The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘irony’

THE FLYING GALLARDOS

A few miles from my home in Las Vegas is a casino by the name of Arizona Charlie’s.  I presume that it is, or was at one time, owned by a person named Charlie who came from our neighboring state of Arizona.  This presumption is based on the fact that there are a lot of Chevron gas stations in southern Nevada that are owned by a chap who goes by the name of Terrible Herbst.  Mr. Herbst is a real person – and he has roots in  California – so the name of his business makes sense.

After my first visit to AC’s about fifteen years ago, I came away with two impressions of the place.  The first was that I thought they would make the place a more inviting venue for their patrons if they renamed it Arizona Carlitos, or at least had the name in parenthesis on their large billboard.  The second was that I was concerned in the short while I wandered around the casino to check it out that my car would be in the parking lot when I left to go home.  The casino is not in one of Las Vegas’ most upscale areas.

As I was not overly impressed with the place the first time around, it took about ten years before I decided to go back.  The reason for my return was that a number of people had told me that Arizona Charlie’s café had an excellent and inexpensive steak and egg breakfast.  And one day my desire for steak and eggs led me back there.  My friends were right and I was very pleased with the meal.

As I was leaving after breakfast, I noticed that one of the machines had hit a jackpot which required a hand payout by casino staff.  That occurs whenever a machine pays $1,200.00 or more on a single spin or play.  Naturally, being nosey, I was curious to see how large the lucky gambler’s hit was.  So I walked over to the flashing lights and ringing bells and took a seat at the bank of machines just behind the one which had been hit for $3,800.  There were two Hispanic people, a man and woman, sitting in front of the machine engaged in a vibrant Spanish conversation.

Within a minute or so, two of the casino’s staff came over and asked the couple for identification so they could complete the 1099 tax info required of all jackpots.  I was fairly certain this was the reason for their animated conversation since I had noticed that they were playing without having a casino card inserted into their machine.  A casino is legally required to obtain current photo identification such as a driver’s license, state issued ID or passport before giving the hopeful player a card which entitles him to cash back offers and entries into drawings based on the amount of his play.  The couple was unable to furnish such identification and the casino withheld payment of the amount due them until such time as someone presented the required documentation.  I leave it to your imagination to hypothesize why neither of this couple had a picture ID of some sort.

So what does this all have to do with the title of this post?  And what’s a Gallardo?

Well, I needed to find a way to link this to our fine state of Arizona.  And what better way than to introduce the man who was lovingly entitled “The Godfather” of the Mexican drug cartels, Miguel Gallardo.  Back in the ’80’s he established an association with the Columbian Medellin’s cartel kingpin, Pablo Escobar so that cocaine could be moved from the site of production through Mexico to the United States.  At the time of this agreement, Florida was the major port of entry for illegal drugs.  But that all changed.

Gallardo, now 71 years old, is serving a 40 year prison term in Mexico for ordering the murder of undercover DEA Agent Enrique Camarena in 1984.  Camarena had infiltrated the cartel and disclosed the location of an $8 Billion marijuana growing operation on one of Galalardo’s ranches.  The crop was destroyed and several days after the raid, Camarena was kidnapped and for 30 hours was tortured until finally a Phillips screwdriver was shoved into his head, killing him.

So now you understand the Gallardo portion of the title.  But how does Arizona fit into this whole thing?  Read on.

As you can readily understand, when a multi-billion dollar business loses its CEO, there is no lack of candidates who are ready to step up to the plate.  And as times change, so do businesses.  The old system of drug mules, while still extensively used by the cartels, is not their only method for exporting drugs to the United States.

One of my local readers mentioned to another who mentioned his comment to me – that my post about how building the Trump wall might decrease the amount of illegal drugs that would be imported as being sheer fantasy.  Perhaps he is right.  Or perhaps the Mexican cartels are concerned that it might actually work.  Hence, they have already come up with an alternate delivery method.

