||INDEX FOR 2009
|Jan 9, A Flight to Forget
Jan 25, Sur la Table Gift Wrapping
Aggressive Drivers in PA and NJ
Jan 29, US News & World Report?
Feb 1, The Republic of Alastex
Feb 14, How Much is a Trillion Dollars?
Feb 16, I Apologize for my Mistake
Feb 18, Political Jargon
Feb 26, Standing Ovations
Mar 2, Paul H. Aurandt
Mar 13, The Growth of Technology
Mar 14, Bill Clinton and Stem Cells
Mar 16, Spreading
Apr 1, April Tea Parties
Apr 4, OPM and OOPS
Apr 13, Protected Pirates
Apr 15, TEA Party = Third Party?
Apr 27, Samuel F.B. Morse
Jun 1, Robbing the Cradle
New Jersey Lost at the Primary Yesterday
Jun 3, Tomorrow is June 4th
Jun 8, Our Dog is a Liberal
Jun 9, More of the Same for New Jersey
Jun 16, Social Networks
Jun 19, All-American Car and Driver
Jun 25, Windfall
Jun 26, Weather, Bugs, Berries, Cherries, and Evolution
Jun 30, Cruelty and Kindness
Jul 9, One Way Communication
Jul 13, Rent or Buy?
|Jul 15, I Am Not Astroturf!
Jul 16, 40 Years Ago
150 Years of US Oil Production
Aug 1, Health Care for Clunkers (Senior Citizens)
Aug 1, Cash for Clunkers
Aug 5, Coin Drops
Aug 6, "A Well-Regarded Positive Corrections Officer"
Aug 12, How Much Electricity is in a Gallon?
Aug 13, The Health-Care Debate
Aug 27, Information and Misinformation
Aug 31, The Science of Economics and the First Law of Thermodynamics
Sep 8, President's Controversial Speech to School Children
Sep 8, Linksys Router Support
Sep 24, Lake Arrowhead
Oct 6, Supreme Court Dog Fight
Oct 21, Two Big Days Coming!
Oct 28, America Lost More Freedom Today!
Oct 30, White House Reports Success
Nov 3, Redundant Information
Nov 7, Eyewitnesses vs. the Media
Nov 9, Cleveland, Ft. Hood, Orlando...
Nov 11, Futile Expectations
Nov 20, In Memoriam - Ted and Thaddeus
Dec 4, Seasonal Politics and Seasoned Politicians
Dec 4, Kiddie Kollege
Dec 4, Refineries losed
Dec 4, Comcast Acquisition
Dec 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Dec 10, Redefining English
||A FLIGHT TO FORGET
January 9, 2009
US Airways flight 706 was scheduled to depart Philadelphia at 6:30 PM on December 21. Like good passengers are supposed to do,
we arrived three hours early for check-in, but the plane didn't lift off until 15 hours later!
According to US Airways personnel, someone tossed a diaper in the toilet which then froze and broke. A
mechanic who was called to fix it fell from a ladder and was taken to the ER. Another plane was ordered, which arrived
around 2:00 AM.
About 200 passengers spent the night sitting on benches or trying to sleep on the floor.
Early during this time there was a fire alarm with screeching sirens and horns that continued for about half an hour while
lights flashed and a recording warned everyone to leave the area. Most of us jumped and headed for the nearest exit, but then
we noticed that airport employees and people operating concession stands were doing business as usual. We discovered that
these false alarms happen quite often. We experienced two more such false alarms during the long night.
Around midnight, US Airways announced that we could get in line for a food voucher worth $10 that could be used for food at any
airport restaurant. There were far too few vouchers, however, and those who didn't get one were told that more were on the way.
The "lucky" ones who got a voucher, soon discovered that the concessions had closed for the night. At 2:00 AM, an
announcer said that more $10 vouchers had arrived and those who didn't get one could now get theirs. We got ours to keep as
souvenirs since there was no place to spend them.
The city of brotherly love (Philadelphia) came to our aid with a tiny bottle of water and package of cheese
crackers for each passenger.
At about 3:00 AM, a US Airways agent announced that they were "finally getting rid of us." We could begin boarding the plane.
We then spent over two hours on the plane because the fueling process wasn't working properly. The first truck didn't have enough
and the second truck was missing the proper paperwork.
At 5:30 AM I told Verna that I had had enough and was getting off the plane. As a 70-year-old heart patient (4 bypasses in 2005),
I didn't want Verna to have to ship me home in a box. Verna told the pilot that I wanted off and he said, "If he gets off, everyone
will get off." He then complained that he had been on duty for five hours and not moved one wheel. I had no sympathy for him since
he was getting paid overtime while we passengers had endured much longer and were paying for it. My threat may have had some effect,
however, because almost immediately, the pilot announced that we were taking off. It was 5:45 AM.
The flight was without incident and we arrived in Munich around 7:00 PM on Monday. The flight attendants were efficient and
considerate. Because we were so tired and it was late, we decided against driving our rental car the three hours to Austria.
We found a Bed & Breakfast that had a room available and collapsed.
We had a good trip to Austria. The typical clammy cold and overcast skies that greeted us remained in place constantly for the next
two weeks. That is one part of Austria that we haven't missed at all!
Probably due to many hours breathing at the airport and in the plane, we both got a nasty virus. I got sick
Christmas Eve and spent the next three days in bed. Verna caught the bug two days later. We both have constant coughing after
two weeks.I know what everyone will ask when they see me again. "Did you have a good trip?" I will reply,
"Read my blog!"
||Gift Wrapping à la Mode
January 25, 2009
The nation-wide chain of stores with the exquisite sounding French name, "Sur la Table" (pronounced sir-la-tahb), has a great selection of wonderful kitchen items, but don't waste money paying for gift wrapping.
We bought a raclette oven for our daughter and family for Christmas and paid $6 extra for gift wrapping. The oven was mailed directly to their home in California.
If you have never had a raclette meal, you are missing a treat. It is a little like fondue only more fun - and expensive if you use raclette cheese at $12 / lb! Raclette cheese is hard to find, but you can also use the $15 / lb Gruyere cheese. Our favorite raclette meal consists of melted raclette cheese poured over boiled potatoes and sprinkled with oregano, salt and other spices according to personal taste. We eat this with pickled veggies which also have a fancy French name "Giardiniera" (miniature corn cobs, tiny onion-like things, carrots, pickles etc.).
The package arrived in plenty of time for Christmas.
Our daughter needed a cardboard box to mail stuff to us, and since we told her the thing was gift wrapped, she decided to use the box our gift came in. Surprise -- or rather no surprise because the gift was not wrapped!
A week later, we received an email from Sur la Table saying that the gift had been shipped and asking us to let them know if there were any problems. They only want satisfied customers. I wrote that we had paid extra for gift wrapping but the package was not gift wrapped. I sort of expected that Sur la Table would apologize and give us the $6 back.
Here is what we received (including English mistakes). Enjoy!
On 1/11/2009 you posed a question to Sur la Table which was noted as inquiry 351557.The question you posed and our response are listed below.
Your Question, Comment or Feedback: Subject: Raclette Oven Our daughter was delighted to receive her gift from us, but we paid for gift wrapping and it wasn't wrapped. She had no surprise Christmas gift!
Hello RalphV. Harvey,
Thank you for contacting customer service about your order. The Raclette Oven is to big to be gift wrap and that's why you were charged for the gift wrapping.
Sur La Table
We hope this will help resolve this inquiry. If it does not, please use the link below to add to or clarify your question.
I didn't bother responding, so they think the matter is resolved.
January 26, 2009
Sorry about the lapse in my blogs. I have tried to write at least one per week, but we spent 15 days in Austria over the holidays and all last week we were in Lancaster.
Which brings me to the next blog. When you cross a state line driving into Pennsylvania, the first sign you see warns of aggressive drivers. I was especially cautious driving in Pennsylvania and managed to get in and out without getting hit by an aggressive driver.
||NEW JERSEY WARNING
When driving from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, you see a large overhead sign that reads, "Report Aggressive Drivers!"
I breathed a sigh of relief. I could finally relax and drive without fear of aggressive drivers running into me.
I promptly rear-ended a minivan at a crossing.
The light had turned green but the first vehicle in line was trying hard not to be aggressive and just stood there. I applied the brakes, but the wet pavement and my tires refused to cooperate. The minivan's plastic bumper and my car's plastic grille were broken in the mishap. My headlights still worked, but they lit up people's bedroom windows when I drove past. Because that might be deemed aggressive, I decided to make the necessary repairs.
January 29, 2009
We have subscribed to US News & World Report now for a number of years. It was the only major news magazine that had not become a willing tool of the leftist media monopoly.
In just a few months, USN&WR went from a weekly to a bi-weekly to a monthly format. It's like the food you buy in the super market. You pay the same or more for a smaller package and they hope you don't notice. Changes came so fast that the USN&WR webmaster couldn't keep up. It still says "US News Weekly" on their site.
In the past, US News and the Fox News Channel could be depended on to present a fair view of politics and current events. We don't get Fox News because we would have to pay an additional fee to Comcast. That is probably because Comcast doesn't like to broadcast views that are not conform to their own.
Both US News and Fox News have changed considerably since the election. We don't get Fox News and do not plan to renew our subscription to US News & World Report.
Changes were necessary at USN&WR due to the financial crisis that has affected all of us except CEOs and CFOs of banks and industries that our government is bailing out. It would be a pity if these guys had to experience the same fate as the rest of us.
The first change at US News & World Report was the content. Instead of news and world reports, USN&WR is now an advisory for people interested in health, education and money management.
There are many wealthy people in the drug and health care industry. They can afford to place full page ads in national magazines followed by a second page of small print on possible side effects.
Only the wealthy can afford to send their kids to college these days. School Superintendents and College Presidents are among the best paid citizens in America. Along with politicians, lawyers and people in the health care industry, these individuals have money to invest.
Our new President has already given about 50 billion of our money to financial institutions and he promises to pour lots more money into health and education. Yesterday, without a single Republican vote, the House approved an $819 billion give-away of our money. It is called "stimulating the economy." If the government gave each man, woman and child in America $2,000 (an interest-free advance of their own money) that would really stimulate the economy, but the government prefers to give the money to those who caused our financial woes.
US News is obviously in big trouble. If you read and believe what the Editor writes, it's all the Internet's fault - or readers who are turning to the Internet.
The next change at USN&WR will likely be the title, which should reflect the new content.
I suspect that US News & World Report may soon appeal to the government for a bailout. They wouldn't have had a chance with the old format!
||AN IMPOSSIBLE SCENARIO?
February 1, 2009
During the recent election campaign, we could observe a certain disaffection with Alaska and Texas on the part of the Democrats and the media. Although they managed to get George W. Bush out of the White House and send Sarah Palin back home, they still can’t refrain from slamming and criticizing them at every opportunity.
Al Gore has the media and Democrats convinced that drilling for oil in Alaska would melt the icebergs and cause a world-wide catastrophe. It was the same back in 1868, when Secretary of State William H. Seward urged the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 (two cents per acre). Influenced by the press, public opinion was turned against the purchase, calling Alaska “Seward’s Icebox” and “Seward's Folly” (12 years later, they discovered gold in Alaska worth 10 times the purchase price!).
The New Nation of Alastex
Texas and Alaska have had enough and are planning to secede from the United States! Together, they will form the Republic of Alastex. America’s flag will once again have 48 stars and the flag of Alastex will have two large stars (the Lone Star from the Texas flag and the North Star from Alaska’s flag). The seven stars that presently form the Big Dipper on Alaska’s flag will be rearranged to form an appropriate symbol. A national contest will be held to collect ideas and the new symbol will be decided by popular vote.
There will be plenty of room for expansion in Alastex. Texas has 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area. Alaska is over twice the size of Texas! It has a total of 656,425 square miles! Nearly a fourth of America’s 100 largest cities are located in Texas, yet there is plenty of room for expansion. The population of Alaska is sparse today, but with the formation of Alastex, that would soon change. American citizens who did not vote for Obama and don’t want to pay for his bail-outs, would be cordially invited to move to the Republic of Alastex.
Texas is a leader in the manufacture of computer chips and communication equipment. Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Texas Instruments, Alcatel and many other hi-tech companies are located here.
The fishing and seafood industry is big in Alaska, providing most of America's salmon, crab, halibut, and herring. Texas provides 20% of the nation’s beef, plenty of grain and other food supplies. Food should not be a problem in the Republic of Alastex.
It is warm in Texas and cold in Alaska, so you have your choice of weather! Sportsmen will love it in Alastex. Texas has the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer and Alaska has moose and grizzly bear. The fishing is great in the Gulf of Mexico and along Alaska’s 47,300 miles of shoreline. In addition, there are innumerable lakes and more than 5,000 miles of unpolluted rivers.
Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States. Texas produces 20% of America’s oil and refines most of its fuel. Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour. What Alastex doesn’t use, can be sold on the world market.
Alastex will boast some of the greatest research centers, hospitals, educational institutions and commercial enterprises in the world.
There are likely skeptics who doubt that the above described scenario is possible.
