Saturday, June 30, 2012

RFD - News

Read Sean Trende's interesting article on Chief Justice Robert's Obamacare ruling.

Glen Harlan Reynolds discusses the next big bubble to burst: Higher Education Loan Program.

Here is a news report that will leave you shaking your head! Boarder Patrol Union Blasts Homeland Security Instructions to "run away" and "hide" from gunman.

More on the Colorado Springs Wildfire.

Finally someone who validates that we all need a lithe dirt in our life. Our Bodies Need Bugs & Worms

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Red Flag Warning: The Moral Decline

Of recent times we read with distain and disgust behaviors that can be only described as pornographic and demonstrations of vulgarity. Our Secret Service is awash with lurid stories of late night carousing, brawls, whoremongering, and who knows what else. These were security specialist who guard our leaders and nations treasures. Then we were treated to the photos of two gay individuals at a White House party, specifically to honor the gay community, flipping the bird beneath the portrait of President Ronald Reagan, blaming him for the aids epidemic. Lastly, Fox news reports letters have been sent to the Department of the Air Force by congressional leaders complaining of the Air Force's over zealous sanitizing "God" from the department's programs and documents. One offending item reported as part of an officer training course:
"In the case of the Squadron Officer School course, the training document in question contained the following paragraph: "If you attend chapel regularly, both officers and Airmen are likely to follow this example. If you are morally lax in your personal life, a general moral indifference within the command can be expected." AF Hostile Fox News (July 23,2012)

The Supreme Court this week also in a basic way ruled a few naughty words or the view of a bare tush is acceptable during prime time on broadcast public airwaves. Look for a few words to expand to a whole monolog soon. In the Denver Post this week appeared an editorial warning about the tidal wave of "Sexting", a form of obcene communication, apparently rampant in the teen culture. From every corner of our great realm comes a cacophony of vulgar, obscenity laced speech and action. A Starz TV weekly show about a female vice-president had the actress dropping F-bombs every other sentence. Very clever dialogue by the writers. Real class. But here is the kicker. All her staff emulated the VP. They bombed the airwaves like a B-52 over Hanoi with the F- word along with a few other Mensa-like vocabulary from the barn-yard. It was comedy that wasn't funny, just grimy dirt.

What caught my attention is the last line in the quote above paired along with the VP's staff response. In the case of the Secret Service, one wonders if there is a learned "general moral indifference within the command"? Is there a thread of moral laxness within the administration that Secret Service agents have picked up on and figured what is good for the leadership is acceptable for the lower level staff? And the same could be said for schools, churches, hospitals, factories, and every other human institution. Just look at what happened in Penn State. Moral laxness led directly to young boys abuse.

So then what does the Watchman suggest? If we adults, leaders, parents, teachers and other public figures exhibit moral laxity, ultimately others will pick up the tune and whistle it too. Its time we cleaned up our act. We don't have to wear "God" on our sleeve or walk about pronouncing Bible verses to simply become a more gentle, polished society of respect for one another. Maybe if we teach our children the golden rule, applying it to ourselves in the process, we can halt the moral decline of our society. Let's all start today!

(Updated to correct title)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Red Flag Warning: Regulation-A noose about our necks.

A dear relative of the Watchman is selling their beautiful home. It has been perfectly staged with just the right amount of pictures, nicknacks, and furniture. The curb appeal is one to die for, attractive and inviting. The area is in a well maintained and kept community owning to a home owners association (HOA). Therein lies the problem. HOA regulations killed their house sale.

A good offer was made and accepted, contracts signed, and it looked like the deal made in heaven. Then the buyer's backed out. Why? HOA regulations prohibited over night parking of vehicles on the street or driveway. Yes. You read that right. Parking regulations by an over agressive HOA blew a contract during one of the worst housing markets in American history.

How did this HOA protect their member's values by such petty and unreasonable regulation? Why do the member's put up with such regulation? No wonder the area has trouble with sales when potential buyers read the HOA regulations their eyes glaze over and bolt for the door. Another sale lost. The longer homes stay on the market the lower the final price, thus lowering the values of all homes in the community. In some cases, given the unemployment or underemployment rate, potential for a home sale to transition into a foreclosure is increased, again, creating lowered values for the HOA members.