South of the Arizona border, the DEA has discovered that a catapult has been constructed – for hurling drugs across the border.  What a novel, if somewhat medieval idea.  And on learning about this, a thought occurred to me.  Why couldn’t we use the same method to deport those who are here illegally and have been convicted of felony drug law violations?

The libs should like this as delivery to your destination by catapult has none of the negative implications of putting a person on a plane run with fossil fuels.  Conservatives should like this because we’d save a fortune on our prison budget.  We could broadcast these deportations on Pay Per View, so the media should like this.  The manufacturers of athletic gear should like this as each deportee would be provided a helmet to mitigate the blow of landing.  The Vegas bookmakers should like this as they come up with proposition bets on whether the individual will survive his or her brief journey and if so how many body parts would be broken on impact.  And the country could pull together as we all learned the phrase, “Via Con Dios.”

It sounds like a win, win, win, win, win, win idea to me.  And with the number of candidates for exiting in this manner stage south, President Trump might be proven correct with his statement that, “We all might get tired of winning.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE BANK TELLER

A young woman was looking for an entry level position in the workforce when she saw there was an opening for a teller at her local bank.  The ad said that the bank was looking for a personable, customer service-oriented person with an aptitude for math.  She thought to herself, “That’s me.”  So she called the bank to set up an interview.

The day she was to meet with Human Resources she dressed in her most professional outfit and arrived at the bank thirty minutes early.  The HR receptionist told her that punctuality was very important and that she would be sure to let Mr. Henderson, the head of HR know that she was early for her appointment.

When she met with Ms. Steadman, the Assistant Director of HR, she smiled, gave great eye contact and was extremely polite.  Ms. Steadman decided that she had just the personality that they hoped their tellers exhibited towards the bank’s customers.  She decided that if this young woman passed the math accuracy test, she would definitely offer her the position.

Ms. Steadman reached in her drawer and pulled out a stack of one dollar bills which were wrapped and had $100 stamped on the band.  She gave this to the applicant and asked her to verify the number of bills in the stack and told her that she would time her to see how long this took her to accomplish.

The young lady smiled and said, “I’ll give it my best shot.”

Ms. Steadman pulled out a stop watch and told her to begin.

The applicant began quickly riffling through the pile, as though she had been counting money all her life.  But before she completed the task, she suddenly put down the stack and announced, “I’m done.”

Ms. Steadman looked and her and said, “But you didn’t count all the bills.”

The young woman responded, “Well, I got up to eighty and it was right so far – so I figured that it was right the rest of the way.”

The young woman did not get the teller’s position.

It’s a pity this young woman didn’t have a background in computer programming as she could easily have qualified to help code the www.healthcare.gov website.  After the stunning disaster that rolled out for the American public on October 1st, we were told that the problems with the website would be “fixed” by November 30th.  That has now been changed to “substantially fixed for the majority of all Americans (80%) by that date.  That’s a little like saying that former Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger, was a law abiding citizen since he didn’t spend at least 80% of his time robbing banks.

Yesterday’s Congressional hearing with the developers of the website brought several more stunning revelations.  The first was that the security threshold is extremely low – subjecting anyone who is courageous enough to use it to having her or his identity and financial information compromised.  The second is that even if a person finds a plan that is appropriate and can afford to purchase it, the “back office” end of the program which will allow for payment has yet to be built.  So none of those 106,000 “customers” who enrolled in the first month can actually pay for their insurance.

As you know, I’m less than a booster for this Ponzi scheme.  But as much as I dislike it, I’m beginning to feel a little embarrassed for the administration.  If you had a comedy writer on peyote writing this script, I doubt he could come up with a scenario of such incompetence as we are seeing reveal itself each day.

As I always try to take lemons and turn them into lemonade, I do see a few bright spots on the horizon.  First, I think that Life Lock, which alerts customers to fraudulent financial activity in their accounts will be doing a land office business.  Second, should a hacker get past them, Experian, which has been advertising extensively to consumers to check their credit reports, should also see a surge in new enrollees.

