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Friday, October 31, 2008

Tom's Traditional Halloween Rant

Original post 10/31/2005

You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

It’s Halloween -- that wonderful time of year when we as a society engage in our curious annual ritual exploration of our darker natures. Witches and werewolves decorate church halls and schools and ever more grisly horror movies cram the television schedules. The whole “celebration of evil” thing kind of gives me the creeps every year, but I go along anyway like most of us do. I dig out my threadbare spider costume with the extra pairs of arms and spend a pleasant evening giving the heebie-jeebies to the neighborhood urchins that show up at my door to “Trick or Treat” in ever dwindling numbers.

I particularly love all those smarmy Halloween TV specials that try to explain to us what the real “Spirit of Halloween” is.

When I was growing up in a small East Texas town, as near as I could tell, the “Spirit of Halloween” has something to do with scaring each other and ourselves half to death while snagging up all the candy we could lay hands on – sort of a celebration of greed and nastiness. I suppose it’s some sort of collective exercise in facing down the boogey men that haunt us throughout the rest of the year (like old age, illness and Jesse Ventura running for the presidency). Three years ago, I dressed up in a blue pin-striped suit and rubber Al Gore mask and went round the neighborhood creeping out my Republican neighbors. I won’t try that again, though – turns out, my neighbors are more heavily armed than I had even guessed. Hey, maybe all this scaring ourselves is a useful exercise after all. We had an unusually heavy voter turnout in my district that year. Who knows? Maybe I contributed in a small way, I don’t know.

The dark forces of political correctness keep trying to redefine Halloween as some sort of sweetsie-pie Christmas clone instead of the guilty and totally unjustified pleasure it is. But has all this Halloween revisionism has finally gone too far? This year, it seems, the dark forces of political correctness are, as J.R.R. Tolkien put it “growing in the land”. The schools it seems are their first target.

Now, Halloween, when I was a kid, was always about how much candy you could gather in a weeklong orgy of parties and one wild night of trick or treating. You’d stuff all your loot into paper grocery bags and hide it under your bed and eat sweets for the next six months. It was a wondrous celebration of greed and excess. We had big parties at school and dressed up as axe murders, witches, demons and fairy princesses (most of the princesses would later grow up to be cheerleaders, but since children might be reading this, I won’t even go there – too scary). One thing you could always count on, though, was getting a nice pile of hard candy at the school party (the kind that lasts for six months without growing hair and oozing out into a multi-colored puddle of melted chocolate and fruit creams decorated with an assortment of variegated dust bunnies caught in the quagmire).
WELL NOT THIS YEAR! This year, the diet police are getting into the act. TISD elementary school kids brought home a list this year. It is a list of what treats are “acceptable” and what treats are “not acceptable” to bring to the Halloween party. The list is like something Rod Serling would have written.

Acceptable: Popcorn, M&M’s, Reese’s Cups, Pretzels, Goldfish Crackers, Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Hershey Kisses, Caramel, Baby Ruth, Beef Jerky, Teddy Grahams and Milk Duds.

Not Acceptable: Drinks, gum, hard candy (jawbreakers, peppermints, etc.), gumdrops, jelly beans, jellied/fruit flavored slices, marshmallow candy, Fondant (Candy Corn, soft mints), licorice, candy coated popcorn, suckers, cotton candy, Fruit Rollups, Twix, Kit Kat, Gushers, Gummy Bears, Pixie Stix, Now & Laters, Red Hots
As a provider of day care services, my organization was concerned that we might be in violation of some new state law, so we gave the school a call for clarification. I wanted to know why the school was discriminating against jellied orange slices and Candy Corn (two of my personal favorites).

“Oh,” the administrator explained to my staff, “That’s because the items on the “unacceptable” list don’t have nutritional value and the other ones do.”

FADE IN: (Creepy Music) “You are now entering another dimension……….. The Dietetically Correct Zone”.
Okay, let me get this straight. There’s some sort of policy lodged in some obscure corner of the school system that says Halloween must be nutritional. Puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeese!

