Monday, October 29, 2012

Why we should not re-elect Barack Obama (part 3)

In the continuing series of reasons not to re-elect Obama, I've previously provided ten. Here are the next five. Though there are many more, most are sub-divisions of reasons I've already listed. Here is Part 1. Here is Part 2.

11. Division. The President promised to be the Great Unifier . That there would be healing between red and blue states. He implied racial healing. Instead he’s driven more wedges between people. He has used race to divide America and to get votes. He called Republicans their “enemies” as he spoke to one Latino group He has pitted the rich against the poor and the middle class. His attempts to pit women against men (especially conservative men)  have largely failed, though he made a valiant effort. Instead of a unified country, we now have a country that is more divided than ever before, but then again, “divide and conquer” wasn’t penned as a strategy for nothing.

12. Hanging out with the stars. You know what I mean. He spends more time hobnobbing with Beyonce, Jay-Z, and a whole host of other stars than he does doing his job. He flits from talk show to talk show, instead of meeting with world leaders. In times of peace and ease in this nation, that wouldn’t be optimal, but with our country in the economic peril that we are currently in, it’s frankly appalling. Hanging out with stars, Mr. President, does not make you one, but it seems that your desire is to win the stupid vote. It looks like you've got that.

13. Golfing. It’s not bad to have an outlet. To let your outlet take more of your time away from your real job, just like hanging out with entertainers, is similar to Roman Emperor Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned.

14. Stimulus. The Obama stimulus program has largely gone up in flames. His plan, costing upwards of 800 billion dollars has shown no results  of significance. Instead, he says that it wasn’t enough to do the job. He’d like to dump more money that belongs to you and me down the drain in his Keynesian approach to stimulating the economy.

15. His vision. On the night of his election, he said he would "fundamentally transform the United States of America." Obama would like nothing more than to redo the Constitution which he considers “deeply flawed”.  He and his associates view America as a place that needs to be torn down and rebuilt in the image of Europe. We’ve seen the fruits of the Euro-style, entitlement rampage that plagues such countries as Greece, Spain, Italy, France et al. Yet open display of the failure of such systems has left little impact on Obama’s philosophy. His has been a failed philosophy all around the world, yet he still plans to transform America in the image of Europe. Don’t let him do it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why we should not re-elect Barack Obama (part 2)

6. The “Apology Tour”. Though fact checkers will tell you Obama never went on one because he never used the terms “I’m sorry” or “I apologize”, there are a multitude of sound bites, video clips, and transcripts of Obama condemning American intrusion, arrogance, etc., while speaking to foreign audiences. The fact that Obama is too narcissistic himself to utter the words “I’m sorry” or to include himself as an American in the phrase “We’re sorry,” is beside the point. What he did do was tell the world America was bad and that now that he was in power, all that would change.

7. Investments. To take money from American citizens and cherry pick businesses to “invest” in, such as Solyndra and many other “green energy” companies, isn’t what the government should be doing. Yet, that’s precisely what Obama means when he says the government should invest in green energy and technology. Sure, we should encourage cleaner air and water and the uses of renewable forms of energy, but not put billions of dollars of taxpayer money into individual companies. Offer grants to universities and other public entities for research perhaps.

8. Obamacare. Obama, with the help of his Democratic Congress, railroaded the Affordable Health Care Act through Congress, against the wishes of the American people. The repercussions are already happening with companies such as Olive Garden, Autozone, and many more, reducing their employees hours to below 30 so as to not have to provide prohibitively expensive coverage to them. In the future, the plan will limit health screenings to keep costs down, which ends up being far more repressive of women’s health issues than closing Planned Parenthood ever would be.

9. Coverups. Will we ever know what happened at Benghazi? There’s a whole lot of dishonesty going on there with the administration first telling us it was about a film when they knew it was a terrorist attack. Why the smoke screen? Why did four Americans die when we had the ability to keep it from happening? Why wasn’t the security beefed up when requested by the Ambassador? And of course the other major coverup was the Fast and Furious scandal. Can we afford this kind of dishonesty in a presidency?

10. Classlessness. From Obama calling Romney a, to the crass Lena Dunham commercial, these past few weeks have been an endless stream of classlessness. Certainly unpresidential.

(To be continued)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why we should not re-elect Barack Obama (part 1)

1. Blaming. Obama has blamed Bush for all the financial problems he (Obama) inherited since day one. He refuses to blame himself for anything he has or hasn’t done (such as his failure to reduce the deficit by half as he promised in his 2008 campaign speech). He has blamed America for the woes of the world, but more on that later. In contrast, he has continually patted himself on the back for getting Osama bin-Laden.

2. Leadership. In ‘08 when running for president, Obama promised to work across the aisle. However, instead of doing so, he instead railroaded Obamacare through without a single vote from “across the aisle”. That may have been the first time, but it wasn’t the only time Obama has used a “my way or the highway” approach to getting things through Congress. Since 2010 when the landslide Congressional elections fired by the Tea Party revolt left even less Democrats in Congress, he’s used decrees to make laws when Congress wouldn’t. That’s not leadership. That’s dictatorship. A true leader works with the opposite side to build consensus. A leader has the ability to speak to the American people and to galvanize them to face their future resolutely. Obama has created a sense of hopelessness among many, not optimism.

3. Failure to follow the Constitution. He has disregarded enforcement of immigration laws, used executive privilege for something it was never intended (hiding documents in the Fast and Furious scandal), failed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, use of drones to spy on U.S. citizens (unconstitutional because we have a right to privacy). He has also tried, through Obamacare to force religious institutions who provide insurance to their employees to pay for contraception, even if their religious tenets expressly forbid it. This is a violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution.

