Saturday, July 26, 2008

A nickel..a dime.. a million reasons why

At our last meeting we spoke about the fat cats in Hollywood and their dynamic ability to make millions , well they sure did not disappoint this particular weekend. As I have said before, I have nothing against them or anyone who goes out to enjoy a good movie and spends a dime or two. Its just that the possibilites are endless, they could really do some good right now and in the future for so many people. There are so many endeavors that could use their help and would go a long way in the fight against social and economic needs. Here are the dollar break downs for a few movies that did quite well for themselves out of the gate:

The Dark Knight-$155 million in the United States alone and another $40 million from outside the country.

Mama Mia- $27 million

Hancock-$3 million

It was reported that Hollywood as a whole did about $235 million just this past weekend alone and that was just a portion of the opening nights and had yet to conclude. Do you agree that it would only take maybe just a portion of their success to help? Just dedicate a little and it will go a long way, and it wouldn't have to be everytime and all the time, just a set allowance that would be approved by the Industry and you would see that they would still flourish. It's only a drop in the bucket, it too may seem idealistic and novice...but what the heck you gotta start somewhere and why not here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The layoffs are a comin'

No matter how you look at it the economy is always the catalyst that sets the American table if you will. This past week the economy took a hit in both the national and local sector. We shall first explore the General Motors layoffs, and then The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper layoffs as well.

The GM Company has decided that by laying off several thousand employees it will boost, or as they put it right the ship for the future and the present. They are not alone in thinking that this is a solution to the poor sales and lack of need for such demand. GM is the same car company that brought you the Corsica, the Beretta, the Cavalier, and lets not forget the Spectrum. They made a living by selling these little cars that didn't have a whole lot of speed, longevity or continued desire by the American public. They too soon got out of the "small car" business and began making the big and bigger SUV's that ruled the world for a decade. I am one of their former consumers as I had a Tahoe, I loved it and would still have one would it not be 'cause of gas and the lack of resources to finance a tank on wheels. At this stage in our economic life one cannot indulge the way we used too. We have to be responsible and choose to get where we are going with more fuel economy, isn't that what they are now telling us we want? If they were listening then and now they would have made that Tahoe a better fuel driven vehicle. but now they are saying that because you the public have slowed the demand for such a tanker that they must seek other methods to save their company's profit, and that is to layoff thousands of people. They are not the first this year as far as car company to propose layoffs as a way of cutting losses, has it worked? Why don't we ask those who have now joined the unemployed and seek their opinion. Have you ever seen the movie "Dick and Jane" starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni. It is about one Corporation that goes under and lays off its entire employees. Not a bad flick, its premise was as true as real life. When just one group are layed off and then another then those with similar job experience are too looking for that "one position" available, not so easy then is it. So when the Car Company lays off its people to help boost sales and adjust the structure of the powers that be, are we more able to buy their vehicles too? If few thousand people in one region lose a job as well as in another region how do you suppose their is more money in the economy to purchase a vehicle that one could barely afford before the job market slowed down. I just don't see how they can think that by not making more affordable cars that the public would desire at a better price isn't the answer. Heck they have had ten plus years to make that Tahoe get better gas mileage, they just didn't care because we didn't either. Now that we are waiting and searching for a more affordable car and foregoing the "bring all your friends" car they are taking notice.

Yeah they want you to think that they care about you the consumer and that you expect a cleaner solution. If that were the case then why do their hybirds and such the like cost more than they need to. Its the same Tahoe theme all over again, give the consumer what the think they need, but at a greater cost. Gas prices have made the public give up their large vehicle for a smaller one even if they are upside down in that large vehicle. And when you go looking for that well commercialized car remember that you are facing are much larger task. If you thought that the housing market didn't affect the car market wake up. As the loans are harder to come by for a home loan, then so too are the car loans available to you as well.

And now it comes down to the local scene, and how you get your newspaper. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has too layed off in hopes to boost circulation. The only way to boost sales that way is in hopes that all those looking for a new job use the old fashion way and buy a paper to search the want ads.

Is there an alternative to layoffs, sure... but no one entity has the solution. I trust they in power have looked at all angles and to layoff so many isn't what they went into business to do. I'm just asking how does it not affect so many other things in the economy. Its a trickle down affect that has no end until certain things get taken care of. I haven't yet seen that in all the layoffs propsed and carried out. Your cars still are not affordably economic and your newspaper still comes to me the same way as before...missing the ads I want and full of the ones I don't. Not to mention all the big gas guzzlers it takes to deliver "the good ..the bad..and the ugly." Our economic future is waiting in the unemplyoment lines across America, now what kind of solution is that??

