Thank God for Switchhitting Conservatives

In earlier posts, I have alluded to our local "good fortune" in being the beneficiaries of "Obama Stimulus Money".  I noted today another story about a Reed Spring's "gift" for a sewer system upgrade.  Following "awards" for area bridges, sewers, roads, and whatever else, there can be little doubt that locally we are economically better off.  Clearly we must conceed that had the "Washington Social Engineers" not included us in their "oppressive, freedom robbing, rights usurping, "stimulus plan"; well, things would be far worse.   When we consider that our local area government officials are, virtually to the man, conservative Republicans, how fortunate are we that these upstanding "traditional values" stalwarts are multi-talented. They, who daily strive against the "evils of social liberalism", are equally skilled in the writing of "stimulus grants proposals" seeking gratuities from Washington.  We, who are the benefactors, do not consider these leader's ambidextrous talents to evidence hypocrisy. Golly Gee, they are just "outsmartin" those intellectual elitist, using their God given common sense; something non of those "fruit cake liberals" seem to possess!  


Hollister's "UnderWaterPark" May Float Yet

Mindy, a local "society editor" reported today that Justin Gage, the high profile real estate developer who removed the mountain range behind the Hollister/65 Business Corner, has not given up on the "Wisconsin Dells Waterpark/Resort", long promised at that location.  In spite of having lost the property to a last November foreclosure, Gage reports that he is taking on a substantial financial partner, I guess, to reacquire the property and recommence  the 3 year incubating development.  I suspect that Bankers Bank, the Wisconsin Bank who now owns the site, have their fingers crossed.  Most locals can't even imagine who might otherwise want the 100+ acre industrial sector site neighboring an active quarry.  I guess we will see.  You never know, Gage may have a "TIGER in his tank, or pocket as the case may be.  The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), a part of the Obama stimulus program is considering giving Taney County thirty million dollars to build a four mile road from Hollister to Kirbyville, population (2500).  This road if funded would not only need local construction services,  but would connect up with Interstate 65, at "you guessed it", the Waterpark Site.  When, as, and if you have a "substantial partner", such as the Obama administration, Gage might just well get the WaterPark back on its feet.   Gage and the Taney County Executives must be mighty glad to be Democrats.......huh!   


What To Do About Branson's Homeless? Let's Count Them! 

Those of us wintering here in Branson have few expression options during this seasonal "downtime".  The "A" people have all SUV'd out to the Branson Creek Airport and taken AirTran's flights to 9 cities in Florida.  We the "B" people left to guard and maintain the fixed assets stay busy shoveling snow, making trips to Home Depot and avoiding the legion of anxious patrol officers.  The "C" people,  less their seasonal minimum wage jobs,  are in wood heated hibernation save weekly trips to Walmart.   Sadly, our "three caste system" is not all-inclusive.  Branson has a large and increasing presence of "Homeless People".  Exactly what "homeless" means in the local dialect is not clear, but at minimum it references those men, women and children who have no permanent residence and rely on public assistance and charity for food and clothing. They are really just a subset of the "C" people class;  those who have inadequate extended family support to team tag the winter.

Unlike the Indians of old, the "H" people, I understand, do not migrate away from their summer camps "down by the river".  Many of Branson's "homeless" occupy tents and make-shift dwellings in the rugged wooded areas along Taneycomo, just down from "The Strip", "The Landing", and "Skaggs Hospital".  Those with somewhat more means crowd into the "weekly motels" on the low end of "The Strip", paying daily charges with cash from undisclosed sources.  Most receive free meals at the churches where "B" people in search of meaning gather to celebrate their "relatively" good fortune by passing out potato chips and cookies.

