Some things I know

I just got done speaking with an American Express rep to pay my bill. I had to call them because I missed the bill pay window between 3:00-7:00am where their web site will actually work to pay my bill.

It got to think about stuff I “know” to be true, even though other dogs swear they aren’t having the same problems.

I KNOW the Amex web site will not work during business hours.

I KNOW the Chase drive-through will make me wait for hours after 2:00pm on Fridays.

I KNOW the shake machine at the Burger King in Englewood will be broken.

I KNOW Time Warner will not really send someone out between the hours of 8:00-12:00am and I should just set aside an entire day.

I KNOW the only flights that ever leave on time from the Dayton International Airport are the first one and the last one of the day.

I KNOW any rental car company will not have a sub compact car available when I arrive.

I KNOW I will not be able to get out of Meijers without waiting in line at the register, even though I will have found everything I needed.

I KNOW my cell phone bill will never be what I was told when I signed up for the plan.

I KNOW the latest gadget I bought will not be compatible with anything else I own.

I KNOW that “no assembly required” really does require assembly.

I KNOW the directions someone just gave me that includes the phrase “you can’t miss it” will not actually get me where I’m going.

I KNOW portable electronic devices will have a 50lb power brick attached to the cord.

What else do YOU know that customer service reps tell you never happens to other people?

Contributed:
@Eva_Abreu via Twitter: I know that I’ll press 3, then 6, then 2, then hold for 13 min. only to get disconnected!

What would you do if you had $1 million dollars?

Dear President-elect Barack Obama;

I am a small business owner. I do quite well for myself as I am in a knowledge-based business servicing the youth sporting market and the retail services industries. I also dabble a bit in coffee and Web 2.0 consulting.

I was running some numbers this afternoon on the bail-out plans that have been proposed to date. As I look back on my college days some 20 plus years ago and my classes in English Literature — specifically with regard to American literature of the mid to late 1800s (Hawthorne, Dreiser, Meliville, etc) — I was struck with what is to me a strangely obvious fact. Modern capitalism has run its course and the current financial crisis is the front wave of a new economy.

At its basics, capitalism is providing money to build infrastructure for making goods and to a certain degree, providing services with the promise of a return on its sale or sale of the goods produced. Having been in a service industry all my life, I am not unaccustomed to “cramming” a product economic model (“making widgets”) into a service model. It really doesn’t work but we lied to ourselves just the same.

This country no longer makes things. We provide services; we assemble components. The old capitalist model where we invest in machinery, buildings, factories, etc for making goods is dead. It has been dying for a very long time. As such, funding the economy from the top down is not a viable option. There will be no trickle-down benefit as the economy will only swell and move if the bottom tiers start spending and buying goods and services. Yet, they can’t because they have no ready cash.

Capitalists talk in billions of dollars. Ordinary citizens talk about hundreds each week. Investment banks talk millions in transaction per day. Small business talks about hundred of thousands in revenue. When you pour $700 billion into Wall Street, it is like dumping a gallon of water into the Pacific Ocean. When you pour $1 million into a small business, it is like filling a bathtub with a fire hose.

Here is my proposal:
– Establish a fund of $400 Billion dollars.
– Give $1 Million dollar grants to 400,000 business that are ready, able and willing to provide services to a service-based economy.
– Each business can then afford to hire 6 people at a salary of $40,000. With health care, taxes, equipment, etc. that should equal about $60,000 investment for each employee.
– That leaves about $640,000 left for materials, computers, advertising, marketing, etc.
– Encourage a strong multi-generation team, such as Gen Y, Xers, Boomers and beyond. Working together, we make a difference we all want to experience.

That puts about 2.4 Million people to work, building knowledge centers for teachers, creating software to better manage health care systems, providing new event marketing systems for brands, creating better time balance management systems for new parents, perhaps even finding a cure for some diseases. The infrastructure of services you will jump-start will sustain itself well past the year the US Government will fund.

Your campaign proved the model. Small amounts of money spread across millions of people who are motivated to creating a better world than was left them works. We are ready, willing and able to make the change.

