Friday, October 31, 2008

The Damn Bed, Subtitle: I'm Stupid

This one isn’t IKEA’s fault. If you’re new here, do a word search for IKEA to get the necessary background.

So, I went to Lowe’s and got 1x4’s cut to the right width to serve as slats for the mattress. As they say, I measured twice so as to cut once. Twice isn’t enough. The wood was cut to 60.5”. It needed to be a hair shorter.

So last night as I discovered my error, I quit for the night and Emailed a friend to borrow a light weight power saw to “shave” the end so the wood would fit the frame.

I ate some dinner and watched some TV and repaired to the couch to sleep, as the frame with the wood filled the bedroom.

Sometime during the night I woke up and walked toward the bathroom, forgetting that there was a stack of wood in my path.

My right big toe is broken in two places.

I went to an “urgent care” place. They asked me to fill out various forms that asked questions like “do you have a religious affiliation?,” “if faced with a life or death situation, do you have a trust, living will, etc.”, the questions, not related to medical matters went on. The office manager and a physician’s assistant finally decided I could be treated without an invasion of my privacy.

So, the same PA looked at my toe and said, “looks broken, let’s get an X-Ray and see what’s there” The technician was a bit put out when I examined the film with her and diagnosed the two breaks. The PA confirmed my diagnosis, prescribed some pain pills and a Velcro attached hard soled sandal that I get to wear for the next three weeks so the toe doesn’t move when I walk.

I’ve got the pain pills inside me as I type, they are working already (I really don’t like drugs, but these are making me feel a lot better). The CVS doesn’t carry the shoe, so I have to drive to Decatur tomorrow to buy the shoe.

I got the power saw from my friend. I’m thinking I should give a pass to shaving the wood tonight, I’m feeling a bit too mellow.

The price of my bed has now exceeded $400 bucks in IKEA, Lowes, medical and drug costs. We’ll see what happens next.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day Three, Aftermath

We won all the big stuff. Lost more on the small stuff than I thought we should. We have what looks like a decent appeal issue on part of it.

If anyone read Big Rick’s comment on yesterday’s post, we met for a post trial conference and talked about a bunch of things, none of which we have any influence over. I also talked with another friend more than I usually do and enjoyed it.

I’m now quite comfortable, surfing and catching up on blogs, listening to, but not watching some PBS show about zombies and puffer fish (don’t ask me, I’m not paying a lot of attention) and mellowing.

I don’t have to get up at 5:00 a.m., that’s a good thing.

Sometime between now and Tuesday I’m going to do my last post on the election. I’m going to lay out why I’m going to vote the way I’m going to vote, I finally decided last night.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love of Law, Day Two of, it is to be Hoped, Three

So, the sandbagging on the pre-trial order worked. All of the other side’s claims other than marshalling the assets of the dissolving corporation (I know, legalese, I’m tired) are gone. Potential six-figure liability is now about $5K.

Closing arguments in the morning. I think this trial stuff is a younger person’s game. It’s kind of fun but tiring. Now I’m off to research for jury instructions and outline the closing argument.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Love the Law

I have a trial that starts at nine in the morning. I just got an Email from the opposing counsel attaching a proposed Amended Pre-trial Order, the document that controls what issues will be tried, that she proposes we file in the morning. Said opposing counsel just figured out that there were several claims of her client that weren’t included in the current Order and suggested that we file the “cleaned up” amendment tomorrow. I declined. Wish me luck.

IKEA Saga Continued

So, last night I had the damned bed mostly put together by way of looking at the tiny pictures with no words. Next step was to put in the center support. No center support.

I also didn't buy the slats because I figured that I could use the base from the old frame. Wrong. The old base is about an inch too wide.

So today I went back to IKEA and paid another ten bucks for the center support. The nice lady I talked to about my troubles laughed and said shopping at IKEA "can be a challenge." Now I have to go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them cut a 1" thick piece of particle board to 60.5" x 79 " and then cut the long dimension into four pieces so it's easy to carry.

Then I'll be done and can quit sleeping on a mattress on the floor reliving my college years.

Oh, then I have to find a TV stand that is about 18 inches high and no more than 34 inches wide. No one seems to make one. This will never end.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Want Words, Not Pictures

So I bought the bed frame mentioned in a previous post at Ikea, a good friend going with me to carry the ridiculously heavy three boxes.

