Saturday, May 31, 2014

Alyssa Milano's Million Dollar Pitch

                                                           
                      Alyssa Milano's $10,000,000 dollar mansion in Bell Canyon, California


I see Alyssa Milano crying every night on TV.  Her tears run down her face as she bemoans the terrible plight of 3rd World children.   She's the United Nations Rep for that body's United Children's Fund.    I listen to Alyssa's plea and I can only seem to remember her appearance on Entertainment Tonight as she walked us through a multi-million dollar renovation of her Bell Canyon palace.  She also beamed with pride about her second home, her country estate.

I'm sure Ms. Milano must be a very nice person.  But she doesn't move me one iota toward sending anything to UNICEF.  First of all, the United Nations already gets far too much of our money already.  Secondly, I always go to Charity Watch to see how much of our charity donations are eaten up by administrative costs...but most of all, I don't donate because Ms. Milano and her Hollywood friends could donate millions and never feel it; yet they shill hard working Americans to donate money badly needed for themselves.  They do it by manipulating the emotions of people and they manage to do it without ever associating the charity spokesman with the obscene wealth they possess.

George Clooney will hop his private jet and fly La La land and hold a telethon to warn against global warming.  Leonardo DiCaprio will drive his Lexus to the Academy Awards, then back to the airport and climb into his personal jet to attend a telethon promoting green energy.

There a good dozen Hollywood elites who appear every night on my TV screen.  And they are marvelous actors; they can shed tears at the drop of a hat and, if you're not careful, your bawling right along with them, and opening up the old checkbook for all those worthy causes.

Just once I'd like to see George Clooney shown walking out on his veranda overlooking Lake Como in Italy and shilling for African children.   Or Leonardo at the controls of his private jet as he urges you to conserve fossil fuels....or even Alyssa sitting pool side in Bell Canyon and beseeching you to send your money to aid poverty stricken children.

Nope, if any of these charities hope to get a cent from me, they'd better trot out a blue collar Joe who is just getting by and believes in the cause enough to chip in a few bucks himself.   

Friday, May 30, 2014

Duty, Honor, Country?

                                                         
Note To My Regular Readers:  I wrote earlier about getting an enormous number of page views for some of my earlier blogs, about 10,000 visitors this week alone.  They were picked up by other sites and the word spread rapidly.  Unfortunately, I also got 4,000 Spam comments which Google was good enough to send to my spam folder.  Still, they clog up my blog and need to be stopped.  So, until this brougha dies down, and the page views return to 500 or so per day, I've had to apply a verification block to make comments, to cut down on spam.  Hopefully this one extra step will not keep you from commenting.


Ten or fifteen years ago, when the Japanese real estate industry collapsed, and with it the entire economy, the Finance Minister climbed into a high speed elevator that ferried him to the 100th plus floor of a Tokyo skyscraper, then jumped off the roof to his death.  He felt like he had to "take a bullet" for the economic collapse.  Again in Japan, three or so years ago when nuclear disaster struck Japan, the Japanese Energy Czar resigned immediately and took responsibility for a natural disaster.
Just last month the Premier of South Korea resigned from office following the ferry disaster; though surely the Premier played no role in that tragedy.

Yes, there are still places on earth where honor is a precious thing.  I'm wondering these days if honor is not something we value in America anymore...and if the lack of honor is not just another symptom of a crumbling society.  

When the IRS got nailed for targeting conservative groups, and trying to influence the outcome of an election, the IRS Chief didn't come forward, own up to her mistakes, and resign.  Nor did those in the White House who were directly involved in the iRS harassment of its citizens, own up even to political overreach.  Instead, everyone lawyered up, "took the 5th" and slunk away to their own personal hidey-holes.  

Last week when the VA Chief sat and listened to testimony after testimony about veteran deaths and medical negligence and cooking the books to earn bonuses, he refused to resign, even as whistleblower letters sent to him a year  before had gone unanswered.  To quell American indignation and anger, the White House trotted out a "martyr" and offered up a dude for resignation; one who had already announced his resignation a year ago...already qualifying for a nice fat federal pension and subject to lose nothing.

When Fast and Furious was revealed, despite the negligence of the main stream media to even investigate it, Obama's Justice Department lawyered up and stonewalled any attempt to investigate how that goat rope came about...and refused even to explain to a border agent's parents,  why their son was killed by Mexican drug cartels with weapons supplied them by the U..S. Justice Department.
No one took the fall  for that one either.

How many of you remember how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton emerged from the war room of the White House, guns still smoking in their holsters, and took credit for taking out Osama Bin Laden?  Hell, as far as they were concerned Seal Team 6 didn't exist!  And yet when four Americans were killed in Benghazi, when no one from either the White House or the State Department took that "3AM call",  those responsible for mounting a military rescue...or even explaining what the Ambassador was doing in Benghazi, hunkered down and came up with the idea to blame the disaster on an obscure anti-Muslim film that few had even seen.

There was a time, dear readers, when America had her share of honorable men.  Franklin Roosevelt had to fight Hitler and Mussolini alone there for awhile.  He used Lend Lease to keep the Brits afloat long enough for his country to recognize the real world wide threat of the Nazi's.  

And who remembers that Dwight Eisenhower was so fearful that D-Day would be a disaster that he wrote a press release in advance, taking full responsibility should the operation fail?  Honor.

When a young John Kennedy had his PT boat shot out from under him, he took responsibility for the loss and took it upon himself to rescue his crew.  Twenty years later, after only a couple of months into his Presidency, he stepped up to the podium and took responsibility for the Bay of Pigs, even though that was Eisenhower and the CIA's gig, set in motion before JFK even took office.

America has a long tradition of valuing honor.  From Washington to Lincoln to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, and to Reagan we once had leaders who lived by principle.  Even George W., whose Middle East strategy I disagreed with, always shouldered the blame as "the great decider".

Not so much anymore.  We seem to be a nation that tolerates "little men and little women".  When all those finance wizards on Wall Street brought down our entire economy no one saw fit to send even one of them to jail...not one.  When a trillion dollars was wasted in an effort to stimulate the economy, when those "shovel ready" jobs were not forthcoming, it simply became an "oops" moment  and no one fell on his sword for that massive fail.  Then came the massive political lying, ala the "war on women", pushing the elderly in wheel chairs off the cliff, the demonization of "the rich", and then the IRS mess, and the VA mess and the Benghazi mess...and the best we could do is offer up cover-ups, stone-walling, early retirements and an anti-Muslim film.

A nation without honor, a nation run by "little people" cannot long exist.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

When History Passed Obama By

                                                         

Barack Obama has always been good at forming commissions and advisory panels.  His record is dismal when it comes to taking leadership for what those commissions recommend.  None of us are surprised by this; in every single instance, when Presidential leadership was called for, Obama failed to step up and seize the day.  Whether it was allowing Reid and Pelosi to write the Health care bill, or allowing his liberal friends in Congress to write the pork barrel stimulus plan, or assuming responsibility for Benghazi, or IRS harassment, or AP reporter wire tapping, or even the VA health care tragedy, Obama trots out a martyr and executes him on the spot.

But even with all of Obama's massive fails, he had one grand chance to write his name into the history books; not as the worst President in our history, but as someone courageous enough to stop the explosive growth of the national debt and create an honest and fair tax system.

Upon taking office Obama proposed a commission that would look at all federal spending, at our tax laws, at how we manage federal programs and how to fix them.  The bi-partisan Simpson-Bowles commission was made up of both Republicans and Democrats and headed by retired Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.  

So the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform got to work in 2010.  They enlisted the finest tax and finance minds in the nation to come up with a plan that would improve the efficiency of federal programs, find new sources of revenue that would not stunt the economy, identify cuts that could be made while still providing a reasonable social safety net for those in poverty, and identify methodologies to reduce the massive national debt.

They hosted dozens of working conferences, picked the minds of some of the smartest folks in the nation, both liberal and conservative, then sat down and wrote a report that would please no one but would demand compromise for both sides of the Congressional aisle.  The plan proved to be so fair that everybody hated something about it.

