Sunday, December 19, 2010

Living with Santa Claus.

The exact chronology of how Dennis became Santa is something I can't be certain I remember but it seems it started the year John Y. Brown became Governor of Kentucky. Dennis had some friends who were related to a man who was responsible for putting on the parade for Gov. Brown's inauguration. Since the Inauguration was December 11th they wanted a Santa for one of the floats. Dennis being somewhat rotund and having played Santa at the company party the previous year, was recruited to be Santa.
Dennis as Santa in Governor John Y. Brown's Inauguration Parade 1979

Dennis asked a friend of ours Regina Mudd to make the suit and she got the fabric and fake white fur at Behr's, a big now closed, fabric store in downtown Louisville. He ordered a nice beard, wig and boots from Caufield's and she custom made a beautiful red velveteen Santa suit with fur trim.

On Inauguration Day Dennis and Regina went to the event. He was in the parade and she was taking pictures. I was working and took a small television to work so everyone could watch parts of the parade between working. They got to go to the Governor's mansion for a private after party and he handed out gifts to those attending and got to stand with the new Governor and his wife Phyllis George Brown. He told me the Governor had his hand on her ass as she was speaking at the microphone!

The appearance was quite the success and the next year we put an ad in the Courier-Journal advertising that Santa could attend your Christmas party for a small fee. This ran Thanksgiving and the next Sunday after that. I was the booking agent and kept his calendar and was his driver. Then almost every day after work Santa and I headed out with a carefully plotted route to visit private homes.

Santa always took a candy cane for every child. He would ask the children if they knew how to sing "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer". Then he would lead them in a group sing. If he wasn't delivering gifts that night, he would have each child sit on his lap and ask them what they wanted for Christmas. The time he spent in the home was about 15 to 30 minutes and if he took longer I'd say, "We have to get to the next stop!" Sometimes he said they wouldn't let Santa leave!

The first year we did this we made about $300 at $15 for each visit. It was enough to buy Christmas presents and we both really enjoyed it. We were either paid in advance by a mailed check or someone followed Santa out and handed him the fee. Tips were not unusual! Only once did someone refuse to pay. It was a woman who lived in a very nice part of town. Dennis went in and did the whole routine. When he left she followed him and told him she was not paying him. He was hurt. He told me, "I told her that she was wrong to stiff Santa." We figured if she needed that $15 enough to do that she could keep it!
A friend of his was a photographer and he wanted Dennis to work at his studio two Saturdays being Santa for family photos. In trade for this he took pictures of Dennis as Santa. We used one on a post card which we mailed in late November each year to remind those who had hired him the previous year that it was time to book a visit for the following month! We developed a regular following this way.

The third year we got a big corporation party at a private home in the rich part of town and they paid Dennis $100. Those people had him back every year and every year they paid a bit more. He had several business parties with bigh crowds.  This went on for a decade.

Dennis died December 5, 1991. We had stopped using a newspaper ad years before but lots of repeat visits were already lined up. His Santa suit was at the cleaners and a beautician friend has his wig and beard, getting it ready to go. I had to call those expecting visits again that year and tell them Santa was gone.

I was married to Santa for twenty-one years and was his agent and driver for ten. What a wonderful life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One marshmallow immediately eaten will change your life!

It was announced here Wednesday that Walter Mischel, a psychology professor and the Niven Professor of Humane Letters at Columbia will receive the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. He is well known for his decades-long research in the area of delayed gratification and will-power.

I'm sure you are aware of the well known "marshmallow experiment".  From Wikipedia I quote:

The "marshmallow experiment" is a well known test of this concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960s, a group of four-year-olds were given one marshmallow and promised a second one on the condition that they wait twenty minutes before eating the first one. Some children were able to wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored significantly higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test years later

As a kid I was taught by my Mother and Grandmother's example and words that when I wanted some thing they thought too expensive to buy and give me, I should save my allowance and buy it myself. To reinforce this one Saturday my sister and I went to the building and loan and got social security numbers and opened passbook savings accounts. This was in 1958 when they gave you actual books about the size of a passport. Deposits and withdrawals were recorded by the teller at the building and loan office.

I began saving $1 a week from my $2.50 a week allowance. On Saturday when we came to town to buy groceries and do banking I would deposit my $1 into that savings account. When I began baby sitting for neighbors, I put that money in the account. That June I worked for a week to help Mrs. Prall clean her house and earned $10. I put the money in the account. It felt good to accumulate money in a savings account. When I started high school I had $350 saved.

This process of saving a little of our income for future larger purchases or in my case for paying taxes at the end of the year, is called delayed gratification. I'm not sure how paying taxes is gratification but if I were to be kicked out of my home for not paying them I might understand it a little better.

The motivation to work hard and save for purchases you cannot afford today, or save for future expenses is described as a Protestant or Calvinistic thing. We Catholics are told we must do good works to be saved. The Protestants say you are destined to be saved and you do good work as a result of that salvation. Now with this study the experiment was verified through scientific research. That doesn't mean we Catholics can't save for future gratification but there is some evidence that through biology we choose to eat the marshmallow immediately more than the other kids. That's for cradle Catholics I would assume.

Prof. Mischel began his work in 1960 and yesterday the award was announced. The Grawemeyer prize is accompanied by a cash payment of $100,000. This pretty much proves in at least an antidotal way that in addition to scientific results, fifty years later the gratification of the second marshmallow was realized for Prof. Mischel.


The first reaction to the buttercup yellow paint soon to cover the Clark Memorial Bridge that spans the Ohio River at Louisville has been published in Letters to the Editor of the Courier-Journal newspaper this week. A local man Rick Thomas has this to say about the color:

I am surprised that citizens are not already complaining about the upcoming color chosen to paint the Second Street Bridge. Should anyone wish to see a sample of this paint color, they need only to drive to Second and Main Street and look at the newly painted railings next to the new KFC Yum! Center leading to the bridge. Please voice your concerns before they begin painting the entire bridge. It is awful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making a profit as a non-profit.

In 1997 the powers that be in the Commonwealth of Kentucky state government and the powers that be in medicine in Louisville Kentucky got together and formed the Passport Health Plan. The organization is non-profit and has a board of directors made up of representatives from the medical practices and hospitals who originally organized the company.

The idea was to make sure indigent and the working poor got good preventative and chronic disease medical treatment and to save money while doing that. Since then the state has been awarding an annual contract which is now at $800 million. By treating a person for minor health problems or routinely for a chronic disease you keep them out of the emergency room and you keep them out of the hospital.

