Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Hawg's plan to stimulate the economy

It seems that everyone and their dog has been wanting a big pile of free money from the government these days.

Companies in the financial sector have been getting a bailout lately and the auto industry is begging for money, too.

Here's the thing -- most of those companies claiming they need a bailout are doing so because they did something stupid that got them into trouble.

What about those of us who have avoided being idiotic with our money and are in pretty good shape? Shouldn't we be rewarded for our responsible behavior?

I sure think so. Therefore, I plan on asking the government for $10 million. Hey, everyone else wants free money from the feds, so where's my cut? I can get by just fine on my own, but perhaps I need some of that bailout money, too. I could greatly improve my standard of living for $10 million, so why not?

Besides, I could stimulate the economy like nobody's business. When I go to Washington and start begging for money, I'll tell them exactly how that $10 million will be spend and how any bailout money I receive can help the economy:

1. I'll help out the airlines. I'll start helping the U.S. economy even before I get any free government money. Yes, I'll buy a round-trip ticket from an airline, thereby sending some cash to an American business. There will be no private jets for me. And, hell, it just looks bad to take a private jet when you're heading off to Washington to beg for cash, right?

2. I'll help provide jobs to unemployed Americans. Should I get $10 million, neither my wife nor I will have to go to work anymore. So we'll promptly quit our jobs, thus freeing them up for people who are unemployed and want to go to work. What's wrong with that?

3. I'll help the U.S. auto industry. My wife wants one of those new Ford Mustangs. Should the government makes us stinking rich, she can buy one. Furthermore, I'll purchase a Pontiac Solstice (because I've always wanted a roadster) and a Dodge Caravan (so we'll have a vehicle to haul our kids around in).

So, there are three purchases we'll make, and you'll notice that we'll spread the wealth around to all three major U.S. auto manufacturers.

Ah, but it gets even better -- we'll help out specialty car salesmen and the parts business, too. How? I'll purchase that 1969 Oldsmobile 442 I've always wanted. I have no practical skills so finding and Olds somewhere and restoring it myself is out of the question. I'd have to find it from one of those individuals or car lots that specialize in old muscle cars. So, there's some money for them. Also, 40-year-old cars generally need a lot of parts -- that's particularly true when we're talking about a car that I would drive like a bat out of hell. So, there's some money for the parts industry, too.

Oh, and let's not forget that the 455 V8 that comes in the 442 burns gas like crazy. The convenience store owner down the street would love me because I'd always be stopping by there to buy some more fuel for that gas-guzzler. So, I'd help her business out, too.

4. I'd help out the financial industry. I've got a mortgage on my house, so I'd pay that off immediately. Furthermore, I'd have to keep my money in some bank somewhere, so the lucky bank (or group of them) would benefit from my largess. Also, I'd probably want to invest that money somewhere, so I'd help out a financial advisor, too.

5. I'd help out the construction industry. I could finally afford that "man room" I've always wanted, so I'd have that build onto the house. It would be a pretty big room, of course, and would be packed with essentials such as pool tables, a refrigerator for my beer (American beer, of course) and etc. The retail industry would benefit as I went spend happy, of course, and I'd also try to buy as many American-made products as I could for my man room (we don't make much in this country anymore, but I'd got out of my way to pick up those items that are manufactured here).

6. The recreation industry in central Arkansas would love The Hawg. After I've selflessly given up my job so that someone else could have it, I'd be stuck with a lot of free time on my hands. So, I'd throw the clubs in the Olds and head out to play golf. A lot of golf. Tennis, too.

Oh, and I'd be able to better support my hobby of banging on guitars until my wife tells me to stop it. Dillion Guitars would make a killing off of me. That's a fantastic, American company. A lot of their guitars are made in the U.S., they make a great copy of the rosewood Telecaster (the "Rosie") that George Harrison played on the Beatles' Let it Be album (very cool). Also, I know from experience that the owner of the company will e-mail you back when you send in questions. There's something to be said for solid customer service, right?

They've got some great stuff over at Dillion and I'd probably be tempted to buy one of everything. I could afford it, so why not? I'd need to pick up a new amplifier or two and you'd better believe I'd be buying American. That Fender Twin Reverb I've always wanted would have a prominent place in my new man room

So, there's my plan. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Norris and The Nuge for president?

When I'm driving to my office in Little Rock from my home in Benton, I generally listen to our local news radio station, KARN 102.9 FM/AM 920.

