Friday, December 14, 2012

How Smart Is Your Dog? From The NZ SPCA’s Driving Dogs to IQ Testing – Dogs Continue to Astound and Amuse - Those Driving Dogs!



There’s a phrase one hears from time to time that just rankles – “What a dumb dog”, or variations, of the theme – “He’s Just a dumb dog”, drive those who know better, to thoughts of good uses for duct tape, or more aggressive tactics to the uninformed.

As someone who owns three dogs; one miniature Daschund, one Puggle (designer breed) and one Standard Field Beagle, the last word one would be able to use to describe any of these “animals” is “dumb”. The best comment on my pack of hounds came from a friend how had not met these canines, nor was very familiar with dogs in general, but after two hours, the comment was made: “There like little people with fur!” That one phrase summed up exactly, my take on my life with dogs. Dogs, no matter the breed, purebred or “mutt”, are multi-faceted, individual beings, who offer one the opportunity to enjoy constant companionship, unabated love and yes, even forgiveness. How smart are dogs? Let’s start with their ability to display unconditional love and forgiveness. There are myriad benefits to having a dog, or three, in one’s life, and personally, I have found that dogs behave and communicate as needed, depending upon the situation. The only frustration is learning to understand their behavior – thus buying a book on dog psychology might help. Dogs greet you with enthusiasm, no matter how long one has been gone, whether it’s a short trip to the store, a day at work, or a weekend away, the level of the greeting never changes – exuberant and joyous. They are just so glad to see you. When one is sick, with gold or a flue, the dog knows how to comfort. They are indeed, one’s best friend – they don’t care how you look, what you are wearing, if you’re grumpy they forgive, and if your happy they rejoice with you.

I’ve been asked (ok accused) - You love those dogs more than people – which may be somewhat true. Viewing dogs as children (in age of the mind, not in the actual sense of the word), and their behavior is oftentimes much more welcome than that of some plagued by the human condition.

From my Grandmother, came the love and respect accorded to all animals – as she taught – All Animals are God’s creature, for us to appreciate, protect and care for. In return, they appreciate, protect and care for us.

It’s a win, win situation.

It’s no wonder then, when New Zealand SPCA found a unique way in which to highlight the need to adopt shelter dogs, they chose to highlight just how smart the canine is – by teaching them how to drive. In news terms this story is old, it happened last week, however, every day, find myself watching on of their video’s over and over – The Worlds’ First Driving Dogs – complete with a bit of hip-hop background music. One of my close friends, whom I shared the video with, quickly wrote back: “Don’t even think about it”. Referring to the possibility that I might just try to teach my dogs to drive.

If one has seen the news stories, but missed this video, it is a must see. Also, there are so many that are in need , people and animals, so if you find yourself with a bit more than others, try giving to your local food bank (it appears that every city has one) and then a non-kill shelter. If you’re without a companion of the furry persuasion, you might consider fostering or adopting – that’s the biggest gift you can give yourself.



The IQ Test for Dogs (This test is rudimentary – or possibly insulting to one’s dog – depends on one’s point of view)

There is a game available through BestFriends.org. This is the product manufacturer here.

There is one model that has three levels, and is shaped like a dog bone, one places a treat in one of the spaced on one of the levels, to up the ante, there is a dog bone cover to place over the treat, spin the toy around several times – tell your dog to “find the treat”. Each dog is different and takes a different approach. It works well to on cold winter days, days that are far too cold for a decent walk. Highly recommended.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michigan Right To Work – Not Republican vs. Democrat – Survival of a State versus Political Clout of the Unions – Survival of Politician’s who fail to recognize the Power of the Taxed.





An ad to hire "organizers" to protest Michigan Governor and Right To Work Passage - the outsource! image from SEIU.org

A Reuters Retrospective article entitled “How Republicans engineered a blow to Michigan's powerful unions” somehow misses the mark – or more to the point, takes the position of the news services in general – that the Union is right and the “right to work” laws in 24 states are somehow politically motivated to dissolve union power. That argument might be made on the one hand, because those who are in a political position (State Senators, State Legislators, Governors) in the states where the “Right to Work” laws are either on the books or in the process, are generally Republican. While the national unions and the union bosses and organizers are generally Democrats, or give heavily to Democrat candidates in order to facilitate lobbying (otherwise known as bribes.) However, one might consider the more salient point that those states politico’s are listening to constituents who have simply had enough of the economy and are pressing, hard, on changing the status quo. Therefore, Welcome to 2010.

