Monday, March 25, 2013

Hair Plugs Need Security Too

How much do you spend when you stay at a swanky hotel? The White House released some numbers recently that give us a peek into how much money our politicians and assorted security, hangers on, groupies and personal drug dealers (they carry the aspirin...what did you think I meant?) spend when they travel overseas. This episode's example: VP Joe Biden.

Back in February Joe took a pair of taxpayer funded trips to Paris and London. He spent $585,000.50 (that's almost a million bucks for the rooms and .50 for tips) in Paris, at a super-swank joint called the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand. Apparently this hotel was the lowest bidder, as prior to the trip the White House asked other super-swank places to bid for the business. Who says they aren't fiscally responsible?

The money spend on the London trip totaled $489,388.65 (they had to tip more in London). He could only afford the Hyatt Regency at that price. Poor chap. Welcome to the world of the 99%. But with the London accounting, we have more information. Biden's entourage included 136 people! That's six secret service agents, 100 negotiators, translators (Joe can't understand the British), assorted diplomats, and 30 private guards for the nuclear football--if by "nuclear football" you mean "the lock box containing Biden's hair plugs." He has to swap them out every few hours, you know. Going bald sucks. Ask me how I know this.

That's a lot of dough for a diplomatic trip for which we do not know the reason. I'm sure they were doing something important because Biden doesn't do anything that's not important, especially when Barack is playing golf. We can't help but wonder, though, if the prices aren't too high. I appreciate the bidding process, but almost half a million bucks per hotel, super-swank or not? He only stayed in Paris for one night, by the way. Perhaps the money not only covered the stay but other assorted costs. Maybe Biden, good Irishman that he is, drank too much Jameson (good Catholic that he is), thought he was Roger Daltrey and trashed his hotel room. That means the price included replacing the big screen television he threw out the window while shouting "Whooooooooo are you!"

Hopefully there were no underage hookers from the Dominican Republic involved, but you never know....what? Oh, right, that was a made up story. Never mind.

ABOUT: Brian Drake is the author of The Rogue Gentleman and co-host of "Drake & The Deacon" on RadioSlot.Com.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No More Girl Scouts?

Did you notice that the Girl Scouts, during this year's cookie season, were a little more aggressive than in the past?

I made one of my weekly visits to the grocery store two weeks ago, and there they were, out front, hocking cookies. Usually I give them a polite smile and decline a box, but this year they made it tough. They were surrounding people, holding up boxes, trying to get in people's faces. Like the way your cat weaves around your ankles when it wants food while you're trying to carry a laundry basket to the garage. I managed to avoid them by sneaking behind a slow-moving old lady who was no match for the youngsters, but on the way out they got me. They got me, Jerry.

"Want to support our group?" said one of them, a blonde with very long hair. She cut me off to ask the question. I kept going forward and she moved backward and continued to give me the hard sell. "We have Samoas and Do-See-Dos and Thin Mints and--" and we reached the parking lot and the SUV hit her. (Not really.) Her mother yelled for her to come back, and she forgot about me and returned to the table, where I immediately heard her say so another person, "Want to support our group?"

A similar scene occurred at two other stores where I shop. It reached the point where I was so terrified of the little hooligans that I didn't dare do any shopping anywhere until after five when they'd be at home. And I kept the blinds closed and the deadbolt locked just in case they tracked me to my place prior to five o'clock.

Did they all take a Tony Robbins class? Or maybe they learned how to sell by watching a bunch of coked-up car salesman (not that I know anything about that). Don't those darn cookies sell themselves? In the Obama Economy, perhaps not.

Anyway today's shopping excursion was mercifully Girl Scout free. I will not have to face them again until next year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Plenty of Circuses?

Wasn't it Joseph Stalin who said that if you want to control a population, and not let them get too involved in what the government is doing (or not doing) they should have plenty of circuses to distract them?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City is certainly providing plenty of distractions. Fresh off the defeat of his soda ban, Bloomberg now wants to do away with ear buds, the kind you use on your iPod or other similar listening devices, because people listen to music too loudly and that makes them go deaf. And that's bad. He wants to spend $250,000 to study the problem further. Once again, a politician thinks he knows how you can live your life better than you can.

It is not the government's role to tell me how to live my life, either at home, in the bedroom, or anywhere else. But as this country enters into an era of taxpayer-funded government health care, we will see more and more of government regulating behavior, because the more people need medical care, the more resources are drained. The best way to keep resources from being drained is to limit non-emergency needs, such as hearing loss from loud music devices, or the effects of too much junk food and soda.

There was a time when there were other authorities in people's lives that regulated and corrected behavior (such as parents), but we don't see that much nowadays. But here is where we get distracted from a real problem. Soda bans and ear buds and their associated arguments for and against are circuses, and we best not spend too much time on them.

Recall a recent article, which barely received any coverage, reporting that 80% of New York City high school graduates are unable to read or perform basic math, for which they require retraining before they can move on to college. Education in the United States is in a painful state of disrepair. We keep throwing money at schools, and we continue to deify teachers, but the problem remains unsolved. Kids who can't read grow up to be adults who can't read and people who can't read don't learn, and as a consequence also don't think. When you have a population that does not think, you need a government who can think for them and take care of them. Enter people like Michael Bloomberg who believe that is their purpose in life.

This reminds me of when the Bible was only available in Latin, but the common people couldn't read Latin, so they required Church Leaders to tell them what the Bible said. Thus, the Church had control. Perhaps that is where the United States is heading, with Government replacing the church. When there is a central government controlling the population, you don't have freedom. Maybe that's what needs to happen in this country. Maybe when freedom is taken away, we'll respect it more and demand it back, and we'll have another 230 years of freedom before we fight this battle again. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.