Lead us and help us say, “Yes, we can” one small voice at a time until it becomes a thunderous, mighty roar.

Warm regards,

G.

PS I look forward to seeing the new puppy Malia and Sasha pick out!

No party for old men

It is sad what the Democrats are doing to Joe Lieberman. The only “sin” Sen. Lieberman committed was having opinions that did not quite align themselves with the new leadership. 

I looked up the Senator Oath of Office. It reads:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

There is no mention of party loyalty, no mention of suspending personal beliefs and opinions when taking the oath, no mention of “with us or against us.”  To paraphrase from several Obama speeches, there is no Democratic Senate or Republican Senate, there is the Senate of the United States of America.

I want my senators to think for themselves. I want my senators to take risks. I want my senators to have the freedom to have liberal opinions on social reform, but conservative views on national defense. I want a healthy, authentic discussion of ideas in the US Senate. That was the mandate we gave Barack Obama, not a mandate to further divide the country with the “victor” handing out spoils of war. 

Joe Lieberman knew the risks he was taking, but I think at some level — perhaps naively, perhaps with more hope than was pragmatic — that this election cycle held two candidates, each had the ability, political capital and personal stones to rise above partisan government and lead a country. That he chose to back John McCain who eventually did not prevail is incidental to the academic argument.

President-elect Obama needs to show strong leadership with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He need to put a face of cooperation, but firm leadership, on the “New Democratic Party.” All three are at a crossroads at this very moment, with Joe Lieberman being the turtle in the road.

If you have not yet read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, read it now. Focus on the turtle. The question remains; will the Democratic Party be the truck driver that swerves to try to hit the turtle for sport or Tom Joad who shelters the turtle in his jacket. (Spoiler: the turtle prevails, despite setbacks…)

These are the tests that determine the character of a man. I hope Obama passes.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

We didn’t start the fire either

A couple weeks ago, Ryan Healy wrote a blog post about how Baby Boomers screwed up the world and how GenY is going to “fix” it. After turning it over in my 40+ brain a bit (Boomers like to think things through before yapping off; part of our charm) here are some observations about the article and the point of view GenY has of us.

The world we inherited was screwed up too
The country was scared of the Godless communists who were going to ravage the countryside, stealing our resources, forcing Americans to bend to the will of Stalin and Khrushchev. If you grew up Catholic, the world was even worse because you had the US Government scaring you as well as the Vatican. We had fall-out shelter drills, we were shown films of nuclear holocaust and crazy Khrushchev beating his shoe on the desk at the UN. It was scary.

And, it was REAL because a greater percentage of our parents fought in WWII and Korea. They saw evil up close and were determined not to let us see that much evil that close up. But, many of the Boomers did see evil in Vietnam that was more savage than WWI and revolted in the only way they knew how; protest and civil disobedience.

Most GenYers don’t have parents who did active duty in any war. Most GenYers did not know rationing or very high unemployment or home mortgages that were 20% or higher. While you may know high debt, the debt as a ratio of income and assets is about the same as the Boomers cause we didn’t have as much “stuff” (iPods, laptops, DVD collections…..)

Technology did not exist
I find it ironic that GenYers are complaining about the mess that Boomers left for them to clean up using WiFi networks, laptop computers and open source software that was carved out of nothing by a Boomer generation. Interesting.

To find out how Boomers used to learn, rent The Paper Chase. It’s ok. You can Google it and then rent it on NetFlix.com. We Boomers won’t care that much that you don’t have it on VHS.

I don’t want this post to spiral into a “we used to walk three miles uphill in the snow” article, but for GenY to say they are inheriting a mess they need to clean up to to admit to not having a sense of history and perspective. Most things that GenY complains about are consequences of the human condition, not a product of what Boomers did to them.

Boomers were crapped on just as badly back in the day. Just different crap.

My God can beat up your God

More wars have been waged in the name of God than any other reason. Oil and gold are a very distant second. For religious fanatics on both sides, there is no greater cause than God.

Do the Republicans EVER read history? We did this before during the Crusades. How did that all fare? This is very, very scary.