In 2010 there was a bit of a movement, anti-tax and pro government fiscal responsibility – it became dubbed as the “Tea Party”, but comprised several different movements, of people, ordinary, previously non-political, ordinary people. These ordinary fed up American’s wrote letters, stood on street corners in protest of the rise in the national debt, they were concerned about raising taxes, about the new health care legislation and how it would affect the nation, and about job losses in an ever weakening economy. Many rose to the occasion and ran for public office, some for Congress, sixty of those ended up winning, and an historical number of new “Republicans” were sent to Washington.

There have been many pronouncements since, how the Republican’s lost the 2012 election, and pointed the finger at these fiscal conservatives. However, the Republican leadership lost the election, the conservative ideals that the new Congressional Representatives brought to Congress in2010, did not get there because of the Republican Brand; they got there because of the “Tea Party” brand. The Tea Party principles were what prompted these individuals to get elected in the first place. Had a standard Republican run in 2010 – they would have lost.

Yes, Mitt Romney’s loss was a shocker, blame the software, blame the Republican Establishment (or both), but leave those who worked the hardest, The Tea Party – out of it. The principles of those who identify with the Tea Party – are based on the Constitution – not on a political platform of a major political party. That has never gone away – and in Wisconsin, in 2011, when the state’s Governor Scott Walker, signed into law the right to work laws, the riots too place, the news media was condemning, and in a recall effort by the States’ Democrats (and outside forces), Walker won the recall with a majority of the votes cast in the state. Enough said. The State of Wisconsin’s economy improved, the towns and cities were given a breather, and above all else, the laws made sense. One can either join a union – or not. It is choice that is given. Those states that have right to work laws enjoy a healthier economy simply because the unions, with demands that are often past what public sector workers enjoy, and the threat of constant strikes, the inability to fire a blatantly unqualified, or incompetent worker are not automatically in the driver’s seat with employers. This invites small business to expand without the fear of a Union strike or demands bankrupting a company and put them, and their employees out of business.

Michigan is in a state of desperation – the City of Detroit is bankrupt, the unemployment is higher, the tax base has eroded and there is little a government can possibly do without taxpayers (both corporate or individual) as Governments do not have an income other than taxes. (State, Federal or City). There were few options on the table – there were city councilors in Detroit begging the President to bail them out – because they “reelected him”. There was desperation. The anger and violence displayed by union protestors is something that the State Government had to deal with in order to give workers in the state the option to join or not to join. – but prevailed. Michigan may soon find itself out of the woods. Those union employees will still have jobs, and so will their neighbors, who are no longer under the cloud of having to join a union in order to have one.

The next state that should look at a right to work law is California. California has municipalities that can no longer afford to pay city employees pensions, or to provide services - such as police and fire, the taxes in the state have driven the population that wants to work over the border into nearby Texas. Texas is a right to work state that enjoys a booming economy. It’s all about the politicians however, and the relationship between those politicians in California and the public employees unions. The State Government is similar to Massachusetts where the makeup is almost entirely one party – Democrat, those Unions work hard to keep those Democrats in office, because on the city and state level, that means unions are guaranteed pension hikes, wage hikes, and privileges in return. (See Bribery)

What happens however, when the money runs out? Apparently no-one in California’s political class is asking that question or remotely concerned. Sooner or later the Federal Government is going to find itself in the same position (technically it already has). The Stimulus from 2009 is gone, replaced by an every growing federal “investment’ in food stamps, disability, and unemployment compensation and Medicaid payments to states. Therefore, when the tax revenues aren’t there for either the State or the Federal Government – (those programs by, the by, are responsibility of the state, after the Federal government runs out of cash), those programs will go unfunded. That translates into no money to pay pensions, Medicaid (Doctors, hospitals), food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the list goes on. Those individual who rely on the government for assistance (47% has been mentioned), will simply be cut off. All of this could have been avoided, had there been a bit of simpatico between those who believe in tax increases to infinity, and those who believe in reining in ridiculous spend gin on the State and Federal level.

