San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, September 18, 2015

Morrison Has One Cop For Every Twenty Residents

There is a little town in the foothills west of Denver called Morrison.  I drive in, through and around Morrison almost daily.  I also ride my bike there on a regular basis.  I used to hike to the summit of Morrison Peak until the powers that be shut down all of the hiking routes to the top except one.  They said I was ruining the mountain.  Nobody is allowed to have any fun anymore.  Despite all of the time I have spent there I would never have guessed just how dangerous a town Morrison turns out to be.  In all the time I have spent there I have never seen a robbery, an assault, a murder or even a drunk guy angrily yelling at Yuppies as they stroll about the town.   In fact, I was shocked when I discovered that the tiny town of Morrison, with a population of only 432 people, has a police force of 20 officers of the rules/law.
Nationwide, the Socialist Democracy of Amerika averages 3.73 cops per 1000 people.  Nearby Canada has 2.02 cops per 1000 citizens.  I guess Canadians are more peaceful than Amerikans.  Drug-ravaged Mexico, with all of its gangs and murders,  has 3.66 cops per 1000 people.  The oppressive police forces of Russia, a police-state if there ever was one, number 5.66 per 1000 people.  Today I discovered that he peaceful tiny hamlet of Morrison, Colorado has 46.3 cops per 1000 residents.  Nearby Denver, riddled with crime from my perspective, has 1,459 cops for a population of roughly 600,000 socialists and one believer in the free market.  That comes to one cop for every 411 people who live there or 2.43 cops for every 1000 citizens.  If Morrison followed that pattern it would have one cop, probably named Andy, and perhaps one deputy named Barney.  What in the world is going on with the Morrison police department?
You need to follow the money to figure out what is happening in Morrison.  52% of the total town revenue comes from the issuance of speeding tickets.  Go here if you do not believe me.  Those twenty greedy cops working for the greedy city of Morrison issued over 7,000 speeding tickets in a recent two year period.  The starting price for a speeding ticket was about $200.  It seems pretty clear to me that the cops of Morrison only exist to perpetuate themselves.
Morrison used to be a sleepy little town until somebody in power in the Morrison city government got the brilliant idea to annex adjacent US Highway 285.  When I heard about that annexation years ago I thought that it made no sense at all.  US 285 is many miles south of Morrison and does not even come close to running through town.  Between Morrison and US 285 are a series of mountains and open space parks, things which would never be developed.  I could see no reason why Morrison would be interested in annexing the land on which US 285 sat until I realized that the bureaucrats who rule over the town were greedily interested in the potential income to be derived from the heavy stream of cars that use US 285 daily.   It is a perfect deal for Morrison because the city is not responsible for the costs associated with the physical upkeep of the US highway but the career politicians who run the show in Morrison could see that US 285 had the potential to dramatically increase their revenue stream.
Once the highway was added to the city limits of Morrison the town made the decision to immediately and dramatically lower the speed limit on one section of the road that had just been recently rebuilt to accommodate higher speed limits.  The new highway would easily allow for a 60 mph speed limit but the town of Morrison dropped it to 45 mph and established what is essentially a permanent speed trap through that zone.  One report that I read on the speed trap said that Morrison cop cars are in the zone so often they actually appear on Google Earth.  The revenues began to roll in.  More cops had to be hired to fully staff the speed trap and that caused the revenues to increase even more.  Now over half of the town's revenues come from speeding tickets issued in two primary speed zones.
The second speed trap in Morrison is on the main highway leaving Morrison to the west that proceeds up Bear Creek canyon.  As you go past the last light in town and start up the canyon, with Red Rocks on your right, the normal behavior for most drivers it to accelerate.  That instinctive behavior has cost a lot of people a lot of money.  The city keeps the speed limit at a ridiculously low 25 mph a good half a mile up the canyon.  There is no safety reason for the lower rate.  Indeed, the stretch of highway posted at 25 mph is straight and smooth with no obstacles in sight.  The speed limit could easily be 50 mph and the roadway would still be safe.  The reason the limit is posted to 25 mph is because Morrison cops have a perfect hiding place at the junction of the Bear Creek canyon road and the first Red Rocks entrance.  I ride my bike in Red Rocks a lot and it is commonplace for me to see a cop sitting under a tree, in the shade and out of sight of approaching west-bound motorists until it is too late, just waiting to catch another evil speeder.
