Friday, October 31, 2014

Hi-Tech Halloween

                                                                     

Well, it had to happen, didn't it?  Some highly creative and innovative rug rat has developed a Halloween application for both the I-Phone and Android.  The program Ap allows a kid to identify the best homes to hit on their candy rounds.  Kind of like YELP, the program tells you whose the most friendly, whose passing out the best candy, and can even tell you what kind of candy bars are being offered.  That way, if you've already exceeded your own self determined limit of Peanut Butter Cups, or Kit-Katts, you might want to swing over to the address of the home dishing out Snickers bars.  

Conversely, the program will headline the "cheapies"; the folks passing out Tootsie Rolls or Sour Balls, saving you the time and effort of hitting those homes.  Ain't technology wonderful?

I kinda liked it the way it was when I was a kid.  Like Forest Gump said, "you never knew what you were going to get!".  Back then we weren't allowed ready access to candy any time we wanted it, so we were pretty happy to get free candy, no matter what kind it was.  You might come upon a porch and be given a single tootsie roll, or you might hit the big time with home made popcorn balls or whole candy bars...those always brought smiles.  We even had one lady up the street that made candy and caramel apples...a slight inconvenience because you didn't want to drop that baby in your sack so you were almost forced to eat that candy apple on the run.

When my kids were trick or treating we always considered ourself fortunate because it was on an Air Force base.  The kids were safe and we had no fear that some pervert was putting razor blades inside a candy bar, as was a nasty trend in the 80's.  And just as I did as a kid, my kids would bring home their sweet loot, grab four or five pieces of candy allowed for the night, then dump the rest in big plastic pickle jars to be doled out for the next few weeks.  And, most of the time, they didn't notice if Dad pirated a couple of peanut butter logs after they had all gone to bed.  Sweet!

I imagine this new Halloween Ap will put a stop to much of the adult mischief that can be harmful to kids.  One kid getting suspect candy can alert the neighborhood in a single text.  That's a good thing....as long as they don't use their phones to tape Dad with his fat fingers in their candy jar.

Happy Halloween people!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stinky Old People

                                                               

I'm sitting here in the early morning, all the doors and windows to my house standing wide open, to allow a fresh breeze to blow through.  Just took a shower and immersed myself in Old Spice Vanilla Scented shower gel.  As soon as the stores open I'm planning on heading out to Bed, Bath and Beyond and pick up a few baskets of pot pourri and a few boxes of apple-cinnamon carpet scent.  

You see, I'm a bit self-conscious this morning over an article I just read from Time Magazine.  Essentially, this little medical research report says old people really do emit an odor.  

Now, I've had occasion to get a whiff of a distinct odor emanating from the homes of my elderly aunts.  I always thought that was due to their keeping their little homes so airtight so that a musty odor might have built up over time.  And, when young, I have encountered a codger or two who didn't bathe as often as they should..perhaps in fear of slipping in the tub or shower.  Well, even at my advanced age I always thought I was safe from those things; I air out my house pretty regularly and I shower at least once a day, so I thought I was safe from accusations that I might be a little ripe.

Sadly, not true.  Seems one Johan Lundstrom, a research chemist, has discovered that old people do indeed throw off a distinct scent...an odor that is most frequently detected by those under the age of 45.  Johan got the idea for his research one day when he walked into a retirement home in Philadelphia and began to detect an odor that reminded him of his childhood back in Sweden.  His mother had been a health care worker at a senior home and he used to accompany her,  always a little taken aback by the smell of the place.   So when Lundstrom found that same scent in this American senior home as the one back in Sweden he was a little amazed by his discovery.

This prompted Lundstrom to begin a research project to study the phenomenon.  No doubt, cadging a little federal grant money, Lundstrom went out and purchased a case of nursing pads.  He then corralled an impressive number of research volunteers in three distinct age groups; 20-30 years old, 45-55 years old and 75 to 95 years old, both men and women.  Each research subject was then asked to wear a nursing pad under the arm, and keep it on while sleeping for five consecutive nights.  Lundstrom then took the nursing pads and shredded them into little pieces and dropped them into jars, with each jar representing the various age groups.    Lundstrom then brought in a team of young folks, under 35, and no doubt paid them to lift the top off the jars and asked them to identify whether the pad had been worn by which age group.

Amazingly, those young "whipper-sniffers" were able to identify the old codger jar nearly every time!  Thankfully, the results weren't all bad.  Nearly all of the test sniffers said the old people scent was not unpleasant...it was just distinctive.  Sniffers were far more turned off by the body odor given off by the younger set than they were for the old people scent.

(Insert Smile Here:)  Testers nearly all reported that old men smelled better than old women!  

Well, Lundstrom and his staff ran all of this research through his super-computer and came up with the theory that the young "whipper-sniffers" were so adept at identifying the scent of the old because it's built into our genetic makeup.  Lundstrom says this talent for identifying scent is so that those of child rearing age can identify suitable mates; the youngest and strongest and healthiest...then allows them to cull for prime breeding material.

Well, all this was very  informative.  But I must have sniffed my own underarms half a dozen times while reading this report.  As soon as I finished I got up and threw open my doors and windows and took a good scrub in the shower.  Happily, Lundstom says old people don't have that sharp sense of smell, thus can't smell each other very well.  Still, I'm going to feel a bit ill at ease when I'm around those damn millennials and their offspring.  Perhaps I'll rig up a harness and strap a couple of those little white odor cakes that folks attach to their toilet bowls....let's see those damn whipper snappers smell their way through those!

Sigh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

World Going To The Dogs

                                                               

A few years ago the folks at a Lutheran Church up in Addison, Illinois took a look at all the tragedy happening all around us and decided to do something about it.  While the church itself can offer great comfort; feeding and sheltering the homeless, providing medical aid, and even helping folks hook up with local, state and government agencies for help, sometimes the victims of tragedy need something more...they need to feel that unconditional kindness and unconditional love still exists.

So the church formed an organization called Lutheran Church Charities and they recruited a small platoon of golden retrievers and their handlers, with the unit designation of K-9 Comfort Corp, and sent them out into America to give comfort where it was most needed.  

So they sent the goldens to Sandy Hook where they could mingle with little kids who had seen the worst that man can do.  The doggies licked the faces of little school children, nudged their noses into little palms, took naps with their heads in their laps, and vice versa.  And helped those little kids remember that there is love in the world, even if it must come from a dog.

And that K-9 Comfort Corp have been in army hospitals, visiting our wounded troops, they've been in VA hospitals helping vets suffering from PTSD, they were there as the Colorado flood victims emerged from their ruined homes, they've been in emergency shelters in cities hard hit by tornadoes and natural disasters.  They were at the Boston Marathon to comfort victims of that tragedy and they've been in children's cancer wards.

So, today the LCC K-9 Comfort Corp is heading up to Marysville, Washington.  These furry comforters are going to mingle with high school kids mourning the loss of their friend, and their sense of safety and security...and their sense of innocence.  Those doggies are going to remind kids that, no matter how cruel humans can be, at least one of God's creatures is here to show mercy and compassion when it is needed the most.  

Lutheran Church Charities can't begin to fund these canine missions of mercy.  So both God lovers and Dog lovers chip in to this worthiest of causes.  As a lover of both, I sent em five bucks today.  That five spot probably won't even get em to the airport but it's a start.  And there must be a hell of a lot of "five spot donors" cause this K-9 Corp has been to dozens of dozens of tragedies since their war on sorrow began a few years ago.