I was going to put it together starting a few minutes ago. I’ve got a plastic bag of metal connectors and a “manual” that has a bunch of pictures and the total sum of the following “words”:


Ikea, Design and Quality, IKEA of Sweden


© Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2004

And, some pictures of the screws, nuts and bolts have numbers giving diameters and length descriptions.

Why does stuff have to have stupid pictographs, if that’s what they’re called? I can figure this thing out; but, it would be a whole lot easier if they used words.

I think I’ll save this for another day, as it’s been a long day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Economy is Based On More Money Than We Should Spend

Here’s an article from

Just when “we” need “us” to spend some discretionary income, we aren’t. I read an article the other day that talked about China. In addition to its problems with its main export recipient, us, not buying like we used to, it is trying to encourage its citizens to buy more stuff. They aren’t doing it as they have a long history of saving based on a history of not knowing what was going to happen in the future.

Back when, our parents (or our grandparents) grew up in the Depression. They had nothing and spent the rest of their lives based on that premise.

Then, the next generation came along and spent, and spent, and spent. Now, the remnants of our family, we and the next generations have quit, at least for the short term, and the experts are worried. The governments are pissed. They’re poring all this money we don’t have into the economy and we still won’t buy anything.

Should we continue the spending slow down? Reorder our priorities? Stop buying bottled water and Bistro takeout?

The recovery might not happen. Then what? Does everything then settle in at a lower level? What’s the loss? We make less money and stuff will cost less money. Supply and demand.

I know, this isn’t very sophisticated, I’m just thinking.

Actual Innocence: UPDATED

It ain't over till it's over as they say.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the execution of Troy Davis based on his affirmative defense of "actual innocence." Leaving out a lot of procedural details and steps, Davis now has the burden of proof to show that he is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, not based on just the evidence that was presented at trial. Even with the use of additional evidence such as witness recantations, that isn't an easy thing to do.

Some details on the process from

"Davis must clear two difficult legal hurdles to win a new round of appeals.

First, he must show that his lawyers could not have previously found the new evidence supporting his innocence no matter how diligently they looked for it. And he must show that the new testimony, viewed in light of all the evidence, is enough to prove “by clear and convincing evidence that…no reasonable fact finder would have found [him] guilty.”

The 11th Circuit added a twist. It asked the parties to address whether Davis can still be executed if he can establish innocence under the second standard but cannot satisfy his burden under the first, due-diligence question."

How Low Can it Go?

I did a post recently about the market dive and trying to decide whether to put cash into the market and when to do it. Since then I've been watching the market go further and further down.

The DJIA was 12,501.11 on January 15 of this year. As I type, it is 8,271.38 and falling. It's down 34.48% year to date.

I've made lots of money mistakes over the years; but, being out of the market has not been one of them. I have difficulty imagining how people that were/are fully invested in stocks are feeling right now.

I guess I'll just keep watching.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Can't Resist Telling You This

If you read the last post, you’ll now know that I’m still hanging out on the couch surfing.

I just checked to see who’s been by. Someone this afternoon got to me by the following Google search:

“the bill of rights first ten amendments short version”

I’m off to search for the Cliff Notes version of the Constitution.


Fall has come to Atlanta. The leaves are starting to turn. Temperatures in the morning are in the mid forties. Highs are in the high sixties or low seventies.

Having moved, and finally having mostly unpacked, I’m finding myself a homebody.

I’ve always been appreciative of being alone. Not always, but often.

As I type, there’s some blues music playing. I’ve got a window open just a bit, it’s cool and I have a comforter over my legs on the couch.

So far, I’m procrastinating cooking, though I’m getting hungry. I’ve decided I want some sautéed egg noodles, so I’ve been surfing for a new recipe. So far, no luck as I don’t have the cream some of the recipes call for and the other recipes don’t improve on how I normally do noodles.

So the decision is, do I put a Netflix movie in and make something quick, or go make the noodles the way I usually do which requires some attention?

Either way, it’s a nice night in Atlanta.


A comment bot, or whatever it's called, has found me and has been leaving serial ads in the comment section, interestingly from a server in China. So I'm going to use the squiggly letter and word thing for a few days. Again, sorry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is This Post a Cheap Shot or Does it Point out Telling Conduct?

