Friday, May 28, 2010

Organizational ineptitude

Just who is in charge of our federal government these days? A pattern of behavior is what prompts the question. And as much as I may oppose a lot of the demonstrated politics in our federal government these days, I also want our federal government to succeed for the sake of the country as a whole.

That I am trying to even believe that the questions must be asked is worrisome. Again, there is a pattern of behavior that seems to keep repeating, or worse, compounding on itself. This suggests many more future and bigger problems that many in our federal government may not be up to solving, or even trying to solve in a helpful way.

Here’s some questions I do not know the answer to. And in doing so I know to resist trying to use psycho-babble to analyze intents. Analyzing capabilities is a much easier and more realistic task.

At the executive level:

1. Is the President in-charge, or those very close friends who he brought into the government with him?
2. Do the czars run the executive through delegation, or do the Cabinet Secretaries? Now blaming each other is so common a gambit for those who really don’t know what authority they have. Only the boss can say.
3. Do the czars have spending authority, or does the Congress still control the purse strings?
4. Do words still matter? All government people still take the oaths that they swear to as “for real?
5. Do most people in the federal government still believe in the rule of law? And do most people in the federal government still believe in enforcing federal laws that have been passed by our legislature and signed by our president. As a variation of the preceding questions, do most people in the federal government’s executive branch know they are obligated to uphold the laws?
6. Can anyone be held accountable in the executive these days? Of course the question assumes there is some level below the periodic vote that counts. A loosely held committee type governing means invites this question. In a government of humans, there is always a need for accountability and “head knocking”.

At the legislative level:

1. How many legislators still feel ties to their constituency in guiding their votes? Said another way, do the voters still count during a term of office. Now legislators have always had ways to connect back to their home base, and they still exist.
2. How many legislators have stronger loyalties to their party than to their constituents?
3. How much influence do the hired minions, usually called “staffers”, have in any legislator’s office? If the influence is great, do the staffers even bother to “read the bill”? One hopes someone “reads the bill” before a vote is recommended and then counted! That this is a question suggests a sad state of affairs.
4. Other than the vote, is there any way, other than crisis, to hold people accountable? Does past failure to uphold laws and the rules that come from these laws usually mean new laws, vice just applying the present laws with teeth?

At the federal bureaucracy level:

1. What percentage of people get fired or failed for their job performance? After all, trying to implement (write and then implement rules from) very long laws like the health care law is a difficult job, and some do better than others.
2. Have our federal civil service laws and rules made performance secondary?
3. Are many astonished at the performance bonuses so many civil service employees gain annually?
4. Just how are federal buereacrats hired into their positions? And what percentage get fired or relieved, like in the rest of the world?
5. Just how many fellow Americans manipate the present system to where it is easier to get one federal employee promoted away and above their compentency, than to get them fired? I've done it! And I did it based on advice from my boss.

At the moral level:

1. Can a “gift for words” be a qualifier for elected office? When people are cold and hungry, will words and good intentions count, both for those cold and hungry, and those who use a "gift for words"?
2. Does “lying” become a moral qualifier? If not, are voters worried that if they elect a known liar, then they may suffer?
3. Is saying one thing and doing another, a smart political strategy, or a personality defect?
4. Is charity a government taxpayer funded responsibility, as in police and fire protection, clean water, waste water treatment, and public electricity and highways have been in the past?
5. Is charity, or even empathy, a government function, or a personal decision?
6. Are people poor because of circumstances, or because they are deadbeats? Just who decides the answer to this question?
7. Just who is the "food police"? Is what we eat a personal or government decision?

At the human evolution level:

1. Is there something worth both preserving and promoting in this new world USA country?
2. Are we in the USA going to revert to other forms of government, like royalty or dictatorship? Or are we still going to be revolutionaries that expand this new world USA country that so far has attracted a lot of fellow humans willing to work hard?