Texas has a legal right to secede from the Union according to the terms of the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848. Alaska may have to fight for this right, but with George W. Bush as President and Sarah Palin as Secretary of Defence, the Republic of Alastex should have little difficulty winning that battle. Texas and Alaska have a number of important military bases. Texas has the National Guard, many capable border guards and the Texas Rangers. NASA controls space and 65% of America’s defense industry is located in Texas.
Everyone in Texas and Alaska owns at least half a dozen guns and they know how to use them! On the other hand, the Democrats want to dismantle the military and force its citizens to hand in their guns.
It’s doable! Now, if I could only find a buyer for our house in New Jersey, with the highest property taxes in the nation!
||How is your Math?
February 14, 2009
The Democrats are rejoicing that they were able to rob Americans of their hard-earned money in order to spread the wealth among those who voted for them. The $789 billion "stimulus package" passed the Senate with the help of three Democrats disguised as Republicans. Obama and friends don't count the interest payments which will amount to $300 billion, bringing the total to over a trillion Dollars.
Our elected representatives are adept at stealing and spending non-existent money.
Printing presses in the U.S. Treasury Department are running at full speed, producing worthless money which, when it enters circulation, will reduce the value of all currency. Because printing one Dollar produces several non-existent Dollars (checks, electronic transfers, etc.), the thievery is multiplied. If the government tried to get that money from us through taxation, Americans would all complain and scream in protest. So they steal it from us by diluting it with worthless paper and claim that they are doing us a favor. They argue that if they didn’t take our money, the economic situation would get much worse.
So people who worked hard and saved for retirement with the promise of good interest rates, are now discovering that their savings have actually shrunk by a third. Politicians tell you that it is because of the lousy economy. In truth, they stole that money.
None of the Representatives who signed off on the stimulus package knew what it contained. They didn't have time to read it. I doubt if many of them could tell you how many zeros there are behind the number one in a trillion.
A billion is a one with nine zeros ($1,000,000,000) and a trillion is a one with a dozen zeros ($1,000,000,000,000).
A million Dollars in $1000 bills would make a stack 4 inches high. A billion Dollars of the same denomination would be 333 feet high and a trillion would make a stack nearly 60 miles high! We are talking $1000 bills!
With a trillion Dollars, you could purchase Microsoft, Google, WalMart, Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, and still have $23 billion left over.
I heard in the news that the American peanut industry is worth $800 million, so you could purchase that and 25 or 30 other such industries.
The population of America is about 350,000,000 (not counting illegal aliens). If you spread the debt among these, every man, woman and child in America would be billed $2857. But half the population is non-productive -- children, students, prisoners, drug addicts, criminals, welfare recipients, unemployed, retirees, lawyers and most politicians (parasites are non-productive). Many of these are beneficiaries of the wealth spreading. Only productive Americans will have to pick up the tab for the stimulus package. If you are one of these, your part of the debt will be around $6,000. Does that motivate you to work?
Washington politicians don't care what we think. Half a million of us signed the "No Stimulus" petition, but they were not impressed. In a worst case scenario, they won’t get reelected and will be forced to perform another kind of "bail-out". They will use their golden parachutes and retire on some tropical island. And productive Americans will pay for it.
February 16, 2009
I owe readers of my Valentine's Day blog an apology. I claimed that a stack of $1000 bills totaling a trillion Dollars would be over 60 miles high.
I received an email from a reader who shared my information with others. They didn't believe him, so he did the math and found my mistake. He wrote, "I calculated it and here is what I find; 333’ of $1,000 bills make a billion. 1,000 X 333’ comes to 333,000’. Divide that by 5820’ (feet in a mile) and a trillion dollars would stack to 57.216494 miles.
I apologize for the $50 billion exaggeration!
I also neglected to mention that the federal government had already committed around 6 trillion in loans, investments and guarantees to ailing banks and corporations during 2008. That stack of $1000 bills was already over 300 miles high when Obama took office.
President Obama promised change and preached hope during his campaign. In less than a month, another trillion was added to the above amount. According to the following graph in the Washington Post, the total is now at least 7.8 trillion Dollars.
I was speaking at a university all last week and asked nearly everyone I met how many zeros there are in a trillion. No one knew. Yesterday, someone actually knew the answer, and he works for the government! When I asked how high a trillion Dollar stack of $1000 bills would be, he guessed 700 feet.
If you find any mistakes in the chart, tell the Washington Post.
Definition of "jargon" (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)
1. Nonsensical, incoherent, or meaningless talk.
2. A hybrid language or dialect; a pidgin.
3. The specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, or similar group.
4. Speech or writing having unusual or pretentious vocabulary, convoluted phrasing, and vague meaning.
Thomas Carlyle wrote in "Past and Present" (1843), "Wholly a blessed time: when jargon might abate, and here and there some genuine speech begin."
During the presidential election campaign, I wrote a blog about the new meanings of good English words when uttered by certain politicians (3-8-08). I explained that some words, like the word "meaningful," have lost all meaning.
We all desire meaningful relationships with those we work and live with. Establishing them in a marriage is very simple. The husband puts the toilet seat down after use and the wife cooks her husband's favorite food even if he has high cholesterol.
Most politicians speak a jargon that is basically incomprehensible. Here are some of their favorite expressions and definitions:
Adequate ("take adequate measures") = means nothing
Timely ("we will address this issue in a timely fashion") = means nothing
Appropriate = means nothing as an adjective (as a verb it means billions)
Substantial = without substance
Relevant ("relevant to the matter at hand") = irrelevant
Significant = insignificant
Measured = incapable of being measured
Far-reaching = far fetched
Change = same old rhetoric
It is possible that a few politicians are returning to the use of common English. In response to accusations about pork (political jargon for money) in the current stimulus package (political jargon for money), Senator Chuck Shumer of New York spoke without using political jargon. In plain English, he said, "The American people really don't care."
Our new President may also have decided to use plain English rather than political jargon. The $790 billion bill, previously called "stimulus package" (political jargon), was renamed "American Recovery and Investment Act". Before signing, the President said, "Today does mark the beginning of the end."
I hope that was just meaningless political jargon.
It wasn't a State of the Union speech because Presidents don't give these until they have been in office for a while.
What we saw was a modern production of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
When Robert Louis Stevenson first published this work in 1886, it was an instant success and became the subject of street conversation, sermons and political speeches. The term Jekyll and Hyde has since become part of our vocabulary and is used to describe a person with a split personality.
To date, at least 125 films and innumerable stage plays have been produced based on Stevenson's work, and Obama's production was a fitting substitute for American Idol, which 25 million Americans missed.
Typical to Stevenson's main character, Obama's theatrical rendition of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was at once both a monologue and a dialogue, taking the form of a tragicomedy, also fitting to Stevenson's work. Some of the tragic and comic elements were not readily distinguishable by those unfamiliar with political jargon (see my last blog), but there can be no doubt about Barack Obama's mastery of this art. An enthusiastic audience, which I am told paid no admission, rewarded him with many standing ovations.
American tax-payers will be paying for decades to come.
Matt Welch aptly commented on the production <http://www.reason.com/news/show/131863.html>, "All night long, with equally sonorous vigor, he served up confident assertions, only to state moments later, with equal conviction, their near opposite."
||ANYONE HEARD OF PAUL AURANDT?
Although Paul H. Aurandt was more popular than any of the big name news anchors, few people have heard of him. His complete name was Paul Harvey Aurandt and he never used his last name in public. Paul passed away Saturday. He was 90.
The eleven Harvey siblings, of whom I am one, were constantly being asked if we were related to Paul Harvey. If I had a Dollar for every time someone called me Paul, I would be rich. A few decades ago, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, I was billed as Paul Harvey and a good crowd showed up to hear me speak! Paul had spoken the week before and whoever was in charge of changing the name in the marquee saw the name "Harvey" and decided it had already been done.
Paul Harvey is credited for coining terms such as "skyjacker," "Reaganomics" and "guesstimate."
His many quotes will live on indefinitely.
"In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these."
"Golf is a game in which you yell "fore," shoot six, and write down five."
"I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."
"There is not much difference between a "church hopper" and a "church shopper."
"If 'pro' is the opposite of 'con' what is the opposite of 'progress'?"
"If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 times out of ten it will."
"When your outgo exceeds your income, the upshot may be your downfall."
"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey was 100% American and 100% conservative, which means he used good common sense and believed in a good work ethic. And he was not shy about voicing his political and religious convictions. You can find a number of video clips of Paul Harvey on YouTube (like this one<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD1MQUPC8bE>).
I liked what he said about the United Nations a number of years ago. Today, the word "communists" could be replaced with "radicals" or some better word that only Paul Harvey could conjure up.
"One would think by listening to all the propaganda about the United Nations that they are some sort of benevolent, peaceful organization. Never in the history of the United Nations has it stood for anything but killing and violence. They have never kept peace anywhere on this globe. Their sole function is to replace the U.S. military - dissolve all four branches of our armed forces. Their allegiance is only to the United Nations Charter which does not recognize the U.S. Constitution. This body is made up almost exclusively of communists and leaders of the bloodiest regimes on this globe. Their history and operating agenda is apparent to anyone who takes the time to sincerely and with an open mind, research the facts of this organization, separating truth from myth. Bilderberger participants (another group committed to one-world domination) in 1992 called for 'conditioning the public to accept the idea of a U.N. army that could, by force, impose its will on the internal affairs of any nation."
Paul Harvey will long be remembered for the good things that he stood for and reported. Most TV news broadcasts remind me of the weather in Austria. If you are patient, you can shoot a Sound of Music hit in a few hours, but you may have to wait months for that special day. I wrote a letter on March 22, 1997 in which I described Austrian weather:
"We have many D-days in Austria: damp, drippy, dreary, dull, dark, dismal, depressing, deplorable, dreadful, demoralizing, despicable and disgusting!"
You could use the same words and many more that start with "D" to describe most of the news you hear today. We will certainly miss Paul Harvey!
During the past week I came across several statistics that I jotted down on scraps of paper. At first glance, they didn’t seem to be connected, but I’ll let you be the judge. Here are the statistics:
In the past 5 minutes, 67 babies were born in the USA. In China, 274 were born and in India, 395.
In the past 5 minutes, 700,000 songs were downloaded illegally.
The English language has 5 times as many words today as there were in Shakespeare’s time.
There is more information in one week’s worth of the New York Times than a person was exposed to in a lifetime in the 18th century.
It is estimated that 4 exabytes of unique information will be generated in 2009. That is more than in the past 5,000 years.
The amount of new technical information is doubling every year.
More Chinese are presently learning English (300 million and growing) than there are English speaking Americans (250 million and shrinking).
Are the above figures somehow related?
China and India are racing to outdistance America in the realm of technology, and English is of utmost importance in this field.
I did a bit of research on the growth of technology and this is what I discovered.
It took 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million by radio and 13 years for TV to accomplish that feat. The Internet had 50 million subscribers within 4 years of its conception. It took the iPod 3 years and Facebook 2 years to find 50 million users.
In 1984 there were 1,000 Internet devices. By 1992, there were a million and in 2008 a billion.
In 2008 there were 31 billion searches per month on Google, up from 2.7 billion in 2006.
Transmission speeds are tripling every 6 months. Japan has successfully tested a single fiber optic strand that transports 14 trillion bits per second. That is 2,660 full CDs per second.
The number one country in broadband penetration is Bermuda. USA is #19 and subscription prices for broadband are among the highest in the world.
Effect on the Workplace
The top ten jobs that will be in demand in 2010 did not even exist in 2004. We are currently preparing youth for jobs that do not yet exist and which will use technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems we have yet to face. Half of what a student of technology learns in his first year of study will be obsolete by his third year.
The US Department of Labor states that the present learner will hold 10-14 jobs by age 38. Already, one in four laborers has been with his or her present employer less than a year, and half have been with their employer less than five years.
Effect on Society
The first commercial text message was sent in December, 1992. By 2001, 750,000 text messages per day were being sent. The number of text messages today well exceeds the population of our planet. The average young person sends around 20 messages per day or 600 per month, but not a few send thousands per month.
If MySpace was a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world – between Indonesia and Brazil. MySpace has over 200 million registered users.
One of eight American couples who married in 2008 met online. Since 2004, however, the majority of the nation's households are headed by unmarried Americans and two thirds of America’s unmarried adults are now cohabitating.
In 1987, there were 2.3 million unmarried and 1.5 million same-sex cohabitating couples in the USA. These numbers tripled within 20 years.
The world is changing more rapidly than Obama promised it would, and he has no control over these changes. Thank God!
I will close this blog with a quote from the author of our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.
"But let a Christian spirit be mingled into the mass of our population, till it pervades every neighborhood, and then where is the danger from within, or without that can harm us? ...and when our people thus walk with God, God Himself will be with them, and He will be their God, and they shall be His people..." Francis Scott Key
||$6 MILLION FOR NONSENSE!
According to the Associated Press, former President Bill Clinton earned $5.7 million in speaking honoraria in 2008.
And we are in the middle of an economic crises!
Today, I read in a blog that Ex President Bill Clinton claimed embryos were NOT fertilized and that it was therefore okay to use them for stem cell research.
