Friday, September 18, 2009


In that corner, you got your “seven deadly sins”. This is a list of bad stuff people do, thought by many to be listed in the Bible, but it isn’t. The list was actually compiled by Pope Gregory, sometime around 600 AD. Nonetheless, it has become part of Christian doctrine and, well, that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

Over here, you’ve got a government, with lots of expenses, that needs to figure out ways to get “we the people” to give them more of the money that they actually print for us to use. Seems like they could just print some for themselves, but they don’t, so we just have to deal with the situation as we find it.

They get their money by taxing the people earning it. You get some, and then you take a little off the top…OK, quite a bit off the top…and send it to Uncle Sam. They take that and, after a good chunk going to administration costs, provide military protection, police, fire departments, road construction, and all kinds of good things that we need to function as a civilization. While many will argue that tax rates are too high, it is generally agreed that the concept of taxation is about the best way anybody can think of for a government to provide essential services to its populace. So, with that said, tax is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Sin Taxes” have been around for just about as long as taxes themselves. Sometimes the government decides that too many people are doing something they really shouldn’t be doing, but, rather than making that activity illegal, they put a tax on it. If that many people are participating, it must be fun. Why stop them, when you could just profit from it? Alcohol comes to mind. They tried to outlaw that once, but the people wouldn’t stand for it. So they came up with a better plan – heavy taxes. They even did the same thing with marijuana in the 1930’s and, more recently, with cigarettes. What more perfect vehicle for collecting tax revenue than addictive or habit-forming substances? Made to order for any cash-strapped bureaucracy.

Cigarettes have always been bad for people. But it has been only in the past decade or so that huge numbers of anti-smoking groups and citizenry have stepped up and made smoking truly socially unacceptable. Uncle Sam sees the polls, and grabs the opportunity to raise taxes on smokes, knowing he won’t get too much resistance from the people. It worked beautifully. Smokers keep smoking – albeit standing out in the rain, away from the decent folk – and those government coffers keep ringing it up.

Apparently, and as had been predicted by many of us not long ago, the cigarette tax increase worked so well that now they’re looking for other handy ways to raise revenue. Yard sales are just so much trouble. Enter now that list of “Seven Deadly Sins”.

Let’s take it from the top.

“Pride”. Well, Pope Gregory must have been having a bad day when he came up with that one. We encourage pride in our society. Dress nice. Mow your yard. Wash your car. Americans aren’t going to sit still for taxes on pride. Skip this one.

Greed”. The people with all the money, and thereby, all of the power, are obviously convinced that they already pay way too much in taxes. Just ask them. So, while this is a good sin to tax according to most of the people, it probably won’t happen.

Envy”. Seriously? How can you put a tax on envy?

Wrath”. We have penalties for wrath – imprisonment. They don’t pay those guys much for making license plates. Not much of a tax base there.

"Lust”.“ Here’s an idea. But it may be a little hard to enforce, requiring participants to be on the honor system. Maybe it could be extrapolated to include pornography, which seems to have some correlation to lust. The 2006 pornography revenue in the U.S. alone was over $13 billion. That’s more than the revenue of ABC, CBS, and NBC combined. Let’s put this one on the “later” list.

“Gluttony”. Yes! Here you go! With all the concern about health care costs, and all the stats pointing to diet as the main reason Americans are a bunch of fat, out-of-shape couch potatoes, this sin is the number one candidate to collect the big bucks that will bail out Uncle Sam, pay off China, and make us all live long enough to see that “lust” tax imposed on down the road. So, what do we start with? Soda pop! Everybody drinks soda pop! It’s a no-brainer. Next, French Fries. Because, no matter what you order at that drive-thru, you’re going to get fries with it. Potatoes are bad. Potatoes are evil. It was potatoes that brought down Dan Quayle, if you’ll recall. The best thing about this category is that it is virtually endless. Think of the possibilities. Donuts, Twinkies, pork ribs, bacon, cheese, everything in a Grand Slam breakfast. By the time we get through taxing everything in the gluttony category, lust will probably be obsolete anyway. And people can’t argue with it. After all, it is one of the seven deadly sins. It’s in the Bible! The next thing you know, jack-booted storm troopers will be kicking down our doors, scaring our kids and ransacking our houses, looking for that stash of goodies we’re brave enough to bring out only late at night, after Colbert goes off. Patriots, one & all, we’ll declare at that moment, “You can have my twinkie when you pry it from my cold, dead lips!” And that, friends, is what they will do, because once Pandora’s box is opened, it cannot be shut.

“Sloth”. What the heck is “sloth”, anyway? Who cares? We’ve already collected enough off tater tots to render it inconsequential. Go ahead and do all the sloth you want. It’ll never cost you a dime in taxes. And, if it ain’t taxes, you won’t mind spending it.
The door is opening. Last call. Drink up, grab your twinkies, and run.

© 2009, Rick Baber

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Thank goodness the likes of Glenn Beck and other
great American patriots have warned us about the vast
communist-nazi-Nigerian conspiracy being waged upon
us by Barack Obama and his minions. Without these
ominous warnings, simple-minded people such as myself
would have taken this president at face value, and never
done any serious investigative reporting…like this.

