Monday, December 27, 2010

Unintended Consequences

If you are naive enough to believe that our people in Congress and the Senate know hat they are doing, get over it. Many, if not most laws that are passed for what looks like the public good, merely takes a problem from here and puts it there. It doesn't go away.

For instance probably the most egregious error our lawmakers have made recently,is to promote the use of Ethanol in our gasoline supplies. This was to solve two problems. One, lower dependence on oil and the other to benefit the environment. Neither have been accomplished. Gas is still at the $3.00 level and we merely passed the pollution baton to the Chinese. Now, instead of making our own, it drifts across the Pacific to our shore where no amount of amelioration will affect the outcome.

But by far, what corn subsidies have done to us is to raise almost double, the price of meat. Whether beef, pork or chickens, corn is a principal feed source. With energy companies competing for the same grain that formerly was mostly an animal feed crop. I for one, resent paying $3 per pound for ground beef, or $9 for a steak that was $5 just two or three years ago.

We need to urge our congressmen and senators to repeal the ethanol subsidy before they inadvertently create starvation in this country in addition to the screwed up economy. If obesity is a problem now, just wait until protein is eliminated from our diet.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Power Play destroys Bayview Chamber

This has been an interesting week for the Bayview Chamber of Commerce. (Ain't) Elections were held for officers and board members. In the long history of the chamber, these elections were staggered so that only two out of the six board members were up for election each year. This was for the purpose of keeping continuity. That and other bylaws were changed at an ill attended meeting two years ago.

Many in the community felt like the DAC, or Developmental Analysis Committee had grown into something not originally intended. Somewhat radicalized, more power had been concentrated in the committee which then showed a solid front, thereby obtaining total control of the body. Or as an E-Mail circulated by "George," was titled, "DAC Rules." That pretty much defines what went down. Able to split off and become an independent pressure or influence group, they chose to take over and dominate the chamber, rather than go it alone.

Such an action, though I'm sure gave a "team" victory sense to the proponents of the DAC, instead has finished off the chamber as the voice of the community. Shunning others that did not agree with their party line,refusing to let diverse opinions prevail, the so called chamber has been reduced to as they say, "preaching to the choir." While perhaps the other extreme of making the chamber an all business venture was fine for the business owners, it too was perhaps a bit tipped to the other extreme. What could have saved the chamber, sans the power play, was to redefine the group with a more inclusive attitude toward businesses in town.

This leaves business out in the cold from an organization that has the word "commerce" in it, which now is a gross misrepresentation. Perhaps it is time for the marinas and other businesses to form a new group dedicated to furthering growth within the community, rather than the dead on arrival look on the streets these days. Certainly, there is the temptation for some of the business owners to retaliate in kind, since they are the victims of anti-business themes.

I, myself, saw this coming for a while now and divorced myself from the group. I firmly believe I did the right thing as have most others that became fed up with the few that want to control the many. We enter the next year with the chamber losing the one thing they couldn't afford to lose. Their identity as the voice of the entire community.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nothing Is Forever

I have been writing for the Spokesman-Review since The beginning of the Prairie Voice and subsequently, the Handle Extra. That, if I remember correctly, was the spring of 2007. April to be precise. In the beginning, I wrote news and features for Bayview, then included Athol as well as a few stories from Spirit Lake. At the time, I was writing at least two and sometimes more stories per week.

Then the paper started cutting back. First, I was down to two to three stories a month, then the Prairie Voice was discontinued. I then started covering a little more territory and was published in the "Handle Extra." At the end of December, the Handle Extra will cease publication, and me with it. It has been a great run. I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute of every story. Sometime in the next two weeks, my last story will publish. It will be an overview of the four part history of Bayview which published last summer. It will be the 171st story that I have written for the paper.

I sincerely hope that during this period, you enjoyed reading about your friends and neighbors and sometimes even yourself. I did the best I could, but print journalism is on it's lips and while it may survive in some form, advertising revenue has shifted to the Internet. One great success story though, is Huckleberries On Line, the S/R's Idaho blog with blogmeister Dave Oliveria. His blog will hit 2.5 million page views for the year 2010, sometime Wednesday or Thursday. That, my friends, is success. For access to any of the stories I've written, you can go online to Then click on "times" then enter herb huseland in the search box and shazzam, every story I've written is there in chronological order.

I don't know what is lurking around the corner, but I definitely caught the bug and will search out other opportunities as I find them. For a start, I'm going to sell advertising for this blog. I normally get from 60 to 120 visits per day from all over the area and even some other countries. The cost will be very inexpensive and your ad will be exposed to many potential customers. I can be reached at: or by phone 208-683-9107.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Feathered Friend

I just got a heads up from Chuck Murray about a rare find in his back yard. A Western Scrub Jay showed up October 24 and appears to be settling in for a long sty. Non-migratory, their habitat stretches from Southern Washington State to Texas, preferring the dry areas south of us. The last sighting of this specie in North Idaho was in 1977 around the Priest Lake area.

When Chuck notified the Audubon Society of this bird, requesting information on it, the society lit up like a Christmas tree with excitement over the find. Large numbers of bird watchers have descended on the Murray homestead, hoping for a peek at this rare bird. While they normally travel and feed in pairs, Chuck has only observed the one.

When the bird first arrived, Chuck didn't know what it was, so he took a picture of it and sent it to the Audubon people. About a week later, there were more bird watchers in his yard than birds.

Murray has been feeding birds at his home on Cape Horn Road for 20 years and has befriended a covey of California Quail that have lived in the area for a long time. Gradually they stopped spooking when the Murrays were around, until finally in the present time, they wait under a bush in his yard for the afternoon feeding around 3:30 pm. As far as the Jay is concerned, he hit pay dirt, since a hungry bird will find a smorgasbord at this location

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pay It Forward

"On October 30th 2010 at 6:pm, the American Legion Auxiliary will host its annual
“Pay It Forward” dinner. The dinner was started as a means of collecting food items for the ABC Food Bank located in Athol and in remembrance of Ellie, who believed the way to return a favor is to “Pay It Forward.” All of the supplies to cook the meal are donated from local merchants. The price of admission to the dinner is a donation of food or cash to the Food Bank.

This dinner was started in remembrance of a dear friend. Ellie taught me to return a favor by paying the favor forward. The last year that Ellie was in Germany she left her fully decorated Christmas Tree, households goods, and bedding with Norma Jean and her family. Her only request was to pass the gift on to someone else in need.

As we move into the fall and winter season, the economy is very slowly improving. There are friends and neighbors who are in need. Pay It Forward by donating what you can."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Open Letter to the Timberlake Community

Oct 22, 2010

I am not personally involved in the recall efforts against commissioners Rudebaugh and Fish,however, I was a direct witness to their behaviors (both public and behind closed doors) and completely support and understand why the petitioners want them removed from office.

Rudebaugh and Fish are currently circulating a flyer that falsely states that “the only real reason the petitioners want a recall is because of a strong personal attachment to the former fire chief,a desire to have the former management structure returned, and a $500,000 permanent levy” on the citizens." These claims are false and simply represent more of the scare tactics these two men used to get elected in the first place. It is a well known fact that I am not returning and there are no plans for a levy or the return of the previous management structure.

The fire district is in very poor shape both in terms of equipment and personnel, and its future should be seriously discussed and decided by the citizens, in the form of town hall meetings supported by a community survey, which was the original plan crafted on December 16, 2009 in a work session of the entire board, including these two new commissioners. That meeting gave me unanimous direction to send out a newsletter and survey, to schedule town halls, and proceed with the commissioner supported plan to test public support for some form of levy to address the problems posed by a dilapidated fleet of vehicles. However the newsletter was halted by these two commissioners one day before it was to be mailed.

The August 2010 Timberlake Fire newsletter stated “In mid February, the chief acting on his own without Board approval, removed many pieces of equipment from service.” The board was informed that removing the apparatus was an option one week prior, and none of them objected. In fact, Rudebaugh gave specific direction to do it. Soon after that happened, he put a gag order in place, and then violated his own gag order by leaking information to a friend who called the press, and then acted surprised and strongly objected when the information appeared in the paper. I couldn’t believe it.

I would also like to confirm statements that the management contract was my idea. In March, I researched this as an option and discussed it with other chiefs since I was privately considering another employment opportunity and wanted to ensure that the district would have continuity of professional management in the interim. I brought up the idea of a “management contract” to the commissioners as one of several “short term” alternatives to help the district survive within its current funding, even though the district's long term problems would not be fixed unless we either decreased service or increased funding.

It was understood by all that this was one of several alternatives, and that what was needed was for the board of commissioners to discuss all options in a public forum and obtain feedback to gauge which options the public would support. Unfortunately, commissioners Rudebaugh,Fish and outgoing commissioner Quillin chose instead to move forward with a management contract by acting behind closed doors. All of the planning and options were supposed to be transparent and open, but it was not. It was very dirty politics and it upset a lot of people. In closing, I would just like to thank the citizens of the Timberlake Fire Protection District for two
wonderful years in which it was my honor to serve as your fire chief.

