Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Learning To Let Go"

When I was about six years old we got our first puppy.  He was just a little mutt that had nothing much going for him except puppy cuteness, unlimited energy to prance and play and snuggle...and performing the joyful act of lapping at a child's face.

At that time we lived right next to our school.  After enjoying our new puppy over the weekend, Monday morning came and it was time to forsake puppy play for chalkboards and rulers.  However, after learning at the breakfast table that morning that everyone in the family would be off to other pursuits, and that my puppy would be alone at home, I refused to go to school.  Since my Dad was still living with us at that time, this must have took on a huge act of defiance on my part for I feared my Dad's belt more than anything.  Eventually, I acceded to parental demands and set off for school.  However, I never made it to class.  I trudged up the road from our house, hid in some bushes, and waited patiently for everyone to leave the house.

When everyone had gone I returned home and played with "Mugsy", the puppy throughout the day.  I don't remember how I was caught, but caught I was, and eventually returned to the righteous path to attend school and trusted our puppy would be okay with my absence.

I had a hard time of "letting go";      Years later, I now realize that my skipping school for the good of the puppy was really about me..not the puppy.

Flash forward 50 plus years or so.  I am parent to two Chihuahuas; a boy of seven years named Rocky and a girl of ten or so, named Ginger.  Love birds, they were to each other, children to me.  One sad day Rocky became quite ill.  I took him to the vet and they ran every kind of test but could never pinpoint what the trouble was.  We set off on a course of treatments that were no more than "shots in the dark".  Alas, poor Rocky didn't' respond and became weaker and weaker.   As the days went buy Rocky would walk out on weak legs and lay in the sun.  I would stand at the back door, tears in my eyes, and pray that the medicine and bottle feeding would restore him to health.

It was not to be.  However, ever in denial, and refusing to "let go" I took him back to the Vet.  The Vet took one look at Rocky, noted the deterioration in his condition, and told me it was time to let Rocky go.  Not wanting to let him go, but loving him more,  I agreed to let Rocky be put to sleep.  As I held him in my arms one last time, he raised his head and showered me with kisses, as if he knew we were saying goodbye.   I was offered the opportunity to leave and let the Vet take care of it, I refused.  As painful as it was I felt I had the obligation to be there in his last moments.  As the last of his life ebbed from him I began uncontrollably sobbing.  I was offered the opportunity to leave the Vet's office by the back door and did so.  It was hard driving home as tears clouded my eyes and my mourning had begun.
Over two years later I still ache for my little guy and I still have trouble "letting go."

Some ten months later my female Chi, Ginger, was diagnosed with mammary cancer.  Ginger underwent surgery and the tumors were removed.  For eighteen months she has been healthy and joyous after we brought home a little sister Chi for company.  However, after a followup visit to the vet last week I have learned that Ginger's cancer has returned.  We are scheduled for another surgery and follow on care but I fear the time is nearing when I must again learn to "let go".

For those who read my blogs regularly, my earlier blog called "Rescue Dog" relates how little Ginger "rescued" us from mourning depression following the death of our son.  I fear that I will not be able to return the favor and again rescue her this time.

I have lost a sister, a brother and my mother..and a host of beloved uncles and aunts.  I have lost a son.  The loss of a child dims one's world forever;  life is never, ever the same.  Life...and death goes on.  Now I must again prepare to "let go" of still another object of my love.

"Letting Go" is the hard price we pay for love and loving.  Were it not so.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Romney's Investments vs Obama's Investments

Wow!  Mitt Romney sure caught a lot of flak this week!  Liberals jumped all over his investments while head of Bain Capital.  They argue that Romney's creation of such businesses as Staples is small time.  Dems abhorred the fact that Romney has all that wealth while people are hurting.

Never mind that those thousands of Staples stores across America employ tens of thousands of Americans; the Dems hate the fact that any citizen should have that kind of money.  After all, only Big Government should have the power to create jobs.

Obama's campaign strategists have been poring over ever aspect of Bain Capital's financial reports and have snarked that Bain Capital only created a mere 100,000 jobs.

Fair Enough.  Now let's compare Romney's investments to those of Barack Obama.  Well, now, let's begin with the how this investment money is sourced.  While Romney, and Bain Capital, deployed private funds toward the creation of businesses, Obama used taxpayer money to make HIS investments.

So how did each fare?