Without trying to laundry list everything, here's some of the broader guidelines:  Simpson-Bowles would have lowered the tax rates for everyone making less than $250,000 dollars but would have broadened the base so that more citizens would be paying something.  It would have eliminated the mortgage interest on 2nd homes and capped mortgage interest deduction at one million a year.  It would have raised the age qualification for Social Security to 68 in the year 2050 and 69 in the year 2075, bringing the retirement age more in keeping with current death rates and it would have reduced tax free Social Security payments for those making more than $100,000 dollars a year.  It would have reduced corporate taxation from the current 35% to 15% BUT it would have neutered all those K Street lobbyists my eliminating thousands of corporate tax loopholes that allow companies like G.E. from paying taxes on $14 billion dollars in revenue!  

All told, Simpson Bowles would have cut "tax welfare" for both corporations and those with extreme wealth.  For example, billionaires like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates would no longer be entitled to Medicare.  Their social security payments would be taxed as part of their total income which pretty well nullifies payout to those who have absolutely no need for those payments.

Entitlement payouts would be cut at a 2 to 1 ratio to revenue increases.  For every dollar in revenue increases the government must make two dollars in entitlement cuts....and to insure Democrats can't weasel their way out making cuts (as they did with Reagan...and Bush 1 in 1989) mandates were included in Simpson Bowles that would have triggered even larger entitlement cuts if liberals tried to legislate away the agreed cuts.  Any variation in the tax to entitlement ratios would require a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, something that is impossible in today's political world.

Simpson Bowles would not only have produced a balanced budget but would have reduced the national debt by $4 trillion dollars over a ten year period!  So the 18 members on the commission voted.  Eleven supported the plan and 7 opposed.  The plan needed three more votes to meet the agreed upon plan for implementation.  A couple of phone calls to his Democratic comrades, maybe one small bribe; a transit system or an auto plant in the member's homes state. (ala Obmacare) and the plan gets passed.  And Obama stayed silent!

Barack Obama heard the screams of radical liberal economist Paul Krugman, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, the Congressional Black Caucus and an army of liberals hell bent on implementing an American socialist system.  So Obama stayed quiet.  And Simpson-Bowles died an early death...and the national debt has added another $5 trillion dollars, and ten million people have left the work force, and Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are schedule to go broke in 2020 and our tax system is still in existence to protect the wealthy and punish the working class...and millionaires are still writing off billions in second homes in the Hamptons, and G.E. has still not paid a dime in taxes, and working Americans are suffering.

Ironically members of Congress on both sides of the aisle still look longingly at Simpson Bowles.  Even Nancy Pelosi is for it now and four of those who voted against Simpson Bowles now say they would vote for it now.  But the plan failed, vetoed by Democrats and Republicans...and if Obama had just picked up the phone and did a little jawboning, if he had ignored the extreme left wing of his party and stood up and did what was good for everybody, but most of all, for our country...he might at least earn a footnote in the history books.

Instead, the "man-child" did what he has always done...he went and hid, wrung his hands in a false note of frustration and left the best plan ever conceived to fix our tax and entitlement system to die a tragic death.

I didn't like some of Simpson Bowles..but I liked a lot of it...which, as others have said, proves just how fair it was to both sides.  And many in Washington, as they look at the growing deficit and programs nearing bankruptcy, are now liking the plan more and more.  But the "man-child" had a golf date, or a trip to Hawaii planned, and simply couldn't be bothered.

Sad. Damned Sad...just does not seem enough to describe this massive fail.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inequality And The Power of Overwhelming "Whiteness"

                                                         

It would seem that liberals these days, so impoverished of morals or principles, are grasping at the most ridiculous "straws" to somehow justify the religion of liberalism.  We've seen it with their "faux war on women", their "inequality" whines that despairs of those who achieve any degree of financial success, their totally ignoring the fact that fully half of America is now on the public dole...and even Obama's latest labeling Obamacare subsidies as an "income redistribution tax."

The latest silliness came from, where else, MSNBC, the flagship carrier for the Obama regime and his liberal "army of the entitled."  Touré Neblet, hosts of "The Cycle", who likes to go by first name only, a la Prince, or Madonna, came out and said this weekend that the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust did so because of their "overpowering Whiteness".  

My theory on liberalism is beginning to be set in concrete these days.  I can only assume that liberals, lacking the support of "the adults in the room", simply must cater to weak, morally corrupt, nonproductive tit-suckers that rely on big government for their largesse and privilege.  And, fortunately for them the growing numbers of those satisfied to feed off the life blood of others has reached sufficient proportion to keep liberal politicians in charge of the system for the foreseeable future.

Touré and Sharpton and Waters and  Jessie Jackson and Obama have achieved their political success by maintaining the fictional notion that Blacks and Hispanics have not had the same opportunities as "Whitey", and they pray that citizens will never look hard at the numbers and find out the truth.

                                               
The truth is since the Civil Rights Bills of 1964 Whites have had little opportunity to compete against the government mandated racial quotas, whether it be in the realm of equal opportunity, housing or education.  As the chart above shows, Blacks have a 500% advantage over Whites when competing in the federal work place.  Blacks also win big on educational scholarships and grants; a 4 to 1 advantage over Whites.  The same is overwhelmingly true for gaining access to free housing or low costs housing loans.  And perhaps women might want to take a close look at that chart above;  Blacks, unless you are a Black female, crowd out any chance that White women might aspire to in either education, work, or achieving home ownership.

A note of warning to Blacks; the chart above was done in 2004.  The latest 2013 charts show that liberal mandates have found themselves a new "dependent darling".  They are the Hispanics, especially illegal Hispanics , who are quickly approaching "preference parity" with Blacks.  The latest numbers show Hispanics running neck and neck with Blacks as they compete for in-state tuition, job preference or even Section 8 housing as Hispanics gain an immediate foothold on subsidized housing, free school breakfast and lunches, child welfare, WIC,  and Food Stamps as soon as they drop that first anchor baby.   Already Hispanics enjoy a 2 to 1 advantage for government employment hiring over Blacks and an even more impressive advantage over Whites, including White women.  

So Sharpton and Jackson and Waters and Obama hope to keep the rest of America drunk on liberal Kool Aid, while keeping Blacks and Hispanics busy on the liberal plantation...and never looking at the hard numbers that tell the real truth about inequality in America.  

As for Touré, he's busy these days trying to explain away his "overpowering Whiteness" comments to the families of 7 million Jews who didn't survive the holocaust.

Oh, did I mention that, while Touré was attending Emory University on taxpayer funded Pell grants and minority scholarships, he founded a Black newspaper called "The Fire Next Time", a Black Supremicist, anti-semitic rag that denigrated all non-Black human achievement?  Did I mention that Touré conspired to stage a hate crime hoax to promote ethnic hate and, when found out, justified the hoax as a means to advance the Black movement?  

Perfect fit for MSNBC, huh?  That's why, when the 2nd Civil War begins, 30 Rockefeller Center has got to be the first edifice to be taken out, like the Gomorrah it is.  Then Whites may no longer be persecuted for the color of their skin.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jobs I Failed Miserably At

                                                       

About once or twice a week I get a hankering to go back to work.  I sometimes miss the management challenges and the real satisfaction one gets when you see your efforts come together and you achieve remarkable results.  Then I remember the commute, as short as a few miles, or as long as 10,000 miles as when I worked for a decade in Saudi Arabia.

I guess what cools my ardor is remembering my many failures.  As a teen I remember getting tired of picking grapes, laying raisin trays, swamping grapes and the like.  It was hard work, done in the heat of summer, and five or six bucks earned at the end of the day just didn't seem enough.

One summer I vowed I would escape the grape patch and move up to a higher calling.  I saw an ad for work in an ice plant.  The job was something like an "ice stevedore" as you stayed up on the second floor of an ice plant, then using huge ice prongs, you would man handle a hundred pound block of ice, pull it over to a down ramp and send it down to the main floor to be picked up and loaded on a freight truck.  When I first read the ad it sounded so good; I would at last escape the dirt and filth and heat from the grape vineyards and just chill out in the middle of summer in that ice plant.  I think I lasted a week.  The damn place was so cold it always took an hour after work to thaw out and get my blood circulating again.  So I walked.

Now unemployed, I went back to visit the good old job classifieds and found another gem.  The hours were great!  You reported to work at midnight, was off by 4am, and got paid $1.50 an hour, which was big money in the mid-60's!  Had something to do with a chicken farm....sounded okay to me so I went down and signed up.