Jack Krill
Former Fire Chief, Timberlake Fire Protection District

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bayview In The Rain

Today was/is a wet dreary day with light rain and lowering clouds obscuring the hills that surround Scenic Bay. Wisps of gray stream like gigantic spider webs, contesting the upcoming Halloween decor. Driving past the mercantile and JD's not a single patron was in evidence. Bayview appeared deserted.

Perhaps the only creatures in the bay that are happy, are the teaming Kokanee (Bluebacks) heading shoreward for a one-time only sex orgy. By the first of November, the shore spawning cycle will begin and the lives of these fish will end. It is hoped that this year's run will be as good or better than last. Many old time fishermen and women are wondering if they will ever be able to catch these tasty buggers. Dust covers the smokers that sit unattended in the corner of area garages, in hopes that Fish & Game will relent and allow at least a small catch next year. With the end of these fishy lives, the arrival of many bald Eagles will show up, decorating the sky with their majestic beauty.

Probably the most active employee in town quit her job Saturday. Norma Jean Knowles hung it up voluntarily. One of the few that has survived this long at Scenic Bay/JD's marinas decided she just didn't want to do it anymore. She should be proud of her many accomplishments.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Even In Idaho, This Election Year Is Unbelievable

This year might possibly go down as one of the wackiest ones in recent history. We have a congressman, Walt Minnick, democrat, dissing Obama. OK, not so unusual in this the avoid Obama year for dems.

Then we have two write-in campaigns in local races, both which actually have a chance to succeed. Jai Nelson, Darling of the Libertarian right polled just barely more than Curry and Filios in a three way primary race, causing Filios and Currie to team up in a write-in for Currie. None of the candidates polled more than 37%.

Then the bizarre candidacy of Phil Hart, late of the Constitution Party. Serving on the taxation committee in the state legislature. He owes a bunch to the federal government, and his own state, for which he legislates tax laws... AND, he passes the litmus test in the investigation of his conflict of interest. Plus, it is discovered that he allegedly stole enough logs from state lands to build his rustic mansion in Athol. Howard Griffiths, a man that we here in Bayview know and respect, couldn't stomach this travesty, as a republican himself, and starts a write-in, too.

Kootenai county clerk, Dan English, a thoroughly respected administrator, suddenly becomes a cause celeb from the same libertarian right that Jai Nelson springs from. As if the 15 year veteran wasn't there all along, the wackos eventually became enraged at the heresy of an admitted democrat that could actually hold office in this county. Of course many of his detractors don't even live in Kootenai county, but then that is why the term Carpet Baggers was coined, wasn't it.

For those of us in northern Kootenai County, the recall election in the Timberlake Fire Protection District. Two commissioners, most recent electees, Rudebaugh and Fish, enraged many in the district for firing a popular chief, then contracting for management with an adjoining district, ignoring that folks around here like to manage there own affairs. Local control is the foundation of conservative politics and the transfer of responsibility to Northern Lakes appears to have engendered widespread resentment.

Even local volunteer organizations are not exempt from the craziness that pervades our region. Here in Bayview, the so called Chamber of Commerce disses local businesses and caters to a special interest group that is anti-expansionist. This roiled up group appears to be spinning out of control. We hear that the coming election of officers in November,is in trouble. they can't find anyone that wants to hold these offices and many of the current board members can't wait to escape.

All in all, if in the firing line, duck, then go vote. Staying at home this year not only would be a travesty of monumental proportions, it would suggest that you just don't give a damn. That of course won't stop the non-voters from bitching, once the dust settles.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Heavy Lifters-Not Trucks

There have been hundreds of trees cut down to tell the story of the boondoggle in shipping 175 ton half coker drums up highway 12, thence to and through Montana, which hasn't given permission yet either. Blocking off hwy 12, both lanes so that these monster loads can travel through Idaho to their final destination, the oil sands area of Calgary, Canada.

I have an off the wall suggestion that may actually work. It has been announced that many more over sized and over weight loads are planned for the future. Has anyone thought about flying over these routes rather than trucking them? No, I don't mean in a standard airliner. How about a rigid dirigible? I had read something about a new German built airship called the CL160. I even think there is one already here on the west coast.

The CL 160 as it's name implies, can carry a payload of 160 tons from point A to the end destination without touching the ground anywhere en route. True, 160 tons won't lift 175 tons, but those figures are so close, one wonders if the engineers that designed this machine hd a tolerance built in that would handle the additional weight. The airships use helium, not the hydrogen that the ill fated Hindenburg burned up with.

I urge the powers that be to look into this method of transporting extra heavy or extra large loads. How about we think outside the box just this once. Below is the source of the statistical information on these air machines.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Take

When a sitting Democrat in this one of the most conservative states in the union runs for re-election, it gets interesting. Add a little spin and it goes off the chart. Fact: Minnick is a conservative, a Blue Dog Democrat. Fact: The speaker of the house of Representatives is Pelosi, a San Francisco ultra-liberal. Fact: The Republican party needs to regain the majority in the house.

These are the facts that face voters, many moderate republicans and conservative democrats. I like Congressman Minnick. I like the way he talks straight. I like the way he votes, and I like the way that he tries to turn his party toward the center.

The Republican party seems to have only one major objection to his re-election. Well, two. They want Labrador, a Puerto Rican born citizen that makes a living as an attorney specializing in immigration issues. To me, that means he supports wetbacks. Note: (I don't feel it necessary to use politically correct terms that were invented on the left.) For the record, my first wife was born in Mexico and three of my children are half Mexican. This is not a bigot issue, it is whether our laws protecting against illegal immigration should be prostituted, in the ever lasting quest for new liberal voters. ... But I digress.

Illegal immigration isn't just about peasant farmers, their wives and five children. If this example can walk across the border, so can terrorists. In fact the terrorists could infiltrate English speaking Caucasians, or those that would pass for one, along with weapons as well.

The major issue with Minnick, according to pretty much every right wing conservative I've talked to, is that he is a vote for Pelosi. He has stated that he has made no decision on that matter. I expect that if it were a very close election that he would bolt the Pelosi gang. Last time up he was a congressional freshman. They are nominally told to shut up, sit down and learn the ropes.

To abandon a good man, a sound thinker for purely partisan politics, in my view, is wrong. Labrador is not half the man that Minnick is. I am crossing over to vote for Minnick, despite the fear factor. First, I believe that the one seat is not going to be a factor. This election is going to sweep many mistakes out of the House that were made in the coat tail election of Obama. Congressman Minnick should not fall victim to the throw the bastards out syndrome. It is sad that because the republican party activists control the primaries that a moderate can be elected in the general election but not by one's own party. I have a hunch that if that were not true, Minnick would run as the conservative that he is, and under the Republican party banner

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm A Member Of The Party Of No!

I belong to the party of no. No, I'm not a right wing fanatic, nor a extremist libertarian. Just a little right of center. I believe in the following:

No, to federal courts legislating social justice from the bench. First of all, one must define social justice. None of us have the right to anything other than the right of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Pursuit, not the realization as defined by the welfare state Obama is trying to bring about. Realization is when one fights and wins in the economic battle to succeed. That is referred to as ambition. I am a member of the party of no. I do not believe in supporting those that have no desire to further their economic future, but rely on people like Rangel and his ilk to do it for them.

No, to legislators and the executive trying to convince us that the constitution is out of date and that we need to liberally interpret it's meaning to fit the 21st century. I hear every day on line from young ignorant University Students, that having just been weaned, think that we need to fix what is broken in our governmental bible. This, the constitution that enabled a country just barely past puberty, to become the most powerful, productive and yes, progressive country in the world. Notice I used the word progressive in a positive way. The left has hijacked that word to suggest that every far left thought is progress. No it's not. What it is, is revisionist. Progress in this country, less the last five or six years, is rampant in a free economy.

What stopped progress, was the union movement in which politicians kowtowed to them. This over a period of time, caused the cost of manufacturing to be priced out of the market. This in turn, caused companies to go off shore for cheaper labor, since our products were no longer competitive. This condition still exists and will for a few years. Actually, many years if we don't reajust our priorities. We are not living in the 20'as anymore and don't have sweatshops employing children for 12 hours a day. That day is long gone and we need to adjust to a modern reality. We are not world leaders anymore. We ship raw materials off shore to the orient where steel beams are manufactured and shipped back to us to be sold cheaper that we can produce them ourselves. Folks, that makes us a third world country. A simple truth in politics is that there are more have nots than haves. Ergo, if you can get the have nots to vote for the party of giveth, they win the sad contest. Pride. Pride in ones self and in one's country is the principle that counts.

