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Sunday, April 24, 2005
I'm Putting Money on My Own Horse
You'd think with the House, the Senate, the White House and a majority of the state governorships all in GOP hands that the guy on top of the white horse leading the party would be able to roll his agenda and campaign pronouncements forward. Tax reform, Social Security, immigration enforcement, judicial appointments, strong U.N. representation in the U.S. seat, and firm control of the Senate need to be accomplished. But, rather than marshalling the troops and material into an organized force against the Democrats, W's generals and lieutenants in the Senate, the RNC and the NRSC have been busy trying to look good instead of winning these important domestic fights. The two leading divisions under W that ought to be cracking heads and keeping the battle lines in formation, the Senate leadership and the RNC, seem more concerned about how to keep the fight bloodless and palatable for the viewers of network news and the readers of the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.
Why did we send the GOP and various Republican support committees all that cash? Where's the solid and tangible results following the re-election of W and maintaining "control" of the House and Senate? Where are the spines? Where are the stones? How many lines drawn in the sand will the GOP blowhards have to draw? When will my money support a "bold conservative agenda" rather than an entrenched bureaucracy set up to ask me for more money?
Nuf's enough. I'm putting my money on Wagonboy's horse for now. I've put it off long enough.
This past week, during one of my 6 weeks of vacation (earned from 23 years with the same company), I gave the old Mustang convertible in the garage a little time and attention. I took it to several mechanics and shops for estimates and discussions to proceed on it's restoration and rehabilitation. For the first time in almost eight years the poor old horse saw some sunlight and felt the wind rush over it's still primered body. It had to experience these wonderful sensations while perched atop a rusty and dented 30 year old U-Haul trailer and shod with four $18 tires, but, regardless of these demeaning circumstances I'm sure it was thrilled just to be out from under the layers of garage detritus and to be moving about.
The first stop was to the suspension and brake shop. My first goal here is safety, followed by performance. The original set up on the car has disc brakes up front and drums in the rear rolling on 14" wheels providing stopping measurements in minutes rather than feet. The new set up will see beefed up suspension components, sub-frame connectors, traction bars, and large disc brakes on all four corners. Combined with larger 16" or 17" wheels and appropriate tires this new package will have it cornering flat and stopping on a dime. Or 9 cents, (in keeping with the "Not one dime" movement against the NRSC coffers!)
From there the trailered steed went to the transmission shop. The car rolled of the assembly line in October of '68 with a four speed top-loader and a Hurst linkage. That will stay in place for now. The top-loader was reloaded with new gears and linkage components a few years ago so the only things required here will be the clutch plate assembly, u-joints and installation.
On to the exhaust man! A huge George W. Bush supporter. Rush was blaring throughout the shop and signed pictures of W and Laura adorned the shop walls. We talked some politics and he was honored to meet Wagonboy who he'd heard on several occasions on the Hugh Hewitt Show. He too is holding on to his wallet until the GOP at least gives him the impression that they're in the majority. I told him my son's requirement for the exhaust system was to break windows and make small children cry. He said, "I'm in your son's camp!" Since the car is over 25 years old we don't need no stinkin' emissions controls so the old cast iron headers and restrictive mufflers can come off and a set of Tri-Y headers with proper free-flow mufflers can go on. I don't know about breaking windows, but some small children will cry.
The interior man was our last stop for the day. As the '69 GT convertible is an extremely rare Mustang, the exterior and interior must and will remain bone stock. Here new skins will go on the door panels, the proper tight loop carpeting on a sturdy pad, and correct seating panels will be set on new foam backings and cushions. A new vinyl top with a folding glass back window will be installed as well. The dashboard and gauges, though dirty, are all fine.
What about the engine?, you ask. The engine was rebuilt last year. It's a 351 Windsor 4 valve with a 650 Edelbrock carburetor. It currently sits on an engine stand next to the car which anxiously awaits it's company. Internally it's been hopped up with all sorts of goodies to approach 400hp on the dyno. What remains of that horse power after it's all hooked up and hauling the car is anyone's guess.... But it will make small children cry. Here again I'm after a stock appearance in the engine bay as much as possible to retain the rarity of this particular Mustang.
All this work and all these parts going into the Mustang depends, of course, on the approval and full support of the fetching Mrs. Wagonboy. It was after all in this very car back in 1985 that we went on our first dates. Many a fond trips and memories are shared between us in this car and it's been a part of our garage ambiance in the four places we've lived since 1990. So I'm certain she's just as eager to get this project under way and finished so we can once again relive those fun carefree days in our little hot rod.... Aren't you, Princess?