4. Increased dependency. Obama’s policies have led to the largest increase in food stamps in American history. Instead of encouraging self-reliance, responsibility, and liberty, his administration has crowed about the number of new food stamp recipients, even calling it a good thing. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack said, “If people are able to buy a little more in the grocery store, someone has to stock it, package it, shelve it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It's the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times." Like those same people wouldn’t buy things from the store if they actually had jobs.

5. The Supreme Court. Whomever is president during the next four years may likely be called upon to choose two new members of the Supreme Court. Obama has leaned toward activist judges who seek to not interpret the law so much as to legislate from the bench. That is not what the courts are intended to be. Likely nominees would be in favor of gun control and a whole host of other things that are not in keeping with Constitutional principles. Obama’s campaign promise was to nominate judges that judge based upon their "deepest values" and what's in their own "heart"(s). These are not what judges should be doing. They should be judging based upon the law. A judge who judges based upon his or her personal feelings, will have a hard time dispensing justice impartially.

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts on Monday night's debate

    Monday night’s Presidential debate showed one man who can look you in the face and outright lie, and another man, who though he isn’t perfect, seemed much more capable. Unfortunately, the one who can lie with impunity is the President as many factcheckers have discovered. Not that Romney doesn’t stretch the truth a bit at times. But let me give you some examples of what I’m talking about.

Romney stated that the President went on an “apology tour”. The President denied it. However, from my perspective, though the President didn’t and wouldn’t call it that, it amounted to an apology tour. Rush Limbaugh has done the not so hard work of compiling examples of the world wide tour of American “condemnation”. You can find it here: It wasn't just an apology tour, it was a condemnation tour
In fact that also proves many of the fact checkers wrong. Here’s what had to say: “Romney repeated his claim that the president undertook “an apology tour … criticizing America” after Obama became president. Obama called that “probably the biggest whopper that’s been told” during the entire campaign. And in fact, our own analysis, and that of other fact-checkers, found no “apology” in the president’s speeches.”

Obama also accused Romney of wanting the car makers to go out of business, and that Romney did not say he wanted the government to help them through the reorganization process. The full text of the op-ed that Romney wrote can be found here: . And indeed Obama was wrong.

Thoughout the debate, the President used a death stare on Romney, as one viewer put it, perhaps trying Jedi mind tricks on him. At any rate it looked very odd, especially as the camera pulled back to show Obama leaning foward, glaring at Romney anytime he (Romney) was speaking.

The President was childish and scored points on scathing sarcasm when he chided Romney after Romney had said we have fewer ships than we did in 1917. We don’t by the way, but the President’s response was really unpresidential. “We also have fewer horses and bayonets than we did back then,” the President responded. “We have things called aircraft carriers...and submarines now.”

All in all, I think it did Romney no harm with undecided people, and may have swayed more of them to his side. The President, speaking largely to his base, probably persuaded few of the undecideds that he’s the man to continue the job. We’ll find out soon enough.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Writing to avoid writing

As a writer, I often find myself puttering about in the style P.J. O'Rourke writes about here: On Avoiding Writing. Further, rather than doing things to avoid writing altogether, I find myself writing things other than projects that I'm supposed to be completing--that is, while I should be working on my novel, which is currently gathering pixel dust somewhere on the dusty shelves of my hard drive, I find myself writing responses to political arguments or other posts, creating blog entries, etc. The question is, what to do about it.

I've tried the old, make it your habit to work on your current writing project for a set time before you do anything else approach, and just have not found myself to be disciplined enough. Personally, I think that's a cop out and I know if I really wanted to do it, I could make myself do it, just as I do other things that aren't really that pleasant, such as exercise, for the reward of good health. The reward of working on the appropriate writing project is a completed project that could perhaps go before a publisher.

I think I must find more enjoyment in the present from avoiding writing than I do in working toward the goal of completion. Maybe that's because I have so many interests that it doesn't really matter to me if I write or not, but again, I'm losing the big picture that would tell me that if I worked on writing long enough to become a successful writer, that is making a good living at it, I'd have more time to pursue those things I'm interested in.

That and it's much easier to fit in a three or four paragraph blog post than it is finding time to work on my novel. Part of the problem is, my blocks of time are so small, it seems like I'm riding a tricycle across America when I work on my novel. The old adage "slow and steady wins the race" may be true, but sometimes it just isn't pleasant.

So what to do about this? I think I need to complete the inner struggle of defining who I am as a writer and at a deeper level, as a person. If I'm to continue as a writer, I must write, and I must work on those projects that will define me as such, not for anyone else's definition, but for my own. In my own mind, in my heart of hearts, when I have written and published a novel which people actually buy, only then will I truly have become what I personally believe I'm capable of becoming.

If I fail to reach that goal, then I have not maximized my abilities. I may have improved them and honed them in such a way that I can convey thoughts in a lucid manner on the printed page, but I have not achieved what I set out to achieve many years ago. It's something I need to seriously think about.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are Romney and Obama the same man? Not hardly.

For some people,  making a political decision isn’t easy, and distorting the facts about the candidates to  try and make political points doesn’t do anyone any kind of service at all. For example, Libertarians who are fond of posting on Facebook and other social media sites, what amounts to a visual “sound bite” that attempts to distort records and facts in order to show how Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are one in the same in ideas. While they do have some similarities on some policies, in most ways they are vastly different.  Libertarians will say that it doesn’t matter, that the basic premise that a statist is a statist is what they’re really getting at, and that since both Romney and Obama believe in big government solutions to problems, this makes them equivalent. I’m here today to prove otherwise.