They told me to report up at the feed store at 11:30 that night so I had an early supper and grabbed a few hours sleep before heading out to work.  When I arrived at the feed store there were a couple of dozen Mexicans hanging around a flat bed truck laden with chicken cages.  I was the only white boy there and didn't understand a word of Spanish so I was pretty well lost.  Soon we were given the signal to load up on the truck by the Mexican foreman and we scurried into spaces between the chicken cages and off we went.  After about an hour of bouncing around on that old flat bed, the truck finally turned off onto a dirt road and we ended up on a huge chicken farm.  Well, everyone jumped off the truck, grabbed a chicken cage and headed into a long low building.  I grabbed a cage and followed along, still not knowing what I was supposed to do.  Finally, one young Mexican man took the time to try and explain the work.  He held out his hands and splayed his fingers wide and bent over and began aping the act of plucking something up with those splayed fingers, then pushing same into the cages.  I finally figured out what I was supposed to do and stumbled through the dark as if we were all on a clandestine mission.  I found out later that the chicken catching had to be done in the dark so as not to rile the chickens and get them scurrying, and having to chase them down to cage them.  

So I enter the building and the first sensation I feel is my new Keds sinking down into a good three or four inches of foul smelling chicken shit.  By this time I'm sweating like a baboon and I'm doing my best to splay my fingers wide and catch chickens as ordered.  You were supposed to grab them by their feet, hold your capture upside down, then grab another one, then another, and when you've got a handful you begin pushing them into the cage.  I was terrible; I would grab a chicken by its feet and the damn fowl would try his damnedest to scratch me with his claws or crane his neck forward and peck at my hands.  I think I was able to cage about forty chickens in that four hours as the skilled Mexicans loaded dozens of crates in that same time.

When God finally answered my prayers and that miserable shift was over, I emerged from that chicken house, my best Levi's smeared with chicken shit, my Keds ruined and my ego even worse off.  As we climbed back on the truck to head home I had my head bowed low, ashamed that I had not done my fair share of chicken plucking.  To their credit not a single Mexican looked askance at my poor effort.  Indeed they were happy as clams as they sang mournful love songs in their native language all the way home.  Hell, who wouldn't be happy after having that miserable shift over with for the day!

When I got home that morning my mom took one look at me; my chicken shit splattered jeans and shoes and herded me back out to the garden hose outside.  When I came back in I just said "don't even  bother to ask" as I headed up the stairs to bed.

Fortunately that summer I was able to escape the grape patch and actually pulled in a nice haul picking beans.  My friend turned me on to a farmer who had lost his crew and he was not shy about shelling out good money to harvest his beans.  I made more that month that in any summer previous...enough to pay for my high school student body card, student fees....and a new pair of Levi's.

My string of failures didn't stop even after I entered the Air Force.  As my family grew, an enlisted man's pay was not enough to feed and clothe four kids.  So it was back to the good old reliable want ads.  I came across an ad that said La Salle Extension University was recruiting for a salesman to sell their correspondence courses.  And since I was so hyped myself on education in those days I jumped at the chance.  I was asked to go door to door and wangle my way into the house and convince the client to sign up for a correspondence course in Refrigeration Repair, or Accounting, or the wonderful fields of Forest Ranger or Law Enforcement Officer.  Folks, I failed miserably at selling education.  I wore out my fingers ringing doorbells and got nothing but cold hard glances and doors slammed in my face.  When I did get someone polite enough to listen to my spiel they were either like me; too broke too afford the courses, or they were an officer looking to get his Masters Degree in Engineering to enhance his promotion chances.  I lasted a month and sold nothing...finally turned in all my pretty university phamplets and went back to the want ads.

My next job was as a bouncer at Club 81, a topless bar in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  My job was to sit on a stool next to the door, check ID, charm the boisterous into quiet if it got too disruptive, escort them out if they refused, and discourage the customers from groping the breasts of this week's "topless divas" on the little stage in back.  The job was not as bad, or as dangerous as one might think; if I ran into someone I couldn't handle alone; some burly lumberjack from over Minnesota way,  a couple of the bar crew would assist me in throwing the guy out.  But even this job got old.  It was just that...well, have you ever had to watch female hips grinding and breasts bouncing for hour after hour, night after night?  Believe me, it gets old in a hurry.  Plus, the bar closed at 1AM and I never got home before 2AM, giving me four hours of sleep a night.  My bouncing job lasted a few months before I hung it up.....as I recall my wife help me make that decision when she found out a little more of just what kind of place I was working in.....

Fortunately, the jobs started getting better.  I stocked for Kraft Foods at night, in the base commissary for the unheard of salary of $5 bucks an hour, with all the expired cheese I could use, and after getting my degree, teaching a year during one of my Korea tours at Los Angeles City College overseas extension.  They paid well and I enjoyed the work immensely.  

Not sure you're going to enjoy this blog today....you may as well know what prompted it.  I saw an ad for workers out at Hickman Farms over in Buckeye this morning.  They are building a new chicken farm out there.....(true story!)  ;)


Sunday, May 25, 2014

"The Best Years of Our Lives"

                                                         

On Monday, Memorial Day, at 10:30PM EST, 7:30 Pacific Time, Turner Classic Movies will air a magnificent tribute to veterans called "The Best Years of Our Lives".  No war-like stuff here.  Instead it is a true and accurate portrayal of veterans returning home and being forced to make the adjustment from military to civilian life.  William Wyler directed an all star cast, including Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo, Teresa Wright and Fredrick March who won the Oscar for Best Actor, one of seven Oscars the film captured, including Best Picture for 1947.

The film tells the story of the trials and tribulations of a veteran's return through the lives of three vets; a banker turned company sergeant, an Air Force officer serving far higher in the social food chain as a military man, then returning to his poverty ridden hovel at home, and a sailor who leaves a sweetheart behind at home and his hands somewhere in the distant Pacific.  Each veteran will have to deal with his own collections of troubles but will find their lives weaving in and out of each other's distinctive lives.   And it is how director Wyler achieves it all that is pure magic.

I wish I was a trained film scholar and critic.  Then maybe I could explain the magic on the screen...the way Wyler was able to show the penultimate tenderness of family reunion, or the mental and emotional frustration these vets have as they return home to their loved ones.

There are easily a dozen scenes in this movie where my eyes tear up.  One scene in particular touches me deeply for I have played that scene half a dozen times during my own military career.  Frederick March, the old army sergeant, arrives home ahead of schedule.  He is greeted at the door of his home by his now grown son whom he shushes, anxious to surprise wife Myrna Loy who is in the other room on the phone.  Through some psychic talent she senses a strange silence in the house, something a bit out of order...so she hangs up the phone and looks down the hallway from the kitchen and sees her husband, away at war for four years.  The look that husband and wife exchange, the absurd hesitancy to rush each other,  the silent fear that something might have been lost during those four years, then, at last, the embrace, the kisses and the comforting reassurance that two hearts are again "one" is spellbinding.  

Even greater poignancy is offered as they walk together into the bedroom for the first time in years.  Not a single reference to the sexual is said, or even implied as these two go through the motions of loosening a tie, extracting a pair of pajamas, laying out bath towels...but somehow that bed is "the elephant in the room" and the two life mates are as tentative and shy as newlyweds.  

For those who have not seen the movie, let me offer one more scene.  The sailor, played by amateur actor, Harold Russell, has withdrawn from his high school sweetheart, not wanting to commit her to a life of having to care for a man who no longer has hands.  After several days of being rebuffed, his sweetheart comes into the house and confronts him and asks about their future.  He then takes her up to his bedroom, shows her the rigor of his nightly ministrations as he dons pajamas, then removes his steel claws, and is at that moment helpless to do anything.  Without ever saying it, simply with small gestures, and with facial expression, she assures her love that she fell in love with him, and not his hands.

There are other stories, and other scenes here, all wonderful in their tender unfolding.  And yes, there is some mental anguish that must be dealt with, the after affects of war and death.  But director Wyler makes it all okay, at least for these three vets.  And there is not a false note anywhere in the film...and the adjustments these vets  must make is universal and timeless and true...and so this film touches the heart of anyone who has one.