I do not know how it is possible to look at the behavior of the Morrison police force and come to any conclusion other than the one that it only exists to perpetuate itself.  The Morrison police chief, of course, defends his minions by pronouncing that they are only acting in the public safety.  He claims that he needs 20 cops to maintain safety on the couple of dozen miles of roadways in his jurisdiction and that his actions have reduced traffic fatalities.  There is no statistical evidence in support of that allegation but that does not keep the Chief from telling a good story.
Everything that is going on in Morrison is indicative of an attitude among the cops throughout the Socialist Democracy of Amerika these days whereby they come to see the citizens in this oppressive land as little more than a means to provide a livelihood for cops.  The citizens have become a cop employment plan.  Citizens are not served and protected.  They are harassed and fleeced.  Citizens do not have to do anything wrong to be hit with huge financial penalties; they just need to break any of the myriad rules and regulations that exist to be fined hundreds of dollars, all of which goes directly into the coffers from which their persecutors draw their salaries.  Meanwhile, the cops live according to another standard.  They expect to be coddled and praised.  Indeed, they expect to be granted special privileges wherever they go and perpetual thanked by a submissive citizenry.  In a word, they demand that we worship them.  Like all governmental organizations, they create laws and enforce policies that allow them to expand in size and power at taxpayer expense.  In the case of Morrison the tax is hidden in the form of a traffic ticket but, make no mistake, it is a tax.  Why should the town of Morrison, Colorado have over twelve times the number of cops (per capita) as the rest of the towns and cities in the SDA?  Because the cops are tax collectors and they need a lot of them to accomplish their work.
If this bothers you as much as it does me, stop going to Morrison.  Boycott Morrison is my new slogan.  I would love to see Morrison become a ghost town.  The 432 citizens of Morrison would have nobody but their own police force to blame for their demise.  When I have to drive on Morrison town streets I deliberately drive 5-10 mph below the speed limit to ensure I will not be flagged.  That enrages the Yuppies behind me but it is a small price to pay to avoid paying the Morrison speeder tax.  I would encourage you to do the same.  Maybe traffic jams will encourage more people to avoid the town and we can put the Morrison police cartel out of business.  I no longer buy anything in Morrison.  I had a favorite restaurant in town but now I go elsewhere when I have a powerful need for a fine calzone.  Sorry Tony.  If you have a problem with that decision, take it up with the local constabulary. In the meantime, I would love to see Morrison and its evil police force disappear from the map. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kim Davis Is A Conscience Hypocrite

Kim Davis is drunk on her own power, or so it seems that way.  I have written about her case previously.  In that post I argued that Kim is right to oppose homosexual "marriage," whatever that is, but wrong to be issuing marriage licenses in the first place.  The state has no business being involved in the institution of marriage.  Go read that post for the argument.  Yesterday I heard a report saying that Kim is suing the state to "make reasonable accommodation" for her Christian beliefs. The civil authorities have already said she does not have to issue marriage licenses to people she finds objectionable.  Instead, her deputies have been granted authority by the state to issue those pieces of paper declaring that the government approves of a union of two sexual perverts.  I don't know if Kim has become drunk on the power she perceives herself to have or if she is being used by powers much greater than her but she is way out of line with her recent lawsuit.  Despite the fact that the civil government has already made "reasonable accommodation" for her conscience, she wants the government to declare that her office does not have to issue little pieces of paper to sexual perverts that validate and praise their view of themselves. 
According to a story found here,  "A lawyer for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis on Monday said that her legal team will file a new lawsuit against Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), accusing him of failing to provide an accommodation for Davis. Harry Mihet, a lawyer with the conservative Liberty Counsel, told reporters that Davis is happy to allow her deputy clerks to issue licenses to gay couples and  'does not want to defy the orders of the federal court.' But Mihet said she will not authorize the licenses herself.  Davis altered the Rowan County marriage licenses to remove her name, title and authority upon returning to work on Monday, according to Mihet. She has 'grave doubts' about the validity of the licenses issued while she was in jail and those without her name, Mihet said.  Davis' lawyers will also continue to pursue litigation previously filed by Davis. On Friday, her legal team filed a petition asking the the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the district judge's order demanding that Davis and her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples."
