Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama's "Leading From Behind" Controversy

                                                 
Last week the White House was in a frenetic tizzy over a report published in the New Yorker regarding his leadership style.  Considering the dearth of any Main Stream Media who dare to criticize the anointed one, the liberal New Yorker story was quite remarkable.

The news article that stirred the war of words between the New Yorker and the White House was in referenced to a White House advisor leak which characterized Obama's foreign policy strategy in dealing with the Libyan uprising was to "lead from behind".  Apparently Obama wanted the U.S. to take a back seat to Nato and allow French and British forces to take the lead in providing military assistance to the Libyan rebels.

I found this little liberal tiff a bit amusing.  Most of us already know that this Community Organizer "led from behind" since January 20th, 2009.  After all, it was Reid and Pelosi who packed all of that liberal pork into the $870 billion dollar stimulus bill that created no jobs.  Once Harry and Nasty had all the earmarks loaded into the bill they marched up to the White House and told Obama "sign here".  Same thing with the Obamacare bill.  Likewise with the debt ceiling talks.

In my fifty years of following politics I have never seen a President so lacking in leadership skills.  How can that be surprising about a man who has been coddled his entire life, whether by his white grandparents or the overly generous minority scholarships that provided for his "Community Organizer" training.

The only thing Obama has ever achieved is being deft at campaigning from behind a teleprompter.  Having failed as a leader he has decided to enter campaign mode early in a last desperate bid to win another four years of "leading from behind".

Sad,  Damned Sad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"How To Survive The Coming Financial Collapse"

First, I want to say that I am not, nor have I ever been, one of those wacky "survivalists" who are carving out caves in Idaho, stockpiling weapons and C-rations, in anticipation of the Armageddon.  Having said that, I am very concerned about our country's future and how both national and world events will impact our everyday lives in the very near future. 

I truly believe that the current "recession" is much more than that; I believe our present state of the nation is caused by a confluence of events occurring over the past three decades.  During this period we have seen the collapse of our manufacturing base, and the accompanying collapse of the middle class who were able to earn a living wage, fund our social safety net requirements, and contribute to our nation's growth.

Secondly, we have seen the total failure of K-12 education as parents struggled to earn a living and disengaged from parent-teacher participation in school performance.  Compounding the problem has been massive federal intervention in school management as well as the ballooning of costly and cumbersome school administration bureaucracies at all levels of government.  However, the most damaging impact on our school system has been the liberal court mandates that orders us to build more schools, hire more teachers and administrators and buy educational equipment to educate tens of millions of illegal children over the past three decades.  Consequently, student learning has declined, graduation rates have plunged and America finds itself on the losing end of Asian countries who are realizing rapid gains in math and science advantages.

Third, America continues to act as if we are the policeman to the world, spending trillions of borrowed dollars to fund our foreign wars.  Even more insane, we continue to attempt to fund a massive social welfare system without the funds to do so.

Finally, while we cope with our own massive domestic problems the world is rapidly changing.  The two most populous nations in the world, China and India, are rapidly industrializing, gaining wealth, developing a rapidly expanding middle class and placing explosive demand on the world's resources.  It doesn't take a genius to figure out that oil, precious metals and food prices will experience explosive price increases. 

So where does all this leave us? 

It puts we Americans in a pretty precarious position.  With a decline in a "system-supporting" middle class, a lack of discipline in asserting reasonable government budget management, a declining educational knowledge base we are faced with falling rapidly in the rank of nations.

As this national decline develops how does the "average joe" in America hope to survive?

Well first, you pull your head out of your ass, stop spending much of your time posting inanities on Facebook, give up a little of your "Glee" and "American Idol" watching and learn what the hell is going on in your country and in the world.

Let's figure this out:  First, as our debt to foreign nations increase, the value of the dollar will decline.  So hold on to your gold and silver jewelry, if that's all you can do.  If you, after the government takes half of your income in taxes, still have money to invest, invest in gold stocks, oil companies and agricultural stocks; these companies will thrive as the demand for precious commodities skyrocket. 

Next, go down to your Home Depot and buy vegetable seeds; you're going to need to plant a garden and grow your own vegetables.  And finally (and tragically) yeah, you're going to have to buy a gun.  As the social safety net collapses and three generations of welfare folks no longer have access to the government tit, you can expect a soaring crime wave.  Having never learned to provide for themselves, or ponder the future, they'll be coming after what you have.

Finally, to stave off  the "bad times"as long as possible, get involved as a citizen and try to vote for politicians that are truly aware and committed to solving our problems. 

Yeah, I'm sure a good percentage of you think my "doomsday scenario" will never come true.  To those I will only say "may God prove me wrong and you right".  I'm not betting on it and neither should you.

Gotta go now...gotta get back to my planting primer on how to grow tomatoes and cucumbers...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Bush, The Democrat's Best Friend"

In the ten years since George W. Bush came on the national scene I've tried hard to figure him out.  Though he proclaimed himself to be a "compassionate conservative" I've always wondered what he really is.

Let me make it clear; I don't believe that Bush was responsible for the recession following 9/11.  If anyone is responsible I would place more blame on Clinton for9/11 occurring. Clinton's complacency in dealing with two huge terrorist elements that were strengthened and grew bolder under Clinton's watch are borderline criminal.  Doing little of nothing for the 94 WTC attack, not retaliating after the USS Cole was bombed and failing to authorize the CIA strike of the Al Quaida and Osama Bin Laden camp only emboldened the terrorists.

I also don't blame Bush for the financial collapse in 2008; it was Chris Dodd and Barney Frank on the House Banking committee who ignored Bush's warnings to clamp down on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and stop the bad loans to unqualified buyers.  And most Democrats refuse to talk about what brought about the banking crisis; it was Clinton's, and the Dem's cancellation of the  Glass-Seagul Act which allowed banks and financial institutions to merge business interests and strike down a banking law that had protected us from financial calamity since the Great Depression of the 30's.\

What I do blame Bush for is the hard-headedness which took us into two extended major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and despite state department council that warned against trying to "democratize" Muslim countries who are capable of a benign theocracy at best.  In fighting these two wars for a decade now we have expended trillions of dollars that we don't have and have sacrificed countless American lives in the process. 

If Bush had wanted to "avenge" his father's failure to drive into Baghdad during the first Gulf War, why in hell didn't he just go in, take out Sadaam and his sons, and get the hell out?  What was the purpose of staying?  Democracy?  Aint' gonna happen in countries where religion is the overriding influence in every phase of their lives.

With respect to Afghanistan, the Taliban and Al Quaida are in Pakistan, not Afghanistan!  They fled!  Now what?  Do we continue to spend $2 billion dollars a week to fight a war where the enemy has "left the building"?  Afghanistan's government is ripe with corruption and the enemy have fled!  By all means, let's fight terrorists, but let's do it on our terms!  We don't have to have our troops tromping all over the desert, being blown up, injured and killed by terrorist guerrillas!  Didn't we learn anything from Vietnam? 

Should we now invade a nuclear-armed Pakistan for god's sake?  Enough.  Bring our troops and all the equipment home.  Use the money saved to beef up our harbor security, put our troops on the border and stop this massive invasion of illegal immigrants and spend that trillion dollars here!  Hell, it might even pull us out of recession!  And if or when we are ever attacked on our soil we have the means to know where that attack originated from and we can do what's necessary to take the threat out.

In 2008 the American people, weary of an extended and pointless war, and alarmed by explosive spending by Bush and the Republicans and Democrats, had finally had enough.  We elected a socialist President and we elected a horde of socialist Democrats who have been having an orgy with our checkbook.

When Republicans complain , the Democrats respond with the mantra, "Bush did it too"  So what we face today was caused by a hard-headed Texas-Macho free-spending Bush who claimed to be conservative and was anything but.