One way of making comparisons is between theories and policies on specific issues. That is what I intend to do here—to compare what the two  candidates have said in regards to specific issues. The first item on the list is abortion. While Romney was governor of Massachusetts he apparently came out in favor of a woman’s right to choose. That was true then. In 2002, Romney said "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts' pro-choice laws." Later on, he changed his position. On August 27, 2012, Romney told a CBS Evening News interviewer, Scott Pelley: "My position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said. "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother." Clearly, he now has a much more limited view on when abortion should be legal. He has made similar changes (or what anti-Romney folk like to call ‘flip-flops’) on several other issues, including gay rights issues and gun control. However, the flip-flop issue is really a red herring.
A person can have things happen throughout his life that will influence how he feels  about certain things—maybe even change his perspective. For example, someone could be a big partier, drinking, then driving home and feel they are perfectly fine doing so, but when they lose a loved one to a drunk driver they suddenly decide that’s not such a good idea after all. For Obama and abortion, this hasn’t happened. He’s fully in favor of a woman’s absolute right to do anything she wants with her body—even to the point of being in support of partial birth abortion. Notably, he doesn’t support the rights of the females still in the womb to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, only those who have already been born.
Another big item on the list of Romney/Obama sameness is stated on the visual bites that are making the rounds. That is that they are both in favor of the bailouts. That is misleading. It’s true that both were in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), also known as the “bank bailout” which was initiated by President George Bush in 2008. While this writer was against it, it appears to have largely worked and the loans to the banks have been paid back. Subsequent bailouts, such as the auto industry bailout, have been vastly different. Obama led the charge on the auto bailout, while Romney thought that the auto companies should be allowed to go into bankruptcy. In fact, he wrote a rather famous op-ed piece in ’08 called, Let Detroit go Bankrupt. On the other hand, Obama has bragged about the auto industry bailouts he proposed and that were passed by Congress. To this date, GM still owes theAmerican taxpayers a minimum of $25 billion.
There are big differences between the two on other budget items as well. Obama continually presents stimulus plans. He follows the Keynesian philosophy of spending your way out of debt. He has ignored impending signs of doom in the economy. Romney has proposed cut backs and limiting the federal government spending. He has vowed to balance the budget. In his own words from the Tea Party debate held on September 12, 2011, he said: “The key to balancing the budget--having spent 25 years in business, I know something about taking waste out of enterprises--I'd love to do that to the federal government. And there is massive waste. But we're not going to balance the budget just by pretending that all we have to do is take out the [waste]. We're going to have to cut spending. And I'm in favor of cutting spending, capping federal spending as a percentage of GDP, at 20 percent or less, and having a balanced budget amendment. That's essential to rein in the scale of the federal government. And there's a second part to balancing the budget, and that's growing the economy again. The right answer for America is to stop the growth of the federal government and to start the growth of the private sector.”  The bottom line is, that Romney actually has a plan to do something other than to throw money at it, as the President’s plan promotes. Here is what Romney himself says on it: Clickety-click 

As for big government solutions, there has been a comparison made between Obamacare and Romney care. Romney is correct when he says that one is a state plan and one is a federal plan. He opposes the federal plan, though it is worrisome that he continues to use the terminology “repeal and replace”. One wonders what the word replace actually entails. His point though that states have a right to do what they think is best is quite accurate, according to the Constitution. He has publicly stated that he opposes Obamacare and will taking steps to get rid of it his first day in office.

Another claim is that both Romney and Obama are the same on foreign policy. First, I ask you in reference to the Obama administration, what foreign policy? Obama’s foreign policy has included running around from country to country apologizing for American arrogance and promising the moon. Well known is his aside to Medvedev when the President thought he was off mike. This is how the conversation went:

In the comments caught by the mic, Obama urged Medvedev to tell incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin to give him time: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved – but it's important for him to give me space."
Medvedev replied: "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you."
Obama then elaborated: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."
Medvedev responded: "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir."

Romney has plans to keep the military strong. Obama would like to weaken it. Romney would like to keep the U.S. presence strong in the world. Obama would like to let other nations catch up. Obama has an “it’s not fair” attitude about American strength in the world. Romney believes that American ideals are the best. Obama believes that it’s fine for dictators and rogue nations to possess nuclear weapons. Romney believes that rogue nations (such as Iran under its current regime) should not be allowed to have such weapons. Obama has had a helter-skelter approach to foreign diplomacy—send in the troops to Libya, apologize in Saudi Arabia. Obama has appeared weak in the eyes of our enemies, thus the continued attacks against our embassies. Romney has said he will take a harder stance against China’s unfair trade practices.

What about the premise that both Romney and Obama are beholden to such corporate contributors as Goldman Sachs etc.? According to this article:

 “Wall Street has favored Obama and the Democrats by a margin of 2 to 1 during the 2008 elections. Goldman Sachs has been giving four times more to democrats than republicans since 2006.” The implication is that because a corporation or individual makes a donation that the candidate owes that corporation something in return. Seems logical, but nevertheless doesn’t mean it’s true. For example, you or I might contribute to a candidate, not to buy his or her favor, but because we believe they will do the best job. Since Goldman Sachs and other entities contribute to both campaigns, it is likely that they are trying to buy favor. However, that doesn’t mean they will get it. Obama seems to be very willing to give taxpayer money away to his favorite companies, like Solyndra and Fisker Automotive, among others. I have been unable to find any evidence that Mitt Romney while in public office, has done likewise. Claims that because he has high profile donors, he will give them favors are pure speculation at this point.
The Obama administration is infested with people from Goldman Sachs. Goldman was Obama’s biggest campaign contributor ($994,795) in 2008.
In fact, Mr. Obama, the class warrior, received more money from Wall Street than any other candidate in history. It was his largest source of campaign funds."