More accurately, the first adjective in the title should be expensive.

Mavericks, barracudas, hockey moms, Joe Six-pack and Joe the Plumber supporters and their families are quite well dressed these days, paid for by the RNC. They and their families stay in really nice hotels and fly on airplanes on Alaska’s dime.

If you are interested in the specifics, Google Palin clothes and Palin travel.

The RNC says there are no problems because the $150K in clothes and sundries bought for the Governor, her husband and her kids are going to be donated to charity. They’re going to take away the $98 worth of stuff bought at a high-end baby store from the baby?

The campaign says that Alaska paying tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses for Palin’s kids and husband was proper because their participation was “official” after she wheedled such status from various program and conference sponsors.

I’ve done a post or two about Sarah Palin. But, I’ve laid off her for the most part because I saw her as a big fish in the kiddy pool dumped into the big boy’s and girl’s pool.

As time passes and she is “vetted” (I hate that word) it seems that she, her family and the people around her are nothing more than grifters.

Some of my conservative friends and readers rail on me for being naive in thinking that Obama can handle the Presidency. Dear friends, John McCain is an old guy with various health issues. Ya’ll want someone that doesn’t have W’s brains or even his low sense of honor taking over for McCain if he kicks off?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alas, I Live In Georgia

It seems there is a fourteen year old girl here in Georgia that is one kick-ass football kicker. She attends a small Christian high school that plays football in a mostly or all Christian high school league, I’m not sure which.

A recent opponent played the game against her team; but, a spokesperson (I’m betting the person was a guy) read some sort of statement including a quote from Romans in the New Testament that did not refer to football but may or may not have been against lesbians.

The upcoming opponent has withdrawn its team without an explanation.

Sometimes…, well, regular readers will know what I’m thinking.

UPDATE: Here's an unedited quote of a comment to a piece on the girl from the AJC (God help us all):

By tcoach
October 21, 2008 1:07 PM Link to this
I do not agree with the actions and reasons given by the two other teams for not competing. With that said, how many of you played football and are aware of the level of intensity it takes to not only be sucessful but also to remain safe. With that said we live in a culture were violent crime offenses are given differing sentances depending on gender. Also there is a bias in court cases of violence of a woman against a man. With the man being found guilty at a much higher rate. That said it is fair to asses that as a society there have been certain gender rules. Such as a man does not under any circumstance hit a woman, those who do are scolded much worse than those who hit another man. So there is a possibility that the male players from the other schools had expressed concerns about possibly having to hit or tackle a female. This is a hazard, because if the boys are not playing at full speed then they run the risk of an opposing player hitting them real hard and possibly causing injury. I am aware she is a kicker and not involved in many collisions, however has her coach came out and said they will not be running any fakes or such? Therefor there is the chance of collision and contact. This is a tough subject because women should never under any circumstance not be allowed to participate in sports. There should also be consideration for the opposing players who may not be comfortable hitting and tackling a girl, and doing the normal in game gamenship. For those who have never played in a highly competitive football game funny things happen in piles and that could cause issues of its own. The coach blew it though trying to blame it on the bible.
That said what type of journalistic ethics is it agaign where if you do not know you make it up. Have some honor if you do not know what verse was used do not try to figure out, it only leads to people being misled and acts like there is a possible verse that could be used. Shameless again Jim

The boldface was my editorial comment. And the writer's name was Jay.

It's "You're Pre-approved Season" Again

There seems to be a cycle to credit card offers. Three or four times a year, for a couple of weeks each, I get credit card offers. I'm always "pre-approved." I got one yesterday and two this morning.

One of today's is funny. Though you wouldn't know it until you got to the fine print, it's from Barclay's. In big print on the front I'm told they'll give me up to a $15,000 credit line (kind of stingy, it's usually $25,000). On the back, buried in the mice type is the sentence "[d]epending on our review of your application and credit history, we will assign a GENEROUS credit line, the minimum being $250." (Emphasis added.)

I think I'll pass on this one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just a Question

I’m watching a movie on HBO, Fracture. There are two main characters, one is a prosecutor in Los Angeles. One of the plot points is that he comes from a hard-scrabble background. He owes $60,000 in school loans, he’s going to leave the prosecutor’s office to go for the big money with a big firm.