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let's all go to the movies

I am as big a fan of the movie industry as the next guy. I love a good action or suspense thriller as much as a good comedy. I however am like much of the nation not in love with the ticket prices or the overall experience my wallet takes when taking a family of three to such an outing. I understand its a luxury and if you cannot afford to go, then don't. But when you get there you shouldn't have to darn near put the venture on a credit card just to get popcorn, drinks and what the heck a box of snowcaps. I remember back in the day when the tickets were only about five bucks for first runs shows, and you and a date could spend about twenty dollars and get all the aformentioned products. I'm paying for stale popcorn at a premium price, I'm getting watered down soda and if I'm lucky a fresh pretzel with cheese. Anyway I know that the money spent is just for entertainment purposes, and that my family can afford to go every now and then. But what about those who only get there by going to the sometimes run down "dollar theaters?" The movie might be the same on the screen, but the experience is quite different. You have people there only to get out of the heat, or the cold and could care less about what's on the big screen. let's not mention the kids running up and down the aisle, and oh my gosh the floors and seats feel as though someone sat there naked dripping sweat on them...ugh!!

When a blockbuster movie comes out and the first weekend drives in millions of dollars, that is where the thought process has got to change. I know that those who produce, act, and the studios have to make the money to make more movies. Have you ever stopped and thought about the amount that one movie could do for an entire section of our population. Like many of other things I know that all proceeds and the like cannot always go to other needy things, but how can the Industry go on strike saying that they don't get enough of the pie. I'm not talking about the minimum wage employees behind the scenes, they are like many of us not living the hollywood lifestyle. But how about a portion being donated to the fight against hunger, disease and homelessness. What about fund raises with certain proceeds being earmarked for families of disaster, or for the family of a public servant whose family has lost their sole provider. I think that if they amongst many other big companies where to help the community rather than profit from them maybe we all could feel better about our entertainment dollars. Let's not forget the movie industry also includes the rentals that account for such dividends across seas, that's right not only are we as Americans spending money on the new blockbuster but so are our neighboring countries...they love David Hasselhof over in Japan and still pay a premium to see anything he is in, even if its run its course over here in the States.

With everything going on in the world, like the War and the declining economy, the movie is our way to forget and just enjoy the moment. And they do a very good job at doing just that. But reality hits you in the face when the lights come on. That same two hours or so getaway only delays the haunt of perile waiting at the exit doors. We don't have to stop our various ways of enjoying life, but we need to apply that same effort in providing laughter, sorrow and heroic acts on the screen as well in our daily walks of life. So maybe the next time they talk about going on strike, think about how its really you and I and those minimum wage employees who are really being taken advantage I do love my snowcaps.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is your vehicle loaded?

Todays issue centers on weapon permits, and who should not be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I find it ridiculous to allow someone to arm themselves at work outside law enforcement. But that is just what some people are asking their local and state government, the ability to while on the clock have your glock in the truck. We'll explore some reasons not to allow this sort of marshall law in a few moments.

I live in a small southern town, its population consists of prodominately whites, but a large portion of black and latino also reside here, not necessarily side by side either...know what I mean? Anyway, that is another topic for a different forum. I was at the local shopping center awhile back and to my surprise standing in line was a man paying for his purchase while packing a six shooter at his hip. Yes I was definately shocked to see this man just standing there packing heat and no one batted an eye. He apparently is well known for having his weapon at his side at all times, wherever he may go. He owns a local liquor store and is best known for his ability to not be robbed, go figure. I wonder about the thought process that would allow someone who sells alcohol for a living and probably sees booze in his sleep, wear a gun at the local stores and theaters. I'm not implying that he or anyone who works in the alcoholic industry is a drunk waiting to shoot someone, I just think separation from the two should be expected.

Now we were talking about examples of why we shouldn't allow guns at work. On one hand I'm sure it might curtail some of the work place violence that takes place on a daily basis. If you know that most of your co-workers have guns and they know how to use them, one might rethink coming to the job ready to kill innocent people. And that is what is most bothersome, people kill those who mainly have done nothing to them, heck they might not know this guys first or last name. Especially if he or she works at plant and each persons hours vary day and night. If "Billy" gets fired 'cause he is a sorrow employee then take it like the lazy SOB you are and go find another job, do not come back later and kill anyone who's still putting in his hours for daily pay. If you really think its ok to have guns on the rack of the pickup truck in the employee parking lot then your as crazy as those idiots who do the shooting, justifying it by saying they all did me wrong in some way.