Other issues in which Obama and Romney are fundamentally different are gun control, government freebies, and gay marriage. Once upon a  time, Romney favored a ban on assault weapons, however, in an interview with Piers Morgan this past July, Romney stated: “I don’t support new gun laws in our country.”
Frankly, there are very few issues upon which Romney and Obama agree. I believe that the thing libertarians dislike about both is the perceived tendency to big government solutions. While Romney certainly did do some of those kinds of things as governor, and some of his proposals for what he will do as president display a tendency toward those things, his apparent dedication to reducing federal government waste and spending will hopefully preclude any attempts to do such. The original intent of the Founders wasn’t to have a weak government—that’s why the Articles of Confederation failed—but to have a strong government. The key is that it needed to be responsive to the will of the people, and to not usurp powers for which it was never given responsibility.

The bottom line is that attempts to paint Romney and Obama with the same brush are ludicrous. While this writer doesn't necessarily agree 100 percent with the Romney approach, he is a vastly superior alternative to the current president, and the only alternative who has a chance of defeating the current president.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Arthritis: The distinction between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

It happens frequently. My wife will wince or say "ouch" and someone will say..."what's wrong?"
"I have RA," she responds.
"RA? What's that?"
"Rheumatoid Arthritis."
"Oh," comes the response, "I have arthritis." This is typical, yet expresses the ignorance of people in regards to one of the most insidious and debilitating diseases. Though I'm no physician,  I will try and explain why except in extreme cases of osteoarthritis, its effects pale in comparison with RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease, that is, it's an overly-energetic immune response of the body, which actually begins attacking itself. It's about one tenth as common as osteoarthritis and can affect young people as well as older people. Every single joint in the body can and usually is affected at one time or another. Some days it might be the knees are worst, some days the elbows. Sometimes the small joints in the jaw or where the ribs connect to the spine or sternum are inflamed. It is a progressive disease which can affect not only the body's joints, but other organs of the body, including the lungs.
Osteoarthritis is the "wear and tear" type of arthritis and generally occurs in those over 60. This type of arthritis has nothing to do with the immune system, it is caused by overuse of a joint, and usually begins in one joint. For example, when I had my knee surgery back in the 1980s, the doc told me I had the arthritis of a 70 year old man in that knee. I was in my twenties at the time. Thankfully, that arthritis hasn't really been much of a problem since the surgery. To be fair, this type of arthritis can end up being severely debilitating in some people. From the website Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis: "Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe disorder due to systemic involvement, which may produce complications such as, pericarditis… pleuritis… vasculitis, etc., causing a shorter life expectancy if not diagnosed and treated properly."
About 1 in 10 have osteoarthritis, while RA affects 1 in 100.

Here is a video that explains some of the differences between the two types of arthritis: The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

John Stockton: Should he have been on the Dream Team?

When Jason Whitlock wrote that the only reason Chris Mullen, John Stockton, and Christian Laettner were added to the Dream Team in 1992 was because they were white, he opened up a can of racial worms. He’s wrong of course. I’ll just give you reasons why Stockton should’ve been on the team, and ignore the others for now.

Stockton is the all-time assists leader. His passes helped Karl Malone become the second all-time scorer in the NBA. He was tough, savvy, and a great team leader. He is the all-time steals leader as well. He wasn’t a great one on one defender, that’s true, but not many in the league are.

So he was definitely a great player, and one that has been named to the top 50 all-time. Not that Isaiah Thomas wasn’t a great player. He was. But Whitlock makes the claim that it wasn’t Jordan’s negative response to Thomas being on the team that kept him off, but Stockton’s whiteness. That’s a racist comment. Jordan has recently come out and said that he did not want Thomas on the team. That’s plain and simple. They wanted the best player in the world on the team, and that was Jordan, so in order to get him, they left Thomas off. But that doesn’t mean Stockton was undeserving.

As for the current debate in question of whether the 2012 team could have beaten the ‘92 team, a lot of that has been centered around the point guards as well. Many think that the trio of Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul could’ve eaten Stockton’s and Magic’s lunch.

While there’s no way that Stockton could’ve stayed with Westbrook and the others through an entire game, that was never his strong point. He played the passing lanes. I’m sure he’d have picked their pockets a number of times, leading to fast breaks going back the other way. And was Isaiah Thomas ever known as a great defender?

The author of DREAM TEAM: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, Jack McCallum said in an interview recently that the only players on the 2012 team that would’ve even made the ‘92 team are LeBron, Kobe, and Durrant. Think about that. He didn’t mention any of the point guards.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I was against Obama from Day One

I've been accused recently of not being willing to give President Obama a chance. And that accusation is basically true. However, I have good, sound reasons for doing so--reasons which I will try to explain in the next few paragraphs. Long before we had President Obama, we had candidate Obama. A bit of research at the time would've shown anyone that believes in liberty and free market values, that we did not want this man as president. I did the research. What I found told me all I needed to know to figure out that this guy would be bad for America. The number one thing was his leftist voting record in Congress. But I had more than that. I had a gut feel for what this man might do to America. And my hunches are nearly always right in these kinds of circumstances. Did I know he would mess up the country so bad? No I did not. I just always felt that it would be a major mistake to elect him. I said so on several forums. I argued with people who wouldn't vote for McCain because he was another big government politician. These folk would rather vote their conscience and vote for a third party candidate who had no chance of winning, than to vote for either of the two major party candidates. I could and do understand that logic.

But I argued vehemently against making that kind of mistake in '08, and yes, I still believe it to be a mistake. We can with our own eyes, and with our own pocketbooks see just exactly what kind of mistake it was to let Obama get elected by refusing to vote for the Republican candidate, John McCain.

Now, back to what Obama has done that has set me off from the very beginning. In his first 100 days, he initiated a vast, sweeping change of government involvement in healthcare. Never mind that the majority of the people of America were against it--he and the Democrats in Congress shoved the Affordable Health Care Act through. I'm not going to go into the intricacies of why this law is so insidious right now. That's for another time and place and if you are paying attention to your own bank accounts and the verified future tax increases that will be paying for it, you will know part of its problems. For now though, my biggest beef is that it was done against the will of the people. That is not what America is about.