That's about a 30-minute commute, so I've got plenty of time to listen to the news of the day. While I was listening yesterday, I heard a live phone interview with Chuck Norris in which he talked about all things political and mentioned his new book, Black Belt Patriotism.

Yes, Norris went and wrote a book in which he discusses the problems facing the country and offered up some solutions for them. Have I read the book yet? No, but rest assured that I will (and I'll write all about it when I do). I did check out the description on, and here's what I found:

"Martial arts master, actor, and political activist--there is no job Chuck Norris can't do. Now the original tough guy is at it again, stepping back into the role of bestselling author with his new book, Black Belt Patriotism. In Black Belt Patriotism Norris gives a no-holds-barred assessment of American culture, tackling everything from family values to national security. More than a cultural critique of what's wrong with our nation, Black Belt Patriotism provides real solutions for solving our problems, moving our country forward, and changing our nation's course for the better. Chuck Norris--the hero, icon, and legend--is back, packing a political and cultural punch, as only he can deliver."

Who could resist that, right? I looked around and noticed that none other than that wild Ted Nugent had also written a right-leaning political book called Ted White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto:

"Straight from the Motor-City Madman comes the wildest, most politically incorrect book yet. In The Nugent Manifesto, rocker/hunter extraordinaire Ted Nugent is taking aim and setting his sights on our country. In his trademark unapologetic style, Nugent will praise God, guns, and red-blooded, full-throated Americanism against pantywaist politicians, nanny-state judges, and tofu-eating Obamamaniacs, calling on readers to 'Roll up your damn sleeves, sharpen your crowbars, and think hardcore.' The Nugent Manifesto follows up his New York Times bestseller God, Guns, and Rock 'N' Roll and his wildly successful cookbook, Kill It & Grill It. Look out America, 'The Nuge' is back--and with a whole new arsenal of 'Tedisms' ready for launch!"

"Full-throated Americanism?" Yeah, I'll probably pick that one up, too. Expect a review. One of these days.

Why would I want to pick those books up? Because I'm willing to bet they're both a hoot, that's why. Yes, there are some that might argue that both of those books are "anti intellectual" and should be avoided. However, the people who would make those arguments are probably among the people who made that moron Michael Moore rich and don't flinch when that dunderheaded Al Gore files all over the planet preaching his gospel that suggests that the world is being ruined by people who do things like hopping in jets and flying all over the planet (let's see you row boats and hop on bicycles if you want us to take you seriously, Al). So screw 'em.

At any rate, both of those books got me thinking. They were both written and published prior to the election so I'll assume that both Norris and Nugent could tell there were a lot of disgruntled conservatives out there because we really didn't have a candidate this year -- Barack Obama is, well, Barack Obama and John McCain simply isn't a small government, fiscal conservative (pushing for that $700 billion bailout for the financial industry is proof of that).

I've noticed, too, that Norris did endorse Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and an alleged Republican. I won't hold that against old Chuck as he's been pretty solid the rest of the time.

Norris has also spent a lot of time advocating for the formation of a populist third party. I love the idea of a third party as I'm convinced neither Republicans or Democrats are worth a damn at representing the bulk of the electorate.

That got me to thinking. How about the Chuck Norris/Ted Nugent dream ticket in 2012? They couldn't make things any worse than they already are or how they will be when Obama and his miscreants are done. Besides, Norris' wacky calls to return to the vision of the nation's founding fathers and pay attention to what the Constitution says from time to time might do a lot of good.

A Norris/Nugent ticket may sound nuts on the surface, but think about it. That's the kind of thing that could happen in today's political climate. After all, we just put a man in office because he taught a bunch of angry voters whipped into a frenzy with vacuous slogans like "we want change," "we want hope," "we want to realize our dreams" and (my favorite) "yes we can!"

You want slogans? Try this on for size -- "Vote for Norris/Nugent if you want to see your country swagger rather than swish." Ah, yeah! How do you like them apples, bucko?

Also, we learned from the Obama campaign that distributing posters which featured the prospective leader looking eerily like Latin American Marxist Che Guevara generated plenty of excitement.

Want some propaganda to inspire the masses? How about a poster featuring Nugent radiating with energy and bravely triumphing over a dragon (or something both terrifying and cool) that represents an economic recession? The slogan could be something along the lines of "The Nuge vs. The Economy." Yeah, that'll pack them in.