That saves money and everyone agrees on that.

Beyond this point the operation of Passport Health Plan for the benefit of the poor is murky!
This past spring a State Senator Tim Shaughnessy asked State Auditor Crit Luellen to look into the operation of Passport. It took a while to get her hands on the records. Although Passport gets all its funding from the state, they denied her their files. Finally the audit was done. Her report covering the period 2007-2010 was published. The report revealed reason for concern.

Before I go further let me tell you that I question whether Sen. Shaughnessy would have brought this to Mrs. Luellen's attention if he didn't have a divided loyalty. Shortly before his concern was voiced he was laid off from his job as an executive for one of the hospitals involved in setting up Passport. I like to think he would have requested an audit because of his fiduciary responsibility as a State Senator. Some suggest it was revenge for being laid off.

Now, let's turn back to the findings in the report.

Over a million dollars was spent on public relations and to lobby the state legislature. As far as I know there were no other competitors for the state contract. The percentage increase in the contract funding from one year to the next was well below the general increasing health care costs for the community. The question is why spend a million of your state contract funds to lobby those giving you the contract if you don't have a competitor or get increased funding?

The public relations expense included a large balloon version of SpongeBob SquarePants for the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade and a contribution to an annual Kentucky Senate cocktail party! The Governor was upset about the cocktail party funding. The President of the Senate David Williams, who hopes to be governor next year, said he didn't understand why the governor was so concerned about the cocktail party. It is Mr. Williams' party by the way and those attending are lobbyists.

Executives of Passport traveled to medical meetings held in lovely spa locations. They used limos and ate lavish meals while staying in palatial hotel rooms. These travel expenses as well donations, holiday gifts and flowers having nothing to do with health care, totaled over $616,000.

Salaries and bonuses to these executives are in the mid six figure range. Despite raking in huge income from Passport some executives have divided loyalties. For example the executive director received compensation from sub-contractors. The Chairman and CEO is an executive at one of the hospitals involved.
The thing that supposedly got Sen. Shaughnessy going however was the distribution of reserves. Thirty million dollars of excess reserves amassed by Passport were distributed not back to the state but were divided amongst the hospitals and medical practices that set up the organization in parts equal to their original participation. In essence this was a distribution of profits from a non-profit organization funded totally by the state.

While there is much ranting and raving about the horrible cost of treating the poor the rest of the story is that setting up and running a non-profit contract to help these most vulnerable is treated as a blank check by the management.

It will be said that this is what you get when you "give" money to the poor. I can almost hear the strident harangue by the resurrected moral majority that everyone should pull their own weight. To paraphrase the Son of God in Matthew 26:11, "the poor shall always be with us." I don't think Jesus wanted us to increase the numbers of poor or steal the most basic of support from them. A self-righteous person thinks they are good but proving that means helping not stealing from the least of us.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Civility, Sexy or is it Sexual?

I like blogs that have only a few followers. There are readers who never sign-up to follow and I know this because I get e.mail from a few myself.

When I find one with sincere and clear writing I feel as though I have found a jewel in the barnyard. These people call out into the unknown trying to communicate, to tell a story of a life.

Sometimes the blog just started. Sometimes they've been blogging for years. When I look at the comments, often there are not any or if any very few.

What motivates someone to write a blog on which no one comments?
The great consuming drama of the mid-term U.S. elections will end tomorrow when the polls close in Hawaii. I'm ready for this to end.

I watched the rally on the Mall in Washington DC on C-Span Saturday. It was put on by a couple of comedians and called "The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". I'm sure some of you attended. Some friends of mine did and they had pictures. It seemed to be an almost perfect day; no rain, wind or snow and bright sunshine. One person described it as a typical toss the Frisbee to the dog family day outside in the fall.
One thing I noticed as the camera showed those gathered were the smiles. People were smiling, talking to those nearby, laughing and hugging. People walked about with signs: Free Hugs!

Boy those signs were great too. There was a slideshow on a website of over 300 pictures of signs from the Rally. The signs were not angry or putting down anyone. The words were spelled right. Someone professed to being a person who sends grammatically correct text messages. The faces were not all white. There were a lot of brown people. The crowd looked like the America I see every day near my home.

A musician sang "Peace Train" and I almost cried. Tony Bennett sang "America the Beautiful" and I did cry. I am a Liberal and a Democrat. I am a patriot. If you cannot get your mind around that concept then you need to reconsider. Maybe we need to have a reasonable conversation where we both listen.

My favorite sign was the one that said: Civil is Sexy!
This past week it was reported that the University of Louisville had offered two season tickets for home basketball games to each of our state House and Senate members. This has been done for many years and they are offered at the usual price. A lot of the elected legislators appreciate the opportunity and buy tickets every year.

This year all people purchasing season tickets at the new YUM Arena are required to pay an additional "premium" of $1000 per ticket to underwrite the wonderful, fabulous, and modern luxury arena. This year the legislators were surprised at this additional cost. To help the President of the University, Dr. James R. Ramsey offered to pay this premium from funds in the U of L Foundation.

All this was reported in the local paper.

The Letters to the Editors were so hot I had to handle the folded paper that morning with padded gloves.

The next day it was announced that every single legislator had turned done the courtesy of Dr. Ramsey's offer. Although the legislators had not been able to get a budget passed this past session and had to do so in a sixty day special session, their good sense was demonstrated by turning down the offer!

One of the Letters to the Editor suggested they pay the premium with the extra pay they got for the special session!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rain and the arena.

The rain started late in the afternoon Wednesday last week. It had been August 23rd since we had more than a sprinkle of rain in Louisville. The weather heads had maps showing the approach of rain, so it was predicted. I was skeptical as this kind of thing had happened several times during the past six weeks without result.
From the New Yorker, October 18, 2010 issue.  I scanned it so no link.
I had been reading and dozed off sitting up with the book fallen from my hands. The cat must have heard it approaching as she came running up the steps to sit near the chair. Her growl woke me.

There on the skylights was rain. I sat at the top of the steps looking out the smeared window as water fell onto the dry acre out back. It was pouring so after a while I went downstairs to stand at the door watching. There's something comforting about a hard rain after a long dry spell.

It continued all night and early the next day. The rain had left traces on the asphalt parking lot. Moisture had already gone from the big pot of lavender by the door. The grass was still brown and it wasn't long until leaves crackled again with the bunny family moving in and out of their den under the holly bush.

By afternoon you wouldn't have known it rained at all.