The members need to rally against such regulations in their own self interest. Regulation is stifling their business interests, creating conditions where potential sales are lost. While some regulation is warranted, such as junk accumulation in yards or painting a house a hideous turquoise with orange trim, to keep a community in good appearances, other regulations are just plain stupid such as the parking rule described above. Let's face it, over-regulation is just as evil as no regulation. Regulation is becoming a noose about our collective necks.

The above story is a micro lesson at the individual level. The same can be said of the macro level, our local, state, and national boards of directors continue to likewise create ever new and cumbersome laws and regulations. Again, to be fair, some regulation is necessary and appropriate. The original big ten, found in the Bible, were pretty good basic laws for society. Where the Jewish people went wrong was building a set of regulations for every tiny facet of life, down to the number of steps one could take on the sabbath, that they became slaves to the rules and lost sight of the ultimate rule maker. It took the coming of Jesus to rectify the problem and simplify the rules of engagement.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Today over-regulation is stifling our collective "house selling". At every turn business faces a vast array of rules, regulations, and laws that encumber productivity. Even our government operations are affected by excessive rules. The President wants greater hiring of federal workers, but the regulations to do so are so arcane, it takes a year or more to recruit a janitor.

The Watchman recently was curious about what it would take to start up one of those mobile hotdog stands seen outside of department stores. In his county, before one hotdog could be sold, permit fees of $1,200+ would have to be paid to the government overseers. No wonder self-employment is falling like a rock. The application forms were complex and detailed nearly every small aspect of the proposed business, down to the size and shape of the sinks based on an arithmetic calculation of the largest pot used!

We may not be able to escape all regulation, and as previously stated some regulation is indeed important to have in a community. However, the community needs, just like the HOA members, put their collective foot down on run away regulation. In the next few months American's will have such an opportunity. Election 2012 is that moment when we make that choice. Irwin Stelzer wrote in the Weekly Standard a comprehensive view of that choice:
"In the end the course of the American economy will be determined not in Berlin, but in the voting booths of America, where voters face a choice, not an echo - a choice between a candidate who believes, really believes, that America's future prosperity depends on an expansion of the public sector, and one who seems more likely to see our salvation in unleashing the private sector by reducing regulations and reforming the tax system" Stelzer, Irwin M. (2012). The Buck Stops Over There: Blaming Europe for the U.S. Economy. 25 June 12. The Weekly Standard, Vol 17, No39.

Indeed, no clearer choice do American's have during this election. The question remains, do we tear off the noose or pull it yet ever tighter?

(Updated to correct title format)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Red Flag Warning: Political Season Is Open

The Watchman is back on the political scene to observe, gather intel, and report back to his faithful readers. There is much to report during this Presidential election season given the absolute critical, nation changing, election. The two main candidates offer stark differences to their vision for America. President Obama looks longingly to his socialist travelers in Europe to push America to a Greece styled system that will in due course come to bear the same economic bitter fruit. Mitt Romney, a business man gone political as governor of MA, presents a polar opposite, more like what we've had in the past since WWII with the exception of Carter and Obama. Romney appears to believe in the hand-up approach as opposed to Obama's hand-out, soak the taxpayers into unbelievable debt. The sad part is we have to wade through a pile of manure over the next 4 months when all but 2 or 3 precent of voters have already made up their mind who gets the keys to the White House in January 2013.All that said, there is still two other aspects of this election that hold our nation's future in the balance: Congressional and State leader elections. Regardless of who gains the presidential throne, our fate is really held in the hands of who we elect to the House and Senate, both at the national as well as the state levels. Presidents come and go with barely a real impact, maybe with the exception of FDR and Reagan. However, it is those who build budgets and create laws that influence our daily lives. If we keep leaders like Reid and Pelosi in power we're doomed. Bringing on more leaders like Paul Ryan and our nation has a chance to get up out of the deep hole we've spent ourselves into. The Watchman will report on those elections as well. So stay tuned for a rocking and rolling open political season where surprises await us nearly every day.

(Updated to correct title format.)