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Sunday, April 29, 2012

KEITH OLBERMANN FALLS FROM BOTTOM RUNG OF BROADCASTING

Keith Olbermann, "Buddy, could you spare a dime?"


As you may already know, liberal loudmouth Keith Olbermann has been fired again.  This time he has been dumped from Current TV by none other than fellow liberal Al Gore.  You remember Al; he’s the former vice president who has made millions telling us he is saving the world from global warming.  One would think these two would be peas in the pod but apparently two minuses don’t always equal a plus.

Although already released by ESPN in 1997, Olbermann has since been canned by MSNBC where he managed to reach a million viewers per night; about 1/3 that of rival Bill O’Reilly on Fox.   With those two steps down the ladder, he then tied in with Gore on his Current TV cable network. 

You may not have heard of Current; most people haven’t.  To put it in perspective, a cable network like ESPN draws an average of about 2,680,000 households in prime time and MSNBC draws about 1,500,000.  Current draws about 18,000 which is less than the CW network gets for re-runs of “The King of Queens.”  That’s small potatoes especially for a supposed hot shot who wants to spend his evenings spewing his hate of everything conservative and/or Republican.

What does a guy like Olbermann do now?  Writer John Hudson reports that CBS talked to him in 2005 but had no interest in him for other than sports.  One producer said “He’s not a reporter. I’ve never seen anything that he’s done that was original, in terms of the information."  Oops!  Maybe he could read the ball scores.

Fox News would certainly not be in the equation as he hates their guts and everything they stand for.  I could see O’Reilly punching him out the first day.

ESPN?  They say “No way!” and that when he left there “He didn’t just burn his bridges, he napalmed them!” 

NBC?  Olbermann drove MSNBC executives and his underlings up the wall according to Hudson. The straw that broke the camel's back was thought to be when MSNBC suspended him for donating to Democratic candidates without notifying his bosses.

CNN?  Olbermann worked there for short stints in 1981 and 2002 but at this time they would probably think he is too left of center to re-hire.  Really?  Just remember, Olbermann thinks that the gas companies have conspired to raise gas prices to harm Obama.  Does CNN need that type of silliness?

HBO?  Now, that may be a good fit.  He could team up with obnoxious buddy Bill Maher and spew their liberal name calling together.  We know what Maher called Sarah Palin (the “C: word); that guy wouldn’t know what class is if it slapped him in the face. 

Better still, maybe Al Jazeera is looking for an anchorman in Saudi Arabia. 

Here is a 1:45 clip of “Wall Street Journal” writer Peggy Noonan “schooling” Olbermann about the value of businessmen in creating jobs.  This aired recently on the ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday program.  I’m wondering why Olbermann was even on the show.  With George Will and Peggy Noonan as the other guests, it was quite a comedown to see Olbermann mixing with such high class company.


Quote of the day:  "When a federal agency gets into something, the number of tax paid people at work multiplies itself by five, the number of hours taken to get it done multiplies by ten, and the chances of a successful conclusion must be divided by three."............... Navajo Tribal Police Sergeant Jim Chee in Tony Hillerman's The Wailing Wind  (2002)
                                                                                   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FOOD FADS THROUGH THE YEARS


(left) A beautiful, quivering, tomato aspic from the 50s

I can’t remember a time when there was not some kind of crazy food fad making the rounds.  Whether the fad became popular because the items were supposed to assist in losing weight, or they just caught on because someone popular said they liked them, they were always there.  As one fad would become tiresome another was always in line to take its place.

The 1950s was a decade where there was an inordinate amount of food fads.  It was a time when America was becoming more mobile which meant discovering new food items from other parts of the country.  It also was a time when television was getting a foothold and driving the movie business into deep trouble.

The fad of TV dinners made its debut in the ‘50s as families loved to watch TV so much that they wanted to eat dinner while they watched the tube.  Hence, we had the birth of the TV dinner with families sitting behind flimsy metal trays eating Swanson TV dinners of turkey or Salisbury steak, potatoes, peas and a cherry cobbler (click here for Swanson TV dinner ad from the 50s (1:02).  Those concoctions came from the grocery’s freezer, cost about 89 cents, and were heated in the oven for a half hour or so.  Yum!  Tear off the tinfoil covering and there was that gourmet’s delight ready to be eaten while spending the hour with Ed Sullivan, Uncle Miltie, or whoever else was on.   Personally, I preferred The Lone Ranger.

