Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Emperor Obama's 2014 Edicts

                                                         

Well, now that Obamacare has proven to be such a smashing success it is now time to implement the hundreds of fees assessed to help you taxpayers pay for it.  

The first one you might notice will be $2 dollar Snickers bars and two more bucks for a small bag of potato chips.  (Michelle is going to make you eat broccoli and brown rice if it kills her..or you!)  Beginning January 1st all vending machines must post the calorie count for every single item that drops into that bottom tray.  The vending machine industry says their profit margins were already razor thin due to vandalism and spoilage and they assert they simply cannot absorb the Obamacare fees and sell at the old prices.  The calorie count publication mandate has cost the industry $24.7 million so far and another $25 million per year is to be assessed to each major vendor.  

So, if you enjoyed your Snickers bar or a cold Coke at the office be prepared to pay a lot more for your snack.  Michelle says you shouldn't be eating it anyway and if you disobey her you''ll pay big for the privilege.  The vending association asserts that these new fees will cause them to pare back on placing vending machines in highway rest areas and other public venues where vandalism is already costing them a small fortune.  

Of course, this is not the only Obamacare fee that kicks in this year.  If any of you frequent a tanning booth be prepared to pay big; the tanning salon industry has had to absorb the highest fees as a percentage of charges.  

Most folks may not know that there are over 1400 Obamacare fees woven into every phase of the economy, from fees imposed upon the sale of a home to medical device fees for that mechanical hip replacement or heart pacemaker.

Many of the fees are hidden.  For example, all of the insurers must pay a fee for the privilege of charging you four times what you used to pay in medical premiums.  The smallest fee on bare bones policies is nearly $300 dollars per year and the largest escalating into the thousands of dollars for Cadillac plans.  Keep in mind that these fees are above and beyond the cost of your policy premiums.  

And, lest you forget, your paycheck will be a little smaller as an increase in medicaid taxes takes affect in January.

There is one little bit of good news.  Obama has decided to provide tax subsidies to any farmer willing to plant broccoli and brown rice.

For those who weren't aware till now, the full implementation of the police state is well underway…and you'll feel it in your pocketbook all year long.





Monday, December 30, 2013

The Haughtiness Of The Unemployed

                                                             
As of Saturday over one million Americans will stop getting a government unemployment handout.  Until Barack Hussein Obama assumed the Presidency unemployment benefits were meant to last for six  months, affording those who had lost their jobs the time to find another one.  However, because the Obama/Reid/Pelosi regime's trillion dollar pork stimulus program created only "make work" and temporary jobs our unemployment rates were horrible.  In the "throw more money at it' fashion that the liberals adore, legislation was passed to extend unemployment benefits to two years.  Of course the problem with this, human nature being what it is,  the "less willing" decided that an unemployment check, paired with food stamps and a readily available food bank, was far better than taking a job "beneath their dignity".  

Well, for five years now, the Dems have rounded up enough Republican RINOs to go along with subsidizing a huge labor pool that could have worked but chose not to.  On Saturday the orgy came to an end.  Democrats have vowed to revive the program but I don't think there's much interest in that among the larger Congressional body.

So what are these "terminally unemployed" to do?

When I retired from the Air Force in 1989 I was slotted to be "fat-catted" into a highly compensated GS-12 civilian position at the Presidio in San Francisco.  I would be working logistics war planning, a position I was well qualified for since I had performed those same duties while serving at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces…and would have been paid three times my Air Force salary.

Sadly, George Bush I instituted a federal hiring freeze and I was left jobless with few prospects on the horizon.  All of a sudden I went from managing million dollar budgets and a staff of fifty, to being unemployed.  I then went after state jobs, tested out at 110% (1OO percent on the qualification tests plus 10% veteran preference, and found myself aced out by "the good ole boy network" of buddies hiring their buddies.

So I took a job in hotel security, using my past military cops skills to get the job.  I worked at that for a couple of months then found a job as an Assistant Manager at a Waldenbooks bookstore.  My boss was a 25 year old who hated having a 40 year old working for him.   He tried his best not to train me but I outworked him and soon took his job.

Not long after that I got an offer for ever higher compensated jobs in Saudi Arabia and followed into jobs more in keeping with my extensive project management skills.

My point in all of this is this:  there is no job that is "below my dignity".  Honest work is honest work.  If you have to flip burgers, or sweep floors, or wash cars, or stock grocery shelves, do it to the best of your ability and someone will come along and see your true value and reward you for it.

While still an enlisted man in the Air Force my quest for an education was so strong that I had accumulated 210 semester hours of college credits through night courses and still had not earned a baccalaureate degree.  I was working for a Captain who respected my work and thought it tragic that I was not putting all of that formal education to work.  One day he came over to my desk and said "grab your cap and come with me".  We got in his car and he drove me down to the Registrar's office at Chaminade University where I was taking part time courses at night.  As we sat down with the Registrar my boss asked her what I needed to complete my degree.  She pored over my many transcripts and said "he has all the courses required but he must attend in residence for six months to get our degree."  We then went back to the base and into the base education office where my boss signed me up for a six month leave of absence from the Air Force to attend college full time.  

While I was attending to those courses my boss was doing the military paperwork to get me into Officer's Training School with my shiny new college degree!  

And that's how I got a college degree, an Air Force Officer's commission, higher pay, higher responsibility, higher job satisfaction….all because I worked hard, studied hard, and someone came along and recognized my value.  

During my life I have worked the grapes, cotton and peach fields, worked in a box making plant, worked in an ice plant, painted fire hydrants, failed at plucking chickens, worked as a bar bouncer, mowed lawns, stocked grocery shelves, performed airport security at a major international airport and kept the whores off the premises of a hotel and managed a bookstore.  All of those jobs were my "non-professional" jobs…but all of them had value and bring as much dignity to them as you demand!

So the only advice to the million plus folks who lost their "green check" on Saturday is "get off your ass, take a job, any job, work hard even as you are looking for something better, and, for god's sake, have a sense of pride and get on with your life…there is no pride when you're sucking on the government tit!"  Someone will come along and give you the job of your dreams if you're willing to stand on your own two feet and work hard to earn it!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stumbling His Way To Success

                                                         
   
The year is 1891.  A 29 year old fella name William leaves Philadelphia, bound for Chicago where he is determined to be the "king of sales".  He's got $32 dollars in one pocket,  the other pocket stuffed with dreams of riches and success.

He first tries peddling bath soaps and fails.  Not one to give up, he tries a new tack; packaging his soap with a can of baking powder.  That doesn't work either.  Ole Will then drops the soap line and tries selling the baking powder alone.  He ain't selling much baking powder either.  So he decides to offer two free packs of gum along with baking powder.

Soon folks were buying the baking powder just to get the excellent gum!  So Will had finally found a product to sell!  Even as gum sales exploded Will like to hang around with his retail customers, find out what they thought about his marketing techniques, then began putting up signs to advertise his gum in every store in his territory.  The signage encouraged customers to ask for his gum brand so retailers were careful to keep his product fully stocked.   Two years later Will would begin marketing Juicy Fruit and Spearmint gums.   Double Mint would not come along until 1914 but by this time America had become a nation of gum chewers and William Wrigley would become a multi-millionaire and one of the richest men in the nation….all due to a product that Americans, until Wrigley came along, did not care much about.