If you haven't seen the movie, or if you might want to see it again, tune in to TCM on Memorial Day..it will be one of the best "two hours of your life".  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

VA Indignation Not A "Chronic" Condition

                                                       

This will be the last of what I have to say about the VA Healthcare fiasco.  My advice is "chill out folks"...nothing is going to change about the abhorrent VA care given to so many veterans.  Oh yes, the media, finally beginning to sever ties with the Anointed One, after realizing they can't cover up every Fast and Furious, every Benghazi, every IRS scandal, every NSA intrusion, have begun to chew on the VA health care scandal....not so much because they care about vets, but because America cares about vets, the last standing institution remaining that maintains some sense of principle and values.

So what's going to happen?  How will this scenario play out?  How will the politicians choreograph their latest phony fits of indignation at how our vets have been neglected?  Well, let's first begin by saying this is not Obama's fault, (though through his secret disdain for the military, and his total ineptitude for managing anything, he's certainly made it far, far worse).  No, this can be blamed on Presidents of both parties, Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the only thing that will happen when the public furor dies down is that the politicians will simply shuffle the deck chairs and let this Titanic steam on.

Doubt me not, folks.  I was there when the VA told us vets that ten million cases of cancer for men in their thirties was not outside the norm...that Agent Orange had absolutely nothing to do with 30 something veterans dying from lung and kidney and bladder cancer and leukemia.  I saw too many of my comrades die before they even developed crow's feet....and it didn't take thirty years of medical research to prove Agent Orange was deadly toxic.

So, what the government did with the Agent Orange controversy was to throw a few million at the problem, finally admit Agent Orange was causative...and all the furor died down.  And today, thirty years later, vets are still having to prove they were around Agent Orange to get treatment, even though Agent Orange fell like rain over Vietnam for years and years.

Soon after the Agent Orange tragedy was swept from the headlines, our politicians took a hard look at the VA health care budget (the real cost of war) and decided we just could not afford to treat all the vets that they had run through the grinder in the last three wars.  So they began means testing VA health care...telling vets "well, we can't pay the freight on those wars so a lot of you folks are just going to have to pay the bill yourself...a little "above and beyond the call of duty kind of thing".
And there was no public outcry.   ( How many of you thought that EVERY veteran can be treated free at the VA?...hasn't been true for decades)

So the only reason there's a public outcry is because the media is carpet bombing this story....where was the indignation last year when the Pittsburgh VA was charged with gross negligence and held responsible for dozens of veterans deaths?  So don't fret folks...this little flare up will die, just as with all the other instances of "political desertion" when the vets need help the most.  Michelle and Jill Biden will make public address announcements about their "care for vets' campaign, Barack Obama will stage speeches about caring for out vets with a platoon of veterans in the background....but neither the concern nor the attention is "chronic"....just a temporary case of the "caring flu" that will pass and be forgotten.  

The only thing "chronic" will be a few thousand new crosses going up in some VA cemetery...vets laid to rest before their time... cause too few people had time for them.

P.S.  The finest thing you could do for vets is this; it's too late to do anything about VA health care, but do this for vets and for yourselves...go out and vote these people out of office come next November.  Obamacare has got to go...because the government running your healthcare is just VA healthcare times a hundred fold.

Friday, May 23, 2014

To A Granddaughter On Her High School Graduation

                                                     

Dear Lexy,

I received your lovely graduation announcement.  Although I won't be there for your special time I do want to congratulate you.  But you will hear "congratulations" a hundred times tonight and, because you are so special to me, I strive to find words to say just how dearly I love you.

We live in two different worlds now.  Where once we had puppy dogs and ice cream and porch swings in common, we now must try to bridge the chasms of age, and culture, and geography.    But let me try.

48 years ago this month I too donned cap and gown and strode up to the dais to accept my high school diploma.  As they played "Pomp and Circumstance" I glanced up into the bleachers where my mother sat, glowing with pride at my being the very first in my extended family to complete a high school education.  My mother was "hero" because she fostered an environment where an education held the highest of value, and to "not graduate" was something that was simply not even thought about around our home.

Now, your mother and father will sit in the audience and proudly watch you take that first tentative step toward adulthood.  There will be a few seconds when you reach for your diploma that you'll be slightly out of focus to them; their eyes will blur a little..from tears of pride and joy as they recall that first day at pre-school, the day they were forced to surrender a small part of you to the outside world.  And  now they are bracing themselves for the day that you will soon leave home and begin to make a place for yourself in the world.  They will walk into your empty bedroom and look longingly at the remnants of "Lexy", the little girl who filled their home with joy and laughter.

And what of the friends you have made in school?  You will surely have had your yearbook signing, received hugs and well wishes amidst tears and laughter.  You will have stealthily perused what "they" wrote to you..and about you..and you'll tuck the book away...and open it thirty or forty or fifty years hence and be both amazed and amused by the youthful assessments made so long ago.

As for me, your Papa, were I to write a tribute to you on this day, it would be about how I am so richly blessed to have a granddaughter so beautiful both inside and out.  I would caution you to strive with all your might to realize how little you know and how much you have to learn.  I would alert you to the great tragedy of today's academic environment that seems to preach intolerance for an opposing point of view...and urge you to swim against the currents...for your opinions will surely change and evolve as you walk through life...so never accept the hard ideology of "I'm always right."
"Always right" assures that you will always be wrong.  Use the naturally wonderful compassion that is within you to be willing to listen to another's point of view.  If you do that, dear granddaughter you will have learned far more than most, for you will have learned both sides of the argument.

And so, dear one, as you set out on your life's path, I wish you well.  And, because that path is never straight and narrow, there will be times when our paths will cross, and I will embrace you, and cheer for how far you've come...and wish that the path ahead is adorned with rainbows and unicorns and soft whisperings.

My heart is so full of pride and love for you I feel it will burst just now.  So darling Lexy, I send you the most loving and heartfelt congratulations to you on this very special day.

Love, Papa 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Zumba Session

Good morning dear readers.  Just for fun I thought I would trot out the first blog I ever wrote back on the 17th of January in 2011.  It is not particularly good...just thought I'd roll out a little nostalgia today.  Other than this intro, the blog is exactly as written on that first day that I decided to set out on the road to blogging. 



As I sit here this morning, cold glass of milk nearby, for medicinal sipping, I must tell you about my own experience with Zumba, the frenetic dance and exercise craze sweeping the nation.

You see I just came from a free chili and  heuvos ranchero tasting at my local Filbertos!  Since I'm a huge chili fan, and not adverse to getting something for nothing, I ran over to see what the local ads have been touting as the "hot new Mexican fast food restaurant" is all about.

Turns out the "new" restaurant is just an older fast food Mexican restaurant under "new ownership".  But the banners out front looked lively and there was a healthy crowd out front so I parked and went in.  Some pretty peppy Mariachi-like music was playing over the sound system and I was amazed to see young and old hopping about like those old dancing chickens exhibits they used to have at local fairs. 

I noticed two lines had formed, one for the heuvos rancheros and one for the chili.  I side-stepped a couple of the "dancers" and got in the chili line.  Management had provided little paper cups of chili and chips and it seemed like, with each tasting, the participating customer would begin a little Zumba dance and back away from the counter.  I also noticed a lot of sweaty brows but, hell, I just figured the dancing was getting to them.

Yeah, I did figure the chili was probably a little "spicy" too but I've never found a commercial chili that could take me down.  Taking my turn at the counter I noticed that my server kept glancing with concern toward the back serving window.  With little concern I scooped up a little plate of chips and my cup of chili and scooped up a generous heap of steaming chili.  Within seconds my eyes were trying desperately to leap out of my head and my tongue was on fire and damned if I didn't do a little Zumba move as I dealt with the most fiery chili I've ever eaten in my life!  I then looked at the server who kept making concerned glances back to the serving window.  I ask him what kind of chilies were in this recipe.  With this, the server turned and said something in Spanish through the kitchen window.

I understood only one word from the cook's response; "habanero".  The server turned and gave me a sheepish grin but said nothing. 

Folks, if you don't know your peppers, habaneros have a heat index about a thousand times hotter than a jalapeno. 

So here I sit, cold milk on hand, stomach still queasy, feeling a little more fit from my Zumba session, but resolved to forgo any chili tastings from exotic and exciting new fast food restaurants for the immediate future.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Commander In Chief: For Who?

                                                           

Raymond is 18 years old.  He's not sure what he wants to do with his life yet but he knows he can't qualify for university work.  Maybe some day he'll enroll in a community college, take some courses, and figure out what he wants to do.