He just went to his apartment. Remember this is LA. From the few seconds of the interior that I saw it is quite a bit over the average sized apartment anywhere. How does he afford it? Were there three roommates hiding from the camera?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Your Intelligence Solicited

Tell me why I should vote for Senator McCain or Senator Obama.

I don’t want to hear about ACORN or Ayers.

I don’t want to hear about age or less elegant speeches.

I want to hear your objective, reasoned analysis as to your views as to the preferred next president.

I’m about to get on the Obama train. Tell me I’m right or wrong. But don’t argue, convince. Facts, not allegations. History, not distortions. Passion is OK but it has to be predicated in logic.

I'd especially like you to confirm or rebut my fear that a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress is a risky thing.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Want to Cost Me Some Money?

Go here. I suppose I should explain. If you click and leave a comment, it will cost me a dollar donation for breast cancer. Rules explained in Doc's post. So quit reading. Go. Now!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Proposal For Next Time Around

Litigation about voter registration is in full swing across the country. How about we set the date for registration for an election four or five months ahead of the election so as to allow time to make challenges? If you move, you can transfer your registration. Otherwise, you snooze you lose.

Unrelated, Joe Lieberman seems to be bunking with John McCain these days. I've seen him next to him at a rally every day this week it seems. He's always smiling and nodding his head like a bobble head doll.

On Killing

As it stands, the State of Georgia is going to execute a man named Troy Davis a week from this coming Monday.

Davis was convicted of killing a policeman. Since the trial, the great majority of witnesses have recanted their testimony. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay, considered whether to hear his appeal, and declined to do so without comment.

The part about this impending execution that really gets me is that almost everyone concedes that there is real doubt about his guilt. But the test used here in Georgia creates such a high burden on the defendant that it is virtually impossible to get a new trial. You can read all about it here: Davis v. State (warning, turgid legalese).

There are times that law gets in the way of justice. This is one of them. Davis may well be innocent. If he's innocent, the State is culpable in his death by erecting legalistic roadblocks to determining the truth. I know, at some point we have to have finality; but, when we are going to kill someone, the test should not be beyond a reasonable doubt, it should be certainty. I'm not at all certain.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Oil Barons Borrow - Who Knew?

From an article today:

"The drop in prices has already created problems for producers, who have become accustomed to high prices. Iran and Venezuela both need oil prices at $95 a barrel to balance their budgets, Russia needs $70, and Saudi Arabia needs $55 a barrel, according to Deutsche Bank estimates....

In Russia, which is not part of OPEC, the drop in prices is threatening to the country’s ability to bolster production. The Russian government has reportedly agreed to allocate $9 billion to its four major help them cope with investment needs amid the credit crisis."

The evil empires need to borrow money? It seems we've all been living beyond our means. I'm trying to be sympathetic, I really am.

I Want One Too

Regular readers will recall that the new home has marginal, at best, cell service. I had to give up my AT&T wireless internet and go with Comcast.

I was thus intrigued by this article on the Washington Post website. It seems that last year Cindy McCain inquired with Verizon as to putting up a cell tower on her ranch in Sedona, AZ. She would donate the land and they would pay for the tower, dish, a fence, etc. The ranch is located in a mostly unpopulated area and "the tower would fill gaps in unpopulated parts of Coconino National Forest and on about 20 parcels of land, including a handful of residences, and two small businesses open only by appointment." Verizon began the permitting process and ran into a problem with "environmental concerns." Cutting out part of the story, Verizon and AT&T decided to provide temporary cell towers to the McCain ranch.

Here's the part that gives me hope for my cell problems:

"McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said that the senator is not a regulator and that Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon or AT&T.

'Mrs. McCain's staff went through the Web site as any member of the general public would - no string-pulling, no phone calls, no involvement of Senate staff,' Rogers said. 'Just because she is married to a senator doesn't mean she forfeits her right to ask for cell service as any other Verizon customer can.'"

That Obama fella, everyone knows he's an elitist. Cindy, John and me, we're just regular folks. I'm going to get my staff on that website pronto.

The Three Legs of McCain's Three Week Campaign

For a change, I watched the debate last night on CNN. The little squiggly lines at the bottom, tracking 30 "undecided" voters in Ohio are distracting, but instructive.

