Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
"Socialism is a social and economic system characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system."
I must admit, I once viewed socialism in a favorable light... I was in my early 20's... then I recalled an essay I turned in during 8th grade; in that essay I considered that socialism ignored the natural ambition of human beings... with socialism, life might be simpler but it would also be poorer. I considered that socialism essentially meant a caste system. There would be little hope for advancement unless the powers that be found you and saw some benefit in lifting you up. The odds were that you would never advance beyond what your parents did.
I don't know what attraction socialism has for these Democrats but I suspect it is rooted in anger and envy. I hear a lot of complaints about the "1%" and "the rich." We don't much like the wealthy but they seem obliged to start up and run charities... something about "Noblesse Oblige." They also create jobs, build enterprises, and gravitate toward leadership positions. "Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges". It denotes the concept that nobility extends beyond mere entitlements and requires the person who holds such status to fulfill social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noblesse_oblige
Essentially, they feel obligated to give back to the community. And they feel superior to the rest of us, thinking they should be the leaders of society because of that natural superiority. It's often called "elitism."
I think we find this propensity strong in young college students. If they work, it's in low-paying jobs and they see no future in that. There is a tendency to think the odds are stacked against you and only the lucky can break out from the pack. We see success stories (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos) but dismiss these examples as anomolies. We don't see ourselves as being in their league.
I have an old Shoe cartoon strip in which a character says "high intelligence has always run in my family... Ambition, however, walks with a limp."
That was always my problem... I have very little ambition and never liked the hard work that goes with that trait.
While not something I participate in, it is an honored tradition throughout the U.S. But beware, there are grinches out there trying to disrupt the Holiday cheer.
I just saw a report where the "Freedom From Religion" Foundation is trying to get "In God we trust" removed from police cars in my state of Florida. In my opinion, they are idiots masquerading as atheists. How can you desire freedom from something you do not believe in?
I have been atheist since I was 12 and never felt anger or annoyance with those of my friends who were believers in a religion. I spent half of my childhood going to schools in Florida where prayer was a daily exercise. Each morning, the teacher would lead the class in the "Lord's Prayer" and I would simply keep my mouth shut and wait for it to be over. It never occurred to me to even try to disrupt others as they prayed. No one ever mistreated or teased me because I did not pray and I never saw anyone else get mistreated either. What any child felt or believed appeared to be the sole responsibility of the child. I will grant that I got irked by the visits from Mormans, Seventh Day Adventists, and others who came to my door. But I remained polite, having no reason to offend them or their beliefs. After all, they had no way of knowing that I was atheist anymore than I knew they were whatever kind of believer they might be. I have decided that I am offended by these self-professed atheists who are, in reality, anti-theists (they simply oppose religious trappings and rituals), what bothers me most is that they pretend to be atheist and give the rest of us a bad reputation. There is no right to not be offended though these idiots seem to think there is. And there is no right to be free of religion either. The First Amendment affirms that everyone has the right to practice religion but it says nothing about those who are offended by that practice. That's fine with me. As my mother used to say, "Life's not fair, get over it!" So, MERRY CHRISTMAS! And that is about as un-PC as I want to get.
Once upon a time, Europeans sought to find a route to Asia and so they sailed west to find a route but ran into land way before they should have. Of course, they didn't know that... they had no idea how far Asia was... so they called the people they found on the land "Indians" thinking they had landed in the East Indies. You know who I am writing about, don't you?
Nowadays it is popular to call these "Indians" "Native Americans" but they aren't. What they are is immigrants from Asia. And, since there were no centralized governments back when they immigrated, we could call them "undocumented."
I am talking about North American Indians here, which Columbus probably never met (others would meet those people). South American Indians may have come from the Pacific islands, we don't know that yet but the DNA should confirm or deny that.
There is much talk about how we stole their land and all but we didn't. Not really. You see, when a tribe wanted the land another tribe was on, they would attack that tribe and take it if they could. An Indian told me that the "dominant" tribe would take the land. Well, Europeans and the later Americans (who had immigrated from Europe) were the new dominant tribe and did what came naturally. They took as much land as they could and treated the existing population like dirt. When the first of these "Indians" came to this land, apparently there were no other inhabitants. There might have been but no evidence exists to substantiate that. If there were a native people, the odds are that the new arrivals would have vanquished them and taken over... being a new tribe and wanting the land for themselves.
So, do I feel guilty about what we, as a people, did to the first Americans? Not a lot. We did what our culture and history expected of us.
As you may know, I play a lot of Microsoft Freecell solitaire and perhaps you know that it reset on me unexpectedly as I approached 1000 games. I'd like you to know that I have 491 successful games now with zero losses. Of course I cheat. I found that you can back up as many times as you wish (that started with, I think, Windows 7) and that if you back up to the beginning you do not get a loss. So, that being said, it is no great feat to get to 491 games.
I thought I could pretty much understand what makes most people tick. That is, I had a knack for figuring what someone might do in certain situations... at least I used to be able to do it... maybe I was just fooling myself.
The guy is president Obama and he has me a bit worried. Most presidents try to make the next person's term in the Oval Office simple. That is, the current president tries to clean up as much of the mess he made as possible so the next one won't have that to deal with it. After all, the presidency is a tough enough job as it is without having to spend a lot of time trying to straighten out the results of the former president's policies.
Reagan did have to deal with Jimmy Carter's issues but, beyond a poor economy (which Carter inherited from Ford), Reagan didn't have a lot of problems handed down to him. And I give Carter credit for getting Egypt and Israel to sign a deal that has lasted quite a long time. That alone should be Carter's legacy... but he tried and I think his heart was in the right place, he was an outsider who got little cooperation even from his own party.
But Obama has me mystified. I do not understand his foreign policy (which seems to be "make nice and the others will like you", something we learn when we are toddlers but we stop doing in our teens).
Obama seems to be sticking with that policy (except when dealing with Republicans) in spite of its apparent abject failure. I think his domestic economy policy seems to be one of "benign neglect." That is, basically let it take care of itself after establishing bailouts of banks and financial institutions and pushing through a huge stimulus bill that didn't have all that much effect. I think he figured to wait out businesses until they started hiring again. After all, it was in their best interests to do so... eventually. That was pretty smart.
But the mess we have with terrorists is overwhelming and I do not see an easy solution. My idea is to go back to carpet bombing, starting with the IS oilfields and then destroying whatever infrastructure they have. The idea is to inflict so much damage on the populace that the people will want to get as far away from anything IS as possible.
"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt-
And the United States was at war. Maybe we'll also remember San Bernadino as that turning point.
I thought, having real issues with my ego, that you folks would want to read what I have to say about the San Bernadino shooting.
