Facebook Increases My Blood Pressure

February 24, 2017

The way I see it, there are three types of people who frequent Facebook. This may also be true of the other social media networks, but I am only familiar with Facebook. If the other networks affected me in a similar fashion, I would’ve had a stroke a long time ago.

The first of the three types of people on Facebook are those who stay away from politics and post nothing but nice friendly pictures, poems, videos, jokes, etc. I love those people. More often than not, they cheer me up and make my day. There is still hope for humanity.

The second type are those who post political items without doing the slightest bit of research to verify the truth behind the claims. These people represent the extreme sides of both major political parties. Prior to the election, they painted Hillary as a saint and Trump as the Devil, or vice-versa. Since the election, Trump is painted as Satan (his own self), or the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Both sides irritate the hell out of the other.

The third bracket belongs to people like me. Throughout this process I have tried repeatedly to demonstrate that no politician can be trusted and, for that reason, Trump might actually be beneficial – although I have no high regards for the man beyond the fact that he has not made a career out of living off the taxpayers as a member of some government.

Obviously, it is the second type that drives me up a wall. Not only will they defend their posts while refusing to acknowledge that the posts may be out-and-out lies, they will attack my posts and insist I prove my statements.

One such statement had something to do with, “The election is over and it is time to stop the protests and rioting. Give the man a chance. If he screws up royally, impeach him. If he screws up enough to cost him his re-election, vote him out.”

One person too lazy to do any research at all challenged me on the word ‘rioting’. I suggested they might consider the University of California at Berkley who stopped a gay Libertarian from speaking on the campus because the protesters considered him to be too Conservative.

The response from the challenger was “That’s one. You used a plural term.”

Too many people on the left (and yes, it is the Liberals)  are more than glad to exercise their freedom of speech to stop anyone they disagree with from exercising his or her right to free speech. Yes, that upsets me greatly. If you refuse to even listen to the other side, how can you ever hope for compromise.

And yes, it is the left – the side that preaches tolerance – as long as you agree with them. When is the last time a group of Conservative students stopped a Liberal from speaking on a campus?

I made another statement that caused consternation from the left. “I would love to see Trump make America great again simply to see how his detractors react.”

I was informed by people barely old enough to vote that American has never been as great as it is now. How do I argue with someone who is being indoctrinated by Liberal college professors?

I would begin by taking a closer look at the unemployment rate. Obama is very proud that the number is under 5%. On the surface, that is a wonderful accomplishment. However, if one does the slightest bit of research, there are a number of factors that bring that number into question.

Let’s begin with some basic numbers. I’ve seen government numbers (which calls them into question immediately) that an average of 250,000 people enter the labor force every month. I assume that is high school dropouts and graduates, college dropouts and graduates, and legal immigrants. (They might also be counting the illegal immigrants, but I don’t know that for sure.)

Every month the government releases the latest figures of people who got jobs last month. I have yet to see that number top 250,000. So, based on that alone, the unemployment numbers should be going up.

Unless something drastic has happened and I missed it, the population of the United States has also increased every month. I know there are many deaths each month, but the newborns more than make up for that. PLUS, we still have immigrants coming in on a regular basis.

Somewhere along the way I’ve seen numbers representing the ‘under’ employed. Those are the folks who had decent jobs that were outsourced or sent overseas. Instead of making $100,000 per year as middle-management types, they are now working for much less money – but they are working and not part of the unemployment numbers.

But the numbers are still questionable. The big question concerns the number of people in the labor force – a number that has dropped significantly over the last ten years. How can that be?

Let’s begin with the fact that unemployment benefits eventually run out. How does our government handle that? To begin with, there is welfare and food stamps- the recipients of both has dramatically increased over the last ten years. So, these folks are no longer counted as unemployed. They are simply living off the kindness of the taxpayers. (To be honest, if I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn’t be so kind. I don’t mind helping someone get back on their feet, but I resent helping someone stay in the chair.)

I have friends and relatives who insist I am a Republican because I believe and say things like this. I then ask them “How many Republicans have no problem with gay marriage?” I also point out that while I don’t like abortion, I hate the alternatives, so I accept it as a necessary evil. There are a few other items that would label me as a Liberal, but that is only a small part of the bigger point.

I could be wrong, but my guess is that the people on the far left and far right of the political spectrum are the vast minority of our citizens. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. But, thanks to the politicians and the news media, they have us at loggerheads.