Pay attention to the news cycle and do something with it

Clever focus on Arizona, with McCain running for president
Clever focus on Arizona, with McCain running for president
Yesterday, I received the monthly issue of Association News, read the front cover and was immediately in awe of the level to which this organization is paying attention to the world around them.

One could say that the choice of featuring Arizona was merely coincidental or that the state was next on the calendar to be featured. OR, one could give these really clever, in-tune and aware folks credit for recognizing that if they were to include Arizona — the state John McCain is from — on the front cover, right about now in the election and news cycle and talk about it that they would get some lift in the blogs, Google News and just an overall heightened interest in Arizona by the otherwise complacent national media.

Just plain clever. I just hope they increased their circulation just a bit with the GOP events and their CPM to advertisers.

Good politics, good timing, bad ethics

Source: www.state.gov
Source: www.state.gov
I don’t believe in conspiracy theory, but I do believe in well-timed political maneuvering. The pull-out agreement that Rice and Zebari announced on Friday smacks of this kind of political positioning, devoid of any ethical or moral responsibility to the country, troops, citizens and self. The timing of the announcement a few days before the DNC in Denver takes the wind out of the Obama sails, deflating any opportunity that could be made for ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home soon.

One could make the argument that these things take time to negotiate, that the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own without the United States, that the Iraqi government has developed and the timing of the announcement was merely coincidental. One would not want to assert that the President of the United States is playing political games with the lives of the armed forces, their families and the citizens of another sovereign nation.

But, the attitudes of the administration, the timing of the events that are about to unfold in the coming months with the election and the earnestness Mr. Bush has with establishing a legacy tends to belie the honesty and coincidental nature of the event.

Some would say that 2011 is just no do-able, it is too soon and the task too complicated. But, for those who attempt to make an argument that Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain wish to stay in Iraq for the “next 100 years,” they will now be pooh-poohed as alarmists, making a case for a war that has now effectively ended.

The political skill is admirable. The ethics are reprehensible.

Memorial Day

As I was lifting my leg to bless the Englewood Independent lying on my doorstep this morning, the front page article caught my eye. So, I bent down to read it before soaking it. The main headline read “Memorial Day: Remembering those who preserve freedom.”

It was a good article about Air Force Capt. Bob Everdeen from Clayton who served in Afghanistan. However, the headline just kept sticking in my head. I am not anti-military, though you may view the following as such. But, if you leave a comment about me being anti-military, you just have not read this post nor have you thought about anything in it. Fair warning.

The military does NOT preserve freedoms. It protects the citizens from military threats, both foreign and domestic which are casually ASSUMED and “marketed” by our leaders (and reflected by journalists, shame on you) to be launched to take away our “freedoms.” In reality, our freedoms are being taken by our own government, who seek to control the citizenry through fear, intimidation, abuse of power and any other tool it can contrive to keep power. For example, Osama bin Laden did not want to take away our freedoms by striking the towers and the Pentagon; he just wanted to strike America where she hurts the most, in the wallet. He doesn’t care about our “freedoms,” but he does care about killing Americans, crippling our economy and forcing America out of the Middle East. Big difference. Yet, the actions were marketed by the current administration as an attack to “take away our freedoms.”

Read the Patriot Act, take a look at the laws that allow wire-tapping, racketeering, eminent domain, declaring a US citizen an unlawful combatant and see how they are being perverted and applied to US citizens. All of these things should scare the average citizen, not just us dogs. It is all of these things that the military is “preserving” for its citizens? Hmmm….

Freedom is preserved by Americans by NOT allowing our government to overstep any authority it derives from its CITIZENS. This starts at the local level in school boards, at city government council meetings, county tax offices, etc. Leash laws, for example. Why? To take away my freedom to sniff on a tree, to pee on a bush — purchased with tax dollars, planted by a city worker on city property, to dally over a smelly bird carcass, to be in the city park behind the Englewood government center palace stretched out in a full run with the wind in my ears?

Freedom is also preserved by skilled diplomats who talk with other government leaders. More good comes from mutual respect and patience than by any military action any government can impose on another. It is just a matter of time — 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years — before the oppressed rises up and crushes the oppressor. But, mutual respect and patience builds a common goal that preserves freedoms for both parties for 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years.

