Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Updated the profile page a little. Just bringing things up to date a bit.

Miliary Ain't What it Used to Be

The Bastards!!

Today I found out that over the next 10 years I can expect to see a 10% decrease in my military retirement. In the recently passed (House of Reps) Ryan/Murray budget plan is going to reduce the cost of living adjustments for military retirees to CPI less 1% until I turn 62.

And it could very well be more than a 10% reduction as the decrease will be compounded over the years.

Stunning on two fronts here.

First: Ryan!! Good grief, what a heartbreaker. Two years ago when he was Romney's running mate I really though he had grassroots conservative chops. I think we all did. He said all the right things about smaller government and liberty. He was what the ticket needed (supposedly) to overcome the deserved RINO tag affixed to Romney. He was even looking like a viable candidate in 2016.

But it looks like that wasn't exactly true.

Secondly: Senator (D) Patty Murray. She is from my neck of the woods. She made sneaker footwear in the rarefied air of politics famous before that nutjob in Texas was even out of grade school. But as you may have noted, she is a democrat through and through. I would never vote for her in a million years. And I say this even with the full knowledge that she chairs the veterans committee in the Senate and has for a few years. As far as I can tell she has been a strong advocate for veterans, but generally speaking, I'm not a single issue voter.

But this budget deal screws us veterans. I know that a lot of folks out their view our retirement as some sort of pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But as a retired E-8 (second highest enlisted rank) after 27.5 years, it not even close enough to live on, especially with a mortgage and two teenage boys. I feel that Sen Murray has really let us down

NOTE: while receiving about 70% of my pay sounds like a lot to those who did not serve, I'm actually bringing home about 65% each month what I made every two weeks. My actual take home retirement pay is now about 40% of what i was making while on active duty. While active duty I didn't pay for health and dental and paid very little to cover my family (it was once ALL free). My life insurance payments for $400,000 benefit was about $20.00 a month is now about $145.00. If I died while on active duty my wife would have received a monthly survivor benefit. To keep that now that I am retired we pay over $180.00 a month. One more thing to consider. Not all of us fall into great mid-level or higher government jobs. I worked retail and drove a truck for two years before I started working for the railroad. Don't get me wrong, having the retirement pay is nice and it does a great job of supplementing the work I have now. But to have 10% cut from my earnings over the next 10 years is going to hurt. Especially when I really do retire. That 10% loss will NOT be made up.

And while this new budget does ask the government civilian work force to start paying more into their retirement earnings, it grandfathers current civilians. Only new hires will be expected to pay more into their retirement accounts. This cut to military retirement pay will impact both current active duty AND retired military personnel.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is California High Speed Rail Stuck At The Station

While it has become very obvious that my blogging has slowed to a crawl it doesn't mean that I haven't been out there keeping up to speed with all the goings on in the world.

One of my favorite targets has been the California High Speed Rail attempts to link Southern Cali with the Bay Area. You can get the details by reading my other posts on this subject. But a snapshot is this very expensive construction project started out with an estimate in the $10B range, nearly all taxpayer funded (no reputable private would touch this boondoogle with a ten foot pole AND HEAVY tax subsidies). Over the life of the project (hardly any actual construction) the estimates have increased 350% to $35B, still with little to no private money. And something else to consider, this money was to be used to build a small section of the entire project.

As mentioned, there has been some minor construction between two communities that have no need for, or the ability to afford the price of a ticket. Names escape me at the moment. Other than the lack of money for this project there have been other stumbling blocks. Right-A-Way acquisitions have proven troublesome. Some folks out there don't want to sell their lands for a railroad and lawyers are fighting eminent domain attempts.. Interestingly, while this project has been a gleam in some enviro- fascist eyes eco-nutjobs have also put up some road blocks. Apparently the is some sort of bird in the hills between the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley that would be in trouble if tracks and tunnels were built through this area.