Watch out for 2014 elections. One can hazard to guess, at this point, that anyone with an R or a D in front of their names who are known to be less than fiscally conservative (yes there are fiscally conservative Democrats) will be out of a job. The general Taxpayer is about to get hit (the real Fiscal Cliff), with additional taxes, both in income tax (end of the Bush Tax Cuts), and in increased costs for health insurance (a $63.00 surcharge per individual covered under existing plans will be assessed to cover the cost of covering pre-existing conditions mandated by the Health Care Act.) Those affected, regardless of which state they live in, will either defend a politician who has a proven record of voting against any of the aforementioned, or fire them. (Hint, opening all states to competion by allowing unlimited health insurance carriers to offer products across state lines would drop the premium like a hot rock -simply because it would widen the pool of high claims, and the cost to absorb those claims would lessen.)

Michigan was just the beginning of a purge of greedy politicians and lobbyists that have no regard for those who brung them, nor for the taxpayer and employee who keeps them in high style Therefore, it is not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about politicians in general and the public who pays the piper. Anyone who thinks otherwise cannot see the forest.

Why are unions desperate to keep their hold on the Private Sector, the States, the Federal Government and the Cities, towns and municipalities?

Money

The average salaries of the union leaders and members are available at UnionFacts.com Supplied by the U.S.Department of Labor - These figures are real eye-openers for both the general public and union membership.

A sample: The top ten paid union officials make an annual salary ranging from $330,503.00 to a low of $198,000. That is not an outrageous salary for a private sector CEO or V.P., however, these salaries come from union workers dues, rather than from a corporation that makes actual money.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

North Korea Has “Successful” Rocket Launch with Help from Iran - Fear: Objective to launch Missiles capable of reaching the U.S. – North Korean People Starving for Decades.





In September, of 2012, the North Koreans and Iranians forged an agreement against a "common enemy" (photograph:Kuwait Times

The North Korean Government had a “successful” rocket launch yesterday to a great deal of “celebration” by North Koreans. (Washington Post). The Washington Post reporting on the event notes that the rocket, an antiquated Russian Unha-3, a three stage missile, traveled as far as the Philippine Sea. The South Korean’s feel the goal will be to build a bigger and more efficient version, one that would be capable of holding a nuclear warhead. The regime received a little help from their friends, the Iranian’s, who had sent Missile Experts to North Korean several days in advance of the launch.(Pakistan Daily Times)

The North Korean’s were immediately condemned for the act by the United States, Canada, and the world, including the U.N.. Of course, the act of verbally “condemning” a regime that has done something dangerous or has committed human rights atrocities, is somewhat commonplace – there is no saber rattling or fear of retribution as most nations are seen by the North Korean’s as either Paper Tigers or allies.

The fact that the Iranians’ are giving them a helping hand, should spark a bit of concern, as it is more than likely the balance of the aid they received in a fast paced move from failure to launch to putting one up in the air and sending it to the Philippines (merely 1700 miles), is of some concern. If they can perfect the rocket to deliver twice the distance, they will be within range of Alaska, (3,000 miles). If they take it even further, the fears are that the mainland of the U.S., the California Coast, specifically, Los Angeles which would be approximately 6,000 miles away. Of course, one would have to ask what the strategic significance would be as far as the North Korean regime lobbing a nuclear warhead at Los Angles.

What the world has at the moment is a regime that has been starving its people for decades in order to subdue and economize on food, electricity (which is given to Communist party faithful), in order to continue to develop its military. There are scores of articles dating back into the 1950’s, that depicted a “red” North Korea, where there was a massive buildup of the army, while individuals were executed for political reasons, the populace was starving, and crime was rampant. (The Spokane Daily Chronicle, Google News Archives, June 28, 1955). One would think that the situation would have changed, but it has not. Articles continue about the correlation between a starving populace and a military buildup up through the decades. Horror stories from those who have managed to escape from the North into South Korea, although rare, highlight the madness of the regime. The escape is difficult due to the borders security, as well as the fact that if one does manage to get out, their families are most certainly condemned to a camp, where they are literally starved to death.