Now if we could only pass a bill that would allow government subsidies for the annual enrollment fees for these two services, life in America would be Utopia.

MODERN MEDICINE

Perhaps too many of us have fallen prey to the syndrome of not being able to see the forest for the trees when it comes to Obamacare.  I believe that I am guilty of that.

Sure, Republicans are hoping that this grand scheme falls on its face because they envision billion dollar increases in taxpayers’ expense to fund subsidies and millions of new patients enrolling in Medicaid costing even more billions; if successful in meeting its enrollment goals, they expect that there will be rationing of services; they wonder who will treat  the American public as more and more medical practitioners voluntarily choose not to accept the new order; and, most frightening, how will this be administered by a regime that cannot develop a website.

The Democrats on the other hand, are praying to any god who will listen that the website will be repaired and that zillions of the uninsured will enroll; that the President didn’t really say what millions heard on dozens of occasions – obviously the result of a mass delusion; that the cause of cancer will ultimately be proven to be the fault of George W. Bush; and that right thinking people don’t really have to get sick if only they sing Kumbaya loudly enough.

Well, if I say so myself, I have come up with a way to solve all these problems.  If Obama could get a Nobel Peace prize, I expect to be awarded with something at least ten times grander.  And the answer is RoboDoc.

Think about all the advantages of having an Artificial Intelligence robot taking care of your medical needs.  I am going to offer a list which I believe sets forth some of the primary benefits but is anything but all-inclusive.

First, RoboDoc will never misdiagnose your condition.  He/She/It will always have the most current medical knowledge automatically downloaded to His/Her/Its  processor.  No longer will a patient have to worry about getting the wrong prescription for a particular illness.

Second, RoboDoc will be available 24/7.  Those of us who remember house calls will certainly look back with fondness at having RoboDoc available whenever we need Him/Her/It.

Third, there will no longer be a need to get an appointment with RoboDoc just so that you can get a referral for another appointment with a specialist.  RoboDoc will be able to do it all, from Internal Medicine to Surgery to Psychiatry.

Fourth, with so many medical practitioners in this country whose origin and accents are foreign, we will no longer mistake the doctor’s telling us “You’re going to die,” with “Have a nice day.”

Fifth, since RoboDoc will always know the right thing to do and do it according to the most recent protocols, there will be no left over sponges or scalpels left in patients who require surgery, nor will anyone who is in to have a mole removed have his right hip replaced.

Sixth, since RoboDoc will always do His/Her/Its job absolutely perfectly, there will be no further need for medical malpractice insurance or plaintiffs’ lawyers – thus saving the taxpayers countless billions.

Seventh, once assembled, RoboDoc will be fully operational.  This will eliminate countless wasted years in medical school and interning in hospitals, not to mention those nasty expensive student loans that hang so cumbersomely around the necks of those who are studying to become doctors.

Eighth, the savings to the healthcare system from not needing to pay the RoboDocs will more than cover the cost of developing this AI miracle of modern medicine.  The only cost associated after the initial outlay will be finding an appropriate green energy power source to recharge His/Her/Its batteries.

Well, as I said, I could go on and on extolling the virtues of RoboDoc.  No doubt you have some excellent ideas of your own.  There are only a few minor drawbacks which come to mind.

The corps of RoboDocs will have thousands of patient records in memory and might be the target for cyber-terrorists who seek to profit from this information.  So we build in a self-destruct protocol should any unauthorized person attempt to access it.  While this will destroy the RoboDoc unit, it will also take out one of the terrorists, thus saving us time and money by avoiding a lengthy trial.  And this would make patient information more secure than on a poorly designed government website.

But the one that gives me goose bumps is the thought of those cold digits, poking and probing during the course of a proctology exam.  That sends shivers up and down my spine.