Meantime, Raymond's folks said "get a job"...so he works for McDonald's.  McDonald's pays Raymond $8.00 per hour.  He works five eight hour shifts per week.  For that pay, Raymond sometimes works the register and sometimes he microwaves and assembles hamburgers.  Raymond's gross monthly pay is $1,280.00.  But there's hope and change for Raymond.  His favorite President ever is browbeating companies into paying $10.10 an hour.  If the franchise is on a military base they HAVE to pay or leave the base.   But Raymond's favorite President has promised to campaign throughout the country and demonize any business that isn't willing to pay $10.10.  And won't that be nice, a 25% raise in pay for Raymond!  Raymond will then be pulling in $1,630 dollars per month for assembling burgers.

                                                     
Tom is also eighteen years old.  He's an army private.  To qualify for his job Tom must pass a rigid physical and perform to army standards on his fitness tests.  He must also pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test to make sure Tom can write at the 12th grade level and has math and science and reasoning knowledge.

During the first six months on the job, Tom will work sixteen hours a day as he trains in a dozen different weapons systems, learns both active and defensive combat maneuvers, crawls under barb wire on his belly, repels down 50 foot walls, as well as many hours in the classroom learning about his branch of service history, his country's history, military tactics employed in the last three wars...and when all that is done he washes out his underwear and socks, he polishes his boots and irons in military creases in his pants to stand inspection.   He's spend at least a hundred hours learning how to clean, disassemble and assemble his assigned primary weapons.  

Training over, Tom will deploy, even in this diminishing war, at least once to Afghanistan.  Or he will stand guard on the DMZ in Korea.  Or he will guard an ammunition storage site in Qatar, or, if he's lucky enough to get an assignment stateside, he'll be sent to rescue flood victims in New Orleans, or truck water and emergency rations to tornado victims in Iowa.  

When Tom opens his paycheck envelope at the end of the month, Tom will see a check for $1,451.00 dollars.  But wait!  Each January Tom is scheduled for a pay raise with the rest of the military troops. How much?  Well Congress voted a 1.8 percent military pay raise....but Tom's Commander in Chief cut that amount to a flat 1%.  So Tom will get an additional $14.50 this year.

So President Obama wants a 25% raise for hamburger flippers like Raymond.  But the Commander in Chief is only willing to give Tom a pitiful 1%.

So when the dust settles Raymond will make $1,630.00 flipping burgers.
Tom will walk up the the pay window in Korea, or Qatar or Afghanistan and get $1,465.00

Hail To The Chief, Baby!





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Victimhood Going Viral

                                                         

My dear readers...I was all set to give you a cheery, homey blog today; one that might generate a smile or a chuckle or two.  I thought you deserved it after several days of inflicting savagery on liberal silliness.

Then I made the mistake of turning on the evening news last night.  Sadly, here's what I found:

A 22 year old woman in Quincy, Massachusetts called in a bomb threat to her university's graduation ceremony.  Her motive?  She was not getting to graduate and hadn't told her parents, so thought it a good idea to phone in a bomb threat and get the graduation ceremony cancelled, lest her parents see that she's missing up there on the dais when they are handing out diplomas.

A Yale University professor, the honored speaker at a small Pennsylvania college's graduation ceremony castigated the graduates for having fostered a riot in protest of the previously scheduled speaker, the President of Berkley, who was forced to break up an Occupy protest at UC when it turned violent.  The Yale professor admonished the graduates for being of small mind and intolerant of opposing points of view.  This comes on the heels of a plethora of similar protests, all driven by liberals mind you, across this nation.  

I found it a bit ironic that a Yale Civics and Sociology professor, one who surely helped to indoctrinate our nation's youth in the liberal philosophy is himself shocked at how effective he and his fellow academics have succeeded in brainwashing....to the extent that their liberal views have already hardened..and to the extent that tolerance of opposing points of view is no longer allowed.

Finally, we have 24 students, all Hispanic, at Sierra Linda High School in Tolleson, Arizona, who are taking to the streets to protest that their high school will not allow them to walk in, and participate in their school's graduation ceremony.  It seems all 24 failed to pass the states highly lenient standardized AIMS test, failing both English and Math.  "No matter!", they should let us wear our caps and gowns and be recognized just as the graduates will be honored!

And really, who can blame them?  These Hispanic kids have watched their parents march in the cities of America and have been successful in raising enough hell to keep them from being deported....so, what the hell, let's stand out in front of the school and see if we can't gin up enough public support to get us up there with our caps and gowns with those who took the time to study, to do homework, to listen when the teacher was teaching the lessons!  What's the big deal?

And really, what is the big deal?  In an age where every kid gets a trophy for a last place finish in soccer, where blue ribbons are given out for substandard performance, it's a bit of a shock when the real world intrudes on your charmed life, right?  

And when you've been taught that, if you throw a loud enough tantrum, you'll get your way, why not throw that same tantrum when the guest speaker at your graduation ceremony is someone who doesn't agree with you!

And hey, if you've been able to bamboozle your parents into forking out $40,000 a year for tuition...and you use the academic venue to party hearty, you don't want to face the folks when they found out their $160,000 dollars went right down the urinal and the other end of a bong, right?  So, what the hell, call in a bomb threat, ruin the occasion for everybody...but for god's sake don't let mommy and daddy know you couldn't hack that 9 semester hour class load!

I'm sorry folks....look for that cheery and homey blog essay on a less newsworthy day...these libtards just keep feeding me red meat and I just can't pass it up.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Government's "Lemonade Stand"

                                                           

You've seen them dozens of times somewhere around your neighborhood.  A ten year old kid plucks a dozen lemons from mom's tree in the back yard.  They cut up the lemons, fill up a pitcher with water, throw in  some sugar, and, "voila", they're in business...lemonade:  10 cents a glass.

Let the government open that same lemonade stand.  They'll hire a million dollar designer architect, pay him a million bucks to design a stone and glass edifice, erect the building for another five or ten million (winning bidder has to be a lobbyist over on K Street).  Then they'll hire an interior designer who'll select the finest draperies, install new furniture, install a wall of filing cabinets, then put out a federal call for two hundred $150,000 dollars per year bureaucrats.  Then, they'll buy each federal slug a personal I-Pad and a desktop I-Mac, and an I-Phone which the slugs will use to draw up a sole source contract with a "green farmer" who can provide organic lemons.

Think that doesn't happen?  Well, you weren't reading the weekend headlines, then.  Remember all those old vets who died waiting months for an appointment at a VA hospital?  Remember our VA Secretary crying "budget restraints" as the cause?  Well, this weekend we learned that the VA spent $697,000,000 dollars on new drapes, new furniture and new office equipment in the last three years...even as their "customers" were dying before their eyes as they "cooked the books" and said no veteran was waiting for treatment.

Or perhaps the IRS is more to your liking.  We also learned this week that, when the IRS is not harassing conservative groups, they are busy playing video games.  Apparently with management's blessing.  And paid for by taxpayers!  Seems the game is called "What If" and the IRS claims these games keep their employees minds alert!   Yes, readers, this is the same IRS that was rewarding IRS malcontents with bonuses and paid time off (as much as two months!) in order to boost morale!  Oh, and did I mention the IRS fella caught watching porn eight hours a day and didn't get canned?

Let's all pray that the feds don't open a lemonade stand.  It would costs us $100 dollars a glass...and we just can't afford that if we're gonna keep footing the bill for VA and IRS boondoggles.

Sigh.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"A Short Walk Down Demographics Lane"

                                                             

The readership demographics for this blog have taken a dramatic turn in the last six months.  It's pretty easy to break them down because google blog allows me to see where my readership is coming from. For example, if I see the traffic source as "just common sense @ google blogspot.com I know I'm getting "hits" from those who have either subscribed or "follow" my blog.  You might be interested to know that, of my 50 "followers" and the other 50 or so "subscribers", I only get about 20 of you who visit the blog daily.

And yet I actually average somewhere between 400 and 500 reader "hits" a day, the vast majority coming on to read a blog essay written months ago.  This is rather remarkable because it is the same number of hits that I used to get when I was able to "pimp" my blog by promoting it with links on Craig's List in half a dozen cities.  When Craig's List began banning the use of URL links I thought my blog would slowly wither and die.  That didn't happen.  Here's why.