I had difficulty believing that a Rhodes scholar and former President of the United States didn't know what every First Grader knows. An egg must be fertilized to become an embryo. When we eat eggs for breakfast, we do not eat baby chick embryos. If we discovered an embryo in an egg, we would probably decide to buy our groceries elsewhere.
According to the blog, Clinton made this statement on CNN's Larry King Live.
I decided that if this statement was true, it could be verified. I Googled the words, "Clinton," "Larry King," and "stem cell." One of the first results was a YouTube video clip of the interview, dated March 11, 2009.
I watched the video in which Clinton stammered quite a bit, and he made the above statement more than once. I watched the video a second time and counted how often Clinton said that embryos are not fertilized. SIX TIMES !!!!!!
He was being interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and a former candidate for President Barack Obama's Surgeon General, who didn't bother to correct Clinton's gross error.
Doug Powers www.dougpowers.com wrote in his blog, "You'd think that if anybody would know the rules of the fertilization process, it would be Bill Clinton. Sperm on egg = embryo. Sperm on dress = impeachment, no embryo."
But then Bill is well-known for his unusual definitions of everyday terminology.
Jill Stanek noted on her blog www.jillstanek.com that Clinton had made the same statement in an earlier Larry King Live broadcast on February 17. She quoted him as saying, "But this stem cell research, if the stem cells are frozen embryonic stem cells, if they are never going to be used to be fertilized, to bring a life into being, then I think making them available for medical research is the pro-life position and I honestly don't understand - I would understand it if we were going and raiding stem cell banks, where these stem cells were going to be used to actually fertilize eggs and have babies."
||A NEW NAME FOR OLD POLITICS
Spreading the wealth – taking from the ambitious and giving to the nonproductive.
Spreading health care – killing babies for organs and stem cells that can help sick and injured adults.
Spreading retirement funds – taking worker’s savings to bail out their bungling employers.
Spreading knowledge – limiting college admissions for intelligent youth and giving scholarships to school drop-outs.
Spreading opportunity – outsourcing jobs and offering illegal aliens amnesty.
Spreading freedom of speech – hindering the propagation of truth and decency while permitting expressions of immorality.
Spreading pollution – “Cap and Trade.”
The list could go on and on.
Spreading has been around for quite a while. Some polite names for it are “socialism,” “communism” and “manure.”
||LONDON TEA PARTY
Today is April Fool's Day. President Barack Obama landed in London last night at 9 PM and 15,000 police officers were on hand to protect him. Today, thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest what is being called "Financial Fools' Day."
At the bottom of these protests is intense anger over the growing financial crisis. More than a thousand delegates and representatives of the G-20 nations begin talks about global finances starting tomorrow.
Everyone seems to know by now that the people responsible for the world economic crises are the ones at the top of government, financial institutions and big business. And the common people do not believe that the people who created the problem can or will fix it. Their anger is understandable.
All this reminds me of the protests of early American colonists which became known as "Tea Parties."
||GREENWICH TEA PARTY
Most Americans know that angry colonists burned tea in Boston Harbor in December of 1773, but few know about the Greenwich Tea Party. On a fateful December night in Greenwich Harbor, a load of tea which was to be hauled overland to Philadelphia, was torched by a group of 40 Patriots dressed as Native Americans.
One participant of the Greenwich Tea Party was Richard Howell, who later became the third governor of New Jersey. His granddaughter, Varina Howell, married Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.
Cumberland County Historical Society
The Cumberland County Historical Society erected a monument to mark the event at Market Square in Greenwich and a re-enactment of the event took place in September, 2008. Here are photos of that event.
All over America, angry citizens are planning "Tea Parties" in major cities on April 15th to protest the government's unfair treatment of tax-paying citizens. Karl Marx claimed that "religion is the opium of the masses," and I contend that OPM is the religion of socialism (OPM= "Other People's Money").
I plan to stage another tea party at Greenwich on April 15th at 10:00 AM. The monument at Market Square is the ideal place. Anyone else with me?
In my Wednesday blog, I mentioned OPM, the religion of most politicians. A couple of people told me that they never heard that before. I guess it is because politicians believe religion is a private matter and don't discuss it.
While on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama slipped up and said that bitter small-town Americans cling to guns and religion, perhaps the greatest blunder of his presidential campaign. He learned his lesson well and refrained from talking about religion until after he was elected.
Today, I want to talk about OOPS.
Our government worships OPM, but OOPS means nothing to most people. For readers of my blog who never heard of
OOPS, it stands for "Only Other People's Stuff."
People are very protective of their own stuff, but other people's stuff means nothing to them - it's OOPS! People who have meticulously manicured lawns think nothing of tossing their trash on public property. They get quite irate if a bird poops on their car, but if they hit your car with a grocery cart - and get caught, they say, "OOPS, it's only a little ding."
Many people are unemployed, so you would think that the fortunate ones who still have a job would try to do their job well. Some do, but too many don't care.
The airport baggage handlers are notorious. Your precious belongings get lost or damaged and it's OOPS! And they always demand a tip.
I recently watched a bungling waitress dump soup all over a gentleman's coat. I say he was a gentleman because he didn't scold or threaten to sue. The waitress didn't offer to pay the cleaning bill, nor did she bring him another bowl of soup! She just said "OOPS!"
The tip was included in the bill.
Last year, the US Postal Service had a deficit of over $2.8 billion. They claim it is due to the poor economy and the internet. Nobody likes the USPS because it only brings bills, letters asking for donations and advertisements.
I drive extra miles to mail packages that would be cheaper to send from the local Post Office. UPS and Fed-Ex workers show a bit more respect for what Postal Service consider OOPS.
Today, I received a package that contained something I had been waiting many years to get my hands on. I always liked a duo called "The Palermo Brothers," who made a couple of records back in the fifties. Their songs were never recorded on cassette or CD, so I kept searching for an old LP in good condition. I finally located one on eBay and snapped it up. The seller promised to package it well and put two extra cardboard pieces in the already sturdy box designed especially for mailing LPs. He wrote "FRAGILE" in big red letters and sent it through the US Postal Service.
It looked like someone threw a 100-lb wooden crate on it. When I spoke with a postal worker about the ruined record, she said, "I hope it was insured." I felt like screaming, "IT'S NOT THE MONEY, STUPID!"
I am writing the seller to plead with him, "Don't ever send another package through the USPS!" That is certainly not good for the Postal Service, but the USPS is already bankrupt.
The government will probably bail out USPS with OPM so it can return to business as usual - OOPS!
||CAPTAIN RICHARD PHILLIPS IS FREE
April 13, 2009 Blog
The 53-year-old Phillips was taken captive by the pirates on Wednesday, beginning a tense five-day hostage crisis. The Somali pirates demanded a $2 million ransom for the release of Captain Phillips.
||THREE PIRATES ARE DEAD
Navy Seals needed only 3 shots to bring down 3 pirates and free Captain Richard Phillips. The ransom was not paid, but Phillip's freedom cost taxpayers much more than $2 million. Still, the rescue operation was worth every penny. Bravo Navy Seals!
||WASHINGTON PIRATES ARE PROTECTED
A pirate is a person who seizes the property of others without legal authorization. If government agents seize a boat used to traffic narcotics, that is not piracy. If government officials take goods or money from law-abiding and tax-paying citizens without constitutional authority, that is piracy. If you disagree, I beg an explanation. What is the difference? Call it taxation if you want, but if it is unconstitutional, immoral and unethical, it is piracy.
No Constitutional authority exists allowing the U.S. Government or Federal Reserve to use public (taxpayer) funds for definitively private purposes (bailout of private businesses and institutions).
There are BIG differences between Somali pirates and Washington pirates. Obama gave our military permission to shoot the Somali pirates, but Washington pirates are protected by that same military.
Taxpayers are paying the ransom and getting nothing in return. I may be alone, but I am going to have a protest tea party in Greenwich, NJ, where 40 colonists staged a tea party in 1774 to protest unfair taxation.
Come and join me at 10 am!
For more information and where the Tea Burner Monument is located, check The Historical Marker Database.
Monument in the center of Greenwich, NJ and photo from a reenactment last September
||OUR TEA PARTY IN GREENWICH
Over 2,000 TEA ("Taxed Enough Already") Parties were staged across America today. As I promised in my last blog, my wife and I had a TEA party in Greenwich, NJ, 235 years after angry colonists burned a ship load of tea on this spot.
Here are pictures of our TEA Party for the many thousands who couldn't or didn't show up. You certainly missed a big treat, but we enjoyed your share of the Danish cookies and tea.
||A THIRD PARTY FOR AMERICA?
The TEA Party slogan has been presented all over the country this day, and nearly everyone now knows that T.E.A. stands for "Taxed Enough Already."
Now that taxpayers have demonstrated tremendous solidarity, I suggest a new
third party for America: The TEA Party! T.E.A. stands for "Taxpayer Electoral Alliance".
Hello America! We have only begun the fight!
||A DISTANT UNCLE
April 27, 2009
My wife is somehow related to Samuel F. B. Morse, so we call him Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam was born this very day in 1791, and Google honored him by using the code he invented to spell "Google" on its home page. Happy Birthday Uncle Sam!
My mother was a direct descendant of William Cooper, who founded Cooperstown, NY, That is where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located. We call him Grampa Bill.
Grampa Bill had a boy named Jimmy, who grew up and wrote a bunch of books. Most have heard of James Fennimore Cooper but we call him Uncle Jim. Uncle Jim was two years older than Uncle Sam, but they were close friends. Uncle Sam not only invented the telegraph, but he was also a pioneer in the field of photography and a talented artist. He produced over 300 masterpieces, and one of them, The Gallery of the Louvre, is considered by many to be the greatest piece of American art ever produced. Uncle Sam painted it for Uncle Jim as a token of their friendship. Unfortunately, we didn't inherit the painting, which, according to TIME, brought the highest price ever paid for an American work of art.
Uncle Sam came from good stock. His father wrote the first geography book in America and his grandfather was President of Harvard University. Together with his brothers, Uncle Sam published the New York Observer and Journal of Commerce. Uncle Sam believed that all men should be educated and to help attain this end, he founded the National Academy of Design.
Although Uncle Sam attained great fame during his life, he repeatedly gave the Creator credit for all his worldly achievements. He held biblical teachings to be the most important aspect of education. He once stated, "Education without religion is in danger of substituting wild theories for the simple commonsense rules of Christianity". The first sentence spoken on his telegraph was a Bible verse from Numbers 23:23; "What hath God wrought?"
Although most citizens of our nation readily enjoy the cultural and scientific achievements of this man, they largely reject his faith and the Creator to whom he gave all credit.
Education, science and religion have one common denominator. Each is a learning experience that seeks to establish truth. None of these three is ever perfected in this life. We continue to learn until death. A person who receives a diploma and thinks he is educated, has been badly deceived. A scientist who retires after making a great discovery ceases to be a scientist. Anyone who shies from theological debate by claiming, "I have my religion," lays bare his own spiritual depravity.
Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam! You wouldn't be very happy today if you could see what has become of the nation you loved and served. Just like you told us, education without religion is substituting wild theories for the simple commonsense rules of Christianity. Today, you might text message, "What hath man wrought!!"
The American people voted for change and it's coming faster than any of us could have imagined. Fortunately, God has not changed.
||ROBBING THE CRADLE
June 1, 2009
Many robbers are armed, so we are advised to give them our money and hope that they leave without using their weapons.
Robbing little children is different. You can steal a baby's pacifier and all it can do is cry. You don't need a weapon.
Robbers are facing tough times these days. They can't rob banks because they are broke and have become recipients of generous bailouts. Many hard-working Americans have lost their homes and retirement money, and not a few have lost their jobs. Big businesses, like General Motors and Chrysler, are facing bankruptcy. Small businesses are closing because of high taxation. People are making their purchases on line or shop at Wal-Mart and Target. Customers pay with plastic cards, so there isn't much money in the till for robbers.
That leaves the kids. Stealing from babies is not in good taste, however, and anyone who does so risks incurring the wrath of the general populace. Adding to this problem, small children don't normally have much to steal.
Fortunately for robbers, children can be taken hostage and held for a large ransom. And if the parents won't or can't pay, you can always sell them into slavery for the rest of their lives. Private citizens can not buy and keep slaves of course, but the government can own as many as it pleases. That is the great advantage of socialism, and who can doubt that our nation is rapidly becoming or has already become a socialist state. Much has changed since America turned to socialism. Some of that change crept in almost unnoticed during past administrations, but in keeping with Obama's campaign promise, change has come quite rapidly during his first 100 days in the White House.
One big change is that what was formerly called "taxation" is now called "spreading the wealth." The emphasis is on giving and receiving rather than on taking. Somehow that terminology has a more positive ring to it. Last month, for example, we received notice from Mr. Barack Obama, that he was depositing a $500 gift in our bank account. He didn't say where he got the money, but it certainly didn't come from his personal assets. Nor could it have come from banks, mortgage or insurance companies, all of which are broke and begging for bailouts. And least of all, could it have come from tax money or government reserves.