If that wasn’t bad enough to label the ‘50s as a bad food decade, there was also the popular Jello salad and tomato aspic.  Before you get foolish and assume that “Hey, I love Jello!” or  “That sounds pretty good!”  let me warn you that we are talking about Jello with things like cabbage and carrots suspended in that wonderful  gelatin delight.  I never could eat that stuff.  I was a kid and thought Jello should be topped with whipped cream.  Silly me!

Tomato aspic was sickening.  To me it looked like a big blood clot quivering on a plate.  Other than a lot of tomato juice it was full of gelatin, spices, vinegar and a bunch of other unappetizing stuff.  No thanks!  I’d rather have an Eskimo Pie.

I shouldn’t pick on the 50s too much.  It was a great ten years in my life but if you were like me, your parents made you eat a lot of stuff you hated simply because it was “good for you.”  That was a turn off on a lot of items that later in life I would enjoy.

A food fad that worked for a while in the late 90s was the Atkins’ diet.  It was the era of low carb and no carb.  I would see people, especially women, eating big juicy hamburgers with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles but no bun.   They would lose weight but as soon as they went crazy to have a cinnamon bun and a milkshake, it was over.

The above is the tip of the proverbial iceberg of food fads.  Do you remember deep fried pickles, Mars Bars, and Twinkies?  How about fondue?  Didn’t you love being with friends and spearing a chunk of bread and double dipping it in a pot holding melted chocolate or cheese?  Were you into the Oat bran craze of the ‘80s?  It was supposed to clean the cholesterol out of your blood.  Sorry, it didn’t.

One item that has graduated from fad status is bacon.  Tell me the truth:  Is there ANYONE who doesn’t like bacon?  I think I’ll go make a BLT right now! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ARE HYBRID CARS WORTH THE TROUBLE?

A new 2010 Ford Escape with gas engine:  $20,515 
The hybrid version stickered for $31,500!


I read an article in either the Arizona Republic or the Phoenix Gazette in the early 1990s about a guy in this area converting his 1980s vintage Ford Escort from being gas powered to solar powered.

I remember he was a middle class guy who had an aptitude for that sort of thing and, although the car was comically ugly to look at, it would go about 100 miles on solar power.  I don’t know any other details other than in the picture it looked like a Rube Goldberg invention with those big panels on the roof.  It was ugly but effective and saved the guy some gas money.

In 1996, the EV-I electric car from General Motors emerged only to disappear after a couple years.  It was leased through Saturn dealerships and was well liked by many customers.  Eventually GM decided to get rid of them in spite of customer protests as they were considered unprofitable.  They called in all the leases and the cars were crushed.  GM obviously doesn’t screw around when they take a car off the market!

Fast forward to 2012 where the best the car companies can come up with in their green mentality are hybrids or electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.  Since the Leaf and Volt are basically jokes, we’ll dispense of them quickly.  If you can get 100 miles range from them you are doing well. 

The cost is too much even with the extravagant rebates the feds offer.  The Volt’s battery weighs about 400 pounds and the car has been known to catch on fire.  At about $40,000 these heaps are grossly overpriced and not practical for Americans.  Strangely, under the Opel badge, the Volt is the car of the year in Europe.  It must be because of the shorter distances driven.

Much more popular for the green freaks are the hybrids but they have their minuses too in spite of what the showroom salesman may tell you.  They will rave about the gas mileage and in many cases, although not all, the hybrid will get better gas mileage than a standard gas powered engine.  However, because of the increased cost of a hybrid, anywhere from $2000 to $10,000, it takes a long time for it to pay off in savings from gas expense.  Repairs are also more expensive especially if the battery needs replacing.  That can cost in the $3,000 range.

An R. L. Polk survey shows that the Lincoln MKZ and the Toyota Prius were the only hybrids that saved owners money over a six year period.  However, that was based on gas costing $8 per gallon.  So, the green enthusiasts might say, “Yeah, but hybrids are good for the environment!”  Not necessarily since there are large batteries involved which can strain the environment if needed to be disposed.  Also, since manufacturing includes making two engines, the environment can be affected by that.  Since most of the work is still being done by the gas engine, the environment is still affected from exhaust although a bit less.