As for the media, I am convinced they have moved into the business of ‘making’ the news rather than simply reporting it. If they didn’t bother to cover the protest marches, would the protester even bother? And if they didn’t stress certain facts, would people get royally ticked off and go on rampaging riots?

I heard a talking head question the Trump administration by asking “If they are doing such good and worthwhile things, why do they have minor things dominating the headlines?” Simple answer: So people will get upset and do more things for the reporters to cover. They are going out of their way to get juicy stories.

So, the statement I continue to make on Facebook is “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”

In the meantime, I will stay off Facebook for a while and get my blood pressure back down to a reasonable level.

 


Fund Raising Efforts

October 10, 2015
The shopping area near my childhood home.

The shopping area near my childhood home.

Over the years… starting as a young child selling hand made pot holders door-to-door so I’d have money to buy Christmas presents for my family, I’ve been involved in many fund raising activities.

In high school, I was a member of the Key Club (a junior Kiwanis club) and distributed local phone directories in exchange for donations. I also helped sell Christmas trees to raise money for our charitable pursuits.

During my college years, I volunteered as a tutor at the local high school, but my fund raising activities were focused on paying my tuition, room and board, and occasional glass of beer.

After college, I got involved with the LIONS club and sold brooms, light bulbs, fruitcakes, pancake breakfast tickets, and raffle tickets among other items.

At church, I’ve been involved with yard sales, Irish dinners, auctions, and numerous other fund raising efforts.

Is it any wonder that somehow I got snookered into being the Fund Raising chair of our local Family Promise affiliate? Family Promise is an organization whose mission it is to help homeless children and their parents get back into a home of their own. For more information on Family Promise, I invite you to visit the Family Promise web site.

My past endeavors were small potatoes compared with my current challenges. In the past, the most money raised by any of the things I worked with was a few thousand dollars. Now I’m faced with raising at least $50,000 to get the program started and then meeting an annual budget of over $125,000.

Our fund raising committee has started a number of things to get that money flowing. We have Club 180 which encourages donors to help turn a life around (180 degrees) by pledging and donating $180 per year. We’ve also placed donation canisters in many local businesses. (One of those canisters was stolen. It probably contained less than $20 at the time. It’s sad that people would steal from charities, but maybe they needed the money more than our homeless children. Another story for another time!)

In less than a month we will hold our first major fund raising event. It will be Bed Race & Festival. On November 7th, we’ll welcome local citizens at 9:00 AM at Forsyth Central High School where they can visit at least 14 booths selling various items, have their child’s face painted, or let their child create a work of art that will be donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for another fund raising event.

The bed races will begin around 10:00 AM. Each team will compete in two heats and their time will be recorded. The two teams with the fastest combined times will then compete in the finals at noon.

While there will be a trophy for the team with the fastest bed, the big prize – the coveted Brass Bed award – will go to the team that raises the most money for Family Promise.

In case you’re wondering why I bring this up…

My entry in the Bed Race

My entry in the Bed Race

As of last night, my friends and family have donated almost $900 to Family Promise in support of my bed entry. I’ve given my bed the title of “First Day of Retirement” and it will be pushed by a group of retired senior citizens. Our goal is to prove that old age and treachery can defeat youth and enthusiasm any day of the year. If you like that thought (regardless of your age) I’d appreciate your demonstration of support… in terms of dollars donated to Family Promise.

You can make a donation to my bed or any of my competitors by going to our local local Family Promise Bed Race page.

Obviously I feel very strongly about Family Promise. Forsyth County, Georgia is one of the wealthiest areas in the country and yet, as of this past Thursday (October 8th) there were three hundred forty-three children considered homeless since the beginning of the current school year. A child is considered homeless if he or she is living with friends or relatives, living in an extended stay motel, living in a tent or camping trailer, or living in the family car.

You can also help the cause by buying any of my e-books that are available for your Kindle or Nook. I’ve stated that I will donate half of my royalties to Family Promise. If need be, I’ll give it all to Family Promise.

Pure and simple, I cannot do this alone. I need all my friends, family, readers, casual acquaintances, and everyone else to chip in. We have almost 200,000 people living in Forsyth County. If I could find a way to obtain at least $1.00 from each of them, we’d have the money problem solved. Sadly, I have yet to figure out how to do that. So, I’m reaching out to everyone I can think of.

I already received backing from a friend in London, England. Let’s see if we can get donations from other parts of the world!

