Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hmmmm, I wonder

We are on the brink of dramatic change.  I wonder if it has always been this way?  I suspect it has, and we as humans seem destined always to be on the brink of some dramatic change.  I wonder about the next big change and whether we can stop it, especially when the topic is galvanized by emotion and political agenda?
Now as our government stumbles and bumbles toward a dramatic shift in spending, income, and effective government; I wonder what will come from it?  I see nothing from the President’s party that suggests he is willing to compromise, and I see nothing from the other side to suggest they are either.  With increasing fervor the extremes of both side argue to let it happen.  As we approach this economic milestone the question is not will it affect the economy, but how much of it will it destroy as leaders in both parties, and the President cling to their dogma?
When this nation was born, it was not because the population raised up as one, united in their hatred of the King.  It was because a few men were rebuffed in their attempts to influence the King and Parliament to establish and improve home rule.  If the King had listened then the extremists would not have prevailed, but alas, this small band, and the heavy-handed arrogance of England, galvanized the majority to support the revolution.  Now as free men and woman, we hear voices rising up to question how the government can continue to operate beyond its means, to spend more than it takes in, to no longer try and find balance.  On the other side we hear allegations that it is the fault of the wealthy, the corporations, or perhaps a brother or two.  To the Democratic machine these voices are just useful puppets to protect the wealthy and are dismissed as zealous fools.  We have seen the President initiate a political strategy that pits Americans against Americans by denigrating the top 1% for not paying to the government what he thinks they should.  As the last election showed, this is a story line that plays well with a population that asks what can the government do for me?
I wonder how will the next revolution occur?  How will those who believe they no longer have a say in their government choose to act?  Will we reach a point where the Republican Party collapses and our government becomes a one party state like so much of the rest of the world, or will the government collapse of its own weight?  Will the Democrats be able to stop it, as they spend more and more money they don’t have to gain party faithful support?
In this time of ME, where every choice, every decision, every option evolves around the question, what does it do for me? Do we have the will to put our selfishness aside and find ways to work together?  Will our politicians put their pride and arrogance aside and work for a greater America?  What is a greater America?  I wonder?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If, ~~ Rudyard Kipling

It has been a while but I think it worth repeating one of the best poems ever written by a father to his son.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Few Words on Nothing

Tom Lehman offered some good advice on how to hit a draw… it works even for a duffer like me.
Complaining about the cold in Florida is like being stranded on a desert island and finding a boat anchored 50 yards off shore and complaining how far you have to swim to be saved.
As the government sells off more frequencies so we can have more and more television channels; there seems to be fewer and fewer shows to watch.
It is a tough call on which network offers the most informed political commentary, MSNBC, Fox, or WWE?
AARP has done a great marketing job to make the elderly believe they are only out for their best interests.  I had to laugh when someone complained about profit hungry corporations stealing everyone’s money and then praising the work AARP is doing standing up to the government for them.  I wonder how many people realize the purpose of AARP is to sell insurance, like health care supplements for the Affordable Healthcare Act, which for some strange reason they supported.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time.” I am afraid the size of the middle category seems to be growing.
I am old enough to remember when CNN set the standard in news broadcasts, bringing breaking stories and commentary on world shaping events that the major networks could not keep up with.  Now they seem to be just a poor afterthought, focusing on the trivia and replaying it until you can’t stand it any more.
Fox news is not fair and balanced, but then neither is any other network.  They do serve as a useful foil for the major networks that all seem to have identical news broadcasts.
What’s the big deal about the President’s Florida vacation?  A number of previous Presidents spent a lot of time in Florida with their rich friends.  President Nixon comes to mind, and he didn’t get any grief from his visits did he?
I am not sure why the White House felt it necessary to leak its proposed immigration legislation, why worry about legislation, just create an executive order allowing anyone who promises to vote for Democrats to become a citizen?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

