What is AFLAC Milking?

Has anyone other than me noticed something rather peculiar about AFLAC’s latest commercial, the one with all of the talking barnyard animals?

I’m referring to the bovine character with the milking machine attached beneath its hinterland. One is supposed to presume that a cow(female cattle) is being milked while jovially joining in on the commercial commentary.

Except …

First of all, it’s a Polled Hereford, a breed of “beef” cattle not known for its milk production. That’s right. Rather than use a breed noted for it’s milk production such as a Guernsey or Holstein, they used a breed of “beef” cattle.

Second, is that a cow (female cattle) … or is it a steer (castrated male) or bull (no definition should be needed)?

My family’s first venture into raising cattle was a mixed herd which included both Holsteins and a Guernsey. To that initial small herd, my father added registered Black Angus cattle including an Angus bull. If you don’t already know it, there’s a definite difference in the appearance of beef “cows” from “beef” bulls and steers. It’s a very noticeable difference in appearance. Also, the Angus and Hereford as beef cattle breeds are very similar in appearance.

That Hereford in the AFLAC commercial, whether by some perverse design or gross ignorance, is either a bull or a steer.

Generally, I enjoy AFLAC commercials but, come on guys, this is a little over the top …milking a bull or steer. The Amos family in Columbus, Georgia who started AFLAC ought to know better and keep up with what their advertising department is doing.

Let’s face it folks, what message does it send you about an insurance company that doesn’t know the difference between a cow’s udder and a bull’s penis?

Enjoy your glass of milk today.

Bob Beckel’s Take on Barack Obama’s Silence Regarding Iran

Sometimes I almost feel sorry for Bob Beckel … almost. I do admire his courage for being the lone liberal on Hannity’s “Great American Panel” on Fox News.

Tonight, he’s in the position of defending Obama’s silence regarding the popular uprising in Iran  related to that country’s recent election. Beckel stated that he felt Obama was advised to remain quiet to prevent the current regime from having an excuse to crack down harder on the protesters. He stated that he felt Obama making a statement in favor of the protesters would give the regime an excuse to blame the current uprisings on the United States and it would, as a consequence, deal more harshly with the protesters.

Who else thinks that the current paranoid government of Iran actually needs an excuse to blame the current uprising on the United States or any other western power? It has never appeared to me that the current despotic government of Iran has needed any excuse to blame the United States for any and everything that they couldn’t deal with intelligently.

According to a recent report, as many as 28 million people in Iran may have voted against Ahmadenejad as opposed to the less than 7 million who were reported to have voted for him. Those are fairly impressive numbers … more than 4 to 1 against the current Iranian leader. It’s highly unlikely that 28 million Iranians have all of a sudden become pro American. After more than 30 years of oppression by their despotic government, it’s much more likely that the 28 million are simply voting against their current rulers and simply prefer anything or anyone rather than who’s in power now.

So, the question really is, “Is President Obama protecting the protesters from greater oppression and harm; or, is he simply dropping the ball by not providing them with moral support and encouragement that they may desperately need?” What’s wrong with the leader of America simply stating that America favors free and open elections where evey qualified person’s vote counts … in any country? Has he forgotten that this very premise is the reason the United States of America was founded, the reason for the American Revolution, the desire for the American colonists to have representation and not feel disenfranchised by their government? Apparently, voicing the founding principle of this country sticks in President Obama’s craw. Fear of the reaction of a two bit dictator in Iran quells him into silence.

Apparently, hundreds of Iranians may have already lost their lives in the ongoing protests with thousands more injured and jailed. Does the Iranian government really need an excuse to crack down further on the protesters? Those Iranian protesters have infinitely more courage than our president.

The deafening silence of the current administration does send a message … both to Americans and Iranians. If the election in Iran was so corrupt that millions of Iranians feel the election was stolen from them, the United States government led by the Obama administration will do nothing, not even by simply providing a verbal message of support for free and honest elections in that country.

So, Bob Beckel finds himself in the position of somehow having to defend the Obama administration for remaining silent to “protect” the protesters.