At Keeneland the turf course was a bright green and the horses running over it were beautiful, dark and fleet. But off that ribbon of grass the lawn around the clubhouse was brown and dry.
From the Courier-Journal, October 17, 2010
The $256 million Yum Center opened Saturday night for the first performance. The Eagles came to town to excite and entertain us. The previous week the police and mayor had a press conference where they reviewed the way traffic moves around the new building now. One hundred police officers were assigned to help with all the cars expected. Extra TARC buses were being put on the route. An official counted all the on street, off street and garage parking within five blocks of the arena and our Mayor announced, "There are 19,000 parking spaces nearby."

Yet ticket holders to the Eagles' performance were told to get to the arena early. No one wanted to talk about getting home afterwards.

The restaurants near the venue were all excited and new menus had been previewed. Extra help was put on shift and provisions bought. The effort was justified. Waits for dinner were over an hour everywhere, though most believed the wait was exacerbated by people who had eaten a late afternoon meal and were sitting at their table waiting to walk to the arena, thereby hogging the seats for later diners.

The Mayor had tickets and was being interviewed just prior to the show starting, "There are thousands of people walking on the streets this evening. This is the kind of thing a mayor likes to see." Well I think we all appreciated seeing real live suburbanites on the streets of downtown Louisville near dark. It's something that's seldom been seen since the late '60's, when most all entertainment was downtown.

Today there was a letter to the editor in the local paper. The writer had been to the Eagles' concert Saturday night and thought it was a great one. They even had compliments for the wonderful lux NBA worthy arena. But they said they would miss our old arena Freedom Hall. I will miss that place too.

I remember going to my first Toys for Tots concert there.  I went with a GI I had met at a USO dance.  It was 1969 and he finished his training at Ft. Knox.   We both thought he was going off to Vietnam.  We walked two miles from my apartment in the December cold to the arena.  I wore my brown Chesterfield coat, dress shoes, stockings and my nicest Sunday-go-to-meeting dress.  He wore his Army green uniform.  We were the best dressed and most sober people there.  Everyone else at the concert was stoned out of their minds in tie dye and bell bottoms.

Somehow I don't think the YUM Center will ever have that ambience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A pistol in the hand vs a hand full of rocks and traveling cows.

Saturday afternoon this past week end, Andrew Elliott, 15 said good-bye to his mother and went to spend the night at a friend's home several miles away. Later that evening he and two of his friends were walking the streets of Louisville near the friend's home. They were confronted by Archie Ashley when a rock hit his car parked in front of his home.

There were three rock throwing incidents in front of Mr. Ashley's house Saturday evening. The first time Mr. Ashley confronted the boys and they left. Again rocks were thrown and Mr. Ashley confronted them with a baseball bat. The last time rocks were again thrown, Mr. Ashley confronted them and this time pulled a gun out of his pocket firing two shots at the boys running away. Andrew Elliot was shot in the back and died.

The man picked up his spent shells, went back in his house and hid the shell casings and gun. The police came. Archie Ashley was arrested.

He was charged with murder and tampering with evidence. When arraigned Tuesday.  His attorney entered a plea of not guilty for Mr. Ashley.   He is being held in the local jail on a $500K bond.  His family commented later that this event was sad. Mr. Ashley had an ongoing dispute with kids in the neighborhood throwing rocks but Andrew was not one of them. The police had no record of ever being called before to his house.

Andrew's family thanked the police for a speedy arrest. [Paraphrasing here] "There was no cause for this. He could have handled it another way. He could have called for the police or whatever. There was no reason for this. A fifteen year old boy should never be shot in the back for throwing a rock." His grandmother said she wanted Mr. Ashley executed.

Andrew Elliott's funeral mass and burial was today at his church.

One of Andrew's friends stated they had walked past Mr. Ashley's home only once that evening.

Mr. Ashley said there were three incidents and the shooting occurred after the third one.
Today in a New York Times article Emma Graves Fitzsimmons wrote an article about UPS handling the shipping of 2000 Angus and Hereford cattle to the nation of Kazakhstan. The first shipment was 162 head loaded on a UPS plane in North Dakota Tuesday. These are cattle uniquely suited for the bitter cold of the central Asian nation.

Quoting Doug Goehring, the North Dakota agricultural commissioner:
"The region they're going to mirrors the Midwest. Our cattle are northern bred and can handle extreme climates."
The government of Kazakhstan is trying to rebuild the country's livestock industry which was depleted since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The project is facilitated through an agreement between Kazakhstan and Global Beef Consultants.
"This shipment is a first for UPS which has moved pandas and sharks before but never cattle," said Ronna Branch, a spokeswoman for the company. "We ship large things," Ms. Branch said, "But I'll say this is the first time that we have shipped cows.
A veterinarian and a few cowboys accompanied the cattle to tend to their needs. I wonder if they get food and something to drink without extra charge.
United Parcel Service has a Worldport hub in Louisville. It processes slightly less than a half million packages an hour or over 84 a second. These are primarily express and international packages and letters. They employ over 20,000 people and will hire 50,000 additional short time workers for the holidays. During the holidays they will ship millions of packages daily.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your beliefs and political evangelism

Do you notice when you have a conversation with some one your opinions solidify. I read and listen and watch so much I think my mind will explode. But today in a conversation with a long time friend I said, "I don't believe in political evangelism." I don't think I've ever heard the term but I could be wrong.

The friend agreed and we seldom do agree on political matters.

Being me I think every one has the right to their beliefs. I also think they should be able to defend them, but whatever your thinking it is your own. I think my opinions are more correct than anyone else's of course, but I have no need to set anyone straight.

I was raised by my Mom, a woman who believed her views on religion and God were best. She told me once that it was my Christian duty to tell everyone the news about Jesus Christ and further tell them that if they didn't follow Jesus they would burn in hell. This was after I had learned to read and had discovered there were other religions in the world. She was an active member of the Missionary Society in her church until just before she died. I remember the big box of bandages sitting in her living room and the annual wrestle with the post office for the most economical way to ship it.
If I had stayed on the farm, if I had not left home and gone to college, if I had married the boy from my small town instead of a man I met at school, I can visualize myself believing much the way Mom did. But I did leave and the world is diverse.

It is a good thing to become acquainted with those unlike you. When you do you become friends with a variety of people. You discover moms and dads want the same things for their children, no matter their ethnic origins or which God they worship. You find it is necessary to listen to another idea. It also requires you to think about your beliefs and be able to defend them in reasonable debate. In a good conversation both parties listen to the other. The result is both parties to the conversation learn.

