Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Contradiction In Terms

OR JUST A GOVERNMENT MIND SET: I saw on the news this morning a report about the government trying to pass a budget to keep the government from shutting down. The Republicans in the House wants the Senate to pass a bill and send it to them. They also want budget cuts. There was also a mention of picketing for a budget by the TEA Party. Harry Reid said something like, "No one pays any attention to the Tea Party. There is only a small minority of people who even notice them." Not a accurate or direct quote, but close. Uh! Harry, didn't you notice the results of the last election? So all the Tea Party candidates didn't win. Many did and several that didn't garnered a lot of attention. Pay attention Harry. Pass a budget bill and fund needed government. Emphasis on needed. Get rid of the pork. Now, to the item that actually spawned the thought for this blog. In the little paper we get here, ( emphasis on little paper, 8 pages sometimes) on the front page was these articles. Since January 1, 2011, not quite three months into the year, New Mexico has had 199 wild fires, burning more than 119,000 acres. 1400 of those acres were right here in our county. A grass fire that burned so fast with the wind that the fire fighters couldn't get a handle on it for some time. Another article was on the weather. Windy conditions predicted for as far ahead as the weather predictors can predict. Last article. The United States Forest Service is planning a prescribed burn for an area in about two weeks. All three of these items were on the front page of the paper. New Mexico is so dry the grass is about the color of this type. And brittle and ready to burn. And it is doing so. Often. There has been a few more fires and acres added to the total since the paper came out just two days ago. We haven't had any substantial moisture in many years. It will take several years of above average moisture to even begin to catch up. And probably several years of responsible government to get the budget back in order. But that's OK. Lets set fire to the forest that is so dry it will burn quickly if a little breeze comes up. And lets pass a budget that spends ( read burns ) money we don't have on things we don't need, just so I can make my constituents happy and they will re elect me. I think the mind set is going to have to change. I'm an old man, but I hope the change comes in my life time. I'm afraid it won't. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Humor Can't Hurt

WITH ALL THAT IS GOING ON, IS HUMOR OUT OF ORDER? Actually, I think not. Tragedy has been with the world at least since the flood when Noah built the Ark. Having said that, I am not going to detail the many tragedy's that even I am aware of since that time. OK, I know I'm old, but not that old. I read about them in a book. but lets just mention a few recent ones. Like fires and then floods in Australia. Earthquakes in Haiti, South America and New Zealand. Miners rescued from a cave in in Chile. And finally, the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. While all of these things are not to be ignored, or played down, life does go on, and so does the human spirit. In that vein, I am going to mention a few things that I consider humorous in the same manner as the ending of the previous blog. If that didn't appeal to you, you may want to stop reading here.
1. It has been reported that someone was rolling in the dough. I always thought a rolling pin worked better.
2. A no fly zone has been declared over Libya. Apparently mosquitoes are OK.
And these from the announcers for March Madness, AKA NCAA basketball tournament.
3. Marquette is off to the races. Since they won the game, guess they didn't stay long.
4. In one game the announcer reported that a player had knocked down a three, and a little later another player did the same thing. Wonder if the three learned to just stay down.
5. The team did a good job of defending the paint. Wonder what the paint did that it needed defended.
and last 6. The Tarheels coach was upset cause his team turned the ball over too many times. Guess they haven't learned how to catch the ball in the correct position, so had to turn it over. maybe to see the label better.
And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just A Few Things That Comes To Mind

