Archive of ‘Comments’ category

Poor OJ

Our “justice” system prevailed. It hung another black man. OJ Simpson was sentenced to 15 years for his heinous crime. He “stole” his own possessions back from a fence. Some of his friends helped and some of them may have had weapons. It wasn’t a wise thing to do, it may have been criminal if it were true. The evidence, as usual points both ways. But…

What is wrong with this result is that he was hung for it. for something that  is much less a hazard to society than say an armed bank rodder that may serve three years and be paroled early. That armed robber would probably serve less than a year if it was his first conviction. An arogant black man gets 15 years for his first conviction.

What about the Enron folks? how many of them really served any time and get out still rich? Their actions affected millions of people, not some criminal fence selling stolen property.

What about police thugs that assault people, finally get caught for one of their many inproprieties and then retire?

What about mortgage bankers swindling homeowners and then suffering the penanty of accepting a bailout from the government?

OJ gets to spend the rest of his life in jail for a crime similar to stealing a loaf of bread, stealing from a theif. POOR OJ! Poor us. We really need to work on our “justice’ system.

2008 Election Results

As usual with elections, you win some and lose some.

Of course Barak Obama winning is a great sign of hope for the future.

I’m really happy to see that Proposition 1A, the High Speed Rail initiative has won. As usual, California leads the way and hopefully the rest of the country will follow and rebuild our passenger rail system, a much more effective and efficient method of travel.

I’m VERY disappointed that Proposition 8 won. It is an extreme step backwards for California. It is the anti gay marriage initiative. Government should NOT support religious views as a function of government. It should maintain order, and the safety and security of ALL citizens. This measure doesn’t do that. Government should regulate marriages similar to the businesses they are. If people don’t want the government to sanction marriage for gays, it shouldn’t for straights either. Let the churches copyright the use and definition of marriage. Take all reference to marriage out of the laws and substitute civil union for all, gay and straight. It would have been a lot easier to just use marriage for all and apply it equitably instead and let the those churches that only want straights limit themselves, not others. Of course, it should have been obvious that it shouldn’t pass. No initiative modification to the constitution is ever an improvement to the original document.

Un-Real Estate

I was watching the old TV show Perry Mason as I often do at lunch time and was considering why people would murder someone for $5,000 or why someone with $50,000 would be considered wealthy. That’s a problem with old black and white TV shows, they are kind of dated. Anyway, I had to remember that up into the mid ’60′s you might be able to buy a house for that $5,000. That puts a different perspective on it.

With the recent crash of housing prices most everywhere I was trying to put it all into perspective. My parent’s bought a house about 1940 in Bakersfield that I was raised in. It probably cost them $5,000 and included 2.5 acres. It was a nice three bedroom house with big rooms and the yard made for a nice playground. They yard was actually made much bigger because there were open oilfields adjacent to it.

In the early 60′s I remember the family went house looking and similar sized houses with a much smaller lot cost about $10,000. 20 some years and a doubling of price.

In 1974, I bought my first house in South San Jose for $23,000. To me, that seemed like a lot but other areas of town and other nearby towns had ordinary housing going for the mid 30′s. A little over 10 years and another two or three times increase in price.

In 1979 we bought our house in downtown San Jose for $75,000. Five years and the price of a house tripled. The next year, our new neighbor downtown sold his house, 1/2 the size of ours and 30 years older for $130,000. He did it by placing a sign on the main street one weekend and had three offers that weekend. I measure that as one year and a 100% increase. Do you see a problem here?

In 1988 we bought our house in Bakersfield for $95,000. It remained at that price for years slowly rising to about 110,000 by the late 90′s. We decided to sell in 2005 but delayed putting it on the market to do some fixup. Similar houses were now, suddenly selling in the high $300,000 having been in the mid $200,000 just the previous year. All this in a market that one has to wonder why anyone would want a house in. We tried to sell the house ourselves when we were through fixing it up but prices were now dropping. While we were holding open houses we dropped the price each week and still didn’t sell it. When our “listing” with Help-U-Sell over, we signed with an agent who sold the house in the first weekend for our asking price which was now $70,000 less than we started at. It sold for $300,000. That house now might sell for $200,000. A really significant drop in price from the boom we saw when we decided to sell. Bakersfield is typical of much of the real estate market in California, Nevada, Arizona,Texas, Florida, and probably lots of other places to some lesser but still very significant extent.