Wanna bet there’s some federal funding at stake if you don’t show that your school is doing something about reducing the number of fat kids in their classes? Somewhere, some skinny vegetarian leftist political correctness vampire bureaucrat has decided our kids need to have a nutritionally balanced Halloween and some poor school cafeteria director has to figure out how to make that happen.

What’s sad is that they’re telling parents that it’s a state law. You mean to tell me that gang of right wing Republicans who ran rough shod through the state house last spring passed a law that passed legislation requiring the public schools to protect our kids from Candy Corn, Jelly Bellies and Jolly Ranchers?

Yeah, right. I’m betting it was some vegetarian in the Dept. of Education myself.

So how does our hapless cafeteria maven explain the list? Let’s see. You can have popcorn and caramel, but if you coat the popcorn in the caramel, it loses all its nutritional value.


And what about the chocolate? Why is some chocolate acceptable and other chocolate is not.

Oh, that’s easy. It’s okay if it’s MILK chocolate.

Well, Halellujah, Three Musketeers has been moved into the Dairy Group.

Now what else can we have? Beef Jerky – one of our favorite Halloween Treats as a child. Usually, we got those from the 90 year old who came to the door after we banged on it for 15 minutes without stopping and woke him up.
“Can’t you see the porch light’s out?” he growled.

“Trick or Treat!”

“I got some Beef Jerky here, kid. Take it or leave it!”

Oh and how about chit’lins and pork rinds? They didn’t mention those. You can’t just leave out those traditional holiday favorites – not in East Texas you can’t! And how about that no “drinks” provision? Sugar–based soda I can see and of course there are all those Internet stories about how aspartame and saccharine are made from toxic waste, so we can’t send diet sodas. But do they really mean we can’t send over festive little bottles of peach schnapps? What is our education system coming to?

I notice virtually everything on the list has a relatively short shelf life before it goes stale. That’s a bummer. That junk wouldn’t have lasted two weeks at my house. That means that, thanks to our ever-vigilant school system’s enlightened leadership, no child will be sucking hard candy for the next six months, right? Thank goodness for the wisdom of the TEA.

So, one more time: You can have popcorn and you can have caramel, but evidently, if you coat the popcorn in caramel suddenly – poof – all the nutritional value is gone. You can have a Teddy Graham cookie AND a Milky Way, but not a Twix or Kit-Kat which are cookies covered in chocolate (but presumably not MILK chocolate which would get them under the “Dairy Group” umbrella).

And I want a recount on candy corn! Halloween is the only time of year you can legally eat that stuff I think and I would feel deprived if I missed the candy corn season. And the candy corn people make those little orange pumpkins too and they’re almost as good. Candy corn and jelly beans, I would argue, should be in the “vegetable” group. Maybe we need to organize a lobbying effort to get Fruit Rollups and orange slices put into the “fruit” group. Cotton Candy could be in the fabric group for all I care and I think Red Hots should be illegal anyway.

We need to do a new holiday special this year. Call it the Grinch that Stole Halloween. We could get Umma Thurman as the evil vegetarian leftist school superintendent that is trying to ruin Halloween by taking away all the candy and forcing little children to take home sacks full of rice cakes, bean curd and tofu-based snack treats instead of candy.I’m just sayin’


How the "Working Man's Party" Will Betray the American Dream!

In the 60's LBJ kicked off "The Great Society" program. On the heels of badly needed Civil Rights legislation, resisted, often violently by his own party, Johnson offered up what was intended to be the second great equalizer - the so-called "War on Poverty".

They meant well. They really did, but socialism's centrally planned approach has never been a very successful at anything. Central planning cost tens of thousands of American lives in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the War on Poverty was centrally planned too and like Vietnam, it proved to be a miserable quagmire of a failure.