What got me thinking along these lines? That Norris interview on KARN and a conversation I had with a friend of mine about 15 years ago. He said he should run for office and base his campaign around a single slogan -- "Free booze and hookers!" That would be his answer to every question and he'd plaster that slogan all over billboards. In the case of a debate, he would simply let his opponent make a detailed argument, then he'd walk up to the microphone, yell his slogan and watch the crowd go nuts.

I told him he was crazy. After this year's set of elections, it's become pretty obvious that getting attention by offering people something they want -- however vague that might be -- translates into votes. Furthermore, celebrity appeal is important. If you happen to be a rock star, that might be even better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- The Clash!

This was the perfect thing to listen to as my wife was corrupting our seven-year-old daughter with the Country Music Awards (yuck!) last week.

Click right here to visit the other Wordless Wednesday participants or submit something of your own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rev up that Technorati authority!

Brownie Mom has started a program through which participants can raise their Technorati authority.

Just like Eric Cartman, The Hawg needs more authoritah so you'd better believe I'm joining. Perhaps you should, too. Interested? Here's all you need to do:

1. Copy The List Below into a blog post on your blog(s).
2. Add Your Link(s) To The List on your website.
3. Comment On This Post stating the blog address(es) you want listed so Brownie Mom can update the list to include your link(s).
(Comments on this blog are moderated. She will add all of the waiting links once per day so come back to be sure you have the full list and your blog is listed on your blog as the correct number)
4. Watch Your Authority Rise!

Copy Here -


2. Our High School Homeschool



5. Thoughts From The Front Porch

6. My Opinion Counts

7. The Pond

8. Your Fun Family

9. 1stopmom

10. Juicy Alligator

11. Coupon Queen of Corning

12. Life Of A Star

13. The Life Of A Mom

14. Not Just A Mom Site

15. Red Dahlia in Bloom

16. Lyndonology

17. All Arkie Army

18. The Natural State Hawg

19. Healthy Moms

20. Idiot On A Stick

Don't forget to comment on Brownie Mom's Original post!

End Copy -

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time from some Arko-centric news

Every now and again, I feel it necessary to torment the folks who read this little blog with a few items that are of interest to Arkansans.

Why? Well, I do like it here in the Natural State and love to pass on a bit of information about it from time to time. Plus, I've got a raging head cold and posting a few items about my beloved state just seems pretty easy right now.

So, here we go!

The City Wire

Not too long ago, The Hawg was a journalist. Prior to entering the fun filled world of public relations, I worked at The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas as a business writer (I've worked for three other newspapers through the years, but I won't get into all that right now).

At any rate, my old boss, Michael Tilley has left his job as a business editor and is now the editor of The City Wire, an Internet-based publication focusing Arkansas' River Valley area in general and the Fort Smith/Van Buren areas in particular.

And if you want to read some of my, uh, wisdom, click right here and visit The City Wire to check out some quotes from me about the housing market in Arkansas.

So, thanks for the press, Tilley, and good luck with your new endeavor!

The Smithsonian Channel takes a look at Arkansas

Apparently, yelling constantly about how much you love Arkansas will get some attention. I got an e-mail last week from Chrissie Hsu about a series her client, the Smithsonian Channel, is working on called Aerial America. That series is set to air next year and will feature aerial photography from all 50 states.

Arkansas is the first on the list and I'm glad to hear that. What better way would there be to kick off a series filmed in high definition than to highlight some of this state's great scenery? I've stuck a small photo shot in the Ozarks as a bit of a teaser. You can learn more about the series by clicking right here and take a look at the blog about what's in store for the Arkansas segment by clicking right here.

Former Razorbacks turn heads

First of all, Benton's own Cliff Lee won the American League Cy Young Award. As I've howled about plenty of times on here, I'm a Benton, Ark., native and we're all proud of Lee down here. He's pitched for the Benton Panthers, the Arkansas Razorbacks and he's coming off an impressive season with the Cleveland Indians.

And he still calls Benton home. Way to go, Lee!

And here's a little tidbit I love. Conway, Ark., native Peyton Hillis was instrumental in helping the Denver Broncos defeat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (he rushed for 44 yards and two touchdowns).

I've been a Broncos fan since I was seven-years-old. The fact that a former Razorback and fellow Arkansan helped Denver pull off a victory makes me like the team even more.

Mom and dad meet the insurance adjuster

As some of you know, my childhood home was mangled by a tree. How did that happen? The tree service hired to cut down some pine trees in my parents' yard managed to drop one right on top of the house (see some photos right here and read the whole sordid tale right here).

Fortunately, mom and dad have a great place to live until their home is repaired (the house is 100 years old, has a claw foot tub and features a great view of the Saline County Courthouse and most of downtown Benton).