To sum up, I would not buy a hybrid.  I think the technology is too complicated with the two engines and many gas powered cars get as good if not better mileage without driving a contraption.  One test showed a BMW getting better mileage than a Prius.

For now, my gas powered Hyundai is looking pretty good.

Friday, April 13, 2012

OBAMA'S BUFFETT RULE IS "FRENCH PASTRY"


The king of income redistribution is at it again for the umpteenth time.  It’s not like we haven’t heard this “spread the wealth around” pitch from Obama before as he keeps pounding away at those darn rich people who dare to work hard to expand their businesses so we can have job growth through free enterprise and avoid the pitfalls of socialism.

How many times do we have to listen to this guy crab about the Buffett rule where big Warren pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary?  I think he is out of ammunition and like the television shows, he is heading into his summer reruns.

It looks like his ideas about the economy and taking from the rich aren’t going over so well.  A current Washington Post /ABC News poll shows 44% endorsing Obama’s handling of the economy while 54% disapprove.  On the other hand, the same poll shows that 47% trust Romney with the economy over Obama who has 44%.  Never mind that Romney hasn’t been nominated or seriously campaigned yet.

According to columnist Charles Krauthammer, Obama is using the Buffet rule as a political ploy to gain acceptance by “pitting the 99% against the 1%.”  He is selling the idea of taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  He knows what his audience likes to hear.  “Obama does not know how to govern or is he a good president but he sure knows how to campaign” says Krauthammer.

The second method Obama uses to incite his base is that since the rich pay only a 15% capital gains tax, they are paying far less in taxes than others like the middle class.  Not so, says Charles.  He says that although the capital gains tax is 15%, it has been proven over the last half century that if you raise capital gains taxes the amount of money going into the treasury is actually less than if the tax is lower.

When asked in 2008 by Charles Gibson of ABC News if he would raise capital gains taxes even if it meant less revenue, Obama replied:  “Yes, in the name of fairness.”  Krauthammer says that Obama can’t run on his record and doesn’t have a vision for his second term, so why not run on fairness?”   Why not, indeed?  He isn’t going to balance the budget anyway.

According to Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard, the Buffet rule would raise about the same amount of money in one year as the federal government accumulates in debt in a single day.  So, what is the big deal about the rich and the 15% capital gains?  The lower the taxes they pay, the more they can put back into their businesses to create jobs and more customers.   However, Obama tells his crowd that lower taxes on the rich mean the poor are being screwed.  Hence, his incorrect “fairness” spiel.

It doesn’t wash and even liberal writers like Dana Milbank of the Washington Post call the Buffett rule a “gimmick.”

As far as the rich not paying their fair share, here are some numbers from the Americans For Tax Reform:  PERCENT OF ALL TAX REVENUE:  Top 1%, $344,000+ income:  income tax, 39.5%, All Federal taxes, 28.1%.  Middle Quintile, $65,000 income:  income tax, 4.6%, All Federal taxes, 9.2%.

AVERAGE TAX RATES:  Top 1%:  19% of income taxes and 29.5% of all Federal taxes.  Middle quintile:  3.3% of income taxes, 14.3% of all Federal taxes.

The Democrats like to reference John Kennedy as one of their great presidents.  John Kennedy lowered the capital gains tax.  I guess he had a different definition of “fairness” that didn’t include redistribution of income and class warfare.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

I WISH RITA HAYWORTH WAS STILL HERE


Rita Hayworth

My buddy in New England, Allen, has sent to me a great YouTube clip that I think is worth watching for a couple of reasons:   First, its 4:48 in length which will only tie you up for a few minutes.  Second, it features the Bee Gees doing their great hit of 1977, “Stayin' Alive”, from the most popular film of that time, “Saturday Night Fever”.  Third and most important, someone has taken the song and dance moves from the film and synchronized them with some films from the 1940s and 1950s starring the great Rita Hayworth.

Most of you probably remember Rita but in case you don’t, she was the hottest lady in film during the 1940s and 1950s.  She was a red headed beauty who could really dance and the fascination with this clip is the way the Bee Gees tune fits her dancing style.