Where would we be today if Ronald Reagan had not said, “Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall.”? Would the Berliners have had the courage to eventually confront their communist oppressors and bring the end to the division of Germany and the eventual destruction of the “Iron Curtain” that imprisoned Eastern Europe for most of my lifetime? It’s entirely possible that they and other eastern Europeans might have reached the same point today without the encouragement of President Reagan. But, it’s also a definite fact that every action that President Reagan took was aimed at that goal … to assist the Eastern Europeans in obtaining their freedom … and his speeches and actions didn’t hinder the process.

Well, as far as foreign policy and diplomacy are concerned, Barack Obama isn’t even in the same ballpark with Ronald Reagan. He doesn’t even hold a candle to the bungling JFK. At least Kennedy had the courage of his convictions even if he bungled repeatedly due to his naivety.

The current situation in Iran and the lack of response from Obama brings into question exactly what Barack Obama’s convictions are; or, if he, in fact, has any.This man makes the timid Jimmy Carter look like Atilla the Hunand that’s pretty amazing.

Barbara Boxer’s Outburst Against Gen. Michael Walsh

It is, indeed, strange times we live in now  … when someone gets publicly harangued for being courteous and polite. But, hey, this is the “change” people voted for, right?

For responding correctly, politely and courteously to Senator Boxer with a, “Yes, Ma’am”, as anyone raised in a cultured family and trained in the military would have done, General Walsh was viciously rebuked and his manners were ridiculed by a woman who, frankly, revealed her lack of courtesy and etiquette as well as some apparent psychological deficiencies.

In her egocentric,paranoid and irrational passion to be addressed by her elected title, “Senator”, she exhibited a complete disregard for basic courtesy and an intrinsic lack of knowledge of what she purports to demand from others regarding herself.

Was Senator Boxer one of those who insisted on referring to President Bush as Mr. Bush?

Could it be possible that her own irrational sensitivity  to her  “hard earned title” is due to her own deliberate insults and intentionally demeaning conduct toward others?

More than 30 years ago I earned my M.D. degree and the right to be referred to as “Doctor”. Since that time many have referred to me by that title either out of respect or courtesy. Still, growing up in the South where good manners are still considered a sign of good breeding and proper instruction in etiquette, I accept the answer to a “yes” or “no” question as “Yes, sir” or No, sir” as being polite and correct. I’m also referred to as “Mister”, occasionally even by people who know I’m a physician. If they’ve intended an insult, they didn’t and don’t get the satisfaction of a reaction. Occasionally, I’ve simply been referred to as “Doc” which I considered a jovial title used to express friendship and affection.

I’ve noticed a number of nonphysicain “doctors” can sometimes get very anal about their title. Apparently, they’re eminently irritated that many people don’t consider nonphysicians as “doctors” and consider the title of “doctor” as reserved for physicians. Maybe that’s a Southern thing.

Anyway, outside of a professional setting, it’s no big deal to be referred to as “Mister” … and simple courteous conversation is always appreciated. I’m secure in the personal knowledge of my achievements and capabilities and don’t need to be addressed by a title to groom and pamper my ego.

Apparently, Senator Boxer’s ego is so fragile that she needs that constant reinforcement. And, that’s pathetic.

Senator Boxer’s outburst simply confirms to everyone the feelings of personal inadequacy that she must be tormented by everyday.

Barack Obama and John Kennedy: Headless Horsemen or Headless Chickens?

One glaring similarity …

Kennedy wasn’t in control of what was going on in Washington and neither is Obama. Kennedy’s honest critics point out that he was basically punted around by senators and representatives who were old pros in Washington. Does anyone have any question about who’s actually controlling policy and spending … Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi?

The classic example is Obama’s current approach to earmarks or “porkbarrel spending”. It’s gone from being one of his main campaign promises to neutralize John McCain’s pledge to …, “Well, I’ll deal with that later.”

For the Democrats, it’s gone from being “something evil only the Republicans did” to “additional necessary stimulus”. “It creates jobs” is the argument. Well, it created jobs back then too. So, what’s changed?