The William Wrigley Chewing Gum company would march through the entire 20th century with great success.  After dominating the U.S. market for decades they would achieve similar success overseas and become the world leader in gum and candy sales.  And, until 2006 the company would be lead by a Wrigley, the father ceding control to son for a century.  And each of the succeeding sons would put their own unique management techniques to work in the company.  William Jr's son, Phillip, who led the company from 1932 to 1961 was so patriotic that, during WWII, he halted commercial sales of the gum and donated the company's entire production output to American G.I.'s fighting around the world.

In 2006 another famous candy family, the Mars,  bought out Wrigleys, putting two candy and gum giants under one magnificent umbrella.

From soap powders to baking powder to gum, old William Wrigley stumbled his way to a success even he hadn't dreamed of.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why Coke Rules

                                                         

Happy Holidays, dear reader.  We learned this week that we won't be seeing as much of the polar bears in those Coke commercials this season.  It seems Coke has severely trimmed their commercial ad budget and reallocated those millions toward hurricane relief in the Philippines.  Within hours of that horrific storm, Coke had dispatched every available Coca Cola truck and driver into neighborhoods with Coke and bottled water.

Call it smart marketing, or call it humanitarian concern but Coke always seems to be in the forefront of efforts to get their brand out there!  And folks, that's why Coke continues to rule the "soda roost".  We elders can still remember when Pepsi tried to cut into Coke's market share by offering "12 big ounces" when Coke was being retailed in those cute little 8 ounce bottles.  Didn't work.

And as the years went by, and Pepsi became a huge conglomerate, with KFC and Taco Bell and Pizza Hut and other fast food franchises they still couldn't move Coke to "number 2".  It's hard to conquer an American icon and that's what Coke has been for 130 years.  Of course, they no doubt got off to a quick start by having the original formula spiced with a bit of cocaine.  Everyone felt just a little better after drinking a Coke back then!

But it has always been Coca Cola's marketing that has kept them number 1.  I remember reading a business case study of how Coke and Pepsi entered the India market.  Pepsi put a lot of money into incentivizing store owners to give them shelf space.  Then Coke one upped them when they gave every merchant a refrigerator so that they could sell cold Cokes.  

And who can forget that catchy little song from the 70's where a whole mess of hippies were standing in a flower laden meadow singing "I'd like to buy the world a coke"….hell, the hippies were pissing in their pants to drink coke…"peace, baby!"

Last year I read a book called Naked Economics; it detailed various business success stories and, again, Coke shone in the limelight.   It seems that, days before the Berlin Wall came down, Coke had already commandeered every one of those bright red Coke trucks in Western Europe and then plowed into those Eastern Block countries handing out Cokes even as they were rejoicing in the streets!  Nothing like a huge American icon joining in a happy celebration, huh?  Ya think that might sell a few cokes?

So, if you see a little less of those cute polar bears this Christmas season, know that it's for a good cause; good for those poor folks in the Philippines and definitely good for Coke!

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Last Sappy Blog For The Season

                                                     

First of all, dear readers, I hope you all had a happy Christmas.  Mine was beautiful.  On Christmas Eve my wife and I went to Mass and it was the best I've ever attended, surpassing even those when our children were present.  There was such a sense of peace and an emanating of love among the church folks that night and the Priest who led the mass spoke of what was already in my heart about Jesus.

He spoke of the harsh, punishing and largely unforgiving remote God of the Old Testament and God's reassessment in sending His son, flesh of his flesh, to show us that He loves us and is willing to sacrifice what He holds most dear, his son, in order to save us and let us feel the depth of his love.

While I'm not a huge fan of organized religion, and still have doubts that Jesus was truly God's son, I am enamored of a man who spoke only of love and forgiveness during his brief 33 years on earth.  That is really all I need to know in order to value and worship the season of his birth.

We had a lovely post mass meal, as is our family custom, and a nice Christmas Day dinner as well.  I hope all of you had a joyous Christmas, surrounded by family and friends.

So….if you will permit me one more sappy blog of the season, I'd like to share something with you.

This year has been challenging for me.  When you live on a fixed income, with no further means to increase it, that ghostly six percent of commodity inflation really starts to pinch a bit.  But, I must have read or heard at least a dozen admirable people, in all walks of life, say that, when you give of your time or your money, somehow it all comes back to you in some form of reward.  Yes.  A reward above and beyond the great feeling you get when giving.

So, finally, after hearing that many times, this year I've stepped up my giving a bit, a little more for one more sick child at St. Judes, or perhaps a few extra dollars to buy a bag of dog food or a blanket at the Humane Society, the extra usually driven by a story I read of needy folks who I heard about.

And lo and behold, those "giving sages" were right!  Three of my immediate neighbors have had their sewer lines go out on them and have had to fork out $5,000 dollars for trenching and replacement of broken pipes.  And mine have held up though it is equally as old.  And during the period I have stepped up my giving I have had no major appliances break down nor has a major home repair been needed.  That is quite unusual for a sixty year old house (and in previous years I've had to go into debt to affect a home repair).  Not this year…knock on wood….or divine providence?

So last Friday I'm  sitting at the kitchen table and I'm writing out my bills.  I budgeted my Christmas expenses, added to my other monthly expenses, and I'm writing checks to send out.   Then the mailman knocks on my door and I'm asked to sign for a certified letter.  The letter is from a large Human Resource Management center in Los Angeles.  

The letter informs me that I am now eligible for a $110 dollar per month lifetime pension from a company I worked for in the Middle East for a time.  So I call to confirm this and find out it's true and that my enrollment package will be arriving in the mail this week.  

So…I leave it to you to judge.  Where I had no possible avenue for increasing my income, a source of help comes from the most unlikely source….a small stipend I was not even aware of!  Are those "giving sages" right?….does our creator have the time to look down on little old us and bestow divine providence upon our little heads?  

I would have been just as happy to enjoy what I feel in my heart when giving to others…but it doesn't hurt me a bit to think "the big guy upstairs" is looking out for me.  :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Brother

                                                             


Had Santa Claus not made a wrong turn off of West Main onto Jim Thorpe Boulevard, Prague, Oklahoma, my little brother would have been a Christmas baby.  Even now, old Doc Rollins who recorded his birth just minutes after Christmas night is not one of my brother's favorites.

So my brother John has been shortchanged much of his life in the way of birthday presents, as family presented him with a Christmas gift tagged "Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday".   Not Mom, though, she always made the extra effort to separate birthday presents from Christmas gifts.  

My brother is a wonderful ethnic "fruit salad"…unlike my older brother and I, who carried the blond gene with ease, my brother was dark skinned, with brown hair, and carries the blood of the Northern Dutch-German and Cherokee Indian in his veins.  For years we combed through our mother's wallet hoping to find the pic of a midget boyfriend, so short was my little bro.  In a family of six footers, my brother hardly reached my belt buckle as he entered high school.  Then, in a his second or third year of high school his hormones went nuclear and he reached that 6 footish range that he had undoubtedly longed for.

Even in "midget mode" his legs were always too long for his body.  He often wore pants in a larger size to accommodate the long legs, the waist bunched up in the rear, cinched with a belt to keep his pants up.  But, my could he run…put him on the track, or on a football field and he ran as swiftly and gracefully as a fawn.  I can remember those little legs, wracked with pain as his restless legs kicked in protest as those long muscles strained to extend to their natural length.  When his body finally settled down for the night he would reach over in his sleep and finger my hair.  He performed that bit of preening me as a mother bird preens her young.  Back then I thought it weird and often moved away from those seeking fingers…but now, years later, I find that to be endearing.