If you were ever on welfare during its heyday in the 70's you will remember how hard it was to get off welfare. If you took any job whatever, your benefits disappeared and you were left worse off than before. How many poor families with kids will take such a risk simply to achieve self-reliance. So, the upshot of the War was to create a permanent poor class, dependent on government largesse, who learned to work the system as though it were a job in order to keep their benefits going. I once did vocational counseling with a kid from a poor background, the victim of abuse and neglect. I asked him what he wanted to do with his life when he grew up. He told me, quite unabashedly, "When I'm 18 I'll get my welfare and the women will take care of me."

What the Great Society did was create a culture that built a wall between the poor and "all the rest of us". It built a virtual ceiling between the poor and the middle class. Then came welfare reform. As a result of efforts to create transitional programs that made the journey to self-reliance easier and made permanent reliance on welfare almost impossible, the classes in this country changed. The ceiling came down and people began moving into the middle class that had never been there before. Yes, the wealthy class grew larger during this time, but the middle class stayed virtually the same and the poor got fewer. That means people as a whole were becoming wealthier. Isn't that a good thing?

Apparently not. They want to tinker with it again.

Now, we have a presidential candidate who says, I want to give something to the middle class. Well, we need to think about that. Every time those guys want to give us something, something bad seems to happen. So, let's think this through.

Obama is only going to increase tax people over $250,000 he says. Hey, I don't make 250K - so why should I care. Let's look at who is going to get clobbered with higher taxes.

THE GREEDY RICH? Nope. Those guys are sitting on piles of money that's already been taxed. They could live for decades and decades on what they already have without paying another dime in taxes by simply spending what they have. Well, we'll get it when they die you say. Nope. The super wealthy have teams of lawyers and they've been dodging the death tax for ages. A good share of them will create foundations in their names and leave it to those - a lot of them don't care much for their lazy kids anyway. THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT TAX MONEY THAT'S ALREADY BEEN MADE AND TUCKED AWAY. They may get some of the interest, but not enough to matter.

THE MIDDLE CLASS? Not directly, but higher taxes on business does not mean that business is going to take less profits given the risks they take. Business is merely going to increase the prices of things we pay for. Inflation like the late 70's will likely be the result and money to compensate for the increased tax burden on profits will trickle up from the lower and middle classes who buy goods and services. The middle class is still going to pay the burden of taxes one way or another. If they don't, business will slow down drastically and once the working rich have been impoverished and can't pay anymore, somebody is going to have to.

THE POOR? They don't pay taxes, so a tax cut is meaningless to the poor. Their cost of living will rise to pay the tax bills for the grocery stories, gas stations, and department stores. The government is going to need to give them a bigger check to get by on. More and more welfare has been shown to seal the poor into the poverty level. It doesn't move them toward the middle class. It traps them and kills their spirit. Dispirited folks are lots easier to control

THE ENTREPENEURIAL WORKING RICH? You betcha. These are the guys that are powering our economy. They are making money. Now money made is money taxed. These guys aren't sitting on piles of gold, they're pumping piles of gold through the system, creating jobs, powering the economy. The economy is about activity, not about accumulating piles of money. The government runs by siphoning off some of that flow of gold. If they get greedy and take too much, the flow will stop because it's not worth the effort if all you get back is a trickle from your hard work. If activity stops, the piles of gold come to rest and sit where they are and people who don't own the piles don't have money coming to them anymore. People get laid off, business cuts back to whatever level most effectively balances profits and the tax burden instead of doing as much business as they can. There's no longer any point to working full out to grow your business if the tax guy is the only one that will reap the benefits.

The large tax burden on the $250,000 to million dollar earners will effectively discourage middle class folks seeking to expand businesses and create wealth from doing so. If, when you step over the imaginary line between middle class and wealthy, you take such a tax hit that it's not worth it, you are creating the same ceiling for the middle class that you did for the lower class with the Great Society debacle.