SOME ARE FUNNY, SOME JUST ARE: Here are a few things that have been on the news lately, in one form or another. The New Mexico State legislature is ending a 60 day session Saturday, March 19 at noon. It has been a very low key session, as far as the news items have been. Much different than the last few years. One thing that happened is that the Senate and Representatives finally, last night, passed a balanced budget for the Governor to sign. She probably will, with reluctance. The last final 111 million dollars used to balance the budget is for the State Employees to pay a little more into their retirement fund and the State to pay a little less. Since the majority of the tax paying residents of the State are not State employees, and don't have the benefits of State employees, this isn't a bad thing. The State employees don't like it, of course, but then, it is their retirement fund. The amount the State pays into it is funded by my, and the rest of the States tax paying residents dollars. Also, in this session, the Governor, Susana Martinez, wanted a law passed that made it illegal to issue drivers licenses to illegal residents. The legislature did not pass that law. There were rally's claiming racial discrimination. And racial profiling. Arizona had 5 bills before their legislature on illegal residents and immigration. They all failed, for much the same reason. As one Arizona politician said, "Maybe you forgot it's illegal to be in this country illegally." New Mexico's governor is Hispanic. This is not a racial item. it is a legal item. What part of "Illegal" don't people understand. Oh, and New Mexico assisted the Educational system by raising tuition fees. Fees that most students will be hard put to pay. This, in spite of the fact that New Mexico passed a gambling bill years ago, with the millions of dollars from gambling to go to assist New Mexico residents to pay for education. Unfortunately, at least half of those dollars go to "Administrative" costs. Also, the University of New Mexico, which will have the largest tuition hike, has 28 Vice Presidents that earn $250,000 plus a year. Not to mention other lesser vice presidents and assistants that also earn big bucks. Could cutting their salaries balance the budget? probably not, but it would help if their salaries were cut some. I would think they could live on less. Most of the residents of the State do. And lastly, how often do you hear this from a T. V. news reporter. Stay tuned for a Live Interview. yeah! beats a dead interview every time. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


WHERE'S THE MIND SET? Recently, in the area where I live, there was a large grass fire. 1400 acres and 12 houses were burned, along with some out buildings and some equipment of residents. The fire was started by someone driving off the road into the grass and their catalytic converter started the fire. That is the official determination, any way. Shortly after that was over here, the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. That devastation is still on going, and makes our little fire seem meaningless. Of course it's not, at least for those affected by the fire. Still, with the many events going on worldwide, there is one thing that makes me ask the question. WHY? Not why the disasters. Those have been going on since the dawn of time. Oh Wait! What I am blogging about probably has also. That is the scam artists. Why call them artists? makes true artists look bad. Still, there are those contacting the victims of the fire offering false assistance. they are calling people and telling about places to donate money, where the donations are not accepted. Contractors, who are not authorized, offering help. The same thing is going on with a much larger scale with people trying to scam people out of money by donating to a false site to assist the Japanese. Where is the mind set of these people. With families in Japan looking for family members, children wandering around homeless, how can someone think of enriching themselves at the expense of those who only want to help. I just don't understand. What happened to the idea, it's mine, so you don't touch. Guess those days are long behind us. And more's the pity. I feel for those of my children and grandchildren that have to live in the current world. And the world yet to come is probably only going to get worse. And that's the Viewpoint the Scriptures give me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


TAX TIMES A COMING: You know the day. April 15. Tax day dead line. And with the economy for us and them like it is, them, namely governments, local state and federal, are looking for ways to increase their coffers. I just saw a report on the news that property taxes can go up if you change a sink in your house. Or build a shed in the back yard. Or even more if the shed has a cement floor. Cause that makes it more livable. But I was more interested in some of the innovative ways, read outrageous ways, that governments are coming up with to get our money. Try these. I think we are all aware of the so called Sin taxes. Here are some new ones that are on the books, or are being discussed to be put on the books. Taxes, that is, not all necessarily sin taxes, although most of them should be a sin for even being thought of. I will list the taxes, but not if they are on the books, or just being considered.
1. In Alabama, any one who purchases a deck of cards of 54 cards or less must pay a tax of 10 cents. If you get a deck with 55 cards, guess you don't have to pay.

2. In Utah, any business where Nude or partially Nude individuals perform any service have to pay a 10% sales and use tax. This tax is applied to all revenue from admission fees as well as merchandise, food, drink and services sales.