Besides the fact that a professing Christian working for the civil government should not be issuing marriage licenses in the first place, Kim has a serious conscious problem she is not even considering.  She keeps proclaiming that she should not be forced to violate the principles of her own conscience by having her office issue marriage licenses to gay couples but she voluntarily set herself up to violate her conscience the day she took the oath of office.  Allow me to quote an obscure theological reference known as the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Believe it or not, the WCF actually speaks to the issue of swearing oaths and binding consciences.  Here is what it says, "Whosoever takes an oath, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an action and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth.  Neither may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good and just, and what he believes so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform."  This ancient doctrine about oath taking is actually believed by a handful of people walking around today.  I happen to be one of them.  There are others of us about but we live in shady corners and scurry about when no one can see us.
Kim took two oaths, voluntarily, when she accepted her post as County Clerk.  Here are the two oaths she swore:
KY county clerk oath:
 "I, ....., do swear that I will well and truly discharge the duties of the office of .............. County Circuit Court clerk, according to the best of my skill and judgment, making the due entries and records of all orders, judgments, decrees, opinions and proceedings of the court, and carefully filing and preserving in my office all books and papers which come to my possession by virtue of my office; and that I will not knowingly or willingly commit any malfeasance of office, and will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God."
Prior to swearing that oath she was required to swear this oath from Section 228 of the Kentucky Constitution:  "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of .... according to law; and I do further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."
I have attempted to get this strange oath to fit the format of the rest of this post but have been unsuccessful at doing so.  The only way to make it fit would be to type the entire thing rather than cutting and pasting and I am far too lazy to do that.  Regardless, I am happy that Kim had not accepted any challenges to fight duels with deadly weapons prior to assuming her position.  On the other hand, I am quite unhappy that Kim swore an oath to uphold the laws of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  That was her undoing.
Kim has already invoked the name of God to aid her in upholding the Constitution and immoral laws of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  It is too late to take that oath back.  She should have considered it more carefully prior to swearing it in the first place. This summer the Supreme Court of Jokers of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika discovered a provision in the Constitution she has sworn to uphold that requires the various governments of this immoral land to issue pieces of paper to homosexuals informing them that the government loves them.  She had already bound herself to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples when she swore her two oaths of office.  She made the voluntary decision to bind her conscience on the day she swore those two oaths.  To expect the government to make exceptions for her today, when she finds her prior oaths a serious inconvenience, is ridiculous, absurd and downright wrong.  Her position today makes her a conscience hypocrite. Kim should never have sworn those oaths in the first place.  In fact, no Christian should ever swear an oath such as those required to serve in the various governmental factions of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  To do so is to bind your conscience to serve Satan and that, my friends, is something that should never be done.  Kim is experiencing the fruits of her prior sin of swearing an immoral oath.  The proper course of action now would be to resign her post and exhort all Christians in similar positions to do the same.  
It is fascinating to me that Christians, especially the Evangelical version, understand the biblical passage about not being "unequally yoked."  That biblical passage is in the context of having nonbelievers in church but it is generally applied to the marriage covenant as well.  Where the unequally yoked passage is never applied is to the civil government.  There Christians believe it is just dandy to work for the Beast.  What fellowship does light have with darkness?  What association is there between God-hating career politicians who reject and mock the most holy law of God and Christians who profess to live by it?  Kim is in a bind because she thought she could dance with the Devil and not get burned.  Don't make the same mistake.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Interest Rate Insanity

Fed watching has always been a part of the stock market but in recent months it has become an obsession bordering on mania.  I was watching CNBC today and my favorite Keynesian idiot, Steve Liesman (I love his name.  He tells nothing but Lies, Man), came on to explain how having the Fed raise interest rates would impact the economy of the world.  Everything he said was wrong.  Every presupposition he used was incorrect.  All of his conclusions were idiotic.  I flew into a rage as I considered how all of the innocent and ignorant people listening to the garbage spewing out of his mouth would end up believing government produced lies about the economic universe.  I was immediately motivated to write this blog post.  Let's consider interest rates for a moment today.