In situations where beyond ones ability to survive without help, obviously an advance society has to step forward and assist. When "progressive" politicians decide that cradle to the grave support for multiple generations of families used to being supported have no incentive to improve their own lives, you then have a liberal majority. You also have the beginning of the end of our republic as we know it.

No, to the corruption of the institution of marriage, by allowing those of the same sex to marry. Since they cannot produce children naturally from these unions, perhaps just the civil rights of contractual consent to share, to inherit, etc. is warrented. There is not any need to overturn centuries of tradition, not just Christian, but also every other recognized religion. Civilization is a delicate institution. It must be protected and nurtured. Suddenly, after centuries of tradition, the ultra liberals want to overturn everything in sight. Actually, rather than liberal, perhaps the term, anti-social or anti-family or anti-society should apply.

Gays and lesbians should not be shunned, nor should they be subjected to humiliation. They are what they are, and have no control over that. Having said that, they also do not have any right that any other American doesn't have. Hate crimes are an over reaction to the Gay issue and the race issue. You punch someone in the nose, you are guilty of third degree assault. To preface the attack by calling that person a name related to ethnic, racial or sexual persuasion, you are guilty of a felony. That is wrong. Every state in the union has laws against assault. There is no need to create a special category for those whose feeling were hurt just prior to having their nose punched.

No, to shutting down our public lands to harvesting a renewable resource, trees. Trees that are a part of every Eco-nazi's home. We need more care in protecting our air, water and earth. We do not, however need a bunch of fanatics shutting down our economy for the sake of returning the earth to a state that existed before man. We got rid the wolves a century ago. Why? because we couldn't co-exist with them. They were reintroduced by the grandchildren of those that pruned the predators. Now, we are having to spend time thinning out the packs because of the ill-advised laws protecting everything but us.

Yes, I belong to the party of no. No more prostituting our country for weird new rules redefining our very successful republic. We are no longer "On nation indivisible." We are a country of cranks and misfits trying to redesign society to fit their immature needs.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vicious Cycles

Law enforcement is stymied these days. I can only speak for my local area, Kootenai County, Idaho. Currently, Sheriff Rocky Watson is suing the County for additional funding to support an ever growing crime rate. Fines that accrue from arrests, both criminal and traffic, go to the state, not the county that collects them. This gives responsibility without the funding to go with it. Sounds like government, doesn't it?

Several factors are creating this logjam. First and most obviously, we are in a deep recession, perhaps even a depression. The idea that the fed fears a double dip is ludicrous. There was never a recovery from the first one. Just an artificial period whereby the federal government threw billions of dollars into the economy. They called it "Stimulus." It worked. It artificially stimulated the economy for a while, then the money was all used up and employment was still high.

Here and now, in the second phase of financial breakdown, we find ourselves fighting increasing crime brought on by people being broke. Many people are shop lifting, burglarizing homes and businesses and then there are the hard drug users that can't keep up financially with their addictions. Sheriff Watson is faced with increasing need for enforcement, while his budget is being reduced. There are only two untouchables in government funding. Law enforcement and fire protection. Everything after that is luxury, with the possible exception of education. The problem with education is once a two or three year reduction in educational productivity happens, those students going through the pipeline at that time will never get the missed wisdom back.

For starters, it is time for the state of Idaho to return the bulk of fines to the counties earmarked specifically for law enforcement and jail maintenance. This will take legislation that should have been presented many years ago. It is understandable to an extent that direct retention of fines tend to mirror the legendary cagle sheriffs in the deep South with their speed traps and other revenue producing scams.

These can be regulated by one, not returning all of the monies, and two, by carefully watching cause and effect. The other proactive thing the state legislators could do is to modify misdemeanor penalties that do not need incarceration. Arrests for driving without a valid drivers licence is not a violent crime and the perpetrators need not be separated from the general populous. Other such crimes are; arrests for small portions of Marijuana and or the paraphernalia that goes with it. Suspending drivers licences for those driving without a licence perpetuates the crime, since in our rural area, if you want to work and still have the opportunity to do so, you have to drive. Closer enforcement at the source of drunk driving starts at the bar that is overserving their obviously drunk clientele. Start fining bartenders and bar owners. People that drink at home don't get caught driving under the influence, nor do they go out and kill other, innocent motorists.

We need to tie serving the public to those at the fringes of society that most need help staying out of trouble. Our judges are not accomplishing that. Perhaps because of unfunded mandates from the legislature, but never the less, Idaho public records show a continuous list of 180 day sentences for failure to purchase a drivers license. The term of imprisonment for that is overkill and cruel and unusual punishment.

There are men that beat their wives that don't get six months.This whole scenario needs to be revisited, and soon. I don't believe we are coming out of this recession any time soon and when we do, inflation from the money thrown at the economy will be rampant, causing another downturn. This next decade is not looking good and we will have to either fund law enforcement or barricade ourselves in our homes, triple locked much like New York City.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Off The Wall

If you are a drinker and feel adventuresome, then head for the Buttonhook Sunday after noon. Heidi, the Sunday bartender has issued a challenge. An invent your own drink bash. This is kind of off the wall, but then so is Heidi. Patrons are reminded that they should at all times be conscious of driving while intoxicated. If you should feel the tug of this challenge, we suggest you either walk to the 'Hook or get a designated driver.

We at Rusty's Buttonhook realize that past management has featured expensive food at the expense of the locals. Not true anymore. We are an any person restaurant that strives to serve a broad spectrum of guests. Come on down for either the great chow, or ... Heidi's party, Sunday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Montana Plane Crash

I was saddened by news that the Piper Cherokee Arrow crashed after being observed at altitudes below 500 feet. I have many hours in a Cherokee Arrow 200, which I assume is the accurate description of the plane. I once rented such a plane at the Kalispell airport to fly some friends to Westport for a fishing expedition. It was in 1971 or 2 and could well have been that same plane.

I have two important points to make that non-flying reporters might have missed. One, there isn't much more dangerous than a pilot with one year's experience. At that point, they and I back when, think they have all of the knowledge and experience to navigate anywhere. Unfortunately, many flight instructors nowadays don't have much more maturity than their students. I was fortunate, since my instruction occurred in the late 50's. My primary instructor flew the hump between India and China during WW11.

That brings me to the second point. Well actually a second and third point. One, you never fly low and slow in mountainous terrain. The up and down drafts can kill even experienced pilots. I won't get you involved in the variables. Those of you that are pilots know exactly what I'm talking about. Those that aren't ... well you probably wouldn't understand. Suffice it to say that if you are near the wrong side of a steep slope when hot air is flowing down slope, and at a low altitude, you are dead. Mountain flying is not for the inexperienced. These down drafts can thrust you down many hundreds of feet under the wrong circumstances. At three hundred feet he and those that trusted him were doomed.

The Piper Cherokee Arrow 200 is my favorite airplane. It cruises at around 143 or so in level flight and is a dream to fly. Unfortunately, with a full load of four, It climbs like a pig.You just can't ask it to do something that it hasn't the ability to do. I once came close to killing myself and passengers when I took off on a hot day in Omak from a short runway. I had 1200 plus hours and used bad judgement. We survived. This young man, indubitably more impressed with his ability and that of the aircraft than deserved, died. It is unfortunate that he took three other fine young people with him.

Every student pilot learns early in his or her training one simple rule. "There are old pilots and bold pilots, but damn few old, bold pilots."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Right-Left Wing-Nuts

There are two issues in regards to Phil Hart. One is political philosophy, the other integrity. I have been a conservative, that has moved toward the middle in the last few years. (The mellowing with age thing) I remember my time working with Ronald Reagan and his family back in the mid-sixties. He was never about turning hard right forsaking those that were somewhere between Dems and republicans. Some even crossed the line (if there is one) each direction. In Ronnie's case, no way would he have respected a scofflaw on the basis of philosophy. He was an Honorable man and expected his people to be, likewise. He established the 11Th commandment for a reason. Up until his time the Republican party self destructed every election year due to shooting themselves in the foot. We are back to that in both parties.

In the last 30 years, I have seen the left move further to the left and the right likewise. Our political parties are ignoring the center like they don't matter. In my opinion that is why so many people have dropped out and don't vote. They know that the extremists control their parties in the primaries, giving no where to go for thoughtful people that don't do knee-jerk.

I charge the Democrats with the same sins as the Republicans. Philosophical purity will win primaries, but not general elections. Patting yourself on the back because you stayed true to your personal convictions is all fine and good, but at the end of the day the incumbent Republican is still in office.

I truly believe a Democrat could win in Kootenai county. One he or she would have to be widely respected as a person. Two following Minnick's example of hewing to conservative principles helps. The reward at the end of the rainbow is getting rid of “wing-nuts” of both persuasions. Ronnie Reagan was widely quoted with his philosophy. He constantly referred to Lord Acton with his famous quote," Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The same situation exists in Western Washington as a mirror image, as King and Pierce Counties remain firmly in the left wing. Both extremes without a modicum of balance are dangers to democracy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

From AOL-The Supreme Court

"I don't think that there's anything in the water or in the air that's causing this, but it's really notable," Jason Mazzone, a professor at Brooklyn Law School, told AOL News. "You would never find at any prior point in history four justices from the same city."