Well, we already looked at Romney and his success in creating businesses across a broad spectrum.  Now, let's look at how Obama has fared using our tax dollars:

Solyndra, the California Solar company:  Obama bestowed upon them $550 million of our tax dollars.  Less than two years later the company declared bankruptcy.  Not only did they go bankrupt, but they used our tax dollars to pay back every founding investor before opting to declare bankruptcy.  Solyndra's collapse resulted in a loss of ten thousand jobs.

Beacon Power, another alternative energy company:  The Anointed One gave them $50 million dollars. Less than two years later they too declared bankruptcy and sent their employees to the unemployment office to partake of Obama's unemployment check.

Evergreen Solar, another solar company:  Obama and his Massachusetts pal, Governor Deval Patrick, gave Evergreen Solar over $100 million dollars.  Two years later Evergreen Solar went bankrupt and thousands more headed to the unemployment line.

The latest of Obama's sterling investment of our tax dollars came this week when Ener1, an electric battery company, declared bankruptcy.  In this case, rather than "loaning" taxpayer dollars, Obama actually gave them $118 million dollars in federal grants.

So, here we have two investment "report cards".  One created 100,000 jobs and cost the taxpayer zero dollars.  The other invested a billion taxpayer dollars and they all went bankrupt and left tens of thousands unemployed.

And, saddest of all, we have learned that the CEOs of all of these bankrupt companies, yes ALL, gave millions in campaign contributions to Barack Obama.

Sad, Damned sad.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Direct TV Slimy Business Model

How many of you receive those Direct TV offers in your mail box twice a week?  How many of you see them packed into those Value Pack junk mail packs once a month?  How many of you have had to pull off those ad "door-hangers" hanging on your door at least once a week?   How many of you have been forced to watch a Direct TV commercial every five minutes?

 How many of you have used Direct TV and found that their customer service is the worst you've ever encountered in business-customer relationships?

How many of you have been duped by one of Direct TV's army of slimy sub-vendors who market the Direct TV brand, but have nothing to do with the company.  They will do or say anything to make a buck.

Well, one of the reasons Direct TV has to saturate your mail box and your front door knob with come on offers is because the product and service they provide sucks hind tit.  Go to any consumer complaint forum on the internet and you will find tens of thousands of complaints.  Complaints of over-charging, failure to clearly explain all installation costs, poor reception, price hikes before completion of the agreed contract, and a host of other complaints about a company that is far more slimy than any used car salesman.

The Direct TV business model is so flawed I have often wondered why they opt for this particular business model.  I would think if they cut back on spending on their TV ads,  slashed their junk mail send-outs by 50% and opted instead to invest this money into an integrated business operation where marketing, customer service and technical support were all working together to produce a quality service they would have no need to employ these slimy sub-vendors who have little interest in a long term commitment to TV customer.

We have never used Direct TV but that didn't stop Direct TV from damaging my wife's credit rating.  A reliable consumer, and manager of personal credit, my wife always has a FICO score that hovers around 800, which is about as high as you can get.  However, we recently ran her annual Equifax credit report and found that her FICO score had dropped more than 60 points, all attributable to an alleged "late payment for services for Direct TV.  It seems some slimy Direct TV Vendor in Southern California signed someone up for Direct TV (my wife resides in Phoenix) and fail to identify/validate the identity of the person who actually signed up for Direct TV in  my wife's name.

Here's what we got back from Equifax when we challenged this credit entry:

Your request for Equifax to reinvestigate certain items of your credit file is now complete.
Below are your results and a report of your credit file revised, as applicable, as a result of the reinvestigation. If you have additional questions regarding the reinvestigated items, please contact the source of that information directly. You may also contact Equifax regarding the specific information contained within this letter or report within the next 60 days by visiting us at www.investigate.equifax.com or by calling a Customer Representative at (888) 661-5333 from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Friday in your time zone.
Thank you for giving Equifax the opportunity to serve you.
The Results Of Our Reinvestigation
>>> We have reviewed the inquiry information. The results are: Inquiries are a factual record of file access. If you believe this was unauthorized, please contact the creditor. If you have additional questions about this item please contact: Directv, 2230 E Imperial Hwy, Mail Station La1/N367, EL Segundo CA 90245-3504
Notice to Consumers
You may request a description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information, including the business name and address of the furnisher of information contacted, and if reasonably available the telephone number.
If the reinvestigation does not resolve your dispute, you have the right to add a statement to your credit file disputing the accuracy or completeness of the information; the statement should be brief and may be limited to not more than one hundred words (two hundred words for Maine residents) explaining the nature of your dispute.