One can argue many things. In the meantime some questions should be asked, and this is one proposed list. After all, it is all about ourselves and our families futures. So now there is a reasonable worry that we may have elected too many incompetent, though smooth talking and often pedigree educated, and maybe immoral people to guide us through the near future. Now I am both worried, and also have hope for the future since I think the voters are still in charge.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Things in perspective

Perhaps we USA Americans still do not dominate the rest of the humans in the world. Perhaps other humans in the world will go their own way for their own reasons, generally local and family in nature, I think.

We USA Americans have had a great flowering in the last half of the 20th century, and most of us have qualities of life that are pretty good, at least compared to the last 100 years, or other places in our present human world.

Now perspective is something special if one can achieve it. And of course it is something akin to politics and a tendency for humans to generalize about almost anything.

So some perspective is appropriate when things seem to be going to hell in a hand basket these days. Maybe things are better than they seem, especially depending on where you live. Just what does one think about things, for example, in the NE part of Sri Lanka?

So, I, as a USA American, also have a heart and a mind, and that should count too for those westerner leaders who put some much importance into the hearts and minds idea.

So, and this is a perspective, things are better in the human world today than, say, 100 years ago. And a perspective is that western domination by all means, like a world war or two, or colonial expansion, or British cultural standards, have made the world human quality of life better, though not perfect by a long ways.

A last perspective appropriate to these days on the earth is that we humans can only change so much in a given period of time. This idea prompts one constant discussion…does the earth evolve gradually, or catastrophically, or some combination thereof.

Now my opinion is that the great flowering in the USA America has been too fast for much of the rest of the human world. And much friction will come out of this, like even a nuclear regional war or two. Change always also evokes opportunities for those willing. And some are “willing”. Present regional powers like Iran and China may surprise us in what their leaders do.

So I suggest one more perspective. We USA Americans simply do not dominate the rest of the human world these days. Our great flowering was really nice here, but kind of boring elsewhere. Now we new world types still do have great influence, mostly based on ideas and culture, economics, media, and even some military stuff. But even the military bit is just more defense than offense. I don’t know many who want to invade places like where they happen to live. In other words, respect those who live where they live.

Now one more perspective. For decades we USA American political leaders have wanted to promote the rest of the human world in our vision. Now we get to live it, it seems. And we are not too shabby, especially if one looks at the immigration stuff.

One last perspective. Much has been said about capitalism in the last year or so. What has bothered me is that, and again this is something between an opinion and a perspective, is that this is a western idea. Now I think the problems are more greed and human and ethics oriented, and those in the east are also pretty bad.

Leveraging one’s financial bet is one thing in America, raping the rain forest in Borneo is another. Both kind of things affect we humans.

Now that is a perspective.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another political mafia comes to town

To be kind, that is probably the nature of American federal politics. Use your imagination and educated history and experience to form your own opinions.

Now some do better than others, or so I think.

And some of us citizens also respond in our own way; not necessarily the way the present political mafia with influence are used to in their USA area they came from.

If you buy this idea, then I suggest some “political mafias” are better than others.

Now decades of “delivering” using federal largesse (mostly tax money) is coming to an end, for obvious reasons. The promises have exceeded the revenue of the present tax paying living USA Americans. Worse case, we USA Americans have ceded our near national future to those who may or may not loan us enough money to do what the latest political mafia wants us to do at a federal level when the taxes are not enough.

Is this idea simple enough?

So what happens when the “borrowing” status quo comes to an end, and the present “political mafia” still has influence? Now that is a scary situation. Just who will this “political mafia” favor? Of course this idea portends an “end” situation, but it can also be a “beginning” situation.

If this case comes to pass, then the vote will guide us all. Of course here in the USA America we can still vote. If such ideas as planned vote fraud or just declaring some kind of crisis that changes our rule of law, then things are going to get really bad here in USA America. Nobody here in the USA has any experience with this these days. But this idea is so human, and it can happen here, too.

The end game I expect will be painful. And we did it to ourselves. Nobody had to help. And the future is good. Only we can help ourselves “out”.