A favorite columnist wrote a rare piece for the local paper today. I lived most of my adult life reading his columns on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Then he retired. By all accounts he's happy in retirement; gardening like Martha on a great piece of land in Southern Indiana, hosting a radio gardening show on public radio, writing books and ever so often writing something for the paper.

When he wrote for us regularly the paper was more anticipated. A co-worker reminded me today that on Tuesdays I'd remark about it being a good day since Bob Hill's column would be in the paper! It was like when Life magazine arrived and it felt like a better day because of it.
I've included a link to today's article: .

His newspaper writing is always tinged with a little humor. He tries to get us to not take everything so seriously and speak up being proactive when things threaten to go off the rails. There is so much hate and fear in the casual media these days. The times I wake up and turn on the TV seeing the broadcast news morning show hosts interviewing a grieving family about one tragedy or another are too many to count. I call that first 30 minutes of those shows the "grief interview."

Every news program has a "breaking news" time where the latest house fire or traffic death is breathlessly reported. I'd like breaking news to be an interview with the kid who worked two jobs and whose parents saved for his education until he finally graduated and got good work.

Those of you who thrive on the chaos of the world will now call me Pollyanna. I believe however that the way to make living worthwhile is to do no harm, lift up not beat down. It's also a good idea to seek light instead of darkness, and no matter how bad things can get, light an be found.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Body beating music and sitting ducks.

All of us have favorite music. We often have favorite artists or music genres. I'm no different.

I used to turn up the stereo at home while cleaning or running the vacuum, until I almost answered the door one time naked and bumped into some Jehovah Witnesses. I'd talk about that but it was not a good encounter.
I make custom CD's to play when I'm in my truck driving to and fro. I make a different one for the seasons and sometimes a different one from one month to another. I enjoy when the weather is warm driving with the windows down and my music up loud. I've been told my moderate hearing loss is from this practice. I know that's not true, it's from trying to figure out what some mumble mouthed speaker is saying on an audio tape I was transcribing by shoving the ear buds deep in my ears. Regardless, I enjoy the feeling of loud music and warm air through the windows.

When stopped at a light or in a line of slow moving traffic, the music from a nearby car will cover up the sound from mine. Sometimes it's not a tune but the beat of the music. Imagine a set of powerful drums inside a close car with a speaker system that brings the physical feel of the music into your body. I think that is so rude! My music is loud but I'm not assaulting. [Eye roll.]

I think you get the picture. I like what I like and you like what you like but don't put what you like in proximity to me. It is upsetting.

As I've said before on this blog I will often play the "Next Blog" game. That is me clicking on the next blog button on the top bar of page. It is a mildly interesting game. I find lots of good ones as my list of followed blogs will attest. But when I am doing this and pause on a particularly unique looking blog, often music will start. Since I have my sound setting on the music embedded in the page starts loud.

People nearby hear that and say, "What's that stupid music?" Of course it's not my stupid music, It's a stranger's stupid music and sometimes the tune gets in my head and I have days of it.

It's like that candidate for Governor in New York who thought sending 250,000 registered voters a piece of direct mail made with paper soaked in the smell of garbage was a good idea. It's reported that weeks later those who didn't toss it have that smell in the house.

Then there are the relentless negative political advertisements. Alright, it's not just the negative ones. I don't like most political ads because they are so repeated. When I'm trying to listen to a half hour of local or national news they crowd out all the drug ads two months before each election. How will those people afflicted with restless leg syndrome deal without being reminded all they need is to take a pill to eliminate the suffering?

The other night I counted 15 ads for a Senate and Representative seat in Kentucky. We also get the Representative seat in Indiana as we're just across the river from that state. Local judges and state Senate seats are contested and a few of their ads join the melee. Some of the most hateful of these are being bought not by the candidate but by non-profit advocacy groups.
The number of and repetition of political ads should be part of the licensing requirement for all broadcast media. In US Mail and even e.mail, we can just toss it or delete it. Unless you skillfully watch all television content through a DVR or immediately hit your mute button, you're a sitting duck.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Selling outrage and seducing the citizen.

The rich are angry according to Paul Krugman in his New York Times column Monday. The rich are outraged that the tax cuts they were given in the beginning of this century are expiring at the end of this year.
The rich want everyone else in the country to be outraged too and are willing to put their money where their priorities are. The primary method is the creation and funding of nonprofit advocacy groups like Americans for Job Security. Then there is Citizens for the Republic run by men known as Regan's money men for two decades. This organization is yet another almost solely funded by the Koch brothers. These two men, who inherited the huge corporation Koch Industries, are the money behind the money pushing the Tea Party's "grass roots" influence.
"…among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it's their money, and they have the right to keep it."

Largest home in Kentucky owned by Papa John's founder.

The nonprofit advocacy groups raise money and avoid taxation by calling huge donations dues. These groups have no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country, funding advertising, websites, blogs, YouTube videos, online chatter and enthusiastic talking heads who are inflating outrage at the logic of paying taxes to support the country.

I mention these groups because they are examples of hundred more that exist to get our votes behind their agenda. They believe when we see their incessant warm and fuzzy shots of the majesty of our national parks and the flag flying briskly in a small town parade, we will once again believe the words well crafted to seduce and follow that thinking all the way to the voting booth.

You see 95% of the country is not extremely wealthy. Fourteen point three percent of the country [one in 7] people in America are poor. The poor do not vote in numbers anywhere close to their part of the population. Fifty to 60% of the citizens vote. These nonprofit advocacy groups know this. They have set their eye on the up to 80% who are not poor and not very wealthy.

To succeed in the self-serving agenda of the rich all they have to do is poke us into their outrage.

Three quarters of the annual budget of the country is spent on the military, Social Security and Medicare. I would analyze this for you but I know your eyes will just glaze over!

Suffice it to say the working population has paid into Social Security and Medicare. Yet when you hear candidates supported by these advocacy groups one of the things they want to do is cut these two safety net programs. Another idea they have is to privatize Social Security so that there is fresh money for the stock market which leads to fresh commissions and income for the banks and brokerage firms which we the people bailed out when they ran the financial industry into the ground.

Remember that? Sure you do.
Back in 1994 when the Contract for America was launched taxes were at the point they would be again when the tax cuts expire at the end of December. When we survived the predicted Y2K doom of the new century, the federal budget had a surplus. Learned economists were predicting major financial problems if the surplus continued! This tells you just how accurate learned economists can predict the economy in the future.