My Question:  Why is Direct TV not required to produce a signature to the Credit Bureau to prove that the requester of services are who they are?  They certainly don't have my wife's signature or authorization!   Why should they be able to damage a person's credit and not produce proof?

Needless to say, we will never use Direct TV in this lifetime.....and you shouldn't either!  They clearly did not bother to investigate this!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Obama's Contempt For Arizona, America


Barack Obama should get an Academy Award for his "acting" ability.   He was able to get elected by disguising his utter contempt for American values.  Even now this smart talking salesman can fool 40 percent of the American populace.  This despite his embracing the "God Damn America" rants of his minister for 20 years, Reverend Wright.  This, despite his pronouncement that White America clings to closely to its bible and its guns.  He got elected by convincing voters that he was a centrist and not the left wing radical that hung out with a 60's Unibomber that blew up an impressive portion of the University of Wisconsin.

After getting  elected this socialistic "man-child" emerged from his artificial shell, flew to the Middle East, bowed to Saudi kings, told the Egyptian Parliament that Americans were not "exceptional"; that we we're just like everyone else.  Walking on egg shells he absolutely refused to assert that there are indeed radical Muslims that are hell bent on destroying the western world, particularly Christianity.

Coming home, Obama then appointed to his Cabinet some of the most corrupt lobbyists and tax cheats we have ever seen.  He then joined with his white-hating Attorney General to declare that white America was  a nation of "cowards"for our opposition to illegal immigration.

Since his inauguration the Obama/Holder Amnesty machine has sued the states of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah and South Carolina for daring to enforce our current immigration laws.  For three years now he has ignored Arizona's plea to come to this state and go out and inspect the Mexican border.  He refuses.

Yesterday Governor Jan Brewer greeted President Obama as he arrived here to take credit for Intel's new plant here in the Phoenix area.  (Ironically, it was California's laxity on illegal immigration that led Intel to build their plant in Arizona)  Carrying a personal letter inviting President Obama to visit the border with her, Governor Brewer greeted the President upon his arrival.

Rather than accepting his responsibilities as President to represent all of America, Obama chose to throw a snit fit and complain about one paragraph in her book which was critical of Obama's Open Borders/Amnesty stance on illegal immigration.

Like a little kid, Obama pouted and blurted out he didn't like her criticism of him.

Should we be surprised?  After all, this community organizer has a never once had to deal with illegal crime, identity theft, drop houses, or the drug problem (except where he would get his cocaine when he was partaking of it previously).

Obama is a great "talker".  He is a great "actor".  But like all phonies, every once in awhile Americans get to see the real Obama, the socialist Obama, the spoiled child who never held a job and got every cent of his education paid for through minority scholarships of America taxpayers; the very Americans he despises the most.

Give him an Oscar for best actor....but for God's sake turn this socialist out in November!

Note:  Please read this editorial opinion on Obama's arrogance toward others.  It says it better than I ever could.  http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/DougMacE/153805

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life And Honky Tonk Heartbreak

                                                             Merle Haggard

I just read on the news that Merle Haggard had to cancel a music appearance somewhere down South.  The report cited possible pneumonia and age conditions.  It's always sad to see a musical icon fading from the scene.

Merle Haggard is one of the many country music stars whose talents I admire greatly.  Strangely, I can remember when Merle and most other country singers were not high on my list of entertainers.  (Only the powerful laments of Hank Williams could break through my youthful musical snobbery)

Merle Haggard broke into the business down in Bakersfield, California, just a few cotton fields south of where I grew up.  Bakersfield in the 50's was quickly becoming "Nashville West" as stars like Buck Owens and Merle and other country singers were plying their trade.  Every Saturday night my folks would rally around our old 10 inch black and white TV to watch "Cousin Herb's Trading Post", a country music show which featured all of the budding country singers, including Dolly Parton.

Not for me, I said.  Those folks spoke just too damn much like my own family and that was just too close to poverty and hard times and I aspired to get as far away from that when I grew up as I possibly could.

Then, as I grew up, something wondrous happened to me:  Life!  Life is full of joy and sadness and hope and heartbreak....and I learned that no music captured those feelings as much as country music.

