Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, Monday

Monday Mish-Mash

No Phi Beta Kappa: I admit to the fact that my academic credentials pale in comparison to those of our new president. And indeed, I probably spent as much time on academic probation as did our current president. I didn’t appoint Brownie to do a heck of a job, read “My Pet Goat” during the 9/11 disaster, or fly over Katrina and wave. On the state level my credentials do not include being a military pilot (what is it with those guys?) or getting fired from Delta Airlines, or wrestling with a cocktail waitress just before the elections, or even texting my girlfriend on a state phone while my wife was curled up in the Mansion with a good book. But despite my lack of credentials I’m going to go way out on a limb and suggest some fixes for the state budget. Rather than take dollars from scholars, and given the fact that the casino and hotel industry is having its own problems, why not introduce a state lottery designated for the Education budget only? Let’s see, that would not only remove the deficit from the schools, it would allow the funds currently being directed to the schools to be redirected to other areas in state government. A Nevada lottery has been proposed in the past but the idea has been killed each time by the casino/hotel industry that did not want the competition. Typically lottery players do not use casino funds to play the lottery, and now might be a good time to strike – before the iron freezes.

Bridges inside and out of Madison County: A government study done after the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota found that more than 70,000 bridges in the U.S. to be structurally deficient. Another recent study stated that 33% of the nation’s major roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.” So where to find the revenue to improve the roads both in our state and nationally? How about an increase in the gas tax? Gasoline prices are a fraction of where they were a year ago so why not add say, a quarter to the state tax and a dime to the national tax. That would increase the tax on a gallon of gas by 35 cents. It would also increase the revenue by about 40% statewide and nearly double the revenues. Nobody likes to pay taxes any less than I do but our nation is in economic crisis. The education system that offers free education to our children is the single most crucial part of our government benefits that helps our most precious commodity. President-elect and Mrs. Obama are two stunning examples of working class families who had the opportunity of a good public education. Highways, on the other hand, are the lifeblood of our tourism industry. Hence, these two areas must be addressed during this economic crisis.

Git the heck outta Gitmo: One of the many fiascos of the current administration was the indiscriminate vacuuming up of alleged “terrorists” during the panic of post 9/11 imprisoning them in the American military prison at Guantanamo. Despite many who have been held for years, isolation and alleged torture, not one iota of information that would be of benefit to the so-called “war on terrorism” has been received. Not one American soldier’s life has been saved as the result of such information. Of the 800 or so who were imprisoned, more than half were released without being charged and only one was convicted of a crime, and many have suggested even that one was a sham. There have been hundreds of suicide attempts, four of which were successful. President elect Obama has suggested the closing of the prison. Perhaps rather than close it we could change it to a detention center for all those CEOs, CFO, and other bigwigs who have robbed, raped, and stolen from the American public. Perhaps the Wall Street Gang could go the way of the Keating 5, but their Club Fed could be Gitmo. At least there would be real lawbreakers in detention.

Aye Matey, piracy is becoming big business: Piracy of tankers and other ships has become big business off the coast of Somalia. During the depression bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. He responded, “Because that’s where the money is.” Pirates of the Suez have become his disciples, hijacking tankers nad other ships and holding them for ransom. In the first 9 months of 2008 there have been 199 maritime attacks and 31 hijackings of ships carrying from oil to Christmas toys, clothing, and cars, and even a Ukrainian ship carrying at least 30 tanks and weapons. Millions of dollars have been paid in ransom for the safe return of the ships and cargo. Videos of the hijackers in their flimsy boats with a few weapons have been shown around the world. All the great security brains have been unable to control the pirates and their ventures. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but it would seem that one gunship sitting on a helipad would be a deterrent. When the pirates start to chase the ship, simply deploy the helicopter and blow their sorry behinds out of the water. Problem solved.

Push a button, pull a chain, $ 100,000 down the drain: The other day an astronaut was doing the equivalent of a lube, oil, and filter change to the space station when her $ 100,000 toolbox and all her tools slipped away and sailed off into space. Once again, I don’t presume to be an astro-physicist, but I can think of one simple little attachment. Can you say, t-e-t-h-e-r? If surf bums are smart enough to connect their surfboards to their ankles so the boards are not lost at sea, can our finest scientists figure out a way to attach a tether to a hundred thousand dollar toolbox? Just asking. Perhaps it was a “woman doing mechanic’s work” thing or maybe the astronaut was dyslexic and missed the bag when she reached for it. Wouldn’t be the first time health issues interfered with history. It has been suggested that Napoleon suffered from attacks of hemorrhoids so severe that they actually influenced the result at the Battle of Waterloo. Makes one wonder how they’ll be remembered in the annals of history.

A little blogging music Maestro… “A Big Hurt,” by David Bowie.
Dr. Forgot

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