Friday, July 31, 2009

Woof Woof

I've written about this before but it's worth mentioning again. It's amazing how particular situations give rise to new terms and expressions. For example while reading about the various back and forth arguments going on surrounding Obama's health plan, I ran across an expression I hadn't heard before-Blue Dogs. I went on to learn that a blue dog is a term used to describe conservative democrats who are concerned with the cost of Obama's plan. Now there's a concept I can relate to. I too am a democrat but I do have concerns about government spending. Being a frugal person (some would say cheap, but that's completely inappropriate) I've been getting more and more alarmed at the massive sums of money being spent. Having said that, many of my other views would be considered liberal, i.e. abortion, gay marriages, etc. So what I'm left with is a political philosophy that's fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Now that's quite a mouthful. But along comes 'Blue Dogs' to the rescue. One might legitimately ask what's the difference between a blue dog and a moderate or left-leaning republican. There are two major differences. The first is that being a democrat I haven't lost my sense of humor. Unlike most republicans, I don't go through life with a permanent scowl on my face. The second is I continue to regard people to be far more important than money. Aside from that I guess we blue dogs aren't all that different from our moderate republican friends. But what should we call moderate republicans? How about Red Dogs? Works for me. Woof!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Far, Far Away

Here it is the first day of a brand-new week. It could be off to a great start by having the following things go away, far far away:
1. The Professor Gates/Stupid Cambridge Police/Obama Spin issue. It's over. Have your beers with the pres and let it go.
2. For once and for all Michael Jackson. Let's all agree he was the greatest entertainment genius of all time and move on.
3. Sarah Palin. We know you think you're answering a higher calling and you're determined to save mankind from itself but you need to disappear-forever.
4. Republican nay-sayers who can't contribute anything to the national political agenda except constant whining and criticism.
5. Humid weather.

Thus endth my Monday morning rant. Have a great day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happiness is......

Happiness is....
...taking a little girl to a nursing home and cheering up people by talking to them and sitting on an old lady's lap.
...having the same little girl tell me that I'm going to hear her come in the room where I'm on a couch during rest time to check to see if I'm still breathing. having that little girl tell me that the 'f' word is very bad to say. She thinks the word is 'freakin' or 'fruck'. Not sure which. We agreed we wouldn't say it. having a grand daughter rat me out when I give her too many snacks. Shows she's not afraid to be open with her parents.
...any day with grand children.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Last Word on Health Care (Well...maybe not)

First I confess to having missed the president's address to the nation last night regarding his effort to pass health care reform legislation. Having said that, here's my understanding of the situation (beyond what I've already written a few days ago that is).
1. The president's plan calls for health insurance for 40 million people.
2. The number includes illegal immigrants, current Medicaid recipients, and people, who for whatever reason, elect not to have health insurance.
Here are some questions I have about the issue:
1. Why are we providing health care (and education) to people here illegally?
2. Why are Medicaid recipients being counted twice?
3. Why is the government 'parenting' otherwise intelligent people who have made a choice about their lives?
4. Excluding all of the above, how many people are actually benefiting from what will undoubtedly turn out to be a very expensive thing?
5. To what degree will people retain choice over their health care decisions? I know Obama has insisted over and over again that he has no intention of taking away choice but are he and the Congress on the same page? What about Pelosi and Company?
So there they are. Lots of questions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Angry Red Over Green

For the past few weeks I've been seeing more and more letters to editors of various newspapers criticizing the 'cap and trade' legislation that recently cleared the House of Representatives and headed for the Senate. The writers of these letters all claim the end of civilization as we know it if this legislation becomes law. They predict all sorts of dire events, i.e. collapse of the US economy, the loss of millions and millions and millions of jobs, enforced use of cars smaller than a roller skate, etc. The list goes on. The writers of these letters go on to call for Obama's impeachment-or worse. So what's all this anger about? Damned if I know. I must confess I don't know the details of the 'cap and trade' bill but I'm working on it. If anyone knows of a good website or other source that can explain it, I like to know about it. Then maybe I could get mad too.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Take Cover! They're At It Again!

and with that Republican congressional leadership aroused themselves out of their self-induced comas and went on the attack. Smelling blood, GOP gas bag losers from the House and the Senate decided that instead of working with Obama to get things moving, it would be in the best interests of the nation to simply attack, attack, attack-never offering any solutions of their own by the way-and happily continue their official policy of obstruction and confrontation. What a bunch. And they wonder why their party is dead.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Yes We Can"

