they are prepared to pay,” he told parliament recently.”

On ABC, George Will explained the current US situation, similarly when he said Americans want five dollars worth of services for which they are willing to pay three dollars.

That seems to be just about it.

On US Ambassador Susan Rice

I recall seeing US Ambassador to the UN on three of the five Sunday TV shows when she spouted the famous charge that she did not have final information, but the Benghazi attack appeared to be reaction of a video on the Internet.

I remember saying to my wife, “That is one smart person.”

And, indeed she is smart. Rhodes Scholar smart.

It’s just that she was wrong, and I believe she KNEW she was wrong.When you work for the president and the president says go and take this position, you have to have brass ones to say, “No.”

Ambrose Bierce wrote of : “DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.”

And, that is what she did, the reason for which lying is the question. If it was for political reasons, which seems apparent, then it was wrong but there will be no penalty because the ploy took the subject past the election.

Of course SOMEONE changed the talking points, giving Rice (and the president) political cover. Since we still do not know who directed Fast and Furious, it is unlikely we will learn who changed the talking points, although, since that is in writing it may be easier in theory.

In practice, it can still be hidden as an intelligence issue.

On a strictly political note, Susan Rice would probably make a decent Secretary of State because no Secretary of State is anything but the carrier of the administration views, something she did with vigor on the five Sunday talk shows.

The voters have spoken. The people have said it doesn’t matter, or at least enough to turn out the administration.

All of the ills of this administration were not enough to turn out this administration. There is something to the contention that there is a Cult of Personality going on.