I would bet my bottom dollar that I'm one of no more than 1% of bloggers who blog every day.  So the sheer numbers of blog essays (963 to date) over the three year life of my blog, and addressing such a wide diversity of topics, has boosted me to the top of Google's search pages.  AND, I did it without paying a single "traffic herder" to send business my way!  For example, in the first six months of this blog, if you were to google "lost in america" you'd find the name of that old Alfred Brooks movie of the same name, or the title of a book, or even a similar sounding blog.  If you looked hard enough you would find my blog link buried somewhere around page 8 of the google search....territory that most google searchers never get to.  However, today, 963 blogs later, you'll find a link to my blog right on google's first page..about 7 entries down from the "mega hitters"...again not bad for someone who doesn't pay a "herder" to drive traffic to my blog.  Even more pleasing is if you google "lost in america blog, there I sit right at the top..the first entry you'll see..with many excerpts from my previous blogs trailing along the pages like loyal puppy dogs.

A good example of "passive traffic" that drives up the hit count happened yesterday.  i began seeing an inordinate number of "hits" for my blog on Burger King and other franchises fleeing from the military bases because of Obama's $10.10 minimum wage mandate.  So, I see something like 200 hits the first thing yesterday morning, then it begins accelerating.  So I run my Google blog numbers and find that three other sites liked the blog so much they put a link to it on their front page.  By the end of yesterday more than a thousand people had read that one blog essay.  And I'm seeing more of this kind of unusual activity as the word spreads on some blog essay someone liked. Also popular this week, with several hundred "hits" were my essays on "Arizona; Where America Still Lives" and "Weinergate, Filner's Follies"...my take on the Democrats' war on women.

So what does this all mean to you and I?  Well, first of all, the daily 20 "hits" coming from my loyal readers is kind of a bummer.  It tells me a couple of things....it says I write too damn many blog essays! ...as least far more than my loyal readers are willing to read.  Secondly, it serves as a disincentive for me to write every day....if I can get as many hits by not writing as I can when I do, why the hell gin out a blog a day, right?  

Well, what keeps me churning out blogs is that I keep finding stuff that pisses me off enough to write about it!  So, at least for the short term I'll keep pounding em out every day whether you want to read them or not.  (I've got blogs in draft to last a month or more, so profound is my level of dissatisfaction with the world around me!)

But my health is not what it used to be.....so last week I emailed my daughter and asked her what the password for this blog is...(I've arranged for her to print out something like a "blog obituary" should I up and croak some future night).  I was testing her, kind of like we used to run emergency war ops in the Air Force.  I also want my daughter to have control over these blog essays because my dream has always been to have the best ones...the ones still timely and meaningful, compiled into one or two or three books entitled "Musings of An Old Curmudgeon".  (Part I, II, or III).  Perhaps I'm vain but I think I've got a few hundred that are as fine as anything I've read by anyone else lately..so who knows?  (One of these is the blog I have scheduled for Memorial Day...yes, it's a repeat...but I can't write any better than that one.)

In the meantime, while I like the attention of the 400 or so folks who drop in from elsewhere, my heart will always be with those loyal readers who drop by every day to see if I'm spewing sweetness or vinegar....the folks who have been with me since I was lost on page 8 of a google search....:)


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Attn: Republicans...A 2014/16 Game Plan

                                                     

Dear Senators Rubio, Cruz, McConnell, et al.  Dear Congressmen Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, et al.

Your party thinks it's sitting in the catbird's seat for this coming November's elections.  You seem to think the Obamacare fiasco assures you control of both the House and Senate.  Well, it seems to me a lot of you thought you had a Presidential win back in October of 2012...and you were left stupefied with your collective mouths agape.

Let that be your first lesson.  Let's look at Obamacare:

Yes, the recent polls show 64% oppose Obamacare as is...and 88% want it repealed..or "changed".  Read closely into that "or changed" because there's a lot of meaning in those numbers.  

First of all, a relatively few of us know that you indeed do have a specific and comprehensive plan as an alternative to Obamacare.  You seek to restore personal choice to a person's health care options.  In doing so you are offering tax vouchers back to the consumer so that he can go out and buy the exact health policy he wants; if he doesn't need medical coverage for birth control pills or abortion he doesn't buy it.  If he doesn't have AIDs he need not elect the expensive coverage.  If he's willing to pay a reasonable co-pay, and willing to accept some of the risk of developing a serious disease he can expect to pay lower premiums.  BUT! You's better have a mandate that pre-existing conditions are covered and you'd better open up the health care provider market across state lines so that there can be real competition in order to drive premium costs down.  AND you'd better be prepared to restore the $700 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund that Obama stole from senior citizens.  They paid for that trust fund over half a century of paying Medicare taxes.  Most of all you'd better be ready with the savings numbers realized by firing those two million federal and state bureaucrats who are eating up fully a third of healthcare premiums being paid in...just to fund the bureaucrat whose been given the power to tell you what health care we can have..and not have.

And finally, you better have every Republican candidate with briefing charts on your alternative medical plan...and you better tell them to flip those charts at every campaign rally...cause if not the Democrats are gonna be saying you have no alternative to Obamacare.

Here's your second lesson:  Immigration

If you want to court the Hispanics and begin talking about legalizing some 30 million illegal Mexicans, well more power to you...but you're gonna lose the election if you do because y'all out there in Washington are severely underestimating the opposition to illegal amnesty.  Even if the 20% hardcore opponents opt to sit on their ass come election day, you lose.  So you go ahead and keep kissing up to the 15 or 20% of the Hispanic population (who won't vote for you anyway) and you'll lose a good 20% of your most ardent supporters.

Lesson Three:  Jobs

This should be an easy one...one you can knock right out of the park.  The Dems cannot win this one.  They can talk all they want about a lower unemployment rate but there are some ten million Americans who left the work force since Obama took office..and Democrats took control of the Senate and block every House bill...folks who just gave up trying to find a job.  No one is going to be buying the Democrat's lies on this one.

Lesson Four:  The National Debt

It is not enough that you Republicans go into a national snit fit once a year and threaten not to extend the debt ceiling.  We all recognize that's just a political ploy.  No...we'll know you're serious when you absolutely refuse to vote on an annual budget that carries with it a trillion dollars in deficit spending.  We saw you cave this past year when you abandoned sequestration...that mandatory reduction in spending, and cut a deal with Democrats so that you could each fund your favorite little programs.
You better come up with a serious budget come late summer and you better stick with it or we'll just know that you're no better than liberal Democrats at living within a budget.

Sincerely,

A "potential voter".


Friday, May 16, 2014

"The Case Of The Missing Lisp"

                                                     

This morning, as I was working my way through the internet newspapers I read each morning, I had CNBC's Squawk Box streaming in the background.  Their guest this morning was a fellow named Jeff Lewis and the hosts were discussing business with him.  I wasn't paying a lot of attention but Mr. Lewis' pronounced lisp was kinda getting my attention and I glanced over at the boob tube for a moment to see who the source of this was.  

Well, forgive me, but the I quickly opened up another window on my I Mac and googled Jeff Lewis.  My motivation?  To see if the dude was gay...cause he sure as hell sounded like it.  And yes, he's gay.
Now, you all know by now that, while I'm not much in favor of gay marriage (though a good civil union to protect legal rights is fine with me) but otherwise, if they would just weren't so "in your face"  these days, I have no big problem with gays.

Still...what caught my attention this morning with Mr. Lewis is that I had just watched James B. Stewart on this same finance and investment show last week.  And Mr. Stewart was lisping like no one I had ever seen before...and he was mincing and squirming in his chair like he just couldn't wait for a little session of "slap and tickle" as soon as he left the guest chair.  What was surprising to me was that I have seen James B. Stewart no less than thirty times on TV...doling out investment advice and offering his thoughts on how the economy is unfolding....and in all the previous 20 years I had not seen/heard Mr. Stewart lisp a single time.  So, yes, I googled 'James B. Stewart and learned that he's gay.  Does that lisping bother me?  Yeah, I guess it does...and I'm surely wrong...and definitely politically incorrect for thinking so.

So, I guess I've come up with a new theory about gays these days....not only have thousands of them come out of the closet...but they now feel liberated enough to lisp like little girls.  Okay, I know that's cruel, but I can't help it.  I just can't stretch my sense of tolerance sufficiently to accept people who spoke completely normally in earlier times, who are now mincing and lisping like little girls.