As an example, when the Air Force chose to move us from a base in sunny California and plunged us into the frigid wilds of North Dakota in 1973 we were devastated at the remoteness and distance from family and friends.  We arrived in North Dakota in mid summer, but the season changed quickly and by October we were already getting  blizzards.  Compounding the distress, the Air Force lost my pay records (they were paper records back then) and we experienced some pretty serious financial problems.  To help out I took a part time job as a  bouncer in a bar in Grand Forks.

Old Merle was singing what was in my heart on the jukebox of that old beer bar.  Hour after hour he sang of hard times and heartbreak.  Now imagine you are in my shoes and you are listening to this song.  ("If We Make It Through December" Tell me Merle wasn't singing this for me and mine:


Later Merle sang for my wife as I boarded planes to remote overseas assignments (Silver Wings).  She said she always seemed to hear that song shortly after I left.


I've driven lonely roads, listening to Hank and Merle and Kenny and Buck.  I've sat on a bar stool and cried in my beer when they sang of hope, hurt, loneliness and love.  Their songs go right to your heart because they sing the truth.

Get Well, Merle.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Diet Detours; Gain 5 Pounds Fast!


Okay, like many, I gained weight over the holidays.  Turkey and mash potatoes, apple pie, pumpkin pie, a pound of See's Peanut Brittle and God knows what else.

So on New Year's Day I made a resolution to lose weight.  I stepped on the scale and saw the results of holiday gluttony.  I'm not going to tell you what my weight was.  Suffice it to say it was a new high for me.  (The photo above is not me but not far off).  Time for change.  I was seriously dreading starting the Atkins diet again.  In 2004 I lost 50 pounds on this diet.  While very successful I have used Atkins so many times....and with so many starts and stops..I was weary of going back to heavy meat meals and no starches or sugars.

So I got on the Internet, did a lot of research on other diets and decided to try two different diets for ten days each.  The first ten days I ate foods that were proscribed by Weight Watchers.  The second ten days I   tried a high fiber diet (oatmeal, beans and such) that is supposedly better for regulating your blood sugar levels and thus stave off hunger.

During  both diets I chose to ignore the weight scales completely.  Under the two diets rapid weight loss is not reasonable nor expected so I ignored weighing myself.  Yesterday came the moment of truth:  I stepped on the scales and found that I had gained 5 pounds!  (Again, I will not tell you my weight now but will announce it 30 days from now, after I again commit to the Atkins diet for 30 days!)

I'm posting all of this on my blog as an adjunct for shaming myself and spurring me on toward my weight goal of losing 20 pounds in 30 days on the Atkins diet.  I'll keep you posted occasionally on recipes I've employed throughout the month.  (My daughter turned me on to an Internet site, "Linda's Low Carb recipes" and it is the best site for advice on adhering to a low carb regimen.

So, it's back to Tuna salad, boiled eggs, baked chicken, broiled fish, ground turkey chili, black soy beans, beef and no sugar or starches.

Wish me luck!  My loss is my gain!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"A State of Grace"

Have you ever had moments in your life that are blessed with a divine grace?  An unworldly moment when it seems that your angels are smiling on you....lifting you to a momentary height of perfection that is as close to heaven one can achieve on this earthly plain?  No, it doesn't last long...but when it occurs it is like ice cream on a hot day.  It is a brief escape from the boundaries our world,  and we ourselves,  place on our range of achievement.

I've been fortunate to have enjoyed those oh so ephemeral "states of grace" where I felt the gentle hand of perfection tap me on the shoulder, before moving on to greater essences.  Once, as a young man, I was singing in a talent show.  The song I was performing required a range of voice which was often beyond me.  However, on that one night, I hit all the notes to perfection, the acoustics were marvelous, and I felt I was blessed with just a touch of heaven in those moments.  After the performance I went backstage and a fellow performer told me that my voice coach had told her that my performance was one of the finest she had ever heard.

I also write.  Most times I find writing to be such an uphill effort.  I always long for the beautiful simplicity of a Hemingway, the soulful efforts of a Steinbeck and the elegance of Thomas Wolfe.  I fail miserably.  But, once in awhile my "muse" stands just over my left shoulder and allows me to write prose as poetry.  It is that rare moment of "grace" that makes it all so worthwhile.

One need not sing or paint or write or dance the ballet to feel our creator's bestowing of moments of grace on our lives.