What do we know as of Friday evening: we know who the shooters were (none of that "alleged" garbage here), we know how many died that day, we know how many were wounded or injured, and we know that it was planned and prepared for well in advance.
We do not know if they received outside funding for the attack but we do know how much Seyd Farook earned as a government employee of the county (about $70k a year). We have not heard if his wife (Tashfeen Malik) was employed and, if she was, how much she earned.
There has been much talk about tightening gun control laws (as we always do after a mass shooting) but I would remind you that no guns of any type we used in the attacks on 9/11/2001. Which tells me there are plenty of ways to kill if someone is determined to do so. Look at Israel to see what an attack with knives can accomplish, for example. I believe there was a knife attack in China not long ago, too. 29 deaths and 130 injured (which puts a lie to the notion that knife attacks are not as deadly).
We now know that the FBI is treating this as a terror attack. Primarily, I think because it became widely known that the woman in the attack pledged her allegiance to the head of IS.
I think they planned to go elsewhere and commit another attack, in Los Angeles or perhaps Las Vegas (each of which are easily reached from San Bernadino). Or maybe there were others who were to join them. We know that Feyd purchased the handguns but that some other male bought the AR-15s. The FBI seems to know who and where he is.
This is a bit scary, it doesn't take a lot of these attacks to make us anxious and afraid.
Update:the Farook family attorney said in a press conference that there was no link to terror.
Well, by now you are well-informed about the latest mass shooting incident. The Washington Post is all in a tizzy about it and a number of other things. The New York Daily News had a front page headline that implied prayer was pointless because "God Isn't Fixing This". Maybe they should have checked with the White House because Obama said the families of the victims needed our prayers.
I got to thinking about it today when I read a comment somewhere about the majority of Muslims not being radicalized. It's true. I agree. But then I thought about it a bit more, if only 1/2 of 1% of the estimated 1.2 billion Muslims are radicalized, that's 6 million we should worry about. and let's say that 5% of Muslims are sympathetic to the Jihadists... that's an awful lot of people.
As they used to say at NASA... "Houston, we have a problem."
It's obvious, even to me, that I have been slacking in my posting. I'm pretty bored with the whole thing lately... plus I have been busy lately... I am trying to sell my car (yeah, the Mercedes).I should not have bought it, to be honest, we do not need a second car; mine has less than 4000 miles on it (3670, I think) and Faye's Lincoln has also less than 4000 miles.
It made me think a bit about my childhood when it was not unusual to have one car and one bathroom to a home. Once I reached 16, though, I wanted a car of my own. My brother had one and so did my sister (both were older than me). In fact, my brother was on his second car by the time I got my first one. I already talked about that first car... a well-used `52 Studebaker Champion that had a defective front passenger door which was held shut by a hunk of wire. You can be sure that did not impress my dates' parents.
But I was mobile! And I wandered as much as I could (good thing gas was cheap then).
I have a new doctor this year, he seems competent which is all I ask. He is also not what I expected; he's short, slight, and probably in his 60's. When I went to him the first time, I was expecting a taller, more distinguished sort and maybe a little younger. Of course, he wanted to run me through a battery of medical tests... which is good since I am fast approaching 70... and my insurance insists on them anyway.
So far, I have had some blood tests, an echo-cardiogram (which included a check of the blood flow in my carotid arteries), and a few others. I am also being scheduled for a colonoscopy... I don't want one but the insurance demands it. My hypothesis is that we form tumors and polyps all the time but most go away. I don't like the idea of messing with them unneccesarilly.
You know the old saw about "to a hammer, all problems look like a nail?" Well, I think surgeons are like that also; too quick to cut.
Well, we shall see how the next year goes... I have the strangest feeling that it is "first they take away your dignity and then they kill you."
I don't understand it, of course, but that doesn't mean I can't, or won't, try. I am talking about why somone might want to fight, and maybe die, trying to create a caliphate. I realize that many Muslims believe a caliph would be elected by the people within it but, in reality, it is the equivalent of a western monarchy. But, then, I have a hard time understanding why someone would fight to place a person in power; whether that person would be king, a dictator, or a president. It just makes no sense to me.
Now, I fought for a system but that system was a republic (a form that is democratic in nature) and I would do so again. But that is young man's game, not one for a man pushing 70.
I think that these fighters for ISIS are ones that would be denied enlistment in our military because they would be deemed unfit mentally. That is not to say that our military men and women are all completely sane. Some of them, no doubt, have some tendencies that would be unacceptable in civilian life. They are not automatons who blindly follow orders though I have known some who seemed that way.
I learned I could not be a cop because the power of that job would corrupt me. I learned that while doing a couple of stints as Shore Patrol. I didn't like what that job did to me.
But why would someone risk their life and, for want of a better word, their soul to establish something that resembles a dictatorship?
Note that the bill only requires a vetting process be in place and does not prevent any refugees from coming here. I would find the administration's words of how safe it would be to allow them in more sincere if Obama promised to resign if any of the refugees commited an act of terror. I won't hold my breath waiting for that announcement.
There are times when I do not understand human beings. For example, when they gather together under an ideology of hate and call it a religion. That is what ISIS is, a cult with a large following of young men and women who seemingly hate the lands of their birth. I don't understand that. I think I did when I was younger but do not anymore. When we are young we are are malleable. We can be easily brainwashed. It is why we recruit soldiers from our youth. The State can then mold them easily into trained killers. That is what The Islamic State is doing; taking young minds and manipulating them into thinking there is only one way to see the world.
They then make them think they are part of a "family" that thinks alike... there is a reason they call each other "brother" and "sister." What would you do for your family? Especially if you are told that your family is under attack?
As some of you know, in addition to being obnoxious, I am a student of WWII and that is what I want to talk about today. At the outset of the war, Germany and Japan seemed unbeatable. They had supposedly better technology and "blooded" soldiers and pilots. Yet we soon had the upper hand. One wonders why....
I think they weren't as tough as we thought. We soon applied our will and our best brains on defeating them. In the Pacific theater, the Japanese supposedly had better planes and better pilots (because they were "battle-tested") but we soon learned how to beat them in planes that weren't as fast and weren't as maneuverable. Ours were designed to take a hit and still keep flying while theirs weren't. That made a difference. The Japanese also kept their best pilots in the field while ours rotated back to be instructors. That mattered because,eventually, we killed their pilots and that made a big difference.
Our pilots wanted to live, too, and that gave them incentive to develop successful strategies.
In the end we overwhelmed the enemy on two fronts and defeated them, mostly by waging something called "total war." What this meant was striking at the enemy at every opportunity and not caring what happened to the enemy population.