Why did Bush perform so badly?  Well, take it to it's roots.  The elder Bush lost an election when he wandered into a department store in the middle of the 91 recession and marvelled at the bar scanner! Scanners had been around for a decade but Bush doesn't have to shop for himself.  Always a rich man, he just couldn't relate to the average joe.  George W. has fared no better in understanding the electorate.  He certainly didn't understand the word "conservative".

So what is Bush's legacy?  He was the Democrat's best friend.  For the next decade or so, he'll be the excuse the liberals use when they are criticized for those spending orgies they love.  Bush and a number of recent Republicans did more to damage the conservative cause than anyone I know.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Obama Is Taxing Our Patience"

                                              
The latest iteration of Obama's "Tax The Rich" speech is now on the road.  Apparently, he has chosen just to ride this mantra right into the next election.  It matters not that the top 20 percent of wage earners pay 70 percent of all income taxes.  It matters not that, even if Obama's tax the rich plan were passed, it wouldn't raise more than ten percent of the additional $460 billion dollars he wants to spend to "stimulate" the economy (read preserve union jobs and pay vig money to the "victim class" who supports him).  It matters not that the Obama/Reid/Pelosi regime's $787 billion dollar pork-laden "stimulus" program created no jobs.  It matters not that Obama confiscated $537 million dollars for his solar pal, Solyndra and watched our tax money go down the tube in a company bankruptcy.  It matters not that millions of that 2009 stimulus money went to a Chicago Water Park subsequently busted for hiring illegal aliens to maintain it.

Obama now knows that his only hope for survival and re-election is for him to demonize the Tea Party and conservative Republicans for cutting off his "Chinese-funded" allowance.  He will have to do the greatest sales job in his long "community organizing" career because he has proven that he cannot lead us out of recession.  He now knows that his "hope and change" theme just won't work anymore so he's going to to have to rev up the old Chicago-style political smut campaign to have any hope for re-election. 

I believe Obama's campaign thugs took a look at the polls after his grand "performance" before Congress and saw that they did not receive a bump up in the polls and decided they must stop spending time on "governing" and revert to pure politics for the next 13 months.  Had Obama been sincere about his Jobs Recovery Act he would have sent his staff down to the Capitol and worked with Congress to hammer out a program.  Instead he chose to use the grand stage of the House and the public airwaves to make a political speech in a desperate effort to save his hiney. 

Support in Congress for Obama's latest Jobs Recovery Plan as well as his deficit reduction proposals are nearly non-existent.  Even CNBC and CNN has been reporting that Obama doesn't have Democratic support in either the House or Senate for his proposals.

So, Mr.Obama will tour the nation trying to sell himself once again.  He will appear at specially staged Town Hall Meetings with liberal groups who won't dare to pull a Joe The Plumber and challenge him publicly.  However, I suspect even this tactic won't work.  The majority of the American people have lost patience with Obama.  They have stopped listening.  This community organizer thought he could get by with campaigning instead of leading during his entire term of office.

The American people have had enough.  He has taxed our patience to the max and now he is paying the price.  However, the price he has paid is nothing compared to the price 30 million unemployed and underemployed have paid while waiting for a recovery.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Are Donating To Obama's Campaign Fund

                                               
Hey Republicans, Conservatives and Independents!  Whether you know it or not you are donating to Obama's Re-Election Campaign Fund.  You may not be doing it willingly, but you are.

Obama has, in a last act of desperation, begun to show his true colors.  Having failed miserably to resurrect the economy, thus losing the support of the center right American electorate, Obama has retreated to his true base; tit suckers and college students and is promising them more free taxpayer hand-outs to curry their favor.

During the past two weeks Obama has begun circumventing Congress, and democracy again by issuing "executive orders" to force banks to void contract law and re-finance home loans for folks who foolishly paid twice what their home was worth.  Already deeply in the red,  and bleeding tax payer money at $125 billion dollars per quarter, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now prepared to absorb a few trillion dollars of toxic home loans.   Obama, having made the housing slump longer and deeper through Dodd Frank legislation and an all out assault on the banks, must now try to revive housing by having the taxpayer pay for bad housing decisions.  In effect, every taxpayer, regardless of political persuasion, is now funding Obama's catering to his political base.

This week begins the second round of "fundraising".  Obama has just decreed that folks who took out a trillion dollars in student loans no longer have to make full payment.  Beginning in 2012 student loan borrowers can now make only partial payments to reimburse taxpayers for these loans.  Why?  Because Obama's economic plans have been so horrible that college graduates no longer have jobs to go to after securing their "Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies".  No jobs equals no student loan payback.  What should really anger all of you is that, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress they passed legislation that totally forgives student loans if they are not paid back within 25 years.  Yesterday Obama shortened that period.  Now, if they haven't paid back their student loans within 20 years, Obama says "that's okay; don't worry about it; we'll just forgive the loan. After all, it's not my money!"

So, be prepared for more federal give a ways as Obama's reelection campaign heats up.  Obama can't win re-election based on his job performance so he has chosen to buy it...with your tax dollars!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Macro Economics and The Blame Game

                                                 

Despite the constant blame game going on between Dems and Republicans, when one looks at the facts, America has been in economic decline for more than fifteen years.  The decline actually began with the erosian of America's manufacturing base. 

When one looks back at developments over the last thirty years we see that the first crack in our manufacturing armor occurred in the early 1980's when Japan began to clean our clock in auto manufacturing.  While Detroit was building 20 feet long gas guzzlers Toyota and Honda began turning our stylish and fuel efficient cars for the America market.  After one looks at the built in costs of overly generous unionized wages and Cadillac health care programs in Detroit it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Japan, and later the Koreans, would win the war.

Our manufacturing decline was offset by the explosive rise of our technology prowess in the mid 90's as Microsoft and Intel and Cisco and IBM began providing products and services that provided a healthy economic base.

Then came the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Signed into law by President Clinton, NAFTA opened up trade opportunties.  Unfortunately, the trade opportunities were for Asia and Mexico.  The U.S., with our built in labor rules and manufacturing costs, could not compete with "dollar a day" Mexican workers and Chinese prison manufacturing labor.  Tens of thousands of American businesses collapsed, to include American clothing factories and any number of small and large tooling and manufacturing concerns. 

Since NAFTA the American economy has been in a tailspin.  We have tried mightily to offset losses in manufacturing by boosting the service sector of our economy.  However, in the last few years, even the service sector businesses are migrating to countries with more favorable corporate tax structures and cheap labor.  When you call the 800 number of an American business these days you are more than likely will be talking to a customer service representative in Mexico or India. 

Another factor in our economic decline has been our big corporations complete loss of civic and community responsibility and the emphasis on the "bottom line" over love of country.  Despite all of Obama's faults, he is right on in pointing this out.  While he rightly points out that we must reward U.S. companies who employ Americans, his liberal policies are achieving the opposite actions; he is driving more U.S. companies out of the U.S. due to crippling federal mandates with everything from labor union favoritism to the effects of Obamacare on operating costs.

If we are to reverse this long term trend in our economic decline it is essential that we eliminate corporate tax loopholes while lowering corporate tax rates.   We must then defeat Obamacare and back off of big government's interference in labor relations.  As Obama proposes, we need to reward companies who employ Americans and punish those who don't.  Finally, we must either work to tweak NAFTA, and all other future trade agreements, to make them more equitable, or we must begin to impose a tariff on all foreign made products.  This is not a new and novel idea.   For more than a century of our history foreign trade tariffs were the primary source of government revenues.    We cannot hope to compete with Mexico or Korea or India or Chinese prison labor under the current trade regulations.