The good news is that we humans in the New World are still the best hope for our human future, whatever we humans decide that is. There are worse places to be. I’ve been there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reinforce success, not failure

And voting is the main way to do it in the USA America. And voting’s effects will apply quicker, like over a decade or so, if more citizens vote at all levels, to include school boards, cities, counties, states, and federal.

The main idea is that most citizens will vote for their own interests, and their family’s interests, and their futures. Why else would most busy citizens take the time to filter out all the sales pitches presented to them by all the media means available, which are extensive these days in USA America.

I suspect that certain types of political leaders will “bubble” to the top over the coming decades. Those who value facts and truth and offer perspective, and then supporting laws that support the same, will gather an increasing influence if the voting citizens believe them. Whether that influence is to make things better, or just survive the problems from our past, is too hard to predict. In the end, the elected politicians who attempt to represent their voting constituents will predominate, as in get reelected. In other words, we the people are the solution, not the elected politicians we have chosen in our past. Now that is a big change from the last decades, like since the 1950’s.

Reinforcing success suggests supporting two ideas. One is that our USA American Constitution is worth both protecting, and enhancing. Second is that enhancing suggests starting again some amendment ideas, like a balanced budget amendment at the federal level, and term limits for legislators at all levels. After all we have already term limited our federal President, so why not our federal legislators?

Since this common citizen is not a politician, nor ever aspired to such a position, I still offer why I use the expression “USA American”. Mostly I want to differentiate between us and the rest of the new world, which I hope is the face of the future for humanity.

And things are not all doom and gloom. As much friction and criticism our USA American education establishment deserves, the difference between the highly educated citizens and the basically educated citizens is declining, I think. To me, most of we common citizens are able to have a respectable quality of life, which is special in this present human world. One has only to live overseas from the USA to best understand this idea.

Now of course it could be we USA Americans we have “dumbed down” all to get there, but maybe something else is going on, too. Let the voters decide based on their lives and results. Mostly the results are quality of life and happiness.

So, to conclude, I suggest we reinforce success, not failure. And the best way to do that is to vote, at all levels, school board, city, county, state, and federal.

Now there are other alternatives, like royalty, dictatorships, oligarchies; well you decide. Just who is going to impose their will, the citizens, or the rulers at the time? And are whoever is in charge at the time going to reinforce success, or failure?

On such questions are revolts and revolutions and civil wars made.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let’s come home

We USA Americans are pretty neat. But we also eventually act in our own self interest, like protecting us, our families, and our future.

Along the way, we also think about the future of those we have conquered. This is unique in human history, I would propose. Now some other smart peoples have done similar things, too. And of course, done it in their way and during their times and locations. Inter marrying is one common technique.

We were attacked, or so I think most believe this. The vivid reports and videos about what happened in NYC on September 11th, 2001 say it all.

And we responded, too. In Afghanistan, we were smart and quick using the CIA and buckets full of cash to buy off adversaries. Along the way our Special Forces also did a fine job in getting the mission done. Anyway, we were defending ourselves from future attacks from that country’s political Taliban Party that supported the Al Qaeda people that wanted to kill and hurt us. And we, as a USA, did “good”.

Along the way, east met west, again. The longest lasting empire was not Rome (600 years), but Byzantium (1000 years), and the latter folks did it by blending west with east, mostly values and standards. Those who think they are so smart now should be introduced to their ancestors, who were smart, too.

What seems to be repeating itself is the self assurance that education, mostly college and more focused in NE USA Ivy league, gives us an advantage. While it may, many, like me, think it limits us, as a USA government if our government has hired these people in preferences; then we have hired a ruling class. And we have even elected those who are doing the “hiring”.

And so now it seems that our present government defines a mission in Afghanistan today as “nation building”. Sorry, but I thought when we got in to this miserable place on the earth, we were just defending ourselves.

Now let me define miserable place on earth. Try reading H.G Wells “Outline of History” first published in 1928, as an example.