Men like Obama less than women do. Women like McCain less than men do. At least the 15 men and 15 women on the CNN panel do. As the debate moved from subject to subject and speaker to speaker the voter panel reaction almost always stayed above neutral, slipping into negative territory only a couple of times, usually when McCain attacked Obama. The women gave Obama higher approvals than they gave to McCain and the men gave Obama lower approvals than they gave to McCain.

But the approval levels for both sexes dropped (more for women and less for men) when McCain hit his three themes: "I'm not George Bush, I'm a regular guy (I'll look out for Joe the Plumber (who makes about $250K a year!)); and, Obama isn't a regular guy because we haven't 'gotten to the bottom' of the Ayers thing."

I guess these themes are directed to "independent" and undecided voters who would skew against Bush, a tax raiser and a terrorist. I guess we'll find out how they play in the next three weeks. But, if the panel reactions are an indicator, and I were McCain, I'd be looking for a fourth leg before the campaign tips over.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Joe the Plumber doesn't make $250K. He's worked for Newell Plumbing in Toledo for about six years. He's talked to his boss about someday taking over the business and Newell Plumbing does make over $250K. I suppose Newell the Plumber doesn't sound as good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bottom

Where is it? That is the 25% plus of your investments question. The DJIA was a bit over 11,000 a month or so ago. As of 4:30 p.m. it’s about 8,500.

When do you put money back into the market or do you?

If you keep your money (what’s left of it) under the mattress, you’ve permanently lost.

Do you assume that this is a big “correction” or recession and the market will do what the market does, wander back up?

I’m guessing, put the money in. The question is when. No comments from brokers (except Moe) allowed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm EMail Sniping With One of My Brothers

I’ve spent my adult life being the liberal, commie, pinko friend and relative of my friends and relatives. Understand, I don't think I am that, though I am if compared.

My relatives, I understand, they and I don’t have the ability to pick and choose. We are bound by blood and love. My friends for the most part are unrepentant right-wing wing nuts, smart wing nuts, but nuts all the same. My family is more subdued, not a nut among them, all smart, and all for the most part, disagreeing with the way I look at life, as do my friends.

But, for the life of me, I do not understand what is happening today in the world and its effect on this election.

We all jab at each other, thrust, parry, try to get the intellectual best of each other. This time around, the country, my friends and my family are becoming alienated, angry. We are looking for saviors and villains.

Family and friends, there are no saviors. Maybe we could all agree that there are enough villains to go around.

One of the things that is bothering me is that I don’t want to vote for Obama, I just could never vote for his opponent. McCain and Palin are all of the worst of the last thirty or so years of our political life. Polarization. Good and Evil. The big stick that that will beat their opponents, foreign and domestic into submission. There isn’t a lick of real difference between them and Bush/Cheney, other than the fact that McCain is probably smarter than Bush, and Cheney is much smarter than Palin.

Obama, with Biden in reserve, will make a better President than McCain with Palin as a quick study back-up.

But, a big but, neither ticket has a real clue what to do with the economic meltdown. Neither ticket has any clear direction for our role in an increasingly smaller world that we can’t push around anymore.

Remember back in the Eighties when the Soviet Union was falling off the world economic and military map? Remember USA! USA! “Do you believe in miracles?”

Reagan made himself an icon by calling the bluffs of a failed power. I think we are now the fading evil empire, evil in the sense that everyone else has always been envious and is now happy that we are having our comeuppance, other than the fact that we and they may sink together.

We have been living in a very different world for a while now. We are just becoming aware of it. We and our want-to- be leaders don’t know what to do about our new world, so we fall back on bromides.

We have lived decades on the idea that everything will always grow and get better. We’ve based our economy and our diplomatic policy on paying for now, later. Later has come and we have come up short.

I don’t have any answers. I am very unhappy that where we have been has brought us to where we are. We are in a world of hurt and all we can do is snipe at each other.

The title of the post? That’s my brother and me. We should be thinking and talking.

Ikea and Me

So, I have a platform bed. The mattress is fine. Actually the rest is OK, just a bit dated. I want some new wood stuff without the big dated headboard. I figured Ikea would have something I want. It turned out it did; but, it proved impossible to buy it.

Atlanta has had an Ikea for a year or so now. It sits next to a Brownfield, but that’s a different post. You have to wander towards Ikea on Seventeenth Street. Then you have to wander underneath it to find a space in the parking structure. I found a space within a hundred or so yards of the entrance.