Now we have had seven years of wild abandon in spending and two wars. We have had three years of continuing war and an almost total financial collapse. You can blame this on many things. There are nonprofit advocacy groups who will write you a long list of who to blame. But when you spend more money than you bring in you are not going to be solvent. Closing our eyes and doing what was done before will not work.

That is the definition of crazy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Well bred horses and homeless people.

The State of Kentucky and the City of Lexington will be hosting the World Equestrian Games for sixteen days beginning this next Saturday. As you may or may not know we have the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The Park was created on a former Saddlebred Horse farm and purchased by the State in the late 70's. The Park was originally created in celebration of the Thoroughbred horse. Now the Park is run for all breeds and types of horses. The Kentucky Horse Park is where the World Equestrian Games will be held.
The Games are a big deal here; a really big deal. The have never been held in the United States. In fact they have never been held outside Europe. It took years of work to get them scheduled here when awarded for this year in 2005. The State has made $75 million dollars in improvements to the Park in preparation for the wide range of events and accommodations for visitors from around the world. A corporate sponsor has paid $75 to add their name to the official name of the Games. This sponsor is Alltech.

At that time before a world wide recession, it was anticipated over 600,000 people would purchase tickets and attend. As of today 325,000 tickets have been purchased. Looking at their website it's quite a clicking exercise to find out the price of tickets. I did find general admission tickets for a week day afternoon event cost $30. Feel free to investigate further if you're curious. I'm sure they are quite pricy for the good seats.

Approximately 500 horses are being airlifted this week from Europe, Australia and South America. This is the largest commercial airlift of horses ever. The FEDEX planes used in shipping these very well bred horses is specially outfitted for comfortable horse transport. As many as 24 attendants work each flight. Food is horse gourmet and their health and comfort is tantamount to ultra first class.

As many as 995 competitors will be coming from fifty-eight countries.
It is estimated even at a lower level of ticket sales the economic impact of the Games will be over $160 million. Hotels within driving distance are booking fast. Homes are being shared for a fee. Restaurants are creating special Equestrian Games menu. There are festivals, trade group shows, concerts and a myriad of events scheduled to entertain visitors and encourage them to leave bags of money here with us.Further news reported by WLEX-TV yesterday:
Discussion among people familiar with the way other Kentucky cities have handled large events, suspect police will be rounding up the homeless and depositing them in the temporary shelters just prior to the start of the Games.
Lexington's homeless are being offered two temporary shelters to sleep in while the city plays host to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Catholic Action Center director Ginny Ramsey told the Lexington Herald-Leader that between 100 and 130 people routinely sleep on Lexington's streets, particularly Phoenix Park, during the warm weather. The group is opening the shelters from Sept. 22 through Oct. 10.
I mention the reported $1 billion short-fall predicted for the 2010-2011 budget. All State departments were asked to cut 4% from their previous budgets. Non-merit State employees are being laid off. The Legislature had to go into special session to pass a budget that does not seem to meet the needs of the state in the areas of education, Medicaid and infrastructure upkeep.

Regardless of this, $75 million was spent to improve the Horse Park and prepare for a corporate sponsored [Alltech] event. The $160+ million predicted return is not to the state. It's a return to hotels, restaurants and industry businesses.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Painting bridges between luxury and charity.

This week it was announced that painting of the Clark Memorial Bridge spanning the Ohio River between Louisville Kentucky and Clarksville Indiana has begun. The contract was posted in March 2010 and the work has already begun. This is a wonderful thing. The color has been chosen and paint purchased. Evidently they have all their brushes and scaffolding ready. Soon we will have a lovely buttercup yellow bridge. The excitement here is palpable.
Why buttercup yellow? In a phone interview with Leni Schwendinger, a Brooklyn-based design and lighting consultant, she said the inspiration for choosing the color was “about celebrating the color of bourbon,” as reflected in the nearby Whiskey Row restaurant and housing development along Main Street, as well as “the liquid gold of a sunset and sunrise.” She went on to say the trend is to make infrastructure more friendly and welcoming! I was surprised it took someone from Brooklyn to make this connection.

All this painting and spiffing up of the general area downtown on the river is in advance of the new KFC YUM Center opening in October.

It was also announced this week, after the arena has been built and the final touches are being made, that there should be no problem with parking at all. As long as all the people who work in all the office towers near the arena "clear the hell out" after work. No lolly gagging now. No stopping at the entertainment district bars and clubs for an after work drink! Get the heck out of there and go home!

It's a miracle our building a fabulous $100 million plus sports arena on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville, tucked right beside the Clark Memorial Bridge so close you can practically touch the building while riding to work, and getting it built and finished on time.. After all, the last bridge that got painted here took over a decade and cost 400% more than originally estimated.

The Kennedy Bridge, another span between Louisville Kentucky and Clarksville Indiana and within sight of the older Clark Memorial Bridge, was painted recently. The painting began in the last century and was finished in 2008. The original cost to paint it was $14 million and the final cost was $57 million. It seems there were a few unforeseen problems. Problems like a bridge inspector soliciting bribes from contractors, several sets of contractors who accepted the work and found out it was just too much for them, as well as arguments about the color. A local well placed and respected colorist said a nice dark green with brown accents. Considering how much the paint job cost, green would have been appropriate. There were arguments about that being too dark and too distinctive when the paint inevitably flaked.

The Kennedy Bridge got painted a nice beige. On stormy days it sort of melds into the color of he river.

Speaking of the brand spanking new KFC YUM Center, University of Louisville basketball will play the coming season there. There are new luxurious sky boxes, as there are in the Papa John's Cardinal Football Stadium. All the big corporations and medical practices are renting them. I'm sure just like the Speed Ball every winter and the sixth floor seats for The Derby, luxury sports boxes are in demand, expensive and the place for the well heeled to meet people just like them.

It was surprising to learn that Dismas Charities, Inc., a non-profit halfway rehabilitation house corporation was one of those renting suites; one at the football stadium and one at the basketball arena. The cost was something over $137,000 to rent the boxes for a year.

Ray Weis, the CEO who by the way is paid an annual salary of over $600,000 to manage the corporation which operates 27 halfway houses under contract to the Federal and State Governments in 12 states. The Executive Vice President, Jan Kempf received over $450,000 in annual salary. These salary amounts are for the year 2008.

As you can imagine the Letters to the Editor are running strongly against Dismas Charities. Mr. Weis announced the monies for the suite rent came from investment income. The investment money came from the sale of real estate in Atlanta. I've not seen a report of where the money for the real estate came from but knowing the Courier Journal investigative reporters, we'll soon learn.