America has a plethora of problems to work through, to include our massive federal debt, the fraud waste and abuse in entitlements and meeting our current and future energy needs, but our macro economic model has been askew for three decades and must be reformed if America is to ever again prosper in today's economic climate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Steve Jobs Biography

                                                      
I just finished the Steve Jobs biography.  I pre-ordered it and had it downloaded to my Kindle.  I was anxious to gain insight into the life of a man who transformed American technology but was equally interested in learning about Jobs, the person. 

Those who have, in death, placed Jobs on a high pedestal, will likely be disappointed in Isaacson's account of Jobs' life.  Some will readily dismiss Jobs' personal failures, seeing equal trade for Jobs' accomplishment as an innovator who possessed remarkable business genius. 

In reading Jobs biography I discovered a remarkable number of conundrums which can only be explained by Jobs himself.  For example, Isaacson presents Jobs as a ruthless businessman, a man with huge worldly ambitions, an ego-centric person who offered little empathy for friends and brutalized others.  Isaacson cites a plethora of life experiences to demonstrate these traits.  For example, Jobs offered that, at age eleven, he came to the realization that he was far more intelligent than his parents and began to demand from them and others, the respect and admiration that he had not yet earned.  Isaacson cites the time when his working class parents, having saved for 17 years to fund for his college education, were turned away by Jobs in front of the campus.  He was apparently ashamed for anyone to see his parents.  Jobs was an ambitious opportunist who denied fathering his daughter and accepted unearned credit for many of Apple's innovations.  Friends and acquaintances speculate that part of this arrogance and ego was a defense mechanism attributable to a sub-conscious frustration that his birth parents chose to place him up for adoption. 

Ironically, though Jobs denied this theory, at one point in an Isaacson interview, Jobs himself raises the theory, but seems to both confirm and deny the idea at the same time.  Never the less, it seems clear that Jobs was driven by massive ego which manifested itself in every relationship he developed throughout his life, whether it was his teachers, his friends or his business associates.

Perhaps a large ego, and its associated shortcomings when dealing with others, is a necessary trait for brilliant invention and innovation.  Anyone who had read a good biography of Thomas Edison will see remarkable similarities of character between Jobs and Edison.  Both were possessed with a massive ego and an insatiable drive to succeed.

Isaacson's biography presents a fascinating insight into the development of this giant icon.  He gives us an unvarnished look at Steve Jobs, the man as well as Jobs, the business genius.  He manages to do this without moral preachings or judgemental justifications. 

After reading Jobs biography I came away with a better sense of what made Jobs "tick".  I think what most fascinated me about Jobs was the dichotomy of Jobs' "life philosophy"; the primal motivation that drives one's approach to maneuvering through our life experiences.  For example, Jobs embraced the concepts of Zen-Buddhism whose precepts demand that devotees recognize that our actions and behavior generate both good and bad karma, emphasizing the importance of promoting kindness and empathy for others.  Instead Jobs chose to adapt Zen Buddhism as a model for developing elegance and beauty of an Apple product while brutally treating nearly all who entered his life.  More remarkable was Jobs' failure, until much too late in his life, to develop a small semblance of "life balance", valuing with equal importance both career and personal and familial relationships.

As with anyone who is staring death in the face, Issacson cites Jobs' subtle move toward accepting the idea of God and an afterlife.  Jobs reflected about this in his last months and offered that he certainly hoped that death would not simply be the end of our existence.  I found that both touching and endearing from a man who, like all of us, wrestled with his personal demons. 

As with any good biography, Issacson offers a portrait of a famous man.  It is up to us, the reader, to take what we will from the effort.  A Technocrat will champion Jobs tremendous achievements in the advancement of music distribution, of elegant I-Phones and of simplistic and effective computing.  The rest of us mere mortals may choose to be fascinated by Jobs' business achievements while also recognizing that life is rife with the the great challenges we face in balancing the need for professional achievements against the equally compelling need to achieve success in our personal relationships.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Urban Farming"

                                                                
As I get older I find that I am taking an increased pleasure in growing things.  When I bought my house, the yard was barren of trees or shrubs or flowers.  I later learned that the previous owners had a penchant for saving water, thus none was wasted in the yard.  In the summer, at noon, the Arizona heat is blazing hot and, when I first gazed out into the back yard I could almost see the heat emanating from the naked landscape.

I began modestly to plant a shrub here, a tree there.  First to be planted was one of those one-foot Christmas trees that one can buy in a pot to decorate the house for Christmas.  I planted my little pine and tended it carefully and whispered to it all the big dreams I had for it;  it listened well.  It now stands in majesty more than 20 feet from the ground, throwing shade on my morning patio, its branches dancing with delight in the morning and evening breezes.  I then planted a Pomello tree and its glossy leaves now grace my line of sight and, in the spring, sweeps glorious scents of citrus blossom into my open bedroom window.  I have a dwarf lemon that produces fruit far beyond all expectations and stocks the fruit baskets of friends and neighbors and food banks all.  In my earlier blog (God and Trees and Me) I wrote of my Chinese Elm and compared it's growth progress with that of my mystery tree which stands beside it.  The Chinese Elm must have sensed my disappointment for even it has begun to thrive this spring.  I now have nine healthy and thriving trees in my backyard.  They are providing welcome canopies of shade and, when the winds come, they sing my praises for their care, a tonal symphony that pleases me greatly.

I have also begun to plant garden vegetables in the brick patio boxes that border the rear of my patio.  I have both beefsteak and cherry tomatoes thriving there, along with cucumber and basil and jalapeno peppers to add spice to life!  Each morning I inspect my "crops" and delight at each new tomato flowering or tiny jalapeno emerging from its bud. 

I am beginning to appreciate life in all its forms as I get older.  Perhaps, the secret and ghostly urgings of my farmer ancestors are having a greater influence on me these days.  I am among the first generation of my family who did not rely on the farm for survival.  I come from a long line of farmers; my Friend ancestors were one of the first families to settle in Missouri territory in 1807.  Our family name is prominent in the history of the Ozarks having settled several prosperous farms long the White River there.  My ancestry research shows many Friends who still live in the area over two hundred years later.

Somehow, my paternal grandfather, who was born in the Ozarks, managed to migrate to Oklahoma.  My mother spoke often of the efforts the entire extended family had to make just to survive the Great Depression.  She always said that, without my grandmother's canning skills, and my grandfather's skills in hunting and smoking meats, they would have starved.  They never owned the land they farmed but "share-cropped", giving half of each year's crop to the land owner. 

When my immediate family migrated to California in the early fifties I learned to harvest the cotton and fruits and vegetables but never felt the "pull" of the land that farmers have.  I'm only now beginning to appreciate nature's dance; the pleasure of plucking a fresh ripe tomato and savoring the warm juicy goodness that sun and soil create.  As I harvest the lemons or grapefruit and oranges I take great pride of their flourishing from my care. 

Life is good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"My First Bike...and Freedom"

                                            
I was eleven years old when I got my first bike.  Getting that first bike is a seminal moment in a child's life.  It is every bit as special as your first car.  I had dreamed of having a bike for years.  I used to sit on the front porch of our house and watch other kids flying by on their bicycles.  My eyes followed them down the road until they were out of sight and I would wonder about what great adventures greeted them around the next turn.  Once in awhile a kid would come cruising by, a playing card clothes-pinned to a wheel spoke, and my lust for wheeled freedom was intense.

My bike came to me one Saturday morning as usual in childhood, when it is least expected.  My mother occasionally took us on Saturdays to a huge farm and food auction in Fresno where she would occasionally find cheap produce or second hand clothes at a bargain price.  My sister and brother and I loved to go with her.  As soon as we parked in a nearby cow pasture we could hear an auctioneer's machine gun like bellows, ratcheting up the prices by a quarter, two bits, a dollar!  We could smell the vendor's offerings; corn dogs and burgers and rat-tat-tating of the popcorn machine. 