You see, if the Democrat Party can figure out how to make the middle AND the lower class dependent on government largesse, then they figure their political power is secure. What better way to do that than to virtually wipe out the entrepeneurial rich folks, the ones who remember what it was like to work their way up from nothing. These guys vote conservative and you need to marginalize them. To do that you tax them into oblivion without harming your wealthy super-rich supporters like George Soros and his ilk. Much better for the central planners to create an elite ruling class and a homogeneous "masses" content with just enough bread and circuses to keep them from causing the fat cats any trouble.

The plan is brilliant and obvious and I fear that maybe we ARE too stupid to understand it. If we let these clowns get away with turning America into Amerika: with talking us into selling our birthright for a bowl of soup; with turning us against ourselves to consolidate their power - then we deserve what we get.

The American Dream is not a house and car and pretty good food. The American Dream is that every individual is free to achieve whatever he or she can achieve. It is not this dismal pictuer of everybody the same, everybody serving the government's needs, really smart people telling us what jobs we should take, how much money is fair for us to make, what we can say and do and believe. The Democrats have sung their little "We are the party of the working man" song over and over and over. The media have provided the musical accompaniement. The Country Club Republicans aren't much better. They keep growing government every bit as fast as the Dems. It's a power struggle now between two evils and we're being forced to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Yes, we got Sarah Palin - a bone thrown to us by McCain because he realized he had no conservative support and another Country Club Republican couldn't help him on the ticket. The truth is most conservatives are voting for McCain/Palin in hopes that he'll either croak or that she'll kick his butt and make him do what's right. Either way we are going to have to fight like the furies if we're going to keep our liberties in the coming years.

Please, for God's sake, read your history books. History is repeating itself and we are marching lock step toward the very thing our ancestors fled Europe and the Old World to escape.

Stand up and vote people. It may be your last chance! Buy us some time and maybe another Ronald Reagan will rise up and provide the leadership we need to save our own fuzzy butts!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who Lied about Saddam's WMD's

Simple question.

Did President Bush make up a story about Saddam' wanting to acquire yellowcake uranium for his nuclear program?

Conventional wisdom assumes that he did in order to have an excuse to invade Iraq.

Did Saddam Hussein have any WMD's or materials for making WMD's?

Conventional wisdom says no! Saddam was simply tired of all those pesky weapons inspectors and there really wasn't anything dangerous in Iraq any more.

The truth, it turns our is somewhat different. In a July 5, 2008 story in the Associated Press and printed in the archives of none other than MSNBC and CBS ( ) is this delightful story that got zero coverage in the media. Had it been a story about how Bill Clinton had saved the free world by bombing a Sudanese aspirin factory, it would have been top news for a week. Instead they buried it.

So what's the story? The United States in June 2008 removed 3500 barrels (that's 550 metric tons for those of you who are counting) of yellowcake uranium from a secret storage facility in Iraq.

Why did the President keep it a secret when telling about it would have helped him politically?

Well, they couldn't get it our of Iraq because no one wanted it transported through their country. So we kept it's existence secret till we moved it out so that terrorists in Iraq wouldn't know it was there and attempt to take it.

There are a couple of conclusions you sorta have to come to.

1. Saddam did have materials for weapons of mass destruction. Stick yellowcake in a SCUD and blow it up and voila' you have what's known in the terrorist world as a "dirty bomb" - the holy grail of Al Quaeda. Boy howdy would they have loved having this one.

2. George W. Bush was right about the danger posed by Saddam. He had at the very least the capacity to produce dirty bombs. Anyone believe he wouldn't have developed (or at least tried to develop) actual nukes if we'd simply left him alone for the past 5 years? Anyone believe he wouldn't have shared that sort of stuff with the same terrorists that his own former ministers claim he had dealings with? Remember he was paying cash rewards to the families of terrorists who blew themselves up in Israel.