You have heard, no doubt, of subliminal messaging – where your ears and eyes are hearing and seeing one thing, but your brain is registering something else. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways but two simple ones are by transmitting audio signals in a frequency that can be detected by the brain, but not recognized by the ears. Visually, images can flash on a screen so fast that, while you don’t realize you’re seeing them, you do, and they go straight to your memory.

This, my friends, is what this so-called president has planned for your impressionable school children in the “talk” he wants to give them the day after Labor Day. Probably, by the time you read this, it will be too late, because I have only just acquired this privileged information. But, thanks to those aforementioned patriots, and some really sharp school boards, many of those children will have been saved from this indoctrination.

Curious as to what was in this speech, I got online and requested a copy from the White House. Somebody screwed up and sent me a copy of the Master Speech – which includes the subliminal messages that will appear – shown in parentheses. Of course, space limitations preclude me from printing the entire speech, but just this first part will illustrate what was planned for the kids. To wit:

“The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? (FLASH picture of Obama, holding hands with Jesus) I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade.

I’m glad you all could join us today. (AUDIO: Do drugs. Rebel against your parents.)
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous.(AUDIO: The black children are your superiors. Submit to the black children.) I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go.(FLASH picture of half-naked spring-breakers, partying in Cancun) And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.(AUDIO: You can stay in bed all you want if your parents will vote for Democrats.)

I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school (AUDIO: Plant drugs on the rich kids and call the police). So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning. (FLASH picture of sleepy young children watching a pole dance.)

Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster." (AUDIO: Mail your lunch money to me at the White House.)

Fast forward.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities.(AUDIO: Serve Obama. Obama is your only hope.) Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. (AUDIO: If your parents are against Obama they are demons who must be dealt with.)

And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. (AUDIO: Taxes are good. Support higher taxes.)”

OK. That’s enough. You get the message. The point is, if you ignored the warnings and allowed your kids to watch the president’s speech, you should get them to de-programming as soon as possible. Just tune into your local AM radio station to find out how.

Also, keep in mind that the Swine Flu vaccine is a CIA-developed serum that will make you succumb to the will of the president, vote to make Nigeria the 51st state, and legalize marijuana and gay marriage.

You’re welcome.

© 2009, Rick Baber

Friday, September 04, 2009


The pictures my niece emailed of Lock & Dam 1 early
this week at first seemed like some kind of Photoshop
trickery, perpetrated perhaps by Clayton Cavaness –
sitting before his computer screen in a dark office,
stroking his chin, laughing under his breath.

The dam was certainly recognizable in the photos, and
there was the lock in the background, the big rocks
below that middle spillway. I could even see Josie’s
back there in one of them, so I know it was the right
place. All that was missing was a little thing I like to
call the White River.

There was only a trickle of water below the dam, that appeared to be coming from underneath it. A couple of dudes were standing out there fishing, and not even getting their feet wet.

Over the years, I’ve seen the river down low enough that one could walk out across the top of the dam. Have done it myself on occasion. But never so low that the top of the dam was completely dry. Have ya’ll?

What’s up?

I posted the question on Facebook and got some interesting, though unbelievable answers. Consensus was that it had something to do with heavy rains in the spring and a lot of generating going on at the dams upstream. I guess they made more electricity than they had room for, so they had to just shut ‘er down and keep all that water in the lakes. Scuze me? If memory serves me, the definition of a lake has something to do with water coming in someplace and going out someplace else. Did somebody put the stopper in way upstream, keeping the water out of the lake? If not, how does all that water running in there keep from spilling over the dam and finding its way down to Batesville?

No, I think there’s something else going on. They’ve held water back in the lake lots of times. I’ve known that river since 1966, and I’ve never seen it that dry.

Once, when it was very low, Magouyrk’s grandpa told him it burned in half upstream. That makes more sense to me than that phony generator story, Diane! What if there’s a hole in the bottom up there somewhere and all the water’s going underground? It could happen! What if one day we woke up and the river was gone?

I’m fascinated with wondering what might be found in that dry river bed, above the dam, in “Lake Unico”. Somewhere in there are at least three engagement rings I heard stores about years ago. A few motorcycles. An alarming number of fire extinguishers that I probably shouldn’t mention. At least one Abbey Road 8-track with a broken tape. Some personal entertainment items ripped off from those yankee frat boys at Arkansas College who thought it would be a cute idea to string piano wire across the motorcycle trails in the woods, about neck high, to keep some bothersome “townies” from waking them up at all hours with loud pipes. So I heard.

If it didn’t float over the dam, there should be the remains of a big metal cooler full of adult beverages I threw in there very early one Saturday morning at the end of a long night’s detective work Rick Reed and I were conducting – but that’s another story. Possibly a 14 ft. flat bottom boat that an unnamed accomplice (some might guess) and myself stole one night in the slough. Well, let’s say “borrowed”. We took it back to where we found it, but it disappeared shortly after that. I’ve often wondered if maybe we didn’t pull it up on the bank far enough and it broke loose and drifted into the river. But we were in a hurry to get back to my house and sneak in the bedroom window before my mom woke up and found us gone.

I wonder what else is down there. White River Monster?

Let’s hope they turn the faucet back on soon and we never find out. Some things are better left a mystery.

© 2009, Rick Baber