HOW TO MAKE COLLEGE AFFORDABLE

It’s seldom that I find myself offering the Prez advice which I feel he might actually accept – but here it is.  As background, remember that Mr. Obama just completed a two day bus tour in New York and Pennsylvania to discuss the issue of the cost of college education.

Naturally, in keeping with his underpinning philosophy that there is no program in existence which government cannot handle best, he suggested that what we need to do is predicate academic achievement on the basis of lowest cost.  To this end he suggested that we should index colleges and universities by the tuition fees that they charge their students and reward the students at those schools with the lowest tuitions by offering them the greatest amount of financial aid.

The theory, of course, is that this will force down the cost of college and make it available to more students.  I presume that the administration assumes that in order to attract students, colleges will cut unnecessary waste, trim the fat from their budgets and operate on a more cost-efficient basis.  Perhaps they may look to the example set by the federal government for guidance in this worthwhile effort.  Or perhaps the Obama administration is planning on opening a new branch within the Department of Education – the O of BS – Office of Bloated Spending to help implement the program.

The background behind this is that college students have now accrued educational debt which is in excess of $1 Trillion.  No rational person would willingly enter into a loan agreement unless he believed that he was getting something of greater value than the encumbrance.  In the case of college loans, it seems reasonable that the college student believes that he is going to get a better job than he would without the sheepskin and therefore earn more during his working career which would enable him to pay back his student loans.

The stark reality is that we have a jobless “recovery” and more than half of those who are graduating from college cannot find jobs at much higher levels than minimum wage.  A significant percentage of college graduates have found themselves having to move back in with their parents in order to survive.

But even by eliminating the expenses of maintaining an individual residence, buying their own food and paying their own expenses, many of them simply do not have the money to pay off their student loans.  Thus the default rate on these loans is now in excess of 50%.

The story might be different if we had a robust economy where employers were hiring.  But if we look back to the first Obama term, rather than address the recession in an effective way, the administration and the Democrat controlled Congress spent their first two years producing their signature piece of legislation, Obamacare.  Incidentally, the uncertainty which this legislation has caused among businesses is one of the reasons that they are not hiring and will not until they understand the costs and ramifications that are associated with this law.

What we do know about the law is that most of the promises that were made by Obama have proven to be – well, let me be charitable – mistaken.  It is apparent that we may not be able to keep our current insurance; we may not be able to keep our doctor; and our premiums will, for most people, probably rise, not fall.  What the full impact of this law will be, should it be implemented, is anyone’s guess.

But to return to our college students.  We now know that their expectation of getting a better job because of four years of higher education is not being fulfilled.  And they have encumbered themselves with a massive debt that under the present economic realities they cannot pay back.  So, I would like to offer a solution to this thorny problem.

Rather than actually educate college students, our institutions of higher learning should merely offer a diploma without the students’ having to go through all the effort of actually attending class and meeting the school’s current academic standards.  (This is simply an extension of our current primary and secondary schools’ philosophy that every kid should be recognized for merely showing up – if that is even still a requirement).

Of course, we should expect that since students would not be using a school’s facilities causing depreciation to the property, would not be taking up the time of professors, who would now be supernumeraries and whose ranks we could reduce as a consequence, there should be a consequent reduction in the cost of tuition to, let’s say one-tenth the current rates.

Let’s go further and offer them a special rate for a four year degree and allow them a 25% discount if they pay in full up front (through student loans or otherwise).  As there would be no need to attend class, they would have an additional four years of earnings in the fast food industry and might actually achieve a management position at their local Burger King instead of spending their time getting a BS in Business Management.

With only one tenth of the financial burden in student loans, they might actually be able to send in a few payments, thus reducing the burden on taxpayers caused by defaults on these loans.

Lest anyone be concerned that our college athletic programs might suffer as a result of this innovation, I want to set those worries to rest.  We would still recruit for our basketball and football teams from our inner cities.  Since the vast majority of these student/athletes are minorities of one flavor or another, no one could accuse our institutions of higher learning of being discriminatory.  And based on the amount of education that most of these athletes absorb during four years behind those ivy walls, whether or not we had professors on campus, would be just as irrelevant as at present.