After paying the dime admission fee, my mother would call out instructions and bewarings and arrange where to meet up if we were to become separated amidst the huge throngs.  But on this special morning I spied an old bike for sale at one of the seller booths.  It didn't look like much but it fell gracefully in to our price range so I immediately began cajoling and lobbying my mother to buy me the bike.  The seller wanted three dollars for it.  Of course, my mother found all kinds of reasons why we should not buy the bike; it didn't look safe, the tires were worn bald, the brakes were weak, and so on.  My mother, in a bid to shush me, said perhaps, if it was still available after we had finished our shopping, we would come back for a closer look.

I stuck closely to my mother that morning, volunteering to haul the onions and greens and potatoes, anything to win favor with the family banker.  Eventually we returned to the fellow selling the bike, and in the absence of any other takers, he sold us the bike for two dollars.  We loaded the bike into the trunk of the car and returned home and, from that moment until  supper time, I was in a totally new world.  A world where I rode my bike down alley ways and down streets that seemed foreign to me in this brave new world of mobility!

Upon rising on Sunday morning I ran immediately to the back porch to check on my bike.  The front tire looked a little flat.  I got out a bike pump and pumped up the tire and wiped it down, trying carefully to ignore the peeling paint and tarnished chrome.  Soon it was time to board the bus for Sunday School and my mother fought off all arguments for my staying home so I went reluctantly.  I'm afraid I learned nothing that morning in Sunday School.  Lost in visions of riding to far horizons I missed all of the moral lessons I might have been taught that Sunday morning.

Of course, like any kid, I lived to love and curse that bike.  I loved that first taste of freedom on the streets of my little town.  When the confines of youthful obedience got me down I could always "saddle up" and ride down the street to see how the rest of the world was spending their day.  I learned how to adjust the brakes, tighten a bolt and pour evaporated milk into an inner tube to seal a leak in an inner tube.  I learned to live with scrapes and cuts that is the life of a boy and a bike. 

Mostly, I learned that freedom, even in the first tentative steps, is a wonderful thing.  A bike gives you that first subtle taste of the world outside, and, as Martha says, "that is a good thing".  I have since travelled a million miles to and from far off corners of the world.  High flying jets have propelled me into foreign cultures that I could never have imagined.  Yet, I have never forgotten the thrill of adventure I experienced in those first daring forays around the corner on my first bike.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Thanks To Love I Am Immortal"

                                      
If those census questionnaires that the government sends out every ten years ever ask for greater specificity regarding "ethnic origin" there wouldn't be enough space for me to list them.  My first paternal ancestor came here from Sweden in the 17the century.  All the inter-marriages since that time leave me with blood nourished in England, Ireland and Germany.  I am also ten percent Cherokee Indian on my maternal side. 

I have great respect for my ancestors and am always fascinated when I can track one down when doing ancestry research.  My GGGG grandfather fought with George Washington in the Revolutionary War and many of my kin fought on both sides of the Civil War.  My GGG grandfather was one of the earliest settlers in Missouri territory.  Up until my father most of my ancestors were farmers, hard working and proud.  I always get a kick when I read some snippet that one of my kin was a reader and wrote well.  Many, many of them were known to be great story tellers.  The past three lines of family have evidenced a great talent for humor and, since I prize that trait so highly, I revel in that as well.

The richness of my past proves indisputably the promise of the future.  I have planted roots with my own family that now stretches through three generations so that, long after I'm gone, I know that my blood, my DNA and inheritable character traits will prevail long into the latter half of this century! 

Just as my grandmother died before knowing microwave ovens, computers and digital technology I will have fled long before the development of technology that will serve the lives of my grandchildren.  And yet, I will be there, still "cell-relevant" and still having an influence on how their world turns.

When you think about it, isn't that remarkable?  Throw away all of the technology!  Throw away all of the tumult of world events!  What makes my immortality possible began with a single act of love!  This dynasty began in a small ten by ten room in Saigon, Vietnam!  It began before that!  It began the very moment I first met my wife!   In these days of Internet Romance, Social Media..and a devout skepticism about the possibility of love at first sight, it was absolutely true with me!  My dear Vietnamese wife and I began this dynasty with but the most humble wish...to be together. 

With that single, mutual act of love we established a future that we could have never foreseen.  We raised four children, did the best we could, then reluctantly let them go...to diverse regions and to diverse lives.  Yet, they carry within them a rich diversity of ancestry that influences them in the smallest of gestures and actions and will pass that on to their young as well!

This immortality is comforting and ennobling!  I have already wrote about the life experiences which proves to me that our soul lives on once we have passed. ( http://justcommonsense-lostinamerica.blogspot.com/2011/09/cell-phones-and-music-boxes-voices-of.html).  But it is comforting to know that we indeed leave something of ourselves on this earthly plain, to be carried along eternal time lines as a seed is carried to far off lands and takes root..and lives on.

And I have all of this immortality because of the simple act of love!  God is indeed generous with his rewards!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"A Sad America"

                                                   

Kirk Cameron had a birthday last week.  You may remember Kirk as the oldest son on the hit 80's show, "Growing Pains".  You may or not know that Kirk Cameron, sickened by the moral depravity of Hollywood, became a Christian.  He hosts a religious show on one of the religious networks. 

Apparently, this teen heart throb lost a lot of fans when it became known that he had adopted a Christian lifestyle.  After all, how can a teenage girl, just bursting with hormonal urges, have nocturnal fantasies with one who is Christian?  Does that sound too harsh?

Well get this; Kirk attended a rather modest birthday bash at a ministry center this past week.  A photo of him standing at a table, blowing out a birthday cake apparently went viral on the Internet and America lamented that poor Kirk was not afforded the opportunity to get liquored and doped up at one of Hollywood's more prominent star hangouts.  Instead, America's "excess-loving" populace deemed Kirk's modest party of 20, who dined on subway sandwiches, cake and soft drinks, a sad, sad affair.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/cutline/story-behind-kirk-cameron-sad-birthday-photo-212734689.html

I think this speaks more about a sad America than it does about Kirk's lifestyle and religious choices.  In an age where the liberal elite consider Christians as wild wackos why am I not surprised that a religious young man would be branded as a "loser" simply for aspiring to a life with Christ and pursuing a normal lifestyle?

I thought that, in these days of severe economic depression, at least a significant number of people would have chosen to fore go the "life in excess" route.  Apparently, fewer people have learned their lessons than I anticipated.  While mobs are camping out in New York and other major cities, protesting and decrying the wealth of the rich, it was reported today that many in the crowd drifted over to the Apple Store to line up for the new I-Phone. 

God Help Us All...even those who denigrate those who believe in you.  As for you, Kirk, Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"The Value of An Education"

                                          
Steve Jobs' Stanford Graduation Speech has gotten alot of play lately, following his death.  It was a great speech.  His three chief points were "stay foolish", "stay curious", and "don't waste a minute of your life".  Well said.

Ironically, those points crossed my mind as I was watching Sinatra's "Concert For The America's" on PBS tonight.  Sinatra was singing "Send In The Clowns" by the great Stephen Sondheim.  It was lovely and the world was lovely and my thoughts jumped to thoughts again on education; my own, to include knowing who Sondheim is.

Far too many people deprive themselves of an education.  I'm not talking about formal education, although that is equally important; school provides the discipline to learn what you need to learn, but, if you're fortunate, an education will inspire you to continue your education long after you have completed your formal education.  That's really the "education" I'm speaking of; a continuation of learning throughout your lifetime.  As Jobs said, "stay curious".  Don't stop reading books just because you no longer have to.  And embrace the world, flirt with it!  See what turns you on!  Value your formal education as well as the education that comes from the life experience!