That might be the only way to defeat our current enemy.
By now, you've heard about the multiple (and,apparently, coordinated) attacks in Paris. I think France is learning what Israel lives through.
Faye had an interesting suggestion: deport all Muslims from France. I feel I must agree. Yes, I understand that only a tiny few are responsible for the carnage but I also recall that when I was in grade school and high school, a common practice when someone acted up and pulled a prank, was to punish the entire class. I thought it unfair at the time but now, with age, I think it was the right thing to do.
After much discussion, we decided that all Muslims should be deported to Syria. Perhaps that would provide the incentive to clean up the Islamic religion. We cannot do it for them, it must come from inside... just as all other religions have done.
It appears that college protests are all the rage these days. Back in the 60's, there were plenty of them... mostly about the Vietnam War but not just that. I could understand that, there was an active military draft at the time and getting sent to fight was a real concern. Not for me, I was already in the military by the time these protests became commonplace.
Today, the protests are more about financial concerns than personal safety.
There are also protests over what is being called "systemic racism" at some colleges; a case in point being the University of Missouri (commonly called "Mizzou", I believe). I believe that racism is systemic throughout this country. I believe this because of my experiences and observations over the years. There is a lot of racism out there and it's not going away. I see it in action every day... in the comments of friends and acquaintances as well as in the actions and words of strangers. It won't be eradicated in my lifetime, I am sad to say, because I think it is hard-wired into our DNA. Not just in white people but in all human beings. I have spoken of this before... probably more than you ever wanted to read. But to complain about debt from student loans and demands for tuition-free state universities just irks me. Nothing is free, it must be paid for in some way. Either through taxes or through tuitions. Even "basic" education (elementary and high school) wasn't/isn't free. Teachers and administration staff must be paid, schools must be built, and all of this is why we pay taxes. When they say "tuition-free" they mean for the students, not their parents or those who live in their states.
One of the lessons I learned growing up was that we do not appreciate what we are given but we do appreciate that which we earn. We need to have "skin in the game" so to speak.
I just read an article about some fast-food employees protesting their pay and wanting a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is behind the protests which are primarily aimed at McDonalds and Wal-Mart.
We often don't pay attention to the ingredients in OTC medicines. I do... because I once had a problem with getting too much vitamin A. It gave me symptoms that mimicked, I thought, illness. I would get nauseous, dizzy (maybe I should say "dizzier"), and experience some pain. I learned to be careul about what I ingested. I continue to pay attention to labels even today although vitamin A is less of a problem now.
Maybe I don't get as much vitamin A from my diet now... or maybe my body has changed. At one time, I couldn't take vitamins every day. Now I do; you get old and you need some supplements.
We tend to forget that OTC medicines (once called "patent medicines") are not all that safe and we often neglect to tell our doctors what OTC medicines we routinely take. One of our dinner friends was a nurse and knows something about medicines, she regaled us with information last week.
I learned quite a bit. But pay attention to those labels... on just about everything.
I've been wondering about the lack of sense in the world today... We have teens trying to "hook up" with ISIS, countless candidates for president, a president that has ignored the Constitution, and people (young and old) who are fixated on their cellphones.
What am I missing?
I suspect that, once this president has left office, we will be faced with runaway inflation the likes of which we never had before. Jimmy Carter had a poor economy (they called it "stagflation") and I think the only reason we do not have that now is because the Fed is basically giving out money for free (or at incredibly low interest rates) thereby providing a false sense of security. At some point, interest rates will rise and inflation will be the norm.
I fully intended to write a post for Friday... really. But, obviously, I didn't. I will go through my usual excuses (something came up, the dog ate my computer, etc.) but, to be honest, it just slipped my mind. That has been happening a lot lately.
Like when I went to Wal-Mart on Thursday (I usually go on Tuesday but... "something came up"). Faye had listed "tea" on the shopping list but did not write "hot" or "iced" so I bought hot tea (I like Celestial Seasonings Green Tea with Honey, Lemon, and Ginseng) which was okay because a couple of weeks ago, I mistakenly bought Green Tea with Lemon and Jasmine instead of what I wanted.
That happens when you get old... I paid the price for screwing up on Friday because my the driver of my cart was an 86-year-old named Pete who managed to run into a stump on hole 6 and I ended up with a bruise just below my lower lip (neatly hidden by my beard). Pete bruised his ribs on the left side but nothing broken, fortunately.
Life does not get easier with age... I'd like to add a rant at CBS (especially) and any other network that shows football games on Sundays: What is the point of a schedule when you know it will not be adhered to? Why bother to have any new shows on Sunday primetime when you won't abide by the schedule?
Ever notice how well cellphones work on the TV and in the movies? Crystal clear sound and no fumbling for the speaker "button." No matter where the user is, no matter the conditions, the cellphone gets a signal and has perfect reception.
I don't know about you but mine isn't that good. Much better than my first one(analog and huge), I'll admit, but still...in my house, I am lucky if I can get two bars on signal strength. That might have something to do with my Wi-Fi router, the TV, and the refridgerator... as well as the electrical wiring. Still, no one on TV or in the movies seems to have any trouble at all except when the script seems to call for it. Like when the woman is stranded on a dark road and the killer is approaching.
I have been thinking about the Democratic Party's nomination process lately. Especially after watching the debate in las Vegas.
Let's see... There's Lincoln Chaffee, a former "moderate" Republican senator and governor of Rhode Island.
Lawrence Lessig; a law professor at Harvard.
Martin O'Malley; former governor of Maryland and former Mayor of Baltimore.
Bernie Sanders; calls himself a Democratic Socialist and claims to be an "Independent" but votes pretty much lockstep with Democrats. Also a senator from Vermont.
And, of course, Hillary Clinton; former First Lady and Secretary of State under Obama during his first term.
Jim Webb; former senator from Virginia, war hero, former Secretary of the Navy (dropped out of the race recently).
I think it (the Democratic contest for the nomination) is a sham. I believe that Bernie got in to show that Hillary had a contest. But her inevability was never in doubt. But surprise, surprise, he caught on with the extreme left wing of the party. I think the plan was to distract the extreme left with Sanders so Hillary could coast in pretending to be middle of the road.
None of the candidates, other than Hillary, are important and were just window dressing to distract outsiders.
Have you heard about Oprah Winfrey's recent windfall? She just made $72 Million on Weight Watcher's stock. Let me quote from the article above: "Weight Watchers (WTW) announced Monday that Winfrey bought 6.4 million shares at $6.79 a share, which was Friday's closing price." She was already the richest woman in the country (or so it seems) but I guess that isn't enough. She's worth at least $3 Billion.