Further changes initiated by the President included bail outs of car companies, dumping billions into favorite "green" companies that have filed for bankruptcy, and trillions of dollars in increase in the national debt--a debt that will eventually be paid, probably by our children and grandchildren. That is not what America is about.

He has failed to lead anyone, has failed in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression to provide one ounce of leadership. Instead, he has campaigned, attended functions, and golfed more than any other president. He hasn't spent his time working with Congress to come to solutions, but instead has taken the attitude that if you don't go along with him 100%, you aren't willing to work with him. His idea of compromise is for Congress to blindly go along with everything he recommends. He has continually blamed others instead of manning up and realizing that the buck stops with him. He is supposed to be the leader. He is supposed to be able to convince others of what needs to be done, to forge alliances and make progress in keeping this country strong. Instead, he blames the prior administration for his own failure.

So, since he has offered no solutions, has shown no ability to work well with others, and has not tried to work with members of Congress to come to solutions, but has only denigrated them for not accepting his own plan lock, stock and barrel, I am accused of not giving him a chance. Since he has nearly bankrupted the country with failed policies and crony capitalism, I'm not giving him a chance. Since he has been dishonest about tax increases included in Obamacare, and kept jobs growth minimal because of his failed policies, I am guilty because I have not given him a chance.

I am too conservative, some people say, because I won't give him a chance. Others say I'm racist because I disagree with him. What a lot of hooey. The day he treats America as the great country it is and stops bowing to tyrants and stops giving away American treasure to the undeserving, the day he starts showing that liberty is more important than equality---that a person builds his own life through his own efforts and doesn't get to depend upon the government to give him handouts. The day he actually believes that a man should stand on his own two feet and take responsibility for his own actions, well, that's the day I may give the man a chance.

But alas, that chance is nearly over.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What is the problem with our elected officials?

Why do our elected officials continue to mess up? Here’s my analysis. For some reason the tendency seems to be that they want to get re-elected, rather than to do what’s right for the nation. Now, why is getting re-elected so important to them? Perhaps it’s because the majority of people who seek public office are buffoons who need attention and being in the limelight is the only way that they can feel important. If they fail in their re-election bid, then they once again become nobodies–at least, to their way of thinking.

So, they do what they think they need to do to get re-elected instead of doing what needs to be done to make the country stronger and better. In their minds, the best way to get re-elected is to buy votes. They buy votes by giving stuff to people. Thus, President Obama’s administration brags about how many people they’ve gotten on food stamps. The President emphasizes that the goal of his “Affordable Health Care Act” is to get everyone cheaper medical coverage. Others vote on earmarks and pork that will benefit the people of their states, thus buying votes from them.

These kinds of political handouts and freebies are the basis for the financial disaster we’re in right now. Quickly we’re becoming like Greece and other countries in Europe. As we can see from what’s happening around the world, especially in Europe, if you give enough handouts and buy enough votes, within time production slows (because more people are taking advantage of the handouts rather than trying to work), revenues drop (because with fewer workers, there are fewer taxes collected, yet more resources needed), and the country soon finds itself on the brink of a fiscal cliff (like Greece).

What is the answer? It’s not to raise taxes on the rich or anyone else. Raising taxes has its limits. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” This becomes self-evident in the largest sample of socialized policies in the world–Europe. Greece passed laws to allow themselves to retire at age fifty, and now is getting loans from Germany whose citizens retire at 65. So the people of Greece as a whole are refusing to change their laws so that the retirement age raises, and expecting other countries of the world to work longer to bail them out. That’s their supposed solution.

But we can’t do that. We need to begin with our candidates for public office. We need to choose wise men and women who don’t put getting re-elected at the top of their agendas. Our goal should be to find candidates who are willing to do what needs to be done to get our country back on the track of fiscal sanity, and to stop trying to buy votes with public handouts and public projects.

Should there be a safety net for the truly needy? Sure. We need to do something to help those who through no fault of their own find themselves on hard times. But it shouldn’t be a permanent solution for those families, but  temporary assistance to them to give them time to improve their lots in life. And those whose sole goal is to try and live off of governmental handouts, bilking the system, should be removed from any kind of program that gives them such. As comedian Dennis Miller says, “I’m all for helping the helpless. I just don’t want to help the clueless.”

The bottom line is, that whether it’s programs that feed children at schools during the summer (most of these children are children of parents on food stamps who should be feeding them with the food stamp money they’re receiving , thus they’re getting a double benefit.), or projects that are putting in high speed trains in communities across the country, we cannot afford them. Electing leaders that understand this and more importantly, can explain with clarity what the real purpose of the government is supposed to be, will go a long way toward solving our financial woes. If the people fail to grasp this concept, or are too dependent upon their handouts to tolerate any reduction in them, then like Europe, we are heading for catastrophe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Heat burn the Thunder

I'm no big fan of the Miami Heat, but their utter destruction of the Oklahoma City Thunder in game five showed that they have finally learned how to play as a team. On the other hand, OKC forgot how to do so. Just watching Kevin Durant bring the ball down the floor and twice in just a couple of minutes attempt to dribble behind his back when surrounded by Heat players, only to have the ball stolen both times, tells you all you need to know about this game. All three of the triumverate of  Durant, Westbrook, and Hardin made critical rookie mistakes, just when it looked like they might get back in the game. The Thunder have a lot to learn before they can win a championship. I expect the Heat to dominate for the next two or three years because they have finally learned how to play together, and LeBron has finally learned how to lead a team. I wanted the Thunder to win, but after I saw how they responded to adversity, I think they are a mile and a half away from doing so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This could be the end