Now, the same guys that have repeatedly said, "Bush lied" and there were no "WMD's" even after 550 TONS of proof showed up in Canada last summer want to be elected to run the country. They say, "Iran is only a little bitty country and not a threat." They say, "If we just reduce our military so that we're no longer a threat, then the world will love us again." Want to bet whether or not they are right?

The same guys that for the past 8 years have been saying that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were in splendid shape and told Presiden Bush that we didn't need to do anything about the subprime mortgage problems when he warned them about it want you to give them a whole bunch of money and supreme power to "fix" the economy.

The same guys that have been in control of the Congress for almost 2 years, during which time, the U.S. economy has taken a nose dive into the dumpster, want you to give them a super majority and the White House so they can really fix things up!

ARE YOU PEOPLE NUTS! These people are not your friends. I'm not sure they're even real people. I'm not sure but I think wherever they came from, there were pods involved....

I'm just sayin'

Tom King

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How Rush May Be Responsible for Obama's Lead in the Polls

A famous quote attributed variously to a distinguished assortment of politicians and humorists goes like this, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics!" We're all a little suspicious of statistics, but most of us believe in them a little more than we'd like to admit.

I learned a little something about statistics during my brief tenure in two graduate schools and the big thing was that for a study to be valid you have to have an accurate sample. The closer you get to creating a sample of survey respondents that accurately reflects the same makeup as whatever group of folks you want to discover something about, the better your results.

One way to do that is to use another set of statistics to guide you in choosing your sample. Polls of registered voters, for instance, select participants that reflect the proportions of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who actually registered to vote. In other words if 49% of registered voters in South Carolina are Democrats, 38% are Republicans and 13% unaffiliated, then the pollster doing a survey of registered voters would pick a thousand or so voters and make sure he had 49% Dems, 38% Republicans and 13% Independents if he wanted his study to be accurate.

This year, that's a problem because a lot of Republicans registered as Democrats! If you go by voter registration, you're not going to get a true picture of the registered voters because a bunch of "Democrats" aren't really Democrats and have no intention of voting for Barry.

During the primaries, the infamous "Operation Chaos" skewed the registrations significantly in a lot of so-called battleground states. Rush Limbaugh's campaign to keep Hillary Clinton in the race by having Republicans cross over and vote in the Democratic primary, resulted in hundreds of thousands of Republicans registering to vote as Democrats. Since the primaries are over, most have never bothered to change their registration back. They don't need to to vote for McCain.

The only problem is that voter registration now shows an inordinately high number of registered Democrats on the books and pollsters use those numbers to determine how they sample their pre-election polls.

So, when the pollsters choose a sampling of registered voters, they select for an artificially large number of Democrats based on how voters registered for the primaries in areas where Operation Chaos took place. This could account for Obama's having such a tenacious lead. I suspect a blind sample of voters might show significantly different results.

At any rate, polls based on likely or registered voters should be suspect. They very likely have a sampling that has too many Democrats in it. The poll results are therefore going to inevitably lean toward Obama. This could mean a nasty surprise for pollsters in November, but only if the polls themselves don't discourage conservatives from voting because it looks hopeless for McCain and Palin.

This year of all years, DON'T BELIEVE THE POLLS. I'm betting they're skewed because Operation Chaos gave us a false distribution of Democrats and Republicans among registered voters.

Just one man's opinion.

Tom King

Friday, October 03, 2008

Banking Crisis Spreads to International Lenders

REUTERS - Dateline Tokyo: Following the problems in the US sub-prime lending market and the run on Lehman's in the US and HBOS in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan.

Reports indicate the Japanese banking crisis shows no signs of improving. If anything, it's getting worse. Following last week's news that Origami Bank had folded, it was today learned that Sumo Bank has gone belly up. Bonsai Bank plans to cut back some of its branches. Karaoke Bank is up for sale and its employees are having to sing for their supper. Shares in Kamikaze Bank have nose-dived and 500 jobs at Karate Bank will be chopped. Analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank and staff there fear they may get a raw deal.

