The #Ford #Lincoln #MkZ after22,000 miles


Come back tomorrow for an honest evaluation of this new car.

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Texas Secession


I wonder if the clowns who have been signing the White House’s website have given any consideration to the huge benefit the secession by Texas will have to… wait for it….. the USA minus Texas!

Everyone living in Texas by some predetermined date would now be a Texan citizen and lose his or her US citizenship. Of course this date will not be pre-announced to prevent people from skipping across state lines and settle in a neighboring State.

 

Now here goes the Federal support of the economy:

 Military:

The Dense Department currently injects over $20 billion a year into the Texas economy.  Do you think there will be other states vying for this new-found revenue? Most if not all career military would probably like to keep the benefits they have earned and will opt for the US Armed Forces, and might not want to serve a new Texan Armed Forces that will have to build from scratch.

Which State will want the naval ships, aircraft, personnel, tax base, etc. from the closure of, and transfer out of Texas of the following bases:

Dyess, Lackland, Laughlin, Sheppard, Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, JRB Fort Worth, and NAS Chorpus Christy.

 

Telecommunications: 

Federal law requires large telecommunications companies to be domestic for national security purposes.  So now, where will the large Texas-based operations move to? AT&T, Verizon, Samsung, Nokia, Time Warner, Ericsson all will have to relocate in order to comply with US laws.  Will the US be as friendly towards Texans when they apply for work visas?  Or will we follow current sentiment persist and require a tall fence along the Red River to stop Texans from illegally entering the new USA?

 

Airlines:

Federal law requires airliners to be domestically owned. So what will happen to the large operations of American, United, and Southwest? Will they now qualify as foreign carriers or will they be forced to move out of Texas?

Wait, if I want to do business in New York – after all, all big banks are still headquartered there – I will now need to pass TSA in Texas (all inbound flights to the USA are required to adhere to these level of scans after all), followed by long lines at US immigration, followed by even longer lines at US Customs where they will scan each bag for illegal products, unreported money.

 

Banking:

Of course the Federal Reserve Bank and Mint will leave north Texas for another State that they oversee.

Oh, now who will secure the previously FDIC insured deposits of everyone’s bank account? Suddenly you bank account won’t be as secure.  Will you want to keep your money in that bank or revert back to the mattress?

 

Guns:

The export without license of any firearms is illegal.  Licenses will have to be obtained for the export or rifles, handguns, ammunition, scopes, etc.  Let’s assume the USA will allow for the export of arms but now there will be an added cost of paperwork thrown into the price of your firearm purchased in Texas. After all it is an imported product.

 

Who will be in the minority?

Oh, wait. This might present a huge problem.  White, Anglo-Saxon folk will now be less than 50% of the population.  Bet you they did not give this some thought.  Me a minority? No way.  Yep.   That Latino (you most likely used another term) down the road is now the new mayor, senator, governor. Ay Dios!

 

How abut our State budgets?

We make plenty of money in Texas.  We have no budget deficits. Huhh? We don’t. No Sir.

Oh, but how about the following:

  • Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • Even budget deficits are bigger in Texas
  • Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.
  • “Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas.

Even as Perry requested the Recovery Act money, he railed against it. On the very same day he asked for the funds, he set up a petition titled “No Government Bailouts.”

So, where would this money come from if there was no Federal Tax sharing?  Okay, Texas would start to collect its own income tax.  You think 35% top marginal rate will cover this, or will it have to go as high as 50% to match the revenue stream lost by secession?  How about 70%?

From utexas.edu:

  • The majority of state government revenue comes from sources other than state taxes. The largest component of state government income comes from the federal government for funding of programs in education, healthcare and transportation, to name a few. Just less than one-third of all Texas state revenue comes from the federal government. This federally-sourced revenue can take the form of outright grants or matching funds.

 

Poverty.

Texas will inherit its poor citizens as well.

From the University of Texas Politics’ website

  • We have already noted that Texas has some of the poorest counties and places in the United States. These figures all argue that Texas is among the most unequal of states in the United States; its wealthy are wealthy on a nation-wide basis, while its poor live, by some standards, in the poorest places and counties in the entire country.
  • it ranked first, at 24.4 %, in the percent of its populace with no health insurance.

