Jan 30, 2015

Oh Goodie.The Government is Gonna Help Me Again

Aren't you happy that the U.S. Senate retains enough vigor to protect you from a different evil? I thought those poor folks would be exhausted from inventing and distributing health care, to each according to his or her needs.

But vigor is the hallmark of senatorial service, and a new law proposed by two Dems and a Rep would require that 401K custodians -- the guys holding your retirement money -- to tell you if your money will last long enough after you've punched your final time card. Funny how I thought No Child Left Behind would have taught our citizens how to read the kinds of imputed future value tables that have been around since about 12 centuries before Jesus smacked the shit out of the Temple money changers.

It is encouraging to see that the senators wish to make things very, very, clear, including a notation the tables expressly stating that longer you live, the more money you'll need. We can only guess that they'll also reveal to us that the lower the interest rate you earn, the more capital you're need. And maybe about the disruption of investing in the next Enron.

There's a different way of expressing that, of course. If you ride a lot of air planes whose security is overseen by Janet (The System Worked) Napolitano, you don't need near as much in the ol' IRA.

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EDIT: I was reviewing some old  stuff this morning, and somehow this ancient post got kicked to the top of the list. I just about  killed it when my screwup became apparent, then decided to leave it alone.  A couple of the references are dated, but the general observations hold up. Besides, it is relevant to the presidential run of Pocahontas Warren (Sometimes known as Elizabeth). She's the gal who thinks no American, save herself, is competent to decide how to spend and invest his or her money. 

Jan 23, 2015

Further Communiques from the War on Drugs

But first I need to tell you about my Jewish Mother. It was a brief relationship but responsible for about the only health legend I fully accept.

We were living in Guilford. I was working in New Haven. The Peter Principle intruded, and I was ordered to report daily to 50 Rock in Manhattan for several weeks of "executive training." At first, the most efficient way of getting there was by bus. Kiss the wife good bye and ruffle the kids' hair about 6 a.m. Monday,  then brave the depot diesel fumes until the driver slammed the door and embarked for Gotham.

So I already know a little about Hell. The American bus is Cosmic punishment for not being rich. But once it profited me.

My seat mate  was undeniably Jewish and almost certainly a mother.  That sort of thing shows, and not too subtly, a certain comfortable heft, authoritarian ways of expression, and an iron will to make younger people do things for their own good.

About the time we hit the Throgs Neck bridge, she noticed my sniffle. From her handbag came a pill bottle, "C"  tabs. I'd given smaller ones to sick ponies.

"Take six."

I suppose my eyebrows raised, but one does not defy  Mama. "It will stop your cold.  But only if you take six."

I decided it was best to comply as a wise man would when, for instance,  confronting Harry Callahan in one of his moods. I was grateful for enough dregs in the cardboard cup to wash them down.

It made my day. Glowing health blessed my first week on a large Big Apple expense account. In the many ensuing years, I've popped hundreds of big Cs immediately after soiling the first tissues. It has usually worked.

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I hope it does this morning.  I don't have time for a goddam cold, and I don't favor plan B, a trip to the pharmacy counter to stand in line for a  DEA investigation of my background, lifestyle,  political beliefs, and propensity to repurpose pseudophedrine for fun and profit. (Strictly as an aside, that might also be a Homeland Security, TSA, NSA, et al. investigation. Like you, I live in a province with a fusion center. )

Criminalizing the private purchase of Sudafed came here about ten years ago. My buddy the sheriff tells me it has slightly reduced the number of Mom and Pop meth operations in ramshackle old farm buildings. The number of idiots screwing up their lives is about the same, however, because Mexico has been proud to fill the manufacturing and distribution vacuum.

In other words, we exported the good-paying jobs.






Jan 21, 2015

Reefer Madness Just Down the Road

Tom and Deb got raided and went to jail. Cops claim they had pot to a felonious degree. Quoting local radio:

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says deputies allegedly found drug paraphernalia*,  concentrated marijuana wax and marijuana plant material.

Party animals. Spiked hair. Tongue studs. The scourge of sanctified Sibley. Right?

As good citizens bent on ensuring the continued morality of all our youth, we must ignore a point or two in this case. Tom has a spotless criminal record; not even a traffic ticket in court records. Same with Deb, although she was associated with a probate action related to the death of a relative. Very suspicious.

Tom is 67. Deb is 58. Those are ages when time-ravaged bodies may start aching in ways that pot, in one form or another, can relieve.

Cops don't reveal many details because "Ongoing Investigation. Ongoing, I tell you!" So I may be reading the case quite badly before opining: "This one does not pass the smell test."

So far I have this image of Tom and Deb in their own home, doors shut,  hoping the internet article they read about reducing ditch weed to analgesic oil was correct.

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Iowa did pass a medical marijuana law last year after a protracted legislative gong show.  If you have severe epilepsy you can get a certain kind of marijuana oil if you travel out-of-state to buy it and are successful with several other hoop jumps. That doesn't mean the cops can't haul you off to jail if they catch you trying to control pain.  It just means that you can pay your lawyer to go to court and offer your disease as an an "affirmative defense."

Speaking of pay, the last report has it that Tom and Deb are in jail, trying to scrape up a $7,000 bond so they can go home and make some nice chicken soup. (Edit to update: They're out now.)

Doesn't this make us all feel safer?

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Once in a while I decide I need to report that I think using pot for kicks is stupid. I've never seen evidence that stoners are having much fun. Same with alkies.

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*Including zip-lock bags and "small spoons." Makes me wonder how much trouble I'm in if I still have the one Mom saved for me, the one with the blue ribbon tied in a bow and engraved with a birth date.












Jan 20, 2015

A Winchester 73, t'hee

I assume you were as torn by jealous rage as I was when the feds stumbled over  that 1873 Winchester leaning against a juniper in Great Basin National Park.

Why can't I ever find neat stuff like that?

But it helps a little to see a writer put it in perspective and -- perhaps -- guarantee the old classic will never be sullied by display in SSRs such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

The most popular common variation was the round-barreled carbine, which sported a 20-inch tube and was—in essence—the AR-15 of its day: fast, maneuverable, and high capacity.