A further dicey bit of information was dug up by a member of the Metro Council. It seems last August four members of the council chipped in funds from their discretionary budgets and granted Dismas $2800 to purchase a lawn mower. This mower is used by former prison inmates to mow the grass growing in abandoned cemeteries in the county. Dismas is being paid to do this work by local government.
Dismas House Headquarters, Louisville, KY
Back in 1964 when the nonprofit 501(c/r) was established I'm sure the intent was admirable and the good work of helping prisoners gain a place in society again is good work. Somewhere, probably about the time executives of Dismas began being paid like top corporate executives the began believing it was a good use of funds to rent luxury sports boxes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cake and the sweet life.

Last Sunday was baking day for me. I entered red velvet and pineapple upside down cakes in the Kentucky State Fair and they were due by 5 o'clock Monday.

When I was a kid and in 4-H I entered lots of categories for the county fair. My sister did the same thing. Luckily our projects weren't just baking. There was sewing, silk thread embroidery, forestry, canning, meal planning and table design. Girls growing up on Indiana farms saw their futures as farm wives. My mother was a farm wife and when our daddy died she was a farmer. I won lots of blue ribbons during this time and even once a grand champion in the Indiana State Fair for an embroidered picture of the Lord's Supper on white linen.
I stopped entering things in the fair when I left home for school. I started again when we bought our first house. Dennis would help me and on the Sunday before the entries were due, I'd make six cakes. It was a whirlwind of flour, sugar, washing mixing bowls and baking pans. Then again I stopped after he died.

About eight years ago Reggie encouraged me to try again. He is a good baker and enters about ten things from yeast braided bread to herb plants and apple pie. He's won lots of ribbons over the years including blue ribbons. I have always entered just two cakes. I won a fourth place, second place and third place ribbons over recent years.

This year I had carefully planned to have all ingredients on hand and at room temperature; the mixer bowls and beaters were clean. The recipes were practically memorized. I was ready. I started with the red velvet cake because I could be whipping up the pineapple upside down while that one baked. I turned on the oven to preheat and had the butter and sugar creamed. I just added the paste made from dry cocoa and red food coloring when I checked the oven. It was cold.
I checked the plug, the connection from the cord to the stove, flipped the circuit breaker back and forth; no heat. It was about 9:40 a.m. by then. I covered the bowl and put it in the refrigerator and put everything away. I sat down and thought about the situation while reading the papers.

Reggie called to check how things were going. I told him of the dead oven. He said, "Well bring your things over and bake them here." What a prince! I completed the assembling of both cake batters, put them in the appropriate pans, figured how to get them the two miles or so to his place and spent the afternoon trading use of his oven for my cakes and his breads.

When I got home I removed them from the pans. I wrapped the layers and closed the kitchen door. Next morning I got up early and frosted the red velvet. About 11:45 a.m. we loaded up my truck with my stuff and his stuff. We drove out to the fairgrounds and got the exhibits entered. It felt good to be finished.

Reggie won two ribbons. This year I did not win a ribbon.

I will be getting a new stove in a couple of weeks. I'm already thinking of making more cakes for practice. I used to make cakes for neighbors when I was young. They loved them and that was like a reward to me because they would always want me to stay and talk to them. 

It is hard to describe what baking those cakes and entering them into a fair contest does for me. I had a good childhood. Learning domestic things felt good and if I had become a farm wife, I would have been happy for Dennis was the son of a farmer. But both of us left home and went to school, never returning. Perhaps making those cakes is a step back into sweet nostalgia for something that never was.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Take that job and ..... you finish the sentence.

A lot of drama has been reported surrounding the flight attendant who could not take anymore of his job at JetBlue. He gave reasons for his actions. Others gave reasons for the passenger being upset. Today it was reported he wants his job back.
Talking to a new medical assistant at my doctor's today, he spoke of the incident. I agreed with him that it was remarkable the flight attendant had gotten so upset he stole a beer and slid away. I told him it was my experience working for the general public was very hard work. He said he once worked at a fast food place and a customer spit at him because he was making change while trying to take an order and show a new employee how to do the job. He said at that moment he decided he wasn't going to work for the general public anymore. He went to school and was trained to work in a doctor's office. He currently is working towards an RN part time. I pointed out that he was still working for the public. He agreed but said, "Here the patient is aware that he needs the doctor and the staff as much as we need the job."

I hope he gets his degree and has a successful career. RN's are in demand.

I quit the job I had worked at for ten years and started a business. At the time I made that decision I was having lunch with the department secretary. We would gripe about how a woman at the same level as me was fucking the boss and that's how she got her title. It was obvious she wasn't as smart as those she supervised but would always be there as long as they were involved. My friend was an excellent secretary. Although I worked a year as a secretary at the same place, I was not an excellent secretary. This was the '70's before computers, spell check and all manner of helpful things to make typing accurate.

She was willing to quit and work for me but expected to be moving within the year with her husband when he was promoted. We both talked each other into my starting a typing service. It would be best if you paused for a bit and visualized two women who reminded you of Polly Anna.

Sometimes you hate your job so much you are willing to run down a hill into an abyss. It worked out fine. Thirty years later I'm not typing for a living and the business is entirely different. One thing I know is I am happy in my work compared to how I would feel thirty years later in a job I hated.

Today most people would say anyone starting a business should be evaluated for a mental illness or disease. In 1979 people were saying the same thing. Those reading this who were not born or unaware may want to Bing or Google the year. There was a recession. The economy was bad. The next year when we got our one and only business loan to buy equipment, we had to pay 23% interest.

My boss, the office lothario said when I gave notice, "You're going to make a living typing?" Less than a decade later he came to me to write his resume when he was "let go" for inappropriate expense games. That was a good day. No I did not giggle but when he left Dennis and I had a good laugh.

I cannot begin to describe how hard it was to grow, manage and endure in a small business. It was easier because my husband Dennis was in it with me. I'm not going to list all the mistakes I made and how many times I was scared and afraid we would fail. There were many.
When you work for yourself you work harder than you ever work for another. If you're working hard for someone else, they're getting extra value for your labor. A small business owner also has the responsibility for the business employees. I never fired an employee. I had to do too much of that working for the other guy. I had employees quit but not very many. I always realized that no matter how good a person was they weren't going to stay with us forever, so the best I could do was make the payroll and teach them something that would help them later.