Let’s come home from Iraq, too. The Brits and Russians have already done it, and I think we should, too. Just Google “the Durand Line” and then decide if you still want to support these old time 1890 diplomats decisions. Just what is “our mission” today.

Now if we do this kind of proposal, then things may be terrible, like a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, or a civil war in China that will probably go nuclear, too. Welcome to the future, and the horrible and terrible things like down range impacts, mostly weather determined. Now it will happen, just when. What a terrible state of humanity, which we humans made happen.

In the meantime, let us USA Americans come home. We have hearts and minds, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

“I wish we had another choice”

And we USA Americans actually do have new voting choices in 2010. And the good news is that it is evolving as a peaceful revolution of sorts.

Leadership 101 includes treating people with respect. Most of us respect our seniors, “some more than others”. One might even think of the golden rule. I suspect most do in their own way. Another idea from Leadership 101 is that leaders “act” vice “react”. Two most “recent” examples come to mind about “reacting”. First is that city of Philadelphia is proposing to raise property taxes 10%, on top of a raise in city income taxes last year. This appears to this person to be “reacting” to preserve the status quo. Second is that writing pundits write about “anti-incumbent” trends in elections and the electorate. That theme implies “reaction” again, when perhaps, this portion of American electorate is really “acting”, and peacefully to boot, i.e., using their vote vice pitchforks in the street.

So we do have many choices as long as we can vote. Now this person accepts that there are professional masters at getting votes, and manipulating the USA American voting system. As much as I may not like it, that is just how things are these days. Now, of course, all this varies depending on where you live, and what level of government we are talking about. Bottom line, as long as we USA Americans can vote, that is good enough for this person.

And we do have voting choices for our near and far future, still. And we can still “act” for our families and our children’s benefits. No wonder all the present emigration patterns are towards us. There is something pretty good still going on here in the USA new world. Some is obviously economic, and some is political.

As long as we can vote, we still can decide our future. So we do have other choices, after all.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Classic propaganda

Most of us know it when we think we can feel it, see it, or smell it.

The technique is most classical in human history. Basically a main tenet is that if you say white is black long enough, then enough people will both believe it, and repeat it as their truth.

Now propaganda is close to marketing, but still different. Marketing tends to focus on telling humans how some product can satisfy their needs. Propaganda tends to focus on just what is going on, i.e., the truth.

Many know how to use propaganda. The famous quote attributed to former President Harry Truman comes to mind: “They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's.” He was referring to the Marines, by the way.

Having been a Marine Recruiter, I also know the old time phrase “don’t trust me…my lips are moving”. Just whether I was using marketing or propaganda techniques is always up for grabs. But to me I was using “marketing techniques”. And trying to get someone to vote with their feet and life is a tough sell anytime.

A tougher situation is arguing and debating what is going on in the USA today. My report where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee is that the amount of misinformation people consume in their own way reflects somewhat that propaganda techniques are working, or so I “smelled”. For example, I am still hearing that Gore was the “legally” elected President in 2000. I was incredulous, and my source said this without any prompting. In fact, it was volunteered.

Anyway, if we get to a pitch forks in the streets type of situation, be aware some of these people are propaganda influenced. In other words, they believe what they are saying and doing. It is less a morals question, in my opinion.

In the same vein, many of these same people may be both toned down and differently motivated when they go hungry, or the electricity doesn’t come on to provide lights, keep their refrigerators and freezers working, or even pump the gas for their car.

Maybe they will even consider other points of view. Two examples are “just the facts mam” from the old TV series with Jack Webb, and “the rule of law” as presently established by our USA Constitution.

After all, never ever let the truth interfere with a good story. And nothing screws up a good story like an eye witness.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is wrong with paying our way?

Most do it because they have to. Now some governments have tried other ways, mostly by borrowing or exploiting corruption and local assets, bribes if you will sometime. And these governments pretty much run the gammed from 1st world democracies to 3rd world dictatorships.