3. don't know if this one is State specific or all has all states involved, but it is part of the controversial Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act of 2010. There is now a 10% excise tax on using a tanning salon. This tax is expected to raise $2.7 billion dollars over ten years.

4. In Kentucky there is now a sales tax on any food classified as candy. But the definition of candy is controversial. A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is candy, but a Milky Way is not. The tax is also snaring some seemingly healthy foods. If a Breakfast bar contains natural or artificial sweeteners along with fruits, nuts or other healthy ingredients, but has no flour, and doesn't need refrigeration, it's considered candy, but breakfast cereals with the exact same ingredients are not.

5. In January, the New York City Fire department proposed a new Crash Tax. The proposal calls for a $500 dollar fine for anyone in an accident requiring emergency response vehicles at the scene. This stirred up some controversy.

6. A new haunted house tax would charge a sales tax on admission to a haunted house if the fee is over 10 Cents and includes music. But New York doesn't tax musical comedies, operas or chamber music shows.

7. In New York, if you buy a Bagel and take it home it is tax free, but if you buy one in a Bagel shop, and eat it there, you have to pay sales tax.

8. As of January, 2011, King County Washington, which includes Seattle, has instituted a $50 fee for reporting a death to the Medical Examiners office. If you don't pay, you don't get the permission and paperwork needed in order to be buried.

9.There is now an annual tax on brand name pharmaceutical companies. This is a corporation tax that is expected to raise $2.5 Billion in 2011. If you think you are not going to pay this tax also, think again.

10. There is also some tax rules going into effect on the FSA medical accounts. Since I have a definite opinion on FSA's, I won't go into these taxes. But if you use one, be prepared for some changes.

Just be prepared as governments take us into the red, while trying to get themselves out of the red, if they succeed, we will be left feeling blue. Just means we will be left spending less, while the tics spend more. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Sign Of The Times

A BALANCED BUDGET: Did you see the news where Rhode Island fired ALL of the school teachers. Some 19,000 plus or so. Then said that those that were needed would be hired back. If some of them weren't needed, why were they hired in the first place? The Federal Government, and most States are struggling to balance their budgets. Well, maybe not the Feds. Harry Reid and friends seem to get upset and carry on almost as bad as Charlie Sheen when the Republicans want to cut something from the budget. All that aside, the struggle goes on, and one of the favorite targets is education. So, I am going to weigh in on my uneducated opinion on what could be done.
First in my blog, if not first on a list, would be to eliminate pre kindergarten. Kindergarten would be acceptable, but get rid of the pre. Then, let the families feed their children breakfast, instead of the tax payers. Oh! I know all the arguments. families are poor, parents are too busy, Etc., Etc. I agree there are those that fit that mold. But not to the extent that the schools take care of. Then charge a fair price for school lunch. I know the above arguments will come into play once again. But many parents pay a lot more than that to go to lunch, so pay it for the kiddo's also. Stop letting the tax payer feed the kids.
Then look to administration. Ok, so the salaries of the top brass is just a minuscule part of the budget. But how much is wasted there. How many of those people could be done without? How many of them could use a salary cut and still make more than the average bear? And how many States provide free lunches during the summer to any one up to the age of 18. Are they really necessary? How much could be saved there? Do you see where this is going? A lot of it is just that. Free Lunches. In today's times, too many people look to the government for a handout, a free lunch. And don't want to take care of themselves. I have many family members involved in the education business, in one degree or another. As far as I know, all of it is involved with the education of children. So, instead of firing teachers en masse, the tics need to look at where the waste is. And if, and I repeat if, they have too many teachers, then take care of that problem. But it seems to me that too many of the tics want to cut the classroom, and keep the bloated people and programs that really could be eliminated with no ill affect to the students. And there are so many "free lunch" type of programs that could be done away with, at a cost savings of millions, if not billions. Programs that have nothing to do with education. Programs in other fields of endeavor besides education. Programs that did not even exist not so many years back. And that is where the tics really need to look. But of course these programs are some tics pet project, so they won't be considered for cuts. That would be bad for re election. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.