 

And then here they are on Education:

  • Let’s not forget all the Federal grants for Medical Research ow given to MD Anderson, UT Austin, Arlington, etc.
  • By 2009, nearly a decade later, the percentage of Texas residents with a high school diploma had increased to 79.6. But other states increased at a greater rate, leaving the Lone Star State ranking dead last. Nearly 40 percent of Texas residents — about 9.5 million of the state’s 25 million people — are Hispanic, and another 11.5 percent is African American. Of those, 26.4 percent of Hispanic residents live in poverty along with 23.1 percent of African Americans, according to census data provided by Steven Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau under President George W. Bush.

Poverty is typically a strong indicator of educational attainment, Murdock said. And that is reflected in the state’s high school dropout numbers. Figures provided by the Texas Education Agency show that 11.8 percent of African American students scheduled to graduate high school in 2010 dropped out, along with 9.1 percent of Hispanic students 3.5 percent of Caucasian students.

 

Oil, Gas, and Fishing.

Texas’s territorial waters will be12 miles anything beyond that will be limited or excluded by the claim of exclusive economic zone by the USA and Mexico.  A slight problem is that most oil producing wells and fishing grounds are beyond these limits.  You know how the US protects its fishing grounds and oil fields.  So now seafood and oil will have to be imported from the US or Mexico.

 

I am certain all 100,000+ signatories considered a few if not all of these obstacles to an independent Texas.  Do we really know their reason for signing? Could it be that some of these are simply racist and can’t stand the fact that there is a black President? A President so limited in his powers that even if he was a clone of Stalin he could not begin to enact any law to make the country less capitalistic than it is.  Do any of these numb-nuts realize that it takes three branches – independent branches – to make law?

The last 4 years have consisted of some of the lowest tax rates in our country’s history; more gun freedoms than under any previous administration; elimination of more rules and guidelines for many US agencies; and a tremendous improvement in economic conditions inherited from two wars that were never paid for and whose bills are now coming due.

I would love to see a coherent response as to why my thinking is wrong!

And, p.s. I am a conservative voter!

 

Post Election opinion


So, now that the electorate has spoken, can we get back to the business of living a normal life?

To our congressional leaders: There ought to be quick consensus on several bills that have always had support from both sides of the isle.

  • One would be the reform of our immigration system, laws, and policies.  Ted Kennedy, John McCain, George W. Bush, and Obama agreed on comprehensive reform.  Let’s get it done and put a huge issue behind us. All of us are descendants of immigrants or first generation American.  Accept some more and make them tax-paying productive citizens.
  • Obamacare is here to stay. Accept it.  It was a Republican concept of personal responsibility championed by Newt Gingrich as an alternative to Hillary Clinton’s pushing for socialized medicine. It was Governor Romney’s plan for Massachusetts.  If you can afford insurance, get it.  If not, there will be some help for you.  Let’s get past this. No need for my taxes to subsidize your medical bills.
  • Financial Reform is done, get on with it.  Perhaps the legislation needs overhaul; let’s look at it and consider some tweaks.  Let’s not let Wall Street sharks influence your decision.  It needs common sense review and consideration of all unintended consequences.  This will take time and some smart people to review all options.  Let’s listen and act in unison.
  • Let’s prevent the fiscal cliff.  You are insulting every single inventor, entrepreneur, dreamer, and worker when you tell him or her the only reason they invent, develop, and produce is a low tax rate. No one looks at the marginal tax rate when all they see is a new world order because of what he or she created.  We did pretty darn well under George W.H. Bush and Clinton. Marginal tax rates were higher and deficits came down fast. Accept a higher marginal rate to pay down the debt and move to invest in our decaying infrastructure. There needs to be some sacrifice, not just by families whose children went off to war, but by all of us who have the luxury of living here.

If Republicans want to ever win the presidency going forward, get any and all abortion issues out of the realm of politics.  It has no place there. It is disgusting. I do not want to tell a woman what she needs to do or not with her body. It is between her, her doctor, and her God.  You angered women and drove many to vote Democratic against their Republican roots or beliefs.