Now the theories abound, mostly advanced by highly educated people who we humans say are highly educated. Now one old joke comes to mind…ask three PhD’s a question and you’ll get at least four answers. Another idea of “an educated fool” also comes to mind.

There is so much discussion about what is best for our human world. That’s the good news. The bad news is that much still seems to be missing to many of us. I call it the human factor. Simply said, tell me or teach me how you think we humans will react, or more likely, will act. In the best case, suggest an answer to “what is important to humans”?

Now I will suggest one answer. Happiness is good health and self respect. Many can apply this idea universally. And most seek happiness.

Now here in the USA for decades now much has been promoted by the two national political parties. The main common promotion, to me, has been to throw tax money at problems, as if money will solve human problems, and the amount of money was the report card. The thing that always bothered me was whether my definition of happiness counted at all. Now being an engineer at heart, I could even round it down to ideas like “results”. Did it make our human condition in our new world in the USA better?

I have seen about three main ideas compete over the last few decades in the USA.

One perennial repeat in ideas is capitalism. Now to me it has shown to be a good way to accommodate human factors with happiness for all.

Another is to just recognize our humanity. As I read history, even in World War II, we had to have USA war bond drives to help get us Americans to loan our government our money that would prosecute a war that was obviously to our benefit.

The last is another variation of our humanity circa these days. What happens if fellow humans won’t loan us enough money for what our elected and even dictatorial politicians want to do? One obvious alternative is that we will live within our means, which are substantial after all.

Now the reason I ask is simple. If one were to loan, for example, $10 billion and expect to get $1 billion back in interest after 10 years, that sounds good. But if the same lender thinks the same original $10 billion after inflation will only be worth $5 billion at the end of the 10 year loan, then “the times will be changing”. Humans will act.

Now last, things seem simpler if we just live within our means without going through terrible situations like default, or just not being able to get enough humans to loan us money. The present taxes we humans pay in the USA (at all levels) are substantial, and provide many good benefits. There is a good reason for governments…just use roads as an example.

And the more recent political method of “crises” to govern is so silly to so many Americans who will act for their human benefit in their famiy and their life. If they can plan ahead and anticipate, why can’t their elected politicians? There are other alternatives that humans from the past have used…like plan ahead. That method has been used, and worked, as an example the idea of a rainy day fund comes to mind.

Now most have children, and some have grandchildren, and want the best for them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Morals count a lot

Here in the new world USA this normal human principle is finally popping up, more and more. I suspect it is also popping up elsewhere, mostly in our western cultures.

Bottom line, to this old time Marine, is that something’s are just not right. This idea is called something like ethics or morals.

Now in the best western type of cultures, this idea can be taught. Now another point of view is that parents in any culture have to teach these ideas to their children. After all, it is our human future that really counts.

And humans in any culture, our kids, may not be the only alternative to our future. Perhaps the old time people count, too. I think the idea is still to survive as humans, and promote our way of life, where ever we may live.

Today there seems to be a tolerance, even an acceptance, that some fellow humans have figured out a way to go forward, in their vision of course. Most are westerners, in my opinion. And I just wonder what values they have been imbued with by their USA parents, or taught for credit by their USA educators?

Whatever way, do these many young people, who by the present system get hired and even promoted in our present USA federal government, have morals?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just what is happiness?

Good health and self respect is one personal opinion. And I happen to live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, where we have many “poor” people. And many adults seem to be “happy”, within in reason of course. Some are happier than others. Now most kids seem to be happy, enough.

This last weekend I even had about 15 kids (I’m not really sure the exact amount) and 6 dads up here for a father kid campout. Most of the dad’s came across as smart and hard working from the Nashville, TN, area. They impressed me collectively, as a host.

Of course the kids mostly just wanted to camp and fish, and do anything they did not do in Nashville. And of course, in Nashville, there is much suffering from the recent floods. And the other report I can provide is that these kids wanted this old guy to tell them local scary stories. Now I had been threatened enough by one of their mothers not to do this, and so I respected this. But the kids kept asking, anyway. And I “slipped” a little. After all I do have a few scars to “prove” my lies.

