Tuesday, January 26, 2010
BEST MAN-- You all know what a best man is. Most grooms have one at their wedding. I have often wondered, did the bride make a mistake in the choice of her husband, by marrying second best. Why didn't she marry the other one? You know, the Best Man. The bride don't have a Best Woman, she has a Maid/Matron of HONOR. Yeah! that woman is honored to stand by the bride, so why doesn't the groom have a Man Of Honor. Maybe if he did some one like me would say, well if he is a man of honor, why didn't she marry him? Is the groom honorable? Hmmm Bears some thinking about. It's a lot like political races. Often you hear the comment, May the best man win. Well, he didn't in the wedding, and he won't in the election, either. Why? you ask. Cause the best man ain't runnin. He's busy doing something else, usually more important than a political race, like getting married. Or something. Just a little nonsense post from the ditch bank dweller. May you all have a good day, a good month and a good year, and may the best man er woman win. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
TICK----What does that word conjure up for you? I hope the next thought you had was Tock. I like the sound of a ticking clock. When you arise in the morning, and it is still, before everything gets busy for the day, the ticking of a Big Ben clock on the bed side table, or a clock on a mantle, or even a Grandfather clock donging the half hour and the hour. The ticking of a clock in the still of the evening, while sitting on a covered porch, in the still of a country evening, reading a book, or the evening paper, before retiring for the night. Just something soothing about the ticking of a clock. Of course, if you are a rancher, like my Grandfather and father were, or my two Jerry friends who ranch in the general area of where I now live, the word tick can mean a blood sucking parasite, a little bug that can cause problems for the cattle. There is one other type of tick; without the k it becomes a tic and add poli and, well, see the rancher statement. I was as few months to young to vote for John Kennedy, but I would have, had I been old enough. I probably would have voted for Robert Kennedy, had Sirhan not got involved. I never would have voted for Edward, though, and was happy to see Mr. Brown win that seat in the Senate. I also liked the things he said. That he was a Republican who could vote with the Democrats, IF, and I repeat If, he agrees with their agenda. He also weighed in on the health care bill, saying that he felt there should be reform, but not in the form it now is in. I agree, and said so in a past post. I am glad to see the stranglehold, or the dynasty, or what ever you want to call it, of the Kennedy name broken. I could do a long post of my dislike for Edward, but I am old enough to just say Mary Jo and a River, and those of you old enough to remember will know what I'm talking about. If you don't know, google it. I read an article in the Boston Globe and will repeat this paragraph; "Brown's election foiled efforts by the Massachusetts Democrats to keep the US Senate seat in the party. The Legislature changed the law in 2004, fearing that Governor Mitt Romney would appoint a Republican if Senator John Kerry won the presidency. They changed the law again several months ago, allowing Governor Deval Patrick to temporarily appoint Paul G. Kirk to the seat. Kirk, a Democrat, will remain in place until Brown is sworn in." Now, that is the type of tic's I don't like. The politick's. OK so it's been going on for century's. I still don't like it. Wouldn't it be nice if the Tic's and the cattle ticks would be more like the ticks that started this post. Aw! soothing. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank
Monday, January 18, 2010
BALANCE- Have you ever lost yours? Just a little trip and fall can hurt. A loss of balance causing a fall from the roof of a house is worse and losing your balance and falling from a high cliff would probably end in death. A loss of your bank balance can cause a financial death. Tomorrow, January 19, our State legislature meets to begin a 30 day session. This session is restricted to matters of State finance. And politicians being, uh well, politicians, it will be interesting to see just exactly what they will come up with that they spin into a financial necessity for the State while trying to balance the State budget. A budget that is over $700 million in the red. I want to tell you a true story. In the mid 1960's I worked for some time for a regional airline that came into our County Airport. At that airport there was a National Weather Service (NWS) station manned by a weather man named Don Jett. He worked 5 days a week, an 8 hour shift from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was paid the princely sum of $10,000 a year. The NWS rented the small building he used for an office from the County for $500 a year and they had about $500 a year in telephone and other expenses. In 1967, I think, the U.S. government decided to balance the budget and advised all agency's to cut their budgets. So the NWS shut down several weather offices, including the one where Mr. Jett worked. I ask him if he was being laid off. He said no, he was being transferred to El Paso, Texas, but the shut down of his office would save the government $21,000 a year. I ask how and he said that the station was listed as a two man