Get involved, find a voice, preserve your own freedoms. Make this country a strong America that only the really stupid would ever think of invading. When every citizen has the passion to defend his/her freedoms from any enemy, foreign and domestic, perhaps we will feel less like relying on a military force to “preserve our freedoms” and take on the role for ourselves. And, perhaps our government leaders will think twice before “defending” our freedoms through laws that serve to limit the activities of its citizens for their own protection.

Dogs, cats and rabbits I know are not me

I will never be president. Not just because I’m a dog, or even because I’m a black dog, but because of the animals I have once known and do now know. 

When I was growing up, I used to hang with some dogs who had anti-small dog opinions; very, very strong anti-small dog opinions. We grew apart eventually as their families moved. I never shared their opinions, but they were nice company on warm summer evening walks.

Then, a rabbit moved into our home… and died unexpectedly. So did a hamster, turtle and Guinea pig. There were investigation and people looked at me in a strange way, but nothing was ever proven. Still, people whisper. I had nothing to do with them dying, but there will always be talk.

And lately, I am living with a cat who lies on her back with her paws in the air. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but others find it offensive. And, Lady eats poops from the litter box. 

And, of course, there are the eight or so cats I consort with at my office.

But, I am still me. And I like each of my friends for different reasons, though we each see the world a little bit differently. But, it appears, though, that I could never run for president because of who I know, not because of who I am.

Party? What party?

I was settling in and almost asleep when some idiot on CNN was railing on and on about how this Clinton/Obama race is tearing the party apart, that it is bad for the Democrats, that they need to heal together to win the election in November. And, then as I hit that level of rage between annoyance at being kept awake and the dread of some human idiot won’t ever shut up, I got an epiphany!

Here is what CNN, MSNBC, Fox and all the other media is missing that the American people know:

The job of President of the United States of America is held by one PERSON, not by a PARTY. Nobody cares about the Democratic Party any more. Americans want the best PERSON to win the election, even if the two people running against each other for the job are members of the same party!

If anything comes of this, I hope it is the death of the two-party system. Against any of the two Hillary or Barack, McCain looks like a really, really old guy who can’t remember his name. But, Barack vs Hillary, that is a clash of Titans! THAT is a race to watch and people just don’t really want this one to end.

I sure hope the loser of the Democratic primary runs as an independent. Either way, Hillary or Barack would win this thing, whether as an independent or a Democrat. Choke on that, Howard Dean!

Ok, Colbert is on now… that’s a much quieter (boring) show and I’m curling up and taking a snooze.

Now you can listen to the podcast in Rufus’ own voice.. really!!

A roller-coaster Friday

Just a glimpse into how my day went on Friday. Gerard had a meeting out with the Warrior Classic and hotels from 9:00am to almost 3:00pm This is me, feeling very depressed right before he left.

But, he came home, we walked, went to my office and then went to Dairy Queen for a large ice cream cone. I did not share mine 🙂

Clinging to my walks

I recently had the opportunity to take a ride through Red State America along Hwy 35 through southern Ohio, West Virginia and onto Interstate 64. The ride was a bit odd as I emerged from Dayton, the rich, white, mall-laden Beavercreek into the hills, holler and trailer-park homes that lined 35 for miles upon miles.

I listened to Obama’s speech again and again (we dogs have pretty good hearing) with his “bitter” and “cling” comments. In context, they make sense. Out of context, he sounds like an elitist.

The same parts of America that will never vote for a [insert racial term here or use the term “black man”], that believe the unions are in their corner, that believe that when bad things happen, singing “God Bless America” will make things ok and when things go well, sing the praises of God and thank him are who need the message of hope the most. But they will reject it for things they “know” to be real. Guns, God and Government.

Before you can change, before you can grow, before you can hope, you MUST start from a truth. The truth is that when the economy goes badly because our market shifts to making things in China instead of America, small towns who depend on a single source of manufacture are devastated. Lifestyles that were thought to be solid are disrupted. And people need to find a cause. Governments can’t be the cause, certainly you can’t blame God; that according to faith, would be despair, a deadly sin. Small town America struggles for understanding and “clings” to what it knows to be true. God is everlasting, omniscient and ever-present. Guns will protect you from someone else’s desperation. And government will bail you out with food stamps and medical care for your kids.

