Tom Garrett

Tom Garrett 15 hours, 48 minutes ago on 783 An interesting question concerning Socialism.

In the UK at this minute there is a genuine crisis regarding the possible shutdown of a major source of jobs and the possible loss of a major industry. A suggested solution to the problem is one which is possible under Socialism, but not under our form of government.

At the moment it is possible that Tata Steel, a major European steel manufacturer located in the UK may sell its Port Talbot steel works. That would no doubt be all right if it were selling to another company which would keep on operating the plant, but what the company is saying that it is seriously considering not just selling the site, but closing it, which would be yet another blow to the UK economy.

Altogether, the 14 sites of the steel manufacturer provide 14,312 good paying jobs. Loss of those sites would be a severe setback to the UK economy and make it even harder for it to compete with other European Union members. However, Tata Steel is apparently losing millions of dollars each week, which is something else to consider.

The UK is, of course, a Socialist nation in which the actual ownership by the government of the means of production is allowable. British Rail, for example, as well as the BBC and British Air, are actually owned by the UK government. So a suggestion being made at the moment, an impossible one over here, is that the government "co-invest" to save the Port Talbot plant. In other words, the UK would partially own the plant or plants involved.

The Question Is.....

Obviously I am not suggesting that the U.S. should become some form of Socialist nation, but when a situation like the one the UK is facing occurs over here someday, just how "innovative" should our thinking be?

By the way, Charles, do you prefer this "summarized" opening to a string over the "quote the source" method? It's purpose is to remove any slant in the original story, but since I may or may not have a viewpoint on any issue which may or not affect how I summarize it, that brings into play another element. A hint: If I call someone in the story an idiot, suggest that he take a long walk on a short pier, or use other perjorative language it may be a hint regarding my position. :-)


Tom Garrett 16 hours, 2 minutes ago on 768 Who caused this incident?

Pat, we are talking about a matter of legal responsibility. The bus driver is NOT responsible if he was simply following his instructions to NOT stop at any place except a designated school bus stop.

And since it was the parent who (a) was trying to force him to do something he could be fired for doing, and (b) hazarded himself by grabbing the bus and using his body as a weapon, he himself is responsible for whatever happened — unless the bus driver did something he did NOT do, something which exceeded the limits of rational judgment, such as driving off at 30 mph or turning a corner with some idiot flying though the air with a grip on his mirror.

Any good lawyer can get any charges that might be filed by some overzealous or ignorant law enforcement agency dropped in a heartbeat. And after that point is resolved the civil suit that can be filed against that dunce of a daddy would be quite profitable — and should be filed simply to teach him a lesson.

What we have here is a case of a not-too-bright parent do something incredibly stupid, who who made a very poor decision when he did not simply let go of that mirror when the bus began to moves, and who having made that decision scared himself half to death and so hung on when eh should have just let go, along with some school official who improperly suspended a worker doing his job and put himself and the district in a poor legal position, and a bus driver who simply tried to drive away as he should and who no doubt made the normal judgment that the idiot was simply being an idiot and would let go when he saw the bus was going to move.

There's more to this, but we can let it go at that.


Tom Garrett 16 hours, 11 minutes ago on 781 Is this our official policy on nuclear weapons?

Bob, my impression is that we live in a world where Teddy Roosevelt said is right. "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

"Tom, How about all the world but us?"

That's an interesting thought, Pat. If we ever have to fight WWIII, and we win, that would be the way we would no doubt set things up. If there's anyone left. :-)

The simple truth is that Kerry's comment means one of two things:

  • The %$#@! idiot for got that he speaks for the nation and should have kept his big mouth shut about such things.

  • Someone in Washington at the moment has a screw loose if Kerry correctly quoted our current policy!


Tom Garrett 16 hours, 17 minutes ago on 763 The HOA and the tree.

"Owners can't change something by a majority vote and move on - unless that is what their HOA docs say."

That is not quite correct. It IS true during the period of time when the properties have not yet all been sold and the developer is still essentially a "super-board." That sometimes gives homeowners the impression that they lack the power to make changes based on a vote. But the minute that all the properties have been sold and the developer is out of the picture the property owners can do as they wish as long as they do not violate some law; any other situation would be ridiculous, but I can't tell you how many people taking the law courses I taught thought they couldn't change the CC&Rs.

The legal situation is that an HOA is a self-governing entity; it is not bound by the original decisions made by the developer or by the original rules the developer wrote, many of which, if you look at them closely you will see were written for the purpose of keeping everything static during the sales period. Read the articles that established the HOA and you will see that it mentions — in some terms or other — "two stages."

My advice to people? Buy in an area that suits your taste and in which you have looked very carefully at the neighboring homes for at least a block around before you sign on the dotted line. Visit the area without the sometimes deliberately obfuscating presence (pardon me, Pat) of a real estate agent. Tap on doors and politely ask questions about things you cannot see, such as what happens on weekends, or what may happen periodically the town council or some business group with "make-the-area-a-destination" ideas have done what they so often do. Know what you are getting into!

And if you are buying in one of the many HOAs which have "common areas" such as parks, pools, tennis courts, streets, the frontage of your property (which if you check you will find is not yours, but is part of the common areas), and the like, or in a managed property composed of town homes or condos which the association maintains, please keep in mind that you will be severely restricted concerning any change on the exterior of your home and may find certain other restrictions very burdensome. So buy with great caution and be absolutely certain that you will be able to live under some very strait-jacketed circumstances.

If you don't do that you may find yourself very unhappy!


Tom Garrett 16 hours, 17 minutes ago on 763 The HOA and the tree.

