The Supremes

June 28, 2012

Interesting that President Obama looks down on those justices when they rule against him. Today, he lauds them as the HIGHEST COURT OF THE LAND.

In truth, my hat is off to them, although I totally dislike their ruling. I can’t say I disagree because they based their ruling on the laws of the land – not their personal opinions. That’s what the Supreme Court Justices are supposed to do.

There are any number of points we can argue – regardless of our side of the political spectrum. BUT, they ruled based on the Constitution and precedent. That’s what they are supposed to do. Therefore, I applaud their decision.

Our president will speak highly of them until they do something he disagrees with. Then he will speak with disdain as he has done in the past.

There are many points with which I disagree with this President, and the way they passed the Healthcare bill is the biggest. However, the point they made that I will never forget is that none of our representatives bother to read bills prior to voting on them.

It makes me wonder why we are paying our representative and senators?

The Right Answer – Our Worst Enemy

July 23, 2009

As I race toward my sixty-fifth birthday, I’m reminded of the many things I’ve learned in my lifetime. One of my most significant discoveries is that the right answer is a terrible thing. For many of us, the quest for knowledge ends as soon as we think we have the right answer.

I sometimes joke that I found an object in the ‘next to last’ place I looked. How many times have we heard someone report that the lost object turned up in the last place he or she looked. Well, sometimes I go the extra mile just so I can make a silly comment.

When lost objects are the subject of the search, it doesn’t make any sense to continue the search after the object has been found. However, when it comes to knowledge, it’s extremely important to continue seeking a more definitive answer. Quite often, the additional probing turns up additional facts that, at times, totally alter our thinking. That’s when we realize our first conclusion was absolutely incorrect.

Case in point, a 1939 reference book listed uranium as a worthless metal.

It doesn’t take an in depth study of history to recognize how many times the scientific community has been mistaken. Yet, every time they ‘prove’ a theory, they’ll defiantly defend their findings as the ultimate truth.

It took an amateur paleontologist to prove that many dinosaurs were more akin to birds than lizards. The established community laughed at him until he found nesting grounds and eggs.

Lately I’ve been accused of being a right-wing FOX News watcher because I dared to question the universal health care plan being shoved down our collective throats by a President who seems to have little trouble spending tax payer money.

I’ll be the first to admit both parties seem to enjoy throwing around our tax dollars – especially when it can win additional votes for them during the next election. But the quantities of cash in question with this administration are beyond comprehension. We were told the stimulus package would turn the economy around. Thus far, it’s hard to say. Has it or hasn’t it? That all depends on who is doing the talking.

(Do you know how to tell when a politician is lying? His or her lips are moving. Trust me!)

The fact that the Administration is delaying the mid-year budget report until after the August recess of Congress seems to me to be a bad omen. Do they not want us to know how deeply in debt we are headed? It would be much harder to pass legislation to add to the financial burden if the public knew just how heavy that burden might already be.

And yet, when I question and try to determine the truth behind the news reports (on FOX, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS) I’m accused of being right-wing.

I consider myself a moderate. If I were to be identified with any political party, it would be Libertarian. I have never voted a straight party ticket and consider anyone who does so to be a complete idiot who refuses to take the time to learn about candidates of opposing parties.

Nancy Pelosi condemns the corporate executives who fly on private jets. Yet she does the same on a regular basis – at tax payer expense. Is this acceptable behavior? Might this be called hypocritical?

George Bush was accused of being arrogant. The way Barbara Boxer treated Harry C. Alford, the president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, was a true example of arrogance. He tried to tell her how condescending her remarks to him were and, instead of taking the time to listen to what he was saying and, perhaps apologize, she interrupted him repeatedly to explain how wrong he was.

Sean Hannity does the same thing when he ‘debates’ someone who sees things differently. Bill O’Reilly is even more arrogant… but in a more polite way. I once heard him speak out against the Fair Tax. His comments proved that he had never read the bill and had no idea what he was talking about.

This country has forgotten the meaning of debate because we no longer listen to one another. We are so positive that we have the right answer that there is no need to listen to any facts that might prove us wrong.

We need to get back to being a civilized society that respects a person’s right to speak. We need to stop the protests that occur whenever someone from the opposition tries to explain his or her view of the issues.

Am I correct in my arguments? I think so, but can never be sure. If I’m off base, hopefully someone will come along and tell me where I’ve gone wrong. I promise to listen.

By the way, how many of you have taken the time to contact your friends and acquaintences in countries that have Nationalized Health Care. Do you want to get some honest answers from people who live under that system… or will you simply take the word of Glenn Beck?