That is the truth that this country NEEDS to accept for us to move forward. Instead, Clinton, FOX and other “thought leaders” pounce on these comments as elitist. They should be looking inward and asking themselves if perhaps Obama hasn’t driven along Hwy 35 in southern Ohio and West Virginia and looked out the windows more often than they have.

You can’t pay your mortgage with HOPE, you can’t feed your children with HOPE. You can’t pray to HOPE. But HOPE is what will fuel a movement for change because hope — combined with the kind of desperation that is felt when things are as bad as they get — will cause people to change, to stand up, clinging to their guns and God and use that power for change. There is a reason God is in the First Amendment and Guns are in the Second.

But, what do I know. I’m only a dog who only want to cling to walks three times a day, sniffing butts and checking out the cute puppy chicks on the corner.

NEWS RELEASE: Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Rufus
c/o
Gerard McLean
DogWalkBlog
rufus@dogwalkblog.com

Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

ENGLEWOOD, Oh. – In a brave move today, Rufus announced his intention to be the first puppy dog reporting from Iraq. Inspired by a call from Tribune Publishing owner Sam Zell, who said in a video posted on YouTube, “..hopefully our revenues are so significant that we [Tribune newspapers] can do (stories) on puppies in Iraq.”

Rufus, 8, the author of the popular blog www.dogwalkblog.com wants to be that puppy dog reporter in Iraq for Sam Zell.

“Puppies DO matter,” barked Rufus emphatically at a recent press conference. “Even if you oppose the war in Iraq, you can still support puppy dogs in Iraq.”

The traditional journalism community immediately dismissed Rufus’s intention of visiting Iraq as silly, citing that stories of puppy dogs in Iraq were not newsworthy. Most Americans disagree.

“We’ve had enough gloom and doom reporting with the war and I think it is about time that we had an upbeat puppy dog story,” said Gerard McLean, Rufus’ handler and blog editor. “Dogs are very observant, have sharper hearing and sense of smell than most journalists and rarely miss signs of danger,” adds McLean.

“Puppies in Iraq are long overdue to bring in a sense of balance and perspective.”

Rufus is apolitical and sees a visit to Iraq as an opportunity to remind Americans and his friends elsewhere in the world, that there are things more valuable in this world than politics, the economy, war and terrorism. A good scratch on the ear, a brisk walk on a Sunday morning and an unabashed sniff of a neighbor’s buttocks are all things that dogs – and humans – can rally around.

“Our world may be changing rapidly,” barks Rufus, “But the loyalty and friendship of a dog is everlasting. That is something that is newsworthy.”

Rufus intends to publish the quest to Iraq daily on his blog, www.dogwalkblog.com and on www.puppyjournalism.com. The video of Sam Zell, which sparked this quest, is also posted on Rufus’s blog.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDy7vn7-LX4

Idiots at the helm

I was pulling away from Rufus’ favorite morning mooch spot (Tim’s) when NPR was reporting a story about the SEC suspending trading on 35 companies that had their stock touted in a bunch of spam. That part did not bother me.

What bothered me was the SEC spokesman gets quoted as saying that they are “determining whether any of the buyers had been harmed..” or something like that.

Harmed? Buying stock off a spam-tip? OF COURSE they were harmed. But those wounds were self-inflicted! Buying stock from a spam tip is like driving a bulldozer without training and then blaming the manufacturer for your lack of skill!!

If you buy ANYTHING from a spam tip, be it stock, mortgages, software, enhancement products and you get “harmed” it really is your own damn fault for being such a dumb-ass.

Now, the more I think about this mis-use of my tax dollars protecting the stupid from themselves, the more steamed I get. Embrace Darwin and let the stupid die out and enrich the gene pool for the rest of us. Let’s start calling things what they are and quit protecting people who don’t and can’t learn basic skills before doing something. Perhaps if they get burned too many times, they will pick up a book and learn how to trade before trying to.