So why aren't liberals villifying her? Or those actors in Hollywood who get $20 Million a picture?
MacDonalds - Stopped going there in the late 70's after missing the breakfast by 3 minutes. No big deal, I preferred Jack in the Box in California and Burger King on the east coast.
Ruby Tuesdays - Stopped going there about 5 years ago when we (me, my sister, and my aunt) were ignored for 45 minutes by the waitstaff (no one seemed to know whose table we were). Outback Steakhouse - Faye gave up on them a few years ago when the local franchise couldn't cook her steak properly and I go along with her (less strife that way).
Sam's Club - They promise to build a Sam's in Sebring (I was driving 55 miles each way and getting real tired of it) and then didn't... They bought the property, razed the buildings on it, and have let it sit for 3 years.
Kohl's, Best Buy, Target, BJ's, and Costco - None in town but I was not a fan of Costco anyway. In fact, there's a lot of places that we don't go to simply because they have no presence in Sebring. But, when we're in some town that has them, I have no problem going to them.
I get toys all the time now. Since I became an adult, I learned that I can buy things for me. The toy I got is a Golf GPS unit, a watch that doubles as a golf gps. I bought one some time ago and it had some problems but the company who made it was responsive and it got resolved. Therefore, I looked kindly on them and, this time, I bought a newer model of the same type. It still has some of the tricky charging attributes of the older model but worked well enough to charge it yesterday when I received it. You never know if any device is fully charged when it arrives.
It looks like the old one but slimmer and with some blue hi-lites on the watch and band. It is noticeably lighter too. The real test is today when I use it on the course.
As always, I am fascinated by the way we arrive at decisions. Especially how we decide who (whom?) to vote for. What is your primary criteria? Do you vote for party first? Or are you truly independent and ignore party designation?
We often use name recognition in our selection... which gives the incumbent a huge advantage. And, sometimes, an advantage to the more famous of the candidates. Like Clinton or Trump. Sometimes it works against the candidate, like Jeb Bush, where the family name has been successfully smeared. But that never happened to the Kennedys; regardless of the scandals tied to the name. Many of today's voters are too young to remember what happened in the 90's so they rely on emotion and what they are told by others whom they hold in some kind of esteem.
But, I think, they shouldn't. They should approach each election as if they know nothing about the candidates. They should ignore all the rhetoric, the promises, the propaganda and do research on their own. Even then they will be overwhelmed by the hype and packaging of the candidates.
I heard something interesting yesterday... Alan Colmes was talking about Hillary Clinton and was saying that she may sound like a populist but we don't know that she will behave like one as president. And that is one of the problems in deciding who to vote for. Most candidates make great promises about what they will do once elected but, as we know, these are often empty promises they have no real intention of fulfilling.
Could Trump build that wall on our southern border... and would it make a difference?
Could any candidate deliver on the promises, even some of them?
I just saw a commercial that I consider misleading, at best. It was a spot for the Khan Academy. I am sure they are aboveboard but, still... the ad started with the statement that "no one is born smart." That is simply untrue. It is true that we are born without knowledge but not without intelligence. Now, the ad goes on to imply that they are talking about knowledge rather than intelligence but you would think they would be more clear about the matter. After all, they are in the education business. They are, however, non-profit... a good thing. And I suppose they are simply taking advantage of the general public's confusion over "intelligent" versus "smart."
But it irks me. I know the difference and I am sure you do also but millions of us confuse the two terms, even conflating them. Hence, we tend to associate education with intelligence. Trust me, just because someone went to college doesn't mean he is smart. He might be but he might be but he also could be pretty stupid.
I didn't complete college, for example, but that doesn't mean I am stupid or even below average in intelligence. It just means I don't have a degree.
Intelligence is the ability to learn and I agree with the Khan Academy that we can all learn (I don't believe we all can learn anything, however). It just bugs me that they do not take the opportunity to explain what they mean.
Here's what can be done to end gun violence. It is very simple:
1. Repeal the 2nd Amendment.
2. Confiscate all existing guns in the country.
Yes, I know... fat chance.
But it is the only possible way. And no liberal is proposing it. Of course, the criminals will still have guns because they will not give them up willingly. And, I suspect not all gun owners will either. What will happen is that most gun owners will refuse to disarm because the government wants them to. Possibly because the government wants them to.
I write this because the president is on the TV calling for legislation to curtail gun violence. And taking potshots at the Republicans in Congress because they will not pass the gun laws he wants. So why doesn't he just push for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment? Because he knows that will never happen, just as every liberal anti-gun advocate knows it too.
Yet none of them are even trying to do it. Cowards.
I wanted you to know that I flushed my water heater. It didn't go as smoothly as I pictured, of course, because there are always snags. And I may have panicked a bit soon when the water flow from the tank was poor to non-existent and called a plumber. It just seems that plumbers make more per hour than lawyers but it isn't true.
Anyway, the plumber showed me the error of my ways and helped me immensely. And then he left... after he presented me with his bill. It turns out that I instinctively did the right thing when I turned on the inflow water to force the water through the tank after getting a weak stream from the tank's drain. I just didn't wait long enough or bang on the drain valve gently to clear it from time to time.
And I thought the pilot light would stay on throughout the procedure but that wasn't so.
But what I am disgusted with is that Obama went into his predictable anti-gun rant in the wake of the shooting at that community college in Oregon. In his rant, he claimed that cities and states with strict gun laws had lower gun violence but that isn't true.
I wanted to talk about how we all make mistakes from time to time. We are human, after all, and therefore prone to such things. I know from experience that I certainly am... prone to errors, that is.
Why, just last week I messed up the golf group set up. It's really a simple system; all I had to do was use a spreadsheet and follow a few directions. And I know how to use a spreadsheet and I know the sequence of the files used (Line_up, Group_list, and Results with a Name_list if someone unexpected showed up. The problem came when I messed up the Results file when I imported the Line_up into it I wiped out the embedded formulas for adjusting scores and money. I got so flustered I failed to remember I had a clean Results file on my flash drive. I gave up and finished up at home, making a few people angry because they didn't get their winnings that day. The money isn't much, each player pays in $5 and we pool the money into flights of 4-5 players (we had a total of 29 players in all) who all need similar points. In my defense, I only run things when Joe is out of town so I don't do it often; maybe two times a year.
Anyway, at home (actually, on the drive home) I realized I had that clean copy of the Results file on the flash drive and had no trouble doing the results. In the end, everything worked out fine but it was touch and go for a bit.