I am so grateful that I can appreciate a Puccini opera, Broadway plays, Bach and Beethoven and John Lennon!  I can get chill bumps listening to Hank Williams just as easily as listening to Bach!  I even know that, in Hawaii, they call chill bumps "chicken skin" and I think about how lovely that localism is because I was lucky enough to live there!  And while I would never choose to live in New York City I love to go there and see a Broadway show, eat in a NYC deli and intermingle with those crazy, fast talking New Yorkers!  I have been fortunate to work and live in the Middle East and in Asia and diverse places in America.  In every one of those places I have learned! 

Through my love of reading I have experienced "virtual travel" with Bill Bryson and William Least Heat Moon and Steinbeck and Twain!  I have learned through reading Thomas Wolfe that prose can indeed also be poetry!  By contrast, I can appreciate the simplistic elegance of Ernest Hemingway.  I have learned to read and understand Shakespeare; until I took a Shakespeare literature course his writing was totally foreign to me and now I can read him and appreciate that he was perhaps the greatest writer and the greatest storyteller of all time.

I was blessed with a natural love of history and have studied the history of every major culture in our world.
I am blessed in that historical characters literally walk off the page and come up to me and say "hi" every time I read about them.  They are truly real people to me!  History has enabled me to see and understand current events in a more accurate frame of reference.

I was the first person in my extended family to finish high school.  Hungry for more, I was also the first to have graduated from college.  It doesn't make me superior to anyone in my family; it doesn't make me smarter; it means I was more fortunate!

I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of professional people during my two careers.  I have socialized with them.  I have interacted with them at work.  I'm sorry to say the vast majority of them closed the books and never opened another one once they had a degree in hand.  They literally "stopped learning" and it soon becomes clear that the breadth of their knowledge suffers as a consequence. 

An education is one of the most valuable assets you can bring to the world of living.  It not only keeps you properly situated in a rapidly changing world; it enriches your soul and makes the world so much more rewarding.  When one stops "being foolish", "being curious" one is really just slowly dying...and dying in a world heartbreakingly foreign to both your mind and your soul.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tea Party & Wall Street Occupiers; A Contrast"

                                                                                
They saw the disgusting waste in government.  They saw the productive punished while the "victim class" were rewarded.  They read that Obama was transferring $500 billion dollars from Medicare, funds that they had paid into for their entire working lives, were being transferred to Medicaid so that three generations of deadbeats could get free medical care.  They were disgusted with a government that was invading every facet of their lives.  They were tired of exessive government spending and a $15.5 trillion dollar national debt. 

So they assembled at hundreds of town hall meetings and voiced their opposition to the direction this government was moving.  More than 200,000 of them showed up in Washington, D.C. and protested on the National Mall.  When they were finished they cleaned up after themselves and went home.  They were called The Tea Party.  Obama villified them and both Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi called them a "racist mob".

.......

They assembled on personal property in the heart of the financial district in New York City.  They camped out in tents or on sleeping bags.  They harried financial workers on the way to work.  They defacated on Police Cars.  They smoked pot and participated in public sex.  They actually left jobs to participate in a protest demanding jobs.  They took paid stipends from George Soros and the unions to participate.  They had no clear goals other than demanding more from the government.  They held signs that demanded that their student loans be forgiven.  They demanded free medical care.  They advocated socialism and the end of a capitalistic financial system.  They went to the home of the wealthy and screamed obscenities, threatened their families and threw rocks threw the windows.  They both refused to clean up their camp mess and refused to leave to allow the property owner to clean up either.  They are called Wall Street Occupiers and Obama and Reid and Pelosi praised them as patriots.

You decide who are the patriots and who is "the mob".

Back in March I wrote of the coming of a 2nd Civil War....some of you thought it was far-fetched...just wait; you haven't seen anything yet.
http://justcommonsense-lostinamerica.blogspot.com/2011/03/2nd-civil-war.html

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine"

                               Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine

How old do you think I am he said I said well I didn't know
He said I turned sixty five about eleven months ago
I was sittin' in Miami pourin' blended whiskey down
When this old grey black gentleman was cleanin' up the lounge
There wasn't anyone around 'cept this old man and me
The guy who ran the bar was watching Ironsides on TV
Uninvited he sat down and opened up his mind
On old dogs and children and watermelon wine
Ever had a drink of watermelon wine he asked
He told me all about it though I didn't answer back
Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime
But old dogs and children and watermelon wine
He said women think about theyselves when menfolk ain't around
And friends are hard to find when they discover that you're down
He said I tried it all when I was young and in my natural prime
Now it's old dogs and children and watermelon wine
Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes
God bless little children while they're still too young to hate
When he moved away I found my pen and copied down that line
'Bout old dogs and children and watermelon wine

I had to catch a plane up to Atlanta that next day
As I left for my room I saw him pickin' up my change
That night I dreamed in peaceful sleep of shady summertime
Of old dogs and children and watermelon wine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSMPzYNXyk8&feature=related

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Expanding Our Capacity To Love"

                                         
In my life experience I have found that most of us self impose our capacity to love others.  By that, I mean we seem to set "place mats" around our heart and allow only a limited few a seat at the table.  Some of us limit the invitation list to family only.  Some of the luckier ones welcome a few friends to our circle of love.

 Isn't that just crazy?  If love is the most marvelous gift we can own why do we pose limitations on the magical exchange of this gift?

Let me present to you an absurd example:   When I was younger, and my kids were home, my love was concentrated on my wife and kids, along, of course with my mother and siblings.  Then my children grew up and established families of their own.  My mother died as did two of my siblings.  These losses created a "vacuum" which required replenishment.  Over the course of years I suppose I started transferring some of my love to my two little Chihuahua dogs and now treat them as if they were my children.  I would guess other older folks do this as well.

But let me tell you about some wonderful people I have met who have never limited the "guest list" to their heart!  They are people who just exude a love for their fellow man and revel in the "banquet" of all  humanity and are far richer than most of us can ever hope to be!

The first of these that comes to my mind was my late sister, Marcie.  At the age of twelve my sister began to be recognized by others as "slow".  She was never, ever retarded in any sense.  It was just that she would never emotionally grow beyond the maturity of a twelve year old.  Marcie loved to read and she could accomplish any task any of us are called upon to do in the course of our normal day.  What made Marcie "not like us" was that she maintained a complete "innocence", an undying belief that everyone she met was wonderful!  She was just incapable of seeing the "bad" in anyone.  Accordingly, Marcie never met a stranger!  She would exchange pleasantries with someone in the grocery store and, upon the next meeting, would assume a "hug and kisses" relationship with that person.  Consequently, Marcie's circle of "friends" was immense.  She was on hug and kiss terms with half of our small town!  Marcie eventually married but had no kids but that didn't stop her from "having" kids.  When any of my extended family had kids you could expect Marcie to be lugging them around and showering them with hugs and kisses and love!  When she met a mother and baby it would not be long before Marcie was cradling that child in her own arms. 

Sadly, Marcie's health was not good; by the time she reached her thirties she began to have kidney problems and eventually experienced complete kidney failure.  Although given a kidney transplant she experienced severe reaction to the anti-rejection drugs and died of a heart attack at age 54.  Ironically, desperate to see her brother again, she died en route to see me after my return from overseas. 

Marcie never had any real material possessions.  She lived in a trailer house and never had much money, mostly because, when she did have a little money,  she gave it away or spent it on gifts for others.  As I attended her funeral I marvelled at the huge turnout for this lady who never finished high school, never held a steady job and never accomplished anything that would have gotten her name in the paper.  But, at that funeral, were huge contingents of people from Marcie's church.  Towns people came.  Her nurses from as far away as San Francisco came and wrote remembrances of how Marcie had touched their lives. 

I guess if I had to submit one remarkable thing about my sister it would be that she just had too much love to give and there simply weren't enough people available to accept it all.