As the Wind Blows

It is a blustery day here in Northwest Florida, the day dawned gray, with a spitting of rain, but it has cleared to a bright blue sky with a swirling wind that moves the trees, musses the hair, and reminds you that it is still winter, even in this Southern state, although it is really quite similar to a summer afternoon in San Francisco.
This is the kind of day, that if we had the hills and valley’s of home you would find a few good places with ridge lift and the gliders would be surfing to and fro.  It is a kind of day that in Bavaria, we would be attending a fest and enjoying the crapes and wine from the Rhone valley with friends and strangers alike.  The wind blows the branches and so many memories.
Thoughts of friends whose lives have been taken far too soon, or those who risked much, but have gained too little sail past my conscience, pushed by the sounds of a wind, coming down the street, funneled by the houses and sounding like a freight train.
It is funny the things that float into your thoughts as you try and still your mind against the wind.  I can see clearly the island on the Northern side of Lake Tahoe as it looked on the radar screen in the Boeing 737 we were flying out of Mather AFB in California.  It is there bright as day in the dark void of the lake.  Did you know that Lake Tahoe is 1,600 feet deep?  Only Crater Lake in Oregon is deeper.
I remember seeing Three Dog Night do a show in Tahoe, they were past the glory years but it was a good show.  They were in the men’s room when I went in before the show, seemed an awkward time to ask for autograph… ah well!
Skimming down Bryce Canyon in the summer is a bumpy ride, even at 1,000 feet above the highest terrain within 5 miles.  There was a tornado just a few miles north of us.  It really does create a hook on the radar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It is a Dilemma

There sits in my blog folder several pieces I've written to vent frustrations that concern me.  But I am guided by something my mother once said.  "If you can't say anything nice about someone then don't say anything at all."

Therefore, these pieces will probably never see the light of day.  Thankfully I am not paid for babbling random and often silly thoughts as the network talk show hosts and news anchors are.  But I do have one problem, a true dilemma.

What do I say to someone who suggests we should take a $70 million dollar aircraft and make it "a little smaller" so it will fit on a C-5?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Find These Truths to be Self-Evident

All men are created equal, it is only after creation that some choose to progress from infantile thoughts and acts, while others do not.
If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime, but if the government knows your teaching men to fish you can expect a healthy fine.
The more you believe government is out to protect your best interests the greater the probability you will complain that business is out to destroy all mankind.
No one thinks himself or herself greedy; it is always the other guy!
An informed and educated public is vital to a strong democratic republic, which helps explain the problem with our government.
Those who complain about Capitalism never seem to have a legitimate alternative to make up for the loss of individual initiative and risk taking.
People who have nothing but desire to succeed are far more likely to thrive in life then those who have much, but lack that desire.
In every case of social engineering, where the government has attempted to redistribute wealth, the gap between the poor and the wealthy has widened as a result.
The attention span of the average American is……………….squirrel!
If either a human or a machine can do a job, business will usually choose the machine because of cost over the life of the task.
Utopia cannot exist as long as some believe they are entitled, and others are forced to support it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Obvious Choice, or the Oblivious Choice?

Congress is now considering a ban on guns that look like assault weapons.  They do so in response to a number of homicides, including the tragic events of Newtown CT, even though no assault style weapon was used.  I will be the first to admit I am not sure I know the right answer, but I am pretty sure the agenda being pushed by the Democrats is self-serving and will do nothing to prevent future outrageous gun violence.
An old friend offered a studied and reasonable approach to reducing the ability to rapidly reload weapons, but those reasonable measures will probably never be adopted because we are rushing to decision based on emotion instead of reason.
This weekend a Navy SEAL sniper, a true warrior/hero was slain at a gun range, by a Marine Veteran alleged to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I don’t know the specific details, beyond what was in the news, but when Chris Kyle was killed he was helping troubled veterans in the way he thought best.  He wasn’t killed because the gun was evil; it was because someone who shouldn’t have had a gun had one.  Would the proposed laws have prevented this tragedy? 
As we see with the wide ranging degree of state restrictions, just having laws restricting or mandating controls does very little to stop the violence.  For example, I would cite Chicago where even though they have among the most restrictive laws in the nation, if not the most restrictive, the murder rate from guns is the among the highest per capita in the country. 
Could that be because the laws are not strict enough, or is it because an overworked Police Department and a judicial system that has lost its authority through lax enforcement and judicial involvement in social engineering, work against the intended safeguards of a strict law?   
If we move forward with these proposed bans on semi-automatic assault style weapons it will be because Congress and the Administration continue to write legislation that is out of touch with the real issues.
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