If you want to be a "five spot donor" their address is:
     
       K-9 Comfort Dog Travel Fund
       Lutheran Church Charities
       333 West Lake Street
       Addison, Illinois 60101
       Donate By Phone (866) 455-6466

Peace and Mercy for all of you.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Even Jerry Would Take Up Arms

                                                                 

If I were to tell you that I'm going to take $54,000 dollars from you each and every year I'll bet you'd be damned angry.  In fact, you'd probably do anything to stop me from doing it.  Well, that's what the "47 per centers" are looking at as we near election day.  The deadbeats, the welfare queens, the Food Stamp gamers, all are in panic over the possibility that the Republicans might take control of the Senate and stop the gravy train before it even leaves the station, or at least leave a few box cars empty of goodies.

So the Democrats and all their many minions are doing everything they can to win this election, just as they did in 2012.  Sadly, they are using voting fraud to win the day.  Already this election season we found voting machines in Illinois automatically changing Republican votes over to the Democratic candidate.  In California we found election officials sending out mail in ballots with the Democratic candidate pre-marked.  In Georgia last week they discovered 1400 illegal Mexicans who had registered to vote.  When discovered election officials were unable to tell how many more illegal votes were already submitted by mail in ballots...or even if they can cull those illegal votes out of the system.  In Baltimore and Detroit our Democratic friends were filmed while going through trash dumpsters retrieving mail in ballots that had been trashed, then filling out the ballots in the Dems' favor.  In Ohio a Black woman was found to have voted for Obama seven times and Al Sharpton embraced her and laughingly gave her a free Obamaphone for her efforts to swing Ohio into the Democratic column.  And finally, Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder has been death on any state that might demand voter ID before casting a vote.  

Have you forgotten, dear reader, how surprised we all were in 2012 when we woke up to find Obama had won the Presidential contest going away?  After all those polls that showed Mitt Romney either ahead, or in a dead heat?  Do you remember those Philadelphia voting districts that turned out Obama voters by 115%, and no one ever investigated how you could record more votes than eligible voters?

Today I just read a new item that says Democrats are mailing in more mail in ballots than Republicans, in some states with ratios as large as two to one!  Both John McCain and Rush Limbaugh have said they expect a low voter turnout.  Well, not for the Democrats...they are turning out in droves to protect that $54,000 dollars a year booty that they fear they might lose should Democrats lose the key to the gravy train!  

It was Thomas Jefferson who warned that, when the citizenry gain the power to vote themselves benefits, they will do so and that will be the end of the American republic.  Well, that fear has been realized and it's bad enough.  But what if we discover, especially in close elections such as we had in Ohio and half a dozen other larger states in 2012, that it was voter fraud that swung the difference?  

I'm willing to bet you that, if voter fraud ends up turning our elections, even our good liberally minded friend, Jerry would take up arms in a full blown 2nd Civil War.  If we can't trust the integrity of our elections, we are truly lost and there's no driving interest to any longer live under the rule of law.  

Of course we could eradicate this fraud that is a cancer on the heart of America in a flash....we just need the 50% who sit on their asses and complain, and yet don't go out to vote, to do so.  Pulling a voting lever, checking to make sure the machine properly recorded your vote is a hell of a lot easier than taking up arms and manning a machine gun nest in downtown Los Angeles.  

Vote!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Vice And Sin; The Geritol Generation

                                                                 

Last week the last hurdle was cleared so that Sun City, Arizona will get its first Medical Marijuana Dispensary.  Now aging baby boomers are flocking to their doctors, fully prepared to log complaints about back pain, insomnia and any other ailment that will win them the doctor's blessing for a Medical Marijuana card.

I'm not surprised at all; keep in mind, kiddies, that it was the boomers who popularized drugs to begin with; and finally, just months or years before they go "deep six" in some local graveyard, they can toke as often as they wish with complete impunity.

Now I'm not saying everyone's on board with this.  The weekly Sun City circular, usually replete with complaint letters about the local dog park, or their Medicare plan, were just chocked full of opinions about our local pot parlor.  Opinions on the issue seems to be divided equally between pro and con.
One group against the pot party is what I call the Ronald McDonald contingent.  Believe it or not we have a McDonald's here, frequented every single morning by the "blue and silver hair crowd" that seems to exist just to blow the mind of anyone under 30 who wanders into the place for a sausage biscuit.  As soon as you walk in you see no fewer than 50 old gizzards parked at every available table.  It is funny as hell; these old folks bring their own coffee mug and Micky D's is all too happy to fill it and slide a sausage and egg McMuffin across the counter.  The elders then slide into a booth and enjoy their "regulars" and will sit there all morning jawing about hemorrhoids and arthritis and the world going to hell.  But now they are talking about Sun City potheads and they don't like it one bit.

The "pro pot" crowd don't seem to have a meeting place; maybe they all stay home, happy and stoned to the gills.  But, apparently there are enough of the "pro" crowd to get the Medical Marijuana dispensary approved in our little senior burg.  

I'm also not surprised because I've seen all manner of "victimless vice" showing up in our environs in the last decade.  Massage parlors abound, no doubt driven by all those aging aching backs seeking relief from a little pot and a little slap and tickle from the little Asian girl...but only when the little woman is out of town or out shopping with the girls.  Our massage parlor owners love it because they seem to always get busted in the younger parts of town, those sneaky cops posing as customers, then busting the establishment for all those "happy endings".  It's much safer for "happy endings" here in Sun City as few of the elderly locals could ever be mistaken for a cop.  So we have no less than a dozen massage parlors doing "booming business" with the aging boomers.

Hey, let me say right now that I'm for all the vice and sin this area can take.  A little pot and an occasional "slap and tickle" never hurt anyone.

I do have to end here by recounting something I heard when I first moved here.  I was told Sun City has its share of swingers; wife swapping in the golden years.  The story went that, whatever house was hosting a swinger's party, would put a pink flamingo out in the front yard to let folks know that an "Open House of the fleshly kind" was on for that particularly night.  Well kiddies, I'm a bit abashed to tell you that I may have driven for hours looking for those pink flamingos...just to see if the story was true.  Just call me an old nasty "voyeur"...(never found a single pink flamingo)...sigh.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An Old Warrior Goes Home

                                                             

It was October, 1781.  George Washington and French General Rochambeau stood on a small hill looking down on the fields outside Yorktown.  A rider approached and brought news of British General Cornwallis's surrender.  Washington was said to have put his arm on the shoulder of the French general, then walked a few steps away and looked down upon the battlefield through misted eyes.

In that moment the first burdens of war began to be lifted from his broad shoulders.  No doubt the tears came from both relief that the war was essentially over as well a bit of mourning for the thousands who had given their lives for America's freedom.  200,000 men had fought the war and 25,000 had died in battle.  Thousands more died in the hulls of British prison ships and many thousands more would hobble home without arms or legs, or both.  

The war was officially over in 1783, once the peace treaties had been signed and the British evacuated from New York.  In November Washington would call together all of them and give his farewell speech.  He would thank them for their service, then remind them that only good citizenry could keep us free.

Later that week Washington would meet the last time with his officer corp.  His words to them were brief, more personal as he struggled through trying to give thanks for their loyalty and their service through all of the eight difficult years when defeat was all but certain except for one heroic act after another.  Finally, with tears flowing from his eyes, no longer able to speak, he turned and hugged old Henry Knox, the general who had led a party all the way to Canada to haul an old four ton British cannon back through the snowy mountain passes all the way to Boston where it would be used to pound the British and shock them into abandoning Boston....the patriots first rare victory.