A regime that is willing to murder its own population in order to attempt parity with nations who’s financial and military capabilities are far superior is one that would, in effect, be the one that would do its utmost to settle old scores and please the friends who offer to help, by taking out what would only be described as a “duel enemy”. (See the Iranians and North Korean’s signed an agreement to cooperate in science, citing a “common enemy”(Kuwait Times, 1 September, 2012). That would be Iran’s zealot belief of the U.S. – the “Great Satan”, and North Korea would get a two-fer, one shot at the U.S. for the 1950 Korean Conflict, and more engineers and missiles parts, including enriched uranium, from Korea and other nations with like mind. In return, the Mullahs in Iran and elsewhere in the East would be dealing a blow to the Infidels, seeing an opportunity to advance and convert a nation or nations in chaos.

Although he previous scenario sounds a bit like science fiction mixed with nationalistic anxiety, it is historically feasible. One has to question what might happen to those North Koreans once the deed would be done, and the Iranian’s (not the Persian people whom the Mullah’s hold captive), turn on them.

For more on the world’s chaos visit Stratfor.com a private global intelligence firm, which offers free access to fact based articles, analysis and projections.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Right to Work in Michigan –President Obama Attacks Michigan Governor over Union-Busting State Law - During Tax Hike Speech in German-Owned Factory in Bankrupt Detroit. – A Rant



What a pickle – The President was on the stump yesterday in Detroit, campaigning for a proposed tax increase on those earning $250,000 or more. He was speaking at Daimler-owned, Detroit Diesel, to a “crowd” of “hundreds” of UAW members. He then went on to blast Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, for his support of the impending “Right to Work Legislation (Detroit Free Press). The Right to Work - a concept where the employer-employee relationship does not require that the employee join a union, nor does the employer have to collect union dues from employees paychecks, is at issue. In a “right to work” state, employers are able to fire or hire at will – unions prevent an employer from firing anyone, regardless of how egregiously incompetent that employee might be. In addition, the employer has no ability to offer merit pay increases or promote an employee – as unions insist that all individual members are on the same footing. The battle has broken down into sides: Organized Labor against State Governments and Republican’s against Democrats, the employers and employees are simply stuck in the middle.

Union Busting or taking power away from union management is the key element in the fight against “Right to Work”. The national unions generally support one political party, which explains the President’s tone in Michigan. The real point is, if the unions were so popular with the workers, and offered prospective employees such a great deal, and then a “Right to Work law” should, under normal circumstances, make the union more competitive. That’s the big If.

Those Union Bosses (pick a union) make six figure salaries, and control the cash that millions of workers in the U.S. contribute through Union Dues. These dues are spent, for the most part, on political campaigns. Those political campaigns are generally campaigns for Democrats. It matters not if a union member is a Republican, a Libertarian, a Green Party Member- dues are dues. If the union bosses decide to make a statement, and call a strike, the union members are out of work and out of a paycheck. If these demands are unreasonable – then the “corporation” may just fold up and those striking workers are out of a job (See Twinkies- now closed in the U.S. and opening soon in non-union Mexico).

The premise for giving the employee the options and, in essence taking power from the union, will encourage those employers who might open a shop in say, bankrupt Detroit, if there were not union to make demands that the employer could not fiscally support, that would allow the extremely high unemployment to drop. Would those employees make less than their union counterparts – possibly, and they might also have to chip in for their health insurance and put cash into their own 401K. Employers, and even large corporation, prefer to hire “talent” – those that will rise to the occasions, - those clerks that go from the mail room to the boardroom so to speak. (Something that is prohibited under a union). The fact that the City of Detroit would have more residents employed, collect taxes from new businesses, and possibly drag itself out of arrears (of course, there is the corruption, but…) would be on the table.