I must flush my water heater. Not a big job, just a pain to do. And why is it a pain? Because I must figure a time when we can have the water heater out of commision without upsetting our routine (by "our", of course, I mean Faye's). I was going to shut it off Saturday night, after we got to bed but that meant I had to drain the water heater the first thing in the morning, and assuming I got the job done in 4 hours, that meant Faye would have to put off the Sunday laundry chore until the afternoon.
My motto is "never do anything today that you can put off indefinitely" and so I didn't do it.
Which only means I must face the task in the near future.
Sometimes I wonder how I got here. That is, when I was young, I never thought I would get this old. My father, as I have said before, thought he would die around 65 years of age... as his father and grandfather had. I don't think he knew his grandfather (who likely stayed behind in Belfast when Dad's father emigrated to the U.S.). But my father made it to 84 and I turn 70 next year.. so I have lived longer than I ever thought I would.
When you are young, you don't think about the future much, maybe a few years ahead but not much more. Today, at Faye's urging, I contacted the people who hold my 401K because I will have to start taking a distribution from it. We (meaning Faye) decided I should take it all out and roll it over to a traditional IRA, and because I have some post-tax money in the 401K, into a Roth IRA. Most will go into the traditional IRA, of course.
Looking at it, it doesn't seem like a lot of money. One of my big regrets is not saving more for my retirement but, as I said, when you're young, the future is far away and not very real.
So my advice to those of you in your 20's or 30's is to participate in your company's 401K plan (the companies often match, either whole or in part, whatever you contribute) and also put away (someplace) an amount equal to what you pay into at least Social Security. It's not much but it will add up over the years. Especially if you let it build up and then invest it when it reaches a pre-determined amount. That way you will build a nestegg for when you find you made it to some ripe old age you never thought you'd see.
... about how people vote. Too many of us don't bother to vote at all (even though we still complain about politicians). I see that lack of voting each time there's a general election and the "Get Out The Vote" groups show up on the streets and on the tv talk shows.
But why don't people vote in every election? I try to and, if you vote in a general election, you don't fall off the rolls. I did miss a general election in 1968 but then I didn't much care about the vote. I was 22, in the Navy, and more worried about girls than politicians.
I am told that African-Americans strongly favor the Democrats. Even though they tend to support traditional marriage (1-man & 1-woman), are religious, and are often more conservative (socially) than I am. And even though they haven't received a lot of the benefits the Democrats have promised them. They still have high unemployment, poor education, and still think they are seen as second-class citizens. What has 40+ years of voting Democrat produced?
I am not rich but I tend to vote Republican. I do that because they promise to reduce the size of government, cut taxes and/or simplify them so maybe, based on history, I am like the Democrat-voting African-Americans.
Most people vote on name recognition or popularity. That means they vote for people out of blind loyalty to a name, a party, or as they are told by some organization... like a union.
Maybe we should consider ourselves rebels when we vote. A vote can be an act of defiance... a way of taking potshots at the politicians. Sorry about being a bit slack on posting lately but things were a bit hectic around here last week. We had lots of company; two sons of Franny's, Faye's oldest brother and youngest sister and people calling all day long (or so it seemed). Things are finally settling down again...
I have sad news to tell you today, my sister-in-law passed away on Sunday. At age 64, she was young for this town. She succumbed to circulation problems caused by her diabetes and smoking. She "coded" three times the night after her surgery and then once again later in the morning (approximately 11:05 AM). I was in the room at the ICU when her heart stopped. The nurses tried to bring her back for 20+ minutes before finally giving up.
Franny was my favorite sister-in-law, the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person I ever knew. She drove me crazy at times by her naivete' and gullibility. She would give more than she had (as Faye put it) if she believed you had a need and she almost always believed that. But that was part of her charm, what endeared her to so many.
It is true that only the good die young. And Franny was one of the best.
I dropped my sister-in-law off at the hospital today. It was an unexpected journey. I had taken her to her doctor's office because she had an appontment. Between the time she had made the appointment and today, it got changed a couple of times... by the doctor's office. A couple of weeks ago, she stumbled over a box of books and injured her shin. She was in a lot of pain for that but that wasn't why she made the appointment; it was a regular visit, a follow-up after having a bypass put in her leg last year. But it was why I took her to the appointment.
She is diabetic and, like many diabetics, had circulatory problems which lead to neuropathy. Which led to the bypass last year. Which led to this routine visit to the doctor who had performed the surgery.
He did not like what he saw. He could not find a pulse in her foot. So he scheduled her for another surgery tomorrow and I, being the one to take her to the doctor's, also had to take her to the hospital and get her checked in. Which we did. They will perform a CAT scan on her tonight to make sure everything is how the doctor thinks it should be and, hopefully, allow him to clear the blockage without doing another bypass.
Faye and I... and Frances... are hopeful. Frances has vowed (again) to quit smoking (which contributes to the circulatory problems), maybe she will stick to it this time.
At one point, the president said that he hoped those opposing his deal with Iran would read the deal before criticizing it.
Except that they can't. Oh, they can read the main deal... but they are not privy to the side deals and the side deals are the ones that basically shred the main deal. The inspections that ensure compliance are essentially out the window. We already knew the alleged "snap-back" of sanctions had no teeth and there were hints that the 24/7 inspections were not going to happen but now we learn that Iran will not allow military bases to be inspected.
In some ways I am thinking the Iranians do not really want this agreement and are making sure it won't happen. Iran has nothing to lose here.
I can't help feeling that this president wanted chaos to erupt at the conclusion of his presidency.
I have been watching the show "Proof" since its beginning. Why would this guy bother with this series? I'll try to explain...
I don't believe in an afterlife. According to my late mother, neither did my father. Still, I am interested in the concept and, therefore,more than willing to explore it.
Perhaps some background: I think humans created religions to explain not only the mysteries of life but to answer the great question of death. Few, in my opinion, are willing to accept death as an end. We fear it... one minute a person is alive and the next lifeless. Can it be that simple? Our egos simply find that hard to accept. So we invent religions to not only explain crop failures, hard times and good, but to alleviate the cessation of life. A reward of some sort for living a good life is promised after death and you go on "living" for eternity. There is also punishment for those who do not live good lives.
But, in both cases, life is continued and that is the point, I think. Death is but a transition between physical life and this "afterlife." We toy with (in poems and stories) the cessation of life as "eternal sleep." but even that implies that life goes on after we die.
We don't know, of course, what really happens after we die. I think it is the cessation of consciousness. Call it what you will but I do not think there is anything after death.
In the series, a terminally ill (cancer) billionaire funds inquiries into the possibility of life after death based on Near Death Experiences (NDE's) there is also a recurring character who is a psychic who claims that he talks to the spirits. The show delves into NDE's and finds intriguing clues about life after death but, of course, it cannot definitively answer the question.