After hugging and kissing Knox, Washington would hug and kiss and bid farewell to each of his officers.  After bidding them farewell Washington left and began the business of seeing his army home over the next few weeks.  He would leave then himself, his two aides accompanying him to Annapolis, Maryland...to the old Maryland statehouse where the Continental Congress would convene to accept Washington's resignation as General of the Continental Army.  Washington sent a message ahead, asking if the Congress would prefer the surrendering of his commission in writing, or in person.  Congress chose the latter.

So, on 23 December 1783, Washington rose and walked to the podium to address the Congress.  His short speech to them was less than five minutes long.  He thanked them profusely for giving their trust in his leadership, reminding them that, from the very beginning, he was frightened that he hadn't felt qualified for the job.  He then thanked God for the benevolent provence that carried his army to victory.  He reminded the Congress that many of his men had gone home penniless and deserved to be paid for their sacrifices.  

He then said a final goodbye, handed over his written resignation, and walked down the center aisle of the statehouse, looking left and right as the entire house was hushed in silence, tears streaming from their eyes.  

His aides waited outside, the General's horse already saddled.  As Washington mounted his steed, the entire congregation exited the statehouse and stood watching the General ride south to Mount Vernon, where George Washington, private citizen, would spend Christmas at home for the first time in many years.

Following the end of the war in 1783, King George III asked what Washington would do next and was told of rumors that he would return to his farm, prompting the King to state, "if he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." Washington did return to private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon, having no desire to be King.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Worshiping The Golden Calf"

                                                                                                       


When I was a kid I loved watching the movie, The Ten Commandments.  The scenes were majestic and Charlton Heston was magnificent as Moses.  And what kid wouldn't love all the "tricks" Moses could perform, reversing the "first born" death on the Egyptians, turning the Nile red, turning his walking stick into a snake, and most impressive of all, parting the Red Sea so that Moses and the "chosen people" could flee from Egypt, then engulfing the Egyptian legions and drowning them en mass.

However, one thing in the movie frankly puzzled me; after years of Sunday School studies, I just could not comprehend how all of Moses' followers, after being freed from slavery, could have forgotten all of God's miracles and began their drunken and lusty orgy, capped off by the worship of the Golden Calf.  My childhood mind just kept coming back to that scene.  "Wow", I said, "I guess God has to provide a "miracle a day" if he hopes to hold on to his faithful!". 

Now that I'm older, a little wiser, and having seen a little more of what my fellow man is capable of, I am beginning to understand those ancients who strayed so quickly. 

Some three thousand years later I see the majority of Americans who worship the sacred cow of rampant materialism daily.  According to many of the surveys, church attendance has been rapidly declining for decades, more and more people believe they can get along just fine without any thanks to God at all.

One need only tune in to television to witness the Extreme Makeovers, the Flip This House, the Love It or List It or any number of home design programs to see how Americans just had to re-model their kitchens every two years.  The Formica of the 50's was tossed for laminates, then tile, then granite, then marble.  Nothing was too good for the American taste and, if it meant taking out a second mortgage to keep up with the Joneses, so be it!  The Neighbor has a pool so I must have one!  My co-worker drives a Lexus so I must too!  Fish is not acceptable unless it is priced as $2 dollar per roll Sushi and ordinary coffee just won't stand up to a $6 dollar Frappe from Starbucks! 

Today, we worship Steve Jobs because he gave us the IPOD and I-Phone.  We worship the gods of Sony, of High Definition.  Our "idols" are the gods of Hip Hop and Rap.  The Burning Bush is now the fiery explosions on the silver screen that supplants violent action in lieu of relationship.

Our golden calf has been the materialism of the secular; those who see no need for a God in their lives...or even the necessity of living some semblance of a spiritual life!

Please don't get me wrong; I am not a Bible thumper.  I have some severe problems with organized religion.  But I truly believe with all my heart that God ordained and blessed the creation of the American Republic.  I believe that God looked down on a group of people who had studied the most eminent social philosophers and deemed the new American Republic as a chance for mankind to start fresh, with the unique idea that men's rights were ordained by God, and not government or kings.

America thrived for two centuries under the Judeo-Christian work ethic that proscribes that if one works hard, lives a moral life and honors our nation's laws, that we shall prosper.

That is no longer the case.  With the exception of a small minority of folks who are trying mightily to restore our national values, America's moral climate is at an all time low.  The very values that were responsible for our happiness and our prosperity are now mocked and deemed out of date, no longer relevant.

A great writer once wrote that America is but a continuing experiment in social development and "freedom is only a brief rainbow amidst the long gray thousands-year march of human oppression".  I fear he may be right.  Our failure to adhere to some moral standards, our failure to assume the responsibility of citizenship and, yes, our worship of the "Sacred Calf" of extreme materialism may already be signalling the end of an America blessed and ordained by God.

Sad, Damn Sad.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Arizona Series; Creeping Liberalism, Part II

                                                               

Arizona these days is the "poster boy" for conservative government trying to stem the tide of creeping liberalism.  Why should that be important for our readers who live elsewhere?  Because what we do here will probably ultimately decide what kind of country we want to be.  This, the first in a series about the "grand battle" to combat oppressive liberalism and reckless spending and why it has consequences for all of the rest of America.

The Budget Wars; Education

As in California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas the education system in Arizona has broken down by the massive illegal Mexican invasion.  Let's look at some hard numbers and see if there's a single liberal among you who might begin to understand still another way that illegal immigration is hurting our social safety net and destroying any chance our American kids have of getting an education.

Liberals, and the NEA and Teachers Unions, and sadly, now the liberal courts,  just love to denigrate the southwestern states for not providing enough funding to educate our kids.  They absolutely love to trot out that 50 state map to show that Connecticutt and Maine, and Massechusetts and New Hampshire and Washington D.C. all kick in more "per student" money than the states in the Southwest, all under siege by court mandates that say we have to educate illegal kids.  

And those numbers look horrible on the face of it.  But, when you look and think deeper you see that those states in the Northeast, and in D.C., have a tremendous advantage....they aren't overrun with illegal Mexicans.  

For example, those Northeastern states spend an average of $14,000 dollars per K-12 pupil while Arizona spends only $8,000 per pupil.  Looks bad, right?  Puts Arizona in the bottom ten for per student funding.  But a funny thing happens when you begin looking at what each state spends in total funding.  All of a sudden those Northeastern states fall to the bottom of the pack and Arizona and the Southwestern states begin rising to the top!  Why?  Because, God Damn It, we're burdened with having to educate millions of illegal kids...and those liberal Northeastern states are not!  And there's no one around to pay for those Mexican kids out here in the Southwest!

So let's look at how Education is shaking out in Arizona.  Arizona is a relatively poor state, and our budget reflects that.  We've got to pay to run all state operations on roughly $10 billion dollars in all forms of revenue; state taxes, fees, property taxes, etc.  By far, our largest budget expense is K-12 education; it eats up a third of all the revenue.  We must also pay for Medicaid, Welfare, WIC, and all of the other social service programs that our masters in D.C. and in the liberal courts say we must.
And we must pay for our universities which are above and beyond the K-12 budget.  And we must maintain our state parks, pay for Fire and Rescue and Police, building maintenance and all the other expenses associated with running the state.  And we also have to pay for the English learner program which is another mandate above and beyond all of the other federal and judicial mandates.