My brother and I are as different as apples and oranges.  I've always had a quick temper and allowed little time to pass before uttering a response to something that riled me.  My brother carries within him a greater sense of calm.  And while my words often flowed easily, sometimes too easily, my brother is more deliberative.  Like my mom, there is that brief moment of thoughtful hesitation before he speaks.  It makes him appear wiser and, frankly, more kindly.

Perhaps it's the blood of a Cherokee "royal", or the Germanic parsimony of speech, but he is less talkative than I.  Oh, I'm not saying that he can't carry on a great conversation, because he can, and expresses himself wonderfully, but his words carry great weight because of the thought given to them before they are uttered.

My brother has lived his life with the highest ethical standards.  He served his country in the Army National Guard, then went on to keep his community safe through some thirty years as a Policeman and Sheriff's Deputy.  He's tangled with the worst of humanity on the mean streets and never became cynical about his fellow man

.  He's had PCP thrown in his face and was saved only through the heroic efforts of another cop who knew what to do.  Still, it took months for him to fully recover from a body that wanted to betray him.  He spent thirty years with death around every corner and chose to celebrate life instead.

If you've read my blog for long, you know how deeply I love my little brother.  He is the last of my family and he keeps me honest on childhood memories and I borrow his face often when I long to see the last vestiges of my mother's smile or the sparkle of her eyes.  

My brother may have been born just minutes after the holiest night of the year…but he's always been one of my greatest gifts; a brother to admire, to respect, and to love with all my heart.

Happy Birthday little brother.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Ideal 2-Day Arizona Christmas Vacation


                                               
    
   
Allow me to re-print one more "blog of old"…I still haven't given up on this one!                                          

If I ever have my grandkids come to visit me at Christmas here's what two days of their visit to Arizona would be like.  I consider this to be my favorite Christmas fantasy.

Fly into Phoenix from the East coast and bask in December temperatures here in the 70's.  Have a nice dinner, then send everyone early to bed for an early morning trip the next day.

Leave Phoenix at 6am and head up I-17 to Flagstaff.  Allow every one to ooh and ahh at Flagstaff's Pine greenery and fresh snowfall.  Everyone jumps out of the van for a good old fashioned snow fight, then a stop at Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate, then head west on I-40 to Williams, Arizona.

Board the Polar Express in Williams.  Soak in the scenery as the train chugs up to the Grand Canyon, listening to Christmas carols as Santa ho ho ho's down the aisle with cookies and greetings for all the kids.

Enjoy the wonders of the Grand Canyon, breathe in the clean, pine-scented air and walk off your worries of the past year.

Re-board the Polar Express back to Williams.  Before heading back to Flagstaff, stop by that wonderful cafe/bakery just adjacent to the train station in Williams and buy a dozen delicious sweet treats for breakfast the next morning.

Arrive in Flagstaff just as the winter darkness is setting in.  Take lodging in Flagstaff, drop off your bags and set off to the Lowell observatory.  Arrive at seven and take in the pristine celestial views as the Lowell guides provide a two-hour tour of the facilities, with the highlight being their viewing of the "Bethlehem Star" that is part of their nightly Christmas tour.

After finishing the Observatory tour, head back to downtown Flagstaff, its streets decked out in holiday lights.  Enjoy a late evening dinner at one of those charming restaurants downtown, then back to our rooms for deep refreshing sleep in the cold mountain air.

Pancakes at I-Hop the next morning, stoking you up for some brisk snow-sledding down snowy white slopes under a bright winter sun.

Shake the snow from your pants and coats and head back to the van for the return to Phoenix in mid-afternoon.  Perhaps a little nap after arriving home to prepare for a spectacular night of festivity over Scottsdale way.

About 6pm we head out to Scottsdale on the 101 and exit at Frank Lloyd Wright.  Head straight for FLW'S Taliesin West where special holiday tours are offered.  We take the full evening tour of Wright's gracious home and school.  Marvel how Wright was able to seamlessly integrate the man-made structure into a wild and natural desert setting.  Return to the Wright home for the holiday "tea" as guests are treated as honored guests in Wright's home.

Leave Taliesman West and head home, sighing and smiling all the way.

                                         

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Desert Storm Christmas

                                 

                                                     



Note:  Anyone who served in the Middle East can testify of the spectacular night time display of the heavens.  I don't believe I've ever seen a more dramatic setting, especially at Christmas time.  One can easily imagine three wise men long ago traversing these same lands enroute to a manger in Bethlehem.

I was in Saudi Arabia at Christmas, 1990.  Inspired by the calm serenity of the desert night, and longing for home, I wrote the following poem as a gift to my children.  By the way, this is the only thing that has ever been published; it was published in the book "A Heroes Keepsake; Memories of Christmas at War"

           A Desert Storm Christmas
         

A desert moon rises on a cool December night
And every star in the sky shines down their brilliant light
As I look north I see the night time sky adorned
A star stands out above the place
Where Jesus Christ was born

In the serenity of the moment my dreams and thoughts take flight
Across ten thousand miles to home where memories are bright
I think on Christmas moments, shared with family and friends
The joy and the love...how lucky I have been

My mind's eye sees so clearly a wreath of Christmas holly
And in the window, reindeer, and a Santa Claus so jolly
Trimmed out in regal splendor, a fir scented Christmas tree
Bespeaks a Yuletide welcome for everyone to see

Scented spices from the kitchen provide a timeless pledge
Of cake and apple pies cooling on the window ledge
And the sound of Christmas carols echoes through the home
The phone calls offer news of sons and daughters coming home

All these thoughts bring me pleasure in this place of sun and sand
Even now I'm close to you in this far and distant land
As long as I can travel through these pathways of the heart
How could I ever say that we are ever far apart

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Christmas 1990

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas; Love Flows Like A River

                             

                                                   

                                                 "Christmas;  Love Flows Like A River"

I suppose we all have our own unique ways to celebrate and honor Christmas.  It's undoubtedly how we grew up with Christmas and the many traditions our families chose to follow.

Christmas has always proven to be a season of magic for me.  I have always been drawn by the teachings of Jesus.  When I was a child I was often lost with the Old Testament.  When I chose to open our family bible I inevitably turned to the New Testament.  Our family bible had all of Jesus' messages printed in red.   In every reading His words fell into my soul like a gentle rain; they spoke for empathy, sympathy, forgiveness and the rewards for giving love.

"I bring you tidings of great joy"....the words in the verses that tell of His coming speak with an eloquence that denotes hope and renewal and of promises of a better world.  One need not need believe in Eden, or Job or the 800 year old men of the Old Testament, to believe in a man who lived only 33 years, but who offered unconditional love to the lost, the sick, and the desperate.

So I have chosen to find incredible the stories of Red Sea partings and a Garden of Eden, written in a Middle East tongue and unreliably translated numerous times.  Instead, I rely on a code of moral behavior espoused  by Jesus, who walked this earth for a terribly brief period, a code that sits well in that place deep in my heart that knows intuitively what is moral and what is right.

Thus, Christmas remains, for me, a magical season; a season when even today's frantic commercialism cannot dull the hope and love and promise this man bestowed to a world so sorely in need of them.  Even in today's cynical world the human heart softens and turns an outward step toward others.  The hard shell formed by the life experience is made vulnerable by a message delivered some 2,000 years ago by an itinerant messenger.