The truth of the matter is, that the money we received is from our grandchildren. They were too young to understand, but Obama actually promised to rob our children and grandchildren while campaigning for the presidency. He didn't use that exact language, but any thinking adult must have understood what he meant. When you spend money that you don't have, you either spend stolen money or you create a debt. If you have no intention of paying the debt yourself, you are stealing. Millions of Americans cheered and voted for Obama when he promised to fix our present economy by stealing from babies. And it didn't take him long to fulfill that promise. Our grandchildren are being held for ransom (over a trillion Dollars) and because our children can't afford to pay, they will become slaves of the state.
That is what socialism is all about. Democracy is government of the people and in socialism, the government owns everything including the people. The US government is rapidly assuming ownership of banking institutions, mortgage companies and auto manufacturers. Soon it will own the people as well. How to create this situation in America is the basic concept of the Cloward-Pivan Strategy that was taught at Columbia University while Obama studied there.
Social Security recipients (grandparents) were given $250 to keep them from protesting. As you can see, it didn't work with me! Now I am trying to figure the best way to give our grandchildren their money without the government finding out and stealing it again. We wouldn't get it a second time because Obama said this was a one-time payment.
||NEW JERSEY LOST AT THE PRIMARY YESTERDAY
June 3, 2009
We have been on the campaign trail trying to get Steve Lonegan selected as the Republican candidate for Governor of New Jersey in the November election.
The NJ-GOP came out very strong for Chris Christie, who won handily by 55% over Lonegan's 42% of the votes yesterday.
Christie normally prides himself in being a "moderate," but Lonegan forced him to campaign as a conservative pro-life candidate. Christie campaigned against Lonegan instead of the incumbent Democratic Governor, Jon Corzine.
Chris Christie doesn't show many signs of being a better Governor than the former Republican Governors, but he has a good chance of unseating the unpopular Corzine.
NJ and Virginia are the only states electing a Governor this November and the national parties are expected to throw lots of money and influence behind their candidates. I am disappointed, but will continue to fight for what I believe to be right, no matter who it may offend.
||TOMORROW IS JUNE 4TH
June 3, 2009
Tomorrow is June 4th. So what?
June 4th is a special date for Muslims around the world. It is not only the date on which Ayatollah Kholmeini died, but it also marks the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB was founded in Cairo, Egypt, on June 4, 1928 and is the most powerful political force in the Muslim-Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Hamas, Al Qaeda and every Sunni based terrorist organization in the world. Founder of the MB, Hassan al-Banna, was best friends with Adolf Hitler and his follower, Sayyid Qutb, hated America and everything it stood for. The Muslim Brotherhood is anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-everything that is not Arab Muslim.
Barack Hussein Obama has chosen Cairo and June 4 as the time and place where he gives his much anticipated conciliatory speech to the Arab Muslim world.
During the presidential election, Obama slipped up and spoke of "the 57 States". This is understandable for someone who was born and raised a Muslim. All Arab Muslims know that there are 57 Arab states. What concerns me more are his subtle and even blatant moves to placate Muslims who openly declare America to be an enemy that must be destroyed.
Within days of taking office in January, Obama launched his effort to engage the Muslim world by granting an interview with the Al-Arabiya television network. Last month, Obama stretched out his arms to Muslims in the Turkish parliament.
At a dinner for news correspondents, on May 9, Obama joked about doing his next 100 days in just 72 days (by July 20), and rest on the following day (July 21). Mohammad purportedly ascended into heaven on July 20, and Muslims like to institute laws and major programs on that date. On July 21, 2009, Obama will have fulfilled his destiny and will "rest."
The Dems and liberal left are doing all they can to muzzle Christians, calling their religious convictions based on the Bible "hate crimes." Obama refused to attend the annual Prayer Breakfast, but he is reaching out to radical Muslims who openly despise everything America stands for. Something is terribly wrong!
||OUR DOG IS A LIBERAL
June 8, 2009
We are now raising a puppy named Venita. It didn't take us long to figure out where she stands politically.
Venita is biologically a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix, but politically, she is a thoroughbred liberal socialist. She lays around most of the time and lives the good life at others' expense. She is pampered, petted, well-fed and cared for by hard-working, tax-paying citizens.
And she never lifts a paw to help with the housework. The Mrs. has to vacuum hair off the carpets and pick up pieces of toys and other items that Venita gleefully tears to shreds. I have to watch where I step when mowing the lawn. When we take her for walks, we are constantly cleaning up after her. That is something she could do herself. If given the chance, she will eat excrement of cats, rabbits, ducks, geese and other dogs. That is another typical characteristic of liberals. They never seem to get enough of shows like "Sex in the City", "Dirty Dancing" and "Swapping Housewives." They believe anyone should have the freedom to marry or cohabitate with anyone or anything they want - with all the legal benefits. They are pro abortion and call anyone who doesn't think it's right to murder unborn babies terrorists whose protests are called "hate crimes." Freedom of speech only relates to filthy language.
Venita is going to be a guide dog someday.
Our job is to make a good citizen out of Venita. That is not easy, but we are working hard at it. We are already making good progress in some areas. She now follows many of the rules without getting treats, and she no longer protests when we put her in a cage or on a leash. Best of all, she only barks when she is supposed to, like the other day when a stranger jumped over our fence instead of coming the proper way to read our gas meter.
When we are finished raising her, she goes to a finishing school for intensive harness training. After that, Venita will be a productive member of society, earning her way in life by guiding the blind. We look forward to attending her graduation when she becomes a full-fledged conservative.
The big unanswered question is, what party will she belong to?
||MORE OF THE SAME FOR NEW JERSEY
June 9, 2009
A front page headline in Monday's Gloucester County Times reads, "Corzine is set to 'fight like hell'." Those last three words are a quote from New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine.
Now it's the Republican candidate who can argue, "More of the same?"
As a retired missionary, I think I can speak knowledgeably about hell even though I have never been there. Jon Corzine speaks from experience. Been there, done that.
I am not referring to that hellish accident that he was involved in a couple of years ago. His chauffeur was doing everything wrong and Corzine didn't protest. Nor was he buckled up.
When I say he's "been there, done that," I am referring to his past record of "fighting like hell." Most people know what hell stands for even if they don't believe in its existence. The devil tries to lure people by promising them anything they want. He tempts them to choose his party line by offering treats and promises that there will be no uncomfortable consequences - like higher taxes.
If you want more of the same, you know who to vote for in November!
June 16, 2009
I have heard much about MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other lesser known social networking sites. Some of what I learn sounds great, but I have also read and heard a few horror stories.
One of my granddaughters is on Facebook and I have been invited by her to join this growing social networking site.
It doesn't cost anything. That makes me a little suspicious.
I have also been invited to join Facebook by a myriad of other people, from a 93-year-old friend to people I never heard of. That causes me some concern.
Friends and relatives tell me that I needn't worry. Facebook is perfectly safe. You can control who gets to see whatever you want them to see. If you are a Facebook fan and disagree with what I am writing, please tell me and I may post your response in a future blog.
Out of curiosity, I typed the name of my granddaughter into Google and got thousands of results. I added the word "Facebook" and got only 785 results.
I opened just one of those links, which is probably typical.
A girl with the same name as my granddaughter lives in Baltimore, MD. I am not on Facebook, but I can view her public profile. She is a cute girl (if that is her photo). The names and photos of seven female friends are also posted there for all to view. This girl and her friends appear to be teenagers. Another feature of her public profile is a list of what she likes and dislikes. She doesn't like thunder storms and likes morning sex. Our 13-year-old granddaughter wouldn't post either of these, but if she did, would her parents know?
Now here is what bothers me about social networking sites. If I Google the names of all her friends, I also get their Facebook pages. By Googling two or three names of her friends at the same time, I can probably find out what school they attend. You can Google the name of almost any person along with the city or town where they live and get their telephone number and often the street address. Try it yourself! Type your own first and last name in quotes into the Google search line (or any other search engine) and see what comes up. Do the same thing again and add the town where you live (without quotes).
I got tricked into signing up for Twitter. I was on TV May 14th and checked the station website to see if I could find a video of the interview. The site mentioned that the station was on Twitter, "the fastest growing social networking site". I falsely assumed that Twitter must be like YouTube and I might find a video there. When I registered for Twitter (absolutely free), I followed the online instructions and clicked "Okay". I got an error message saying that Twitter could not find my address book.
Suddenly I knew why I kept getting invitations to join Facebook and Twitter from people who said they were not aware that they had invited me to join.
I don't want all my contact addresses and information anywhere but on MY computer. A hacker could possible get the information anyway, but I don't give it to strangers willingly. I have Comcast, which also tries to persuade me to use the online address book. It is great when I go on trips and want to send email from my laptop. But I prefer to copy the addresses from my desktop computer to the laptop. I use Thunderbird for email because the contact information stays on my computer. When I signed up for Google Mail (gmail), Google wanted to import my address book. I refused to oblige. That is why Twitter complained! Many friends use Comcast, Gmail, AOL or other email services that do the same, so I must assume that my name and contact information is already on a dozen servers.
I am a fussy old man that is far behind the times. I am just being stubborn, but people who want my personal information and that of my friends will have to work for it - or let Google do it for them. I am not throwing it at them!
||ALL-AMERICAN CAR AND DRIVER
Rachel and her 1964 Comet
Today someone sent me a link to a very interesting video clip. It shows an interview with a 91-year-old woman named Rachel talking about her 1964 Mercury Comet. There are two or three short video clips on this website about Rachel and her Comet.
The story is noteworthy because the car has had only had one owner, one engine and one driver for well over 500,000 miles! I was especially enamored with the videos because I have a warm place in my heart for the 1964 Mercury Comet.
One of my brothers had two Comets and loved them both. His favorite was a 1965 Comet Cyclone. Rachel's is a Caliente model. I just read in Classic Cars Magazine that there is going to be a show featuring these cars in Ohio sometime in August. I wish I could go just to be near these wonderful cars again. It doesn't surprise me at all that a 91-year-old woman would be in love with her 44-year-old Comet. Back in the sixties, America built cars to last! And Rachel was apparently also built to last!
Now I have to tell you about our Mercury Comet. Back in July of 1964, we were a young couple with a baby, preparing to embark on our missionary career of four decades. In order to purchase tickets to sail to Europe (aboard the fastest passenger ship in the world, the SS United States), we had to sell our shiny black 1950 Rocket 88 Oldsmobile.
That created a problem for us. Verna's brother was getting married shortly before our departure, but we had no car. A good friend heard of our plight and offered to loan us his brand new Mercury Comet for the 800 mile round trip! We both fell in love with the car.
Verna said, "I hope we can get a car like this
some day." Thirteen years later, in 1977, we returned to America for six months
and found a 1964 Mercury Comet sitting on a car lot. The car served us well and
we even got the purchase price back when we sold it.
Now we are retired and living in Malaga, NJ. Every day we walk our dog past a house with a 1964 Comet sitting in the yard. It has very little rust and the chrome still shines. If only I had some extra money....
We just received a bill for our estimated 2009 property taxes. We are instructed to pay the township's estimate by August 10th or suffer penalties. An accompanying letter explains why this is just an estimate. The township could not adopt its 2009 budget because Gloucester County could not adopt its 2009 budget because New Jersey has not adopted its 2009 budget.
The reason New Jersey lawmakers gave for not adopting a budget was an unexpected half billion Dollar windfall from the state's tax amnesty program.
The state spent $2 million Dollars of taxpayer money to inform delinquent taxpayers that penalties would be dropped if they paid their back taxes by June 15th. The NJ website http://www.taxamnesty.nj.gov/ states clearly, "If you have unpaid taxes spanning multiple tax periods, you are not required to satisfy every period under Amnesty. You may elect to satisfy only some of the periods." Special low interest rates are offered.
NJ citizens with delinquent tax bills know a bargain when they see one. Many decided to pay at least part of what they owed by the deadline, which happened to coincide with the NJ budget debate. Although many envelopes have not yet been opened, Governor Corzine estimates that the amnesty program brought him a half billion Dollar windfall. The budget was put on hold until government officials can decide what to do with the money. Because NJ is electing a Governor this year, Corzine insists that the money should be returned to the people who sent it in. Talk about bargains!
Thursday's Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D., Camden) as saying that the success of the tax amnesty program "again shows how New Jersey Democrats have indeed been ahead of the curve in responding to this economic crisis... Those who criticized this program and never offered an alternative must now confront the reality that this was the nation's most successful tax amnesty program and a smart and sensible policy."
||WEATHER, BUGS, BERRIES, CHERRIES, AND EVOLUTION
The month of June has been very wet here in New Jersey. This weather reminds me of Austrian "D" days. "D" days can be described with adjectives that begin with the 4th letter of the alphabet - damp, drizzly, dreary, dull, dark, dismal, depressing, deplorable, dreadful, demoralizing, despicable and disgusting. It has rained nearly every day this month and forecasts say that more of the same can be expected.
Precipitation is good for berries, cherries and other produce that gave New Jersey its motto, "The Garden State." We harvested 24 quarts of strawberries from our small garden. Last week we went berry and cherry picking, but we had no sooner gotten our containers weighed when it started raining tigers and wolves (evolutionary progression of cats and dogs). We decided to take a rain check.