And maybe we have a local Monterey velociraptor that even the dogs fight, too.

What also got my attention was a question from one father, and he suggested other fathers had talked about the same question. To sum it down, they might move up to the Cumberland Plateau from Nashville if times get hard. I took this as a family and happiness question.

Hopefully, things won’t get this bad in our USA quality of life. Things 100 years ago were good for them, but so is today’s quality of life, which is better than 100 years ago in the USA. Examples like 24/7 electricity and beds bigger than “full” come to mind. How about just having a thermostat? How about having to keep the wood stove going at 3AM because kids are just too young to trust.

Anyway, whatever happens, I still think happiness is good health, and self respect. And I am so glad I live in the New World, even the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. This is lucky for me, mostly because I will trust the outcome better than anywhere else I have lived, mostly in the third world.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The cauldron bubbles on

Much is said of the problems our western cultures and governments are having. Mostly it seems like decades of elected habits have caught up and the era of status quo western type dominance is changing. This is not just an unsustainable borrowing and benefits problem, but longer than that; as in the final end of the European colonial era, and even the results of the last World War which ended in 1945. Also the “new world” experience continues to brew.

But all in the eastern cultures and governments is not so good, either. While in most western cultures the birth rate is declining towards sustainability, most eastern cultures have inclining birth rates. This rate multiplied by ever increasing demands for energy, like having electricity at all, and the friction between the rural elements and the urban elements, is generating many present and even future problems in our eastern world, or at least so I think. These eastern politicians have their own significant problems.

Bottom line, we humans are procreating more humans than perhaps the planet can support? Perhaps the western cultures have introduced a quality of life that many eastern cultures aspire too, but our future planet cannot support…as well as the local country. For example, China today is still ¾ rural, I think, and if these ¾ of a billion plus people start living like those in western cultures, then we humans have a problem. The handwriting is already on the wall, so to speak. Just look at what the overseas’ Chinese are doing to the rainforests in Borneo, for example.

Even very sincere Muslim’s are now asserting themselves. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I as westerner don’t like their treatment of women, but that is just me. Now the weirdos who have bought radicalism is another subject, but still a minority of humans. Now this idea of weirdos can be applied to many groups. Being a GaTech type of engineer, a small percentage of humans multiplied by any human population can present many problems.

Having been a US Marine, identifying a problem is no good unless one also offers solutions to decision makers. The way I am taught, one should usually offer three solutions…two alternatives are usually obvious, and the third is a kinda wildcard. The rewarding part of doing this drill is that one can be “human” vice political. Certain alternatives might work, but if the humanity is not factored in, then it will fail, I think. The idea is success, by the way. Good intentions or idealogy don’t count for much.

Anyway, I suggest, if you buy this cauldron idea, then make up your own mind, and vote accordingly. I assume most of any readership is western, but there may be a few eastern culture types, too. Bottom line, this cauldron is human, not western or eastern, and in this idea is a way forward. I just hope we can vote, vice the alternatives like revolution or civil war. Now I am not that optimistic, but only time will tell.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

What a country!

Only in a wonderful country like the USA can a Puerto Rican heritage Congressman from an obviously gerrymandered Chicago district protest a law enacted in Arizona by fellow citizens, and do his protest from Washington, D.C. Here is a link to the map. Make up your own mind.

And he calls himself a Latino, which is another USA federal government term to make census taking more practical. Yet many know things like Mexicans really don’t like Guatemalans, yet all are Latinos in the USA terminology.

To conclude, I live in what I think is a pretty good county in rural Tennessee. Less this lead-in seem depreciating; well if you have a heart related problem, then this is also an oasis in the desert. You go figure it out.

Now here is what we “rural” people pay our local elected persons to do “our” business. And of course, this money comes from the local taxpayers. Now just what the health and retirement benefits are, I just don’t know right now.

What are we paying them for their services? What are their duties?