The magic of all my Christmases has always been enhanced by my own Christmas experiences.  I have now known 63 of them and all have been special in their own way.  If there is one common denominator it would be that Christmas love is like a river.  It flows uninterrupted throughout the years, the river refreshed by the love I received unconditionally throughout the years....and that very love has been passed on to others, by me, and by all of those who came before me.

My first opportunity as an "adult" to "pay it forward" was during my second Christmas in Vietnam.  The woman who would later be my wife, lived in Saigon and had a large family.  Seeking to find my own Christmas while away from family, I decided to buy presents for this family.  I found a toy store and carefully selected gifts for the children, gifts which they otherwise would not receive, since their meager Christmas would be a Christmas mass at the church and a modest dinner.

When I arrived with gifts in the family's modest home I was greeted with the expected glee that children around the world display at the idea of receiving gifts.  In giving to them I was able to give so much more to myself; the joy of giving.

                                                       

Though I didn't realize it then, I later came to know that my giving that Christmas was born from the heart and grace of my own family who had shown me that love and the joy of Christmas is so very special.

And so, at a time when I was lonely, at a time when I missed my own family so dearly, I was able to salvage Christmas simply by allowing that enduring "river of love" to flow freely to people my family had never met, on the other side of the world.

My experience was not unique.   Each of us, when we reach out to give the gift of ourselves to others, whether it is our friends, our children...or the needy...we are simply refreshing that river of love that flows unendingly throughout our lives.

Merry Christmas.





Saturday, December 21, 2013

Santa Claus; The Reality

                                                         

There's been a lot of talk lately about Santa Claus, the national conversation driven by an essay written by a liberal Black blogger who was advocating that the nobility of Santa Claus can only exist if he was Black.  I'll let that controversy die a natural death.

Instead, I'll borrow from a dear story posted on the internet this past week.  It was the personal account of when a young boy learned from his big sister that Santa Claus was not just dead, but that he had never existed.  The young boy was so traumatized that he fled to his straight talking Grandma for the truth.  The Grandma quickly disparaged the false rumor that Santa didn't exist; she put the kid in her car and they drove downtown.  She then pulled up in front of the local retail store, pulled ten dollars from her purse and handed to the young boy and told him to go into the store and buy a Christmas gift for anyone he wished.  

The eight year old boy had never been shopping alone before and was a bit excited over the prospect.  He thought of all those in his family whom he might buy a gift for.  Then he remembered a little dorky kid in his class at school; a kid who didn't go out and play at recess because he didn't have a coat.  So the kid bought a nice, warm hooded coat for his fellow student in need.  When he took the coat up to the cashier to pay for it, the cashier looked at him and asked if this was a gift for someone.  The kid nodded yes.  She then smiled, boxed the coat up and, not receiving any change, the kid went back to the car with Grandma waiting.   Grandma then removed the price sticker and placed it in her bible and drove her grandson over to the needy child's home to deliver the coat.

When they arrived at the boy's home, they pounded on the front door, then ran and hid in the bushes.  When the needy boy came to the door and found the package his face lit up with joy.  Grandma and grandson then left and, as she drove home, she told her grandson "you see, Santa needs help and you just helped him so how could it be that Santa doesn't exist?

Years later, long after Grandma had passed, the now grown man, opened up his Grandma's bible and found the old price tag on that gifted coat; it read $19.95.  The young man, who forever would now believe in Santa Claus, realized that there were many more than just himself who played "Santa" on that long ago day.

I think this was a lovely story.  It clearly illustrates the true meaning of "Santa" and reminds us all of our own role in perpetuating the Santa legend.

This year I've played Santa quite often.  Along with so many of you I helped Betty and Jerry Craddock recover from the tragic burn out of their home.  I contributed all year to St Jude's Cancer Hospital for Children and to the Humane Society.  And I buy any pink package that appears during breast cancer awareness month and can't say no at the register when asked to donate another buck toward the woman's cancer fund.

Just this past week I received an email from one of our dear readers who contributed a gift pack of natural soaps and lotions to the Craddock family.  I don't know whether she would want her name mentioned so I won't.  But it is this type of giving that keeps Santa alive for us all year long.

So, dear readers, fellow "Santas"….let me wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mrs Norman And The Water Biscuits

                                                           

Christmas is indeed a time of miracles.  Perhaps miracles happen so often at Christmas because our hearts are softened and our empathy and sympathy for others is so acute during this season.  Or perhaps, by still another miracle, we are listening to the words of a carpenter born some 2,000 years ago.

Several years ago, as part of my annual Christmas writings for my children, I wrote a short story titled "Mrs Norman and The Water Biscuits".  The story is true.  Though this particular miracle did not occur at Christmas, it was certainly the miracle my family desperately needed at the time.

Though always poor, we were only truly destitute on one occasion, destitute meaning we didn't have a penny, and had no food left in the house.  It was about three months after my dad had left and deserted us.  My mother and sister and brother and I were living in an old house set back aways from the main road on Young Street.  My mom couldn't work because she had no car, nor anyone to watch over us.  And back then, unless you were willing to sign out an arrest warrant on the father, no welfare commodities would be provided.  And so we were desperate for a "savior".

One afternoon my mom went into the kitchen and was the first to discover the only thing left in the house was a bit of Crisco in the bottom of a can and a few scoops of flour.  Nothing else remained.  Just as Jesus fed the multitudes on two fish and five loaves of barley bread, my mother prepared a meal of water biscuits (hard tack) and flour and water "gravy".   She called us to the table to eat, then walked into the small living room, got down on her knees and began to pray.

We kids sat at the table, sobs in our own throats, and unable to eat as we sensed my mother's fear.  We got up from the table and went into the living room and tried to comfort our mom.  She put her arms around us and we all just sat in silence.  As my mom looked through the window she saw an old lady coming up the dirt path toward our house.  With a sharp intake of breath, my mom hustled us to the back of the house and into the bathroom.  She closed the door and hissed "be quiet"….

As we all stood in the tiny bathroom we soon heard a knock on the door.  The old lady knocked and knocked but we all stayed silent, wondering what fear had driven our mom to resort to hiding.  The persistent door knocking continued; so long that my mother finally opened the bathroom door, whispered for us to stay there, then went to answer the door.

As we sat in the bathroom we could hear the distant murmurings of our mother and the old woman.  After about half an hour my mom came and let us out of the bathroom.  When we questioned her about having to hide she said she had been afraid that, if anyone had seen how we were living, that the Welfare Department would come and take us away.

And then my mother explained our senior visitor.  Her name was Mrs. Norman and, ironically, she and her husband had once owned the house that we were then living in.  To this day, I don't know how she knew we needed help but her mission that day was to make my mother an offer she couldn't refuse.  Mrs Norman had lost her husband and was looking for some kind of nanny live in situation.  She offered to help keep up the house and care for us so that my mom could go out and find work.

Perhaps an hour later a cab pulled up the driveway and Mrs Norman emerged with boxes of food.  It seems she had been eligible for food commodity senior assistance at our local community co-op and was bringing boxes of food to share with us.  

The next morning my mother called a local used car dealer we knew and arranged to buy an old car, making two dollar per week payments.  That very week my mother got a job as a waitress in a restaurant 27 miles away from home.  She had to work the swing shifts, often not getting home till one in the morning.  But she knew we were safe and well cared for by a dear sweet lady who could be both firm and gentle, as needed.