Tuesday looked like another "D" day but my wife spotted a piece of blue sky wedged between the clouds and said that we should go for the goodies. We harvested 25 pounds of pie cherries and another 25 pounds of blueberries without getting wet or sunburned. There are benefits to overcast skies, but there are also drawbacks. Mosquitoes and strawberry flies like to go hunting for food on "D" days!
That brings me back to the subject of evolution.
Evolutionists claim that life as we know it evolved from nothing with no intelligent input from a Creator. In most American schools it is illegal to even mention the latter possibility. I can understand that Christians place a special value on creationism because they believe in life after death. But I don't understand why atheists care so much about where they came from if they are not concerned about where they are going. They practically worship Darwin as creator of evolutionary doctrine.
That reminds me of the situation in Eastern Europe during the Communist era. Communist atheists claimed that the Bible was just a book of fairy tales, but they were deathly afraid of it and searched every car that crossed their borders for Bibles.
While picking cherries and killing pesky bugs, I got to thinking about evolution. Why do cherries turn brilliant red so we and birds can find them easily among the leaves? Why do mosquitoes and strawberry flies make identifying noises that announce their presence? Did evolution make them suicidal for some strange reason?
||CRUELITY AND KINDNESS
I sometimes prefer cruelty to kindness.
Now don't get me wrong; I am not some kind of evil beast, but a really nice guy most of the time.
But sometimes being nice is not preferable treatment.
Our neighbor is nice to mosquitoes, gathering old tires that collect water so the mosquitoes can
lay their eggs. I do my best to kill mosquitoes and don't really care if one is left injured and
screaming for help. Perhaps relatives will come to its aid, but I rather think they care less
than I do.
I read in the newspaper that a man was taken to court by the SPCA and fined for being cruel to a
rabbit. He had a pet rabbit that had gotten too big for its cage, so he turned it loose in the
woods. Really! In such a case, cruelty is apparently preferable to kindness. Even the SPCA and the judge knew
that. I would have hit the rabbit on the head with a hammer or pipe, cut its head off, skinned it,
cut out its guts, tossed it in a frying pan, cooked and eaten it.
In another case, a man was taken to court for shaving his cat to make it look like a poodle. He got off
the hook because neither his accusers nor the judge could explain why it's okay to do that to a
dog but wrong for a cat.
At times, of course, kindness is preferable to cruelty.
When American troops discovered Sadaam Hussein hidden in a hole, they hauled him out and locked
him up in a prison that was nicer than the hole where they found him. I felt that the American
military should have shown him even more kindness. He claimed that the Iraqi people loved him,
so I would have announced on Iraq TV that their hero would be released the following day
at noon, carrying the $300,000,000 they found with him. A great crowd would have been there to
We have been hearing a lot about Gitmo. Inmates there get healthy meals and free health care. I
understand they have sports facilities and air-conditioning, amenities that they didn't enjoy
while at large. Prisons in America are perhaps more comfortable, but for that reason,
they are also overcrowded. We don't have room to incarcerate terrorists here.
Obama wants to close Gitmo because he doesn't like waterboarding terrorists. I have a
suggestion that would solve the problem. We should teach the terrorists to surf in the nearby
ocean. That is also being nice to sharks.
||ONE WAY COMMUNICATION
July 9, 2009
I am weary of one-way communication. This website is all one-way in spite of the fact that I added my email address which benefits spammers. I would like to add a form so people can comment on my blogs. I seek correction as well as compliments.
I tried to set up a response form but it didn't work. I typed my desire into Google and got a bunch of websites that offer help "absolutely free" - until you download a program and discover that it is a trial version that runs out after using once. And they now have my email address and hound me daily to purchase their products. I try to "unsubscribe" but these people ignore such requests.
The media is all about communication -- one way of course. You can listen to the radio or television but you can't respond other than smashing the device with a hammer. The media has websites with links for people who want to subscribe or advertise, but none that can be used for a response to something they broadcast or print. Some have a telephone hotline where you can report newsworthy events, but there is no live person taking the calls.
It's the same with commercial establishments. They want to sell but do all in their power to keep people from bringing back defective products. When you are dissatisfied with service, ask to speak with the Manager. He or she is never in. Employees don't like you to speak with them and managers don't like to be disturbed by complainers.
We are on the "Do Not Call" list but we get many calls from solicitors and politicians who are excluded from the rule. It is usually an electronically recorded message and the Caller ID says, "Unknown Name - Unknown Number."
Churches are not much different. They call it a "fellowship" but you sit in a pew looking at the hair or lack of it on the person ahead of you, listening to whoever is up front. In most churches it is permissible to shout "Amen!" In some you can get up and dance, but don't try to start a discussion by asking the preacher to explain that last point. If an usher doesn't tell you to please be quiet, a hundred staring eyes will make you feel unwelcome.
Recently I drove to Newark Airport to pick up a visitor from the Czech Republic. I know how to find the airport but thought it would be nice to have my GPS telling me where to go even if I often argue with it. I went to the menu and clicked on "Places" and then "Air Transportation." I typed in Newark but nothing came up. I typed "Airport" and got a long list of airports, but not the largest on the East Coast. I finally gave up. A more knowledgeable person found it later under "Liberty International Airport".
About a third of all TV commercials in the Philadelphia area are from auto dealerships in Turnersville, NJ. Obama & Co have shut down the ones that didn't contribute to his campaign, but there are still many more in Turnersville. Try finding Turnersville on a Garmin GPS! I tried to find a way to notify Garmin Maps of these deficits but Garmin only has a one way street when it comes to communication.
||RENT or BUY?
July 13, 2009
For nearly four decades we lived in Europe and rented. We could have paid for two homes with what we paid for rent, so we looked forward to retirement in America and owning our own home.
But we made the mistake of retiring in New Jersey. You can never own a home in NJ. Even if you pay cash for it or pay off your mortgage, you still have to pay 5% of the your home's value every year. It's called property tax. If you have owned your house 40 years, you paid for it three times. Once to the seller and twice to the government.
Renting in Europe was a bargain!
||I AM NOT ASTROTURF!
July 15, 2009
Here is an article from Sunday's "Parade Magazine" which was inserted into many newspapers across our nation.
Are 'Grassroots Activists' For Real?
While drafting major legislation on energy policy, health care, and the economy this term, members of Congress have been bombarded with phone calls, letters, e-mails, and petitions from constituents. So-called grassroots campaigns are often effective because they’re thought to represent the will of the people. But what politicians—and many ordinary Americans—may not know is that some “grassroots” movements are actually sophisticated marketing campaigns financed by businesses and special-interest groups.
For example, Patients United Now (PUN), a group focused on health care, claims to be composed of “patients just like you” who are shocked at decisions being made in Washington by “big companies, lobbyists, and politicians.” In fact, PUN is a project of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, launched by David Koch—a wealthy industrialist who opposes efforts to expand government-mandated health benefits. Another group, American Rights at Work, advocates making it easier for workers to unionize. It is funded in part by the AFL-CIO.
Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy organization, calls such campaigns “ astroturf,” not grassroots, and says they “typically adopt populist-sounding names that belie the fact that they are bankrolled by large corporations, trade associations, or ultra-wealthy individuals who have little in common with regular Americans.” At present, grassroots movements are unregulated and not required to disclose the interests behind them. Some politicians, like Sen. Bob Bennett (R., Utah), think that’s a good thing. “The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech,” he says. “People should be able to speak out without having to register with the very government they are seeking to change.”
— Sharon Male
This is a public response to Parade Magazine (see my July 9 blog about one-way communication):
To the Editor,
I subscribe to a New Jersey daily newspaper and therefore receive a copy of Parade Magazine.
I am very upset with our present government for spending our grand children's money without permission or Constitutional basis. Obama, Congress, and the Senate were duly elected to office and I am subject to their legal powers even when I must often disagree with their decisions. But as an American, I still have the right to protest.
Much of the American media has chosen to be silent or supportive of the government's actions. Instead, it chooses to belittle and mock any who protest as pawns of "sophisticated marketing campaigns financed by businesses and special-interest groups."
For more than two centuries, the American news media has generally been fair in hearing and expressing the voice of minorities and listened to both sides of issues. The media has historically been critical of politicians and government bodies that ran roughshod over minorities. In recent years, headlines were constantly filled with attacks against policies and actions of the George W. Bush White House, but it treats the Obama regime like the proverbial sacred cow.
Politicians and the media have been bombarded lately by telephone calls, letters and emails protesting the fact that OPM addicts are running - sorry, ruining our country (OPM= "Other People's Money"). Even if some grassroots organizations are "actually sophisticated marketing campaigns financed by businesses and special-interest groups," it is unfair and slanderous to contend or insinuate that millions of Americans, who take the time and run the risk of protesting, and possibly facing reprisals or being labeled as potential terrorists, are unknowingly duped by fake grassroots organizations.
I am proud to be one of those "ordinary Americans." I don't speak for any grassroots organization, nor am I "astroturf" (fake grass) as Craig Holman claims. But I do protest, write letters and call my representatives, and I pay for my blog from my own pocket.
||40 YEARS LATER
July 16, 2009
Today was a special day in history. Exactly 40 years ago, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Canaveral with Neil Alden Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin Jr. on board. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon. Armstrong uttered those now famous words, "One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."
Another Kennedy also made headlines 40 years ago today. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts following a night of heavy drinking. Mary Jo Kopechne was traveling with him. Kennedy was an excellent swimmer and managed to reach the shore safely. Mary Jo (2 days older than my wife) drowned a few days before her 29th birthday.
Ted Kennedy, five of his pals and six women known as the "Boiler Room Girls" were spending the weekend together in a cottage. All five men were married but their wives were not present. They said they were just having a party to thank the girls (all single) for helping with Robert Kennedy's political campaign. Robert had been set up to become the next in a dynasty of Kennedy Presidents. Third in line, would be Ted Kennedy. Robert was assassinated, which means Ted moved into the #2 spot.
The would-be next President staggered back to where the others were still partying. Two of his friends drove to the scene of the accident while Kennedy went to a hotel. At 9:00 AM Kennedy reported the accident after his car was discovered.
Just one week later, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a two-month suspended sentence. Perhaps Ted's conscience still bothers him because last week, he asked Obama to deliver a letter to the Pope, requesting prayer.
Cape Canaveral was renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of John F. Kennedy, whose goal it was to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s.
Chappaquiddick is more difficult to pronounce and spell than Canaveral, but for some reason, they never changed the name of the obscure bridge that Ted Kennedy made famous.
||150 YEARS OF US OIL PRODUCTION
July 23, 2009
My father-in-law was born near Titusville, Pennsylvania, where Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well on August 27, 1859. Next month we celebrate the 150th anniversary of that historical occasion.
Pumped oil was much easier and cheaper to produce than whale oil, and although refined by primitive methods, it had a higher quality. The discovery of “black gold” led to a boom that surpassed the California Gold rush of 1849. Almost overnight, 40,000 whalers and 700 whaling boats were put out of business and within three years, the price of oil fell to a mere 10 cents a barrel! The wooden barrels were worth more than their contents!
Until 1900, oil was used for light, medical purposes and for lubrication. A side product of the refining process, called gasoline, was considered a dangerous nuisance and simply dumped into the river! It wasn’t until the invention of the automobile 30 years later, that good use was found for gasoline. Whales were perhaps saved from extinction, but many fish died in the river! Environmentalists accuse cars of polluting the cities, but in reality, the automobile drastically improved life in the cities. Before the arrival of motor vehicles, they were plagued with filth and disease due to the accumulation of horse manure.
For seventy years, America was the world’s leading oil producer. In 1926, we produced a total of 770,824 barrels of crude oil and by 1936, production had climbed to about 1.1 millions barrels.Two years later, American oil company prospectors discovered large oil reserves in Arab nations of the Middle East. This discovery transformed poverty stricken nations into the wealthiest in the world. Americans were not concerned, for US production continued to rise until it reached more than3 million barrels by 1966.
In 1976, American oil production declined for the first time to just under 3 million barrels a year. Foreign crude oil imports rose to nearly 2 million barrels in that year! The Carter administration became alarmed at this development and founded the DOE on August 4, 1977.
Can anybody out there tell me what DOE stands for? Well, if you don't know, you are not alone. It seems strange that we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency the purpose of which few people can reveal. And even fewer care.
DOE stands for Department of Energy and its purpose is to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
13 years after the DOE was instituted, the New York Times reported on January 18, 1990:
"America's oil production suffered its biggest single-year decline ever in 1989, falling by more than half a million barrels a day, the American Petroleum Institute reported yesterday. Imports surged to make up for the drop in domestic oil production. As a result, the nation's dependence on imported oil rose to a near-record 46 percent of demand last year, the highest level in more than a decade."
Except during the first years of Ronald Reagan's presidency, annual US Oil production has ALWAYS been less than the previous year (no increases and cumulative decreases in production) since the establishment of the DOE.
It is now 2009, 32 years later, and DOE's annual budget is $25 billion. The DOE has 16,000 federal employees and about 100,000 contract employees.