Keynesians, which make up all of the economists you will ever hear from in government, academia and the popular media, religiously believe that money is a commodity and that the rate of interest is the price for that money.  They further believe that the Federal Reserve Board controls the supply of the money commodity as well as the price, or interest rate, they charge for dispensing it to member banks.  Liesman explained to me today that whenever the elitists at the Fed believe they need to stimulate economic growth they increase the commodity known as dollars and decrease the cost of those dollars by lowering interest rates.  Then, according to the law of supply and demand, we will all grow wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.
Strangely, however, sometimes all of those reductions in interest rates and increases in the supply of money cause the economy to "overheat."  The concept of overheating is never defined and based upon how they use the term I believe it means that the rate of economic growth they are witnessing as a result of their wise stimulative policies is higher than they believe it would or should be.  In those cases they will raise interest rates and increase the supply of money somewhat more slowly.  Why they allow the economy to grow faster than they wanted it to initially, given their omniscience, is never explained.  Inevitably when the economy does begin to grow faster than they want it to (they call that inflation) they will blame profit seeking businessmen for it.  It is not true but with socialists it is always a winning move to blame profit seeking businessmen for anything that goes wrong.
You may wonder why the Fed never decreases the supply of money  You would think that decreasing the supply of money would be a great way to quickly cool off an overheating economy.  But they never engage in that practice.  They will tell you that doing so would immediately result in another Great Depression.  They call it deflation and they worry about that more than anything.  That idea is also economic nonsense.  The real, and only, reason why the Fed will never decrease the money supply is because the federal government spends more money than it takes in via taxation.  The real reason for the existence of the Federal Reserve Board is to create money to give to career politicians who continually spend more money than comes in in order to buy votes from those on the receiving end of their various wealth transfer scams.  But that is another story and not the point of today's blog post.
Let's consider the two Keynesian fallacies listed above:
  1. Money is a commodity, just like wheat, oil or pork bellies.
  2. The rate of interest is the "price" that must be paid to buy (borrow) some money.
All commodities have some intrinsic value.  Water, although it is very cheap due to its superabundance, is a commodity that comes for a price.  Gold, although it is very expensive due to its relative scarcity, is a commodity that comes for a price.  Commodities are things that people can use primarily for consumption or to produce something else for future consumption.   Commodities are tangible, real and valuable. 
Money, on the other hand, has no intrinsic value at all.  Its value is determined by the product or commodity it represents as a medium of exchange.  A dollar has no value on its own.  If you were stranded in the mountains in the winter time and needed to start a fire to stay alive you would set your money on fire well before you would set your down jacket on fire.  The down jacket has intrinsic value whereas the money does not (except to produce heat when burned).  When we describe something as being worth X number of dollars we are only saying that the exchange value of X would require a certain number of dollars before anyone would be interested in buying it.  When you buy X from me I do not do it for the dollars.  I do it for what I can then turn around and buy with those dollars.  This is such a plain, simple and obvious point it is no surprise that it is utterly lost on career politicians, bureaucrats, media types and economists.
Since money is not a commodity and has no intrinsic value it necessarily follows that its supply is irrelevant in terms of exchange.  It does not matter how many dollars there are as long as the supply of dollars is kept constant.  That, of course, never happens.   It also necessarily follows that an increase or a decrease in the supply of money has nothing to do with the creation of real wealth or economic growth.  All that happens when the money supply changes is a requisite change in the value of the remaining dollars as they are exchanged for real tangible goods.  More money decreases the exchange value of money and less money increases its exchange value.  Therefore we can conclude that when the Fed adds dollars to the economy in an effort to stimulate economic growth it is not accomplishing any such thing.  All that the Fed accomplishes when it adds dollars to the economy is to decrease the exchange value of the existing dollars and distort the process of exchange as market participants attempt to figure out the new ratios.