We've all been blessed with moments of divine grace.  Consider what you feel when a tiny baby wraps his finger around yours as he slumbers in his crib.  Remember a time when you carried a sleeping child from the car to the house; how your precious child, roused briefly, then wrapped little hands around your neck and snuggled closer for the trusting conveyance from car to bed.   It's a heaven-sent moment that says you are loved and trusted and wanted...and that you're very important to someone.  "Grace".

The achievement of "grace" can also be achieved at will sometimes.  Consider the feeling of grace and peace and happiness when you perform a kindness, a willful act that makes someone else happy.  When the gift of love and kindness is meaningful and heartfelt it is also the graceful gift of "receiving" as well.

Just yesterday I was watching "To Sir With Love", starring Sidney Poitier.  In my lifetime of  movie-watching I have never seen a more graceful actor.  His facial expressions, his manner of walking, his movement of hands are as gracefully beautiful as anything I have ever seen.  I have seen Poitier back slap a southern white bigot in "In The Heat of The Night" and wanted to stand up and cheer.  I have seen his hands lovingly cup the face of a blind and lost white girl in "A Patch of Blue" and marveled at how much can be said with two hands.  I've seen Mr. Poitier confounded by an obstinate Mother Superior in "Lilies of The Field" and wondered how he achieved it with a mere turn of lip and flick of eye brow.  Grace on the Silver Screen!

Two of our greatest philosophers, Descartes and Plato,  sought to explain the concept of "perfection".  Both asserted that, within all of us, there exists at our "inner core", just a touch of "perfection", bestowed upon us by our creator so that we may know it when we see it or experience it.

I have to believe that those momentary "states of grace" occur most frequently when we are in harmony with that inner core of our being.  Some of us communicate with that element frequently...and then we are blessed with a Van Gogh or a Beethoven or a Mother Theresa or a Poitier.

The rest of us must stumble along and be grateful for those heavenly moments, those "states of Grace",  when God reminds us that we are so much better than we think we are.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How about really honoring Dr. Martin Luther King

This blog was written on MLK's birthday.  After watching the black rants at the memorial dedication today it looks as if three generations of blacks learned nothing from MLK.  Still ranting about wanting more government largess:

Rather than holding luncheons and rallies for Dr. King, how about African Americans supporting the causes Dr. King championed; i.e.  getting an education, black parents taking responsibility for their children, turning away from drugs and weaning their selves away from the government tit.

African Americans have the highest school drop out rates, are the biggest users of welfare and food stamps, lead the nation in drug use and HIV disease and 77 percent of black families have no father living at home.

Dr. King gave his life so that blacks could achieve equality in our society.  This was more than achieved in the civil rights bills of the sixties, to include preference quotas in our nation's colleges and in both private and public employment policies.

Instead, far too many African Americans became addicted to generous government programs and have adopted the "victim mentality", refusing to take responsibilities for their own failures and refusing to stand up and become productive citizens.  The "give me" mentality dominates too much African American thinking and is only encouraged by such corrupt "moral leaders" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. 

What would MLK think about Black Flash Mobs gang robbing convenience stores?  What would he think of Charlie Rangel and his $10 million dollar tax fraud?  What would he think of Al Sharpton and his $1.3 million tax fraud?  What would he think of Maxine Water's corrupt efforts to get bank loans for her husband's bank?  What would MLK think about three generations of blacks self satisfied with a lifetime on welfare?

Dr. King would be shocked at what his bretheren has become.  Sad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Obama Czar Count: 33 Ronald Reagan: 1


Good Morning,

Americans woke up this morning only to find they have yet another government Czar to look after them.  With Obama's appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as Consumer Finance Czar, you can now rest easy.  Big government is looking out for you.

Never mind that Obama circumvented the constitution by appointing still another Czar while Congress was not in session...and therefore could not approve or block this appointment.  Never mind that the constitutionally mandated executive cabinet does not seem to be enough.  We truly needed another dictatorial government agency to tell us how to live our lives.  With this appointment Obama has now appointed 33 Czars to help him run the country.

Oh, of course, this is not the first time a President has upset the balance of power in our triangular Executive, Legislative and Judicial system.  The most recent RINO President, George W. Bush, had almost as many.  However, the most troubling aspect of Obama's "czar-ocracy" has been his intent to neutralize the only power we, as citizens, have....and that is our power to exert citizen influence on our elected representatives.   How are we to call on Congress to correct a wrong when Congress has no influence on a Obama Czarist mandate?