Interesting side note on that last sentence. The media is practically stumbling over itself trying to shine a harsh light on the supposed rift between the conservative and old guard factions within the Republican party. But very little has ever been mentioned (this blog excepted) how different factions of the eco-nutjob movement are opposing each other on many supposed green earth projects. Solar projects in California and Arizona have been either shutdown or slowed to a crawl over habitat destruction concerns. Wind turbines are now killing birds and bats by the millions and some want them shut down.

As usual, I'm rambling.

Anyway, on the reason for this post. It seems that a California Superior Court Judge has ruled that the state of California cannot move forward with this project. It seems that California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has not met the requirements to sell that bonds that are needed to fund the project. Mind you, this project was actually approved by the California public back in 2008. But also note that back then, the estimate was $10B, not the current $35B. Hence the reason for the ruling. The voter approved measure has a provision that requires that for funding to begin there must be money to complete the section of the project voted on. I might not be really good at math, but I'm smart enough to know that $10B approved can't cover the $35B needed.

As most of my readers are aware, I have been opposed to this project form the word go. I have real issues throwing good taxpayer money after bad projects. Some have pointed out that America has dived into huge public works projects in the past. The inter-state highway system and dam building come to mind. That was a different day and age though. These projects help build the USA. Goods and people move on the freeways, giving a boost to manufacturing and tourism. Power generation and the huge growth in agriculture has been a boon to the USA.

But what does the HSR have to offer other than rapid movement between LA and the Bay Area that really only the elites will be able to afford on a regular basis. And shouldn't that be the final arbiter of the worthiness of a public works project? If taxpayer money is going to be used for these kinds of projects shouldn't it give benefit to the most number of people. Dams and freeways met this very simple (and demanding) litmus test. The California HSR doesn't.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some Random Thoughts

It has been quite a while since I dropped a not on this page. Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive and kicking. Been working hard on the railroad, a job that I have had since last Oct.
Just thought I’d share a few thoughts about the all that has been going on recently.
The government shutdown:
Two things actually on this subject. Never have I ever felt more betrayed by my party than I did with this. It was clear to me that we conservatives had an objective and our elected officials, for the most part, let us down. I hope that John McBackstabber (hard to say about a true war hero) does decide to run for AZ Senator one more time. I’d truly like to see the dude get slapped upside the head in a primary. Cruz for President.
Secondly, what a complete jerk our president is. President intentionally left in lower case because he does not deserve a capitalized President, so petty has he become. I wonder if anyone in his administration said to the idiot it wasn’t a good idea to make 90 year old WWII veterans martyrs. I just can’t imagine there isn’t someone that has his big ol’ ear. There just has to be someone who whispered to him “Sir, not a good idea.”  And if his entire administration is made up of people who have no decency, then we are truly in bigger trouble than many care to contemplate.
How cold-hearted do you have to be to shut down a memorial dedicated to the most revered generation this nation (our any other nation) has ever had. Good God man, these people were in their late 80’s and into their 90’s. Many of them unable to walk.
Administration Corruption.
I really do believe that someday history will look back on this president and his people and lump them with Nixon and Grant as one of the most corrupt administration to ever (dis)grace this nation. From Benghazi, to Fast and Furious, to the IRS targeting of conservatives it would have brought down many other Presidents.
Which brings me to…

Friday, March 1, 2013

Great Speech

Obviously I haven't blogged in quite some time. Been busy with the new job and a bit upset over the turn of events in this country.

I ran across this video on Legal Insurrection. Here is the link to the blog itself. I am going to post the video here.

Really too bad for the people of Virgina that he did not win the Senate seat last November. But I guess there are more takers in Virginia, one of the original 13 Colonies/States, than there are freedom-lovers.

Many I can convince him to move to Washington. While most tend to vote liberal out here, it is quite possible the voters of WA, who tend to be a bit more pragmatic, would send this guy to the Senate.

Another interesting tidbit about WA. We have one of the most favorable CCW laws in the nation. This seems at odd in a state that keeps sending Cantwell and Murray to the Senate and elects democrat Governors one right after the other (proving that you CAN'T teach an old dog new tricks).