The fact that the Supreme Court is so stacked may not be a complete coincidence, say some legal experts, who point to the city's tremendous diversity as helping to create empathy and mutual understanding.

"In one sense New York's parochial and in another sense it's very diverse," Martin Flaherty, a professor at Fordham Law School in New York and a friend of Kagan's from Princeton University, told AOL News. "So when you grow up in New York, you've got an immediate exposure to all sorts of people, all sorts of classes."

Turns out, that diversity is evident even in the sampling of New Yorkers on the bench.

Scalia, who joined the court in 1986, was born in New Jersey but grew up in working-class Queens in the '40s and '50s, a time when the neighborhood was both diverse in its makeup and conservative in its views, and the pugnacious New York attitude was alive and well. "It was a really mishmash, sort of a New York-New York cosmopolitan neighborhood," he told "60 Minutes" in 2008.

Scalia's story is classically American: His father was an Italian immigrant who became a professor of romance languages at Brooklyn College, while his mother was a first-generation Italian-American who worked as a schoolteacher. Their only child got straight A's in school, leading him to Georgetown for college and then Harvard Law School.

Ginsburg, who joined the court in 1993, grew up in a Jewish family in a poor, immigrant neighborhood of Brooklyn in the '30s and '40s. By the time she graduated from high school, both her older sister and her mother had died. She went to Cornell University and Harvard Law, transferring to Columbia Law School when her husband got a job in New York.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ginsburg shared insight into her background while commenting on Sotomayor's infamous "wise Latina" comment. "I'm sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: 'Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table,' " Ginsburg said. "All of our differences make the [Supreme Court] conference better. That I'm a woman, that's part of it. That I'm Jewish, that's part of it. That I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I went to summer camp in the Adirondacks -- all these things are part of me."

Sotomayor, who was sworn in last August, grew up in the Bronx projects, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants. She didn't learn English until she was 9, when her father died, leaving her mother to raise her and her brother alone. Sotomayor was valedictorian of her high school, earning a spot at Princeton and then one at Yale Law School.

For her part, nominee Kagan grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a middle-class area known for its Jewish character and quiet residential life -- far from the hardscrabble neighborhoods where Scalia, Ginsburg and Sotomayor were raised. She attended the prestigious Hunter College High School in the '70s, then Princeton and Harvard Law.

"You're not talking to somebody who's gone to an elite prep school from a country club background," Flaherty said. "New York gives her that grounding in the real world that never leaves you."

Still, some see the lack of geographical diversity on the country's highest court as a troubling new development. Not only are three of the current justices from New York City alone, but five are from New York state or New Jersey, leaving only four justices -- including the soon-to-retire Stevens -- to represent the remainder of the country geographically.

This trend could be problematic if the justices find it hard to relate to a farmer in Ohio or an auto worker in Detroit -- if, in Mazzone's words, the court is "tilted towards the interests and sensibilities of people on the Eastern seaboard."

But even more troubling to some is the recurrence of Princeton, Harvard and Yale in the educational backgrounds of the justices. Of the nine justices, only one -- Stevens -- did not attend Harvard or Yale Law School. Justice Samuel Alito and Sotomayor, like Kagan, went to Princeton for their undergraduate studies.

"I think the court suffers a little bit in that everybody comes from the Ivy League, comes from Harvard and Yale," Jamal Greene, a professor at Columbia Law School, told AOL News.

Mazzone shares this concern.

"If you're thinking about a court that is representative of the nation, there are certainly some great law schools that are not on the East Coast," he said. "For the rest of the country, there may be a real question about why she's the choice, given the makeup of the court."

*My remarks

I'm not so worried about conservative vs. liberal as I am the lack of knowledge that these people have about our vast midwest food belt and the far west cattle and grain grower country. None of these justices have ridden across the prairie horseback, or discovered that steaks are not a product of the back rooms of the meat market. It isn't philosophy that I am most concerned about as it is the blindness of what happens west of the original 13 colonies. Life is vastly different in the west than east of the Mississippi.How are these justices going to understand the other 90% of our land?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kootenai County Clerk

We have had in the last several years, a very smooth running County clerk's office. The clerk happens to be our token democrat, but wait. This guy is good. He's dedicated and the offices under the clerk are running smoother than ever. This year, for the first time, Dan English has a challenger. A good man, a republican and former Post Falls Police chief.

Now I know that Chief Hayes is a good man. Running a police department is also a place where administrative skills are needed. It would appear that the chief is more into have credibility, will travel, than a driving ambition to run the clerk's office. That is, unless he is thinking after the debacle of the Coeur d'Alene City council contest, one that rivals the last Bush election in Florida, he can swing stuff to his GOP buddies.

This of course, is surmisal on my part, not news, not fact. just a dirty little suspicion as to the motives. Lately, I've been cringing in a corner, ashamed of those in my own party that in many cases have lost their senses. In an atmosphere that doesn't seem to brook any disagreement or honest debate, the extreme right is trying to hijack our county, our city.

While I don't support many democrats, it is for the same reason I'm disenchanted with my own party. It is spelled cranks, left and right wing extremists and office seekers that wish to further polarize our political system. It isn't just here, it is endemic across our country

As I did last election, I support and endorse Dan English as the best County clerk we've had in a long while. He serves as a non-partisan office holder. I remember an occasion that a service member was shipping out to either Iraq or Afghanistan and wanted to marry his sweetheart before he left. It was a Saturday and the county offices were closed. They called English at home up on Twin Lakes with the problem. He drove down, met the lovers at the administration building and personally issued the license.

I am firmly of the belief that regardless of political affiliation, Dan English is a great County clerk. I support his without reservation. I have to apply one of my most important principles here. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guest Column

Essay: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Robert A. Hall
March, 2010

Permission to forward, post or re-print this essay is granted by the author.

It was a great country while it lasted. Nothing tangible lasts forever, not stars, or planets, or people or flowers or birds. Certainly not political systems. We can be certain that the American Republic will have an ending as surely as it had a beginning. But when?

Predicting the future is fraught with risk. In the hundreds of opinion pieces I’ve published over the years, I’ve had some notable success doing so. In 1998, three years before 9/11, I published a column headed, “America’s War on Terror will be long, slow and cruel.” In that column I wrote that terrorists now had the power to destroy large buildings. Pretty prescient, yes, but I’ve made my share of predictions that were completely off the mark.

Emerging trends or sudden events can completely alter what looked to be inevitable. The death of a key leader, a new technology, a natural disaster striking your country—or your opponent’s—all can alter the seemingly-inevitable future.

Certainly the American Republic has been both resilient and flexible since its improbable emergence from the fire of revolution. It survived a terrible civil war, an outcome that seemed highly unlikely at the time. It survived the Great Depression. It led and won the fight against global tyranny in WWII, a victory that may appear inevitable now, but was a damn near run thing at the time. And it faced down the monster of soulless Communism, despite the infatuation of large numbers of our vapid intellectual class with the joys of collectivism, as seen from afar.

And yet, despite this history of resilience and triumph, I think that there is about an 80% certainty that the American Republic will collapse within the next twenty years, and be replaced with something else—perhaps several entities. They will not be models of classical liberal democracy. That this will be accompanied by economic privation, great violence and mass suffering I consider inevitable. That the surviving citizens of the new entity or entities will enjoy anything close to our freedom or standard of living I believe highly unlikely. The Jamestown rule—no work, no eat—will be rigidly enforced.

Each of several challenges facing us is both complex and over-whelming, and we no longer seem to have “the right stuff” to deal with any of them. While we might successfully, though not painlessly, face down each of them individually, their convergence makes the Republic’s survival highly problematic. Americans want the benefits of the good life, but far too many want someone else to pay the costs and make the sacrifices for them to have it. Few are willing to sacrifice their comfort, their cash or their standard of living—never mind their lives—to protect the Republic and the system of political and economic freedom that created the material wealth that is the envy of the planet, far beyond what our grandfathers could have dreamed. Just one example: In WWII, our forces were led by graduates of Harvard, Yale and other leading institutions. Since Vietnam, military services is disparaged and shunned by the elites who benefit the most from our system.

We are victims of our economic success. Fat and comfortable Republics have ever been pray to wolves and barbarians, and, in our case, there are as many inside the gates as outside.