Note:  Keep in mind that total K-12 expenditures are $15.7 billion dollars, the rest of the money coming from local property taxes and sales taxes and fees and so forth.

Now, Arizona is a Republican state, and our legislature has been under Republican control for decades.  But once in a while we do elect a Democratic Governor.  (Guess we don't always like a smooth road and want to shake things up a little).  Well, the last Democratic Governor was Janet Napolitano.  Once she got into office she started pushing for state funded day care, all day kindergarten, and a host of other nice to have programs.  She generated just enough liberal pressure so that many of these programs got funded.

So, in 2009, at the same time Napolitano got in bed with Obama and became his Homeland Security Chief, the Arizona economy went to hell with the rest of America.  Secretary of State Jan Brewer assumed the office of Governor for the remainder of Napolitano's term and beyond.  It was at this time that we had to make massive state cuts in the budget due to a drastic plunge in state revenues.  So Arizona sold all of their state owned buildings and leased them back, closed state parks, closed highway rest areas, cut the funding for all day kindergarten and state funded pre-school, and the state was on a "baloney and water" budget for three years.  

Through all of this chaos Arizona did NOT cut K-12 school funding.  But they did trim the "inflation adjusted increases" that were programmed in.  

So here we are in 2014 and Arizona is now facing still another economic slowdown.  Arizona was hoping state revenue would return to the traditional 4% of growth  and we are barely seeing 2%.  So when the next governor takes office next January he will be facing another $500 million dollar deficit and there are no more buildings to sell.  

So a month or so ago the ultra liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals out of San Francisco ruled that the state had no right to trim those "inflation adjusted increases to K-12 (though god knows where we would have gotten the money to pay them!).  Worse, the court says we must immediately infuse the K-12 budget with $350 million dollars...this year!  That puts our new Governor in the position of coming up with nearly a billion dollars to pay for our illegal Mexican kids all the while finding another $500 million dollars in budget cuts!  And, if we are to comply with the court mandates on education funding we are supposed to come up with another billion dollars over the next decade to pay for K-12 funding growth as we educate an ever growing percentage of illegal Mexicans.

The only way Arizona can do this is to go the way of California and begin living off of borrowed money...seeing our state credit rating plunge as we float more and more bonds to pay for the illegal invasion.

And we're not getting any relief from the Feds.  Hell, every year we've been sending the feds a bill for the costs to incarcerate all of these illegal Mexicans and the Feds won't pay it...even though they claim ownership of the border and immigration!  

The only thing we can expect from the feds, and the liberal courts, are more slaps to the face and more demands to educate, medicate and incarcerate millions of illegal Mexicans.

If you don't live in a Southwestern state, enjoy it while you can!  As soon as Obama gives amnesty to the rest of the 30 million illegals already here they'll be free to move around wherever they wish...and we'll be anxious to see how YOU deal with the problems they bring!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Arizona Series; Creeping Liberalism, Part I

                                                             

Arizona these days is the "poster boy" for conservative government trying to stem the tide of creeping liberalism.  Why should that be important for our readers who live elsewhere?  Because what we do here will probably ultimately decide what kind of country we want to be.  This, the first in a series about the "grand battle" to combat oppressive liberalism and reckless spending and why it has consequences for all of the rest of America.


The Budget Wars-Law Enforcement

The Arizona Republic newspaper enjoys printing historic photos of various private and government buildings erected in the 50's and 60's.  So last week my attention was drawn to the old Glendale Police Station as it stood some 60 years ago.  The building was stark in its simplicity; a cement block structure with iron bars over the windows, the facade clearly telling anyone passing by that this was not a place you'd want to spend the night.

Glendale Police drove old Plymouth Black & Whites and they kept in communication with the police dispatcher on cranky old two way radios.  A Glendale cop in 1950 was paid $2,400 per year and the Chief raked in $4,400 a year.  There was no grand retirement package that would have afforded luxury living after 30 years on the force; there simply wasn't that kind of tax base to support such frivolousness.  

The old Glendale Fire Station was manned by community volunteer firemen.  You got trained by the one Fire Chief who might have had a degree in Fire Sciences, or might not, having learned the job by putting out dozens of fires over the years.  

Today, both Fire and Police draw starting salaries of $80,000 per year, with the salary rising to a lofty $150,000 a year by the time they retire.  And now our Fire Stations are repositories for abandoned babies and our Fireman are well schooled as well as well paid.  And so that none of them are over-taxed, and so that they have time to promote themselves to the public, we have more fire stations per capita than at any time in our history.  

The Police Station is built from fine marble with majestic columns guarding the entrance, facilities befitting a Roman emperor, and we now have more police clerks managing a desk than we have police patrols.  We even have small armies of police personnel whose only function is to attend school assemblies and tell the kiddies how grand the police are, and teams of public police spokesmen whose only job is to stand in front of television cameras and brief crime reporters.

And we need more police because neighbors no longer talk to each other and need the police to respond to a dog barking, or wandering into a neighbor's yard, and to settle meth and coke-induced domestic disputes, or to even respond to an HOA complaint that some dude is displaying the American flag in his front yard.

So we now have these huge Fire and Police organizations.  Their budgets grow larger and larger each year as their sense of self importance grows.  And our politicians crawl in bed with both Fire and Police (and the general government bureaucracy as well) because they feed off each other's greed.  The pol promises our public servants that their lucrative salary and retirement packages will continue if they'll only throw their support his way. Right up till the time they won't.

Arizona citizens are now waking up to that greed, finally.  Prop 487 is on the ballot this year.  It is an initiative that would convert these huge retirement packages to a 401k plan where public servants would be required to pay into their own retirement plan.  It would also end the practice of "spiking" where employees save all their sick and vacation pay,  then convert it into "salary" in their final year of service.  So, because their retirement is based on their last salary paid, these public servants can boost their retirement pay by $50 grand a year just by artificially inflating their salary.  Many Fire, Police, and even our Court Judges make over $200,000 dollars a year because of this salary "spiking".  Prop 487 would end this practice and relieve the public from paying for obscene retirement pensions, and would require that our public servants put some skin in the game through a 401k like private sector employees do.

It should be noted that our famed Sheriff Joe Arpaio's operation is kind of "revenue neutral".  He saves millions of dollars a year through the use of hundreds of private citizens who work for free and are known as "Joe's posse".  Joe saves millions more by housing his prisoners in our famous "tent city jails", garbing them in pink underwear and serves them baloney sandwiches.    However, in "law-suit happy" America Joe gets sued a lot.  One meth head ended up killing himself because he was forced into his pink underwear.  The county board, gutless nellies, always settle out of court.  So whatever Joe saves in law enforcement he gives back in lawsuit settlements because he's tough on criminals.
But we have saved on Joe's retirement costs because, at 80, he says he has no plans to retire.

Still the public employee unions, including fire and police, are spending a fortune to try and convince the taxpayer that $200,000 grand a year is a fair retirement pension, and that they shouldn't have to contribute a dime to it.  We'll find out on November 4th if the voter has decided he's paid enough.


