Monday, August 10, 2009


ABOVE: The Real Rolling Stone Band.

I received a crazy email the other day that was simply called "Penny Postcards". In it, you can click on any state in the country, then access any county that had a penny postcard issued. To my surprise, there was nothing listed for Allegheny or Westmoreland Counties. However, I came across this very unusual photo of the "Rolling Stone" 20 piece marching band from Clearfield County of all places! The name of the town there, you ask? Why Rolling Stone, of course! This Pennsylvania hamlet is located near Lock Haven in not quite central Pennsylvania.

ABOVE: The imposter Rolling Stones. Picture above taken just a few years after the original Rolling Stone Band photo at the top of the story. A blatant case of trademark infringement.

While I could not find out any additional information on these original "Stones." penny postcards are now about 100 years old, so this picture would have been taken around 1900, give or take a few years. This means that this picture was taken just a short time before Mick, Keith and the boys got started in great Britain with the Rolling Stones. Notice that extra "s". Oh you clever Mick Jagger! I say, "Sue them anyway," Rolling Stone Band! I'm sure your town could use ten or twenty mill.

My Desk Overfloweth, So It's Time For Another Episode Of...

News Commentary by Angelo Spagnolo, Publisher

There's a lot more than normal on my desk today. Please, someone get me an earth mover!

I know that there are a lot of people out there who need health care, but I'm not sure what would be worse, having to pay for it yourself or relying on the government to run health care for us. I'm also not ashamed to say that I was one of those few people who didn't vote for Barack Obama in the last election...not because I think he's not smart or because he's black, or because I liked John McCain better. No, I just didn't like the direction he was going to pull the country in the "S" word... Socialism. I think if you asked a lot of people today, you would find that many have now come to this same conclusion, albeit too late.

While I feel that he has done a good job in managing the economic crisis from being "merely" an economic disaster that merely wiped out people's retirements instead of being one where we are now selling pencils on street corners and standing in soup lines; It is important to note that his own party's policies were what clearly led to this disaster in the first place.

While it is true that had Obama done nothing, the results for all Americans would have been far worse, there's just something that I find very objectionable to our government handing over billions of dollars to failed companies, in effect rewarding their incompetency. But to take on a 500 pound gorilla like health care now when our economy is so weakened just makes no sense at all. Then to say that reforming health care will help fix the deficit is another chuckle. When have you ever known the government to do anything more cost efficiently than private business?

How about laws impacting the current broken system like tort reform for example? Now there's a novel idea! If there were ceilings put in place for legal damages against doctors, the cost of their insurance could be reduced. This is one of the largest expenses that doctors have. But we'll never see this happen because our entire government is broken. Do you realize that most of the members of Congress have a law degree? There's no way that a bunch of lawyers are going to rule against their own brethren's cash cow. Lawyers make too much money on these cases to let that happen.

But short-sightedness seems to have no limit in this country either. Do you honestly believe that printing up all of this "funny money" with no backing isn't going to have dire consequences down the road? Brace yourself for something we haven't had to deal with in a long time...runaway inflation. What's even more disconcerting than that is the fact that our nation now owes China, of all countries, billions of dollars. Now we have that influence to worry about too.

ABOVE: Joseph Lenin...Would have been a big Obama supporter.

Speaking of short-sightedness, our failed auto industry has never let us down when it comes to thinking in producing better cars than foreign manufacturers or even keeping pace with changing technology. Now these inept companies, who are again being bailed out, have totally whiffed on the famous "Cash for Clunkers" program.

Believe it or not, the automakers had reduced inventories to such incredibly low levels that they have been literally "cleaned out" of new cars! "Well that's great," you say. "The program's working." Oh it's working alright, but who do you think has more product in the pipeline, GM or Toyota?

I did some basic calculations with a $4.99 calculator and found that with an expanded total pool of now $4 billion in this program, at an average of $4,000 per vehicle, that's enough to cut the price on one million car deals. There are currently 13,839 new car dealers in the United States, so this means that on average, each dealer would sell 72 new cars. It's shocking to hear that after only half of the total money has been spent that showrooms across the country are already emptying!

This means that the average dealer sold 36 cars and is already out of inventory. How pathetic this country is becoming. While the next batch of vehicles will need to be manufactured and dormant factories reawakened, it's simply amazing that none of these big companies had the foresight, or wherewithal, to see that a program like this was going to open up opportunities never before seen in this industry. So now, because they played "wait and see" they're losing domestic sales (and not to mention) job opportunities to foreign companies.

Some businesses are best left to die rather than to prop them up artificially, I'm convinced of that. The same lack of imagination that has been going on with these domestic car makers for decades just reared its' ugly head again. The law of the jungle has always been "the weak die first". That's always been the law of capitalism too. Maybe we'd be better off letting the market take care of itself rather than allowing these same bumbling fools to miss out on the biggest sales opportunity every afforded to any industry by the United States Government.

It just goes to show you that, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", and while we're using old addages, this one works too: The U.S. automakers will always be, "penny wise and a dollar foolish" in all of their decision-making.

Now, for more positive news: "Hey, how 'bout them Buccos!"