A religion might say one must have faith, that we mere humans are not privy to such knowledge, that maybe we couldn't handle it.
I think whatever you wish to believe is fine with me... short of performing human sacrifices, that is.
The title might seem redundant.
I'd like to provide a little background on my use of Golf GPS devices. There was a time, many years ago where you only had course provided markers on each hole. The distance from tee to the center of the green (at the tee box), 200 yards out (blue marker), 150 yards out (white marker) and 100 yards out (red marker). Sometimes these markers were round and pretty flush with the fairway and sometimes these were posts about 2 feet high. And sometimes you could buy a "yardage book" in the pro shop which showed the distances from various objects along the fairway.
The course I played on most had no markers at all except for the distance to the green at the tee box. I had to guess at the distances. But I was young and still had adequate depth perception so I could do it. In fact, I think I was pretty good at figuring distance.
Not anymore. They say there's three things you lose as you age: memory... and I forget the other two. So I depend on my GPS units to report distances. I sometimes wonder how accurate they are, especially when they differ from the fairway markers by 5 or more yards. But they do offer you some guidance which can be used for club selection. Tom Sightings hasn't reached the age where he needs one (as he commented) but he will.
I am cheap so I tend to buy things on clearence... which might explain why that Golf Buddy unit crapped out on me. But what are the odds that I would get a replacement unit that behaved exactly as my original defective unit did?
I have a lot of experience in golf but that doesn't seem to help. I don't have the natural talent nor the great hand/eye coordination that the pros have. That's obvious even to me. Plus, because of my deteriorating depthe perception, I cannot judge distance as I once used to. Therefore I must rely on golf GPS units.
I purchased one by Golf Buddy not long ago. It worked fine for a few weeks and then, one day, it wouln't charge. I contacted Golf Buddy technical support and they responded with the following:
Thank you for contacting GolfBuddy.
I am sorry that you have an issue with your unit. May we kindly ask that you do an "Emergency Reboot" and a "Firmware Upgrade" to check if this will rememdy the issue at hand.
Here are the instructions to try an emergency reboot on your GB WT3 unit:
Press the OK, Arrow up and Arrow down all at once to restart the system.
After doing these steps, try updating the firmware on your unit. This helps the unit´s system (firmware) perform more accurately. You can update the firmware using the GolfBuddy World Course Manager.
The problem is that this didn't work so I requested an RMA # and instructions on how to ship it back. They received the unit, presumably inspected it, and contacted me by phone. During that call, the tech said he would be sending me a replacement. That replacement came on Tuesday. I opened the box, removed the unit, and it would not power up. I therefore suspected I would have to charge it so I hooked it up to the charger (not an easy thing to do) and plugged it into my computer via the USB port. It did not charge. In fact, it behaved exactly like the one I had sent back. So I called Golf Buddy support and explained to the tech what trouble I was having.
I requested a pre-paid label to ship this one back because I do not see why I should pay to send back a defective unit that I have not used in any way, shape, or form. I did not get one. Instead, I got the "boilerplate" on how and where to ship the unit.
So, instead of just complying, I am writing this post to warn others about Golf Buddy. Update: on 8-19 I received an email from UPS with the pre-paid access. I will be sending this unit back on 8-20.
I am still getting spam but I no longer care. Isn't that weird?
I just read "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and it was quite different than the movie. Rather than spoil it for you, I'll just say there are no flying monkeys until quite late in the book (and there is a reason they obey the Wicked Witch...), the tin man and the scarecrow don't sleep... ever... and the good witch who greets Dorothy when she lands in Oz isn't Glinda (though there are Munchkins there).
Like most books, it's better than the movie because you can use your imagination. Unfortunately, that has been tainted by seeing the movie (more than a few times). Let's just say Dorothy isn't as old as she was in the movie and leave it at that. The Emerald City is more interesting and the whole story of Dorothy's adventure is much more Grimm-ish overall.
I recommend you read it when you get the chance. It is available at the Gutenberg site. Get it with images if you can, they are quite good.
I get way too much of it, as I am sure you also do. There is also spam I do not get, for Gmail filters it for me. I wish Gmail wouldn't do that because I would prefer to deal with it myself. But I cannot get it to stop filtering it. The spam is of the usual type: male enhancement, offers of insurance, extended car warrenties, and the rest. It slows down some but never stops. I suspect that Comcast, which is my internet provider, is the one that sold my email address because most of the spam is addressed to one of my email accounts... though the NY Times may have done it since I gave that particular address to them and that is the only Comcast address that receives it. It's annoying but, with the occasional exception, not harmful. I don't know anyone who responds to spam but some must or the spammers wouldn't continue and their clients would dry up.
Incidentally, the problems I was having with "copy and paste" have gone away, I suppose the Blogger coders got tired of the complaints. So now I can write in Wordpad and paste it in the blog again.
I believe we are in a battle between forces which believe government should be the ultimate authority and the forces which do not. When we vote in 2016, that is what is at stake.
I think most Americans simply want the government to leave them alone. I have said that before. The Founding Fathers seemed to want to limit government for just that reason. I could be wrong but I do not think so. I think the people of America in the 1770's would be appalled at the state of the country today. That is, after they got over the shock of being in modern America.
There's no question that it is one of my favorite games. I've played it since I was a young tyke and love it. In fact, while I am writing this I am also playing it. A game I started Sunday morning about 9 AM. Here's how Wiki describes its beginnings: Monopolyis a board game that originated in the United States in 1903 as a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints.
When it was created, many people remembered (lived in) a time when monopolists ruled the economy. Rockefeller, Carnegie, and others were kings of industry in the late 1800's. Some say they built industrial America. Today, it's a game. A game played with pizza and beer, often. But it was once serious stuff. Very serious.
I play a version that can be played on any PC. I can have human players or computer ones, I can alter the rules a bit and do... I add to the number of houses and hotels (I found I needed more than the game's default) and make some changes I like (landing on Free Parking means you collect some of the taxes paid by the players) and I deal out all of the properties at the outset. And, of course, I cheat a little: I quit any game where I am at a distinct disadvantage before it starts. I do not need to start with a monopoly but I like to have one, or at least a one of the properties in most of the sets. After that, I try to gather up railroads. I feel they are the key to the game. With a PC version, I have learned that I can buy railroads for $288 (first one), $385 (second one), and $1085 (and last one) most times. I have also learned I can buy non-monopoly properties at 3x their value. To buy one that gives me a monopoly varies depending on how much the value of the monopoly is. For instance, getting the last of the Connecticut Ave, Vermont Ave, and Oriental can be as cheap as $800 but the last of the green set may cost up to $2000. I found I can win easily enough with 4 railroads and any monopoly set.