Next series:  Arizona Schools


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lawrence Harvey Zeiger

                                                                 

December, 1982.  I had left my last military base, in Grand Forks, North Dakota,  heading west to California.  I was driving a recently acquired old Volkswagen camper bus, intending to park it in my mom's garage before heading out for a tour in Korea.  My family would stay behind at the old base until summer when they too would drive the old Buick, head out to California, put it on a Matson barge for shipment to Hawaii where I would meet up with them on mid-tour leave and get them settled again back in the ''land of Aloha".

But all of that lay ahead.  Just then I was on a camper bus heading West.  I worked my way across Montana, and Wyoming, then turned south in Idaho and hooked up with I-80 in northern Nevada.  The old bus was happy to once more be on level ground and she would not have to work hard again until we reached the Eastern edge of the Sierra Nevadas.  As the miles rolled by up there in the high desert I looked up into the sky and the stars were so damn fine I had to pull off the road and get out and look up at them.  

Getting back in the bus I poured myself a cup of coffee from the thermos and switched on the radio.  There was this guy doing an all night talk show.  His voice was deep and rich, and in the deathly quiet of the desert,  hearing him talk was almost a religious experience.  The guy's name was Larry King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger.   The first thing you noticed about him was his natural bent to savage anyone calling in who might disagree with his personal or political philosophies.  A four pack a day cigarette man back then, King's voice did not suffer from the heavy smoking.  His voice had such heft that one who had never seen him might imagine the man behind the voice was big and burly...even threatening.

But he was good with his guests.  He might be interviewing an author, or actor, or politician, or celebrity notable, and you got the feeling that you were getting the meat of who the person was.  King's strength was his immense sense of curiosity.  He once did a three hour interview with two geologists and I found it to be one of the most fascinating three hours I ever spent on something.  "What is geology?" King would begin and the conversation would flow from there and you just couldn't turn away while Larry was asking questions.

When I finally arrived at my mom's house I hauled out an ancient little tape recorder and set it to taping those marathon King sessions that came to you on Mutual Radio back then.  I carried those precious few tapes over to Korea with me and went to sleep listening to King cassettes on a little Sony Walkman.  Then I wrote home and enlisted my kids to begin taping King and sending me the tapes...enough to keep me supplied during my year long tour in Korea.

When I returned, and we got settled in Hawaii, I was delighted that a local Honolulu station was carrying the Larry King show.  King broadcasted out of Washington D.C. so he had a wealth of guests who came through and stopped by for a talk.  When not interviewing a guest King would kibbutz about his favorite restaurant, Dukes, or speculate about what baseball team would triumph in the World Series.  He also delighted his audience with tales of his Brooklyn youth with pals like Sandy Koufax.  Because of the time difference they taped them from the previous night, then ran them at a decent time the following night.  King even came to Hawaii for a week and broadcast his show from there...he seemed to be delighted by the islands and said so often.

Not long after King's trip to Hawaii he had a serious heart attack.  Because his father had died at 46 from a heart attack, King took the wake up call seriously.  He gave up his four pack a day smoking habit cold turkey and began a health regimen that would have impressed a Marine.  

So, for the next fifteen years I could not live without a day listening to Larry King.  He even filled my Arabian nights while I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, the kids at home continuing to keep cassettes regularly flowing through the mails.

Larry finally hit the big time when Ted Turner convinced him to do the TV interview show on CNN.  Already pulling in big bucks as the star of Mutual Radio, King became filthy rich with this CNN show and through his best selling books and weekly column in USA Today.  For a time he was doing both the TV show and the marathon radio show, leaving the CNN studios in Washington and heading over to Mutual to do his long radio session.  Then concerns about his health forced him to cut back on the radio sessions, then end them entirely.

I was never as impressed with Larry on his TV show.  He quite naturally had to tone down his fervor a bit.  And I always thought his interviews were too soft....he seemed to fawn over his favorites and was exceedingly polite even to those he disagreed with.  I was always waiting for Larry to ask the tough questions and he never did...evolving into something like a Barbara Walters, more delighted in "knowing" celebrities than interviewing them.

Larry left CNN in 2010 after 25 years.  Just as well...Larry's life, if we can believe People Magazine and US Weekly, is cartoonish.  His eighth wife, much younger than himself, seems to be a materialistic bimbo who clearly married Larry for his money.  She did bear him two young sons whom Larry now seems to have more time for than his older daughter from an earlier marriage.

But you still have to admire Larry King for his perseverance.  He's come along way from those little 5000 watt radio stations down in Miami in the 50's.  He persevered through a Grand Larceny charge from a business deal gone bad.  He had a heart attack in his early fifties that threatened to call a halt to his newly blossoming life, and he altered his diet and his lifestyle so that he could reap the rewards from a lifetime of hard work.

Larry is 83 now.  He says he goes down to a local diner and breakfasts with old friends, delights in raising two early teen sons and still does a show that is broadcast on the Internet.  Periodically he goes in for a heart by-pass, or to have stints put in..but he's still cruising at 83 years old.

Thanks, Larry..,,,you ain't perfect, but then nobody is.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time For A Survey

                                                                 

Okay, boys and girls....the fact that you are reading this means you are getting something absolutely free.  For good or bad, it's free.  So now I'm asking for something.

I want to hear from you.  I want you to use the comments section to tell me where you get your news.  Please, no one word answers.  Tell me where you get your news and why you choose that source.

Because I'm retired, and have lots of time  on my hands, I read a lot of news.  I usually arise no later than 4AM and turn on CNBC, the financial news channel, only because that's the least offensive before I've buck up with at least one cup of coffee.  I then sit down at the computer, hit the buttons that more widely distribute my blog, then go to the online Arizona Republic newspaper.  I spend less than ten minutes there, then move over to read an online local CBS affiliate's news site.  From both local sites I cover all the local mess and mayhem the locals have committed over the last 24 hours.

I then move over to the San Diego Tribune to see what's happening in my former home.  Then, I move to Yahoo News and am forced to cull the few hard news items from all the froth Yahoo offers; stuff like the size of Kardashian's butt and George Clooney's love life.  Even with all the froth I have the added task of ignoring the many, many commercial ads interspersed with hard news.  Yuck.  Yahoo is my favorite place to read Sports and Finance.  So I check out how my favorite baseball teams are doing, glance at MLB stats and standings.  Then, if it's after 5AM, I move to the Yahoo Finance page to check on my stocks and who's buying out who today and read an article or two about how much farther along our economy would be without Obama.

I then move to USA Today Online and work my way through all of their news articles, both foreign and national, then spend no more than five minutes each on USA TODAY's Sports, Life, Business, and Tech sections.

Finally, I go to Google News which opens up a vast number of sources for news.  I've customized that site to let Google know what news I like to read.  Google News sends me to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, The Atlantic, the L.A. Times as well as news articles from the weekly news and information magazines.  I get most of my hard news directly from the Google News site and I go there throughout the day to read news updates.

I read a hard copy of the newspaper twice a week, Wednesdays and Sundays.

I get very little of my news from TV.  Throughout the day, while writing a story, or this blog, I might have Fox News or a local news station running in the background, usually for no more than five minute increments.  The only serious "viewer time" I donate to TV is Fox's "The Five" and maybe ten minutes or so each of Greta Van Sustern and "The Kelly File", just cause she's so damn hot.

For serious reflection, on current events and history, I give most of my viewing time to all three C-Span channels or an occasional PBS documentary.  (I really try to ignore PBS's almost manic focus on the ethnic and poor sob stories that are no more than liberal propaganda...those shows never attribute human misery with the miserable's own personal initiative or life choices.