Entrance is a relative term with Ikea as is Exit and Shortcut. Ikea has taken the non-direct route to heart. There’s always a way to get from here to there, you just have to pass a bunch of stuff you don’t want to look at.

It only took me about ten minutes to get to Bedrooms (note, Bedrooms does not include mattresses, they are over there,). Once there, they had a bunch of platform frames. They all included the “headboard, footboard, side panels” and something called something like the keel – the main support for the slats. All the little signs said make sure you get the slats because they weren’t included in the price on the little signs. Except you couldn’t find any mention of the price of the slats, or the fact that they actually existed, other than the fact that if you bought the rest of the wood, you didn’t get them.

Beyond the mysterious slats, there didn’t seem to be a way to actually buy the frame. There was no item number, no piece of paper with a UPC to take to the cash register (located about a quarter mile away).

So I went in search of a person that worked there. Not a lot of people work there, low prices and all. I saw an Ikea lady during my search talking to some other customers. She had a yellow shirt on that said Ikea. When I wandered back, she and the customers had disappeared. I looked for another Ikea lady without success.

Then I gave up. It took me another ten minutes to find the parking lot. A plus, on the way I passed the snack bar and bought an edible fifty cent hot dog, with the drawback that the low price got you the dog and mustard and/or ketchup, nothing else.

I don’t have a new bed frame; but, Tech, Georgia and the Falcons won (though the Falcons tried their best to lose). There have been worse weekends.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm Not Going to Write About the Bailout Today, I'm Going to Watch Juno Provided by Netflix

Rather Than Working was Wrong and Fesses Up

As it turns out, in my recent rant about religious censorship I had my facts wrong. Churches and other “charities” – 501 (c)(3) organizations – may not endorse or oppose candidates. There are other categories including political organizations that are not as restricted.

You can get more from the following two links:

As noted in one of the articles, this law was passed back in the Fifties at the behest of Lyndon Johnson – he thought his opponent was getting help from a charity and he didn’t like it.

From the horse’s mouth, here’s what the IRS says about types of tax exemption:,,id=96931,00.html

Rather Than Working apologizes for not doing the homework that it should have done before shooting off its mouth; but, I still think that refraining from political activity should not be a requirement for tax exempt status. The test for such status should be a consensus that the group’s activity provides a societal benefit. If it does, no taxes. If not, it’s one of us. We shouldn’t pick and choose which “societally good” organizations have free speech and which do not – all or none is the way to go.

Guest Post

A friend, Tony (but not Big Tony) sent me an Email. With his permission, here it is:

Back in 1990, the Government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it closed.

So now we’re trusting the economy of our country to a pack of nit-wits who couldn't make money running a whore house and selling booze?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Religious Censorship

There’s been some news and editorial coverage lately about conservative ministers trying to bait the IRS into denying their churches’ tax exempt status because they are preaching politics.

As a lawyer, I should probably go and look at the IRS Regulations before I spout here; but, for what I have to say, I don’t think I need to.

As a person, I’ve always been uncomfortable with religions getting involved with politics, be it lobbying for public aid for religious schools or the Jerry Falwells and Michael Pflegers of the world pushing their views on the rest of us.

I actually didn’t know that a church had to be non-political to maintain its tax exempt status and I really don’t understand why it has to. The Democratic Party is tax exempt as is the Republican Party. The Moral Majority and the Anti-Defamation League are both tax exempt and are both related to religious entities. Planned Parenthood and Operation Rescue ditto. All can espouse political views but a Southern Baptist minister, a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi can’t?

Churches, charities and political groups are all tax exempt. Why are churches restricted in promoting their members’ political views and other non-profits aren’t? Maybe I’m missing something; but, it doesn’t make sense to me.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I don’t see an “except from the pulpit” clause in there.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Something Non-political

“100% of putts that don’t get to the hole don’t go in.”

Harvey Penick, 1904 - 1995.

I played hooky today after lunch, on a gorgeous day.

As I pulled in to the parking lot, I slowed about ten yards behind three women who were sauntering towards the starter’s shack blocking the entire lane. One woman looked over her shoulder and then looked forward. Her friend, seeing her look, glance over her shoulder and returned to her forward gaze, both of them with their friend, continuing their slow pace blocking the lane for another thirty or so yards.