When the economy is so shaky that 10% of the country who wants to work cannot find a job, employees stay in jobs they hate. This is the true definition of a wage slave. We as customers need to remember this when buying things. Whether the flight attendant gets his job back or not, he will find work, probably as a manager of some kind. Some of the unsatisfied workers need to start businesses though because that is the key to an expanding economy and work force.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two stories and many lives.

This week in Louisville there were two stories all over the paper.

The first ended Friday about Noon when a woman was convicted of lying to the FBI when asked about phone calls made to the university basketball coach, swearing eternal silence about his indiscretion with her if he paid what was asked for. She knew who made the calls. She had asked the man to make the calls. She told the FBI she didn't know who did it.

The indiscretion had happened seven years before. She went to a local restaurant where it was well known the basketball coach would be with his buddies. To hear a description of this group of friends, I'm reminded of the famous "Rat Pack" though with bit players instead of famous men. She wanted a job working at the university and being intelligent she intended to become friends with the group and use that to get employment.

By the end of the evening she was in the basement of the restaurant with the coach. They had sex or she was raped. Being alone together it was she said he said. She did not go to get a rape test done. She went home. Months later the coach gave $3000 cash to another employee of the university and that man took the woman to a city 100 miles away for an abortion.

Between that time and the point where she lied to the FBI, she married and divorced the man who took her for the abortion. Before the divorce however, she told him the child she aborted was a product of rape. She asked another man to make calls to the coach demanding money for silence. That didn't work. She asked her soon to be ex-husband to give the coach a list of monetary demands for her silence. That didn't work. She asked her divorce attorney to write a letter to the coach asking for $10 million. That didn't work. The coach went to the FBI with the mess.

She was indicted for several things, basically lying to the FBI.

That was in 2009. In July 2009 she went to the local police and told them she was raped in 2003, and the circumstances of the rape. The SUV detective video taped the interview at the police station.

That same detective went to the coach's office and in the presence of his personal attorney interviewed him about the incident. No video or audio was used to record the interview.
There have been newspaper stories published; all the local television stations have covered every aspect of the case. At trial the Federal prosecutor called all the men involved in the case; her x-husband number one and the father of her children, the x-husband number two and former university employee, the coach, the divorce attorney and a man she had an affair with for several years during this time.

Her attorney called no witnesses. In his closing arguments he said the efforts to get the coach to pay money were all the idea of her second x-husband and former university employee. The verdict was guilty. The woman is not in jail, released on her own recognizance waiting sentencing in October. It is said by loads of lawyers and former federal prosecutors that she will get about seven years in the place Martha Stewart served her time.

The second story involved a new family now living in Louisville.

In 2000 a nine year old child came to our city. He was part of a group of children from Sudan sponsored by a Lutheran church. These kids had a terrible existence in Sudan and were known as The Lost Boys. He got an education, began working and going to a community college. As time passed he became an American citizen and got his degree from WKU. He got work with a local bank and reconnected with his mother and sister, still back in Sudan. In 2006 he went back and was introduced to his sister's friend. In 2008 he and she married. She stayed to work on her eventual immigration. He came back to Louisville.

Since then they have been apart. It's expensive to pay the fees to get the paperwork done, as well as the airfare and additional fees required by the Sudanese government.

She had a baby girl he has never met or held. He still works at the bank and has a second job, sending money back to support his mother and sister, as well as his wife and baby. Last year he spoke to a Rabbi here in town. The cleric was moved by the fact that this man and his family were apart. He asked the congregation at his synagogue what they thought should be done. They raised the money to pay for the plane and the fees. Yesterday afternoon he met his child at the local airport for the first time.

Members of the synagogue were there as was the rabbi and several local television cameras.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Others in the 102 degree heat.

I was almost home yesterday afternoon in the 102 degree heat here in Louisville. I had gone up to visit Anne to get my hair cut and chatter like a magpie for a couple of hours.

There's this part of I-65 before the Kennedy Bridge over the Ohio that goes from 70 mph to 55 mph. As I was slowly rolling in the midst of a major traffic tie up ahead, I saw an old dark green 70's era Bonneville stopped at the side of the road with a flat on the back right side. The wheel was on the ground and a man was kneeling trying to get the small spare tire on the axle. All the windows were down and the doors were open on the ditch side of the car. I could see two women and young children sitting there; the women fanning.

I pulled over ahead of them and walked back. They didn't have AC working and were hot. There were two children in the car. One was a girl maybe five and the other an infant. I had a bottle of water I'd bought up the road about 20 miles before. They shared it. The man came around to see what I wanted and he got a swallow. The younger woman said they were close to home; just 2 more exits and then into Jeffersonville. "I don't know why this kind of thing has to happen when we were almost home." There's no answer to something like that.

I said, "Why don't you all come sit in the truck? It has air conditioning." The two women did and held the kids in their lap. I had a couple wet wipes from a fast food meal. The older woman used those to cool of the baby. The man went back to the wheel. Shortly after I stopped a cop stopped and helped the man finish.

The policeman came up and told us it was done and they could go on home now. The man walked up to the passenger door and thanked me for taking care of his family. The women thanked me too and one of the kids, a little girl, hugged me.

I was thinking of the day in late June when I was on that same road going north, and had a flat tire. This was during the time Roger was driving nails into the tires of my truck, one at a time. I'd always been closer to home when this happened before, but even though I had checked the tires before leaving, there was another that slowly leaked and stranded me beside the expressway.

I had AAA then and a cellphone. I called and they asked the usual questions; type of vehicle, color, mile marker nearby. I got the tire unhooked from under the truck bed, and got the jack and was organizing things when the tow truck got there. The mechanic finished quickly got it changed. It was over 95 degrees that day and I had AC, but I often think of how it would have been if I'd had to finish the change or didn't have AAA or air conditioning in the truck.

I heard the other day that 99.9% of DNA in our bodies is exactly like 99.9% of DNA in every other human's body. Further more that the entire DNA in existence today is from 68,000 people a long long time ago. There isn't any new DNA. What we have is what we have. No matter what we look like or where our parents and ancestors came from, we are pretty much the same as the people next door, genetically.

If you come into contact with a stranger you are pretty much just like them. If circumstances allow you to spend a few minutes in their company, you will also discover they enjoy air conditioning or heat. You may find that they like to go to baseball games and movies. They like meatloaf or cookies, maybe the exact same kind as you like. It is said that we are all within six levels of separation in knowing every one. In Louisville I sometimes think it's four.