Pretty efficient, wouldn't you say?
And now we have turned banking, insurance and auto mfg. over to the government? Health care is next!
||Health Care for Clunkers (Senior Citizens)
August 1, 2009
Under the proposed new health plan nicknamed "ObamaCare", Seniors are viewed as "clunkers" that need to be scrapped (buried). That will fix both Social Security and Medicare. Click here to read or save an overview of what we will get if this bill passes.
That is only one part of what is wrong with ObamaCare. If you don't want the government taking charge of your medical needs, you had better get on the phone and tell your representatives!
||Cash for Clunkers
It seems that everyone is happy with the government's Cash for Clunkers program. I am not happy! I am a disgruntled old sour-puss senior that apparently no one can please.
It's just one more example of our government's insatiable OPM addiction (OPM=Other People's Money). First, they give billions to car makers to keep them from bankruptcy and then they bribe people to purchase their products. I don't see any politicians running to trade their gas-guzzling limos for hybrids. As with ObamaCare, they play by a different set of rules. Americans have known for years that their gas-hogging SUVs, Hummers and pickup trucks are wasteful. They bought them anyway and now they are being rewarded for their stupidity (if the President can say that without apology, so can I).
Our only car is an 18-foot-long behemoth of the highway called a Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. We love it and wouldn't trade it for three times what they offer under the Cash for Clunkers program. Our 15-year-old "clunker" gets 20 mpg, so it wouldn't qualify anyway.
The LT-1 Corvette engine provides plenty of power. We can fold up the third row seats and carry seven passengers comfortably and safely. And when I need to transport a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, I fold down the rear seats, open the rear hatch either by swinging it to the side or folding it down, slide in the plywood and close the door. Let it rain! I'll take my Estate Wagon to your pickup any day! If our wagon isn't big enough, we can tow a trailer of nearly any size.
Our Buick was made in USA and proves that Americans are capable of producing great automobiles that are practical, powerful, safe, comfortable, luxurious, robust and economical. If Detroit had continued producing cars like these, they wouldn't need bailouts. If there were enough Roadmasters left (the last ones were built in 1996), it would make more sense to buy one and drive it to death than to trade a clunker for one of those things they pass off as automobiles. Consider the amount of energy, raw materials and labor required to build a new car. That SUV is perhaps worth crushing and recycling, but these hybrids are half plastic.
August 5, 2009
On weekends when holiday traffic is heaviest, you often see Fire Companies and Ambulance Corps posted on busy intersections, collecting money at so-called "coin drops." If you drive on holiday weekends, you have probably seen them.
It is a hot day and I am taking visiting relatives to Cape May. Route 55 narrows to just two lanes below Millville because environmentalists think constant traffic jams are better for nesting birds than cars traveling at 65mph. As we approach a busy intersection near Leesburg, half a mile of tourists wait at a traffic light. The light stays green long enough for a dozen cars to get through, but today only half that number make it and the line of impatient motorists gets increasingly longer. The Leesburg Fire Department has set up a coin-drop.
These people are supposed to be protecting, rescuing and working to assure the safety of citizens, yet they are out there holding up traffic and causing an unsafe situation for motorists. When the light turns green, cars start moving only to jam on their brakes, nearly hitting the car ahead of them. Some benevolent motorist had sympathy on these guys standing in the hot sun holding plastic buckets and figured they deserved a quarter.
Apparently local citizens don't care for their first responders well enough so they are forced to beg from out-of-towners and even out-of-staters for handouts.
Last week it was the Ambulance Corps on Route 40 and before that it was another Fire Department. Before you know it, the hospital auxiliary, SPCA, Cub Scouts and every other non-profit will be be setting up coin-drops.
We support our local first responders. If our emergency services are in financial trouble, they should say so and I will give more. The day they start conducting coin-drops to get money from "foreigners," I stop donating.
||"A Well-Regarded Positive Corrections Officer"
Alfaro Ortiz, Director of the Essex County Jail, can't understand the world. One of his corrections officers murdered her 4-month-old baby, tried to murder her boy friend, Louis Goosby, and then ended her own life on Monday. Ortiz said, "She was a well regarded positive employee." Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said "McKenith had an exemplary work record... She was a good employee, and she did her job well at our correctional center... It's just a terrible, terrible tragedy."
It turns out that the corrections officer, Kelley McKenith, had been living with Goosby for about a year and the baby was his. Goosby was shot twice but managed to escape by jumping out of a second story window. Goosby had been incarcerated at the jail where Kelly worked at least five times. He has a record that includes drug dealing, weapons possession and death by auto.
In a state where crime runs rampant among top ranking politicians, religion is separated from public life, marriage has been redefined, and just about any imaginable relationship is considered normal, we can expect many more reports of "nice, positive people" running amok.
||How Much Electricity Can You Fit in a Gallon?
August 12, 2009
General Motors introduced a new car called the "Volt," which gets 230 miles per gallon. "Voltzwagon" would have been a better name, but my brother already used that for his refurbished golf cart.
Now that the government has taken over GM, the heat is on to produce economical cars to justify the billions of tax dollars tossed into a sinking ship. Government influence can already be seen in the propaganda of Government Motors. The government talks about billions and trillions of bailout and stimulus money like it was hay. Already Government Motors has begun to use the same astronomical figures in selling its cars.
Two hundred and thirty miles per gallon sounds impressive! A company near us that installs swimming pools promises "500 smiles per gallon" and can probably fulfill that pledge easier than Government Motors. I have done thorough research on the differences in cost per mile and discovered that an electric car is a fabulous deal -- if you charge the batteries at work. I was in Winnipeg about thirty years ago and was at first puzzled by the odd looking parking meters in front of stores and offices. They were receptacles for motor block heaters. If they still have them, I would recommend buying a GM-Volt.
I presently own a bunch of vehicles that get millions of miles per gallon. They are all powered by renewable energy that costs nothing -- zero -- zilch! And most of them are for sale cheap! If you want a wind powered vehicle that also thrives on water and solar energy, give me a call. Oh yes, I always liked fast cars but these vehicles will go faster than I would ever want them to go with me in them.
||The Health Care Debate
August 13, 2009
I expect ObamaCare to get railroaded through with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. Then Democrats will hail it as a success while Republicans argue, "We told you so!"
It seems that everyone has his or her own ideas and opinions about health care, usually based on personal experiences. Activists on both sides of the debate have been showing up at Town Hall meetings and shouting each other down in a very democratic fashion (pure democracy is every man for himself). There is a lot of noise but few are listening and trying to learn.
Hearing and listening are not the same.
I have a PDF copy of HR 3200 on my computer and have read many of it's more than 1000 pages.
Reading and understanding are two different things.
The key to successful conflict resolution is the willingness on both sides to listen, understand and learn. Unfortunately, a readiness to listen, understand and learn is sadly missing in the health-care debate.
Another roadblock to resolution is the reluctance of Americans to accept personal responsibility and get involved. It's like in big league sports. A handful of well-paid people battle it out on the field or track while thousands in the grandstands and many more in front of their TV sets cheer or boo. Some Americans eulogize Sarah Palin and cling to whatever Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity say while others worship Obama and swallow whatever the liberal media feeds them. People are more likely to be motivated by emotions and political alliances than good sound reasoning and logic.
The trust of many Americans in their President and representatives in Washington has never been at such a low ebb, while blind faith and almost worshipful allegiance of others has seldom been so pronounced as it is today. Americans were also divided during the Kennedy Presidency, but the hateful speeches and uncomplimentary cartoons soon vanished following his assassination.
In order to understand why the health-care bill is so controversial, one must first and foremost consider who is proposing it and what their agenda is. Since Obama was elected, the Democrats have enjoyed an absolute monopoly of government power. If Republicans enjoyed that majority, they would doubtlessly act no different. For a number of years now, politics has gotten rotten and stinks! Election campaigns are nothing less than defamation contests of the opponent - even within the party during primary contests. When one party is in power, the losers go into opposition mode rather than offering constructive alternatives.
Having stated all the above, I will attempt to add my voice to the foray without expecting anyone to listen. What I write here is based as much on experiences in Europe as in America. We lived nearly four decades under socialized medicine in Europe.
Before a solution to the health care problem is discussed, we should ask WHY health care has gotten so expensive with costs exploding much faster than the cost of living? That is just plain good logic! I will attempt to answer that question here and leave resolution of the health-care debate up for discussion.
WHY has health care has gotten so expensive? I give six reasons.
1) The possibilities are greater. With modern machines and surgeries, you can keep a person alive almost indefinitely. A 52-year-old friend in Austria was kept "alive" on machines three weeks after he was dead. One machine kept his lungs working and another kept the heart beating. The brain had stopped functioning but as long as the blood kept flowing, so did the money and no one was interested in turning off the machines. If he had been retired, other rules may have been followed. I heard Austrians arguing that smoking and drinking should be encouraged among older folk because they wouldn't live as long.
2) Institutional thinking is another major factor. The insurance company, employer, government and church are all institutions. When an institution pays, no one cares and no one is responsible. The thermostat is kept high in winter and low in summer and that makes everyone happy. Politicians jet around the world at government expense and common workers loaf on the job or call in sick to get work done around the house. No one seems to feel guilty about milking an institution.
3) Money transactions under the table and nice perks for politicians, doctors, business reps, lobbyists or others to gain mutual advantage drive costs sky high. A screw that costs a penny to make and sells for ten cents at the hardware store can cost the military a hundred dollars. It's only wrong if you get caught - like the 44 political entities in NJ who recently got caught accepting bribes for what they should have done anyway.
4) Entitlement is a big factor in spiraling health care costs. We are a bunch of spoiled brats. We are egoists or at best equality fanatics and think the world revolves around us. We insist that someone is to blame for everything bad that happens in our lives and sense no personal responsibility when things go wrong.
5) Lawsuits is perhaps the biggest factor. I hear some arguing for a cap on what a person can sue a doctor or hospital for, but to my knowledge, no one has suggested capping the lawyer's gains from lawsuits. It probably won't happen because most lawmakers are lawyers.
6) Paperwork. This is closely associated with the last point, but there are other reasons for this problem. Big Brother (Uncle Sam) wants to know all about you and so do credit institutions and insurance companies.
We should read HR 3200 in light of these six points and ask if it would address these issues.
If this plan is really so good, why aren't politicians in Washington willing to go with ObamaCare?
"In socialism, all people are equal, but some are more equal than others."
||Information and Misinformation
August 27, 2009
We live in the so-called "information age" but apparently most of what we get is misinformation.
Obama and fellow Democrats are conducting Town Hall meetings to "debunk myths" that opponents of his health care plan are accused of spreading at Tea Parties and through the Internet.
Obama calls on Americans not to believe what opponents tell them. It simply is not true. The sermon concludes and converts are called to the altar. Some become believers while others return to their Tea Parties.
All across the country, Tea Parties and Town Hall Meetings are taking place where people have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Problem is, how do you distinguish information from misinformation?
According to today's Gloucester County Times, the New Jersey Governor's race is all about ethics. Politicians used to campaign on their merits, but they now campaign on the opponent's faults. Is it information or misinformation?
I took this picture back in the sixties when McDonalds claimed to have served over 4 billion hamburgers. No one had the faintest idea of how much a billion was, but no one doubted McDonalds' claim. Most businesses had credibility in those days. Stores where you bought things and manufacturers stood behind their products. Because most things now come from China, you need to spend extra bucks for a service contract and hope it will be honored. In the early sixties, the average person could be trusted. We only locked our cars during the zucchini harvest so neighbors wouldn't load up the back seat.
Honesty has gone out the window. Businesses can advertise anything they want and are not held liable. Even the clergy has gotten a bad reputation. Not a few have gotten caught practicing what they preached against. That leaves the politicians and lawyers.
Most politicians are lawyers and many lawyers work for politicians, guarding their criminal, military, school and, in some cases, birth records. Other lawyers are employed by politicians to formulate laws that only they understand. Politicians don't bother to read such laws. They just pass them and we pay for them. And if we take the time and trouble to study and interpret them, we are accused of spreading myths.
People can be divided into four categories: the gullible, the doubters, believers and those who don't care. Most people see themselves as believers and no one claims to be gullible. The gullible believe whatever they are told and become believers. There are Tea Party believers and Town Hall believers.
Gullible is defined in the dictionary as "credulous, easily deceived." It is closely related to indoctrination, propaganda and brainwashing, tools and techniques implemented in making believers of the gullible under Communism.
I belong to the smallest group, the doubters. That is why I spend much time reading the fine print on the papers that come with medicine, countless pages of clauses in insurance policies, and software licenses. I am a doubter. That is why I downloaded and read many pages of Obama's health care plan.
Obama astutely denies that his health plan allows for government financed abortions. But abortions are not illegal and the government health care would pay for legal procedures that officials deem necessary or advisable. It's all in the interpretation. Obama also denies that his health plan includes death panels. That is a myth. The panel only gives advice and information about end-of-life options that doctors used to give us. I call them death panels because that is my interpretation. The plan clearly states that younger members of the work force will get preferential treatment over older retired persons. I am not jealous, but I prefer the old way, where my doctor and close relatives help me make such decisions.