The other person I would cite as having an infinite capacity to love was that of a friend I met while working and living in Saudi Arabia.  Those with Muslim phobia should stop reading here because my friend is indeed a Muslim.  His name is Ibrahim Abuguyan. 

When I met Ibrahim he was a young Captain in the Saudi Air Force.  The first thing I noted about him was a perpetual smile and his respect for every human being, regardless of ethnicity or religion.  We soon became very close friends and I came to admire this man greatly.  I admired his dedication to hard work and his devotion to his religious principles.  While I could never accept his religion as mine, (since I am not a follower of any organized religion), I greatly admired my friend Ibrahim's living his life according to his religious principles every hour of every day.   Ibrahim collected friends as most people collect coins or stamps.  He treated all of them equally, whether the Pakistani tea boy who served the tea or a four star general.  Ibrahim is now a General in the Saudi Air Force and, a decade after our last parting, he still calls me from Saudi Arabia to see how I'm doing.

How fortunate are those who have an unlimited capacity for loving others....and how fortunate we are to have known them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Doggie Dreams"

                                                    
If you've ever owned a dog you know that they dream.  You can always tell if it's a bad one.  When my little chihuahuas have a bad dream they quietly yelp and flail their front legs as if fleeing from the doggie equivalent of "boogy-man".  When these dream denizens are after them I softly shake them awake and assure them that all is well. 

When their doggie dreams are more mundane I haven't a clue what they are dreaming of.  Of mine, I sometimes try to imagine their subconscious meanderings.  Since my Chi's love the marrow of a good steak bone or the stingy leavings of a spare rib, I often wonder if they are not dreaming of them as they lay there, smacking their lips in slumber. 

The sleeping experts tell us that we humans must dream in order to be healthy.  They cite the length of our REM cycles as a gauge of our physical and mental health.  I know nothing of how the dreams of dogs differ from that of humans but my guess is they are capable of shorter REM cycles to maintain health.  My two Chi's are of varied age; one is nearing her 13th year while her younger sister is only two.  The younger sleeps a bit less while the older one needs more frequent napping in order to maintain the strength to bark at door bells and chase birds out of the back yard. 

Since I have never heard either of my two little dogs elicit moans of pleasure I am a bit doubtful that their dreams are as exotic as are mine.  Too bad for them.  As with all those I love, I do hope my little girls are enjoying those magic carpet rides that take us to places we can never go once our feet touch the ground.

Pardon me, my eyelids are getting a bit heavy and I'll be darned if this is not a great time for a nap.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

California Dems Now Protect Unlicensed, Uninsured Drivers

                                             
There's not a week that goes by that I don't see something weird coming out of Sacramento.  The law they passed last month that forces parents to pay benefits to babysitters, California's encouragement for further invasion by giving tuition discounts to illegals,  coddling hotel maids by forcing hotel chains to spend millions in new sheet pressing equipment because the hotel workers union says maids are getting back aches making beds with flat sheets, stomping on the constitution this week by banning open carry laws for guns, thus taking guns out the hands of law-abiding folks and insuring that only the outlaws have the guns.

Now I see that last Saturday Governor Moonbeam passed a law that bans city and state law enforcement officers from impounding the car of illegals who are caught at traffic stops and who are caught driving without a driver's license or insurance.  They also force LE to wait around until the illegal driver can find someone to come and drive his car home to keep it from being impounded.  The law further mandates that the impounded car must be returned to this illegal uninsured and unlicensed driver so that he can promptly hit the road again, sans insurance or license!  This, despite the National Transportation board's statistics that cite illegal drivers cause accidents at twice the national average of licensed and insured drivers.
Brown cited the new law because illegals were being discriminated against with these DUI checkpoints and questionable traffic stops, just because the guy was speeding and weaving all over the road.
I'm frankly puzzled by the logic behind this new law...if the illegal driver is here illegally, is driving without a driver's license or insurance, how in hell does he have a right to have his car returned?

I recognized that legal American taxpaying citizens are quickly becoming a minority in California but if you folks plan to stay I would think you need to be marching on Sacramento to stop this madness.  Failing that, will the last taxpayer leaving California please turn out the light?

Viva Mexifornia!

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Separate But Unequal; Tuition Discounts for Illegal Aliens"

                                                
All students of history, and anyone over fifty should remember the Brown vs Board of Education decision which deemed that 'separate but equal' was not a good solution for ending the segregation of black and white school children.  The Supreme Court was right; we should not discriminate against any ethnic group and all American children should have the same opportunities and the same choice of schools.

Advance the calendar 57 years since that historic Supreme Court decision was issued.  My question to the "Supremes" is this:  Why must American kids be discriminated against in favor of illegal aliens?  In 2011 America thirteen states have now granted tuition discounts to illegal aliens while continuing to charge higher "out of state" tuition rates for our American kids.  The brouha that erupted about Governor Perry's defense of the Texas Dream Act signifies that this discrimination has been going on without the knowledge of most citizens.  After having this issue raised at a recent Republican Presidential candidate debate America is up in arms over this, perhaps telling us more about the ignorance of our citizenry as well.

California has taken this discrimination to new heights.  Illegal students in California can now attend college at tuition rates far lower than legal California citizens.  This is achieved by way of illegals failing to report their income, thus qualifying as low income tuition candidates.  The latest U.S. Census figures reported that over two million illegals in California are not reporting a cent of income.

So, where is the Supreme Court when America once again needs you to equalize educational opportunities for Americans? 

AWOL!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"English Riots; America, Get Ready!"

 Re-Post from early August:                                                                                              

 The foreign news for the last few days have been focused on London ablaze and riots in the streets.  Reportedly, the problem is that Britain's recent 20 percent cutbacks on government spending has resulted in less student loan assistance and cutbacks in welfare support.

The violence in Great Britain is notable.  Keep in mind that the Brits are known for being fairly docile; so much so that the British police (Bobbies) felt no need to carry firearms. 

Americans, take note.  As Washington is forced to take away the nipple from tens of millions of life time welfare recipients, be prepared for an even more violent response.  These people never met a welfare program they didn't love and, for millions of them, they have never known what it is like to go out and work for a paycheck, and under Obama's economy, there are no jobs to be had anyway.  Unlike the Brits, who have much more restrictive gun laws, the self styled "American Victim Class" is going to be mad as hell, so look for more violent uprisings, guns drawn and ready to riot and rob to make up for the loss of the government largess.

The last New York Times study reported that America spent in excess of $100 trillion dollars on Great Society Programs since 1965.  These programs provided a "free-ride" for three generations of the "victim class".  As the rest of the world, and credit rating agencies, forces the U.S. government into some forced austerity the feds must cut where the money is being spent and that is in the huge government give aways currently in place.  These programs generated a huge dependency class that "will not go quietly into that good night."

So, keep an eye on Britain. And Italy, And Greece.  But know this:  the American storm has been a long time coming, fed by the national breeding of a dependent class far larger than those in Europe... and the devastation will be astounding when it reaches American shores.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Geezer Day"

I have a confession to make.  On the first Wednesday of every month I toss mundaneness aside and venture out for a surreptitious session of sado-masochism.  I have come to call it "Geezer Day".  Geezer Day is the day our Fry's Grocery offers ten percent off the grocery bill for those aged 55 and over.  Now, if you're never been to a grocery store in a senior community on Geezer Day you haven't lived.  You may be assured that the five acre parking lot will be full of cars and golf carts and, aided by walkers and canes and store-provided mobility scooters, a steady flow of seniors swarm toward the front doors like ants on a jelly sandwich.