Here are the convergent forces that I believe are likely to destroy the Republic:

Fiscal Chaos: The National Debt is now $12.6 trillion, up $2 trillion in President Obama’s first 421 days. That debt now measures 64% of Gross Domestic Product. Add to that projected annual deficits of over a trillion dollars a year for the rest of the Obama years. Every dollar that government spends must be taxed from the private sector, or borrowed, thus reducing money available for private sector economic development while increasing the debt, or printed. Fiat money creates hyper-inflation, as Robert Mugabe could tell Barack Obama, destroying savings and wealth.

What happens when no one will lend us more money? Moody’s says the US is in danger of loosing its AAA bond rating. That downgrade would, of course, cost billions annually in increased payments on the national debt. And at some point, China and everyone else will say, “That’s all there is!” After all, we are not the only debtor nation in the world. Europe is in worse shape than we are. It now looks like the EU will put a temporary patch on Greece, the canary in the Europe’s coal mine, but that will only delay their coming disaster. Just like us, the EU politicians are kicking the can down the road, getting reelected by buying benefits through debt on their watch. But the day is fast approaching when the can won’t budge no matter how hard it’s kicked.

Add to all this a Social Security System that has started paying out more money than it is taking in, a Social Security Trust Fund that has been spent and is now basically a shoebox full of IOUs from the Treasury, and a Medicare System that, even before ObamaCare, was predicted to be insolvent in seven years, the massive retirement of the baby boomers, and will need a lot more in taxes from everyone, not just the top 5% as Obama promised, just to slightly postpone the disaster.

Then look at the other entitlement obligations the government has to veterans and government retirees. And I’m sure I’ve left out other benefit groups that we owe huge sums to.

Throw in the ever expanding government workforce, supported by a shrinking private sector. Government employee wages have done quite well in the recession. The percentage of federal civil servants making more than $100,000 a year jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first year and a half of the recession, according to USA Today. The ruling party is as much indebted to public unions (the SEIU) as to trial lawyers and welfare recipients for their power base. See:

Government doesn’t create wealth. Yes, government workers pay taxes. Let’s say that they pay 30%, though that’s wildly inflated I’m sure. That leaves 70% of their salaries to be paid by the shrinking private sector. Plus the private sector has to also pay for the office buildings, computers, cars and paperclips the government employees need to operate. (The government may be trying to get into the wealth-creating business by owning companies like GM and Chrysler. But government-run businesses are always economic disasters, as decisions get made on the basis of politics and bureaucratic rules, not economic factors. Ask the leaders of the defunct Soviet Union.) And government intervention in the economy, from price controls to “affordable housing,” always ends badly. Then they cover it up by making things worse.

Now comes the huge new entitlement of ObamaCare, which they say will reduce the deficit by covering 30 million more people, through additional taxes and Medicare cuts. The additional taxes, even if they were only on the top 5% of earners as Obama solemnly pledged, will take money from the economy those payers would have spent on other things, perhaps on sustaining your job. The Medicare cuts WILL. NOT. HAPPEN. The politicians are never going to anger millions of seniors, all of whom vote. Medicare is probably the site of the most fraud and scams in the country, worth maybe $100 billion annually. But if getting rid of fraud was easy, or even possible, why haven’t they already done it? Because government is big, slow, inefficient and bureaucratic, thus an easy target for fraud. And that fraud target just got a lot bigger.

ObamaCare is predicted to cost about $1 trillion in the first six years—it will only be in effect for six of the ten years the CBO guessed at, though many of the taxes will be in effect for all ten. (Note that the CBO is required to accept the projections of the politicians, so if they say they are going to save $500 billion in Medicare, the CBO accepts that as though it had some basis in reality. And if they say they are going to transform lead into gold, the CBO…well, you get the idea.) What will be the cost of ObamaCare be for the second ten years and how will it drive the deficit? No one can really guess how many trillions. The National Center for Policy Analysis has gathered the predicted costs from various sources. They are astronomical. See:

And it’s only the beginning. We can’t stop this avalanche, regardless of Tea Parties and republicans. Obama, Reid and Pelosi have all promised supporters the next step is a public option. The fact that the government now orders vastly increased insurance company payouts through eliminating caps, requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and expanding mandated coverage, while being able to do the popular thing and deny rate increases means the Obama administration can now bankrupt the insurance companies at their leisure, leaving a public option as the only option. In 10 years, it will be Medicare for all.

To the fiscal disaster, throw in the many states, led by California, Illinois and other bastions of Democrat legislative control that are beyond insolvent. It’s not just the recession. Many state legislatures have spent far beyond their states’ ability to pay even if the economy was booming. Add to their huge deficits the over $1 trillion the states owe to retirees that is not there, and the problem becomes insoluble. See:


Then include unfunded liabilities by local governments and government agencies. The Chicago Transit Authority had a $1.5 billion pension deficit in 2007. Peanuts by ObamaCare standards, but multiply that by all the cities and agencies in the country and you’re talking real money. See:

Now add to the states’ un-payable fiscal burden the vast expansion of Medicaid mandated by ObamaCare. The wonder isn’t that several states immediately announced they were suing to stop ObamaCare. The wonder is that the all 50 aren’t. Yet.

Now add in demographics. The United States currently has a birthrate of 2.1 live births per woman. This is exactly the replacement rate, which puts us in far better shape than Europe, where the birthrate ranges from 1.89 to 1.23 or lower, a decline that the native populations probably can’t recover from.

But America is only barely at the replacement rate due to groups like the Mormons, and to Hispanic immigrants. Will these be the high-work-ethic, well-educated workers needed to support us baby boomers in our golden years? Can Jose doing a “job Americans don’t want” support two seniors on Social Security and Medicare? Doubtful.

And another large percentage of the birth rate is the children born to single mothers in the inner cities. I’ve read that 70% of black births are out of wedlock. Our PC worship of multiculturalism has long made obeisance to the black ghetto culture that Dr. Thomas Sowell reports blacks took from southern, poor whites. It is a culture which disdains education, is always ready to do violence over touchy points of honor, and where young males glory in leaving a trail of abandoned children doomed to poverty. For Democrats, the bright spot is these children will be their economic slaves, locked in as voters of the plantation-welfare state, doing the party’s bidding for their daily crust. These are not the workers who will pay the taxes to support millions of retirees, who, thanks to the medical system now being destroyed, enjoy the longest life span in the world (after you factor out homicide and car wrecks).

I’m not picking on blacks, but on the liberals whose philosophy has enslaved so many minorities in permanent poverty. The coming dark ages will be harder on our minority citizens than on anyone. Besides, minorities are hardly alone. In 2005, according to the IRS, the lowest 50% of income earners paid 3% of federal taxes, while the top 5% of earners paid 60%. This was under Bush, who you will recall was always accused of helping the rich! By the end of Obama’s first term, it is likely the lowest 50% of earners will pay no taxes at all, and a good many will get checks from the government at tax time, taken from the more productive. This majority of non-payers have every incentive to vote for politicians who promise ever more government programs and spending, at someone else’s expense. As Frederic Bastiat, a French Economist, said over 150 years ago, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

Will the economic recovery save us? JFK started an economic boom—and increased government revenue—by cutting capital gains taxes. Obama promises to raise them, just one of many factors, including ObamaCare and attacks on banks and insurance companies, which are keeping investors jittery and trillions sitting on the sidelines, stifling our efforts to recover from the “affordable housing for everyone” driven recession. People with any cash aren’t sure if they should put it in the market, or into gold coins in Switzerland. Trillions are being held back from the economy in fear of higher taxes and greater efforts to milk the prosperous.

But speaking of Europe, their welfare and healthcare systems are far more “progressive” than ours. (Workers in Greece get to retire at 56, giving them lots of time to riot in the streets over badly-needed benefit cuts.) They have far fewer younger workers. Their importation of Muslim “guest” workers is creating more problems than it solves, as a significant portion of those Muslims are on the dole, refuse to integrate, and recognize only Shari’a law which includes wife beating, child-marriages, polygamy, and second class status for women. They include a significant number of radicalized Muslims determined to impose Islam on Europe by violence, make all non-Muslims second class citizens and exterminate the Jews. Muslim guest workers are not the “change we can believe in” that will save Europe. Given how interrelated the world’s economy is, when the socialist system in Europe collapses, it may draw us into the maelstrom, years ahead of our own pre-destined economic collapse.

Both political parties have been passing this entitlement fiscal crisis forward, since at least 1932. The pain of fixing it was greater every year. To seriously try to do so guaranteed you would be defeated by the Barack Obamas of the world, who believed in ever larger government and ever more government spending. So the crisis has worsened from year to year, and is now long past fixing. Members of both parties get elected by making it worse. George W. Bush took a whack at some Social Security reform, and got clabbered for it, adding to his unpopularity. (See:

Since our tax system is dependent on the millions of citizens who honestly and voluntarily comply, we may face a tax revolt that will make things even worse. Looking at the massive increase in government spending, won’t more taxpayers chose the Tim Geithner/ Tom Daschle/Charlie Rangel “honest mistake” approach to taxes and seek ways to not pay? When Massachusetts citizens forced a vote on lowering the state income tax from 5.85% to 5.20%, 41% of the people voted for higher taxes. So the bureaucrats helpfully left both rates on the tax forms. Few of those who thought taxes should be higher have paid at the higher rate. See: If 20% of Americans become disgusted tax scofflaws, most will get away with it because the IRS will be overloaded. And the fiscal crisis will get worse. (Of course, maybe they already are and only you and I are now paying our fair share.)