Naturally, this is only a brief overview of what I believe could be a major overhaul of our higher educational system.  I really don’t have the time right now to go into detail of my plan to offer mail order bachelors’ degrees in Tattooing or Body Piercing, as I want to send this to the White House as quickly as possible.

I’ll let you know what I hear back from the Prez and his staff.  But should you happen to read that the administration is moving in this direction – just remember who gave them the idea.

GOING TO THE MOVIES

As a child there was nothing that delighted me more than going to the movies with one or both of my parents.  In those days, a good movie would play for months at a time and the experience was truly something very special. 

No notices appeared on the screen advising us to turn off our cell phones (they didn’t exist).  And most of us were polite enough to be silent during the showing of the film.  Those who weren’t were actively “Sshhhushed” by those near them.

At the end of the film the audience would actively applaud the work of art that they had just viewed, rather than file out silently as though they were part of a zombie collective.

Well, that was then and this is now.

In those days films were not rated.  Somehow, our legislators had sufficient faith in the parents of this country to allow them to determine whether a film was appropriate  either for them or their children.  Alas, that was then – this is now.

Although I truly enjoy movies I seldom go to see them.  In fact, I am about to break my record of seeing one movie a year.  Here it is, the 8th of December and I have yet to see a film this year at the theater.

Last year I saw “The King’s Speech”, the year before “Avatar” and the year before that “The Changeling”.  Four years and three movies.  Not a very impressive record.  But the movies I do choose to see are exceptional.  At the least, they have a message to convey.

Rather than take personal responsibility for my lack of movie-going experience I choose, in the best tradition of today’s America, to fault someone else.  In this case it’s Hollywood and Washington.

You see, I find their ratings so confusing.  Movies that they rate “G” would have been strictly off the list of films that I would have been allowed to view as a child.  “G”, “PG”, “R”, “X”.  (Perhaps I missed one or more).  These ratings mean nothing to me – and I suspect I am not alone in this.  It’s all so fuzzy.

I would like to suggest an alternative.  Both Hollywood and Washington should get behind this as it will produce greater profits for our movie makers.  That will result in more tax revenue that the Federal Government will have available to waste.

My suggestion is that we abandon our present movie rating system in favor of a new one – the BDI (Brain Dead Index).  The creation of this system would also help relieve the ranks of the unemployed (albeit by as insignificant an amount as President Obama’s and Congressional efforts in this regard).  But at least it would be a step in the right direction.

Here’s the plan.

We find one thousand citizens across the country and test their IQ’s.  Let’s say we decide on a range between 40-120 to represent a cross-section of the population.  In order to be politically correct and realizing that we are all equal – more or less – we would naturally want three times as many people whose IQ’s measure 40 than we would those whose were 120.  (Lest you think that there may be an absence of candidates in those lower regions I suggest that we have only to check the halls of Congress).

Now that we have our candidates (whom we would pay out of the public largesse), we expose each of them to every new Hollywood release.  Each BDI panelist would have his or her own key pad to record whether they liked the movie or not.

 The total of those voting “Like” are recorded and their  IQ’s entered into the system.  The  total IQ of the respondents is then divided by the number of participants and a BDI number is derived.  (This is very scientific).

A movie that receives a rating of 62 will probably not be enjoyable to a person whose IQ is 115 – but will surely be a treasure to a person whose IQ is 51.  Do you see how simple it is?

Although I believe that this system is a major improvement over the one with which we are currently encumbered, I will admit in advance that, even if adopted, it will be short lived in its duration.

With our current focus on income and wealth re-distribution, certainly proposals to re-distribute intelligence cannot lag far behind.

When those are fully implemented, we can all enjoy the movies that Hollywood produces.

In fact, we will be obligated to do so.

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