As the Republican leadership is slowly replaced by a younger generation, accept the fact that the younger ones might have people of color, gay people, non-Christians as their significant others, friends, and even supporters.  You too should welcome them with open arms.  Reagan would have. Bush did. Even Nixon accepted a Jew in his inner circle while he was an anti-Semite.

Stop the insecure hatred and vitriol. Live a much happier and relaxed life.  Refocus all this negative energy on building a successful business, a more energetic workforce, and a successful nation.

I am happy this is over for the next year.  I am saddened it cost $7 billion. I am ecstatic that al that money did not buy people’s vote as was widely expected.

The Sheldon Adelsons, Marriotts, Foster Friesses, Bob Perrys of the world might want to rethink how they dispose of their riches. There are so many noteworthy humanitarian causes that might actually help the economy. We proved clearly that money could not buy love. Sorry it didn’t work out.  $7 billion is an obscene amount of money. Let’s instead use it to rebuild roads, bridges, and ports.  It will give you many more billions in return.

President Obama might not be my choice, he might not be your choice, but for the next four years he is OUR president.  Let’s be a united United States going forward.

Now, I am going back to producing wonderful memories through travel and photography.

Did CNN buy out Fox?


Three news articles published today shocked me:

Wall Street Journal: “A new study released Wednesday suggests that Mitt Romney’s tax plan would benefit the rich and hurt the poor and middle class, no matter how current blanks in the plan are filled in.”

Politicus USA: “Sarah Palin won’t see any airtime until after the Republican Convention. Sarah Palin is now officially unwelcome in the Republican Party, and I’ll give you three guesses who got her booted off of Fox News.”

And then on Fox News itself: “Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations”

There is no way this is happening during the Republican National Convention. Was there something right in the Mayan Calendar?

Mediocrity


Mediocrity is the norm; does it need to be?

Over the past few weeks I have been pondering this question over and over.
Why, you ask?

It all started on a flight back home. A flight that (for a change) was not on an AA plane. Following a friend’s recommendation I booked around trip on Virgin America instead of AA.

Why would I want to fly another airline; after all AA has always been decent albeit not great? Heck, for the rest of my life I will be in the top tier at AA, they cannot take that away from me (they can – through their bankruptcy of course).
The change allowed me to find that what AA was providing wasn’t decent, nor good, and far from great. We have all experienced poor service here and there from many of our trusted providers of services.

What gives AA the right to think they can charge 50% more for a flight than a competing airline? Is it because some CSR consultant has told them their service is far superior? Is it because we are sheep married to their AAdvantage program?
Well, I discovered quickly that for a steep discount on a particular route, I can actually receive 100% friendlier, efficient, comfortable, and quality service than what AA provides on the same route.

In First Class, I was actually able to use my laptop when the person in front of me put their seat in a comfortable position. Heck, there was actually a comfortable position! Food was incredible. Wide hips or carts did not burst into my shoulder every three seconds. Service was over-the-top friendly and genuine. Counter personnel actually greeted me with a warm smile as I got to the counter.

In the past, I had used Continental on international routes. A pain in the derrière to fly through Houston instead of direct out of DFW, but occasionally I wanted better service and increased comfort on a long flight. Most often, though, it was convenience that won and AA got the business.

Then…

I had never bothered looking into other utility companies, so TXU had always had my business. So this week I asked what my kWh rate was and “discovered” I was at 13.1 cents for the past year. It only took 2 seconds to find that other companies were offering between 8 and 10 cents. So why was I at 13.1? Well, the company automatically bumps their trusted customers into higher rates. Sure why not screw your base? Marketing 101 would have taught them that protecting their base was of #1 importance because without that base you had nothing. Nothing.

It took all of two minutes to change providers. I decided to get into an all wind-power generated pool that offered me a rate of 9.1 cents per kWh. So, here I am all “green” and at a steep discount. Actually, being wind driven used to be called being “off the grid”. Ha! Maybe I am off the grid now!

AT&T drops my calls daily. Really, I am in a huge Mtropolitan area. Time to look into other providers!

I guess I too had accepted mediocrity as the norm for too long. No more.