The next time you think about how evil, selfish, and greedy the rich (who don't pay their "fair share" in taxes) are, ask yourself which you almost always choose in Monopoly: $200 or 10% of your total value?
I was once ignorant about the Founding Fathers. After all, I was young and what could I want to know about a bunch of old men who had lived 150 years before me? That was before I learned how much they restricted their own power in constructing a new nation. Many owned slaves but the documents upon which the nation was founded would eventually lead to freedom for the million or, at least, the hundreds of thousands held in slavery at the time.
Even though they likely figured they would be the ones to hold power after the Revolution, they sought to limit the government's power. Just the Revolution alone was unprecedented at the time. To attempt to break away from the superpower of the day was an incredible concept. Their cause was probably helped by the Crown also thinking a revolt in the colonies was doomed to defeat.
What is really remarkable is that the Founding Fathers wrote that document (the Constitution) some 12 years after the revolt began and some four years after its success. They could have made themselves royalty, they could have made themselves into an aristocracy but they didn't. Perhaps because they thought the populace would not stand for it after 8 years of war against an aristocracy or because, in order to raise an army to fight the Crown, they had to tap into the concept of liberty for all (minus the slaves, of course). They knew their livelihoods (and the livelihoods of many of those who wielded power in the Colonies before the Revolution) depended upon the continuation of slavery. Or maybe they just thought slavery would endure. Still, they sowed the seeds of freedom from slavery in that Constitution.
England professed to be free while it maintained its traditional caste society. If you were not of a noble family, you were not free. The birth of the American nation likely had to turn the idea that the masses were lesser people on its head.
The history of America is one of a nation struggling to live up to its own lofty ideas. And we have old, dead, white men to thank for it. Perhaps revolutions do not end... if successful.
Simple phrases or sentences which convey a moral or instruct about behavior. My mother was fond of them. She used them over and over as I was growing up but most of them made very little sense to me.
For example, she often said "Handsome is as handsome does." To this day, I have no idea what that might mean. Another one she liked was "Them that has, gets." That one I equate to the "Golden Rule" which, in my crowd, meant... "those with the gold makes the rules." Or, perhaps, "The rich get richer while the poor get poorer."
I am sure you have adages rambling around in your own brains. Maybe your mother was fond of them too.
Of course, Mom was also fond of saying things like, "If you break your leg, don't come running to me." And, "If you drown, I'll never speak to you again." Both of which make a kind of sense when you think about it.
I had something else I wanted to convey, something about patriotism, but that will keep for another time.
Not important ones, just random ones about the GOP presidential nominee race and a few other things.
There are now seventeen candidates vying for the GOP nomination. Sharks smelling blood in the water. Even though Trump leads in the polls, I don't think he has a chance of getting that nomination. He reminds me of Perot in a lot of ways; bombastic, populist, a bit outrageous but getting a lot of attention and popularity. Trump, like Perot, doesn't seem to have a lot of specifics. Perot used a car metaphor... he was going to "open the hood" and fix what was broke. Trump just brags about his money and how successful he's been in business. But he also says he'll build a wall along the border and, somehow, get Mexico to pay for it. He's not saying how.
Marco Rubio and others (including Jeb Bush) are out in California looking for people willing to contribute money. You need a lot of money to run for president. Silly me, I thought you needed ideas and plans to implement them. I guess that hasn't been true for decades. It seems there are no specifics anymore, just bombast and populism.
I hear Joe Biden might get into the race on the Democrat side. Don't know how true that is but Hillary is having image trouble. I have to wonder how she can expect the public to believe she never, in 4 years as Secretary of State, sent an email through her private server that contained classified information. Easy to prove, just allow access to that server. I won't hold my breath, that's not the Clinton Way.
I am wondering if the next president, whoever it is, can dig us out of the hole we are in.
First up is this dust-up over Planned Parenthood and the selling of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood (PP) denies it has done anything illegal and claims the videos were edited and the makers were trying to make PP look bad. Perhaps, since the video makers were part of a pro-life group, there might be some merit to the claims. However, the cavalier attitude on the part of the doctors from PP seemingly belies the claims.
My question is will the media now badger Democrats over the issue as they have Republicans over Trump's comments?
Speaking of Democrats, Hillary is denying she ever sent out classified information as Secretary of State. Let's see... She was Secretary of State until after the 2012 elections and she used, the entire time, a private server instead of a government one. Yet she wants the public to believe she never sent any emails with classified information in them. Simple way to prove that: turn over the sever.
I have been thinking about this for almost a week. Last Friday I wrote some things that were unwarranted in I'm Not Happy. I was angry (and, therefore, not happy) and wanted to lash out... so I did. I am not apologizing for feeling that anger or for something I expressed about how I would like Muslims to feel about their religion. I wrote: "No change will happen to that religion until they fear the backlash." I believe that.
Religions are sometimes a bit smug. A bit too self-righteous.
They must feel shame and anger at themselves in order to make changes that will lead to a better expression of that faith. I think that is part of what happened with The Inquisitions and maybe the Crusades. Christians began to question their faith, to change it for the better. Christians still question, I think; most of them anyway. Some don't, some still justify their bigotry and prejudice with scripture.
I cannot say for sure since I am not a Christian. But I like to think that most are good people who reject many of the things taught in favor of a more moral way of life.
And, so, I apologize to any who I might have offended
By now, you know many of the details of this mass murder, allegedly by one Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, possibly born in Kuwait... At the time I write this we have no details about Abdulazeez or why he attacked the two places in Chattanooga, TN.
My first reaction is that we should immediately shut down all mosques in this country and encourage all foreign born Muslims to return to their homelands. That is likely impossible for two reasons: We have freedom of religion and we have an administration which will not do even close to what the FDR administration did in WWII. In fact, if this administration had been in the White House during WWII, there's a good chance we'd be speaking either German or Japanese, in my opinion.
In my opinion, we should take the gloves off and start blaming all Muslims for the acts of what is clearly a tiny minority of that religion and we should initially concentrate on the Sunni sect. No change will happen to that religion until they fear the backlash. There is no reason for them to clean out the terrorists in their midst unless, and until, they feel threatened.
Meanwhile our politicians go bananas over a relic of the Civil War. And also meanwhile, Faye says "Nuke Mecca!"