Well, that's it for me!  Now I want to hear from you!  I respect my regular followers and am really interested in hearing from you.  Please note that I have sometimes asked for input from you and the responses have been poor and paltry.  BUT, I know many of you now so if you choose to be lazy and not respond, I'm not above going over to your house and bopping you on the forehead or toilet papering your house!



Monday, October 20, 2014

This Gay Marriage Thing

                                                               

Okay, let's stop the bitching about gay marriage.  Let's let our politicians know that we're tired of spending taxpayer dollars to fight this thing, state by state, in court.  The Supremes have already shown which way they are going on this so it's time to end the futility of preserving the concept of traditional family.

Folks, there are very few "traditional families" these days.  Let's look at a few things here and see why we just might give up fighting gay marriage and why that might be a good thing.

First and foremost, if we give up sniping about gay marriage maybe they'll stop marching in St. Patrick's Day Parades and taking Macy's to court for preventing them from blowing up a monster condom meant to promote Aids awareness.  And if we all let gays marry maybe they'll be so busy having domestic spats that they'll have less energy to get in our face with their gayness.

Secondly, what is so damn special about marriage anyway?  With 50% of marriages ending in divorce what the hell are we defending anyway?  Hell, we know that 75% of Blacks don't even bother with the marriage certificate....they just trot out a potpourri of birth certificates with the various sperm donors listed on them.  At 50% divorce rates who's to say that Blacks don't have it right?  Skip those god-awful expensive weddings and save a bundle...that way there's more to divvy up when Divorce Court time finally arrives.

And please don't talk about the nuclear family...those died about the time Steve Jobs turned out an Apple iPod and only got worse when the I-Phone came along.  Your children divorced you for Steve Jobs so face up to it.  This year we had a 16 year old kid beat his mom to death with an iron skillet because she took away his iPhone privileges so this is pretty serious stuff.  And since parents no longer feel the need to help with homework, or attend a PTA meeting to see how school and child are doing, why bother even calling ourselves "family".  

Whether intentional or not, the government has succeeded in making families obsolete.  Make a mistake, get a divorce and the government will shower the family remnant with a generous host of government benefits that will just dazzle you; Section 8 housing vouchers, welfare, food stamps, WIC, taxpayer paid health care, taxpayer funded pre-school, kindergarten and free school breakfast and lunches.  Imagine that!  Mom no longer has to prepare breakfast or make sandwiches for lunch, or even pick the kid up from school.  And, if she wants to have a little sexual dalliance with her current Romeo, hell the school even has an after school program!  Hey, soon the school system will start feeding the kid dinner too and then you're really home free!

So, really, let's let the gays in on this wonderful institution!  God knows why they would want it, but if they do, more power to them!  Just please, get out of my face for a few hours, please!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Porch Lights; Throwing Back The Night

                                                   
One can just imagine the cave man, once he had harnessed the power of fire, inventing the idea of the torch, to be hung at the entrance to the cave to ward off animals of prey.  Perhaps too, the dim light emanating from that torch might also throw back a bit of the darkness and fear of the night time world.

And can you imagine the sense of relief a sailor might have felt, after navigating a rocky and stormy sea, seeing the lighthouse beaming from the bedrock shore?

Our porch lights seemed to serve as a modern day evolvement of those ancient devices.  They say many things, each distinctive to those who reside behind those illuminated globes.  To some a porch light is a welcoming sign; it says to those who approach "welcome, I light these steps so that you may approach in safety and with a sense of open hospitality!"  It says "we who reside behind this door are engaged in the business of life, that our home is a refuge, and you are welcome to share in the delights of "being".

To others a porch light is a device to ward off "intruders".  Only the greatest wattage is sufficient to give "warning" that some night time creature dares to trespass onto your "property".  Some of those, of a more vigilant bent, install elaborate security devices to warn off those of the "night time trespass".  Motion-activated flood lights will light up the night and activate the screeching sirens of alarms when the visitor approaches the bastion of security.

I would venture to guess the wattage of our porch light is in direct ratio to our level of fear and our level of trust in the particular corner of the world that we live in.  It may also say much of what is in our hearts.  They may also be a gauge of our openness to the world outside ourselves.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for porch lights.  Upon arriving home late at night, from a day of work, or from a long journey, that light on the front porch says so many things.  Family is waiting.  In a world of casual indifference there are loved ones waiting inside to offer warmth and love and comfort amidst the harbor of "home".  That light says to the returning wanderer that there shall always be a place of warmth when the world turns a cold shoulder to you.

My porch light continues to illuminate the path to my door.  I do not wish to dwell in the darkness so my porch light will always be a welcoming beacon to those who are lost and to those who seek the comfort and warmth of safe harbors.








Saturday, October 18, 2014

Porn And AIDS

                                                               

Do me a favor:  go to google and type in the word "porn".  NO, NOT YET!  Please finish the blog first, kiddies.

Look, you might have read, about a year ago, that Los Angeles has passed a porn film law that porn actors have to wear a condom during their porn performances.  The law was spurred by a serious outbreak of AIDS cases among porn actors.  The porn industry is resisting, saying that porn patrons want to see see their sex raw, sans condoms, and they say the new law is hurting business.

So then, today, officials of the porn industry have declared their own three day moratorium because some porn actors who are filming in another state have tested positive for AIDS.  How responsible of them....three whole days!  

Look, I've seen my share of porn.  I remember being in Vegas in the mid-70's when a local theater was showing "Deep Throat".  It was my first porn film and I did a lot of scrunching down in the seat in a perfectly legitimate theater with folks who normally go to the movies to see "The Magnificent 7" (oh, please pardon that pun...totally unintentional) but came to see Linda Lovelace out of mere curiosity on how she did it.  (You innocents out there need not ask what I'm talking about).

Anyway, I saw "Deep Throat" and, in my grubby and sinful lifetime, probably a dozen other porn flicks.  Here's my take; it does absolutely nothing for me.  After you've seen it done in six different positions, by six different people, in a mechanical way, I get as much stimulation as I would watching a Car and Driver video on the piston function of a combustable engine.

I'm not an sex expert but I've been around enough to know that the sex is best when you're with someone you love, or at least care for.  

But I'm surely the porn exception or it wouldn't be a billion dollar industry.  Though I would ask this: isn't there enough porn already out there?  Enough so that these poor naked cretins could enjoy, say, a five year moratorium on new porn?  After all, it doesn't change much at all...with the exception of the initial novelty of "Deep Throat", I'm not seeing any Academy Award performances on porn celluloid.

NOW, you can go to google and type in that one word, "porn", then "images" at the top...and see what your five year old child, or grandchild...and certainly what your 12 year old son is watching daily,  just by typing in four letters of the alphabet.

Sigh...

Friday, October 17, 2014

No More Honey

                                                                 

A couple of years ago I wrote about my delight at being called "Honey" by the cashier at Walmart when I brought my car in for an oil change.  I wrote about how nice it is to travel in the South where ladies, especially waitresses, often call you "honey".  So yesterday, while in the grocery store, I paid for my purchases and started walking out when I was tapped on the shoulder and a 20-something young girl, the customer who was behind me,  said "Sweetheart, you forgot your credit card"...then handed it over to me.

I was on cloud nine all the way home.  We old men know that we are past the age of young girls, but having a cutie call you sweetheart is just kinda nice...at least to me.  Alas, my elation lasted until I got home and opened up my morning newspaper.  Big headline:  Waitress Harassment: How To Prevent It!   It seems the unionized libtards are at it again.  The Serviceworker International Employee's Union (SIEU) has put out guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of waitresses by restaurant patrons.  