Please spread the word! Thank you kindly.


Learning Something New Every Day

June 17, 2009

Once again I have to rely on the History Channel’s web site to find something to write about. Today I hit the jackpot!

Kate Smith had a weekly television show in 1960 and my parents made sure to watch it. Kate was a dearly loved singer from the depression days on. She passed away on June 17, 1986.

Another thing that happened during my lifetime (and it wasn’t that long ago – 1994) was the great car chase of Southern California. You know the one! The White Ford Bronco driven by Al Cowlings. The vehicle belonged to O.J. Simpson who was, supposedly, hiding in the back seat holding a gun to his own head.

For nine hours the Bronco drove (within the speed limit) back and forth along the freeways. O.J. had used his cell phone to warn the police to back off or he would commit suicide. He had planned to escape to Mexico and had his passport, a fake mustache and goatee, and the gun with him. He’d heard he was going to be indicted for the murders (which he claimed he didn’t commit) of his wife and her boyfriend. As we all know, innocent people always flee when charged with a crime they didn’t commit.

That Ford Bronco must have had a very large gas tank… unless the police stood by as Cowlings refueled. Eventually, the ‘high speed’ chase found its way back to O.J.’s home, For another ninety minutes, O.J. refused to get out of the vehicle.

I recall getting into more than a few heated discussions following the acquittal of O.J. because I thought the jury returned the correct verdict – BASED ON THE EVIDENCE. I thought the prosecutors did a terrible job. Do I think he murdered the two people? Absolutely! Do I think he got away with murder? Without a doubt. Do I think the prosecutor was too interested in the television cameras and failed to introduce key pieces of evidence? Yep.

In any case, O.J. is now behind bars. We’ll have to wait and see how long he remains there.

Two other events from June 17th deserve to be mentioned. One was a learning experience for me. It begins with an event that happened about fifty years ago.

Sometime while I was in high school, the Langley High School basketball team won the Pittsburgh City Championship and qualified for the state tournament. The first game was played against the team from Erie Strong Vincent High School. Langley lost that game. But the story continues.

When I entered Edinboro State Teachers College in the fall of 1962, I met a number of people who had graduated from Erie Strong Vincent. But I never gave any thought to the name of that school… until today.

On June 17, 1837, a man named Strong Vincent was born in Waterford, Pennsylvania. Waterford is a small town just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania. I immediately recognized the name and figured, correctly, that he was the namesake of the school.

Colonel Strong Vincent led a group of Union soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg and successfully defended Little Round Top. However, he was mortally wounded during that battle and died on July 7, 1963.

Now, after all these years, I know who that school is named after. By the way, Langley is named after Samuel Pierpont Langley. Langley worked at what eventually became the University of Pittsburgh.  He is best known for his work with gliders and aviation. His designs were instrumental to the Wright brothers.

That brings me to the most interesting story of the day. On June 17, 1943, Senator Harry Truman was heading a committee investigating possible profiteering by defense contractors. (Sounds familiar – some things never change!)

Truman was looking into a defense plant located in Pasco, Washington. According to the History Channel, on this day in 1943…

Truman received a phone call from Harry Stimson (Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of War), who told him that the Pasco plant was “part of a very important secret development.” Fortunately, Stimson did not need to explain further: Truman, a veteran and a patriot, understood immediately that he was treading on dangerous ground. Before Stimson could continue, Truman assured the secretary “you won’t have to say another word to me. Whenever you say that [something is highly secret] to me that’s all I want to hear…if [the plant] is for a specific purpose and you think it’s all right, that’s all I need to know.” Stimson replied that the purpose was not only secret, but “unique.”

Can you imagine something like this happening today? If the media caught wind of something like this, it would be labeled a conspiracy and that Senator would be hit with all sorts of political pressure.

It would be two years before Truman learned the truth about the Pasco plant. In 1944, Truman was elected to serve as Roosevelt’s vice-president, but it wasn’t until 1945, after Roosevelt’s death and Truman’s ‘promotion’ that Stimson told him about the Manhattan Project. Pasco was one of several plants developing components of the world’s first atomic bomb.

So that’s it. Lots of interesting stuff happened on June 17th. Hopefully nothing of any import will happen today… unless I win the lottery.

Perhaps I should buy a ticket!

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If you haven’t already done so, you might want to read my brother’s account of an atomic bomb test on the Bikini Atoll.