UPI - Dateline Edinburgh: BANKING CRISIS SPREADS TO IRELAND & SCOTLAND. Financial experts in Ireland report that another consequence of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis is that the debt load for Dublin Bank is triplin'. In related news, Limerick Savings & Loan director Peter Nan was indicted yesterday, charged with removing a whole bucket of money from the vault. Prosecutors say, "Nantucket!" A disappointing third quarter earnings report for Clancy Brothers Ltd. is expected to be released tomorrow. The firm has set high earnings goals, but experts believe they won't "Makem". Officials at Riverdance Mortgage & Trust stated Flately - "We've been stomped!"

On the other side of the Irish Sea, bank examiners report this week that the Bank of Scotland has indeed lost their shorts.

AP News Flash:
Caracas - The Venezuelan Petroleum Group is in the tank.
Denver - The Cripple Creek Savings Bank is now up the creek - some authorities say without a paddle in a chicken wire canoe.
Ontario, Canada - The Bank of Nantucket has kicked the bucket.
London - The London Market, recently characterized by market watchers in Britain as a "little piggie" stumbled today and ran all the way home. Market chairman T.L. Pigg, could not be reached for comment, but in a written statement from his home in Luton, stated "Wee, wee, wee!"
Edinburgh, Scotland - McDonald Medical & Pharmaceutical Industries today announced that it has "bought the farm". McDonald senior partners claimed the problem was "Here a quack, there a quack, Everywhere a quack, quack."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ten Career Moves to Weather the Coming Collapse

As a former semi-professional career counselor, it’s about time I weighed in on the subject of how to prepare for the coming financial catastrophe that is hanging over our heads in the coming decade. As my contribution, I’ve come up with a list of 10 smart career moves that are sure to help you weather the coming storm. Here they are in no particular order.
  1. Pitchfork and Torch Manufacturing and Sales – The law of supply and demand. That’s all I’m saying.
  2. Unemployment application processor – Can’t have too many of those. Be sure to get a conceal and carry permit, however. Things could get hairy.
  3. Yard Painting Professional - This is a new career track I recently became aware of. Banks are hiring these guys to paint the yards green in neighborhoods where all or most of the houses have been repossessed to prevent the neighborhoods from looking bad in case they actually sell some of these $300,000 turkeys. Yard painting lasts about 3 months and if you get enough of them you could be secure till the end of the crisis.
  4. Elected Official – Invest in some yard signs, make a lot of promises you know you can’t keep and you could have yourself a secure job for the next 4 years so long as you don’t mess up and actually do anything while in office. There is some risk of being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail by angry mobs of taxpayers, but if you hedge your bets by cornering the pitchfork and torch concession, you can even make that a profitable experience.
  5. Multi-billionaire – This one’s a no-brainer. Simply start with a couple or three billion dollars and try not to spend it all before your stock portfolio disappears.
  6. Cayman Islands charter pilot – Corporate magnates will always need access to their money, especially in uncertain financial times. You’d be surprised how many will charter your plane or boat just to go down and make sure it’s still sitting there in the vault. It makes them feel secure.
  7. Head of Major Quasi-Governmental Agency, Secretary of the Treasury or Chairman of the Senate/House Banking Committee - Apparently you can’t be fined , fired or prosecuted for anything you do in these positions. Great work if you can get it.
  8. Soup Kitchen Operator – Keeps you busy and those that still have money contribute heavily to these organizations to keep the masses semi-content (at least to keep them from playing with pitchforks and torches).
  9. Bank Repossession Officer – Again lots of work, you will not be popular but you’ll be busy. I recommend you start heavy anti-depressants on your first day on the job and pack heat.
  10. Irish Step Dancer – Okay, there’s probably not going to be a lot of money in it, but it’s a heck of a way to work out your frustrations and it really makes your butt look tight.
Remember you're looking for steady employment that works with the times, not against them. Remember no matter how crappy your job, as long as you've got garden space, a porch and a banjo, you're gonna be all right.