Is it information or misinformation? It all depends on who you believe. Two thousand years ago, people wondered what and who they should believe. The politicians and clergy had their "Town Hall" meetings and along comes a Galilean carpenter, conducts a lakeside tea party, and tells the people something else. Who should the people believe? The politicians and clergy accused him of spreading myths. Jesus gave the people some advice that we would do well to heed. "If you want to know the truth, you need to be willing to live accordingly." As with Obama's documents, this is my own interpretation of John 7:17. Read it yourself and decide if it is a myth. Neither Obama nor our representatives are going with ObamaCare. That should tell us something.
||The Science of Economics and the First Law of Thermodynamics
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space, and changed into different types of particles.
If you spend a fortune and years building the home of your dreams, you are simply rearranging and organizing already existent matter. You have not created anything.
If another person comes along and sets fire to the home of your dreams, burning it to the ground, he or she has caused a rearrangement and reorganization of matter but not destroyed anything.
Having said this, please allow me to comment on our "Economy in Crisis" as the newspaper calls it.
Expert economists complain that our economy cannot recover because consumer spending is sluggish; Americans are not spending enough and employers are laying off workers.
I am not an expert in financial matters, but the first law of thermodynamics tells us that matter (including finances) does not vanish nor can it be created.
Millions of Americans have been borrowing from the future - making debts. Most planned to pay back those debts. If they didn't, they were stealing. Whatever the case may be, these people are now in trouble. The future caught up with them.
Some of these citizens have learned their lesson and are determined not to spend money that they don't have.
But there are other Americans who allowed an irresponsible government to entice them into making new debts "to stimulate the economy." The government said, "Go ahead and buy a new car! We will give you up to $4,500 for your old gas hog."
Millions of other Americans worked hard all their lives, bought health insurance, and saved money for retirement. Much of their savings has disappeared in recent months; their homes have been devalued and the government is cutting Social Security and devouring what is left of their savings.
The first law of thermodynamics in economics is now called redistribution.
Our forefathers fought and shed their blood to build a strong, free nation for their descendants. Thanks to hard-working, tax-paying citizens, America became the greatest nation on earth.
Today, Obama and his allies are doing exactly the opposite. President Obama campaigned for redistribution of wealth and kept his promise. The beneficiaries will vote for him again but victims are angry -- or not old enough to realize they that have been robbed.
||President's Controversial Speech to School Children
September 8, 2009
Millions of parents who normally care little about what the public school exposes their children to, tuned into C-Span to hear the President's speech today. There was nothing wrong with the speech of course. The fear mongers were all wrong or Obama changed portions that might have offended them. He even made a startling admission that I didn't expect of him. He told the kids, "The future of America depends on you!" We seniors certainly won't be paying those trillions of debts he and his colleagues have piled up.
The media has really picked up on the "silliness" of "far-right critics" who accused the President of "using taxpayer Dollars to promote his socialistic ideology" in schools.
What I don't hear anyone saying or writing, I will venture to mention here on my little-known blog. If you don't trust the person at the cash register -- for whatever reason --, you count your change carefully. Obama's fellow Democrats and enthusiastic fans don't bother to read what is in the bills he signs even though they will cost billions or trillions of dollars. That is complete trust. Then there are those who not only read, but study the fine print in Obama's proposals and carefully count the change he promised. It's all about trust and distrust.
||Linksys Router Support
September 8b, 2009
I only use my laptop for Power Point presentations and on occasional trips. That means every time I turn on the computer, it attempts to upload zillions of updates that slow it down to a painful crawl. If I am trying to run a presentation, this in itself becomes a virus. Someone told me what to do to keep this from happening and I followed his advice. That was a mistake!
I wanted to take the laptop on a trip but the wireless feature doesn't work. Whatever I did to keep the computer from trying to download updates in the middle of a presentation also prevents it from connecting to the Internet.
I did what most computer users do in such a situation. I tried to resolve the problem. My laptop told me what I already knew: "Wireless network not connected". Then it advised me, "Contact your network administrator." Since I AM the network administrator, I obeyed and contacted myself -- with a balled fist to my forehead.
I found the installation disc that came with my Linksys router and tried running the setup program. It didn't work and I was told to go to the Linksys website and check the FAQs - like everyone has two computers, one that doesn't connect and one that does! If neither connects, you are in big trouble but not much worse off than if only one connects. After four long and fruitless hours of searching, Googling and grumbling, I decided to leave the laptop at home.
I will be too busy with our grandchildren to write blogs anyway!
September 24, 2009
We are back from California and trying to get caught up on work.
Our kids took us with them for a weekend at Lake Arrowhead. Friends allowed us to use their lovely cabin in the forest. I always pictured a cabin as something small and quaint with few amenities, but this cabin was different! The living room was two stories high with a large stone fireplace. Four bedrooms and two bathrooms are not much to brag about at Lake Arrowhead, but our humble home looks tiny in comparison. We cruised around the lake, listening to a tour guide's description of the multi-million Dollar homes and their owners. We went shopping, ate breakfast in a Belgian Waffle Shop and dinner at the Boat House Restaurant, where tables, wall decorations and even the salad bar are made from classic Chris Craft speedboats.
There is also plenty to do at the cabin. You can loaf on the deck where western blue jays almost sit on your head begging for food. Or you can relax in the game room playing pool or chess. The cabin walls are decorated with photos of the cabin owners posing with celebrities like Mickey Rooney and Jay Leno. The owner does stand-up comedy and also writes script for others. Some of the comedy found its way into framed pictures on the walls - autographed tire imprints of cars belonging to famous people, truly a unique art collection!
There was a guest book on the coffee table that we were supposed to sign. Yikes! What should I write? "Ralph V. Harvey slept here before he became famous."? My claim to fame may be autographing the first available square of toilet paper on the roll with environmentally friendly advice. "Help save the rain forests - use both sides!"
While browsing in a fascinating art shop, I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman who had a bandaged ear. He grinned and warned me not to golf in the sun. I warned him not to spend a lot of time sailing and added that I had also had endured multiple procedures for skin cancer. He was a retired actor and gave me his name, but I should have written it down. He was quite knowledgeable about the artwork on display and mentioned that his son was an accomplished artist. He was doing a contract painting of someone named Patrick Swayze and his favorite horse. He said that Swayze passed away at exactly the moment his son was working on his face! I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Patrick Swayze and probably didn't react appropriately. "Dirty Dancing" was not my kind of film. After leaving the art shop, we bought groceries in a supermarket. At the cash register, nearly every magazine on the rack had Swayze's photo on the cover!
||SUPREME COURT DECISION ON DOGS
October 6, 2009
While high ranking politicians in the White House and Pentagon discuss the
bloody war in Afghanistan, the Supreme Court is deliberating what to do
about bloody dog fight videos.
Readers of my blog know that my wife and I love dogs. We just finished
raising a dog for The Seeing Eye. Venita has passed her physical and is
presently in training to guide a blind person.
I hate some insects and try to kill them at every opportunity but even
mosquitoes should not have to suffer long. I try to make death quick and
unexpected. It's the way I want to go.
I enjoy watching fish, chicken, cows and other animals, but I
like them best when they are cooked, fried or grilled. I have eaten horse
meat, but can't say that I enjoyed it much. I understand the Chinese eat dog
meat but I would have to be starving to join them!
During World Wars I and II, dog fights were popular and the men who got
involved often received medals of valor. Only people and no dogs died in
those fights, so the animal rights groups didn't protest.
Apparently there is a lot of money to be made with dog
fights. Even people who earn millions in other occupations can hardly resist
the temptation to get involved in dog fighting. Some have discovered that
there is money to be made selling video tapes of dog fights. That is why the Supreme
Court is getting involved. Not in dog fights but deciding if the sale of dog
fight videos should be legal.
The unusual thing about this Supreme Court case is the fact that there are
liberals arguing on both sides of the aisle. Liberals who display great
unity when fighting conservatives are now at odds over this delicate issue.
Liberal groups such as the ACLU
believe in unlimited free speech for everyone except conservatives and the
religious right. Freedom of speech includes vulgar language much worse than
the words I learned from kids in First Grade. My mother made me take a bite
of soap for exercising my free speech rights back then.
Liberals have expanded free speech rights to include freedom of expression. Going
naked in public and selling dog fight videos are expressions that should not
be suppressed in America.
The animal rights people are opposed to hurting
anything that lives except for human babies (they call them embryos or
This court case could turn out to be more violent than a dog fight, but it
will likely end in a compromise. If selling violent videos should be forbidden
the entire television and video game industries would be in jeopardy!
||IMPORTANT DAYS COMING
October 21, 2009
Microsoft officially releases Windows 7 tomorrow. I recently bought a new
computer because the old one was hopelessly overloaded with useless updates
from Microsoft and McAfey. I received a certificate with the PC that entitles
me to Windows 7. I am not sure that I want it even though I am very unhappy
with Vista. I have no reason to believe that a company which has gotten
progressively worse over the years is suddenly offering something better.
Someone I know who has the highest certification Microsoft offers needed
48 hours to get Windows 7 running properly. I just spent more time than that
trying to get Vista running properly and am still frustrated with it. I can wait!
Another big day is coming up in two weeks. Many disgruntled Republicans in
New Jersey say they are not voting. New Jersey is one of two states voting
for a Governor, but many Republicans can't get excited about Christy
and won't vote for Corzine.
I am an American and I believe every American should vote. I too am
disappointed with the Republican Party. I received a call last week from
some party representative and told him that I was writing Steve Lonegan's name
in on the ballot. I said, "If enough of us do that, the party may get
the message. Lonegan was the only Republican contender for the Governor's seat
in the primary who represented traditional Republican values, but the party
chose Christy and nearly all its propaganda was directed against a fellow
Republican, Steve Lonegan."
This is probably the last time I vote either Republican or Democrat barring
some kind of miracle. I plan to do all in my power to encourage the
establishment of a national TEA Party. TEA stands for Taxpayer Electoral Alliance.
If you were not planning to vote, I encourage you to join me in writing in
Steve Lonegan for Governor. Sending a message with your vote is much more
American than staying home and doing nothing.
||AMERICANS LOST MORE FREEDOM TODAY!
October 28, 2009
Today was another tragic day in American history.
Many Americans died in the Revolutionary War. But they were fighting for freedom and America won.
Their blood was not shed in vain.
Many Americans died in Europe and Asia fighting for freedom from tyranny. Freedom won, so they
died for a great cause.
Some of America's most tragic losses were suffered when Americans were not
at war and no blood was shed. The perpetrators were fellow Americans elected
by a majority of the citizens.
One of the most devastating attacks against our freedom took
place in 1963 when the government banned God from public places. The
Constitution of the United States forbids government established or
sponsored religion, but guarantees citizens the right to practice their
The 1963 Supreme Court decision determined that religion
should have no place on government property, schools in particular. In effect,
the court made atheism the official religion of America.
Consequently, Obama recently stated that, "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation," and he
boycotted the annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast. The White House has now informed those who
create special ornaments for the White House trees, that they would not be called "Christmas trees"
this year. They will be called "Holiday trees," and no ornaments may be used that have a religious theme.
In 1973, abortion was legalized. Although the battle Roe vs. Wade was fought without bloodshed,
that decision has resulted in more deaths than the Revolutionary War, Civil War and both World Wars combined.
Doctors may now kill all the babies they want without fearing legal action.
Today, October 28, 2009, Obama ignored the Constitution (again) and outlawed free speech for some Americans
while giving special protection and privileges to another segment of society. The so-called "Hate Crime"
law was smuggled into a military defense bill.
Christians can no longer publicly state their beliefs based on what the Bible says about proper human behavior
or share their convictions about religious systems that stand in conflict with the teachings of Christianity.
Abortion doctors not only have legal protection for their trade, they don't
even have to hear the protests of concerned Christians. King Herod became
infamous for his "slaughter of the infants" but murdering unborn babies is
now a respectable occupation and protesting is a "hate crime."
It is both interesting and saddening to note an unmistakable parallel in these
decisions. They are all aimed at practicing Christians and no one else. If
these rulings were aimed at any other social, ethnic or religious group, it
would be considered a violation of their constitutional rights.
It has always been a crime to do bodily harm to another person regardless of
motivation. But now it is also a crime to speak out on matters we believe to
be wrong or immoral. If someone claims that reading my blog motivated them to
commit a crime, I could be jailed. Washington politicians, the media and many
others accuse "the religious right" of all kinds of evil. If someone
burned a church or assassinated a pastor after hearing such rhetoric, they
might be taken to court, but can anyone perceive of a politician or reporter
being prosecuted for committing a hate crime?
||WHITE HOUSE REPORTS SUCCESS
October 30, 2009
Back in January,
Obama and Biden promised that the billions in stimulus money would create at least 600,000 jobs. During the 2008 election campaign
the propagated number was 3,000,000.
In Thursday's edition of the Gloucester County Times, an Associated Press
article stated, "A Colorado company said it created 4,321 jobs with the help of
President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. The real number was fewer than 1000. A child
care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs... instead it gave pay raises to its existing
employees." The article goes on to list other cases including jobs counted numerous times.