The union says it's high time patrons stop being over friendly with the waitress staff.  The SEIU guidelines recommend that you approach the table and immediately declare your name to keep customers from calling you "doll" or "sweetie" or even gushing over good service, which may indicate they are trying to come on to you.  The SIEU says, once you have approached the customer in a firm and businesslike and impartial manner you have set the stage for polite and professional communication.  At any time after that, if the customer calls you "honey" or "sweetie" you are free to raise a complaint to the restaurant manager who is required to deal with the situation.

The union goes on to say that, if restaurants would just pay a living wage, waitresses would not have to work for tips and feel compelled to show any friendliness at all to the customer.  Just take the order  and cut off any extraneous conversation; you already know it's a nice day so you don't need a customer to tell you that.  This way you'll get about the same measurement of merriment that you get from your local DMV clerk.

The SIEU wasn't done though.  They recommended ladies not take a job in a bar, especially sports bars because drinking can cause customers to lower their normal reservations and might utter something regarding your attractiveness...might even ask you for a date.

Sigh...I don't know if the waitresses at Hooters or Tilted Kilt read the new guidelines.  If not, they need to read it real soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Really Scary Thoughts

                                                             

You think the pic above is scary?  Here's something even scarier.  Do you remember in the final days of the 2012 Presidential elections when Mitt Romney was leading in many of the polls?  The media was feeding you all kinds of warm fuzzies (in an effort to lull you into staying home on election day?)  So how did that turn out for you, gang?

Well, the media is at it again.  They are telling you how Republicans have this huge lead and will most likely take over the Senate.  Well, let me show you a little pie chart showing who is REALLY getting the vote out:

                                             

This is a little snapshot out of Iowa.  It shows who has been turning in their early voting ballots.  And yes, it is the Democrats winning the turnout, and not by a small margin; 57,869 for Dems against the Repub's sickly 31,099.  And remember, this was the year Iowa was going to punish Barry!

The U.S. Elections Project says this same trend is going on all over the country.  This disgusts me on two levels; I do not want to wake up the morning after the election and see Congress controlled by Democrats!  The last time that happened they wrote a $870 billion dollar pork stimulus bill that achieved nothing, and they rammed Obamacare down our throats.

Don't believe this?  Well, just look at voter turnout in 2010...only 42.7% of eligible voters turned out. In 2012 only 57% turned out for a Presidential election, with Democrats voting in huge numbers.  And we got Barack Obama for four more years.

Hey, look.  I've heard all the stupid excuses for not voting; Repubs are no different than Dems, my one vote doesn't count (so of course it does when voters turn out!), I was busy, I was sick on election day, and on and on.  

I take my vote seriously, and I take my responsibilities as a citizen seriously.  I've already sent in my early ballot so I've carried out one of my citizenship duties.  Have you registered?  If not, do it now!  Did you apply for an early ballot?  If not, for god's sake pencil in November 4th on your calendar, skip breakfast for one god-damn day and get your ass to a voting booth!

We know the majority of Americans are against Obama's policies.  I see it every day on a variety of message boards...bitch after bitch..in the tens of thousands!  And yet, less than half of these cretins will go to the polls and vote.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greed 1 Anger & Hate 0

                                                         

The Ferguson, Missouri protesters were out in force this past weekend.  They vowed to cast a giant shadow on those honkies playing baseball in the NLCS.  They promised to harass and disrupt foot traffic heading into the stadium.    

All that Black faux anger lost to greed.  No way were the St. Louis Cardinals going to jeopardize some 40,000 $100 dollar tickets to see the Giants and Cardinals play baseball.  It's all well and good if the thugs want to mob rob a QT, or even burn down the damn thing...but you don't mess with the big money boys.  The well heeled Budweiser-fueled Cardinals put out a small army of security teams to make sure the game continued without disruption.  

The Ferguson thugs were able to disrupt the St. Louis Symphony last week as they interrupted a performance and began standing and singing the anthem of the "eternally persecuted Black race".  But they got away with it in Symphony Hall because that is the bastion of rich white liberals who wouldn't dare raise any objection, less their white guilt be questioned.  

This morning's news reported that there was some "Ferguson thuggery" at last night's 49er-Rams game but nothing that the usual football thugs couldn't live with.

By the way, here's a pic of the "sandwich" belonging to the second thug that got shot by the police last week.  The coroner also found gunshot residue, not mayonnaise, on the thug's hands and three rounds matching the thug's gun near the place where police returned fire and killed him dead.
                                                             
                                 

Just as an aside, I couldn't help be bemused by all that hype being pushed a couple of weeks ago, about how Ferguson's Black thug population was registering to vote in record numbers.  The liberal press was aglow as they cited thousands upon thousands of Blacks lining up to register to vote.  Alas, someone bothered to check with the state election board.  Somehow or another, only 128 of Ferguson's worst were recorded as newly registered voters.  

I don't know how the huge disconnect came between what the general thuggery claimed was happening in the voter registration campaign  but I expect a significant number of those "Michael Brownites" are carrying felony convictions somewhere in the vast bureaucracy and were purged from the voter rolls.  Or maybe that 8th grade education just wasn't enough to allow them to puzzle out a voter registration form.  

So there's a lot of Democrats, locally, in the state of Missouri, and nation wide who were having premature orgasms in anticipation of another swath of Democratic Kool Aid drinkers who vote for Dems 95% of the time.  But, hey, there's always hope...The Supremes are saying it's damned hard for someone to come up with ID, and shouldn't have to, so maybe the thugs can just waltz in, sans ID and cast a vote anyway.  Ain't that great!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All This For Butter Bars

                                                           

Completing Air Force Officer's Training School was the hardest thing I've ever done.  Harder than FBI anti-terrorist training, harder than SWAT training, harder than Combat Skills training.  OTS was only 12 weeks long, and yet, for the first three weeks, every Saturday morning I called home to my wife and told her I was going to march into the Commandant's office on Monday morning and tell him I wanted to wash out and go back to my previous enlisted status...that I no longer wanted to become an officer.

You see, I went to Officer's Training School (OTS) at the very time the Air Force was implementing a sea change in how they recruited.  Previously, the Air Force had been taking about 80% of their recruits from fresh college graduates, and 20% from enlisted folks who had gone on to get a degree and go for commissioning.   In the previous year, prior to my attending, the Air Force had boosted to 50% those who came from the enlisted ranks.  

Well, and this gets a bit convoluted, OTS began developing attitude problems with this mix of young kids and slightly weathered enlisted folks.  OTS works much like the Air Force Academy; those who had been in school longer assumed senior positions, regardless of age or Air Force experience.  Well, the old enlisted dogs in previous classes were a bit put out by being bossed around by "three week wonders" who hadn't served a day in the "real Air Force".  This developed into some serious morale problems so that, by the time I arrived, some pretty heavy flack was being thrown at the prior enlisted grunts....the Air Force wished to bring the enlisted grunts down a peg or two in order to make the system work.   Perhaps the OTS commanders went a bit too far with their approach, they certainly did in my own mind.