So while the GOP dithers and pisses away any capital and majority status they have, I and many others are finding better things to do with their hard earned cash. Life goes on outside the Senate chambers, the beltway and the Sunday morning blather shows. There's kitchens and bathrooms to remodel, backyards to spruce up, sporting events to attend, vacations to take and '69 Mustangs to get running again. Let's roll. -Wb
Friday, April 08, 2005
The Money's On Hold
I got my weekly e-mail update from Elizabeth Dole at the NRSC today. The title was "Democrat's Bait and Switch" and the topic was, of course, their absurd tactics to prevent an elected President from getting his judicial nominees onto the floor of the Senate for an up or down vote. The close of these newsletters always provides the "click to contribute" tab and I've been known to use it the past. In fact, the NRSC link is to your left on this page for convenient contributing.
But not now. Here's my response to Mrs. Dole. -Wb
The bait and switch is occurring in my Republican party. I'm not getting the conservatives I helped get elected with my past contributions. So those once numerous contributions are on hold for now.
When the Republicans start acting like they hold the Presidency, both houses of congress and a majority of the governorships in this great country I'll start sending money again. I'm not as appalled at the behavior of the Democrats as I am at the timidity of the elected party in charge. I expect the Democrats to behave as though they don't have any issues to promote other than the issue of getting in the way. But I don't expect the Republicans to sit around hemming and hawing about procedures and whining about absurd and out-of-bounds Democratic tactics. Run the bastards over! LEAD! Take charge! Pretend you've got the majorities in both houses as well as the presidency! Damn the press and the polls they rode in on!
Where the hell is the fire-in-the-belly that you all campaigned with? Are you all more worried about the diminishing invites to dinner parties and the Sunday morning talk show tour, or, are you working for a lasting legacy to leave for future generations?
What will your biographers write about 50 years from now? Will you get a foot note, a paragraph, a chapter or the whole book?
The money starts again when you Republicans get up on the wheel and start going somewhere.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
It's Been a While
Work has been exceptional busy at a time in the retail universe when it should be excruciatingly routine. The months of February and March for most normal people (with real jobs) are unremarkable, never-ending quagmires of time interrupted by infinite college basketball coverage. But to a retailer these months usually represent unfettered freedom. Freedom from the four month build-up and assault on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Freedom from the After Thanksgiving and After Christmas sales. Freedom from the January inventory preparations and the 5 days it takes to complete the inventory. Freedom from resetting every shelf, fixture and floor for the new Spring season which is now upon us. We retailers should be on cruise control right now but for some reason we're still charging hard without enough time at the end of the day.
This is the time of year for anyone in retail with more than a year under their belt to be on vacation, just back from vacation or about to go on vacation. For those on vacation right now, we hate them. They're dearly missed because of all the work to be done and everyone of us but them deserves to be in their shoes. For those just back from vacation, we hate them, too. They look like they're back but they're not. They drift and wonder from miserable slave to miserable slave sharing their adventures and fun of the prior week and ask, "So, what all went on here? D'I miss anything?" Did they miss anything? While they were gone last week there was more work than anyone could ever remember and the entire retail industry was on the brink of total collapse. They missed every minute of it. To make matters worse their brain is still out on the slopes or beach, a good three days behind the head here at work that ought to contain it.
Then there's me. The most resented of the three vacation types. I'm the guy who's about to go on vacation and makes damn sure everyone is well aware of the pending catastrophic hell which is about to consume each and everyone of their troubled lives. Much like the brain that stays on vacation when it's home cranium returns to work, my brain leaves early for vacation. It's currently in the shade of a palapa with a fat book and good cigar in southern Baja. Meanwhile, I, and my vacant cranium, slog through the week hoping that the weather is still good in Baja by the time we catch up to it. Until then, there's much work and many projects to reschedule into next week while I'm away.... there's no brain on hand to handle it right now.
Baseball. The good time consumer.
Here in Southern California Little League Baseball is a near year-round enterprise that I participate in as a coach. As soon as Fall Ball ends in late November, from a September start, it's back to the fields for Spring sign-ups in December. Try outs for the '05 season are in January, the first practices start in February, and the games begin in March and run through June. Each year the teams are put together after all the nefarious horse-trading and underhanded team stacking has been completed by the handful of elite Coaching Royalty. We're supposed to believe it's pure coincidence that one team in each division can pull together most of last years All-Star team while the rest of us get squads primarily loaded with spasmodic little monkeys who couldn't hit the dirt in front of them with a ball.
I'm a wee bit fortunate this year to have a team that has a healthy number of kids who've been in the league for a few years. At least they know which way to run and can easily throw the ball from third to first. But, like any team without a member of the Coaching Royalty on our staff we've got an equally healthy number of the aforementioned spasmodic little monkeys. This time of year practices are short, cold and dark, starting at 4 PM and ending around 5 / 5:30 as far as we can stretch the daylight. To top it off, we had 8 February practices completely rained out. Our first game was held after only two practices on a make shift field as the regular fields were drying out. We hardly knew who could do what with a bat and ball or which kids even had a basic grasp of the game. We lost that game.