station, each earning $10,000 a year. The fact that only one man was there had no bearing. So, the station was closed, the County lost $500 a year in rent and utility company's lost a few dollars and the government saved $21,000 a year. Well, actually, to my uneducated point of view, they weren't actually paying the other man, and Mr. Jett still drew his salary, just in a different location, so to me the only actual savings was $1000 a year. The savings of $21,000 was just paper accounting. Now, our Governor put together a task force a few weeks ago to come up with a way to make the state government more efficient. Here is what they recommend. Combine the Public Education Department with the Higher Education Department. Join the Homeland Security Department with the Department of Public Safety. A state Commerce Department would be created by joining current departments of Economic Development, Labor, Tourism, Regulation and Licensing, Workers Compensation, Border Authority and the Spaceport Authority. Whew!I didn't know we even had all those departments. The Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department could also be combined. The task force also recommended changes to the Medicaid benefits and public school funding that could save the State an estimated $110 Million a year. Now, since several State Employees are already slated to be laid off, and many vacancy's slated to go away unfilled, I think that when all these departments are combined, the current employees will go to the combined departments, and the savings will be paper accounting. While the politicians may balance the budget, will it be with actual money saved, or just a paper accounting that said it was saved. It will be interesting, and we will just have to wait and watch and see. And that's the View From The Ditch Bank.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
VINYL--What does that word conjure up for you? I suppose it can be many things to different people. Me too. But for this post, I am talking about records. No, not the type you keep so you can effectively lie about your taxes. I'm talking about the kind that you put on a record player and listen to music. You remember that kind. Uh! well maybe not. But it is interesting to me that in this day and time of mp3, cell phones that play more music than make phone calls, Cd's ( who even remembers cassettes now? ) jump drives and all the other electronic means to listen to music, it is interesting to me that there is a rising market for vinyl records. And the search for a turntable to play them on. Well, we have all our vinyl records, 45 rpm's and 33 1/3 rpm albums. Even some 78's perhaps, hidden away somewhere. We have bought some old ones at yard sales, over the years, and yes we also have a turntable to play them on. I know that a complete return to vinyl will not take place. A lot of the interest in vinyl is nostalgia on the part of us oldies to listen to the oldies, but there are some younger ones who are seeking out the oldies also. On vinyl. A few new records are being made on vinyl, but so far it is a small production and a small market. Just mostly looking for old vinyl records. But who knows, perhaps there will be a time when some one puts down the blackberry and makes a call on an old phone that you have to dial the number on a rotary dial phone. Naw, Probably not, but, Sometimes the more things change, the more they remain the same. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank
Friday, January 8, 2010
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES---No, it's not a movie I'm talking about, but if it was, it might be considered a "Comedy of Errors". I'm talking about the State of New Mexico and what is going on here. Any one not familiar with New Mexico politics, And if you are familiar with politics, you probably know about ours, our State legislature meets once a year to see what they can do for, or to, the State. In odd number years they meet for a 60 day session and do whatever comes to mind, and that is a lot, but maybe a subject for another blog. In even years they meet for 30 days and are restricted to budget and finance items only. Of course, they can spin finance into nearly any thing that appeals to them. This year, being an even year, they meet ( starting later this month ) for a 30 day session. Last fall we the people were informed that the State was facing a budget shortfall of around $200 million, and a special session was called by our governor to close this gap. One of the first things they hit was education, cutting their budgets. Then we were told that this, as well as some other things they came up with, was only a band aid and the shortfall was more like $400 million. Now it is time for them to meet and the shortfall is being reported as closer to $700 million. To help balance the budget the governor has mandated that all state employees will take five mandatory days off, with out pay, over a three month period. This will save $8 million. He has also said he will lay off most of his personal appointees, who earned an average salary of $142,000 a year. This will also save $8 million. He refuses to say who these appointees are, and will not say what they did to earn that money. Of course, education is scheduled for another budget hit, along with other "services". So, what does this have to do with the opening of this blog. Well, I'll tell you. When the governor took