I never want to say "never again". It's so final. But I've done a lot of thinking about my running lately, and I'm thinking it's time to hang up the spikes, so to speak. Here's why. For most of my life, my running has been because of my love of competition--it has been a means to an end. The end was always getting myself to the point where I could be competitive as a runner. I enjoyed the training because I enjoyed the thought of finally winning my age group.
I think I had an epiphany about this a few weeks ago while on a hike up Mount Raymond. On the way back, as I staggered down the trail, pretty tired, I saw this gazelle--a human gazelle--running up the trail. Of course the guy was maybe twenty years younger than me, but I really couldn't have done that twenty years ago either. I'm just not a distance runner.
I've always been more like a decathlete than a long distance runner, although in my late teens to early twenties, when I weighed in the mid-150s, I once did a 5k in under 20 minutes. Still, that was the pinnacle for me. At nearly 53 now, I could no more approach that than I could recite Shakespeare's Othello from cover to cover. Nor do I really think I'd like to do the training to get me there.
You see, now I just love working out to be fit. I can take a day off if I want to without feeling like it's hurting my race prospects. I can work out just for the joy of getting in shape. I can look more like a decathlete without worrying that I'm 193 pounds and there's no way I can beat the gazelles at the 5k--even in my age group--at that weight. In short, I can be me.
So, this year, I'll run my race on the 4th of July. But next year, maybe I'll do something different. It'll be a new feeling, but one I can definitely embrace. Then maybe, if I ever work out to the point where I get my body fat down below 10 percent, maybe then, I'll rethink things and wonder what I can do. Like I said, I never want to say "never". I hope this doesn't make anyone sad. I'm still the same me who wants to keep in shape to do the things I love in the outdoors. It's just that I no longer believe I can make the U.S. Olympic team. I guess my dreams have changed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Romney is using the "rope-a-dope"

In 1974, boxing legend, Muhammed Ali defeated the then champion George Foreman using a technique that came to be known as the “rope-a-dope”. The basis of this strategy was for Ali to hang out along the ropes, covering up and letting Foreman wear himself out by raining blows against Ali’s arms which were shielding is vitals and head. Eventually because of this strategy, Foreman exhausted himself in his futile attempt to beat Ali into submission. It seems now that Mitt Romney might also be employing kind of a rope-a-dope technique. The reason I say that is that Romney seems to be laying low while the President is running all around the country doing fundraisers (at last count he’d already done 150 of them). As the President does this, it allows him to make many rhetorical mistakes along the way, highly visible to the public who will be making up their minds soon on whom to vote for in the November elections. Meanwhile, Romney is laying low, seemingly awaiting the right moment to spring forth with his own attack, giving life to the old adage “give someone enough rope and he’ll hang himself”. Obama seems to be doing a fine job of it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What to do with my photos?

I had an epiphany a while back. In this age of digital photography, it has become so easy to get great photos that nearly everyone is doing it. Some are nicer than others, but really it's much easier for people to get great pics with the new technologies--much easier than the film cameras of years ago. I hated to see that time go, but now, I'm fully into the digital explosion. It costs so much less to be able to save many photos on a card instead of buying roll after roll of film. I guess that's what really has sold me. The question now becomes, what to do with my pictures. Not very many people are able to sell them, simply because there are just too many photographers out there. It's rare indeed to be able to make a sale, at least, to make any kind of living at it, when those needing photos can just go to wikicommons or some other site where people have put up their pics for free, and then download a photo to their liking. So, I'm thinking my photos are just being useless taking up space on my computer. I may as well put them out there for public use, as long as I retain the rights to reuse them at my pleasure.
After all, why worry about them being stolen? That just keeps me from posting many of them and sharing them with people who'd really like to see them. If I keep them to myself, only I get to see them, and that's a travesty for all involved. Not that my pics are that great. Occasionally I take a really nice shot, and I'm getting slowly better at it. One of these days I may be even somewhat adequate at picture taking, and when I do, I'll sell them to National Geographic or any number of magazines that needs great shots. Until that time though, I hope you like it when you see one of my pictures.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time management for the clueless (me)

I need to write something…work on something…and yet I find myself hopelessly trying to keep up with all the clever, wonderful, interesting, (insert your favorite descriptive word here­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­) things that are posted on Facebook. I keep trying to keep up with the news, and find interesting articles to post myself.  I haven’t even checked my email for a couple of days at least. Sometimes I wish the internet had never been invented. I find myself thinking that at times, and yet It has been a big help too. I guess the big question is, how to organize my limited time to accomplish what’s most important. I need to ask myself the question, is what I’m doing with my time as important as what I could be doing with my time.
Self analysis is the key here. I have an agenda, and that agenda is to try and influence people to at least consider the alternatives in society. Is that more important than my other driving force to accomplish the writing and publication of a work of fiction that will stand the test of time? I always feel so guilty when I don’t work on my novels in progress, or write another short story, but is that what I’m supposed to be doing in life? Or is it to do something even larger, to be an influence in protecting democracy and freedom? That’s the conundrum I find myself in all the time.
And then there are the other things that pull me away from the important, some of them really important too. I’m love the outdoors, I’m a camper, hiker, hunter and fisherman—but that’s only the tip of the iceberg with me. Too many interests, too little time.
So, I’m considering what to do with the 45 minutes or so I have in the morning before I head off to the gym. The gym is a must. It keeps me in shape to do the things I love doing—all of them, even writing. So stopping my exercise program is not an option. I have those 45 minutes and I must decide what is most important to do with that time. It’s not much, but for now, it’s all I have. Perhaps I need to drop reposting the clever signage that accumulates on my Facebook page. I will miss it, but maybe I need to only view that stuff on my lunch break at work and call it good. If I don’t, there’s one thing that’s for sure—I will never accomplish all that I was meant to accomplish.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Terminator Beans