I went into the clubhouse and paid for a walk on.

I changed shoes, got out my bag and walked to the shack.

“Man, you should have been five minutes earlier, you’re behind those women.”

“Not a problem, I’m skipping One, I can play it at the end?”

“No problem.”

I never waited to hit a shot, until the eighteenth when I caught up with a guy that started a half hour ahead of me, and then I waited less than a minute. Seven over. I’d think of a MasterCard commercial if I were being paid for it.

"Not all putts that go in the hole result in a good score, but they are better than the alternative."

Dave, still living and playing.

The Bailout, Day Two (not counting the weekend)

The bailout continues to make people say what the fuck; and, those in the financial markets are saying WHAT THE FUCK!, while selling off their holdings. The Dow is down 508 points and about 5%.

President Bush on Fox News: “People are just not lending.” Damn them all. What’s up with all those foreigners that lent us into this? “Give me more! Please! Please?” Don’t cut me off. Methadone isn’t working!”

A United States District Judge ordered the Government to produce 17 Chinese Muslims in his courtroom. Someone tell him the Constitution isn’t important, didn’t he get the memo? The Government reacted by saying it would immediately appeal; and, that perhaps (wink, wink) the immigration officials would detain the men at the border.

If you have a baby in the house, buy a fan, put the baby on his or her back and remove the stuff from the crib.

AIG, a couple of days after the Government bought 80% of it, spent a couple of hundred thousand dollars on an executive retreat in California. Great PR guys.

People in Chicago aren’t sure just who they’re pissed at.

A “remastered” version of Risky Business made the front page of

Wal-Mart announced that applications for greeters were up 4000% (this one isn’t true).

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Bailout...

seems to be working pretty good so far. The market is down 350 or so after dropping 600 for awhile today. World markets are down the same and worse.

The Feds, Citi, Wells Fargo and Wachovia are fighting.

The Treasury Department is taking applications through Wednesday to administer the bailout. Applicants have to promise not to screw the government based on the applicant pools’ obvious conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, the candidates are taking shots at each other, based totally on substantive subjects. Is Obama a consorter of terrorists? Is McCain considering an advertising campaign with the tagline, “McCain, the white Obama!”

The weather is nice, the living is easy, sorry for the baby rant.


About a week ago Atlanta entered its between season. It isn't Summer with highs in the high eighties and low nineties coupled with high humidity. It isn't yet Fall with leaves turning colors.

I didn't turn on an air conditioner all last week. In the morning, having left the windows open, it's cold, but not so cold that you need to turn on the furnace (down here, the "heater"). There's a layer of condensation on the car windows. By mid-afternoon it's about eighty degrees, gorgeous, with bright blue skies.

Kids walk out of the house in jackets that they don't need, but wear because they're new (or their parents are overly protective) and then carry them around all day.

You hear a lot of clashing music and talk at stop lights because the car windows are all open. The same goes for neighborhoods at night. Music, talk, kids yelling. All of a sudden, you realize that there are people around, released from their air conditioned imprisonment.

It won't last, but it sure is nice.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Big News of the Day on

I just clicked to The main story of the moment is always in the upper left-hand corner of the page. I won’t bother linking because it changes.

So what’s available? $800 billion. The debate last night. Whatever the latest terrorist bombing is.

The AJC chose to highlight its contest for the best legs in Atlanta, the winner getting free tickets to the upcoming Tina Turner concert.

Choose your own closing line. Mine, they need a better photographer, or better winners.

What's the Difference Between the Feds and the States?

It isn’t lipstick. Rather, it’s the ability to print money. This afternoon, the President signed the +/- $800 billion bailout bill, spending borrowed money.

Here’s the next big shoe to drop:

California wants $7 billion in short term loans from the Feds. The Governator says Cali has no more credit and will be out of money at the end of the month.

Over the past month, Georgia’s officials have been upping their estimates of our budget deficit. As I recall, it is now something north of a billion dollars.

The line for the rest of the states is over there. Check in with George, Hank, John, Barack, Barney, Roy and Steny.

Rabble Rousing

Remember, I'm not an economist, but:

Back in the first part of July, crude oil topped $145 a barrel. Gas here in Atlanta at the lowest cost retailer (QuikTrip) was about $4.09 a gallon.