Cap & Trade or Michael Jackson

July 7, 2009

Regardless of which side of the issue you’re on, it should bother you that the news media is spending far more time keeping the American people up to date on the Michael Jackson memorial service than they are in informing us of the progress of the Cap & Trade legislation.

And why are they placing so much emphasis on a dead celebrity? Why are they ignoring more important issues that could affect all tax payers?

Some right wing conservatives would have us believe that the left leaning media is intentionally taking the focus away from Congress so the Obama administration can shove another giant spending (and taxing) bill down our throats.

The left wing radicals would argue otherwise.

Naturally – and unfortunately – the truth has nothing to do with politics. Sadly, the media is giving the American public what the American public wants. I’ll admit I haven’t checked, but I’d bet that any broadcast of the American Idol show garnered a much larger share of the viewing public than any of the Presidential debates.

The truth is a large portion of our population doesn’t care about what goes on in Washington, D.C. In fact, they care even less about what goes on in their own state capitols.

Many years ago I attended a Key Club convention in Philadelphia. Each delegate was given a key ring. On one side was the Key Club logo. On the other was the phrase, “Combat Complacency.”

I believe we’ve lost the battle. In the 1960’s, college students stood up and voiced their opinions. While many of them were wrong in their beliefs, they all had the courage to stand up for what they believed. As a result, many things in our society were changed.

The youth of my youth took the time to learn about things that mattered. Sometimes they heard one side of the story and jumped to incorrect conclusions, but in most instances, they looked at both sides and came to good logical conclusions.

I’m afraid today’s youth are too busy twittering their lives away.

Perhaps that’s the major difference. While we didn’t have CNN, FOX News Channel, C-SPAN, or… come to think of it, we didn’t have any cable channels because we didn’t have cable. We also didn’t have lap top computers and the Internet. But we did have newspapers, news magazines, and the library.

We paid attention to the world around us – sweat bullets during the Cuban Missile Crisis – and felt a responsibility to speak out against what we saw as injustice.

Perhaps that was the influence of John F. Kennedy. I know we all admired the man and took the “New Frontier” very seriously. And we all deeply mourned his passing.

Until President Obama came along, we hadn’t had another President who could reach out and stir the interest of the youth as JFK did. But it appears that the interest of our current youth petered out once their man was elected.

It’s a shame because, the way I see it, it’s the youth and future generations who will be most harmed by what is currently happening in Washington.

The U.S. Government has no business being in business. Every time government has taken over an industry, that industry stops being self-sufficient. For example, independent bus and trolley companies operated in major cities for decades. They competed for riders and most of those companies were profitable.

The companies that couldn’t compete went out of business and their assets were bought up by the other companies. Then, the government decided to take over. The two ‘companies’ I’m most familiar with – the Port Authority Transit (PAT) in Pittsburgh and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit  Authority (MARTA) – have both operated at a loss for decades. Taxpayer subsidies are the only way they stay afloat.

Will General Motors be any different? Will taxpayer subsidized pricing put Ford, Chrysler, and others out of business?

The Federal Government has put itself in a very awkward position. Congress is talking about passing a ‘clunker bill’ that will give citizens a tax break for trading in an old car for a new, more fuel efficient, car. Will the tax break be higher for those of us who buy a GM product? It would make sense if the government wants their ‘company’ to flourish.

But wouldn’t that be unfair to the other companies? Does the government care?

There are many people who believe the economic crisis could’ve been solved months ago simply by the government letting workers keep their entire paychecks. Think about that. The typical worker has almost a third of his or her paycheck withheld every pay day. If that money had been available to the individuals, they would’ve spent it. Even if they simply paid off some bills, the economy would’ve improved.

Foreclosures would’ve been reduced dramatically and banks would’ve had more money for other loans. Consumers would’ve bought more cars, televisions, and other big ticket items… which would’ve resulted in more jobs.

If consumers bought Fords and Toyotas rather than Chevys and Buicks, GM would’ve had to fix their problems or go out of business. With increased sales, the other auto makers would’ve been able to buy GM factories and put the former GM employees to work building other makes of cars.

Is it too late for the government to get out of the auto business? I hope not. And while they’re at it, they should also get out of the banking and investment businesses.

Come to think of it, maybe it’s time for MARTA and PAT to liquidate and let the private sector show the politicians how it should be done.

Considering the business acumen of most politicians, it wouldn’t take a business genius to repair the damage done by congress. Think of it! How many politicians have held a ‘real’ job during their adult life. There may be a few, but most of them were borderline lawyers who recognized they could make a lot more money supporting the causes of special interest groups.

If they were intelligent enough to be successful business people, why would they even consider becoming a member of Congress?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and see if Michael has been buried yet.