Since then we've had three practices between each game, settled our infield and pitching and have won the last two. We may have some good little monkeys after all.
The meltdown of the new laptop.
Two words: Frozen stiff. Five days ago in the middle of a post to this blog, (now out dated and so deleted) , I walked away to make the Lad his dinner. Upon my return 20 minutes later the normally twirling and twisting screen saver that says, "I'm getting dizzy!" was very still and not getting very dizzy at all. I threw all the advanced tricks I know at it; I tapped the touch pad, hit control-alt-delete, pressed escape, turn on, turn off. Nuthin'. To my astonishment, none of them worked. So, tomorrow between the hours of light and dark a geek will show up with several new chips, cards and drivers to screw into place and hopefully get it back to it's normal hot rod qualities.
I'm currently on the old wood burning Compaq running Windows 98 after excavating it from under several months of things that we were able to balance on the keyboard, monitor and box. Incredible. This software and computer are now over 7 years old, (which in technology years stretches back to the Kennedy administration), and compared to the new malfunctioning hot rod laptop it's as fast and nimble as a river barge. But here I am getting somewhere on it.
If possible I'll send a few posts from the palapa where my brain is currently snoozing. (If the geek can get the hot rod started). -Wb
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Thank God for the Middle East these days!
It's bad news that the Michael Jackson trial is under way. It leads off all news casts at the top and bottom of each hour. Out here in California we all but have the Michael Jackson Molestation Trial channel. Did you see what was on MJMT this afternoon? It was file footage of Michael Jackson getting out of a black SUV and waving! Did they show an aerial shot of his Neverland Ranch with sheriff's cars and crime scene vans lining the drive way? Yep! Four times! The spooky freak ought to be in jail for the simple admission on video that he sleeps in the same bed with little boys. At least lock him up for that stupid little nose of his.
It's bad news that the good people of West Virginia don't find some way to get Robert Byrd to stop embarrassing them and get his senile old ass off the stage. This week the nutty Senator, a current member of the minority Democratic party since dirt cooled off, (and a former member of the KKK) was upset that the majority GOP leadership had plans to make a Senate rule that would prevent the Democrats from abusing the judicial nomination process for the past four years. Never in Senate history had the minority party invoked the filibuster rule to block a President's judicial appointments. The GOP wants to make sure this unprecedented and cowardly option isn't available to the obstructionists for this term. Because the GOP leadership wants to create a rule in the Senate to restore the tradition of allowing judicial appointees a fair and balanced review and up or down vote in the Senate, Robert KKK Byrd has compared the Republicans to Nazi's in Hitler's Germany. The Nazis? Hitler? Yes, keeping minority party members of the Senate from obstructing the process of confirming or denying the President's judicial appointees is akin to the extermination of millions of Jews and the invasion of all of Europe. I don't know about you, but I see a strong resemblance in this proposed United States Senate rule change and Hitler's extermination of Jews and the invasions of Poland, France, Belgium, Russia, North Africa, Norway..... With this rule change hanging over the Senate's chamber now I know how the Jews and tens of millions of Europe's citizens felt throughout World War II, and I don't like it one bit.
It's bad news, too, that the Supreme Court of the United States of America can't let those same United States in it's august title decide a few things on their own through elected local councils, state congresses, officials, judges and governorships. The latest issue that 50 states and their elected legislators and governors aren't allowed to deliberate over is the age of a criminal qualified for a ride on Ol' Sparky or a dirt nap injection. Anyone raping, beating, stabbing and then drowning your sister/daughter/wife/mother, who is only 17 years and 364 days old at the time he commits this brutal crime, is now ineligible for the death penalty. Why? Because it seems to be the trend of our national consensus to make the death penalty age 18, and, internationally speaking, it's just so passé nowadays to execute these immature children. (But, it is OK for 12 year olds to get abortions without their parent's knowledge or consent, or, for the sake of convenience to kill a partially born baby just before her knees and feet pop out of the womb.) Never mind that my own 9 year old son knows that it's morally wrong to take one of his fish out of the water and let it die, but a young adult committing the murder of a fellow human being isn't thought to fully understand and appreciate what's right and wrong and doesn't possess the faculties to control himself. But beyond the issue of the death penalty ruling handed down from The Nine Almighties, is why in hell can't these men in black stay out of our legislative or moral state level issues? It's none of their business how each state wants to administer it's justice and establish it's laws pertaining to flag burning, gay marriage, sodomy, abortion, busing, prison segregation, voting, displaying of crosses and ten commandments and on and on and on. We vote for our representatives to avoid precisely what this court has been doing for the last 30 years. Dictating through judicial fiat laws that never saw a deliberative body at the state or federal level. No wonder liberals love the judiciary, it's the only way they can get their stupid ideas to stick. We have 50 different states because each state is, and wants to be, it's own entity for the good of the nation as a whole. Almost 250 years ago some ingenious men, (much smarter than most of today's Supremes for sure), with providential foresight in my opinion, created a form of government that has blossomed into the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. Why these folks on the Supreme Court seem hellbent on beavering away at the dilution and weakening of our Constitution is beyond me. We may as well erase all the state borders and send all our elected officials home. The nine unelected, unaccountable, self-important and lifetime appointees to the Supreme Court of America will decide everything for us.
