MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

June 27, 2011

Summer Break!

Summer Break Time!

MasterPo is going on summer break. If anything urgent comes to mind it will be posted.

Otherwise, have a safe and fun summer!

June 18, 2011

Solar – It is STILL a LOT of Money!!

Go green.
Save the planet.
End foreign oil dependence.
Yaddie, yaddie, yadda.

The song is played out – get a new tune.

Yes, MasterPo is angry.

The dream and the reality simply do not mesh!

MasterPo has written before about this and needs to repeat it: The true costs of private solar energy for a home simply do not make financial sense!

Recently MasterPo went to the website for Renewable Energy Long Island ( for a current quote on adding solar power to the house.

Here’s how it went: (dollar amounts rounded):

For a 100% solar system the estimated installation cost is $70,000 (not including tax).
Expected estimated rebate from LIPA $17,500.
State tax credit $5,000.
Federal Tax Credit $16,000.Income tax to be paid on the rebate (you have to pay a tax on a rebate?!) $1,400.

Total out-of-pocket cost to MasterPo: $33,000

Further, it is estimated to add $56,000 in value to my house which might be added to MasterPo’s property tax (if MasterPo’s town chooses not to follow the New York State 15 year moratorium on taxing solar system installations – any bets?).

This is a bargain??

For a 75% solar system the numbers are:

Installation $53,000
Rebate $15,000
State tax credit $5,000
Federal tax credit $11,500
Income tax on rebate $1,400

Total out-of-pocket cost $23,000
Added property value $42,000

And for a 50% system:

Installation $35,000
Rebate $10,000

State tax credit $5,000
Federal tax credit $7,500
Income tax on rebate $1,400

Total out-of-pocket cost $14,000
Added property value $28,000

Where is this a good deal?!

Of course, the website “suggests” taking out a loan to finance the balance of the system. So now a person has to go into debt for all this too?

And the paperwork – Oh Lord! The paper work! – for filing for the utility company rebate and approves is a nightmare! Supposedly the contractor will help but still a bureaucrat ’s dream!

MasterPo has nothing against solar power per se. But come on!

In an economic crunch like now who in their right mind takes on costs and debt like this?!

June 14, 2011

You’re Going To Pay It Anyway So Shut Up!

Yahoo Finance articles aren’t anything special. Mostly just likes from the AP, Bloomberg, CNN Money etc. But it’s not for the articles that MasterPo reads them. The Yahoo Finance users’ comments are infinitely better (usually) and more insightful as to get the pulse of what people are thinking. Not a scientific survey by any means but given that commenters are financially savvy people (why else read Yahoo Finance?) it is a good indication of what people with some means are thinking.

MasterPo was reading an article recently, about the rise of oil and gasoline. Nothing remarkable there. But in the comments was this razor’s edge pearl of wisdom someone posted:

“You’re going to pay for it because you have no choice. So just quit whining!”


Like millions of Americans, MasterPo has little choice but to pay pretty much whatever price per gallon for gasoline to get to work, the supermarket, take the kids to school and back, etc. But, also like millions of Americans, MasterPo’s wallet is faaaaaar from bottomless. Nor does MasterPo, unlike the Federal government, have a printing press in the basement. So that means in order to pay for gasoline (and heating oil) MasterPo will need to cut waaaaaay back on other expenditures.
Housing is a necessity.So is food.Medical is covered for the most part.

The rest is up for grabs.

Some examples:

Clothing – Gotta wear clothes but instead of a name brand, the El Cheapos will suffice. And will only replace worn clothing rather than be fashion/trend conscious.

Appliances and devices – Repair rather than replace as often as possible. Good for the repairman business, bad for the manufacturing, distribution and sales businesses (not to mention the loss of sales taxes).

Entertainment – Bye bye! At least the library is still free. And they have DVDs too.

Travel – Only for business and urgent personal events. Fewer (if any) pure pleasure trips, day trips, 3-day weekends etc.

Home remodeling – Also bye bye! Critical repairs and replacements only. MasterPo is sure contractors all over are hurting.

MasterPo is certainly not the only one to have to take on this stance. Maybe for the rest of life.

Now tell MasterPo how the economy is going to grow?!

June 9, 2011

Would YOU be a shelter? (Remembering Anne Frank)

Everyone loves a scapegoat.

Throughout history whenever something terrible happens either for reasons too complex for the common person to grasp or just the culmination of many other events people as a whole try to seek out someone, some group of people, to blame for the problem. Rarely do they see themselves as a cause (if not the root cause) of the problem. The fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.

Very often the culprit is determined to be people based on their religion, their ethnicity, their occupation, even their perceived wealth. This is not to say that yes, sometimes people of a certain group are directly involved in particular events than others (e.g. 9/11 wasn’t carried out by Eskimos or devout Wicca). But much more often it is a group or class of people totally unrelated to the events (often themselves suffering from the same affliction as their persecutors) who the wrath of the collective via mob rule comes down on like a landslide.

Events drive the process. A natural disaster like a flood or storm or earthquake is difficult to pin on a specific classification of people (unless one falls back on extreme religious doctrine to say it is Heavenly punishment). But the now-called “ma- made” disasters are tailor made for such scapegoating. An economic collapse, a terrorist attack, a WMD attack, an outbreak or plague, etc. feed right into the hands of those looking for someone to blame.

