Dec 3, 2010

Dear Mr. President:

Could you please take a moment to tell me the name of the next young American who should die for President Thieu, errr, I mean Karzai, of course.


Dec 2, 2010 I kicked sand is his face back

Washington is beyond any hope of parody. The President and Mrs. Obama today wet kissed Congress for turning the nation's school children into legions of Arnie Schwarzeneggers and Twiggies. Fortunately,  it's going to cost only $4.5 billion (B), plus overruns. For a time we were frightened that it would be expensive, but it's only a little more than half of the new money the Fed printed today.*

The new nutrition standards would be written by the Agriculture Department, which would decide which kinds of foods may be sold and what ingredients can be used on school lunch lines and in vending machines.

"The $4.5 billion bill approved by the House 264-157 would also try to cut down on greasy foods and extra calories by giving the government power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines and lunch lines. The bill could even limit frequent school bake sales and fundraisers that give kids extra chances to eat brownies and pizza."

Since the Ag Department boss is our old buddy Tom Vilsack, former weekend gardener and mayor of Mount Pleasant, I thought I would reintroduce you to the man now in charge of your kids' school food.

Tom is the one on the right, a lithe example of American manhood, or, as we used to call him when he was our governor, Ol' Brownie Bake Sale.


*The latest  iceberg collision of the QE2. Ben invented $8.3 billion to buy federal bonds.

Of COURSE she misses me.

Sarah Palin is about eight miles north of Camp J,  signing books in WalMart. I'm cleaning up paperwork, enjoying a nice fire of oak and ash, and waiting for her heartborken email lamenting my absence .

I'll reply -- with all the compassion and sensitivity I can muster -- that I always avoid groups of more than 5,000 people when I can gracefully do so and remind her that I already saw her once.

On a Bike Trail Built for Few

Sill looking for an explanation of how we destroyed our economy so badly? Come visit. On a five-minute drive I will illustrate it for you.

We'll be motoring along the busy two-lane state highway which has just been graced by a new bike trail.

First, however, kindly permit me a brief personal aside. I am a fan of the trail concept.  People who walk and ride bicycles instead of driving cars and trucks  become healthier and wealthier.  When protein-based locomotion is substituted for fossil fuel, we reduce our overseas cash-exodus and debt problem.  Our world becomes a little cleaner.  It's all good, or would be if  (a) trails were built with a degree of intelligence and (b) they actually went somewhere.

The one I refer to starts at the driveway of a big church well outside of town and ends a couple of miles away near the entrance to a  lakeside park. Aside from a country convenience store mid-way, there is no reason travel it except to look at pretty scenery on one side and the highway on the other. So virtually no one uses it.

Which is not related to the three other primary absurdities, the least of which is that about a third of the trail goes through a public hunting area. Before long some lonely yuppie will be biking along on his Koga Kimera and notice a guy with a gun. He will make a  horrified complaint to pliant authorities who will then be faced with a dilemma. Do they close down hunting, or do they offend the hoplophobic wailers,  noisy all out of proportion to their numbers? You get one guess, and it will be right.

It is more ridiculous that this trail -- and all others in this  part of the world -- are built to standards more often associated with roadways for Freightliners, fully paved with (most likely) over-specified concrete. Someone with access to the public tit missed the point that a trail, by definition, is intended for Nikes, Schwinns, and baby strollers.  Call it, generously, GVW limits of of 600 pounds, and those would be tandems piloted by the couples who badly need the exercise.

The best for last: One and-one half miles of this trail are easily visible from the highway, and just for the Hell of it I counted the traffic control signs -- on the trail and meant only for all those bikes and baby strollers. Forty-two in the mile and one-half. Some warn of curves, the sharpest of which limits visibility to maybe 300 yards.  Some alert the soccer moms to the beginning and end of the trail. But most, and I swear to the gods this is true, are incline markers, cautioning that the trail drops or rises 10  or 20 feet in the next couple of hundred yards.

Ignore the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the underused trail bed itself Just multiply 42 by a couple of hundred dollars, the minimum imaginable cost of buying the treated posts, the signs, and people and equipment to install them. You get $8,400.

So what, Jim? You're bitching about a pittance.

No, I'm inviting attention to the reason why our Leaders this week are stumbling around Washington, wall-eyed  with the realization that we have nearly borrowed ourselves into Third-World debtor-nation status; why an American plea for IMF bailout loans in the next decade is no longer unthinkable. Why you may wake up one morning in the near future and discover that your stash of  well-hidden C-notes,  totaling  a thousand dollars, for emergencies,  won't buy your hungry kid a Happy Meal, even if they remain legal.

Bike trails built to Interstate Highway standards, a million or two  to dissuade kids from eating Cheetos, a few billion to send an extra $250 to each of the nation's old farts.  They are linked to a pervasive political attitude: "Dream up something  -- damned near anything -- that sounds nice and green and healthy and friendly, and, of course, badly needed. Hire a lobbyist. We'll find a way to make you happy by extorting your neighbors, Of  course, they're broke too these days, but we'll just borrow what you need and sign their name to it."