Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

December 27, 2012

“Isn’t it rich. Isn’t it queer.”

Late Night Musings while Listening to Beethoven’s 9th:

  • Barry/Barrack Hussein Sorterro/Obama is the first (half-)black American President.  This is the best we could do?  Martin Luther King, Jr., would have to rewrite his dream to where kids are known only for the color of their skin and not for the content of their character. But he is the king of hyphens.
  •  That kids in Michigan cannot buy fake, bubble gum cigarettes but they can purchase real ones anywhere.  I guess the Internet sale of bubble gum will soon be banned in Michigan.
  • That folks in the state of Washington have banned smoking in public.  But the use of Marijuana is okay.  There must be something in the water up there and it better than Olympia beer.
  • The good folks in the government/union schools of Philadelphia installed condom dispensers in several of their high schools.  This was done in the dead of night, during Christmas vacation.  It was quietly announced on a Friday night. Hmmm.  They say that parents are to be blamed if the kids take these condoms without mom and dad’s permission.  And while the dispensers are in the nurse’s office or school office, they won’t be monitored.  Students will be on the honor system apparently.  This is worse than giving a loaded gun to a six-year-old.  Here’s a real weapon of mass destruction.  These folks are destroying the moral integrity of their own children.  But they say, “It’s for the kids.”

A German pastor announced that he believes that Jesus would have a Facebook account were He here today.  “Mein Gott in Himmel.  Ich denke nicht!”  (I don’t think so.)  Jesus didn’t send a message, he sent himself.  He didn’t wire ahead to Jerusalem, he road into town on the back of an ass.  He didn’t send gifts to the wedding at Cana; he came in person.   Presence is much more important than presents.  Our problems stem from our hiding behind technology–it’s hidden, it’s impersonal, it’s empty.  When the batteries drain, when the power fails, when the lights go out–all we have is each other.

Remember:  a network is NOT a community.

The vast majority of these were written by college graduates.  That should tell you something about the state of education in the USA.

  • You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.
  • Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.
  • A seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his teacher “cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.
  • Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while some slothful behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, subsidized housing, and free cell phones.
  • The government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide 99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).
  • Being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.
  • Politicians think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is really protecting the rights of the people.
  • The rights of the Government come before the rights of the individual.
  • You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while buying iPhones, TV’s and new cars) and the government forgives his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).
  • Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself somehow makes you “safe”.
  • You have to have your parent’s signature to go on a school field trip or take an aspirin at school but not to get an abortion.
  • An 80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a Muslim woman in a burka is only subject to having her neck and head searched.
  • You need a license to drive a car, or ID to cash a check, or take out a loan.  But not to VOTE.  Somehow that’s unfair.

It was reported that one large city in America was handing out cell phones with 250 prepaid minutes to the homeless.  They justified this campaign because the recipients were literally “homeless.”

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to give the homeless a roll of quarters?  It would be a lot cheaper.  And if they need more quarters for phone calls to potential employers, all they have to do is document how they used the previous roll: whom they called, when, to whom did they speak and what was the job they were seeking.

Another solution might be to give them a personal 800 code number they can use to make “free” calls to potential employers.  If they want to phone, they’ll find a phone.

These technological give-aways (cellphones or shoes) don’t address the issue–they only exacerbate them.  If you give a man a fish, you feed him for today.  If you teach her how to fish you feed her for a life time.

It’s time to fish or cut bait.

Cory Booker, mayor of a large New Jersey city, declared that welfare checks and cell phone programs are NOT government give-aways, but a safety net.  I once knew and worked briefly with Cory Booker and had respect for his attempts to help people.  But this video cracks that support; he seems to be selling his soul piece by piece to the latest Mephistopheles.  If he cannot distinguish honestly between a safety net and a hand-out, then he is doomed to the nether world of the Democrats.

My gosh, Cory.  When I was in the circus and fell from the high-wire act, I thanked God for the safety net beneath.  My fall was stopped.  But here’s the difference: a safety net has an exit. You eventually get off.  It catches you on the way down so you can bounce up.  What exists are there from the food stamp program?  None.  What incentives are there to get better, to exit the program, to bounce back, to rejoin the human race?  None. There used to be.  But your lord and dictator removed all of those avenues of respect and recuperation.

Let’s see… from whence does the food stamp program come?  The government.  What is the source of the revenues to pay for his program?  The government.  Where does the government get its money?  From taxes.  Whom does it tax?  You and me.  There is no program that collects funds voluntarily or by mandate specifically for food stamps.  There’s no box to check on one’s income tax that says “contribution for food stamps, check here.”  If there are no expectations, no encouragements, no end in site, it cannot be a safety net.  If each citizen doesn’t decide, then the government has stepped in.  Therefore… IT’S A HANDOUT.

What would happen if there was a box on your income tax form that said: “Check here if you would like to pay an additional $28 in taxes to fund the Food Stamp Program.”  Do you honestly think there would be more than $56 in the fund?

Truth is universal, regardless of the participants.  To enslave any people is wrong whether it’s done with chains, education/indoctrination or cell phones.

Business solution for the 21st Century.  Post a sign on your front door: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.  Just because you come in doesn’t mean we have to sell it to you.”

Three Benghazi questions that haven’t been asked:

  • Who wanted Ambassador Stevens killed?
  • Who benefits from his death?
  • Who has the power to cover it up?

What’s the cost of maintaining an Army?  It’s the same as the first rule in Economics: Supply and Demand.  The cost of maintaining an army is to maintain an enemy.  If there is no enemy… you get the picture.

Which is more harmful to your health?  A plane full of cell phone talkers or a plane full of smokers? You be the judge

Only in America.