In 1989 we bought our current house in Palo Alto for $300,000. Six months previously, the people we bought from had turned down an offer of $375,00 for the same house. The market was correcting and fortunately we got in at the bottom. Houses in the neighborhood are now still selling with 7 figure prices. There hasn’t been a drop here, yet. The price increased 300-400% in 18 years.

So what’s the story here? Housing prices rise and fall but usually they drop to their real value after an unrealistic increase to an un-real value. You usually don’t loose money if you buy when it’s priced realistically.

Another thing about housing in the US. People buy too big of a house. Nobody really needs a 2000 sq ft house unless they have more than the usual 2-3 kids. First there is the waste of extra materials and then there is the waste of extra utilities like lights and heating. I think we’re in for an extended period of adjustment in housing. Too much of it, too much of the wrong size, and too much in the wrong place. This adjustment period will take a bit longer than the adjustments in the mid 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.Of course, that’s assuming we do have a soft landing and not a crash.

What Part of Inept….

If it didn’t affect people so much it might be funny. The inept Bush administration has added another feather in their bonnet, the failure of our countries financial system. This is the result of lax regulation quite often counter to the law not just because of deregulation. This can be added to the failure of our police action in Iraq where we never should have gone in the sake of anti terrorism. Our military is near collapse due to overuse. The rights of citizens went away due to abuse of the administration.

Aren’t we fortunate that by some miracle, congress didn’t go along with the privatization of Social Security as Bush so much wanted for his cronies. If they had, this current financial problem wouldn’t seem like such a big deal at all. Of course, they only want an unrestricted check for 700 billion dollars this time, again for the cronies, not the people. Kind of makes the savings and loan failure, and the Enron collapse seem kind of insignificant doesn’t it.

A pretty good record for Bush. Failure, failure failure. Try hard to think of something he’s accomplished of benefit to the country. Try again, there must be something. How could anyone get everything wrong.

Don’t let McCain distract you either, his actions are at the root of this failure. He’s definitely not a potential savior.

I have always believed that the economy was going down toward a day of reckoning.  Mr Bush tried to liven up the economy by allowing the loan requirements to be adjusted to allow sales of homes to expand and imply a growing economy. We have been in recession for his whole term and now it may be impossible to stop. Good job George.

We’re all in for a tough time. The next president will have a lot to do and getting us out of this hole is going to be difficult. If, by some disaster, McCain is elected, the following president will have even a deeper whole, if that’s possible, to dig us out of.

I’m a retired person but so far don’t have to worry about these financial losses, if the fall can be stopped. If we continue to fall I guess I’ll be looking for work with everyone else. These past four years of retirement have been fun, I’d hate to see them end. My belief that this was going to occur is a primary reason for my early retirement.

VOTE OBAMA PLEASE! If not for your own sake, for mine!

Too Much Protection

Sometimes, laws are needed to assure people and businesses act responsibly. More often than not such laws are not well thought out. While enjoying my breakfast this morning at a new Kaiser hospital, I noticed a sign on the wall, much like you now see at all businesses in California. It’s a proposition 65 required posting about the potential for cancer causing chemicals being used. Every business posts them because everything causes cancer. So wouldn’t it be better to save the environment and not waste resources saying to obvious just to prevent some lawyer from suing you? I think the intent was to point out real hazards like air pollution, or such but it becomes less than worthless when it’s posted everywhere for everything.

This case was even worse here at Kaiser because the wording of the sign wasn’t just the standard “we may have something that causes cancer around here” type of sign. They mention in their sign that the drugs they prescribe may cause cancer but the doctor considered well before prescribing the drugs. That’s comforting but is it really necessary to tell us something everyone should already be aware of. What a waste of effort! Dreaming up the wording, posting the sign, reading the sign, all a waste of time.
Someday I’m going to have to start the campaign for a law mandating PERSONAL responsibility. You’re responsible for the obvious fellow. Someday!

Are Radical Chaplains Taking Over the Military?

I’ve thought all along that Mr Bush’s War was an evangelical crusade. While watching a report on the training of army chaplains on the News Hour on PBS I learned that more than half the army chaplains are evangelical protestants. Should that be interpreted as war mongers? Having a volunteer military is dangerous enough but adding too strong of an evangelical element to the mix is extremely dangerous. Is the mix adequate to assure extremists don’t take over the military possibly at the expense of civilian control?