I love classic films and to see Rita Hayworth cavorting on the dance floor with people like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire is a great pleasure.   Most of the clips are from the 1940s but there is one from 1957 (“Pal Joey”) with Rita and Frank Sinatra. (If you have a sharp eye you can see Phil Silvers of "Sgt. Bilko" fame dancing with Rita and Gene Kelly in a couple of scenes!)

As talented as Rita Hayworth was, she didn’t have a happy personal life as she was married five times between 1937 and 1961.  Her last film was a stinker called “The Wrath of God” (1972) with Robert Mitchum and in 1987 she was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

Rita Hayworth died in 1987 at age 68 but left behind a lot of great films that we can still enjoy today.

This is great stuff! and it takes me back to those days of youth when my buddies and I salivated over girls like Rita, Marilyn Monroe,  Gina Lollobridgida,and Brigette Bardot.

None of us were old enough to drive so we walked and hitchhiked everywhere.  One friend of mine was really bold.  He would hitch rides and have the nerve to ask the driver to change his radio station!

We would go to double feature films and not worry about whether we got there for the beginning or not.  When the film made its cycle back someone would whisper down the row that "This is where we came in."

Vacations were always taken in non air conditioned cars and we never passed up the opportunity to have a good snowball fight on snowy winter days.  As far as I know, nobody ever had their eye put out!

That was a great era and the time when Rita Hayworth ruled.  I sure miss her.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

AL, JESSE, PANTHERS, AND OBAMA: QUITE THE CREW

Columnist Rich Lowry makes some interesting points about the Trayvon Martin case in his column of March 31.

Lowry opines that “….if Martin had been shot by a Black classmate, if he had been caught in random crossfire or if he had looked at a rival gang member the wrong way, his death would have been relegated to the back pages of the local newspaper.  Not a cause, not even a curiosity:  just another dead young Black man.  Nothing to see here.  Please move on.”

Lowry also quotes some interesting numbers:  “According to a 2005 FBI report, Blacks accounted for 13 per cent of the population and 49 percent of all homicide victims.  In 93 per cent of the cases the killer was Black.  Half of the victims were ages 17 to 29.  That works out to 4,000 murders of young Blacks in one year, overwhelmingly at the hands of other Blacks.”

In the case of George Zimmerman, who is half white and half Hispanic and the alleged killer in Florida of Black Trayvon Martin, Black “leaders” like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton figure half white is good enough to turn the country upside down in outrage.   The Black on Black killings don’t seem to faze them, but let a guy with one spoonful of white blood be involved, guilty or not, and they are calling for riots to protest such a great injustice to Blacks whether the proof is there or not.

Jesse and Al like the limelight and love to be seen on TV shouting away in their thousand dollar Armani suits and jewelry.  So do washed up “celebrities” like Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr who feel it is up to them to Twitter people’s addresses to the public even when they are incorrect.  Hey, it got them on the tube, right?

Then there is NBC and MSNBC who took sides in the matter rather than just reporting the news.  NBC supposedly edited a tape to falsely incriminate Zimmerman even more.  Since they were caught, they have fortunately received the discredit they deserve.

How about those Black Panthers parading around in their fatigue uniforms with insignias of rank as though they are really an official organization.  One guy had captain’s bars and another considered himself a lieutenant colonel.  At least they knew enough to make themselves officers.  Those geniuses were offering a million bucks as a bounty on Zimmerman.  That’s laughable; they better go back to doing what they are good at:  intimidating voters at polls.

If that isn’t enough, Obama had to stick his nose into the situation with his famous “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”  How sweet and sentimental!  Quite a contrast to his reaction after the Ft. Hood massacre when he said, “Let’s not jump to conclusions.”  Thirteen people killed by a Muslim officer on an Army base and that was his reaction?  Draw your own conclusions.

Don’t get me started on the hoodies, the sympathetic photo of Trayvon at 13, and the nationwide marches.

Does this nonsense ever end?  There is a racial problem in the US, otherwise the Black leaders would be more concerned with the ignored deaths of young Blacks in their communities rather than trying to make an issue of something they have no facts on in the white community.   However, when you are dealing with guys like Al and Jesse who love the exposure, the Zimmerman situation is right down their alley.  After all, what network would send cameras to cover the murder of a 16 year old Black girl on a Chicago street by a Black man?  That’s much too boring for them.