No party will be able to get elected supporting the ever more painful measures that would fix the fiscal mess. We all belong to entitlement groups and want our entitlements. I turn 65 in 13 months, and I have some health challenges. You bet I want my Medicare and Social Security. So the fiscal crisis will grow worse and the US will descend into chaos, until there are riots in the streets, fiscal collapse and martial law as the entitlement obligations cannot be met by taxation, printing monopoly money or borrowing. Cities like Detroit will be no-go war zones. Fiscal collapse may well be followed by political disunion, and certainly a pounce by our enemies. I’ve been telling my friends that they should teach their kids to shoot, hunt and grow potatoes, skills that will be needed in the transformed America Barack Obama promised us.

And we’d be lucky if the Fiscal Crisis was our only problem.

Islam, mentioned above, is on the march. Pabulum about “Islam is a religion of peace:” and “moderate Muslims” will not deter one murder. Yes, there are millions of moderate Muslims who want only to live in peace, just as there were millions of moderate Germans and Japanese in 1938 who wanted the same. And they are equally irrelevant. As with Shinto, another religion we had to put down, most of the mainstream schools of Islamic thought teach the dominance of Islam over the entire world, accept or proselytize the necessity of it being achieved by violence, and offer three choices to non-believers: convert to Islam, die or accept second-class citizenship as Dhimmis. There are Islamic movements working to achieve this through agitation, demands, and the courts, the so-called “stealth jihad,” and there are movements seeking it through violence. But the number of Muslims seeking it is growing, and is not a “tiny minority of extremists.”.

We have faced down nation states before, but how do you face down a combined religious-political system that is an entire way of life, has 1.3 billion followers and is in almost every country on earth? (Shinto was only in Japan.) That seems impossible, so the official position of both parties has to been to placate Islam with foreign aid to Muslim-ruled countries and concessions to the stealth Jihad at home. This only buys more demands for more concessions or more “aid.” And our ability to pay Jizra (the Qur’an-mandated, often-ruinous tax tribute required of non-Muslims in Muslim countries) in foreign aid is going to be destroyed by the fiscal crisis discussed above.

One option is surrender. Allowing the gradual imposition of Shari’a (Muslim) law means abandoning gender equality, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but allowing child marriages, polygamy and wife beating.

The other is a war so awful that it goes beyond what our respect for persons and rights now allows. It’s one thing to fire bomb civilians in Japanese and German Cities. It’s quite another to have firing squads here and men with knives in dark allies. Waterboarding isn’t the half of what victory will require. Faced with that, our leaders in both parties have chosen a gradual approach to option one, postponing the defeat until after they are safely out of office.

Muslim populations are growing rapidly in Europe, and soon will be able to prevent, through violence or voting, any European action against Muslim regimes that sponsor terrorism. Then we will be America Alone as Mark Steyn points out in his excellent book of that title.

And if—maybe when—an a-bomb goes off in Tel Aviv, New York and/or Washington, DC? What then? One thing will be certain—there will instantly be a 90% majority of US citizens who will demand security over the Bill of Rights. Civil Libertarians might want to contemplate a post-atomic-attack America. But we have no good options for denying Iran nuclear weapons and the Obama approach of turning the other cheek has only gotten us slapped.

And if Pakistan becomes a failed state and it’s nukes fall into Taliban hands? Or it gets into a shooting war with our ally, India?

Not to mention that the on-going and highly necessary War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations (is Fort Hood overseas?) will require a lot of treasure to protect our freedoms—treasure that is fast pouring down the federal rat hole. They also require troops and those troops may be brought home to deal with chaos here.

China. Islam, of course, isn’t our only international challenge. China is building a military, including a blue water navy and advanced tactical fighters of the kind Obama just cancelled. Who are they expecting to challenge with them? Their Tibetan slaves? The Uighurs? Russia, while it’s preoccupied with its own Muslim problem? Perhaps. But the Chinese economy is growing and will be the largest in the world, and China, the “Central Kingdom” has always seen itself as a potential superpower. They may own our debt, but they are still a tyranny. They don’t love us, even if Obama bows and scrapes, sneaks the Dali Lama out past the trash cans and doesn’t dare to mention human rights in their presence. Note to the global warming alarmists. Even if you are right about AGW, we could beggar ourselves and not make a dent into the carbon output China will put out in the next twenty years, regardless of what they say to our taxpayer-funded congressmen vacationing in Denmark. Name a Communist country that was good for the environment? East Germany?

Mexico. I saved the boil on the border for last. The leftists like to portray themselves on the moral high ground, defending the poor “undocumented workers” who strive for better lives. (Next they will call street drug dealers “undocumented pharmacists.”) But can the United States take in every person in the world who would like to come here? Of course not. Doing so would give us a standard of living below Zimbabwe and a crime rate above South Africa. So we have to have limits on immigration. To do that we have to have laws, and enforce them. Currently, the limit on immigration is all those who we let in legally, and all those who sneak in illegally, who we don’t catch at the border. They are proposed to have a “path to citizenship.”

But as the fiscal train wreck hits, can we afford to care for 12 million illegals in our hospitals, educate them in our schools and put them on our welfare rolls? Or the millions more yet to come? Yes, there are many who can be self-supporting and pay taxes, or who serve in our military with honor. I’m okay with them. But what about the majority when the fiscal crisis hits?

And this is just the tip of the enchilada. Mexico is losing a very violent war with the drug cartels. If they weren’t busy killing each other and anyone in the line of fire, they could take over the government. Our military has contingency plans for two potential failed states: Mexico and Pakistan. Lovely.

That drug war is spilling over the border and exploding into our inner cities as the cartels establish branches here to further operations, aided by the flood of illegals (which also serves as cover for Islamic terrorists to enter the US). They are ruthless enough to make us long for John Gotti, or at least Tony Soprano. This is going to get a lot uglier—and more expensive—very rapidly. Expect additional hand-wringing and strongly worded statements from the White House.

And as it gets nastier and more dangerous in Mexico proper, the barrios of Little Mexico in LA and Chicago will look all that more attractive to potential “undocumented workers.”

With militant Islam, China and Mexico piling on the fiscal crisis, it is hard for me to see how we survive as a stable, free Republic. And I haven’t mentioned North Korea’s nukes or a resurgent tyranny in Russia.

Add to all this an energy policy and environmental lobby that prevents us from developing new nuke plants, refineries, oil reserves, coal or natural gas in homage to global warming, thus beggaring our economy to support our enemies abroad, and I promise you that in twenty years, your kids won’t be the least bit worried about global warming. They’ll be too busy scrounging for food and re-loading.

Now imagine a Presidential Candidate of either party honestly addressing this crisis convergence:

“My Fellow Americans, we face hard times, and the need for shared sacrifice and pain if we are to save the Republic. If elected I promise to reduce Social Security payments by 10%, to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, to cut all Federal employee salaries, including Congress, by 10%, to lay off 10% of Federal employees, excluding combat troops and security agencies, to cut Federal retirement payments by 10% to everyone, including veterans, to cut off Medicare for anyone with over $300,000 in assets, to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy, to cut off spending on environmental matters for things based on bad science like Global Warming (see, to cut off all funding for Agent Orange related claims (see, to eliminate all funding for the arts and public radio or TV, to eliminate all earmarks, to eliminate school lunches and Federal support for anything in education except teaching the basics, to eliminate school loans, to eliminate support for agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to cut federal funding to states that don’t take similar steps, and to eliminate all foreign aid, earmarks and an additional long list of government programs and agencies which my team is drawing up.”

“In addition, my fellow Americans, we will start executing people convicted of Medicare or other government fraud, without appeal, right after conviction. We will establish marshal law in the drug-infested inner cities and send in the military to destroy the gangs, foreign or domestic, with shoot-on-sight orders and officers authorized to hold military tribunals on the spot, followed by execution. In addition, our military will seal the southern border and conduct punitive raids into Mexico against the drug cartels. I am also drawing up plans to confront Islamic terrorism. Foreign terrorists will be declared to be outside the US Constitution and Geneva Convention, and all actions against them authorized. We will immediately blockade Iran, and bomb their nuclear facilities, so be prepared for gas at $10 a gallon. We will open all areas of American territory to development of oil, gas and coal resources, and fast track both nuclear plants and new refineries, eliminating all environmental laws that slow or block them. Plans to deal with China and North Korea are being developed. We will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Iran, Pakistan, North Korea or any other states if that’s what is needed to keep terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

Such a fascist candidate would be unlike to live to Election Day, let alone get any votes at all, probably not even mine. This program violates Americans’ constitutional rights and, worse, their sacred sense of entitlement to all the benefits that big government is now expected to provide. It risks their personal safety and would require more economic pain, personal suffering and sacrifice than the country has endured since the Civil War, when we were a hardier and more stoic people. No one would dare run on 10% of what is outlined above. So the coming fiscal and geo-political chaos will just have to happen.