Sometimes a group of people have already been chosen as the source of problems and certain people are just waiting for some event to come along to put their blame and retribution plan into action. Others, never having considered the possibility of blaming someone when things were relatively good, can be easily manipulated into believing it is this or that group of people that are the cause once events go sour.

In a prolonged “man-made” SHTF event that leads to some level of WROL after the initial shock of events settles in a search for those to blame will undoubtedly start. Current events clearly show certain people are already being setup in the eyes of the world as being the cause for the world’s major problems. This too feeds into discrimination and racism already festering in many parts of the world, including the U.S. It wouldn’t take much to nudge the world over that thin line into full blown retribution.

MasterPoI happens to believe there is a very high chance of such events happening in the not too distant future (don’t like to make time frame predictions). If such should happen, would you be willing to stand up for what is right? Will you give aid to those being persecuted, attacked, maybe even hunted down literally?

The story of Anne Frank and her family in World War 2 is the most commonly referenced example of this (though not the only one; history before and since contains too many other examples). Starting in the summer of 1942 she and her family were hidden from the Nazis by their friends and neighbors. For two years they lived in seclusion until they family was betrayed, captured by the Nazis, and taken to concentration camps where most of her family, including Anne and her sister, died in 1945.

Would you offer such help to a person or family like that?
Would you provide them with food and water?
Would you get them medical care?
Would you provide real defense for them?
Would you help hide their identity?
Would you take them, or at least their children, to your BOL or someplace else of relative safety?
Would you resist the temptation of a reward or recognition for turning them in?
Would you take the risk of public ridicule, maybe ostracized, for standing to their defense?
Would you stand up and help them if they were attacked in the street? In their home?

Helping to provide for and shelter ourselves and our families during and after an SHTF/WROL event doesn’t change our humanity. Each of us has to make the determination ourselves, the risk to our own safety and that of our family, etc. It isn’t an easy question to wrestle with.

But what is the good of surviving if the price is to offer up your neighbor as a sacrifice for that survival? Or the innocent stranger walking by?

MasterPo offers no easy answer. Just food for thought.

June 5, 2011

A SPECIAL LADY - Let us never forget!

(Special Note: This is from an email forwarded to MasterPo. The original author is unknown. MasterPo has only changed the text formating slightly to better fit blog format.

Today marks the 44th anniversary of the start of the Six Day War on June 5, 1967 that liberated the old city of Jerusalem for the entire world to enjoy and worship from.)

LOOK at this lady - Let us never forget! The world hasn't just become' s always been wicked. The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.

Irena Sendler

There recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena. During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an 'ulterior motive'. She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German). Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as a community organizer for ACORN and Al Gore won also --- for a slide show on Global Warming.

In MEMORIAM - 63 YEARS LATER Please read the little cartoon carefully, it's powerful. Then read the comments at the end. I'm doing my small part by forwarding this message. I hope you'll consider doing the same.

(Click on the image for larger view)

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the millions of Jews, Russians, Christians and Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!

Now, more than ever, with Iran, and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth'. It's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

June 2, 2011

Fears From My Father – Part 1

MasterPo’s parents were second-generation American. When MasterPo was growing up MasterPo’s parents told stories that had been related from their parents about long lost (in many cases literally) family from “the old country” that didn’t come over to America.

Then as now (maybe more so then than now) it was common for one or two groups from an overall family to immigrate to America. Then, once established here, send money back home to pay for bringing other members of the extended family over to America. For most the plan as anticipated. But some family members back in “the old country” didn’t use the money sent to come to America. Instead they bought more land, opened or expanded businesses, retooled existing businesses and farms, etc. Not squandered or lost but just not used for the intended purpose of bringing the rest of the family over to America.

That alternate scenario worked – for awhile.

Then the Nazis came.
(And for those on the other side of the boarder, Stalin.)

The family tree lost many branches. Whole segments, whole ancestor communities were gone.

It’s understandable in a way. No one wants to leave what they know and are comfortable with for the unknown. And that was long before National Socialism grew, though anti-Semitism was always alive and well anyway. So when push came to shove they didn’t leave. And in the end lost everything, often including their lives.

Many probably fell victim to the “normalcy bias” that nothing bad can every fully happen. But it did.

Growing up, going to relative’s for Break The Fast or Passover eventually the topic of conversation would turn briefly to this or that act of anti-Semitism. MasterPo’s parents, aunts and uncles would say “Yes, it could happen again here too” (meaning in America).

MasterPo isn’t making any predictions about Nazi uprisings in America. And a level of anti-Semitism has always been a factor in American society since even colonial times.

However, today we live in a world that more and more seems to once again repeating history and blaming the Jews for the worlds’ ills. Right now most attention is being focused on Israel and the Middle East. MasterPo does not have a good feeling about that outcome. But when (not if!) the same problems and the violence come to Main Street, U.S.A. once again the Jews will be blamed. It would not take much for violent anti-Semitism to erupt in America. It has happened before (see Crown Heights, Brooklyn, August 1991 as one such example).

MasterPo’s father’s fears may yet come true in his son’s life time.