I just wanted to share my award winning baked bean recipe with you. It's called "Terminator Beans" because after you eat some "you'll be back" for more! Here's the recipe:

 Terminator Beans

1/2 lb. ground sausage                    1 t. horseradish
10 slices of bacon/chopped            1/2 t. salt
1/2 lb. ground beef                         1/2 t. pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion                  1/2 t. garlic powder
1/3 cup sugar                                 1 C. crushed pineapple with juice
1/3 cup br. sugar                            1 can each of:
2 T. molasses                                 kidney beans (drained)
1/4 C. barbeque sauce                   Pork and beans
1/4 C. Ketchup                             black-eyed peas
6 drops of tobasco                        2 T. mustard

Brown sausage, ground beef, bacon and onions. Drain excess fat. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Bake uncovered in Dutch oven at 350 for 1 hour. Makes 8-10 servings. If doubled use 2 cans of pork and beans, 1 can each of pinto, great northern, black-eyed peas, and kidney beans.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Here comes the lynch mob

While details continue to emerge in the killing of Trayvon Martin incident, one thing is clear: the fans of the lynch mob mentality are being fanned. Although the details are murky, there is at least one witness who in his original testimony suggested that there was a guy in red laying on his back on the grass with another person on top of him. Zimmerman was wearing red. Apparently, the police also discovered grass stains on the back of his shirt. Yet we are being led down a path that suggests Zimmerman stalked Martin and killed him in cold blood. The media seems to be jumping to conclusions and feeding the martyr mentality. The New Black Panthers and others have suggested violence to make sure "justice" is served. It reminds me, frankly, of the black man who was wrongly charged in the great film To Kill a Mockingbird. In this case, none of us really knows what happened. Yet a huge number of people have jumped to conclusions based upon sketchy evidence. If Zimmerman is guilty of murder, he should be charged, but he shouldn't be convicted in the court of public opinion--a court which is fed by sensationalist media who often get things wrong. Let's let the investigation continue, and not feed the monster of lynch mob mentality.

For another look at things, go here: clickety-click

Friday, March 09, 2012

Why conservatives should vote for whomever the Republican candidate is

Everyone has heard it--"I'm not voting for anyone except Ron Paul." "He's the only one who supports the Constitution". It might be helpful for some of you to take a look at this article: Ron Paul, Constitutional Scholar

Yeah, I've heard a lot of folks saying that. Another common comment is, "Romney is not any different than Obama." "I'm not voting for Romney if he's the candidate--no way."

Those are the two basic comments I hear or read all the time. Now, let me tell you just a couple of ways in which the latter (the part about Romney) is wrong.

If we are so unlucky, or so stupid, as to re-elect Obama, he will have the opportunity to replace perhaps two Supreme Court Justices, and will do so with people whose values do not reflect strict Constitutionality. These will be judges who believe in legislating from the bench.

Now, people should vote their conscience, and my conscience tells me that having two such members of the Supreme Court will swing the balance of power much more than electing someone like Mitt Romney. Remember, in this day and age, the Court has had much more influence than the President on the way things happen in America for generations. So, I don't see how anyone of conscience can do anything other than try to defeat Obama--no matter who the Republican candidate is.

Just as an additional response to the idea that Romney is a carbon copy of Obama. Romney has fixed companies, and was responsible for fixing the Olympics. Obama has nearly broken America in just three years. Romney knows economics far better than Obama. As for his Constitutional acumen, Mitt appears weak, but there are a lot of Tea Party congressmen and senators to help keep him on the right course when it comes to the Constitution.

As for Paul, and his Constitutional approach, I suggest you read the article linked above, and also take a look at this video: Ron Paul is a Hypocrite

Monday, March 05, 2012

Breitbart's take on Hollywood and John Wayne

I just watched a couple of youtube videos in which Andrew Breitbart was interviewed. The last one I watched was about Hollywood. Here's the link: Clickety-click

One thing that stuck out at me was when he mentioned that the flood of leftism came from Hollywood about the time of the end of John Wayne's career. That made me think about the influence of Duke Wayne on Hollywood, and on America for that matter. Flawed though he was, his gigantic charisma and huge fan following would not allow any kind of overriding of his influence, pretty much while he was still alive. Amazing the power of one man to influence a nation, and Wayne's undying belief in America swayed generations of Americans into believing that America was a source for good in the world. Today in Hollywood, those who dare to express their conservative beliefs are ostracized--many of them unable to work again in that business. Not so during Wayne's time. He was too powerful of an entity. Oh sure, there was a huge lefty movement in Hollywood, all during Wayne's career. But the man was just too much larger than life for them to bring down.

It's something to think about.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Andrew Breitbart

I admire the work that Andrew Breitbart did. He died all too young for sure. Here is a great interview with him that shows a great deal about the man: Andrew Breitbart - Media War

New e-book authors to try

I've gone into the business of giving free publicity to authors I know. Some of them will be associates and friends from Hatrack River Writers, and some are going to be people I know personally--like Robin Lythgoe who has been my neighbor for years. If you're going to be buying some e-books from someone you've never heard of, why not try these people? Anyway, here's the list. I'll be adding more as I get them.

Works of P.D. Blake

Works of Dustin Hurley

Works of Robin Lythgoe

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Novel to be published soon

In the near future, my book, which has the working title of Gateway to Fear, will be out in e-book format. I'm starting the process, going through it for a final edit, formatting it, trying to come up with a title I like a bit better, getting some cover art lined up, etc. I think it's time. And as I've been reading through it, making some minor changes and fixing a few grammar mistakes, I don't think I've done a bad job at all with the book. I'll let you know when it's up and running.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What am I writing today?

What am I writing today? I should also ask, am I writing today?