Quote Quiz

April 24, 2009

Neal Boortz is a syndicated radio talk-show host whose home base is in Atlanta. Yesterday, on his website, he listed a number of quotes concerning our political atmosphere and climate. I’ve taken those quotes and turned them into a quiz.

The idea is to read a quote and try to guess who said it. Was it John McCain? Ted Kennedy? Queen Elizabeth? Or some other notable curmudgeon.

The way I figure it (and I hope you’ll tell me if I’m wrong) most people will find the quotes – and their authors – interesting and amusing. A few will get bent out of shape over this entire post. So be it.

Here are the quotes – numbered for your convenience. The quote-ees are listed below.

  1. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.
  2. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
  3. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
  4. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
  5. The biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats is the spelling.
  6. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
  7. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
  8. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
  9. There is no distinctly native American criminal class…save Congress.
  10. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
  11. I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
  12. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
  13. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
  14. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
  15. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
  16. No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
  17. If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
  18. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!
  19. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
  20. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
  21. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
  22. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
  23. The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
  24. Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.
  25. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!

And the answers are:

  1. Mark Twain
  2. George Bernard Shaw
  3. G. Gordon Liddy
  4. P.J. O’Rourke
  5. Anonymous
  6. Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
  7. John Adams
  8. Thomas Jefferson
  9. Mark Twain
  10. Voltaire (1764)
  11. Will Rogers
  12. Mark Twain
  13. Winston Churchill
  14. Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
  15. James Bovard
  16. Thomas Jefferson
  17. Mark Twain
  18. Pericles (430 B.C.)
  19. Winston Churchill
  20. Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)
  21. Ronald Reagan
  22. Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University
  23. Ronald Reagan
  24. Anonymous
  25. P.J. O’Rourke

Finally, a special note to those who might have found this less than entertaining because it may have been slanted toward one particular point of view.

If you have quotes – humorous or otherwise – that present the other side, feel free to submit them and I will see they are published on this blog. I shouldn’t have to warn you that I will not publish anything that is vulgar.

Time – Must I keep track of it?

April 14, 2009

That song was released while I was in high school. It has always been one of my favorites. Another song from that era is “Image of the Girl I long to Find”.

Both songs dealt with time. At the time, I was proudly wearing the wrist watch my parents gave me as a high school graduation present.

For many years I left the clock control my life. Then I became a fan of The Association. I couldn’t find the song I wanted to share with everyone on Youtube. It was called, “Time for Living.”

As I recall, some of the words included…

“I took off my watch and found I had all the time in the world.”

I haven’t worn a watch since then.

For a few years after my divorce, I lived alone. I had two clocks in my home. One was a clock radio so I wouldn’t be late for work. The other was an electronic clock I kept in the kitchen. I’m not sure why.

I vaguely recall a saying; and I obviously don’t remember who said it. It went like this. “A man with one clock always knows what time it is. A man with two clocks is never quite sure.”

Just before I remarried and Lu moved in with me, a man I worked for decided to show his appreciation for my efforts by presenting me with a clock. I politely thanked him, but inwardly wandered how I could dispose of it. The two clocks I owned were already one more than I needed.

Then, when Lu and I tied the knot, one of my old managers from IBM gave me this beautiful clock,

A unique time piece

A unique time piece

It was then I remembered I had another old timepiece packed away somewhere. I looked in a number of boxes and found it.

A Steeler clock doesn't have to show the correct time.

A Steelers clock doesn't have to show the correct time.

I keep it hung on my wall to remind people that I’m a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At our wedding, Lu’s father, sister, and brother-in-law gave us another time piece.

Westminister Chimes and all!

Westminster Chimes and all!

Shortly thereafter, Lu and I moved into our new home. The new home included a stove with a built-in clock, a microwave over with a built-in clock, and a radio wtih a built-in clock.

I was thrilled.

Did you sense my excitement in that statement?

Perhaps I should have included an exclamation point or two.

Suddenly, the change over to Daily Savings Time and back became a pain in the posterier.

But not to worry, we replaced my clock radio with one that automatically reset itself. In fact, we liked that so much that we bought a second one so when my snoring drove Lu to a bed in another room, she could still be awakened to go to work.

Then along came Congress and changed the beginning and end dates for Daylight Savings Time. Now, those two ‘automatic” clocks reset themselves on the old dates. That means that four times a year, I have to reset them. The only way I can make them be correct for a while is to fool them into thinking we’re in a different time zone.

Obviously, the line of Simon and Garfunkel’s song that is meaningful to me is, “Time, see what’s become of me!”

I’ll be glad when Lu and I can both retire and we can donate all those clocks to the church’s yard sale.

Life was so much simpler when I had a mother to remind me what time it was.