What's new How is the world treating you You haven't changed a bit Lovely as ever, I must admit [the above lyrics are from a song sung by Frank "old blue eyes" Sinatra]
I am using them as a lead in to my post today about events in the world which might (or should) disturb you. I am speaking of the deal just reached with Iran over their nuclear capabilities. As usual, it is this administration's attempt to not deal with Iran's nuclear bomb aspirations. Essentially, it gives Iran 15 years before they can return to the process. In that 15 year period, I am sure there will be many other countries in that region who will try to create their own nuclear weapon. Additionally, the deal removes the sanctions placed on Iran by us and many European countries, sanctions that were having an effect... sanctions that were limiting their ability to foster terrorism just a little. It also allows countries like Russia and China (and others) to resume arms sales to Iran.
I hope, for our and the world's sake, that Congress sends a clear message to this president by voting to reject this deal. A vote that comprises a solid 2/3's majority. Because the president has promised to veto Congress' rejection... which means they must override that.
It's a freaking disaster in the making. If you don't know about this deal... you will... way too soon. Maybe the ides of July will become someday as famous as the ides of March.
I do not normally post on Saturdays but I watched a segment about texting on cellphones during movies and concerts (Patti Lupone has said she is fed up with people who come to her shows... apparently this was a play... and then pay more attention to their phones than to her). This must stop.
After I quit smoking, I would often hear smokers complain about non-smokers being rude to them. They meant it. They thought they were being picked on. One of the complaints and comments was "I always ask if it is okay if I smoke." To which I, as a non-smoker, often said, "Bull!"
There was a day when I called a construction firm about putting a deck in our backyard. This was during my first marriage. The salesman came out and told us how they could construct a deck that would be wonderful and spacious.
While we were standing in the living room, he lit a cigarette and smoked it. He never asked if he could smoke. It was only when the cigarette had burned down to the filter that he looked around for an ashtray. There were none. He then asked for one and was told, "We do not smoke."
I think he knew, at that point, that he would not make the sale.
Why do I bring this up? Because there is a new addiction rampant in the world. It is cellphone addiction. In restaurants, in movie theaters, pretty much everywhere; people are either texting or talking on cellphones. It has to stop. It is rude. It is annoying, it is ridiculous.
Unless you are a doctor and have a patient waiting for a transplant, that call to you can wait!
Once, not so long ago, we would be unreachable for many hours in a day. Why? Because we were not at home... where the phone was. Now, everyone (or most everyone) is reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And these calls are, on the whole, non-critical.
I would like restaurants and golf courses to confiscate any cellphone they find. I would like to see signs that read "CELLPHONE FREE AREA!" and I would like to see them enforced. What is ruder than a person at a table in a restaurant ignoring others at his table by having a conversation with someone who is not there? And how rude is it to inflict half a conversation on other diners?
What ever happened to common courtesy? Rudeness seems the order of the day now. Back when I was a smoker, I realized that the cigarette was my "master" and I was just a slave. Now cellphones are the masters we must obey.
What is going on with this country? We seem to be out of control and, maybe, in a cultural freefall. It seems that way to me anyway.
Maybe it's because I was born in the second half of the Forties and raised in a conservative home in the Fifties and 60's that I believe this. Or maybe I am becoming my father, it's hard to say. But I am beginning to see there is a rather bad future in store for this country and, if so, that means a bad future for the world.
You see, I think America is critical to the well-being of the world. If America loses its prominence, what country would take our place? What country would be the "beacon of hope" for the rest of the world?
I once thought there wasn't a big difference in political systems, that humans simply adapted to whatever system they were raised in. And, to some extent, that is true. Humans do adapt to the systems they live under. But they always had an ideal, a model, to give them hope.
What if that model, that ideal, became Russia or China... or Iran? Or worse? What if there was no America anymore? When Rome fell, there was chaos... the Dark Ages... a period covering hundreds of years that came after the Pax Romana was no more. That the peace that Rome ruled over wasn't all that peaceful doesn't matter, there was order, there was structure. That Rome ruled with an iron hand wasn't as important as its reputation.
It is unlikely that I will live to see what the world will become but my son will, as will his children. I hope they will prosper and thrive but I am not optimistic.
There is a big fuss over Donald Trump's comments about illegal immigrants from Mexico. Essentially, he said Mexico is not sending their "best and brightest" across our border. Well, duh! Of course not. The Mexican government is not sending anyone, as far as I can tell. It is just not impeding them. Perhaps they cannot do much about illegal emigration to the U.S. It's pretty clear we can't (or won't) either.
In 1980, Cuba did, intentionally it appears, send criminals to the United States. We did nothing except arrest the criminals once they committed crimes in our country. We sent them to our prisons (which certainly beat Cuba's for comfort and cleanliness and treatment) and then allegedly deported them back to Cuba after they served their sentences.
But that was Cuban policy, not Mexico's. I think Trump was wrong to lump them altogether but I don't think the vast majority of us believe he did. I think the vast majority of us knew he was talking about a large number of them but certainly not all.
And now, of course, the media is questioning all Republican candidates about Trump's comments as if Trump speaks for the party.
If I were ("were" sounds wrong to me, it should be the singular "was") a candidate for the Republican nomination and I was asked about Trump's comments, I would respond with this, "What is Hillary's response to the socialism Bernie Sanders wants to bring to the U.S.?"
And, "Does Hillary support putting the U.S. on the metric system... as Lincoln Chafee proposed?"
When you answer those questions, I will comment on Trump's statements.
To re-address illegal immigration, I just heard Juan Williams justify the administration's emphasis on those illegal immigrants who are dangers to us. the problem with that argument is that they are here because the immigration laws are not being enforced. And the killing in San Francisco (a "sanctuary" city) exemplifies that fact. The killer is a known felon and illegal immigrant who was deported five times.
First, let me wish you all a happy Fourth of July, even you Brits. We did nothing; no going to a fireworks display, for example... we are getting a bit old for that. And the mosquitos are something we can no longer tolerate. By the way, the more astute of you may notice that "Aunty Acid" misspelled "exaggerating."
Things are still broken in Blogger-land... meaning I must write my posts "on the fly", without benefit of using copy and paste from some word processor.
I am not sure why I titled this post that way, it might be because Faye got some disturbing news at the doctor's office the other day. The doctor suggested she get an echo cardiogram because there was indication on her EKG that she might have had a heart incident recently.
He warned her that it may not have actually happened, that it could have been an error on the EKG, but she is concerned... as I am, and has tried to remember any incident that would point to it. It seems women do not generally get the same symptoms as men when these occur. Men get pressure on the chest, some arm or jaw pain, as well as a little nausea. Women often get dizziness and nausea and that is what Faye recalls a few weeks ago; that dizziness and nausea. She begged off our weekly night of dining with some friends that evening.
To be honest, I think she is worrying too much about it. At least I hope she is worrying over nothing.