We need look no farther than Obama's appointment of a "Car Czar" to see how Obama moved to shape the structure of reform in resurrecting Chrysler and General Motors.  Completely ignoring American Contract Law, Obama wiped out the ownership of company shareholders while simultaneously granting auto unions a majority ownership stake in these companies.  In doing so Obama was able to reward his union supporters and, most probably insure a resurgence of excessive labor union costs which brought the automobile companies down in the first place.  How's that working out?  Well, I can only urge you to google "Auto Plant workers caught smoking pot and drinking at work plant sites".  Pray you didn't' buy one of the cars turned out at the plant that week.

How's Obama's "Banking Czar" doing?  Has your credit gotten any better?  Is small business having access to small business loans?  Are banks more stable?  How many of you are better off after his appointment?  Have home loans gotten easier to get?

How about the "Housing Czar"?  Has he been able to stave off 7 million home foreclosures?  Has anyone, other than those who refused to make their mortgage payments, benefited from the housing czar?

Obama's arrogant attitude toward the American electorate is simply astounding!  Need we cite the electorate's 75% opposition to Obamacare?  And how many more states will be sued by Obama's Justice Department for trying to enforce America's immigration laws.  To Obama, the states of Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah and South Carolina have met Obama's scorn and are forced to spend millions defending themselves in the courts, just because they want to enforce our immigration laws.

Even Michelle Obama serves as an adjutant "czar" as she has pronounced our school lunch program as sub-par and is working on legislative initiatives to make damn sure your kid shall not consume a french fry in a school cafeteria.

It might be interested to note that President Ronald Reagan created 22 million jobs during his two terms in office.  He was able to whittle Jimmy Carter's 20 percent inflation rate down to 4 percent in the year he left office.  Reagan was able to face down the Russians and bring down the Soviet empire.  Reagan was also able to cooperate with Democratic congressional majorities to put in place business incentives that seeded the birth of Walmart, Home Depot, Apple Computer, Microsoft and Cisco Systems.  This "seeding" of new business brought about the greatest expansion of prosperity since the end of World War II.

And he he did so with one "Czar".

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Keep The Military Out of Politics


I was watching the Iowa Caucus the other night.  When it was Ron Paul's turn to mount the stage to thank and acknowledge his campaign for their efforts,  he made a brief speech, then beckoned to a uniformed military member to the stage to "rally the troops".

This sent the blood boiling of about 5 million veterans as well as those on active duty.  One of the military's most honored traditions is that we serve our country and we obey the orders of the Commander in Chief, without reservation.  We do so whether we agree or disagree with the politics of our President.  He is our President and he represents the American people.  We, in the military, are honored professionals.  When we signed that military contract we promised to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.

We are further bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  The UCMJ specifically forbids any military member from appearing at political events in uniform.  This military member violated not only the code but he violated our honor bound commitment to rise above party politics.  That's one of the reasons the American people hold the military in high regard.

In no way does the UCMJ forbid military members from participating in political events.  It simply says when you do, you attend in civilian attire.  As every other American we are free to participate in the voting process.  After all, one of our prime obligations is to serve and protect so that all Americans are free to express their own ideas and for the freedom to choose our leaders.

Airman Thorson violated the sacred trust that America places in the military.  Ron Paul, who served in the Air Force and is well aware of these UCMJ restrictions, chose politics over honor in allowing this breech of military law and tradition.  But even more disgusting was Airman's Thorson's political rant in the uniform that is meant to be worn with honor.

During my military career I served under Commander in Chiefs whom I did not support politically.  However, I never allowed my political views to interfere with my professional commitment to defend our nation, without regard for who's occupying our nation's leadership positions.

Airman Thorson needs to be prosecuted under the UCMJ for this breech of honor, so that it may never happen again.  It was a sleazy political episode and I was extremely embarrassed to see it happen.

Our loyalty belongs to no one but the American people and their chosen leaders...and no one else.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Times of Our Life; Farewell Dear Kodak

Paul Simon wrote a song about them. (Kodachrome).  Tens of millions have that logo stamped on the back of fading family photos.   The greatest events of our lives were captured in image by a Kodak camera.
Now we are learning that Kodak is ready to declare bankruptcy.  It signals an end to another of America's technological icons.  No longer able to complete with cheap Asian cameras, no longer able to profit from the sale of camera film, Kodak stands now on weak and wobbly legs.