Mom and dad met with the adjuster who insures the goons that ruined their home yesterday. He estimated the cost of repairing their home at $100,000. The company contracted to do the work got started today.

Fortunately, the company doing the work will clean everything up, repair the home, replace the furniture that needs to be replaced and even store my parents' stuff in a climate-controlled facility.

It appears that all might end well. My parents bought that home in 1976. Losing that house would be the same as losing a huge chunk of my childhood. I'm very happy my parents weren't home when the tree fell on their house.

Where were they? They stopped by my house, noticed the door was open for some reason, shut the door and played with our kitten. Thank God for sons who accidentally leave their doors open and ultra cute kittens, huh?

The All Arkie Army

If you are an Arkansan or have ties here, head right on over here and take a look at The All Arkie Army. If you like what you see, hit the "contact" link on top of the blog and say something like, "Let me join up, Hawg!"

We've got some great writers over there, and that blog allows participants to promote their own sites. Not a bad deal as the site has a growing Alexa rating -- that can help boost your blog's stats, right?

Oh, and that earlier bit of information about Peyton Hillis was posted at the All Arkie Army by the incomparable Paul Eilers over at Paul's Health Blog. If you don't visit his blog regularly, you should!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The U.S. auto industry could use some change

If you want to read one of the most insightful posts about what's wrong with the auto industry in the United States, click right here.

I'm not going to rehash that great post over at Arohan's investing life, but I am prepared on adding a bit to his superb analysis -- unions are a large part of what's wrong with the auto industry. We've heard Barack Obama holler about change for quite some time now, but is he willing to do something about the stifling contracts negotiated between the auto industry and the United Auto Workers?

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Democrats aren't ready for that much change -- unions send a lot of money to Democrats and provide the party with a huge base of support. It's about time, however, for the government to quit protecting unions and let the free market control their fate.

We all know how that would work out, don't we?

The truth of the matter is this -- unions are obsolete. The abuses that gave rise to them have been largely legislated out of existence. Minimum wage laws, child labor laws, regulations that mandate safe working conditions, etc. all add up to one thing -- the unions have been extremely successful in representing workers. They've been so successful, in fact, that it's hard to find a good reason for them to wield the power that they do here in 2008.

We are well past the era in which powerful corporations were able to treat employees as poorly paid slave labor. That era is gone and the only purpose unions really serve is to demand more money for their members.

So, we're left with very expensive labor in the United States, which makes it a problem for American industries trying to compete with the rest of the world. We can send all the bailout money to the auto industry that we want, but it will always struggle so long as unions are around to artificially inflate labor costs.

The problem, of course, is that Democrats are afraid to limit the power of unions one bit as they would alienate a huge block of support. To be fair, the Republicans haven't shown they're willing to tackle the unions, either.

That's a rotten situation, indeed. Here in Saline County, Ark., we know exactly how it plays out when corporations have the choice of either doing what unions demand or closing up shop.

Yes, we had a thriving aluminum industry here in Saline County for a number of years. The Alcoa and Reynolds plants extracted and processed bauxite ore and provided some of the best jobs in the county.

At one point, however, that bauxite became harder to extract, leaving the plants with a problem -- they were losing money. Around 1980, it was common for people working at Alcoa and Reynolds to make $18 or $19 per hour (a lot of money back then) and it was apparent that the plants simply couldn't foot the labor costs and still stay in business.

Of course, the union wouldn't budge, so the plants pretty much pulled out of Saline County in 1981 and set up in Jamaica. The great jobs that were available were lost and most of us in Saline County work in Little Rock these days as we've never recovered those jobs.

It's seems apparent the American auto industry is about to suffer the same fate. Take a good, hard look at the American textile industry for evidence about what's about to happen to automobile manufacturers in the U.S.

Here's an eye opening statistic that just drives the point home. The average GM worker, according to February estimates, pulled in $78.21 per hour, including benefits. Your average employee at a Toyota plant in the U.S. pulled in $48 an hour, including benefits.

No wonder Toyota is the largest auto manufacturer in both the U.S. and the world. The company is stomping Chrysler, Ford and GM on American soil with American labor. The difference, of course, is that unions are strangling the Big 3, whereas Japanese companies like Honda, Subaru and Toyota are able to put up plants free of union labor, pay their employees well and turn out great products.

The conclusion to this tale seems pretty obvious. I wonder if anyone in Washington has the guts to stand up and address this issue.