Nancy, what you say makes good sense, but the legal situation in an HOA is slightly more complex. I'll try to just point out, as out have, some of the ways in which potential buyers go wrong and why they are unhappy afterwards, which is the prime reason HOAs get bad press.

"If people do not want to follow CC&Rs and Rules & Regs, etc., they should not purchase a home in an HOA community."

Exactly! But there are, of course, some other matters to consider.

"Before you purchase a home with an HOA, READ the governing documents you are given!!!"

A waste of time for most people because while they may more or less understand the CC&Rs they do not understand the inherent powers, of lack of same, of the board members — nor do most board members from what I have seen. As someone who served on an HOA board I can tell you that there are some people who join HOA boards with an entirely wrong conception of their powers. The law is simple: ALL power to make decisions and enforce them lies with THE BOARD, not with any board member. I have seen the exact same problem with local governments too; some council members simply do not know that the only power they have is to vote on issues. They run some portion of the town government and write ridiculous rules they have no power to write or enforce ordinances in ways they were never meant to be enforced.

What I found on the board on which I served was that the reason people were selling and moving (and they were!) or were very unhappy with the HOA, was that one female board member thought that being on the board gave her godlike powers. She enforced rules that did not exist, she wrote up the board minutes to reflect what she thought they should say, and she directed the management company to place violation notices on people for things that were not violations — except in her narrow minded perception of life.

The solution was, of course, simple; the rest of the board simply "asked" her to resign as the recorder for the minutes. She very huffily resigned from the board. I then took the CC&Rs, and with them and my knowledge of local ordinances, state law, and law in general wrote a six simple working instructions for future boards. By the time my wife and I sold out and moved up here, making a tidy profit on the sale because the homes in the association had become very attractive once the HOA was running as it should, the place was running very smoothly.

But the lesson remains. An association is only as good as those on the board, and any developer who creates managed properties should have someone with legal knowledge write a set of instructions for board members outlining what they can and cannot do, and how to do it.



Tom Garrett 1 day, 16 hours ago on 781 Is this our official policy on nuclear weapons?

As I am sure everyone know by now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently made a visit in Japan to the memorial to the people who died in the World War Two nuclear attack on Hiroshima. It was, as you no doubt also know, one of two nuclear attacks which led to the surrender of Japan, which had previously vowed to fight on to the last man and woman when invaded.

Now, like you I suppose, I feel genuine sorrow over the thousands of men, women, and children who died in that attack. Just like you and me they were human beings and my pain at the thought of their deaths is real and deep. And I have no problem with any representative of the United States expressing his personal feeling on that subject.

But Secretary of State Kerry made a statement during his visit to that memorial which, since he is the official representative of the United States, comes into question. He said that his visit was "gut wrenching," which I am sure it was, and with which comment I have no argument. But he then went beyond that perfectly understandable and personal opinion and said that the memorial was "a reminder of the need to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons."

The Question Is.....

Oops! Is that the official policy of the United States?

I'll add a little more to that question:

  • Is it U.S. official policy to rid the world of the very weapon which has made total war unthinkable?

  • Would Nikita Khrushchev, head of the Soviet Union, have pulled back his warships during the Cuban Crisis if it had not been for the threat of nuclear war?

  • Is there any other deterrent which would prevent some rogue nation from making — and using — an atom bomb on us other than the threat of massive and instantaneous retaliation?

  • Why has the President not immediately moved to correct the impression that it is our policy to give up that deterrent?


Tom Garrett 1 day, 16 hours ago on 782 Common sense handling of fireworks.

"I thought AA stood for Alcoholics Anonymous."

Close, but no cigar. American Airlines

Alopecia Areata

AA battery

AA VerboBrain in C3PO

Alternate Advancement


Acts of the Apostles

Alcoholics Anonymous


Associate of Arts

AA Volcanic rock (Interestingly enough, I knew this one; it is taken from the Polynesian word a a, which is pronounced "aah aah," all of which suggests that the Polynesians were not too high up on the verbal language scale.)

Architectural Association

Automobile Association

Advertising Association

Administrative assistant.

Author's Alteration.

Also, there would be my mother's warning to quit doing something, which went, "Aah-aah!" often followed with, "You touch that and I'll bwake your wittle arm!"

Besides, this would not be the AA, it would be the AAP. Either that of we'd have to say GO instead of GOP, or DE instead of DEM.

Also, since we have DEM, what happened to DOES, as in DEM guys and DOES gals. :-)


I often wonder how any of us make it long enough to get into kindergarten.

And for some people I wonder how they ever passed kindergarten and were promoted into the first grade. I'm thinking of some of my college professors when I say that.


Tom Garrett 1 day, 17 hours ago on 777 Are current Air Force uniforms a lot of nonsense?

You're right, Pat. Anyway, the purpose of a hat in the military is to protect the eyes from the sun so you can see to shoot, to protect your head from sunburn, bugs, branches, cold, rain, snow, and all the rest of the crap we run into in some of the places we have to go, and to help blend into the background, which a white face or a black face in bright light does not do.

I might also mention that the ones I see them wearing are things about the size of a large cupcake perched on one corner of a head (usually bald or going bald, by the way). What nonsense. Soldiering is serious stuff, not high school cheerleader nonsense.


Tom Garrett 1 day, 17 hours ago on 768 Who caused this incident?

"Sorry, to answer your question. THE BUS DRIVER."

So he was supposed to ignore his instructions? If that's so, then why was the last bus driver we talked about supposed to FOLLOW his instructions? Can't have it both ways.