There is this consensus among the left, and the union believers, that those who live in right to work states and are non-union, somehow are suffering unimaginably – They point to the south and west in particular where the majority of the right to work laws have passed. What they don’t point to, is the fact that those states have lower unemployment rates, higher homeownership, and an influx of new residents. If one reviews the 2010 census data, states with right to work laws, had increases in their population to the extent that they gained seats in the Congress, while those states without “right to work laws, lost population, and seats in the Congress.

Unions were formed to help employees with dangerous working conditions, protect them from working overlong hours, and insure that they had a living wage. Since the 1950’s when the unions were at their strongest, the U.S. government has enacted laws that protect workers from dangerous conditions (OSHA), insure that there is a living wage (Minimum Wage Laws) and the list goes on. Unions were essentially formed for those workers who were unable to defend themselves –undereducated, mainly immigrant, and working in the myriad factories that were once a part of the American Landscape.

Those factories are gone, for the most part; manufacturing in the U.S. has gone – to other countries where there are no unions, which reduces the costs to the employer. (Example: unions expect benefits to be fully funded by employers).

Govenor Snyder recognizes this – and is attempting to pull Michigan out of a swamp of debt. The President, who is a supporter of Unions (see campaign funds), and has a philosophy of bigger government) is at odds with States that take power from the Unions and hand it back to the employee and employer, and specifically cuts the campaign coffers of party members (Democrats) from the local level to the federal level It ‘s about policitcs – period.

Meanwhile the fiscal cliff looms, or does it? The fact that we, as a nation are in such deep debt, and there is no other option, from the Presidents point of view, other than to “Tax our way out of it”, while increasing Govenrment spending, does not add up. There are ways in which to cut the waste at the Federal Level, that would bring in billions: consolidating duplicate and triplicate agencies and positions, doing away with agencies that no longer are relevant, and retooling the budget appropriates to the individual agencies by eliminating the need for those agencies to spend every red cent – or not receive funding the following year. If the later were reformed, and an agency granted a 1 million dollar budget it did not need, refunded the balance each year, while still receiving adequate funding that would save the nation a bundle. Additionally consolidating these non-relevant agencies would further reduce the deficit. This is across all government agencies. This system has been in effect for too long, and under both Republican and Democrat administrations. In other words, we send idiots to Washington to deal with cash flow and budgets. It would take an Act of Congress, and a President in simpatico to fix the mess in short order – thus savings billions and reducing the deficit.

Cut out any grants or funds are not fiscally sound or would improve the nation on a very real level. If one looks at the projects the taxpayer’s supports, then one understands there is a frivolous waste of money being spent by both parties.

Let the State’s be States and the Federal Government return to its original role as stated in the Constitution.

As none of the above stand a snowballs chance in Hades of every happening unless there is a third or fourth party to knock the stuffing’s out of those two behemoths in power, which would take, years, the nonsense will continue.

He said she said, Bad Republican, Bad Democrat, and the masses (all of us) can complain or bemoan the worst of each other’s party of choice, and continue to pay Caesar. This is what will most likely occur.

Michigan will succeed in passing the Right to Work Law, Organized Labor will complain a great deal as will major and minor Democrats, and within a few years, Michigan will be booming, housing will rise above unprecedented levels, due to the influx of new jobs, and new residents. There won’t be one story in the news about it, one doesn’t hear how well they are doing in those horrid 23 “Right To Work” states John Boehner, the Republican House Speaker (so far) will, together with House Republican’s and the Senate Republican’s, strike a deal to raise taxes, for the promise of cuts down the road. It’s an awfully long road. Business will continue as usual, until the money runs out. There is that premise where the government does not have any income o f its own, it collects taxes and then distributes that “revenue” to fund projects, and pay employees, and pay for welfare, and health care and retirements. When employers faced with higher taxes, either cut workforce, or leave the country, those are additional bodies on the “dole”, and the government loses income from those bodies, while adding debt in the form of “taking care of those whom they have caused to lose income”. When, eventually, there are so few taxpayers left to support the system, the general concept would be to increase taxes on those remaining workers, when that fails and the government can no longer pay its bills (send out checks) – one has chaos.