I’m lucky, I guess, that with my health challenges and age I won’t be here with your kids to enjoy the world that the Obots are making.

This doesn’t mean that I’m out of the fight. Over my desk I have a Marine bumper sticker that reads, “Don’t you quit on me, Maggot.” Every day I hear Sgt. Harris, my Senior DI, screaming it in my ear. I’m going out punching. As a teen, I was into traditional poetry—and I still am. One of my favorites for over 50 years is “The Kings” by Louise Imogen Guiney, which concludes:

While Kings of eternal evil
Yet darken the hills about,
Thy part is with broken saber
To rise on the last redoubt;

To fear not sensible failure,
Nor covet the game at all,
But fighting, fighting, fighting,
Die, driven against the wall.

Good luck. Keep fighting.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He blogs at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Im 63 and I'm Tired" by Robert A. Hall

Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I've worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven't called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there's no retirement in sight, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
I'm tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I'm willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.

I'm tired of being told how bad America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of China , the crime and violence of Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of Iran , and the freedom of speech of Venezuela .

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that "race doesn't matter" in the post-racial world of Obama, when it's all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of U.S. Senators from Illinois.

I think it's very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.

I'm tired of a news media that thinks Bush's fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama's, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush's military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore's, and if you're greener than Gore, you're green enough.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don't think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I'm tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.
I'm tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who aren't working, but are living on welfare or crime. What's next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, I'm not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it's been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I'm willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn't have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military.... Those are the citizens we need.

I'm tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are? Not even close. So here's the deal. I'll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. Will iam Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we'll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.
I'm tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I'm tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in Illinois , where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama's cabinet.

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, I'm tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn't have that in 1970, but we didn't know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

I'm real tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I'm not going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on! This is your chance to make a difference.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

2007-2013 Greater Depression

Now that the federal government is finally admitting to a recession around two and one-half years after it started, people are asking how long will they have to endure. It's a difficult question to answer because there are so many things that got us here. This is, without the spin, a depression that is worse than any since the 1929-1937 big one.

Certainly not until 2013 and perhaps even longer. Many things got us here and the Federal Government sending us money will not pull us out. Not until our leaders realize that global free trade isn't free, unless your trading partners are buying from you in equal amounts. Electronics? All off shore. Steel and most aluminum? Yep! Clothing? Ahuh! Food? Much if not most processed food comes from China. You know, the country that spiked baby food with poison? Automobiles? Well, what with the bancruptcies of our Auto industry and now the giant leap off a cliff that Toyota just made, still to settle out, but as long as Obama wants to help you pay for your car, home,etc.with funny money, I guess people will still want to buy $5000 cars for $35,000.

We have been running trade deficits that are abhorrent for many years. We have shipped our heavy industry off shore, so as to not have to face high wages and the Sierra Club. We have even shipped our light industry off shore, all in the name of cheaper prices. Well, it doesn't help much to have cheaper prices, if the purchasing public are home out of work and can't buy anything, cheap or not. We used to get along without Chinese or Japanese cheap stuff just fine. We charged tariffs against the poorly paid labor of third world countries. This is how you level the playing field amongst dissimilar economies. When and if those other economies lift themselves up to our standard of living then and only then would we have free reciprocal trade.

It isn't about business screwing the public, it was the removal of tariffs and unlimited free trade that sent our industry overseas. Government and Industry tend to be dance partners. Well meaning legislation can torpedo an economy, just as happened. We must turn the page back a ways and realize that we had an economy and jobs because we did not join the global economy. For everyone in the world to be economically equal, we would have to lower our standard of living to average out with those making $2.00 per day in Malaysian or Chinese sweat shops. We unionized many years ago to avoid that part. Sure, the unions became too powerful and had to be slapped down some. Still, a balance between unions dictating policy to boards of directors, and workers being dominated and taken advantage of is necessary.

We started by giving up the gold standard, then the silver standard, believing that the US dollar was a world standard and didn't need to be backed by anything other than confidence, and that is where it begins and ends. Confidence, is deduced by those that totally believe in a currency. But currencies are backed by productivity. We no longer produce much of anything. The service industry, that of each career field supporting any other, as in a circle jerk is a false sense of security. I don't recommend that we return to the gold standard, or even the silver standard. But we must produce enough gross national product to offset our imports.

I see a possibility of an actual deeper depression coming unless our government starts thinking of us rather than the entire globe. There are areas of this world we live in that have never transcended from tribal life that can't even form a workable government outside their own tribal sphere, let along how to produce farm stuffs food and more importantly, develop a manufacturing economy. Politically, a chicken in every pot and universal home ownership just isn't going to work, hasn't worked and never will work.

Our schools are taught by either people with an agenda or those without a clue as to how business, industry and labor co-exist and why. Prejudices are fed from one generation to another, reflecting not what is happening now, but the grudges from yesterday. Wake up, people!

The United States of America once had an attitude. It was one of we can do anything we think we can do. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten or don't care about the sacrifices that our parents and grandparents suffered to give us. We are now a nation of spoiled brats that feel the world owes us a living, without the intellect to figure out how we got it to begin with. I am totally disgusted with how this generation is turning out, and the waste of our forefathers and mothers efforts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coming Events

The Navy, sheriff Department and Timberlake Fire District will hold a three day emergency preparedness training exercise. The Dates are: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, March 23, 24 and 25th. The lower parking lot at the Bayview community Center and the entire building itself will be utilized for this exercise and will not be open to the public. If you see emergency vehicles careening about town during this period, do not panic, it's not the end times. Just stay out of the way. With not much going on in Bayview During March, this might even be entertainment of sorts...

Centennial activities are getting started with,"Taste of Bayview." This wine tasting extravaganza will be held at Dromore, April 17 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Wines will be open and airing, the punch chilled and tapas foods artistically arranged, while music wafts through the rooms. Dromore is located on Cape Horn Road, just past Lime Kiln Rd intersection. The tasting includes an etched keepsake Bayview Centennial Wine Glass. Beer and punch will be supplied for non-wine drinkers, plus hors d'ouvres. This is by reservation only so call now. Price is $25.00 per guest. Melinda Ely 208-6830936...

Another new business is coming to town, proving that nature hates a vacuum. The rumor from a year ago about Tobler's Marina moving into the shop next to JD's is finally proving true. Fritz Sander, formerly of Waterford LLC sales, is heading up a sales, repair, service and equipment store. With MacDonald's at past capacity, the addition is sorely needed. The opening date is somewhat loose, with the target being between the end of March and the middle of April...

No news yet on when or whether either the Buttonhook or the Wheel will open or when. I will pursue answers to these questions.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fire District Power Grab

I guess something like this had to be expected. It turns out that with the help of some outside agitators, a battle is looming within the Timberlake Fire District hierarchy. The board members in the district represent partitioned sub-districts from which they are required to be residents of, but voted on by the entire district. With the present board as constituted, the majority favors the retention of chief Krill. Rather than let the publicly scheduled votes determine representation, a small group is circulating a petition to replace one of the commissioners in favor of retaining Chief Krill. The board consists of five commissioners.

One such seat, held by Bayview resident, Kirk Quillan is up for election. He is sounding very much like he will not run for re-election. Jon Guinn, former Lt. Colonel in the USAF Office of Special Investigations, having been elected two years ago, is facing recall by factions that allegedly are attempting to obtain a majority for the purpose of firing the fire chief. Guinn's term has two more years to run.

Allegedly, the regional Gadfly, Larry Spencer is behind this action which tends to work both sides of the issue. On the one hand, Spencer was violently opposed to any whisper of a fire district levy for the purpose of modernizing equipment. Now, it would appear that he is changing Guinn with failure to vote for allocating necessary funds for these purposes. In checking the records, we find the minutes of these meetings do not support that position.

It is starting to look like with the addition of the two new commissioners, and the continued behind the scenes influence of former board Charmian Sam Scheu, that the chemistry is up in the air. One can only wonder how a thankless job such as fire commissioner is ever filled. The total compensation for the commissioners is $75.00 per attended meeting, which isn't much, considering the hassle that comes with it.