Although it is tempting to believe that the interest rate is the charge for using money, that empirical observation is not accurate.  Yes, when you borrow money you will pay interest and, in a sense, that is a charge to you for borrowing that money.  But the fact that you have to pay interest to borrow money misses the entire point about where the rate of interest comes from in the first place.  The rate of interest (there is no single rate of interest as it changes every second in every place) is determined by the future orientation and time preferences of all market participants.  When one person is willing to loan out his $100 to another person for 4%/year and another is willing to do the same for 6%/year we have an economy of four people and two transactions with an average interest rate of 5%.  The rate of interest is exclusively determined by market participants. Furthermore, it is determined entirely by the long term orientations and time horizons of those market participants.  Those who are willing to take a longer term time horizon will usually command a higher rate of interest.  They do so because they will not have access to their money for a longer period of time and the anticipated payout to the person who has borrowed the money is also higher over a longer period of time.  The opposite is also true.  Short term loans will usually command a lower rate of interest.  This explains why long term CDs pay a higher rate of interest than short term CDs.  It also explains why you have a lower rate of interest on a 15 year mortgage compared to a 30 year mortgage. The same is true of all fixed income investments under normal circumstances.
All of this is to say that when the Fed artificially changes interest rates in vain attempts to either stimulate or cool down the economy it is utterly incapable of doing any such thing.  The real rate of interest is established by market participants and it exists in the real world despite the Fed's attempts to mask or destroy it.  Equally important is the truism that the real world eventually wins.  All attempts by government elitists to manage the economy will eventually fail because they are not gods, despite their belief that they have god-like powers.  They are incapable of performing feats that only God Himself is capable of doing. 
The real interest rate in the economy of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is not zero.  There is no real interest rate of zero anywhere in the world because no person ever values a future dollar exactly the same as a present dollar.  If I must wait a week for a dollar I am going to demand some interest.  Hence, the zero interest rate the Fed has imposed upon this country the past six years has done nothing more than create a make-believe world in which it was hoped people would take advantage of the zero percent rate and spend themselves to prosperity.  Spending ourselves to economic growth is, incidentally, another glorious Fed fallacy that I have addressed many times before.  Does the Fed understand anything about economics?  It sure does not seem like it.
Most market participants have been smart enough to realize that the fake economy of the Fed does not exist in the real world.  That explains why the vast amount of free money created by the Fed's various stimulus packages over the past six years is still sitting in reserve accounts with the Fed.  Banks haven't loaned those dollars out and nobody in the business world is interested in borrowing those dollars.  Banks are not loaning out the dollars they have in reserve because the Fed is paying them interest to keep them parked in their accounts with the Fed.  Since banks make money by earning interest on loans they have no incentive to make loans to the private sector when they have a guaranteed return coming from the government.  The best thing the Fed can do is give up the charade and allow rates to rise to their real level.  Since that will never happen the next best thing it can do is start raising rates now.  The more rates are allowed to reach the real rate of interest the more likely we will experience real and robust economic growth.  Rising interest rates, by the way, also do not hinder the stock market
Will the Fed's activities impact the stock market?  Of course they will.  They will do so because most market participants stupidly believe that the Fed actually has an impact upon economic growth.  But over the long term all Fed watching is a waste of time.  The real economy always wins.  If you want to be a successful investor you must be a long term investor and you must ignore everything you hear from all government agents like the Fed, as well as their media lackeys.

Update:  September 18, 2015

To the surprise of some the Fed decided to leave interest rates at zero percent yesterday.  The stock market originally rose dramatically and then it sold off dramatically before the close.  Today the stock market has sold off dramatically.  All three moves the last two days have been attributed to the Fed. Does that sound like insanity to anyone besides me?  The worst thing about the decision is that we will have to go through this all over again in late October.  What a waste of time and energy it all is.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mayor Hancock's Rent Control Plan Will Fail

Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock has big plans for turning Denver into a socialist democracy along the likes of Chicago and New York.  As all good socialists he sees problems where they do not exist.  Also like all good socialists he believes that expensive government programs are the solution to the problems that do not exist.  The mayor announced his proposed budget last night and it includes a call  for an $8 million taxpayer funded rent control program.  Let's consider that for a moment today.