Sorry folks, we really need the draft, not to fuel wars but to prevent them.

Not happy With The Democrats?

I’m not really a Democrat but I am anti Republican. I believe in Democracy and in our Constitution. I wish we could rid ourselves of this two party system, or at least these two parties. It would be nice if there were more of a difference on the honesty and doing the peoples work side. The main reason I am anti elephants is because in addition to doing neither of those, they don’t believe in democracy at all.

I changed from Independent 10-15 years ago when it was apparent we needed to rid ourselves of the Republican infestation and its threat to any remaining freedom in this country.

The choice of parties isn’t great because I haven’t found a party that uses reason as their core policy. I’m a realist and have to remain a “registered’ Democrat for now. Damn!

Hillary And The Wrong Wing Media

Why the rush to approve Barack, the republican choice of an opponent to McCain? Why not let the primary voters complete their vote. Even last night, the evening before the final primary voting, the republican media is manipulating their corporate news media saying Hillary had conceded when it wasn’t true and had no basis in fact.

But, it looks like Barack will probably get the nomination. Too bad, he has much less a chance to win than does Hillary. My guess is a 5% difference. Assuming a probable 60% vote if Hillary were the nominee and my belief that the Republicans still have control of possibly 5% of the vote through fraud and manipulation of voting machines that makes the results too close to call and we may easily end up with another unwanted, unelected Republican as our president I’m a bit worried. I do hope that if Barack is chosen that he is smart enough to recognize this danger and select Hillary as his running mate.

I hope that we never have another primary like this one and finally do the primary vote correctly and have all states vote at the same time and date. It’s the only honest way to do it. If this were a normal year, California would have been having their primary vote today, as well, meaning that their vote, the most populous state in the nation had nothing to say about the selection of our president. That is extremely wrong!

I have to wonder why Barack did best in the red states, open primary states and caucus states all more easily manipulated by those damn  Republicans.

Wrong Wing News

Leslie Griffith, was a local real journalist. Leslie was an award winning anchor woman on Channel 2, the now local FOX affiliate. She worked there for 20 years, the last 10 years as an anchor. She started there back before the days of the FOX network and back when Channel 2 had the best news department and team in the San Francisco Bay Area. When they became a FOX affiliate I started to watch another station’s news, Channel 4. In the beginning, the news on Channel 2 seemed the same but the FOX influence then moved in. I was recently wondering why Leslie was suddenly gone a year or two ago and Goggled her and learned a little more about what happened. As it turns out she was fired. As far back as 2003 when Bush twisted events such that Osama became Saddam and Afghanistan became Iraq she was acting like a journalist, looking at what happened, asking questions and reporting. Evidently she recognized the problem with Bush on the day of his 2003 State Of The Nation speech and wanted to discuss it on the newscast. For fear of being fired, nobody else there was interested. Evidently she had a long term contract because she didn’t leave until mid 2006 and either won a law suit against the station or they bought out here contract but she never returned. In reading about the events as she describes them on her website, it is a perfect description of what is wrong with the media now that it is corporate based rather than locally owned. Hopefully, some day, we’ll pass some realistic laws to protect the Fourth Estate and not allow multiple ownership nor network control of stations and other local news media. If not, we’re in very serious trouble and the future of our freedom is in extreme danger. We’re living in the days of the chain store media and need to move back toward the farmers market media.

Now as to the station I changed to, Channel 4. They had a good independent news group. They evidently were not responding appropriately to the Wrong Wing News according to NBC. NBC dropped their affiliation and bought a station in San Jose, a supposedly different TV market. NBC bought some votes at the FCC, as well and moved San Jose to San Francisco and Channel 11 became the local NBC affiliate with a bunch of newly hired talking faces as the reporting staff. Too bad. Channel 4 remained mostly independent but the big bucks were gone and the news quality has been slipping because of staff reductions. Too bad!

Another example. Last week, all three major network news anchors, Brian Williams (NBC), Katie Couric (CBS) and Charles Gibson (ABC) were on the Today show. They were asked how they thought the news media did covering the Iraq war. Williams and Gibson thought they did well. Only Couric was bold enough to say that the news media did a terrible job and failed to ask any questions. When Couric came to CBS when Dan Rather was fired, I thought it was the end of real journalism at CBS. While they still did not ask the questions, at least she recognizes that they didn’t. I wonder how much longer Couric will be with CBS?

Finding honest news and real journalists has become very difficult.

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