Maybe, Obama’s promises to rein in porkbarrel spending were just slips of the tongue like “Bible hugging and gun toting” or “typical white person”. Maybe someday the people who got teary eyes and tingly legs will wake up and realize what they’re smelling isn’t roses.

The only similarity between Obama’s White House and the “Headless Horseman” is the lack of a head. At least, the “Headless Horseman” had a directed and focused purpose. Obama’s White House is more like a headless chicken, flailing around in circles and a multitude of directions while the body is being rapidly drained of blood.

How Do Car Dealerships Cost Auto Makers Money?

This is a question that has confounded me since first hearing the announcements that more than 700 Chrysler dealerships would be forced to close, loosing their franchises, and that about 1000 GM dealerships would loose their franchises and be forced to close.

Anyone looking at this would think that closing dealerships is simply insanity. Dealerships sell cars. They make money for the auto makers. In fact, when you look at the dealerships that are loosing their franchises from Chrysler, many are among the best dealerships that Chrysler has, selling the most cars and have the best service records and customer satisfaction.

And that may be the root of the problem.

Dealerships that provide the best service to customers and have the highest rates of customer satisfaction along with repeat sales are the dealerships that also provide the best service to their customers … including WARRANTY WORK.

Warranty work or service on automobiles DO cost the automakers money … because they, the automakers, are billed by the dealerships for the work, not the customer.

So, the more warranty work that a dealership does, and does well, creating more satisfied customers, the more it costs the automakers.

Okay, I was born in 1951. I’m old enough to remember the days when nearly every small town of any size had at least one car dealership. All right. I know that “small town” and “of any size” is a little contradictory; but if you’ve grown up in a small town, you understand my meaning. Let’s say a small town of some size is around 3,000 people. I lived near a small town of some size that had about 3,000 people and four car dealerships: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Pontiac/GM and Ford. Of course, those were also the days when you could actually custom order an automobile and it would arrive as specified in about two to four weeks. Everyone knew all of the dealers, their kids, their mechanics and their kids.

Then “progress” came and the small town dealers were forced out of business. The “super” dealerships came into being. They were all located in small to medium sized “cities” and everyone in the small towns had to drive anywhere from 20 to 50 miles to get service. Also the day of custom ordering a car became history also … all in the name of “progress”.

What this progress meant was that it was harder or less convenient to get your automobile serviced, warranty or otherwise.

My suspicion is that the primary reason for forcing dealerships to close is to hopefully decrease the amount of warranty work that the auto manufacturers will have to pay for.

I know that a lot has been written about the high number of dealerships whose owners have been primarily Republican donors which are being forced to close. Personally, I don’t doubt that this might have been a contributing motive for the Obama Administrations “Auto Czar”, Steven Rattner,  in making the selections. This man is simply too sleazy for that not to be a possibility. But, there must have been some unexpressed rationale for the closures other than that, something equally despicable that no one would want to express openly … therefore, my conclusion that it had to be an attempt to reduce warranty work which does cost the auto makers money.

This would also be a logical explanation why some of the best dealerships are being forced to close. The service that they provide to their customers is simply too good.

After reading about the closings and the uproar which resulted from the appearance that nearly all of the dealerships being forced to close were those owned by Republican donors, I decided to look at the local situation in the Charleston area. It turns out that the dealership in my area being primarily affected is Hoover Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth. The owner of this dealership is also listed as a Republican donor. Hoover is being forced to close three dealerships in the Charleston area … but, it is being allowed to keep one open, in the Summerville area, I believe.

If competition among dealerships was a bad thing, I doubt that Mr. Hoover would have had four dealerships competing with one another. I suspect that he owned all four to make more money and, therefore made more money for Chrysler. But, by being able to provide that much more service, including warranty work, those four dealerships were also costing Chrysler more money.

So, my hypothesis … fewer dealerships =  less service = less warranty work = less expense = more profit.

That is my conclusion.

As perverse as it seems, it’s a kind of “Amtrak” mentality of reducing expenses … even if it kills the golden goose. And, basically, it follows the same premise, that, if your only goal is to preserve union jobs, then you really don’t care about quality or service but are only interested in placating a voting block at any cost to anyone else.