Crude oil recently went below $100 a barrel, yesterday it was about $95, or less than two-thirds of the July per barrel price. Two-thirds of $4.09 is $2.69.

Atlanta for the last month has had aberrant gas prices due to the effect of Gustav, Hannah and Ike on refineries on the Gulf Coast. Gas at QuikTrip today is about $3.95 a gallon. Shouldn't it be, say $3.25?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I Think the Study Needed a Few More Subjects and a Better Reporter

First, read this, it isn’t very long.

Now that you’re back, a study of Email lying that includes a whopping 48 people makes the NYTimes?

Just how do the authors draw the conclusions from the data? I never took statistics; but, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the data and the conclusions stated by the authors. Just what non-verbal and behavioral cues does handwriting give that Email doesn't?

There are more obvious problems with the story. I’ll leave it with this is a really poor job of reporting what appears to be a very poorly structured study.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Corporate Socialism at the Local Level

I live near the intersection of N. Druid Hills and Briarcliff, inside the Perimeter (I-285) in DeKalb County. Said intersection is a parking lot from about 6:30 - 9:30 a.m., again for a couple hours at lunch and again during the evening rush hour.

On the southwest corner of the intersection DeKalb County Schools owns something like 50 or 70 acres on which a high school sits. Next door is an old apartment complex.

Last year the Sembler Company out of Florida proposed to build a high rise "urban mixed use" development where the high school and apartment complex are now. The infrastructure can't support this higher density without radical and expensive changes. Sembler proposed to finance it by use of a "TAD" - a tax allocation district. The school board would dedicate a portion of the property taxes it got in the area for paying off bonds for the next 25 or 30 years to fund Sembler's new mini-city. The theory is that, over time, the new structures will generate more property taxes so that the school district comes out even or ahead.

There was a small problem with the scheme, the Georgia Constitution bars school boards from doing it.

That doesn't bother developers in Georgia. There's a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution on the November ballot that will put the developers back in business, on the public schools' dime.

Earlier this year, Gwinnett County (north Metro Atlanta) officials announced that after secret negotiations with the Atlanta Braves, Gwinnett County would be the proud home of the Brave's Class A farm team in 2009! The catch was that the County was going to finance the land purchase and construction. We saw great renderings of the new complex. The county commission rammed the ordinance through. A couple of weeks ago the County announced that there had been a slight error in the budget. The $40 million dollar stadium was now a $59 million stadium (and hotel, office and retail complex).

I don't have a problem with public finance of roads, sewers, etc. The public should provide parks, police and fire protection. But, in light of the current dear caught in headlights reaction of the Feds to the financial meltdown, I really don't want government involved with real estate development and financing at the front end. If Sembler's project makes economic sense, it will be funded by private money. If the Gwinnett Braves will draw enough people to make a profit, the Atlanta Brave's would have build the stadium. That they didn't, and we did, tells you they are smarter than our government officials. The "necessity" of public funding belies the financial viability of these and other quasi-public projects.

Governments these days aren't very good at the things they are supposed to do, they need to stay out of the real estate business.

The Race to Mediocracy

Yesterday in an interview, Sarah Palin said:

"Oh, I think they're just not used to someone coming in from the outside saying you know what? It's time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency [sic], and I think that that's kind of taken some people off guard, and they’re out of sorts, and they’re ticked off about it…."

Yeah, I'm a bit out of sorts, I can see myself getting ticked.

I suppose I could interpret her remarks as promoting the value of having a vice president "in touch" with middle class America. But Obama and Biden are already on that with their constant references to "Main Street America" as opposed to Wall Street, which they try to tie to McCain.

No, the identification with Joe Six-pack has to be further down the social scale. "Archie Bunker" in the Seventies? "Robert Barone" from Everyone Loves Raymond" more recently? I don't want either "represented in the position of vice presidency."

One of the qualities I want to see in a vice president or a president is that he or she is a smart, highly educated, widely experienced SOB. Yes, I want the person to have empathy for all classes and colors of people. But I want a leader smart enough, with a world view broad enough, to do something good in office. Kind of like the reverse of Dick Cheney.

With Governor Palin, we may be getting smart, I don't know. She isn't highly educated and she doesn't have a lot of experience. You know what you'd be getting? Me, in drag, with a different accent and mostly opposite political views. I wouldn't vote for me. I'm not voting for her.