It should be noted that this Fry's grocery store, long ago purchased by the Kroger Grocery chain, is one of the finest grocery stores I've seen.  They have a well-stocked deli, expanded health food section, the lowest prices in town, and round up all coupon values to $1.00.  The store's employees are most friendly and have the patience of Job, as they must when dealing with seniors, some of whom, sadly, have taken their first steps down that long, lonely road to Alzheimer's dementia, others more fortunately just a little more fuzzy upstairs than they used to be. 

Yesterday's Geezer Day was unusually cold and windy; the rare 50 degree day with winds from the north bringing a wind-chill down to freezing.  As I made my way into the store I noted that Fry's, in typical fashion, had been kind enough to set up a table with free hot coffee and donuts to warm our old blood while clogging it with a little unneeded cholesterol.  I grabbed a coffee and did my best to maneuver my shopping cart past a few dozen other carts and customers who clogged every approach into the store.  So many of them stood in stunned silence, their bony, bird-like fingers clutching the cart handle and staring emptily into retail void.  It was as if the immensity of the experience was too much to bear.  Perhaps, for many of them, this is the social occasion of the month.  Occasionally, with couples, a husband or wife will nudge the elbow of their loved one and propel them a little ways down the aisle.

Eventually, I made my way into the store but quickly discovered that maneuvering down a shopping aisle today would be impossible.  Every aisle was clogged with carts parked at 90 degree angles as shoppers stared in wonder at a display of chicken noodle soup or a sign signaling a generous 50% off a jar of Metamucil. 

I solved the problem by parking my cart at the end of the aisles and scooting down the aisles, sale flyer in hand, and retrieving what I wanted.   After an hour of this I found myself in the general area of the check-out lines and waited, almost patiently, as I moved at a snail's pace toward the distant registers.  I have to admit I did put my military leadership training to full use by moving up the line to tell a lady or two with a single loaf of bread in cart that there was no one waiting in the "15 items or less line". 

When I finally got close enough to spy a red-aproned clerk, and could actually witness a transaction, it was immediately clear why the line moved so slowly.  As the clerk announced the total and awaited payment the seasoned customer would stare in amazement that she was actually being charged for this haul.  Then, finally realizing the error of her ways, would begin fumbling with purse, fishing for her wallet, counting out the payment, and insuring as many pennies as possible could be proffered to complete the purchase. 

But I have to say, the lady immediately in front of me became my new "American Idol".  Armed with a fistful of coupons, the grocery flyer and a sharp shopping sense, she approached the register with a teeming shopping cart and a confidence not seen since Patton led his troops up the Italian boot.  When the clerk finished totalling her purchases and all coupons were entered the clerk regally swept off the long receipt, the cash drawer flew open and the clerk handed the woman $7.66 cents!  This woman had managed to maneuver through a crowded store, buy a month's worth of groceries and remit not a cent!  Folks, this was the equivalent to me, at my increasingly decrepit age, of scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl!

As I unloaded my items on the conveyor belt I asked the clerk how that customer actually got paid to walk away with a free cartful of their inventory.  "Oh, we got a few of those in town", she said.  "They use the flyer coupons, double coupons from the newspaper, competitor coupons, two for one specials and our senior discount, to score big savings", she explained. 

She finished totalling my purchases and proudly announced that I had saved eleven dollars and thirty-three cents...with my Geezer discount.  Somehow it just didn't seem enough.....

As I departed the store, bargains in hand, another handicap van pulled up to the store front, displacing a herd of anxious, but slightly star-struck seniors, all ready to revel in "Geezer Day".

Until the first Wednesday of March I'll just have to seek excitement elsewhere; perhaps a Super Bowl, or something.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs; An Iconic Mystery

                                            
One of the first entries on this blog was about Steve Jobs.  I reflected on how little value we place on our health until it is compromised.  I went on to comment on Jobs' material wealth and offered the proposition that Jobs would no doubt spend much of his fortune in trade for a healthy body.

The blog was inspired by the speculation back in January that Jobs was indeed in failing health.  During one of his rare public appearances he appeared gaunt and terribly ill.   Last month when Jobs resigned his position as Apple CEO, at least for me, the death watch began.

Yesterday we learned that Steve Jobs had passed away.  Despite the speculative death watch our sadness at his passing is not lessened.  We grieve for a man whose creative life force was struck down at such a relatively young age. 

It is to Jobs' credit the media is awash in praise of a creative genius and remarkable businessman.  Movie stars and business leaders and politicians have all offered their condolences and words of admiration for Steve Jobs, technology icon.

Since I cannot identify with Jobs' wealth and fame I find I am more interested in the final refinement of the soul of Steve Jobs, being that I have very little in common in any other way. 

Without the tiniest hint of jealousy or envy or critical human judgement I look at some of the known personal accounts of Jobs' personal life and feel some degree of commonality with Jobs' personal failures.  In doing so I can only contrast my assessments of Jobs' actions with my own sense of morality.  For example, in his biography, Steven Wozniak, Apple's co-founder, recounts a time in their youth when Steve Jobs recruited Wozniak to help him smooth out some hardware and software bumps in an Atari gaming program, a program Jobs was hired to complete.  Unknown to Atari, Wozniak apparently did the lion's share of the work, the results of which were so remarkable that Atari paid Jobs a five thousand dollar bonus.  Jobs pocketed the bonus and said nothing about it to his best friend.  I find that abhorrent and bizarre.  I don't believe I could have done that to my best friend.

An even more heinous denial was that of his daughter Lisa, born out of wedlock with Jobs' college girl friend.  Even after Jobs had become wealthy and famous through Apple, Jobs continued to deny that he was the father, going as far as swearing in court documents that he was sterile and could not have possibly fathered the child.  This cold denial left mother and child at the mercy of the welfare system and in dire poverty.  While Jobs eventually did recognize Lisa as his child, reconciled with her and paid for her Harvard education I am perplexed by Jobs' cruel denial of his own child. 

Who am I, or is anyone to judge the actions of someone else?  Not me, certainly.  I have reached an age, and perhaps a level of wisdom, that precludes judging the actions of others.  Having failed myself on so many occasions, the hypocrisy of condemning others is absurd.  Rather, I approach the effort to look at the refinement of Jobs' soul in the context of "curious spectator".  In this sense I am more forgiving and far less judgemental than those who more willingly castigate a man for a moral failing.  I tend to think about the ravages on the mind of a child who was abandoned and adopted by strangers.  Did Steve have self-worth issues as a child?  Did these leave a desire to hone the mind and pay less attention to the heart?

Though Jobs was careful to shield the public from his personal life it does seem apparent that Steve worked more diligently to weave heart and head into a more fruitful and satisfying balance in his later years.  That makes me happy  for it is in the autumn of one's life when, if one has not realized that love and family are paramount, all other possibilities for happiness are lost.

Steve Jobs brought, through his technological innovations, joy and happiness to millions.  He put the majesty of music in a little box and thrilled all of us.  He made phones that sped the image and voice of loved ones across the distant miles and swept away the loneliness of the lost and forgotten.  In doing so he showed us the beauty of elegant functionality.  We must all be grateful to him for that.

For Jobs himself, I hope he died peacefully and within the circle of love of family, and with a soul refined from the wisdom gained from a life of reflection and salvation; a salvation not granted from God, but from within his own soul.

Rest In Peace.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Obama Demonizing Social Etiquette"

                                          
Okay, President Obama over the weekend made still another speech.  This one demonized Republicans who failed to "shout down" two members of the Republican debate audience who booed when a gay soldier in Iraq asked a "gay issue" question.

Let's rise above the shallowness of political rhetoric and analyze this.  First of all, I question the gay soldier's motives.  My first question is "having been granted your right to declare your "gayness" while serving in the military, why must you even bring up your sexual preferences?"  Wasn't what you were actually doing was rubbing your gayness and your legal triumph in our faces?  Why must so many gays be "drama queens?".  Why can't you just shut up and live your personal life just as millions of "straight" soldiers do?  Do you hear "straight" soldiers talking about their sex life to the entire nation?