Most all of the salaries are set by formulas dictated by state law and are based on population data for our area. According to public record, here are the salaries for the offices up for election on Tuesday's ballot:

County Executive, $84,668. The holder of this office is the chief financial and administrative officer for the county and is responsible for helping develop the county budget and for oversight of the budget.

Road Supervisor, $79,436. The holder of this office runs the county's Highway Department and is in charge of road and bridge construction and maintenance.

Trustee, $72,214. The county trustee is the treasurer for county government and is responsible for collecting property taxes and other fees and revenue, disbursing the funds and investing idle county funds.

County Clerk, $72,214. The county clerk heads the office that handles motor vehicle titling, registration, noting of liens, issue of marriage licenses and county business licenses, collection of business taxes and keeping of records and minutes of the County Commission and the County Beer Board.

Circuit Court Clerk, $72,214. The holder of this office runs the clerical system for General Sessions, Criminal Court, and Juvenile Court, issuing warrants, summons, citations and keeping records of court cases.

Register of Deeds, $72,214. This office holder heads the office that handles the recording of property deeds and other legal documents.

Sheriff, $79,436. This office holder heads the countywide law enforcement agency which investigates crimes and accidents, patrols roads, provides security at the Justice Center and at various public events, provides resource officers in public schools, and runs the county jail.

County Commissioner, $400 per month. The county commission is the county legislative body and consists of 24 members, two from each of 12 county districts. Among the duties of the commissioners are setting the property tax rate, development and approval of the county budget and generally determining how county funds are spent.

District Attorney, $136,392. The DA is the chief criminal prosecutor in Putnam and six other area counties in the 13th Judicial District.

Circuit Court Judge, $154,320. A Circuit Court judge presides over courts of general jurisdiction, hearing civil and criminal cases and appeals of decisions from lower courts. This judge serves Putnam and six other area counties in the 13th Judicial District.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

California here I am gone

I actually sang the old song “California Here I Come” when I crossed over into California from Arizona vicinity of Needles. The time was circa 1960 I seem to recall. We were moving there on military orders, and came from Tennessee.

Since then I have lived in southern California off and on about 6 years. All my trips to northern California were as a tourist and a camper. Northern California is a pretty place. But on the USA map it is one place, California.

And somehow I could read the handwriting on the wall, as I saw it, and chose to end up elsewhere. Now this post is not about elsewhere, it is about California. I voted with my feet.

Now when I read about the brouhaha about some California governments trying to boycott Arizona businesses three things come to mind.

Is there an adult in charge? Will some elected Califronia politician step up and say something like, let’s think about all this? After all much of southern California’s present electricity and water comes from Arizona, on purpose and driven by past politics in California.

Next, the old idea of as California goes, so goes the USA. Things like Japanese cars are a good example. But bad examples can be like the city of Los Angeles going bankrupt, whatever that turns out to mean. To me it means a lot of people are going to suffer.

Last, an awful lot of people who don’t live there seem to be willing to tell those who live there how to live. Now that bothers me, since where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee I would prefer to vote locally, and have that idea help me. I really don’t know what is going on in this Arizona/California region, though I believe I do.

I guess there is a kind of fourth general idea. How about that true ideas trump all. We collectively are living with enough ignorance and emotion to be disappointed in what our politicians may do these days. As Jack Webb said in a long ago TV series “Dragnet”, “just the facts mam”.

Now I hear enough pundits say what they think, to where I recognize they have not done their homework about where other Americans live. When I think about all this, I think these pundits are not as much lying as just reverberating some idea they believe to be true. And still, most are outsiders from the area they "pundit" about.

For example, USA citizens who live on the Mexico and USA border area also expect basic government security like police protection on their land. Now they do pay taxes, and have some expectation of getting their governments to do the basic things, like security. I also expect the same kind of thing where I live.

Hence California, here I am gone. The people there and the politicians they elected at all levels had their chance, over decades I would say. And as California goes, so goes the USA. I hope the rest of Americans are smarter than this. I sure hope so from my vantage on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.