  •  Could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund-raising event.
  • Could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black while only 12% of the population is black.
  • Could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (head of our Treasury Dept) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes for American citizens.
  • Can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have our media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.
  • Would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens.
  • Could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
  • Could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
  • Could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.
  • Could the “rich” people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

Dear Teachers:

I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.

So I am suspicious of education. My request is: help your students become more human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.    –Haim G. Ginott

 

**”Send in the Clowns” is a song by Stephen Sondheim from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music.

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air..
Where are the clowns?

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move…
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours.
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines…
No one is there.

Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want…
Sorry, my dear!
And where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here.

Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career.
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns…
Well, maybe next year.

 

 

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July 8, 2012

TSA—Time To Close Down A Failed Experiment

Filed under: Government — by Robert @ 11:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The TSA was “created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by the 107th Congress on November 19, 2001, established our agency and gave it three major mandates:

  • responsibility for security      for all modes of transportation;
  • recruit, assess, hire, train,      and deploy Security Officers for 450 commercial airports from Guam to      Alaska in 12 months; and,
  • provide 100 percent screening      of all checked luggage for explosives by December 31, 2002.

“ In March 2003, (they) we were moved from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security that was created on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, unifying the nation’s response to threats to the homeland.”

But who are they?  What are they?

Here’s how they say you are to apply for a job:

“Apply for the Job. Follow the instructions in the “How to Apply” section of each USAJOBS announcement (upper right tab). Instructions will guide you through the application process, providing you detailed information on the questions, forms, and format that must be addressed and used to capture your qualifications for the job. Submit all required documents and pay close attention to the application due date and application procedures, which will vary by job and the Department component.

Interview for the Job. The names of best-qualified candidates will be forwarded to the supervisor or hiring official. If you are one of the best-qualified candidates, the supervisor or hiring official may interview you in person or by telephone, or in rare cases may hire you based solely on your application materials. Selection procedures are subject to Federal Civil Service laws, which ensure that all applicants receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process.

So, here’s how it works:

  • Apply
  • Complete forms and format      (?)
  • Submit documents (birth      certificates?)
  • Possible interview in      person or via phone
  • Hiring

Here’s what they say they do:

“Since 2001, we have been mandated by law to appropriately screen air travelers to ensure that certain items and persons prohibited from flying don’t board commercial airliners. We are most visibly present through our 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers stationed at over 450 airports across the country. Combined with over 1,000 credentialed security inspectors, these professionals screen over two million passengers daily and deliver both world-class security and customer service at your airport.

No they weren’t.  They were formed to screen luggage. Period.  Once in place, the TSA passed its own regulations about screening passengers.  They took it upon themselves to go a step further.

“We also lead and support security operations across the spectrum of the nation’s transportation systems from mass transit and maritime vessels to our highways. In concert with other federal agencies, we play an active role in national special security events and in ensuring the security of the nation’s airspace.

  • “Appropriately” means what? Wanding? Groping? Assault? It’s not defined in the code.
  • These so-called Security Officers are so because they’re “certified,” not necessarily qualified.
  • There are “credentialed security officers.”  Again, they have a piece of paper that says they’re qualified.  Kind of like teachers’ credentials.

Are they law enforcement officers?  NO.  Their “rank” is kind of like the officer in your local bank, and I don’t mean the night watchman.

Should they be wearing a badge?  NO  They are NOT law enforcement officers.  They have no authority to arrest; they have to bring in “real” law enforcement officers to do that.

So why the police-like blue uniforms?  It makes them look like police officers.  They’re NOT.  Also, I’ve been told that their uniforms are paid for by the American taxpayer, not the employee.  Pretty cushy job there.  They even have epaulets as in the military.  They surely give the impression that they’re official, don’t they.  But the simple truth is that they are NOT. They were hired to screen luggage.  They APPEAR to have authority (badges, military-typed creases on their shirts and blouses, ranks of office (?) [I’m a screener, he’s a prober, she’s a groper.],  but in actuality they only have the legal authority to check one’s luggage.

Here’s the training schedule:

The website is vague at best about TSA training.  It speaks more to the training they perform, not that which they receive.  As best I can tell there’s about 80 hours of training after being hired.  Is this police-officer training? NO.  Is this federal marshal training? NO.  Can they exercise a warrant and search?  NO.  Are they a form of police? NO.

80 hours and they’re certified!  Wow…  But to do what?  The original mandate is to check luggage. Well, check away.

TSA officials are a very close kin to the US Postal system and teachers’ unions.  There’s a lot of high fluting language and shiny badges and military-creased uniforms.  But the law basically says that they are baggage handlers.  With baggage they have been okay.

Have they discovered inappropriate items in baggage?  Yes.

Have they “caught” one terrorist? NO.

They’re okay with things but their track record with people is terrible.  Example abound how their actions border on the violation of and exceed the mandates of the Fourth Amendment.  In case you might have forgotten, here’s what that LAW says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

TSA officials have no legal power to issue warrants or arrest.  Their searches are unreasonable and this sad experiment needs to be shut down. We, the people (in other words, We, the government…) need to call for closure.  I’m all for security, but not at the price of personal liberty and Constitutional expectations and provisions.

TSA folks have been found on the roads, on subway trains, and have been invited to schools.  That’s right, to your child’s school.  They say it’s training in safety. Some suggest it’s training in getting used to seeing the blue-shirts wherever you go.

But the TSA is kind of like taxes.  Once they’re in place, we all kind of get used to it and go along for the ride (literally).  We’re told they have the authority to do some of the things they do, but they don’t.  If congress or the American people don’t close them down or rein them in, well, instead of blue shirts maybe they should wear brown shirts.  Then we’ll know their real reason for being around.

Happily there is at least one effort at least to rein in the exaggerated claims and showmanship of the TSA.

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