In most respects this story is universal. There is little about Branson's "homeless" that isn't so for homeless  throughout our great nation.  The notable exception is that within a four iron of the tents, caves and shacks are 20,000 upscale residences, all furnished appointed and empty.  Of course, I am speaking of the condos, timeshares and suites occupying the high ground around and about Taneycomo.  These multi-family "fixed assets" controlled by the "A" people are, of course, "off limits".  They are "private property".  For the "homeless", it must be like starving in a NY deli.  What to do about this "cultural empass" where the "A" people claim exclusive entitlement to the fruits of their labor and the "H" people can't perform enough labor to get beyond their travail?  Perhaps something better will happen in the future but until then, this week the "A" people gave a token amount of money to the "C" people to gather for a day to count the "H" people. Next week, we will have a report telling us how many are their number. Hurray!             



Gary Cooper Would Be Proud Of Harry Cooper!

Gary Cooper was a film star to "The Great Generation".  His screen roles celebrated the American "traditional values" of hard work, reliable, fairness and above all honesty.  He, for that generation, embodied what every young man aspired to be.  Among those witness to Gary Cooper and the idealistic culture of that era was one Harry Cooper.  Harry Cooper built a viable and important business providing electrical/plumbing supplies in the Ozarks region.  I presume Harry Cooper did so by embodying  Gary Cooper virtues.  As it turns out,  Harry Cooper's name and his business flourished and is still an important participant in Branson's  economy.  

We all know that the "bottom line" guides much of today's  "Corporate Arrogance Economy".  Last year my business interests purchased from Harry Cooper approaching $100,000 in electrical and plumbing products for a Senior Care Residence being developed in Branson.  With confidence based on Harry Cooper's longstanding good reputation and assurances that we were a valued "preferred customer", we, with little scrutiny, ordered, received, returned, backordered, reordered, and paid for thousands of items.  In December, as our purchase agenda was winding down, we ordered and paid for $10,000 in pipe and couplings for a fire suppression system.  The material was timely delivered along with Christmas cookies.  The contractor crew ate the cookies and proceeded to install the pipe.  Soon, we realized that a particular coupling had been under ordered and was not immediately available from Harry Cooper.  We purchased the coupling from a competing supplier, and discovered, in the process, that the competitors price was about 30% of the price we, a "preferred customer", had been charged by Harry Cooper.  On investigation we discovered that $5000 in couplings purchased from Harry Cooper could be "equivalent product" purchased from several suppliers for approximately $1500.  We returned the unused coupling to Harry Cooper for an anticipated $3500 credit only to learn that the coupling were a "special order item" and would not be accepted for return by the manufacturer.  The good fortune of a specialty manufacturer whose pricing structure and return policy were not so special, put Harry Cooper between a rock and a hard place.  In that our subcontractor was at least partially culpable, Harry Cooper could have compelled us to take the hit.  Instead, with Gary Cooper style, they, Harry Cooper, hand delivered a full refund check and quietly went back to work.   I am, today, a little less cynical than I was last week.                                

                                                             WHO IS JOHN GALT?            


Branson - From Partisan To Pissed 

Last winter following the presidential election, I wore an Obama stocking cap on my daily journeys around Branson. In our closed ranked Taney County, (68% McCain), I drew much commentary.  With no exceptions, comments were offered as humorous acknowledgments of our competitive spirit much in the way that Missouri Tiger supporters exchange greetings with Kansas Jayhawk fans.  During the recent cold weather, I again pulled on the Obama cap.  Perhaps arising from the unusual cold, more likely from the years accelerating media polarization, and almost certainly cued by the struggling economy....well all the humor seems to have diaappeared.   At Walmart, restaurants, city hall, The Landing, and indeed everywhere, public note of an Obama reminder, is now being met with controlled disdain and implyed threats.  There is no mistake.  The main street mood in our community has moved way past "partisan within a united context".  Indeed it is, I sense, pushing the limits of civility.  Here in Branson, where the local economy is built on the celebration of  "traditional values", next years visitors may start seeing entertainment venues  featuring  Paul Revere , the Minutemen, the Continental Congress and other rallying images for a revolution minded populace.  It is a scary time!.