I'm saddened beyond measure.  Saddened for all of the folks who worked for Kodak during all those years.  Saddened to see an old friend pass.   Folks up in Rochester, New York, home of Kodak headquarters, must be doubly sad.  Kodak has been a source of employment, of belonging, and a source of community charity and support for 100 years now.  They augmented school funding, built art and music centers and were a vital part of the community.  I read a recent report that said Kodak, and Rochester is now just a shadow of its formerly vigorous self.  Ironically, Kodak was such a technologic marvel that, even today, they hold thousands of patents worth billions of dollars.  How sad that we cannot find a way to turn those patents into marketable products and keep a few thousand Americans employed.

What is the next American icon to disappear?  We lost Budweiser to a European conglomerate a few years ago.  Nestle is now European owned.  All of our American car manufacturers enjoy an incestuous relationship with European and Asian car makers.  Will Coca Cola and Pepsi and Hershey be the next ones to go?

All of the economic experts tell us the world is now "flat", that the world is now smaller, that, to compete, we must see companies as international beings that no longer have relevance to the American scene. These were the companies that employed your dad and/or your mom.  They put bread on the table, their corporate officers attended PTA meetings just like you did.  When a community need was declared these companies chipped in to help meet that need.  They paid commercial property taxes.  Their success contributed to the richness of the community.

I believe we're losing far more than a company as we surrender our iconic American institutions.  As we open up more trade pacts with foreigners, and as we fail to negotiate equitable labor and environmental "fair play" standards, we continue to lose jobs to cheap foreign labor.

I expect, at some point, we're going to have to find an equitable balance between free trade and open markets, and assess the true costs of losing our manufacturing base.  Will there ever come a time when America, and Americans, choose to fore go cheap products in China for a more stable domestic economy?  Will we ever decide that we can settle for a Kodak digital camera, even if it costs a few dollars more?  Are the "Rochesters" of America all doomed to be economic ghost towns so that we can save a buck in Walmart?

I certainly don't have the answers.  All I know is that I have a box of old Kodak photos that document the life of my family over half a century.  Those old Kodachrome images leave a soft spot in my heart for a company that made those photos possible.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iowa; America's "Town Hall"

I love Iowa, and Iowans.  They are called "America's Heartland".  The elite intelligentsia of Northeast, the Harvard and Yale grads, love to denigrate Iowans and their "caucus".  They say the Iowa Caucus is of absolutely no importance; only the big election primaries carry any weight with them.  I disagree.

The term "caucus" is as American as can be.  Taken from an old Agongquinian word, it means to "counsel" and is the basis for America's once honored history of community involvement and active citizenship.   As portrayed in Rockwell's famous painting, town hall meetings were actively attended in earlier times.  Note the fellow's pocketed and rolled town hall agenda in his jacket.  Note, the citizen standing up before his community to bravely state his case in the community discussion.  Priceless!

America has fewer and fewer town hall meetings these days.  Two years ago the Tea Party held dozens of town hall meetings.  They voiced their displeasure with the ever-heavy hand of government in their lives. They let their representatives hear them clearly.  Unlike the "Occupiers", the Tea Party held their meetings and went home.  They did not commandeer public lands, pitch tents, disrupt business activity, rape women or defecate on police cars.  They spoke their piece and went home.   And while Obama and Pelosi and Reid denounced the Tea Party as "wild-eyed radicals", they cheered on the Occupiers as "concerned citizens".  

But, we were talking about Iowa....and caucuses, weren't we?  Last night I witnessed Iowans brave the winter cold and venture out to meet, discuss the merits of their respective candidates, argue the importance of the political issues, and vote for their chosen candidates.  In doing so they honored the greatest American tradition; performing their duties as "citizen".  I love and admire them for that.  How much greater would America be if all of our citizens practiced that same level of citizenship.

As I followed the vote on CNN and Fox, I was bemused by the dozens of political pundits placing their own "spin" on the Iowa election.  CNN had a form of "behavior boards" which attempted to "profile" every facet of the Iowa voter.  The voting results were dissected in a hundred different ways.  But not once did I hear a nod of admiration for these Iowans and the spirit of their citizenship.

My son does business all over the United States.  He encounters a host of liars and long lines of broken promises in his business dealings.  But he told me once he loves doing business with people from the midwest.  He's always impressed with their honesty and spirt of hard work.  I'm not surprised.  Last night Iowans showed what America once was and what she could still be.

God Bless Iowa,