Ellen DeGeneres is gay...and I think she's sweet and charming.  She does not call attention to her sexual preferences and speaks like normal folks.  Rock Hudson was gay, and though I was shocked to hear it, I didn't know so it didn't bother me a bit.  Neil Patrick Harris is gay and I hear not a single lisp.  Dozens of public figures; gay..and no lisp.  

So what the hell is going on here?  Am I simply dense?  Is there something going on here with gays that I don't understand?  Is the art of lisping confined to those who are assuming the more feminine "wife" role in a gay relationship?  Is lisping the non-verbal cue to let a potential bed mate know that they are the "wife" candidate?  

I am frankly dumbfounded by this new phenomenon.  And I apologize in advance for my neanderthal reaction to all this newly discovered lisping....but to be honest it just bugs the shit out of me to see grown men talking like a four year old with a speech impediment.

Sigh.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Burger King Fleeing Military Bases

                                                             

The Burger King national headquarters announced this month that they will be pulling their franchises from our military bases.  Soon to follow will be Popeye's Chicken, Pizza franchises and the chain of barber and beauty shops which operates inside the gates of our military facilities.  Reason?  Obama's mandate that all companies who do business with the federal government pay a $10.10 per hour minimum wage.

The companies cite the fact that a limited military customer base cannot sustain acceptable profit margins while still offering up a hefty share of profits to the Army and Air Force Exchange System's Health and Morale fund and paying $10.10 an hour as Obama has directed for any contractor doing business with the DOD.   For those who don't know, hundreds of commercial franchises have operated on military bases for years.  This partnership has been a boon to the non-profit AAFES system.  All profits go toward programs such as organized athletic programs for the military and their dependents, exercise equipment, support for social clubs and the like.  

Coming at a time of tighter defense budgets the withdrawal of commercial franchises is going to put quite a squeeze on the military health and morale programs.  Every time a military grunt got a haircut, every time a military wife got a manicure or hair styling, with every burger or slice of pizza or chicken dinner sold, a portion of the profits went to this much needed program.

Alas, as with all things Obama, every time he does something to please his socialist friends, someone suffers.  In this case it will be our military.   While this will be a serious loss for our stateside troops, the troops who will be most hurt by this are our troops deployed to remote areas of the world where our military folks had little to look forward to but a Burger King Whopper and fries at a small concession that might bring them a little bit of home to their lives.

This should not surprise me at all but it does.  I should have been prepared for this when Obama eliminated hot meals for our troops in Afghanistan even as he and Joe Biden were booking $500,000 per night hotel suites in Paris and London....or Obama's total disregard for costs as he and Michelle have run up over $600 million dollars in vacation costs during his tenure.

Oh well, I understand the military's food research facility up in Illinois is working on "Pizza in a Pouch" for the new cold ration packs.  "Screw the grunts" seems to be Obama's philosophy...even as he and Michelle host Jay Z and Beyonce at one of those fancy White House dinners.

Post Script:  I'm happy to report that my blog going viral helped placed pressure on Congress and the U.S. Labor Department to reconsider imposing Obama's $10.10 minimum wage on Burger King and other commercial on base contractors who contribute to the military Morale and Welfare programs.  I was unmercifully attacked as a "liar" from the Obamanites but I'm glad to to it for our troops.    The Labor Department is offering each on base franchise to submit form E98 and request relief from Emperor Obama's "edict".    This from the Military Times:  http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140418/BENEFITS07/304180061/On-base-fast-food-outlets-get-temporary-reprieve-from-new-wage-rules

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Wealthy's Flight From America

                                                           

In the early 1960's the actor Yul Brynner, weary of 90% taxes on the wealthy, decided to form his own film production company, put his own money "at risk",  and pay corporate taxes in lieu of the punishing personal taxes he had been paying.  He felt like his 90% contribution to Johnson's War on Poverty was a bit much, especially since he might make three films one year, then none the next, but could not average out his tax burden over his working years.

So Brynner mortgaged his house and used his own personal savings and began assuming the risks of hiring actors, paying production costs and promoting his movies.

The IRS said not a word until after Brynner had already put his entire personal wealth on the line, then came along and voided Brynner's business arrangement and declared that he owed a great big whopping tax bill on the gross receipts of his movies.

After fighting the IRS without success, Brynner hopped a plane to Bern Switzerland, walked into the American Embassy there, and surrendered his American passport and his American citizenship.  Brynner would continue to produce and act in his movies and he made a lot of money...and the United States didn't get a dime of it.

The Brynner incident was a rare thing in the 60's.  Eventually personal tax rates would begin to come down, and eventually the IRS would go on to recognize "at risk" money and tax the business transaction accordingly.  

Sadly, these days we are seeing a resurgence of the wealth flight.  Just this past week we learned that drug giant Pfizer corporation has submitted a bid to buy the United Kingdom's Astrazeneca so that they can relocate their world wide headquarters to London and realize a corporate tax rate half that of the United States.  We saw that same tax strategy when one of the founders of Google surrendered his American citizenship just weeks before Google went public and he pocketed tens of billions of dollars more for having abandoned the American tax system.  

The Google Initial Public Offering made headlines...but U.S. corporations have been fleeing America for several years now....and with them, American jobs.  That rate of "wealth flight" has accelerated as Obama has chosen to demonize big business, all the while he can't explain why ten million Americans have left the work force during Obama's Presidency.  As long as he can ignore the severe decline in the Labor Participation rate the jobless numbers don't look that bad...and that's good enough for Obama.

But the most poignant stories are those of working stiffs who are surrendering their passports.  The U.S. is the only country in the industrialized world that taxes workers on their foreign earnings.  The new Barney Frank banking regulations now require foreign banks to report deposits of all Americans working overseas...at a cost to the bank of $7,000 dollars per banking customer.  As a result Swiss banks are telling Americans living overseas that they can no longer bank in Switzerland.  This leaves Americans working and living overseas with no means of exchange to pay their rent and utilities in their overseas domicile.

So last year 3,000 Americans turned in their passport, a 50% increase over the previous year.  This year, from January to March, a thousand did so, representing a 25% increase in citizenship forfeiture.
Some were sad about having to give up their citizenship, some were okay with it, citing the growing socialism in our country's government and the decline in civility in their native country.

Back in March of 2009, as Obama stood and spoke before the Egyptian Parliament, when he said America was no more special than any other country, he was wrong.  Sadly, Obama has done quite enough to now make the notion that America is not special come true....and more and more Americans are voting with their feet to prove that very point.




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Hot" Button Issue

                                                         

You've all seen them.  They are one of the condiments on your restaurant table...or it's the first thing when you want to give a nice spicy and savory kick to that pot of chili.  It's Sriachi sauce....in the red bottle with the rooster on the front and topped with a green tipped bottle top.  

It was all started by David Tran, one of the Vietnamese boat people who escaped Vietnam and came to the United States when they still welcomed entrepreneurs.  Mr. Tran landed in Orange County, California, took a look around and tried to figure how he was going to make a living.  So he went into his kitchen and began cooking up batches of his family's favorite hot sauce recipe.  He found someone who would make the bottles for him and began peddling his sauce at Vietnamese restaurants.  The sauce caught on big and American restaurants started putting the Sriachi sauce on their condiment tray.  Folks put one squirt on their breakfast eggs, or their restaurant meatloaf and began demanding that their local grocer carry the product in their stores.  Soon orders became too big to fill from Tran's kitchen.

He opened up a 600,000 square foot Sriacha factory in Irwindale, California.  Irwindale, back when California still welcomed businessmen, kissed his feet and welcomed the local employment opportunities that Sriracha provided.  Years went by, then decades...and millions of bottles of Sriacha passed through those factory doors and onto the table of connoisseur and blue collar joe alike.  Bon Appetit names it one of their top ten all time favorite foods.

Then the aromatic scent of cooking chili peppers began to offend a tiny, tiny contingent of Irwindale, California.  24 complaints were registered with the California Air Quality Board..all coming from only four homes..one from the delicate-nosed son of an Irwindale councilman.  The Air Quality folks came out, assessed the situation and recommended that the Sriacha company install filters on their factory vents...and they did.