There are some states where the local schools take time off so that people can go hunting, and gun racks are as common as say toolboxes or hunting wear. However if that student were to return to school grounds and forget to take the gun off the rack, he will be expelled from school no matter if there are one hundred days or just one day left his high school career. But we understand why there shouldn't be any weapons at our schools, but its alright to have them at work?? I know that in theory adults should be more mature than say a high schooler, but when "Billy" shows up, getting passed security somehow at the local A&P Processing plant, is he really any better. I say as much as society beacons us to take extreme measures to protect oneself, we have to eliminate the ability to act out of aggression using what should be left at home to protect our families with. There are too many tragic stories out there where the Loved one went to work only to not come home 'cause some loser had his boss can him for lousy work or whatever. There are warning signs to help identify that "Billy," we all can help but it starts with local and state legislature preventing such acts to pass as laws. It most assuredly makes the business the first responders, if you think there is going to be trouble, please alert local law enforcement and they will make sure "Billy" gets home and you too safely and ready for the next day...enjoy your families, someone out there isn't able to because someone brought their home problems to work and it was a loaded weapon that was in their vehicle...It shouldn't be that easy!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Car vs. Pedestrian

The other day I came across a story that shocked and enthralled me. It was about a Father walking his six month child in a stroller crossing an intercsection in Tallahasse that is prodominately a college area. The dad was crossing with the right of way when a car turned right, and didn't apparently see them both. The driver hit the dad and the stroller launching the child, from witnesses account, about eight feet across the intersection. From all reports the two are doing well, aside from cuts and scrapes. Now here is where it gets interesting if not yet still.

The Dad became so crazed at the thought that his young child could have been killed punched the driver and tried to pull him out of the car. The driver got a ticket for reckless driving and the Dad as reported is in hot water, his is charged with a misdomeanor for striking the driver...huh?? I'm in no way advocating violence, it is a situtation that could have quickly gotten out of hand. However if that had been my child and I just witnessed her being launched across the street into the air, I can not in good conscious think I would have done less if not more to that driver. I hope the charges will be dropped, I know that you can't take the law in your own hands, but you also cannot allow a ticket vs possible jail time be the solution either. I'd be curious to hear your response to the situation and your solution as well, thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pros vs Joes

Imagine if you will some of the most wealthy and recognizable sports figures around, I won't use any specific names since their cases may still be pending. On the other spectrum think about the average joe , who works for pennies a day and not millions. What do they have in common, other than the obvious, not much . However possible likes may be their stong work ethic, desire to work hard for their community, and lastly their ability to get into the same trouble.

Lets start with the average "joe", he works all week to accomplish a certain goal. It could be defined by his abilty to achieve higher standards than say his fellow employees. At weeks end he wants to celebrate and go out with friends. They choose a local establishment where probably like an episode of Cheers, " everybody knows your name." When the night finally comes to an end the life of the party needs to find his way home, the choice is obvious, I'm not to drunk to drive home? Even though they went to a place familiar and with the understanding that by nights end they would have too many they have no plan to get home safely. His argument could be that he hasn't the money for cab fare, that he cannot afford to have his vehicle towed. Undoubtedly he's done this act before and by all account never had any trouble getting home and never needed to ask someone to drive him home, though all know who he is at this particular establishment. And then inevitable happens, he's pulled over by law enforcement, or worse causes a tragic accident that you or I could be involved in on our way home with the family from say getting ice cream. Now his penalty could range from imprisonment, to a loss of his employment, and even perhaps suspension of his driving priviledges. Not to mention the continual thought of how easy it would have been to ASK for a ride home you IDIOT!!

Now lets suppose you are that athlete that all children aspire to be. You cannot go anywhere and not be recognized by anyone and everyone... aah, poor guy. Anyway like the "joe" he works hard all week in preparation for to showcase his talents both on and off the field. He too chooses an establishment, the only difference it could be any place and with his entourage he's sure to be noticed. He is the life of the party as he is always, its as though the people there are on his payroll. The bartender, who makes sure he and all never have to wait for anything. the owner who provides VIP parking, the Pro didn't come in no hoopty. By nights end the place is still hopping, everybody wants to hang with an allstar. Thus the choice to get home arises, the Pro has the money for a limo ride home, the Pro has the entourage to allow for his "ferarri /benz/rolls royce or whatever to not be towed. And most importantly has he no one on the payroll who's job it is to stay sober and drive him and his entourage home? If any millionaire anywhere out there needs a ride home and is willing to pay me handsomely to drive him or her home anytime...I'll be happy to do just that!

Now like the joe the pro has made the same unwise decisions. Its all over the news and now you have to explain to your children the disappointment their sports idol has created in their lives. I do not wish to make excuses saying that the joe had no choice and that the pro is entitled. I simply am tired of these guys making all this money and having no greater sense than that of the average IDIOT! When the PRO mames and kills someone, does he lose his job, spend the rest of his life behind bars, lose his abilty to provide for his family...if you think yes then perhaps you should check out a certain ball player from St. Louis via the University of Tennesse..I said no names!!

They are not unlike all walks of life, both poor and the rich do the same things only their pay scale is different. I know however that there are a lot of pros and joes who make the right choices everytime they go out on the town, we just don't hear about them 'cause... well you know it's not news until it hurts. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE YOU IDIOTS!!!!!