Steps one can take:

Start watching Doomsday preppers and taking notes.

Become an ex-patriot.

Start forming new political parties to challenge the status qua.

Obviously, this began as a critique of the situation in Michigan, but it is truly a piece based on sarcasm and disgust of the status quo and the complete disregard for the people who hired these politician’s - both Democrat and Republican, to uphold the Constitution – and stay out of State’s Rights.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Massachusetts GOP Chair Candidates – Scott Brown Endorses Kirsten Hughes for MA GOP Chair – The Right of the Mass. GOP Balks.





Yes, there is a Mass GOP (for those who might think otherwise) - Logo from newtonrepublicans.org

There has been some disconnect between the Mass State GOP and certain factions within the Massachusetts Republican Party – in brief, there are those that are moderates framing the majority of the leadership, and those that are both fiscally and socially conservative. The later would encompass Tea Part Groups, the Mass. Assembly, and the Mass. Fiscal Alliance. Those to the right of moderate take an all or nothing position on social issues encompassing the Right to Life movement and the issue of Gay Marriage. The general consensus of supporting a candidate that is both pro-choice and pro-gay marriage sees these conservatives sit out an election, or work for local and state candidates that hold core beliefs. Then there are the moderates of the party, which is the majority of the State GOP Leadership. These are Republican’s that are more moderate on social issues, yet add balance when it comes to be fiscal conservatives. These are the Moderates, who are more electable (or thought to be) in Massachusetts.

The problem arises when there is a tight race between a Republican and a Democrat in Massachusetts, and the Republican runs to the left of the Democrat and/or tries to compete toe to toe on social issues – that candidate loses the right of the party. Therefore, the incoming Chair of the Mass. GOP must know how to include both sides of the party – both the cocktail set (what is seen as the leadership) and those who see themselves as in the trenches.

Together these two factions can do the impossible, elect a Republican to a Federal or State office. Should that not occur, then there will be loses. There is the manpower that comes with the ability to bring both sides to the table. Unfortunately, some in leadership roles tend to focus on the cash, and distance themselves from those on what is perceived as the “extreme right”. This is Massachusetts – where 51% of the registered voters are “unenrolled” or have no leaning towards one party or another. They are, for the most part, moderates – not taking a hard line one way or the other on social issues. There are also those who are disgusted with one party or the other, yet still tend to vote with either major party, unless there is an alternative.

The obvious frontrunner will be Kirsten Hughes who announced her candidacy for the Mass GOP Chair – she has been endorsed by Senator Scott Brown, and had been his campaign’s deputy finance director. (Boston Globe) The Boston Globe implies that the move by Brown to endorse Hughes , and promote her Chairmanship, gives him a cash advantage should he run for either a Senate Seat (Kerry) or the Governor’s office. Although one might look at Brown as the consummate politico, he is inclined to work towards both his own political future as well as the future of the GOP in Massachusetts, with a focus on bring more Republican’s into the fold and into elected office. One only has to go back to 2010 to know that he worked for his own interests as well as the interests of the State GOP. Ms. Hughes has an exemplary record with the State GOP in a short period of time, having worked in 2010 towards bringing more state seats to the GOP. To learn more about Kirstin Hughes visit www.hughesforchair.com.

For insight into the diversity of the Mass. GOP, visit Red Mass Group, for reaction on Ms.Hughes Letter of Candidacy.

To date there is one other single candidate that has announced, Richard Green, a member of the State Committee, who is also the founder of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

Other candidates who have announced an intent to run for Chair are Rachel Kemp, a state committee member from Dorchester, announced her candidacy Thursday, as did ¬David D'Arcangelo, a Malden city councilor, and Dean ¬Cavaretta of Acton, who are running as a team, according to Brock Corderio a State Committee Member.

Smart money would be on Kirsten Hughes. She has the endorsement of Brown, she had successfully worked in increasing state elected officials in 2010, has the ability to be a prolific fundraiser (See Boston Globe article ”Scott Brown endorses campaign aide’s bid to run state Republican Party”) – the plus – she is a competent woman in the GOP camp. The State GOP election will be held in January of 2013 – date is TBA.

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