Still not good enough, cried the delicate noses from the four homes.  So the city council, led by the father of "sensitive nose" voted the company to be a public nuisance and demanded further technological filtering so as not to offend anyone's delicate sensibilities.  One of the long noses found a liberal judge and he ordered an injunction against Sriacha's production.

So someone down in a little town outside Dallas, Texas...a fan of that sweet spicy sauce, got a hold of Texas Governor Rick Perry.  He asked if the Sriacha company couldn't be put on Texas' Economic Relocation Program's list.  Perry says go for it!  So, the Texas folks prepare to saddle up and ride out to Smogville and present their case to Mr. Tran for a move out to Texas where folks still value hard work and a quality product...and where Texas noses are not nearly as delicate as California liberals.

Mr. Tran begins polling his employees as to whom would be willing to move to Texas.  So the word gets out that Sriacha might be still another big business preparing to flee the Golden State.  Two California congressmen begin wringing their hands, seeing the corporate tax base disappearing before their very eyes, and they descend on Mr. Tran and begin whining and begging him not to to leave for Texas.

Mr. Tran is now playing "Texas Hold Em"...and he's playing his cards tight to his vest.  He now has to decide whether he'll fight the manufacturing injunction in a California court beginning in November. Or will he simply pick up his patented chili manufacturing vats and truck them over to Dallas.  

For now, Mr. Tran is playing it cool.  He's entertaining the idea of opening up a second plant over in Dallas..so that if he's further "peppered" with delicate California nose complaints, he can join the caravan of businesses who have fled from the Golden State .  

Update:  Ten states have now entered the bidding to bring the Sriachi company to their environs!  Mr. Tran might have to flee one more dictatorship...but this time it won't be on a rickety boat...and he'll be welcomed with open arms and a bouquet of Jalapeno blossoms.  ;)

Are You Ready For $5 Dollar Lettuce?

                                                         

Every time you fill up your tank $3.70 cents of your gas total goes to Uncle Sam.  (An equivalent amount goes for state gasoline taxes.)  Gas taxes alone bring in $40 billion dollars into federal coffers.  Apparently Obama's Transportation Secretary thinks that's not enough.    They ran the numbers through the Congressional Budget Office, and Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota is preparing a bill that would impose a "miles driven" tax on American consumers.  Obama,  his energy czar and the EPA are giving the idea serious consideration.   Wait, it gets worse.  If soaring food prices have been putting a crimp on your budget these days just wait until our trucking carriers begin paying an extra excise tax for "miles driven".  

Literally everything you buy in a grocery or dry goods store has been transported there by a truck.  Soaring gas prices have already added to your grocery bill but you're gonna wish for these prices after Emperor Obama issues still another executive edict that mandates extra taxes for those who traverse American roadways.  

The crux of the problem is that Obama just cannot seem to generate enough money to keep furnishing "green checks" and a wide array of welfare benefits to his voting devotees if he has to set aside money to mend pot holes and re-build crumbling bridges.  He got his hike on the wealthy...and that wasn't enough.  He's ordered hundreds of new fees from tanning salons to real estate and cell phone taxes...and it's still not enough.  Nope, Obama's just got to get the cost of driving an auto running on fossil fuels so high that everyone will quit commuting to work, quit buying, and make the price of a head of lettuce reflect an astronomic cost of delivering it to your local Walmart.  If he succeeds even more workers will leave the work force and sign up for a seat on the government gravy train, and he can at last force you to your knees and make you depend on big government for your beans and rice and humble hovel.

Now, don't think for a minute that Obama, or the IRS, or the EPA are going to take your word on your driving habits.  They propose a mandate that would force automakers to install a GPS type device on your vehicle that will record your mileage as well as where you drive to!  Easily done with today's technology; Ford or GM or Chrysler or Toyota or Honda will simply slap an extra $50 bucks to the price of a car and this magic device will tell the IRS how much of a "miles driven" fee you owe come next April.

I only wish I was making this up folks.....every time I think it couldn't get worse, it does.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Pulling "Seniority"

                                                               

For two days I had been reading the headlines....but didn't click on the story.  Then today, I finally read that a police officer down in Hearne, Texas had been fired by the city council for killing a 93 year old Black woman.  Had I stopped there I would have thought "what a brute!"  Then I read further and learned that this 93 year old lady was brandishing a handgun, that when the officer arrived on the scene, in response to a 911 call by the family, and asked her to drop the gun, she refused and was pointing the weapon at the officer.  According to the woman's nephew, the elderly lady fired two shots in response to the order to drop the weapon.  The officer then shot her three times and she died from her injuries.

And for that he's been fired.  Well, I knew this one had to be motivated by either political correctness or that age old black victimization thing.  So, I googled "Hearne, Texas" and Wikipedia told me all I needed to know; the town is 45% Black, more than three times the national average, with Whites the minority.

Yep, the old lady was fully justified to terrorize her family with a gun.  She was fully justified in brandishing a handgun and threatening to shoot family members.  And no problem with her shooting at a Police Officer because, after all she's Black....and we all know Blacks are always justified in what they do...because they are victims....after all, this old lady could have been Barack Obama's grandmother.

What we have here is simply one step further into our descent from civilized society, from personal responsibility, from the rule of law and FOR condoning any form of civil disobedience if the perpetrator is either Hispanic or Black, or Gay.

I found it sad that, as soon as I read the official report, and read that the city council of Hearne, Texas had voted 6-0 to fire a law enforcement officer for doing his job, I knew before I even looked up the demographics of the place what I'd find.

While reading about Hearne, Texas I learned that the place has been ground zero for drug deals and a crime rate totally out of whack.  Now, it can only get worse....when the next time a 911 call comes in I suspect the officers will be sitting in a donut shop, ignore the call, and ask for another chocolate eclair and a refill on the coffee....why jeopardize your job by actually enforcing the law.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

"The Grace Of A Mother"

                                                            
Reposted from Last Year and dedicated to all mothers on this, their special day.


                                          The Grace of A Mother


God grants a special grace to all mothers.  We have all seen it.  As young maidens they are spirited and lovely to look at in their first flowering.  But that bloom of youth is but a small sampling of the beauty and grace a woman is adorned in once she assumes the role of “mother”.  From the very beginning, in the first months of conception, and concurrent with the swelling belly, God grants a woman that supreme beauty that will never forsake her.  The rosy cheeks and the fullness of face are but the gathering sweetness that tells a husband that she is preparing the ultimate gift of love for him.  For she alone carries within her the bounty of two souls and two hearts which will soon become “three”. 

And from the very moment of conception the mother has assumed and accepted the instrumental role of motherhood and all the joy and pain that role must necessarily entail.  She will waddle and spot her undies and feel “unlovely” and endure the jabs and kicks of her unborn until, painfully, she will grant the ultimate gift; that of life itself.

But a mother’s job has only just begun.  She must nurture and educate and counsel and provide the unique source of unconditional love that, for any of us, is the greatest gift of all.  When the world turns a cold shoulder to us, who among us has not turned to mom for comfort and solace?

A mother will worry about anything that might harm her child but must also have the bravery of Joan of Arc in order to release the reins and allow the child to go out and live and laugh and play and love and, yes, assuredly be hurt by the storms of life.  Her wisdom in this way assures that her child will learn to endure and blossom in the life she has granted.

And a mother will faithfully perform her angelic role until she breathes that last breath she draws from this world.  Her last thoughts will be for her loved ones and her last wishes will be for the health and happiness of her children. 

How many of us have not seen the supreme beauty and grace of a mother?  Have we not memories of her bowed to help us tie our first shoe laces?  Have we not seen her bent over a stove to prepare us a meal?  Even, for those of us who have lost our mothers, can we not even now feel our little hand in hers as she led us to our first day of school, or a  trip to see Santa Claus, or to church so that we might learn that there is something larger than ourselves?

And, as we now look at our dear mothers do we not still see such beauty and grace?  The aging and knarled hands of our dear mothers is testament to all the washing and ironing and cooking and mending she did in fulfilling her role as mother.  Are those hands not beautiful to you?  And if mom is a bit stooped in posture it’s just the honors she has earned for carrying so many of life’s burdens.  Ah, yes, mothers are the most beautiful and gracious creatures our wise God ever created.

This is written to all the mothers of family and friends and my loyal readers.  Happy Mothers Day all.