I believe the two "boo-ers" in the audience were simply the most vocal in the audience who just believe it is inappropriate to discuss your sex life in a political forum.  Moreover, I believe the audience at this forum felt likewise.  Since 90 percent of Americans are straight and believe in traditional marriage it would not be unusual if they were offended at having this soldier's "gayness" rubbed in the their faces.

So, along comes The Anointed One, who is desperate to get elected, to make a speech demonizing people who don't believe in discussing their sex lives in public.  Should we be surprised?  This is the same guy who champions Muslims, welcomes illegals to invade and advocates for a socialist America.

Obama might do well to just "shut up" lest we learn even more about his skewed views about America.  The gay soldier would do well to just "shut up" as well.  We just don't want to hear about your personal sex life.

That said, how about we start discussing how we pull 45 million people back above poverty level living...and how we get 30 million unemployed back to work.

Sigh...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Cut All Federal Aid To Sanctuary Cities Now!"

                                                 
It is quite bad enough that our federal government has allowed 20 million illegals to invade our country, strangle us financially as they suck the life out of our social programs and hospitals, pay no taxes, and commit tens of thousands of violent and property crime.  However, now the Amnesty/Open Borders folks, have taken us to a new level of civil disobedience.

There are now dozens of major cities in the United States who have declared themselves Sanctuary Cities.  Everyone of these cities are run by liberal politicians who show no moral compass.  These maverick cities refuse to arrest illegal aliens unless a felony has been committed, refuse to alert the Immigration and Naturalization Service to an illegal's presence in this country.  They offer all manner of social services to illegals and favor the illegal alien over American citizens.

New York City, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago are just a few of the cities deemed Sanctuary Cities.  In the past year these cities have withdrawn from the federal government's "Secure Communities Program" which requires that dangerous illegal felons be turned over to ICE for deportation following their local jail time, even for dangerous felons!

Obama's "hood", Chicago, is the latest of these mavericks who are putting Americans in extreme danger.  They just passed an ordinance that bans law enforcement authorities to turn over felons to the feds for deportation.  Accordingly, 40 dangerous felons were released this week from Chicago prisons.  Another 300 or so will be released today!

http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-chicago/county-votes-10-5-to-release-illegal-felons

There is a simple solution to this.  While we know Obama won't do it, the next President must issue an executive order that withholds all federal funds to any American city that serves as a sanctuary to illegal aliens.

I just wrote my Congressman on this!  Take 5 minutes and write yours!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Can't African-Americans Get Better Spokesmen Than Sharpton,Jackson&Waters?

                                       
BREAKING NEWS:  The logo just flashed across the bottom of the CNN screen:  The Reverend Al Sharpton has just declared his disgust with Governor Rick Perry's family lease on a hunting property that was previously named "Niggerhead" and was inscribed on a large rock at the entrance to the property.  Never mind that Perry's family, upon assumption of the lease, painted over the offensive title. I'm no fan of Rick Perry but I'm sure no fan of Al Sharpton either.  Sharpton is offended beyond measure!

Well, let me tell you I'm offended over Sharpton cheating American taxpayers to the tune of $1.7 million dollars and continues to be in arrears in paying that money back after being caught!  Because he has not paid his share of taxes I must pay higher taxes to finance the welfare cheats that follow him.

I'm even more offended by Congressman Charlie Rangel, head of the House Banking Committee, who committed tax fraud to the tune of $5 million dollars and received a slap on the hand by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

I'm offended by Jessie Jackson's reference to New York City as "Heimie Town" and disrespecting millions of Jewish Americans.

And how about Congressman Maxine Waters, whose constituency is South Central L.A., and who recently told the Tea Party to go straight to hell, and who lobbied the Secretary of The Treasury to grant taxpayer bailout money to her husband's bank.

I believe it would behoove African Americans to choose spokespeople who are a bit more honest and who display just a touch of law abiding citizenry.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Obama Says We're "Soft"

                                            
President Obama, in a MSNBC interview on Friday, said America is "Soft".  Please keep in mind that this uttering comes from a man who literally has never held a job in his life, who has been given hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money in the form of Pell grants, Minority Scholarships for his Harvard education, , whose community organizer funding came from the taxpayer, and who has never served an hour in the Armed Forces.

Americans Soft?

Millions of Americans have served in our Armed Forces.  Tens of Thousands have given their lives.  Current military members are forced to serve four or five combat tours in a four-year term of military service....Soft?

Millions of Americans are now living in homeless shelters, on the streets and out of their cars.  They eat in soup kitchens.  Soft?

Forty-five million Americans, having lost their jobs, their cars and their homes are now living below the poverty level.  They do their "grocery shopping" at food banks.  Soft?

Thirty million Americans are unemployed or underemployed and send out resumes and job applications by the dozens and still can't get work.  Soft?

Millions of Seniors live on a $700 dollar Social Security check and haven't had a cost of living raise for three years, are paying a higher Medicare premium because Obama took $500 billion dollars out of the Medicaire fund to pay for "deadbeat health care", must choose between eating or medicines and losing their homes to pay for hospital co-pays.  Soft?

Americans are being run over in the streets and dying from hit and run accidents by Mexican illegals who are here driving without a license or insurance and flee from accident scenes.  Americans are having their homes invaded by illegal criminals, Americans are having the copper wire ripped out of their AC units so illegals can funnel copper to Mexico, Americans are being killed in the streets by illegal latino street gangs..all because Obama won't enforce our immigration laws .Soft?

Businesses have huddled down and won't hire because Obama mandated that they have to expend almost everything they have to conform to strangling EPA, Obamacare and Taxation regulations.  Many businesses are barely surviving as it is in this economic climate.  Soft?

Thirty percent of all home mortgages are underwater and house prices will not bounce back because Obama interfered so aggressively into the foreclosure process that we now have 9 million homes still awaiting foreclosure.  Soft?

American consumers and small businesses cannot get credit because of Obama's championing the Dodd-Frank Financial legislation that requires banks to maintain reserves far higher than is required.  Soft?

Sigh.

Mr. President,
You're going to find out just how "hard" Americans can be in November 2012.

Soft Indeed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Rocky Waiting On Rainbow Bridge"

                                                  
Just finished watching "Where The Red Fern Grows".  Being a blubber puss I couldn't help crying when the young boy lost his two coon hounds.  Sat thinking about how much I love the gift of unconditional love that dogs give us all.  Then, suddenly I remembered that tomorrow marks the day two years ago that I said goodbye to my little Chihuahua, Rocky.  He had been so very sick for six weeks or so and when I took him for his final visit to the Vet they convinced me that it was time to let go.  I kissed him and said my goodbyes and then my friend was gone.

Rocky was a quiet little guy, not a squeaker like your typical Chi.  He always seemed to have an air of dignity about him, a strong chest and front legs to offset the rear legs weakened by degenerative disk disease.  He loved his "wife", Ginger, our female Chi, and he was very protective of her.  Though quiet, he could be coaxed into 'singing' and he would raise his head up high and croon when you beckoned him with a melody.  His value in our lives were immense and I miss him dearly, even now.

Is everything in life just coincidence?  This movie was on a religious channel and I rarely flip over to it, but on this day, having recently read the book, I paused to watch when I recognized the story.  Why would these series of chance cause me to find and watch "Where The Red Fern Grows"?  Okay, I know I sometimes seem to see more to things than there probably are, but, still, I couldn't help but think that my little Rocky was sending me a message of love on the anniversary of his death. 

So, little boy, if you were indeed sending me a message of love, I'll send one back to you through the magic of the marvelous "Rainbow Bridge":

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...