The mayor thinks apartment rents in Denver are "too high," whatever that means.  Apparently many of his lackeys in the media agree with him.  I was watching a news report on the local news last night when the two pretty air-heads (one was male, one was female but both were quite pretty) announced the story about the rent control program.  They furrowed their brows when they talked about what the average rents are in the Denver area.  They smiled profusely when they described how the mayor and the city council were meeting that night to solve the problem that does  not exist.  It was as if there is universal agreement among all the ignorant citizens of the City and County of Denver that rents are "too high," whatever that means, and government must "do something about it," whatever that means.
The average rent for a 900 square foot rental unit in Denver currently stands around $1200/month.  That is significantly higher than it was a couple of years ago.  Why have rents gone up, not only in Denver, but throughout the entire Denver metro area?  The answer to that question is simple.  The total number of rental units has remained basically the same while many people have moved to Denver to participate in the robust job growth the city has experienced since the Great Recession.  More people seeking to rent the same number of apartments causes the monthly rental for those apartments to rise.  Please help me to understand....why is that evil?  Why does the law of supply and demand make it necessary for taxpayer money to be spent in what will inevitably be a vain attempt to change what is quite necessarily an inexorably law of economics?  Furthermore, why are rising rents a "problem" that government must get involved with?  I don't hear any landlords complaining, although I did hear a lot of them complaining about how low rents were a decade ago.
In the absence of government coercion what do you believe would be the free market response to high rental rates?  It is not hard to figure out.  Capital will be allocated to the creation of new apartment buildings.  Profit seeking investors will funnel their resources to an area where profits are currently high and an abundance of new rental units will come on the market in a relatively short period of time.  You do not have to drive around Denver for very long to see that this is already taking place.  As more units are constructed the price for a monthly rental will most likely either stop rising or, perhaps, decline.  The free market can and will solve the nonexistent problem of high rental rates more efficiently and more to the satisfaction of all participants in the market place than any government program ever will.  But that does not keep career politicians from embarking upon costly and inefficient housing projects.  That alone should prove that government housing projects are more about currying favor and buying votes than actually doing something constructive in the community.
The mayor plans a two-pronged attack upon the housing crisis that does not exist.  First he will ask for more taxpayer dollars to construct projects.  Then those projects will be rented to politically favored groups, in exchange for their future votes.  In a matter of years those projects will go the way of all projects.  They will be dilapidated and filled with prostitutes, drug addicts and free market drug salesman.  The market value of all real estate around the projects will decline sharply and slums will come into existence.  Most likely those things will take place after the mayor has moved on to another political position so he will not take the heat for what he has done.  Another politician will then come along and promise to fix the problem by building new, better, more efficient projects at less cost to the taxpayers.  That too will fail miserably.  In other words, in a generation or two Denver can become just like Chicago or New York.
The $8 million requested by the mayor is to pay rent "subsidies."  Rent subsidies are political favors dolled out by career politicians to the people who will perpetually vote for them in exchange for a guaranteed monthly rent check.  Many landlords are sucked into this scam as they desire to have a guaranteed monthly rental check without the problems often associated with collecting from deadbeat renters.  Potential landlords will line up, hoping to receive their share of the largess.  Those that are approved win and the rest of the people who own rental properties will lose.  That is the nature of all government wealth transfer scams.  They always create winners and losers.  The task for the career politician to to keep the winners in the majority of their constituency so they can continue to be reelected.
The other line that will be forming outside of the mayor's office will be made up of people who want to receive subsidized rent.  These folks have a strong incentive to stop working, reduce their income and put themselves in the most favorable position to be recipients of the rental payments.  Just like the landlords there will be winners and losers.   All of those who want some of the government money have a strong incentive to stop serving people around them and get on the government dole as quickly as possible.  The beauty of a wealth transfer program like the one the mayor has proposed is that it not only harms the people who actually become entangled in it, it also harms the much larger body of people who desperately want to be entangled within it.  Merely stating his wealth transfer proposal has created enormous disincentives for productive behavior among tens of thousands of Denver residents.  Well done mayor!

