Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I will never buy a "big 3" automobile again. I will buy a Kia, Honda, Toyota, or some other car made in America by Americans.
About a year ago, we adopted two "barn cats": Leza, an obese but effective mouser, and Night Time, a thin, shy, black cat. Leza is very friendly, and will occasionally leave her trophies in a conspicuous place to keep us appraised of her hunting prowess. Night Time, on the other hand, prefers privacy; the only evidence of her presence tends to be an empty food bowl. Our sons became the "owner" of one cat each.
Shortly after the adoption of these two cats, our neighbor began leaving the door to her screen porch propped open. Some time later, we would see Night Time going in and out of the door. Night Time would run and hide under the front porch whenever anyone - including our neighbor - would approach her.
Only recently were we able to approach and eventually pick up Night Time. My oldest son, Night Time's owner, was thrilled. He has a great affection for animals, and was so happy to finally be able to hold her. She began staying on our front porch in a "kitty kube" after the installation of a small pet door.
Our neighbor has since moved away, and the cat has disappeared. Night Time's food dish remains untouched even when filled with her favorite smelly canned cat food.
Our oldest son was terribly saddened over the disappearance of his cat. He confronted our neighbor at the end of her driveway. According to his account, she ignored him and said, "Bye." I confronted her (and her boyfriend, "Buzz Lightyear") today, as they were moving out the last of her things from her house. They pretended not to see me as I waved, but I persisted. Through the window of their truck, I recounted the above to her. She asked, could I "describe the cat?"
Me: "A medium size black cat with a small white mark on her neck and belly"
Buzz Lightyear: "We haven't seen a cat."
Neighbor: "Maybe we have been sharing the same cat."
BL: "We don't have a cat. Bye."
Me: "G. says he tried to ask you about it, and you ignored him."
BL: (Irritated) "No cat. Bye."
N: (Condescendingly) "Oh, that's not true."
Me: "I'm only repeating what he told me. He is sad his cat is gone."
BL: (Waves bye-bye)
N: "Well, I am sorry, but I have not seen a cat. I have had a black cat for about three years now. Okay. Yeah. Goodbye."
BL: "Bye." (Dumps clutch and nearly stalls truck trying to drive away)
Me: (To truck bumper) "Well, okay..."
I felt like adding, in my best Melvin voice: "I might have to come back later and blow this place up."
We have had previous problems with our neighbor, such as the location of the boundary between our lots, and the fence that is along the boundary. We have tried to mend the metaphysical fence between us, but could not get her to elaborate her complaint beyond a vague description of the "tension" she feels. She has, without our previous knowledge, brought our children into her house, to give them a "tour." They had been playing in our yard at the time. I called her when I noticed they were missing (for all of 5 minutes). She thought it was no big deal. She, childless herself, actually had the balls to tell me I should keep a closer eye on my children.
What kind of person steals a kid's cat, and then lies about it? Obviously, this nut job.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Dear Leader's answer is massive "investment" in mass transportation. More taxes, in other words. And more expensive gasoline and diesel.
Obama's transportation goals face several potential roadblocks.
The federal program that provides aid to states for highway construction and transit expenses expires on Sept. 30. The current program was funded at $286 billion over five years. Its cost is mainly underwritten by the federal 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax, but revenues have failed to keep up with obligations.
Last January, a blue-ribbon transportation commission recommended increasing the gas tax as much as 40 cents a gallon over five years. The additional money would help cover the federal share of an estimated $225 billion the commission says is needed each year to upgrade transportation systems.
Boosting the gas tax carries political risks. The last time it was raised, a backlash against Democrats in the 1994 elections helped Republicans capture control of the House and Senate. Obama has expressed concern about raising taxes in the current economic climate.
Even without an increase, Obama will have to deal with environmentalists who want to undo a bargain struck during the Reagan administration that funnels roughly 80 percent of gas tax revenue to highway projects and 15 percent to transit. They want to redirect money away from highways to alternatives such as transit and intercity passenger trains.
Leave it to a leftist to redirect the people's money away from its intended target. I would submit that the percentages above reflect the proportion of private to public transportation users. In other words, 15 per cent of people moving from point A to point B have their trip subsidized by the taxpayers.
Obama dreams of an inter-city high-speed rail system, the building of which would "create new jobs." The government cannot create new jobs, just new ways to burn up tax revenue.
In a similar vein, I would like to see at least one of the "Big 3" go bankrupt, and sell their manufacturing facilities to someone who, in addition to building big SUVs, will take passenger cars back to the glory days of the 50's and 60's. Not necessarily the style (think of the faggy looking new "Thunderbird") but the mind-set of large, heavy, and powerful. In addition, these cars would have an engine that could be maintained and repaired by the average owner with a little mechanical skill. But that would mean abandoning CAFE standards and all of the emissions equipment. Damn.
Curse you, catalytic converter!