I’ve always wondered if posting on blogs was considered writing. In some peoples’ worlds, it’s a definite “yes”, but in my world, I’m not sure. I’m the kind of guy who sometimes procrastinates the real stuff, with visits to websites etc.

So, is blogging writing? And if so, should I be doing it instead of other writing, like working on my novel?

I’m thinking about it. One thought that is  going through my head is that, yes, it’s writing. At least it’s keeping me writing something, instead of visiting Facebook, news sites, or other distractions from the task at hand. At least I’m learning how to put coherent sentences together.

And, if I’m going to delay going back to my novel while my sub-conscious stew simmers, and my storyline progresses in micro increments, well then, I’d just as well be writing a blog post.

So, in answer to my first questions, I’m writing about writing. And to my second question I respond, “a blog post that his helping me keep writing, even when I don’t know what to write.”

The bottom line is to keep moving, in all things. If I’m not working on my novel, at least I’m working on my grammar, and working to improve putting words together on a page. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I support the Tea Party, and why you should too

I support the Tea Party movement. It was riding high for a while, but now, due to misinformation promulgated by the media, has become anathema to many people. Once supported by a majority of people, the movement is now looked at as negative by the majority. Why is that? My take is that the media has done a good job of blaming the Tea Party elected members of Congress for the stalemate that has stymied any laws from coming forth from Congress. True, there have been some stalwart Tea Party members of Congress who have resolutely stood by the decision to pass no laws that would raise taxes. So it boils down to this: they are being blamed for doing what is necessary to stop out of control spending and taxation, and to control the budget–to keep your children and grandchildren from having to pay tomorrow, the debts we are incurring today. I find that worthy of commendation, not worthy of condemnation.

This is what the Tea Party believes: they believe in the Constitution, limited government, and liberty. For a good description of what the Tea Party movement stands for, go here:

The left-leaning  media has done a good job of making the Tea Party folks look like a bunch of racist throwbacks to the stone age. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but those who pay little attention to what goes on around them, other than sound bites, buy into the propaganda that the Tea Party is bad for America. I am a typical member of the Tea Party group. I support all of the tenets mentioned in the link I provided above. So I ask those of you who know me to think about it. Do you consider me to be racist? Do you consider me to be a neanderthal? If not, then why think of the other members of the Tea Party in this way? I urge all of you to do some investigation into what made this country great, and why now, we are on the road to ruin, such as Greece and other nations are traveling down. You will find that our ruin is because government has been drifting from the Constitution. Instead of guaranteeing rights that are specifically mentioned within that document, government is creating new rights that never existed, and that truly don’t exist.

Our government was never meant as a means to ensure that no one would ever go hungry, or go without a job. It was designed to protect the rights of the citizens, and to not interfere in their daily lives. Sadly, the role government plays in the lives of American citizens has increased tremendously. This is one reason Barack Obama must not be re-elected. His policies, including, but not limited to Obamacare, have intruded tremendously into the lives of Americans. His czars he's appointed are clearly unconstitutional, and he has issued decrees when he couldn't get his way with Congress. Clearly he is operating more as a dictator in certain aspects than he is acting as a president.

Why is it wrong for government to help out the citizens with handouts and freebies?

One reason is, because that is going against our great Constitution. Our Constitution which is the law of the land was designed for one purpose only: to make sure the rights of the citizens were protected. And there are only certain rights that are contained therein. There is a list here: Notably, there is no right in the Constitution for a person’s access to healthcare or housing. Also notably, there is no right to marry, neither straight nor same sex. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to acquire healthcare, housing, nor be married, but what it means is, those things are not guaranteed by the Constitution.

Another reason why it’s wrong for the government to handout freebies etc., is because they are doing it with our money. The Founders knew that there would need to be some taxes raised at times for such things as national defense. But what they didn’t want is a growing monstrosity of government which would raise taxes for anything that Congress deemed necessary. They knew that there would be people in Congress that would try to buy votes, that would feel the need to help anyone (as long as it was help for one of the Congressman’s pet causes) who needed it, all with money that wasn’t their own.

The Constitution was meant to be changed from time to time. This is why the amendment process was designed into it. It has been modified over the years through this process, in fact, since its inception, 27 amendments have been added. But the process is difficult. That’s why there has only been 27 added. The framers made it deliberately difficult to amend the Constitution because it only should be changed for important reasons, and not for “light or transient causes” as Thomas Jefferson put it. For a basic summation of the Constitution, read here:

All that being said, there are ways and means to help people who need help. Private citizens can help out any time they’d like. And it doesn’t have to be people like Bill Gates, who have large sums of money at their disposal. Frankly, the government does a horrible job of managing money, and why should we be surprised? It’s very easy to take someone else's money and spend it, which the government does with abandon. But this is the same outfit that paid $400 for a hammer and $640 for a toilet seat. Are they really the group we want taxing and spending our money? Far better for us to do it ourselves, or to combine with others in charitable giving to help those in need.

At this point maybe it would help to define those in need. Those in need are those who can’t help themselves, not those who won’t help themselves. I believe there should be a basic safety net in place to help those who would help themselves if they could, but who through life's circumstances are unable to do so. This is the way Benjamin Franklin put it: “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

The question could be asked, if we give handouts to the poor, are we really helping them? In order for mankind to grow, to become stronger, sometimes it is best for them to have to figure out how to help themselves, as Franklin suggests. For the most part, the safety net should come via family members, or members of societal groups, such as church’s or other charitable organizations. This isn’t the federal government’s job, but I can see where there might not be a family available that can help, or the person in need might not be a member of any charitable group.

The bottom line: The Tea Party movement has been trying to hold the line and get back to the original intent of the government–to preserve rights and liberty by not interfering in the lives of America’s citizens. Here’s that link again: . I urge you all to study it and decide for yourselves what kind of a country you’d like to have.