Monday, September 14, 2015

More Selfish Football Player Stories

I watched the Denver Broncos almost lose to the Baltimore Ravens yesterday.  Quarterback Peyton Manning looked terrible, making many throws that were not even close to the intended targets.  The running game was basically nonexistent.  What did exist, despite the miserable offensive play, was a preponderance of selfish and stupid posturing by several of the Bronco players.  Two plays stand out in particular.
Late in the game the Raven's quarterback delivered a pass to the end zone that, if caught, would have given the Ravens the victory.  I do not recall the name of the cornerback who was defending the receiver but he jumped vainly into the air while the ball sailed past him into the receiver's hands.  As quickly as the ball arrived it also fell to the ground as the receiver dropped a catchable pass.  What was the reaction of the Bronco's defender?  He immediately jumped to his feet and began to make the physical motion made by the officials to indicate it was an incomplete pass.  He strutted about, was bumped in various ways by several of his teammates and eventually returned to the defensive huddle.  He acted like had had actually done something when all he did was happen to be in the same zip code as an opposing player dropped a pass.
Later in the game, on the last play of the game in fact, the Raven's quarterback delivered what would have been the game winning touchdown pass to the end zone where it too was dropped by the receiver.  This pass was far better defended by the Denver defensive players.  The first defender was basically doing an illegal move known as "face-guarding" where he just runs forward with his hands in the air in front of the receiver's face while the ball is coming towards the receiver's hands.  By sheer luck he was not called for the foul and the ball bounced off his hands and into the air as another Bronco defender came slashing across the field to catch the ball before it hit the ground.  It was a game winning and game ending interception.  What was the reaction of the first defender to the outstanding play of his teammate?  He sat on the ground and vigorously waved his arms in the "incomplete" motion mentioned earlier, totally oblivious to the fact that his teammate had just made the interception.  He was so caught up in his own sense of self importance he could see nothing else.
I was watching replays of a local college team on Saturday night when I saw a play that amazed me.  A receiver playing for a Colorado team had just made a good catch of a difficult pass near the opponent's goal line with just six seconds to play.  How did he respond to his catch and the importance of getting off a potentially game winning play before the time clock ran out?  He jumped around exulting in himself while looking for fellow players to exchange various bumps with as the rest of his teammates watched in horror, yelling at him and motioning for him to get to the line of scrimmage before time on the clock ran out.  Time on the clock ran out, another play was not run and the Colorado team lost the game.
Perhaps the best example of selfish play that took place this past week was seen in the high school football game in Texas where two players physically assaulted an official.  You have probably all seen the video.  If not, just Google it and you can watch it for yourself.  Two teenage boys pumped up on testosterone and who knows what else took it upon themselves to blindside and spear an official they did not like.  As the ball was snapped the first boy hits the official squarely in the back at full speed, viciously knocking him to the ground.  The second boy flies into the picture and, leading with his head, spears the official while he is lying on the ground.  As far as I know neither the boys nor their coaches have been disciplined for their blatant assault upon another human being.  If this had happened on the street there would be several people in jail right now. The boys defended their actions claiming, alternatively, that the referee called them a bad name, the refereed made several bad calls that hurt their team and that their coach had told them to take the referee out.
I am picking on football players because that is where the media attention is right now.  The same could be said for basketball players, baseball players and the occasional cricket player.  People who play popular sports who happen to be good at what they do are worshiped by a demented group of fans who can't distinguish between what matters in life and what is an utter waste of time. This insular world creates monstrosities that go around seemingly incapable of having a thought about anyone or anything other than themselves.  Other than the entertainment value provided by these monsters to those who consider their exploits worth watching, these people provide no meaningful service to society whatsoever.  It all reminds me of that infamous interview with the steroid-addicted Barry Bonds.  After droning on and on about how great he was as he approached the all time home run record even Barry ran out of gas.  In exasperation that talk about him might be coming to an end he exhorted the media that had gathered around him by saying, "I am done talking about myself.  Now you talk about me for a while."