So, when I reported in, in uniform, we were met by a delegation of these "three week wonders", 22 year old kids who took great delight in manning a reception table laden with razor blades and smirks. The first thing they did was to approach me, cut off my stripes, then proclaim I was "nothing" and had much to learn.  It got worse the next day as they called a special meeting for prior enlisted officer candidates.  Called us all together and preached to us, saying we know nothing because, being an officer in the air force is so totally different than as an enlisted man that we would have to "re-learn" everything we were taught.  They also said that we would have to give up any of our enlisted friends because officers just do not fraternize with enlisted swine.  Of course all of that was bullshit but it did prompt my first Saturday morning call to my wife that I was throwing in the towel.  She urged me to give it another week..and I did...then called for the next two Saturdays with the same whine..and receiving the same advice.

I got through those first three weeks of classes and field exercises by going for long jogs every day after the duty day.  Those five mile runs did help me to relieve some of the stress.  And, in the third week, we were fitted for our officer's uniform and Mess Dress tux and those butter bars on my shoulders began to look damn fine.

Still, I was utterly frustrated that we students could never complete a full day's agenda assigned to us...we were already sleep deprived as we worked like hell from 5AM to Midnight every duty day and still could not do all that we were told we had to do.  Some, including me, did far better than others, but no one finished all of their assignments.  

Relief finally came about the sixth week.  Though I am a hard head, I finally realized no one expects you to finish them all!  The key to success, in not getting washed out, was to PRIORITIZE those assignments and get the most important ones done!  After that it became a little easier...still very difficult, but easier to handle.  For example, we would have field exercises where we were to come up with solutions for impossible command leadership situations.  We were ultimately graded on our thought processes, and not for reaching solutions, because there were none!  Looking back I have to say that this training was invaluable later in my career when faced with really tough decisions.

In the 7th week on we became the "upperclassmen" and school officials began to loosen the reins a bit.  We were allowed Friday night beer busts in our own officers club and everyone was required to participate in some form of a stage show.  I began writing comedy skits where I played the central character; a hayseed from from the country who writes home to his ma and pa about his experiences at OTS.  I was quite a hit!  I would wander around the stage reading my weekly letter to be sent home and mention all the funny and strange things that had happened in school that week.  These skits really eased the tension and I'm sure the loud guffaws and cries of laughter owed as much to the need to let off steam as it was for the quality of my humor.  

Well, about 80% of us made it through OTS.  We fought like hell to help those who were failing but saved only a few.  On the night of our graduation mess (a formal banquet) I received a couple of awards; one for my little Friday night skits, and one for coming in second in miles jogged during that 12 weeks.  I did more than 500 miles around that mile track...just to survive!  

Although I am not big on pomp and pageantry, I have to admit our graduation parade and ceremony was magnificent.  John Phillip Souza never sounded so good as the Air Force Band accompanied our crisp last march in the ranks.

                                                   

I had my silver dollar ready for the first enlisted who saluted me, proffered the coin, returned the salute and drove off of Medina Complex, San Antonio, Texas, ready to meet the many leadership challenges that I would face over the next ten years.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Obama On Mt. Rushmore

                                                                   

A campaign to have Barack Obama's image carved into Mt. Rushmore is slowly gaining steam.  Apparently, the discussion began about three years ago when Obama rated himself among the top four American Presidents in history.  While his statement was met with derision by the Republican party a number of Obama's biggest admirers are saying he deserves a place up there with four of America's greatest Presidents.

When queried, the National Park Service said that there's simply no room for an additional carving...the end rock face being too small to accommodate another memorial.  Al Sharpton immediately branded the NPS as racist and stated "had President Obama done nothing else, he deserves a spot up on Mt. Rushmore as the first African American President.

Al is not alone.  Obama's many fans, including the NAACP and a significant number of his colleagues in Congress are clamoring for a bill that would authorize a project to put Obama up on the mount.  According to the Huffington Post a Facebook Page has already been established to promote the effort and has received thousands of "likes".  

And I just read that some polling organization ran a poll among the nation's university history professors and Obama received significant support from them as well.  One George Washington University professor said that it is certainly within the realm of possibility that Obama might be honored as the first African American President.  Another offered that Obama might go up on Mt. Rushmore on merit, citing his success in reversing climate change, pulling out of Iraq, jump starting the economy and his Nobel Peace Prize.

I find all this fascinating.  We've never seen greater ethnic strife, more Americans have given up looking for work than ever before in our history, food stamp users have doubled under Obama, and 93 million Americans are unemployed.  

But that's not all.  The Cato Institute just came out with their annual rankings of countries who promote the greatest economic freedom.  In less than a decade America has gone from number 2 in the world to number 36.  We are 29th in free trade, 38th in sound money management, 36th in the value of our legal system, 1st in Police Militarization, 1st in Government Surveillance, and 1st in Government Intrusiveness.

It's interesting to note that, during the government shutdown a couple of years ago, when Obama was making every effort to show how we might suffer if he couldn't spend all he wants, he ordered the National Park Service to shut down Mt. Rushmore, just as he did with the open air war memorials in the capitol.  Well, the NPS didn't have a tarp big enough to cover Mt. Rushmore so they opted to just block off the roads that led to the monument.  Perhaps if we let Barry have his face up there that might never happen again.  Hey, maybe there really is a pony under that pile of horse manure.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Policing Our Own"

                                                               

Friday brought news that a police sergeant over in Ohio was caught on camera stealing popcorn.  He apparently paid for one but can be seen on the security cameras carrying two out the door.  He has reportedly done this more than once.   Wish this were an isolated incident.  A couple of months ago one of our local cops here in Arizona was busted for stealing donuts.  

Yes, I know these are minor crimes but it speaks to a much larger issue; what kind of cops, what twisting of morals are we allowing those who are sworn to uphold and enforce our laws?  How can our citizenry be expected to follow the law when everyone in authority, to include our own President, think themselves above those laws?  If this continues we can expect even greater societal turmoil and lawlessness.

And even these little minor infractions give credence to those creeps who would like nothing better than to see all laws ignored.  And it makes it so much easier for those thugs down in Ferguson to cry police brutality and be given some level of believability.  We see these few rotten cops and it becomes all to easy to paint them all with a broad brush.

Sadly, though this Ohio cop was suspended without pay, most of the time the Police give these minor miscreants a slap on the wrist, suspend them with pay for a time, then send them back on the street.  Bad policy.  Cops ought to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen, simply because of the responsibility they are charged with; enforcement of our laws.

The military is not without sin, but, per capita, I'll wager that military men and women follow an ethical and professional road much higher than the general populace.  That's because we were governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice which is far tougher in meting our punishment for even non-criminal but ethical violations.  Try getting caught lying just once in a military academy and you're out on your ass.  If adultery is your game you don't want to be in the military...you get busted for that too.  And the military doesn't deal much in shades of gray; it's either black or white with little room to maneuver anywhere in between.

So, if the military can be held to higher standards why the hell not the police also?  My brother was a career cop, a damn fine one...managed to serve over three decades without relying on the power of his badge to tarnish his soul and advance his own well being.  Oh sure, he got half off a meal as soon as he entered a restaurant in uniform, his coffee was cheap, but he was raised not to lie, cheat, or steal by a good mother, so he didn't.

So let's cull out these sneak thief cops that think the law is only for the civilian.  At least, let's take away that nice salary for a year and let him come back on probation, if at all.  I'm a huge fan of those who serve and protect so let's remove the rotten apples and give the thugs no excuse at all for labeling the whole barrel as bad.

Sometimes a bag of popcorn is more than a bag of popcorn.