Mrs Norman stayed with us for the next two years.  She became a second grandma, only leaving us when her own granddaughter needed her care.  For those two years Mrs Norman gave our family a measure of stability and another heart to love.  We would remember her all of our life…and never so much as the day she came up the path to perform a miracle.

In this season of miracles may you all be blessed with one, once in awhile…and may you treasure them when they come along, always at the right time.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Santa For 32 Years

                                                         

When Albert Lexie was in 8th grade he made himself a shoe shine box in Shop class.  When he finished high school he went out into Monessen, Pennsylvania and shined shoes.  But he kept his Tuesdays and Thursdays open and went out to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and shined shoes out there.  He's followed that routine since 1981.  

Now, you may have never heard of Albert Lexie…but the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has because Albert Lexie has donated nearly half of his entire life savings to the Children's Hospital, over $200,000 dollars to date.  Albert knows every nook and cranny of that hospital because he has shined shoes there for so long and Albert has become a beloved figure by both patients and the medical staff.

Albert's generosity has become the stuff of legend.  As early as 1998, People Magazine featured a story on Albert's quest to support the care of sick children.   In the summer of 2010 Albert was honored by Major League Baseball as their special guest at the All Star game in Anaheim, California.

A couple of years ago one of the doctors at Children's Hospital decided that Albert's story should be told.  He wrote a book called "Albert's Kids" which told the story whose heart will always be bigger than his pocketbook because Albert gives it all away.  The book, released in 2012 has brought some degree of fame to Albert Lexie.  Though he doesn't own a computer he does have a web site, established for him by one of his old customers who wanted the world to know about the shoe shine man with a heart of gold.

Albert still doesn't own a computer.  Emails sent to him are received on his website and mailed to him via regular mail.   But Albert is well known by those who matter.  In 2006 Albert was inducted into the Hall of Fame For Caring Americans by the Caring Institute.   Albert has even earned his own biography posted on Wikipedia.

So, in the season of giving, for Christmas where Santa takes center stage, Albert Lexie's story is being told and again and again in the media.  This for a man who has never made more than $20,000 a year in his whole life…yet has managed to give away a big chunk of it to save the lives of little children.

Santa would be proud.

TV Nirvana

                                                             

Were it not for "gifting" I would probably still be watching MASH and Perry Mason re-runs on my trusty old off brand analog television.  But, about 7 years ago my family gave me a 46 inch Visio television.  This was before today's light weight models made it easy to lug it in the house and set it up; the Visio weighed over 100 pounds and was a real "motha" to lift up and maneuver to set the damn thing up.  And once done, frankly I couldn't see a huge improvement in viewing quality.  

Being technology challenged, me and the Visio never quite became friends.  The remote operation was confusing and, once a week or so, I pushed a button that left me without television for a day or two.  Usually I corrected the situation by banging every button on the remote, then throwing it a the nearest wall.  And using the remote soon proved to be the only way to turn the damn thing on.  The buttons down the side of the TV quit working about six hours after the warranty ran out on me. 

Alas, two weeks ago the remote gave up on me as well.  It had been proving stubborn for months before that.  When I hit the power on button I would get no response.  Then I would begin the tiring process of "finger adagios" across a broad spectrum of buttons until, after ten minutes or so, the damn thing would finally power up.  Sadly, even the mad random button pushes fail to power up the Visio so I began scouring the Black Friday ads for a replacement TV.  I finally found a great deal on Amazon; a 46 inch, LCD for $329.

My new television arrived within a couple of days and I dragged the huge box into my living room and, fearful of the always maddening setup procedures, I let the new TV sit there for a day or so.  Finally, missing my Wanted Dead or Alive re-runs, I took a few tentative steps toward the enormous box, scissored off the huge plastic bands holding the thing together, then became amazed at the ease of lifting my new 25 pound large screen TV out of the box.  And it just kept getting better!

Where the monstrously heavy Visio required heaving half of that 100 pounds over my right shoulder, then straining to reach around and connect DVD and Roku and antenna, my new Chinese prison made TV was easy to flip around, make the connections, and flip back around to finish the set-up.  I then inserted two triple A batteries into the remote and the magic began!

I powered the new TV up and it immediately defaulted to a set up screen.  And wonder of wonder, this wondrous new TV had features I had not dreamed about!  For example, using a demo of "The Exorscist", (the little girl spewing out green vomit), I was able to set up a quick flash feature that caused the screen size to graduate from 36 inches to 40 inches and then to the 46 inch full screen mode!  So, as the little girl began spewing green satan vomit, the screen size jumped to three different viewing sizes, creating the appearance that the green gruel was coming right at you!  

I then found the "alternative reality" feature which is marvelous!  You can program the TV so that when any politician appears on the screen, the program immediately switches to a scene where a dozen Sports Illustrated bikini-clad beauties are frolicking in the aqua blue waters of the Bahamas.  As soon as the politician is gone it then reverts to regular programming!  Magic!

But perhaps the feature I love best is found in the audio settings.  I have set this TV up to default to "noise cancellation" mode whenever it detects a spouse's voice.  If the spouse berates one for couch surfing three football games the noise cancellation mode gears up and you can't hear a thing she says.  Works for everything; "take out the trash" or "the yard needs work" simply dissolve into calming sounds not unlike what one hears when one puts a seashell to one's ear.

So now I dwell in TV Nirvana!  Isn't technology wonderful?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fm: G. Washington; Note to Obama

                                                       

From:  George Washington
           Mount Vernon, Virginia


Subject:  Constitutional Responsibilities; The Executive Branch


To:  President Barack Hussein Obama

Dear Mr. President,

I am compelled to write to free my mind of worry over your various and specific efforts to circumvent our triumvirate of checks and balances proscribed by the grand and glorious Constitution of the United States.  

To wit; in the five years you have held office you have taken it upon yourself to assume an "all knowing, all seeing, all right" position as the nation's chief executive.  My brother founders and I sit here in perpetuity, abhorring your efforts to unwind all that we worked to accomplish over the last quarter of the 18the century.

Ironically, while there were remarkable numbers of our citizens who wished to crown me King of these United States, and so quickly after we had shed the shackles of royal tyranny, you, some two centuries later, seem bound and determined to crown yourself "emperor" of a country that needs no Royal to lead her.  While I was offended by my own citizens wanton lust to anoint me King, and quickly reminded those that we fought a war for a Republic, and not a Kingdom, you seem more than willing to assume Kingly powers over those who absolutely reject the notion!

Most contemptible has been your appointment of dozens of "Czars", appointed to issue edicts and dictates that are totally opposed by both the Legislative and Judicial branches as well as the opposition of our freedom loving people.

Equally contemptible has been your selective citing of history to justify your Marxian and Socialistic political and social goals.  I can only remind you that, during my two terms, I guarded my behavior and my actions because I knew they might serve as "precedent" to some succeeding President who might exploit my name in justifying disgusting power grabs and for superficial political gains.  

I was careful not to step into the rightful spheres of power specifically granted to the legislative and judicial branches by our revered Constitution.  And having invested a great deal of my life in the formation of this grand republic I demand that you cease and desist from attempts to dictate by force of threat in those areas of American life that belong to no one but the citizen!

Our dear Mr. Jefferson is crying out even now for the citizenry to rise against your tyranny!  He often buzzes our ears in heated protest over the ever creeping tentacles invading the personal life of our citizens.  You may wish to know T. Jefferson's worse day over here is when your party falsely claims him as your champion and each summer picnic and congregate in his name.  He abhors your party and all that it stands for!