Later in the day, AP
reported, "The White House is promising that new figures being released Friday will be a more
accurate showing of progress in President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. It aggressively
defended an earlier, faulty count that overstated by thousands the jobs created or saved so far."
Friday has arrived. I read today's paper and found nothing. I checked a number of big media websites
and found a report from the
UPI, "The White House announced Friday that the $787 billion U.S. economic stimulus program saved at least 650,000 state and local jobs."
There is a vast difference between creating jobs and saving them.
Fortunately, some people are still working. Most jobs that have been created
are government jobs.
I don't suppose anyone reading the report would bother to divide 650,000 into $787 billion,
but then the administration would have an explanation.
Tomorrow is Halloween followed by Reformation Sunday; first the mask and
then the truth. We were promised change and we have it! They call it "trick
November 3, 2009
Today is Election Day and we cast our votes at 8:00 AM this morning. Did you
notice the redundancy? If it is AM then that would be morning.
Because we are good citizens, we went to the appointed place to vote today.
Everything that I do in the voting booth is secret, but that secrecy is
redundant. Almost everyone in the room knows how we voted. We live in a small
town, are registered Republicans and I write a blog. At least one person didn't know, because I overheard
her ask who we were.
Newspapers are full of redundancies. Everything must be repeated in order for
people to get the message. Here is a headline from the stock market report in
today's paper: "Gold, other metals up as dollar weakens." About the only
things that go down when the dollar weakens is the US standard of living
and profits from American exports.
There are still a few items made in USA. My Craftsman chain saw was made in USA
but the label stating that fact was redundant. I knew it because the gas cap
wouldn't fit. I had to file and sand the threads until it would
screw into the opening.
I could give a few more examples but that would be redundant, and I have work to do.
||EYEWITNESSES vs MEDIA
Another deadly attack on American soil by a Muslim has shocked US citizens.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, gunned down fellow
servicemen stationed at Ft. Hood until he was stopped by the bullets of a
female officer. At last report, there were
13 dead and 40 injured. Several of the wounded may not survive.
When I first heard the report, I began to contemplate on how the government/media coalition
would treat this. I figured they would play down the religious aspect and make the gunman
into a victim. I guessed right, but that doesn't take a lot of talent.
Within an hour of the attack at Ft. Hood, Texas, the FBI issued a statement assuring
Americans that this was not a terrorist attack and Obama cautioned people not to jump to
Meanwhile, eyewitness reports were leaking out onto the internet. Soldiers said they heard the assassin
shouting "Allahu akbar!" (Arabic meaning "Allah is great!"). The press reported that "officials could not
confirm this." The media originally reported that Hasan was a convert to Islam and that he had
been killed. Both statements were later found to be false. Servicemen report that Hasan was a fanatical
Muslim who claimed America had no business waging wars in Islamic countries and
accused the US of waging
a war against Islam. He posted statements on the internet claiming that American
soldiers who threw themselves on grenades to keep others from being injured
were no different from suicide bombers. The Associated Press reported on
comments made by members of his Palestinian family. According to them, Nidal had been
harassed by fellow
soldiers for his religious beliefs; "as a Muslim committed to his prayers, he
was discriminated against." Many servicemen who knew him well denied that he
had been harassed or discriminated against. The messages he left behind
before his rampage give no hint of this accusation and speak more of
friendly relationships. There is only one recorded incident of harassment. A
returned soldier from Iraq ripped a bumper sticker off Hasan's car that said, "Allah is Love"
and scratched his car in the process. Hasan received $1000 for damages and promptly purchased a new car.
The media reports, "the car was damaged so badly that he bought a new one."
The FBI now admits that Nidal Malik Hasan has been under surveillance because of
a number of suspicious statements and activities. That may keep the
government and media from portraying Hasan as a martyr. Perhaps he will be
deported after his wounds heal.
Hasan is already being heralded as a hero in Muslim communities around the world.
||CLEVELAND, FT. HOOD, ORLANDO...
Anthony Sowell, of Cleveland, lured women into his home, murdered them and scattered their
remains around his house and yard to rot. The Associated Press quoted Robert Keppel, a
national serial killer expert, who assured the public, "There's just not a lot of these
folks running around the world." We can breathe easier!
Saturday, I wrote a blog about the radical Muslim assailant of the Ft. Hood shooting rampage.
Newspaper reports made him out to be a victim and the victims were actually the
One day after the Ft. Hood massacre, a shooter in Orlando, Florida tried to duplicate the
horror scene, but only managed to kill one person and wound five.
In Sunday's paper, I read in an AP article that Jason Rodriguez was also a victim rather
than a criminal.
When the defendant appeared in court on Saturday, his public attorney said, "This guy is
a compilation of the front page of the entire year - unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy,
divorce - all the stresses... he is very, very mentally ill"
So brace yourselves folks! There are many more stressed out victims of society.
If you have a job and haven't lost your home, YOU are responsible for the upsurge in mass
murderers and the victims could be out to get you!
When you or I take money from someone and fail to deliver, it is a criminal offence. In
the computer business, there is apparently no crime serious enough to warrant legal action. Where
are all those lawyers who get rich off of class action lawsuits? They know they can't get anything
out of the soft- and hardware manufacturers, so why should a paltry customer like me expect to get
any kind of satisfaction? THEY have my money and know that I would never return to buy anything else
from them if I didn't have to. But they also know that I have no choice. Either they have a monopoly
or the competition is just as bad.
After two months (see Sept. 8 blog) of constant researching, reformatting
the hard disc and reinstalling Windows,
I still can't get my laptop to connect to a wireless router. I have given up.
Anyone want to buy a nice Gateway laptop? It connects if wired, but you need
to be more of a geek than I am to get it wireless again.
||TED and THADDEUS
November 20, 2009
As I get older, I expect to attend more and more funerals. Only if I go first will I escape this fact
I just attended the funeral and burial service of two very special people, but they were
not old. Ted (Thaddeus) was 53 and his son, the younger Thaddeus, was only 12 years of age. They died
together when the small plane they were flying crashed in Southern New Jersey last Saturday.
Because I want to include photos and it would take too much space to include all my thoughts here, I
made a separate memorial page and invite you to visit.
||SEASONAL POLITICS and SEASONED POLITICIANS
December 4, 2009 (three commentaries from today's headline
This is the time of year when politicians work hardest. Because most Americans are busy
and stressed preparing for the holidays, they have little time to follow the news media,
let alone digest what these report. A lot of unpopular laws and measures get passed
in the weeks before Christmas.
It is no accident that the Senate is feverishly working to get Obama's health care package passed.
Over in Copenhagen, Obama plans to place American energy decisions in the hands of the
United Nations. "Cap and Trade" is the ecological equivalent of "spreading the wealth"
Some politicians, including NJ Governor, Jon Corzine, are what we call "lame duck politicians".
They have only a couple of weeks to push through their agendas before relinquishing public
office to the victors in last November's elections.
"Lame Duck" politics are similar to the "Scorched Earth" policy introduced by Hitler towards the
end of World War II. When Hitler realized that the attempt to build his Third Reich (kingdom
for those who don't know German) had been foiled, he ordered troops to destroy any yet intact
infrastructures to prevent them from falling into the hands of the victors. It was a similar
scenario in Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War. Retreating Iraqi troops set fire to more than 700
In similar fashion, outgoing Governor Jon Corzine and Senate President Dick Cody are pushing the New
Jersey legislature to vote on the legalization of gay marriages. Corzine hopes to be able to sign
that legislation into law before Christie takes office. He also leaves Christie a whopping 52 billion
dollar budget deficit to deal with.
Another front page headline article in today's newspaper that most people are too busy to read,
has to do with an environmental measure which is before the legislature in Trenton.
Just two miles from our home, a child care center named
Kiddie Kollege was operated in a former thermometer factory.
Over 60 children were contaminated by mercury before the center was closed in 2006.
NJ lawmakers have determined that the present laws are not stringent enough. State law now requires
at least five people to be exposed to environmental hazards and sustain serious bodily injury, meaning
disfigurement or near-death injuries. The bill now before the legislature "would make it a crime for
someone to expose a single person to a toxic pollutant, either through inhalation, ingestion or
A national law that is soon to be implemented, will prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs and
force consumers to buy bulbs containing mercury. Does that mean New Jersey citizens can be held
liable if a light bulb breaks in the home, exposing a family member or guest to the toxic chemicals?
If it should happen in a school or Kiddie Kollege, lawyers will have a field day filing class action
I wonder if that also means no one will be permitted to smoke in my presence?
The second headline is about the closing of the
Sunoco Eagle Point refinery on the Delaware River in New
jersey, putting 400 people out of work. Hardest hit is probably the CEO, who reportedly earned a salary
of over 12 million plus bonuses.
The Valero refinery across the river in Delaware City also closed, putting 550 out of work. A third
refinery was shut down in New Mexico.
Ironically, an article in Section B, Page 6, reports on Obama's appeal for the creation of more jobs.
While I'm at it, I might just as well comment on another front page headline article from today's newspaper.
Comcast has bought itself a nice "winter holiday" present for a paltry $13.75 billion dollars. If the FCC doesn't
voice any objections, Comcast will own 51% of NBC and Universal Studios.
I wonder if Comcast still gets tax breaks?
||PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY
December 7, 2009
Nine-eleven is still fresh on our memories, but few remember Pearl Harbor.
There are striking similarities between these incidents.
Foreign suicide pilots inflicted heavy damage, killing thousands of
Both tragedies touched off wars.
The initial reaction of the American
people to these catastrophes was also similar. At first there was shock, followed by anger and then a
unified resolve to find and punish the perpetrators.
Since 9-11, however, the situation has been vastly different.
From 1941 through 1945, Americans were unified as never before. Virtually every human, natural
and industrial resource was invested in the war effort.
Sixty years later, the opposite is
true. Americans have never been so divided as they are today. We are fighting each other
on the home front in just about every area. Political, social, economic, health and
educational matters are all hot-button issues that divide us.
And we are not even agreed
in the war on terrorism.
In the 40s we were fighting enemies that had national cultures, languages, governments, flags
and borders. Just to play it safe, the government interned many Americans of
Japanese descent in detention camps.
Today, no one knows who the enemy is or where he might be lurking. New terminology has been
invented to describe situations that hardly existed in other wars. In WW II the media reported
deaths, but now it differentiates between "enemy casualties," "collateral damage" and
"friendly fire incidents."
The same is true here in America. When we look around us, we see large numbers of obviously
foreign-born people who may or may not be here legally. They speak other languages, have other
customs and dress differently. A good number of cars on the road are uninsured. Stores and
businesses use deceit and trickery to get your money and a guarantee is not worth
the paper its printed on. Just one lawsuit or major health problem can mean financial ruin. Job security
is practically non-existent. Banks, credit institutions and mortgage companies cheat
honest, hard-working people out of their homes and retirement funds.
The media once took pride in its alliances with one party or another, or in being neutral.
Today they all claim to be neutral but abide strictly by their chosen political agendas.
It's the same in politics. Everyone knows how much value you can place on campaign pledges. We
can't even count on our nation's Constitution and Bill of Rights anymore. The Supreme Court
has come up with new interpretations and some politicians simply ignore the
documents of our founding fathers. Who and what
a person believes depends on whether he or she is receiving or paying.
In both cases, people are nervous, wondering if they will be duped -- again.
If you have read many of my blogs, you know that I am about to get on my hobby horse again.
Greed and dishonesty are not unlawful. These, like ethics, are religious terminology. As most
people will tell you, we dare not mix religion with politics, or public education, or business,
advertising, or economics, or reporting, or...
December 10, 2009
I already mentioned the "scorched earth" policy of outgoing Governor Jon Corzine and outgoing
Senate President Richard Codey. Some people call them "lame ducks" but that is not politically
correct. It is an insult to physically impaired animals, ducks in particular. As the song
goes, "Be kind to your fine-feathered friends, for a duck may be somebody's mother."
Corzine and Codey are trying hard to convince the New Jersey Senate to pass a bill legalizing gay
marriage before Governor Christie takes office in January. Protesters on both sides of this
issue have gathered in Trenton and thousands of phone calls are keeping the phone lines hot
(I called my Senator, did you?). Most voters are opposed to the measure and
elected politicians are aware of that
fact. Scorched earth politicians don't care.
Senator Codey sensed that proponents didn't have enough votes to get the bill through the
legislature, so he decided to postpone a vote until the Assembly Judiciary Committee has had
more time to vet the measure. In making the announcement, Codey said, "I was looking forward to a
really thoughtful, incisive debate on a very serious issue of moral conscience."
I must agree that this issue is a serious matter of moral conscience, but let's be clear. Matters
of moral conscience are not decided by popular vote and most certainly not by politicians!
In America, politicians make laws and voters choose politicians according to how they perform.
Because of a ridiculous electoral system that permits politicians to remain in
office after they are voted out, "scorched earth politicians" take liberties
that no one else has. They are now trying to redefine English words like "marriage" and "moral