office, the state was riding the crest of high gas prices, as New Mexico is a producer of oil and natural gas, so had a lot of money rolling in from revenues. So the gov decided he needed a new airplane. The legislature said no, but he bought one any way. An expensive one. He said the state needed it. He also spent millions buying track and developing a train that is now called the Rail Runner, and covers a 90 to 100 mile corridor from Belen to Santa Fe'. While this a popular mode of transportation for those living in that corridor, most of the population of the state have to drive hours to even get within viewing distance of it. OK, so I have no objection to the train, or the concept of it, but a news report last year said that it takes $20 million a year to operate and maintain this train, with $4 million coming from ticket sales and the rest from taxes, paid by all of the state population. It was also reported that if they set the ticket price high enough to pay it's way, no one would ride the train? Hmmm. OK, now to automobiles. As we travel the highways and byways of the state we are constantly seeing state vehicles plying the highways also. Usually traveling 5 to 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. And these are not plain government sedans. They are large, expensive SUV's, heavy duty pickups, and if it is a sedan, it is a top of the line expensive model. So, we can't afford the plane, so we need to sell it and return the money to the budget. (The state has other planes ) Raise the ticket prices of the train so it will pay for itself, saving $16 million for the state. And see why, in this day of electronic communication, so many state employees need to be traveling. And if they must travel, why do they need such expensive vehicles? On a related item, kudos to the new mayor of Albuquerque, who, when he was told that he could have a brand new car, chose to use one the city already had, with 41,000 miles on it. And while we can do without some of the "services" provided by the State, we need a good education system, so leave that alone. And that's The View From The Ditch Bank.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US---The State of New Mexico, that is. 98 years ago today, January 6, 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state in the union. We began with a Democrat Governor and now, 98 years later we have a Democrat for a governor. In 98 years there have been 26 people serve as governor, 17 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Of those 9 I would have a hard time saying who was the best. Gary Johnson, the last Republican to serve as governor was a millionaire businessman. He had some good fiscal policy's, but was often struggling against a democratic legislature. In his second term, he kinda went off the deep end, I think. He promoted the legalization of marijuana, and even now is still doing so. He was the last republican, but not the best, I think. Of the 17 my opinion of the best would be Bruce King who served three terms, not consecutively, as governor. He was a common man with the interests of New Mexico at heart.He could have went on to national politics had he chose to do so, but he didn't want to. He passed away late last year. I am a republican proud to say I voted for him, in spite of the local republican party's push to get me to vote otherwise. Our current governor has been on the national scene, and doesn't seem to have the same mindset for New Mexico that governor King had. More on that on the next post. While New Mexico is rich in history, it is not a rich state in funds. It is rich in the pride and Independence of the people, and we will survive the current economic conditions, in spite of current local and national leaders. And that is the View From The Ditch Bank.
Monday, January 4, 2010
FOUR---Days that is, into the new year 2010, two thousand ten, two thousand and ten. This is being debated in the news. Does it really matter? The year is still the same on the calendar that we use. And have you kept your new year resolutions? All of them? Or do you, like me, not make any. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that I should make a change in my habits or behavior, I just think I should do that when I realize I have the problem, which is usually when it is brought to my attention. If the problem exists in March, I should make the change then, not wait until the next January. However, that said, I do have somewhat to say about the first of the year evaluation. As the winter solstice has just past and the sun begins it's march back to the north, ( OK OK so the sun is not moving, the earth is actually tipping so the sun will shine longer here in the north this summer, but this is my blog, so I will phrase it in my way )And we begin to make plans for the spring and summer, perhaps this is a good time to make a personal evaluation. Did I actually make a change in that problem last March? Or did I accomplish any of the things I had hoped to accomplish? If so, check it off, don't break your arm patting yourself on the back, and check those things I didn't accomplish, and determine why not. If I just didn't, then work harder on it this year. If there were extenuating circumstances, can I work around them this year. So here's to a Happy and prosperous New Year to all of us, and may we all be better people in 365 days than we are now. And That's the View From The Ditch Bank.