Old Abe has been with us awhile as well….and is nearly as distraught by your borrowings of his quotes and using his deeds as false premises for your own goals.  Having steered our nation through a bloody Civil War, Mr. Lincoln is appalled by for efforts to divide this nation and brew a poison that may very well lead to a 2nd Civil War…and all for your own selfish political gain! 

As for me, I am quite disgusted by your destructive ego and ambition, and your willful actions to destroy the Republic we fought for so long ago.  A pestilence on your ambitions!

Sincerely,



George Washington
General, Commander in Chief, President (Retired) 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Love Cannot Be Bought, At Any Price

                                                       

My dear reader, Christmas is only weeks away and, no doubt, there are some of you out there who are worried about being able to afford gifts for your loved ones.  Let me offer you a cautionary tale about the art of giving, a balm for your worried souls.  

You see, Christmas is all about giving, but I have some great news for you; the gift of yourself will always be the gift remembered, the gift most treasured, for love cannot be bought, nor given with anything from the material world. 

To illustrate I must tell you a sad story of a little boy who had everything the materiel world had to offer, yet longed for the one thing he would never have, the love, devotion, and attention that a child must have to thrive and blossom and develop deep roots to withstand all of the storms of life.

My best friend as a "tween", those tentative years between green shoot innocence and teenager, was a kid named Corky S.  Corky lived two doors down, and half a world away from me at the time.  My mom was still raising us on a waitress's salary, with each month becoming a high wire act on whether we would eat or pay the bills or sacrifice a little of both.  She worked the swing shifts from 4pm to midnight and usually got home about 1AM in the morning.  Yet, she would be up the next morning cooking oatmeal or cream of wheat, while ironing our clothes for school.  She would then see us off to school, iron clothes, clean the house and prepare a supper for us to eat long after she had gone to work that evening.

Somehow, despite not being there in the evening our mother's love was so all-powerful that, even in her absence, we felt safe, sheltered and thrived in that overpowering love and caring.

Corky lived in a very nice two story home with plenty of bedrooms and beautiful furnishings and never wanted for anything...except perhaps an hour's time of one of his parents once in a while.  His mother was a nurse in a doctor's office and worked days five days per week.  His dad was a department manager at a national grocery chain and the income of both parents was impressive indeed, especially in those days.  

Alas, both of Corky's parents were alcoholics and so the beautiful house with the beautiful furnishings were dimmed by the perpetual black cloud of alcohol addiction, with home time dedicated purely for the tipping of a bottle of Haig and Haig.  And the beautiful home that lived under the black cloud was run with the fine-tuned skills of two alcoholics who managed to function; hold a job, maintain the semblance of a home...as long as nothing more was expected of them.

During the time we lived near him, Corky sought out our family as a refuge, a place where love lived. He would go crazy over a simple bowl of beans because it has been "mother-created", and seasoned with love.  

And when visiting Corky, I would see his mother, whiskey in hand, stoop to pull the Swanson's TV dinner from the oven, every night a Swanson's TV dinner because anything more complicated was beyond her in her near stupored self.  This was the unspoken signal for me to go home, so that the three strangers could sit with TV trays and watch TV for an hour or so.  By 9PM both parents were sufficiently stoned, but capable of climbing the stairs to bed so that tomorrow could be another day of functional dysfunction.

Now Corky was blessed with impressive baseball skills.  He was a power hitter and made a name for himself in little league with bat and glove.  A lot of folks enjoyed watching him play...but his parents would have had to fore go the first two cocktails of the evening to do so...and they didn't have time for that.

So the little boy would ride home from the little league game, bat and ball in hand, grab his Swanson TV dinner and take it to his room to eat, having long ago given up on trying to tell two drunken parents that he had hit two home runs and driven in five.

At Christmas time Corky's parents bought a huge tree and on Saturday would decorate it, before they became too drunk to do so by mid-day.  The rest of their "lost weekend" would be spent in a fog.  And when Christmas morning came Corky would have an abundance of gifts beneath the tree.

And all the poor and  lower middle class kids would ooh and ahh at the magnificence of Corky's gifts...and would envy him his little league prowess, and his Swanson TV dinners and his fine house with his very own bedroom.  And Corky would smile....as he smiled often, but no doubt there was sadness behind that smile, a sadness and a loneliness that we were simply too young to detect. 

Soon after Corky's family  moved away from that neighborhood, as did we.  We saw Corky at school and he always had that smile, the smile with sad and lonely eyes behind it.  After we left I don't know who might have proven to be a source of solace for the young boy who lived in the alcoholic bubble.

I grew up, busied myself with school and part time jobs and eventually went into the military.  Once, when coming home on military leave, my brother mentioned dear Corky and his addiction problem.  I was saddened by this for I knew him to be a kind and good soul, always searching for a trace of warmth in his cold and hard world.  Then, again while home a few years later, my brother spoke of Corky's passing, and at a tragically young age.

On thinking on all this, in preparing to write about it, I saw this tragedy as a homily about giving and gifting.   In my mother's entire life I don't believe she ever bought me a gift valued at more than twenty dollars...and yet she gave us such love and caring and attention that it was all we ever needed...(and, ironically it was the poorest gift that meant the most! ...see "The Christmas Present" on my blog) By contrast, and even more so today, the gifting of I-Phones and Gaming Systems and Big Screen televisions are all offered as a substitute for parental discipline, caring, and the expenditure of love so powerful it provides shelter and a safe harbor for a child yet too young to cry out for love.

So take heart this Christmas; if times are hard, if you can't afford to buy the shiny baubles that catch the eye, but touches not the heart, sit down and write everyone of your dear ones a letter.  Tell them what they mean to you, tell them you love them, and if you're lucky enough to be with them this year, hug them hard,  tell them what's in your heart..after all, why not splurge on the only gift that really matters.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Elevating Blacks To Sainthood; Now Santa too?

                                                         
Five years ago American liberals anointed Barack Obama to sainthood.  They deemed him "the anointed one", incapable of making a mistake and so flush with brilliant ideas that no others could approach his  brilliance.   Before he even warmed up the seat in the Oval Office European Socialists gave Barack Hussein Obama the Nobel Peace Prize! Obama himself has deemed himself to be among the four best Presidents in our long history.  The Congressional Black Caucus agree with him and have started a conversation about putting Obama's image on Mt Rushmore!

I need not laundry list the mountainous pile of Obama's failures…tens of millions of suffering Americans can attest to that misery.  

But it seems to me that American liberals have gone bonkers in their crusade to raise to Sainthood any prominent Black who emerges into the public arena.  It boggles the mind that, for a decade or so now, liberals have their heads plunged up the anuses of 12 percent of the nation's population and refuse to admit to the reality that the real world used to demand!

A couple of months ago America honored the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.  Literally thousands of articles were written on King, thousands more hours of television time was devoted to it…and yet not one media source mentioned that, on King's last night on earth, he had his mistress staying at the same motel.  You see, American liberals and all Blacks have elevated MLK to sainthood.  His rather heavy drinking habit and his mistresses have no place in the King mythology.  While Blacks and their liberal minions have no problem dragging the reputation of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington through the mud, they simply won't tolerate staining the image of King, a good man…but not a saint.