It is more important for a useful interesting life to get to know others individually than it is to be rich or live a long life. I know it is not possible to get to know "every" person. I do know that it is possible to get know one other person or ten other people. At least that's what I believe and I know walling yourself off so you are safe or keeping all your cookies for yourself, is not the most useful or interesting thing to do.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Our stories are worth listening to.

On Saturdays I do things around the house. Some Saturdays I'll have to work a little while, and that's ok. Generally though, Saturdays are for shopping the yard sales early, listening to the Public Radio shows and reading magazines or papers I've not gotten to all week. I like this because it is food for my head. Today I found a metal mixing bowl for my old Kitchen Aid mixer. It had a small dent in the side, but it's just fine. Those bowls cost about $30 and I got it for $5.

When I was a kid Saturdays were when we went to town to get groceries and do shopping. We would leave early and be there just as the stores opened. In a small town Saturdays are as close as you get to traffic. Every business was open, the Courthouse was open and so were all the banks. Now on Wednesday some of these places and all the doctors and dentists were closed. I have friends who live in that small town still and it's the same now on Wednesday.
In the afternoon I would help my grandmother take a bath. Mom would make a cake. My sister would mow the yard and both we girls would take our weekly bath. We didn't have indoor plumbing until I was eight and the way we took a bath was to use the tub in the milk house that was used to wash milk cans. We would each carry a kettle of boiling water and take towels down, partially fill the tub with cold water and add the hot water; one tub and two girls.

This was also the day we washed the car, made sure our clothes for church were clean, pressed and rolled our hair. The one day of he week you were to look your best was Sunday.

Grandmother had been born twenty years after the Civil War. She grew up on a farm in northern Kentucky. She was the oldest of fourteen children and said she had spent her youth taking care of babies. She never went to school past the fourth grade but she loved books. I would read to her. As a kind of exchange she would talk about her life. Grandmother is the person who first told me stories and I have never gotten over listening to people talk about their lives.

Every one has a story. Some have hundreds. Sometimes they won't tell you all their stories, but it is amazing how easy it is to get a story.

Today on "This American Life" the producers of the show chose nine counties in Georgia and divided them amongst their reporters and staff. The reporter visited their assigned county and went into café's, stores or the courthouse and asked a random person, "Who is the most interesting person you know in town?" Sometimes they would have to go to several people because when they got to the one someone recommended, they would suggest another more interesting person! The idea was based on a Charles Salter's newspaper column in the Atlanta Journal in the 1970's entitled "Georgia Rambler."

If you'd like to hear today's "This American Life" go to iTunes and download the podcast for your iPod.

I sometimes type up stories people tell me. I'm not disciplined with this. Usually it will be a couple of paragraphs I put in my journal. Meeting a lot of different people I cannot remember names, but years later if they mention something about their life, I can bring that story up and immediately we're. I'll think, "Oh this is that guy who had the 1965 Mustang and his ex-wife painted it purple one day when she caught him messing with her sister!
It started raining again tonight after dark. All day the temperature was below 90 degrees and humidity was only 50. This week we got strong rain every day but Friday. Usually overnight and I'd wake up at the sound. Nice to go back to sleep listening to rain.

Next week it is predicted to be almost a repeat of this past week; 90+ days and hard rains.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh, that feeling when he's gone.

Some of you may have knowledge of Morgan's Raid led by Gen. John Hunt Morgan in 1862. The raid lasted 46 days and covered 1000 miles through Indiana and Ohio. This was during the American Civil War. The raid struck fear in the civilian population and drew tens of thousands of Federal troops away from their regular war duties, to protect the citizenry. There are historical markers all through southern Indiana and Ohio to this day. We were taught this bit of history in our schools in the small town I grew up near. Having knowledge of and reading the papers about Rick Scott, I am reminded of Morgan's Raid.

Rick Scott was born in Illinois, moved to Kansas City and went to high school and junior college there, enlisted in the Navy for 29 months, came back to Kansas City and graduated from law school. He moved to Texas and practiced law with the state's largest firm in Dallas. He and two other people started Columbia Hospital Corporation and with further acquisitions of competitors, the company evolved into the largest health care corporation in the country.

Mr. Scott passed through Louisville when Columbia acquired a subsidiary of Humana. They announced their headquarters would be in Louisville and the city was delighted to have them here. Billboards were put up on all the expressways. The corporation contributed big bucks to the arts and Mr. and Mrs. Scott were invited to all the best parties and galas. There wasn't a week when they were not featured in the social pages.

It wasn't just the old and new society money who embraced the Scotts. The State government gave low and no tax deals to the corporation. The city was told new high paying jobs would come together in Louisville and so the city helped with those nagging occupational taxes. Then before the commuters got tired of the billboards, Mr. Scott and the corporation decamped to Nashville.

The local paper was full of outrage. Letters to the editor were numerous. We were never told what Nashville used to lure them there, but we as a city were not amused.

In the late 90's Columbia/HCA was charged by the Federal government in a huge Medicare fraud case. Mr. Scott was CEO of the corporation. Among the crimes uncovered were doctors being offered financial incentives to bring in patients, falsifying diagnostic codes to increase reimbursements from Medicare and other government programs, and billing the government for unnecessary tests. The case was never brought to court and was settled with a payout of $1.7 billion.

Mr. Scott was never personally charged, but the corporation ousted him. In an application of veneer to hide their crimes, the corporation changed its name to HCA Mr. Scott went on to spend the next decade investing in health care service firms and technology start ups.

Now Mr. Scott has turned to politics in Florida. He is the GOP candidate for governor there. His campaign has been saturating the airwaves in an effort to introduce himself and wash away the dirt on his resume. By Sunday he will have spent $24.9 million of his personal wealth in this.

He is also pushing the legal limit of things to get the public financing laws changed in his favor. He's upset because his opponent, who is not a millionaire, will begin getting public financing when Mr. Scott reaches his spending limit Sunday.

I could write about the injustice of election financing. I won't do that today.

In 2009 Mr. Scott put up the initial funding for Conservatives for Patients' Rights. The organization sounds like it would be working to help individual patients get help. The true purpose is to reduce the growth of Medicare and other government programs.

The irony just does not stop!

Mr. Scott and his companies get all the tax breaks they can scare the state out of, and then abandon Kentucky to zip down to Tennessee, which also abates taxes for them. Then through guile and clever machinations with cunning schemes that amount to out and out theft, they cheat the Federal government of funds that should have been used to help more people.

I know how we feel here in Louisville after experiencing the acquaintance of Rick Scott. I'd advise Florida to take note. I suspect if he's elected governor there, they will have a similar feeling when he leaves.