That's the bad news. The good news is coming from half a world away in the stone-age hell holes of the Middle East.
In his January Inaugural Address, Mr. Bush told the oppressed peoples and dissidents of the world, "When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." The feverish liberals, predictably, went off the sky-is-falling charts with that one. How could he say that? Are we to send troops and tanks to every tyrant's capital when protest breaks out in the streets? What a stupid, un-nuanced cowboy! Evidently, the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt heard the message with a different perspective. Each of these regimes has made extraordinary moves lately to allow some form of democracy to stick it's nose into their tents. Witnessing the scarred and brutalized citizenry of the worst-of-the-worst hell holes in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq, successfully and jubilantly vote their way into the 21st century has provided strong evidence that their days are numbered, and could end painfully, if they don't get on the democracy wave sweeping the region. That's good news.
Israel and Palestine have re-engaged in discussions and Abbas almost seems genuine about conducting these talks in a reasonable fashion. That's good news.
Lebanon's Syrian controlled puppet regime looked out the window and called it quits this week. The wave of freedom has emboldened this oppressed society to take to the streets demanding immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. That's good news.
Dissidents within Syria are beginning to speak out. That's good news.
Mubarak has floated the idea of limited elections in Egypt. IN EGYPT. That's good news.
Saudi Arabia will hold limited elections. For men only, but it's a start. That's good news.
After the voting in Iraq all parties and factions waited peacefully for the results. When the results were announced the much anticipated civil war didn't occur. In fact there's good old fashioned horse-trading, debate and negotiating breaking out among myriad parties and factions as Iraqis take their first nascent steps toward a representative government. That's good news.
Thank God for the Middle East! (Where's the Supreme Court decision on that? Can I still say, "thank God" over an unregulated interstate communications network?) -Wb
Monday, February 28, 2005
About the Michael Jackson Molestation Trial
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Touchy subject for a lot of people. The first impulse without thought is just get rid of the illegals. When one one begins to think things through, though, with the myriad variables, solutions seem untenable. But, we've got to start somewhere, and here's a good forum to get your feet wet with the subject again.
You ought to give a glance to the Hedgehog on occasion, anyway. A sober critter, that Hedgehog!
The 6th comment on the thread is from RKV. Mr. RKV wants to round up all the illegals and be done with them. He writes:
Stop making apologies for the cynical calculations of the current administration.Eisenhower got over a million illegals to leave the country in Operation Wetback.Anyone who says that it is not logistically possible to get a large fraction of illegalsout is lying. It has been done before, and on the scale necessary to do the job today.What is lacking is the political will in Washington DC, that is, because it exists everywhereelse in the country and crosses party lines.Securing our country is indeed a Federal responsibility. It is one which they havefailed to meet for years. State governments are now financing a foreign aid programfor Mexico, and it is certainly responsible for many of the current financial problemsin California. Get the troops, airplanes and tanks to the borders now. What will bethe administration position when Al Quaida successfully attacks us again if they failto control the borders? The party in power would be swept out of office at the nextelection. That, at least, ought to get the attention of the RNC. -RKV
My response to RKV:
RKV, Way to think things through.
Tanks? Troops? Airplanes? Perhaps door to door and business to business raids throughout the country?
Most members of the House and Senate will certainly sign on to any bill containing this ingenious method of resolving the immigration problems we now face. And there won't be a single court order from any circuit court ordering a halt to such an operation. As well, the general public will be universally in favor of spending tens of billions of dollars on such a practical exercise. All should go rather swimmingly! Why hasn't any sober person thought of this before?
First, we'll need to double the number of lawyers in this country. That should take a minimum of 5 years so we better get started. There's going to be much for them to do. We'll have to implement interment camps with tents and barbed wire to process and clarify the illegals from the legals before shipping/busing/marching them back where they came from. This could take months so don't forget to earmark a ton of cash to compensate for lost wages and collateral expenses those legally here who couldn't immediately prove their citizenship to the nice men who dragged them to the interment camp. Food, sanitation and medical services will also be provided of course.
Once processed and fingered as an illegal we'll just send them back to Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Honduras, and, don't forget the southeast Asian illegals. It shouldn't be too hard logistically or diplomaticaly. By the way, do we send newly arrived illegals without their children born on U.S. soil or with their children born on U.S. soil?