This same "saint-a-tizing" is true in the entertainment world as well.  Just in the past year Kanye West has elevated himself to "saint' status, saying he's the Black Jesus, that he's as courageous as our military troops and as esteemed as the best of our law enforcement who go out to protect us each and every day.

Beyonce is worshipped and treated as if she were the American queen, worthy of a million media minutes every week, worthy of a million dollar a night birthing suite and worthy of America's worship.

I could name for you hundreds of Blacks, all immensely flawed, most of them utterly selfish and self-centered, certainly arrogant, and all placed on pedestals, their flaws and sins overlooked and forgiven, and utterly elevated to Sainthood simply because they are Black.  It boggles the mind!

Morgan Freeman can spout the most hateful racist speech, Oprah can say Whites need to die, Obama can make Trayvon Martin his "son", Jessie Jackson can call New York "heimy-town", Reverend Wright can "God Damn America" and they are elevated to sainthood.

And now, America, Blacks want to be Santa too.  Doesn't matter that the old fella originated in lily-white Scandnavia….doesn't matter that his repute spread in all white Germany, or that he's been a White American icon for centuries…no, he's such a "good guy" that he must be Black…cause we know them white devils never sired a "good guy" in their lives!  I mean you can't be a white Santa and bring toys to Black children because whites are only devils, never saints!

Note to Blacks:  can't you just leave us honkeys one saint?  Hell you got the rest of the world cornered…cut us some slack, bro's!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exploiting Christmas

                                                 

A couple of decades ago we were complaining that Christmas had become too commercial.  We lamented the stores breaking out Christmas decorations before we finished with Thanksgiving.  Then we began seeing Christmas promotions before the kiddies had even finished "trick or treating"  '

Little did we know, those early Christmas promotions can now be deemed "the good ole days".  The exploitation of Christmas has now reached all new highs.

I love Christmas movies so I always get excited when I begin to see TV listings for Rudolph and Charlie  Brown and It's A Wonderful Life.  Tragically, what I am seeing is the broadcast of "holiday movies" that have little to do with Christmas.

This bastardization of Christmas began a few years ago on the Lifetime Channel.  This female oriented channel has been exploiting the Christmas theme to promote romance movies; the plot of which has little to do with Christmas at all.  One need only peruse your latest TV Guide to find such silly titles as "Marry Christmas", "A Husband For Christmas", "A Boyfriend for Christmas", etc.  Lest anyone be offended, the producers of these movies take great care to never mention Christ in any of these blockbusters.

Alas, the women's book industry has enthusiastically joined the fray.  Go to Amazon books and note all of the Christmas themed romances.  This year the romance publishers have taken this to frantic levels of ecstasy as we are seeing such Sado-Masochism titles as "Bound For Christmas", which details the joy of bringing the joy of ropes and whips to the holiday experience.  In Amazon's "top forty" one can find no less than a dozen sex-charged Christmas books to ramp up the old Mistletoe tradition.

Given the latest trends, how long will it be before we begin to see some re-makes of our old Christmas favorites?  Perhaps "Miracle At the Bordello?".  How about George Bailey, instead of lassoing the moon, chooses instead to use that rope for more erotic purposes on an adoring Donna Reed?  Shall "Holiday Inn" gather greater viewership if we turn it in to a house of ill repute?

Sigh...I've got to go now.  

Marry Christmas....:)


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Of Starbucks, Donuts & Politicians

                                                          


Anyone know who this woman is?  Frankly, I don't either….but we shelled out $31,000 dollars so that she could have an official government portrait.  You see, every swinging dick and tit that works on Obama's staff is authorized to have a professional portrait done so that it can hang in the halls of Congress and afford taxpayers the thrill of seeing their portrait!  Never mind that you wouldn't recognize 99 percent of the folks up on that wall…it's what the government calls a "perk"…a little something above and beyond the $200,000 dollar annual salary.

Now, if you're wondering why I even brought this up, in light of the other massive government waste, please follow me for awhile.

Yesterday Senator Tom Coburn introduced a bill that would limit the taxpayer payout for official portraits for Czars and bureaucrats to $20,000 dollars a pop.  Well, first of all I'm wondering why pay for any of that nonsense?  And keep in mind that Coburn has been a cost-cutting hawk ever since he's been in office.  Each year he produces a "TOP 100' list of the year's biggest wasteful projects!  So why would he sanction even $20,000 dollars each for all those official portraits?  

Well, it's because Senator Coburn knows the bill he introduced to curb costs doesn't stand a chance in hell of even making it to the Senate floor for debate.  These kind of minute "accounting rounding errors" are something not even bothered with in today's national capital!  And after all, every Congressman and Senator is given the same "perk".  Here's Congressman Charlie Rangel, he of the million dollar tax fraud, standing and grinning in front of his $31,000 dollar official portrait!

                                               

Folks, the reason I bring this all up is that yesterday the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, castigated his fellow Tea Party Republicans for not going  along with still another two years of trillion dollar deficit spending.   The Speaker rightly says that these Tea Party folks earned the party some bad publicity during that partial government shutdown that harmed no one.   But let's look at the Ryan-Murray budget plan honestly; it promises to cut about $2 billion a year from a $3.7 trillion dollar annual budget!  (And by the way, that $2 billion in savings comes from denying retired military a measly 1% rise in their pension; it doesn't cut a dime from welfare.  And it doesn't stop the $12 billion dollar annual Child Tax Credit payouts to illegal aliens).

Well, I guess my question is "if Congress is not willing to even discuss millions in waste (never mind hundreds of thousands), if they are so important now, and so arrogant as to be above discussing government waste, how are we ever going to tackle that now $17.2 trillion dollar national debt, scheduled to reach $30 trillion by the year 2020?  

So, who do we blame here?  Can we blame the Speaker for wanting to boost the party's image in the eye of the electorate by avoiding another government shutdown?  Do we blame the Tea Party for holding an eagle eye on every wasteful nickel spent by Congress?   Is the Tea Party America's future as the national debt chokes us to death….or is the Tea Party dead?

Several months ago a news item caught my eye.  Some crusading reporter had scanned the annual budget from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  They honed in on what each Congressman was spending just on coffee and donuts for their respective staffs.  It turns out that Speaker of the House John Boehner was spending a bit less than the rest of them…and his yearly spending on Duncan Donuts and Starbucks was $200,000 a year!

      

So, I guess what we can conclude from all this is that the only ones in Congress that really care about how our tax dollars are spent are the Tea Party folks…but, because they raise so much hell about it they piss a lot of people off!  And so they are bad politicians!  And so, the only question that remains to be answered is do we want orgasmic spending Democrats or big spending Republicans?   Because, apparently while the career politicians are scarfing donuts and washing it down with Starbucks, while getting their official portrait painted, America just has no taste for a "tea party".  

Sad.  Damned Sad.




Friday, December 13, 2013

On A Hill Stood An Old Wooden Cross

                                                   

It sits on a modest hill along the Southern California coast.  The hill, modest by even California coastal range standards, stands only 822 feet high.  Situated between California Freeway 5, the main north-south California corridor, and the Pacific Ocean, Mt Soledad has been an irritant to atheists who decided to become offended about a cross that stands atop the mount.  

The cross was built in 1913 as the town of La Jolla's gratitude to a creator who had blessed them with beautiful weather and the great natural beauty of the southern California coast.  It was simply a modest wooden cross that stood for half a century without controversy.  But, as more and more atheists traversed highway 5, en route to a wild weekend in a Navy town, or bound for Tijuana for one of those notorious "girl and donkey" shows,  they became more and more irritated by this brazen display of Christianity.  So they took their complaints to the only place atheists ever win; to the American courts.  They claim it is an affront to have a religious symbol on government land.  