We understand that Spencer will allege that Guinn has voted against the interests of the district by his alleged negative votes on funding. We will in the future attempt to document the truths of the matter. In the mean time, we strongly urge all of you to refuse your signature on this perfidious document. I found it rather interesting since the charge is that Guinn is being charged with the sole resonsibility for Board mismanagement. Considering that at least one of the petition signers were along with another, formerly on the board much longer than Guinn and perhaps could then along with another be in the same position. One old saying that comes to mind is, those that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

We have obtained through the Timberlake web site, the minutes of the last two years which guinn served as a board member. During that period, he not once voted against any funding measure. Next lie?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Timberlake Fire District Sidelines 17 out of 18 Fire Engines

On Wednesday the 17th, Gordon Schoonmaker, Fleet Operations Supervisor and Certified Emergency Vehicle Technician with the Spokane Valley Fire Department and one of his assistants will begin the evaluation of all fire department vehicles against the out of service criteria of the Spokane Valley Fire Department Safety and Operations Manual which follows NFPA and other regulatory requirements. This may take about 2 weeks to evaluate all of the trucks considering at least 3-5 hours per truck. Their shop rate is $85/hour so we are looking at a cost of at least $8,000 which does not include repairs or parts. Northern Lakes uses this shop for all of their apparatus maintenance and are very pleased with their service and attention to detail.

After Jeff Laird and I spoke with Gordon today and reviewed the attached Out of Service Apparatus and Equipment Criteria, there are items that we could apply to nearly every piece of fire apparatus we have that would technically place them out of service. We are not experienced certified Emergency Vehicle Technicians to know for sure, but we are mechanically inclined enough to know that we feel the items appear to meet the criteria. Not knowing if these trucks are safe to operate keeps many of us up at night. Some members and their families are concerned with the safety of the apparatus and whether they want to drive or ride in them.

The two in-service ambulances (EMS 61 and EMS 63) are owned and properly maintained by Kootenai County on a regular service and preventive maintenance schedule. Currently, there are no issues with those ambulances that would place them out of service according to the criteria. The fire boat is not in great shape and has its deficiencies, but Kevin Elmore has done an excellent job in keeping it maintained and safe for use at this time, Kevin maintains and repairs most of the boats in Bayview and I personally trust his work to be to standard. The fire boat remains in service under the winter use rules (only used for emergencies since we have to winterize it after each use).

If we take the conservative safety approach to do what’s best for our own responders and not risk their lives if we can help it, then we take the vehicles out of service until we know. However, then we are left with no fire apparatus. If we don’t take them out of service and something happens, then what?

Do we take every vehicle out of service immediately and until Gordon evaluates them to tell us for sure? That’s the question that several of the officers have been discussing.

The final resolution: all fire apparatus are out of service except for V2 (1986 International Engine), which only has one apparent out of service issue that we know of – the headlight high beam foot switch (when you turn the high beams on, everything goes dark, which startled me the other night test driving it on a dark road). It’s particularly concerning because this truck is a manual transmission and you are driving with two feet anyway. We just got a new switch installed this morning and that specific problem is solved.

We have already spoken with several fire departments and have calls into others to see if they have a reserve engine that has passed an NFPA inspection in the past year that we could barrow for 2 to 4 weeks. We are also speaking with fire apparatus dealers and manufacturers about short term options. If we get a loaner engine, we will take V2 out of service until Gordon evaluates it.

Be safe, drive slow, look out for each other.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Piracy ... Why Do We Allow It?

Somalia, a country that is the combined Italian and British colonies is lawless. As such it is time to stop legitimization of this place by calling it a country. It is simply a place for competing warlords to congregate without interference by government. It is also the center piece for modern piracy on the high seas.A crime that is and has been internationally recognized since the ancients roamed the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.International treaties have long existed, allowing any country to capture and prosecute pirates.

Why, then with satellites and modern detection devices,are these criminals getting away with this. For years, we have been supporting small groups of commando type warriors. Ours are Navy Seals and Delta Force. Both groups are highly trained in vertical development, a term meaning they can drop out of the sky in a number of ways, most of which are undetected until they want to be discovered.

With large ships with crews still living aboard, could be captured intact with crews rescued.Our satellites have undoubtedly pinpointed the exact location of each of these captured vessels. Why, then haven't we made piracy cost more, by capturing and hanging them from the yardarm as in past centuries?

The answer lies in having the will to do so. If governments are so afraid to take that last drastic step of wading in, capturing and releasing crews, we will continue to make instant millionaires of these crooks that even have managed to elicit sympathy for the poverty in their country from some of the media. It is time for our president to man up and do what needs to be done. Other countries also have elite troops that could be coordinated with. Patrolling the waterways to avoid piracy is not effective unless and until we and other countries go in after the captured vessels, cleaning out this rats nest. Not since we sent in marines at Tripoli, have we been faced with a problem of this magnitude. It needs to be handled in the same way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Verizon Quits

The nation's oldest independent phone company is about to throw the towel in on wired phone service. Founded in Wisconsin in 1918, Verizon went through many name changes and mergers throughout the subsequent years. Three accountants from the Wisconsin Public Utilities commission got together and formed a corporation. They promptly bought the Richland Center Telephone Company, serving 1466 customers in Southern Wisconsin. Eventually, they expanded acquiring 340 smaller companies serving over 437,000 customers.
The company reorganized after the Great Depression, renaming themselves General Telephone and Telegraph, or as we knew it, GTE. The year 2000 found GTE and Bell Atlantic merged and became Verizon.
Citing the arrival of both cell phones and Voice over Internet, land line use by individuals has become a flood, reported a mid-level manager, who asked not to be mentioned, as they didn't have authority to speak for the company. Business use, of course, at least in the near future will still be using wired lines. One large factor in addition to the above, is the free long distance that most all cell users enjoy, as well as the VOIP such as Magic Jack, Skype, Vonnage and others. Among those state affected, are portions of Washington and all of Idaho.
The surviving company in this sell off will be Frontier Communications, bases in Connecticut. They will control all wired equipment and continue to serve voice, broadband and video services. Below, is the original press release from Frontier:
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 13, 2009-- Frontier Communications Corporation (NYSE: FTR) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) under which Frontier will acquire approximately 4.8 million access lines from Verizon. The all stock transaction is valued at approximately $8.6 billion. The transaction will create the largest pure rural communications services provider and the nation’s fifth largest incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) with more than 7 million access lines, 8.6 million voice and broadband connections and 16,000 employees in 27 states. Frontier will offer broadband, new bundled services and expanded technologies to customers across its expanded geographic footprint.
Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon will establish a separate newly formed entity (“SpinCo”) for its local exchanges and related business assets in 14 states. SpinCo will be spun off to Verizon’s shareholders and simultaneously merged with and into Frontier. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of Frontier and Verizon, and is expected to be completed within approximately 12 months.
The transaction is extremely compelling for all stakeholders of Frontier. It will provide Frontier with enhanced scale and scope, improved positioning, a strong balance sheet, and greater cash flow generation capabilities. For the fiscal year ended 2008, the combined company would have had on a pro forma basis revenue in excess of $6.5 billion, EBITDA of approximately $3.1 billion, free cash flow of approximately $1.4 billion and would have had leverage of 2.6 times EBITDA at December 31, 2008.
Maggie Wilderotter, Frontier Communications Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is a truly transformational transaction for Frontier. With more than 7 million access lines in 27 states, we will be the largest pure rural communications provider of voice, broadband and video services in the U.S. Frontier is committed to providing our customers with state-of-the-art technology and innovative products. We are confident that we can dramatically accelerate the penetration of broadband in these new markets during the first 18 months. We know that broadband is a catalyst for a healthy local economy and job growth.”

Retained by Verizon In the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE were the following companies.The merger is on hold while each state's public untility commissions review approval of the sale.

Verizon California, Inc.
Verizon Florida, Inc.
Verizon Northwest, Inc.
Verizon South, Inc.
GTE Southwest, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Southwest
Verizon North, Inc.
Contel of the South, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Mid-States
Sold/transferred/shut down
GTE Arkansas, Inc., sold to CenturyTel in 2000
GTE Midwest, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Midwest, Inc., sold to CenturyTel
GTE Hawaiian Telephone Company, Inc., later Verizon Hawaii, Inc., sold to The Carlyle Group in 2005
GTE Alaska Inc., sold to Alaska Power and Phone Company in 2000
Contel of the West, Inc. d/b/a GTE West - discontinued in 1996
Contel of Minnesota, Inc., sold to Citizens Communications
GTE of Iowa - Spun off to Iowa Telecom
Verizon Dominicana (CODETEL), sold to América Móvil
Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico d/b/a Puerto Rico Telephone, assets sold to América Móvil
GTE Government Systems to General Dynamics (The Information Systems Division of GTE Government Systems was sold to DynCorp.[34]
GTE Wireless (assets in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas) sold to Alltel.[35]
compiled from Wikepedia

Ninety-one years of tradition, starting with crank phones, dial phones, push button dialing and now, the beginning of the end.What next? Perhaps they will hard wire a communications modem to our brains.Then we would be on-line 24/7.