Those who support the cross atop Mt. Soledad tried everything to appease the angry atheists.  As early as 1954 they established the site at the cross as a memorial to our military.  A newer and more permanent cross was erected.  And those who are offended by a cross became even angrier and the case worked its way deeper into the courts.

                                                     

Seeing that the liberal California state courts would side with the atheists, the land was ceded to the federal government in hopes that they would preserve and protect a memorial dedicated to those who fought and sacrificed for their country.  And for awhile, under a conservative administration, it looked like the cross might be preserved.

Alas, the ultra liberal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals out of San Francisco decided that the cross was an affront to atheists who believe religion is for the ignorant and the cross but a unpleasant reminder of such ignorance.  They ordered the cross be removed to spare atheists forced to look at it as they motored down Freeway 5.  

Supporters of the cross tried one last desperate maneuver to save it.  They offered to buy the land the memorial stands on  from the federal government.  However, the Obama administration has stated they will not entertain offers from a 'favored party' interested in preserving the cross.

Sadly, today, two weeks before Christmas, a federal judge has ruled that the Mt Soledad cross must be removed within 90 days lest it offend the eyes of the nonbelievers.

Airline pilots say they use the landmark of Mt Soledad to guide them into their descent into the San Diego area.  Others, not offended by a cross, have found the landmark to be uplifting, a landmark to their own spirituality.  Alas, the cross is now in its last days…..and so is our once marvelous country.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas In The Garden Of Good And Evil

                                                         

Phoenix, Arizona
She was fourteen years old, had lots of friends, very popular, a good student and enjoying her first year of high school.  She drew funny figures on her book covers, giggled with her friends over something said on Facebook and excited about attending her first Christmas dance.  Last Tuesday morning she left home for school and would never be seen alive again.

There were already dark clouds hovering over Claudia Ann Lucero as she departed for school last week.  During that very week she had been molested by her mother's 31 year old boyfriend.  He had touched her inappropriately and forced her to touch his genitals.   She told her friends about it and had also discussed it with her mother.   Her mother's boyfriend had also texted her over a hundred times in the previous days, the texts alternating between sexual innuendo and physical threats.

Last Friday morning two ladies who lived in the same apartment complex were dumpster diving for cans to recycle.  They found the body of little Claudia wrapped in an old car rug, her school books gathered around her battered corpse.

It wasn't hard for police to solve the crime.  They found she had been wrapped in the trunk liner of the car belonging to the mother's boyfriend.  An autopsy revealed the little girl had been violently beaten and raped and his DNA matched semen samples taken from the victim's body.

Little Claudia would have been about ten years old when the Justice system began dealing with Alex Andrew Madrid, age 31, about the time little Claudia would have learned the truth about Santa Claus.   Between 2009 and 2012 Madrid had 11 felony convictions under his belt, including car theft, burglary, assault,  domestic violence and sexual assault on other women.  Even during his prison time he was sending threatening letters to his previous victims.  Several of Madrid's case assessments said he was a high risk probation candidate and would likely commit similar offenses.

                                                     

In Madrid's long history of crime and sexual violence, he had always violently resisted arrest, and, for those eleven felony convictions, the judge saw fit for him to serve only 15 months in prison.  It boggles the mind how our justice system could grant parole to a man as mean and evil as we are likely to hear of.

Claudia Ann Lucero will not make her freshman Christmas dance.  No need to shop for that special dress.  No more giggles over teenage "sillies".  She will no longer have a need for schoolbooks, for she has learned of the world's evil in the most frightening manner imaginable.  There are probably Christmas cards already addressed with her name on them, perhaps a present wrapped and placed beneath the Christmas tree.  And in the coming years her loved ones will ponder a time when she would have walked up to the podium to receive her diploma, or a day in June when she would walk down the aisle in the arms of her loved one; the one she was meant to spend her life with.

Instead, little Claudia will wear the bruises and broken bones of a violent assault, of death by strangulation, her innocence having been spoiled by a monster set free to roam and plunder the lives of those who wandered into his sphere. She will have been thrown into a dumpster like so much garbage, her life's worth discarded and forgotten.

I truly hope the trial judges who gave such lenient sentences to a true monster have a quiet moment or two, perhaps on Christmas night.  And I would hope they are forced to sit and contemplate their own blame for the tragic death of a little girl at Christmas in the garden of good and evil.

SB1070, Sheriff Joe & Illegal Flight

                                                         

January, 2010...Arizona Governor signs into law SB1070, the law that asked every illegal Mexican "What part of 'illegal' do you not understand?" Prior to the bill's signing La Raza imported 10,000 Mexicans from their Los Angeles Barrio to march in the streets of Phoenix, carrying Mexican flags and demanding the law look the other way from the massive illegal invasion.  

Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill anyway and was hung in effigy by angry Mexicans.  The law had not even gone into effect before La Raza won injunctions against it from the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  And Barack Obama sent his attack dog, Attorney General Eric Holder to Arizona to file suit against Sheriff Joe and the state of Arizona for threatening to deport tens of millions of future Democratic voters.

Never the less, Sheriff Joe assembled his "posse" and hit the mean streets of Phoenix.  Illegals, stopped in the course of committing traffic violations (not hard to do since illegals have no driver training to go with their phony driver's licenses), asked drivers to produce I.D., registration and insurance, and when the illegals could produce nothing were arrested and deported.  

Then Sheriff Joe began busting Phoenix businesses that were hiring illegal Mexicans.  He busted trash haulers, fast food restaurants, construction sites, water parks and car washes.  Soon Joe had to contract buses to haul the hundreds of them to the border.

However, one of the first things we saw during this time was a drastic drop in home invasions, home burglaries, hit and run drivers and auto theft.  We would learn later that Arizona and Sheriff Joe's tough love on illegal aliens resulted in over 300,000 illegal Mexicans fleeing the state, some to New Mexico, but most of them to Mexifornia.

By 2013 the liberal courts and the Obama administration had gutted SB1070 to the point where any phase of the law could be enforced.  And Obama ordered ICE not to accept any illegals caught by Sheriff Joe Arpao.  Later, Emperor Obama issued an edict that any illegals arrested would be set free by ICE.  

So Arizona is back to square one.  Crime is again on the rise, Robbery, Rape and Murder are on the upswing as illegals have drifted back to the state.  Hit and Run illegal drivers is back on the rise and, unless Sheriff Joe buses the illegals himself to the border, which he has done on occasion, Arizona is again an illegal playground.

But for those who buy Obama's promise that illegals will not take American jobs, that they will spur the economy and that they are all peace loving, law abiding Mexicans, I beg to differ.  

A couple of years ago I did some research on a blog I was writing and used the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.  So this past week I re-visited the FBI's latest crime figures.  I researched eight different Phoenix communities and noted that between 2010, when the illegals fled, and 2012 auto theft dropped  in half.  In the communities with previously heavy illegal residents,  rape, robbery, aggravated assault  and murder rates declined more than 30%.

I guess, when you decide to support or oppose the Democrat's amnesty bill, whether you you want to believe a bunch of pols lusting after 30 million future Democratic voters or whether you believe the cold hard facts about the illegal plague that is destroying us.