Forty years ago today (just about now in fact-11 A.M.) I was standing in the cafeteria of a small company in Monroe along with about 150 other people. We were watching the blast-off of the Saturn rocket that would carry three men to the moon. We were very proud because the company we worked for made an electronic component that was in the rocket. We weren't the only ones who were proud. The whole nation looked on with great pride that day. That mission to the moon was far more than just sending a little metal tube with 3 men packed into it 250,000 miles away to land on a chunk of rock that in the overall scheme of things was practically attached to us. It was the culmination of a national effort. It meant when we as a nation say we can do something, we can. It capped the end of a very turbulent period in American history. The nation needed an achievement like this. In a way I believe President Obama is trying to do what John F. Kennedy did almost 50 years ago when he made it a goal for the United States to put a man on the moon within 10 years. He was telling the nation 'yes we can'. At that particular point in time in American history, we needed to hear that. And it's no less true now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And That's the Way It Was

Every morning I cruise the various TV stations to find out what’s going on. This morning everyone was focusing exclusively on the passing of legendary news anchor Walter Cronkite. He served as CBS news anchor from 1962 to 1981. I started thinking about all the news he brought to everyone’s attention during that period of time-one of the most volatile periods in American history. It was amazing. Almost immediately after he started, there was the John F. Kennedy assassination. Then there was the Viet Nam war, civil rights unrest/riots and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X. At the end of the 60’s he brought us the story of the American lunar landing. After that there was more Viet Nam and the whole Watergate thing leading to Nixon’s resignation. During all of that time Cronkite emerged as the ‘go to’ guy for what’s happening. Few people doubted him or questioned his integrity. He was simply the ultimate authority on what’s happening. Young folks today of course don’t remember him or never knew who he was to begin with. There’s isn’t really one particular person of his caliber now on the scene and probably never will be again because of the changing nature of television. Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson do a good enough job delivering the news but I don’t think anyone will remember them in the same way I & others my age do of Walter Cronkite. Toward the end of his life, he was very ill but it was nice to hear that for most of his retirement he was able to enjoy sailing which he loved to do. RIP, Walter. You done good! And that's the way it is.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Understanding (or not!) Obama's Health Plan

I’ve been participating in an interesting discussion with some Facebook friends and friends of friends regarding the topic of Obama’s health care proposals. There has also been a lot in the news recently about the topic. This coincides with my experiences of the past few days with hospitals, doctors, IVs, labs and all manner of medically related issues. In fact within the past year I’ve had intimate experience with just about every aspect of the medical community so I feel amply qualified to comment on it. My first and most vivid observation is the unbelievable level of misunderstanding on the part of so many people i.e , journalists, politicians, health care professionals, and just ordinary people about the concept of National Health Care in general and Obama’s goals in particular. I’ve discovered that rather than read about or listen to Obama’s proposals, most people immediately jump to the conclusion that his plan is the same as Canadian or European type national health care. These tend to be highly managed, somewhat inefficient programs that are not at all what Obama proposes. What Obama wants is something like Medicare which I happen to be on. Medicare allows me to go to whatever labs I want, whatever doctors I want and whatever hospital I want. Its role is to financially subsidize the decisions I make. I emphasize ‘subsidize’ because contrary to what people think it is not ‘free’. People should and do pay into it. It may be that we’ll have to pay more but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Medicare has overhead or administrative costs of about 5%. The private sector represented by HMO’s have overhead of sometimes in excess of 30%. And you think government’s inefficient?? Think again. Obama does not want government to take over the decision making process. He wants you to have choices. He simply wants to make sure people get the health care they need. Will it cost more? Of course it will. There’s no way to avoid that. So we simply have to pitch in and pay our fair share. A program like this will greatly benefit our nation and it’s the right thing to do.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is Anyone Really Surprised?!

Hey, how about good ol' Dick Cheney? What a swell guy, huh?
But is anyone really surprised at this dirt bag's level of deceit? Not me-and if you're one of those who are constantly justifying these jerks by saying 'but they (Bush, Cheney) kept us safe for 7 years!", let me dissuade you of that faulty notion-They most certainly did NOT keep us safe for 7 years or anytime for that matter. They made the world a far more dangerous place. The reason why we haven't had another terrorist attack since 911 is because of the diligence of local, state & federal law enforcement agencies-not Bush and Cheney. So let's put that one to rest once and for all. You can bet there's going to be more and more stuff coming out on how these two guys shredded the constitution. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Taking A Walk

This morning for the first time in a long time I took a walk around my neighborhood. It's a 2 mile route my wife and I marked out some time ago. I haven't walked it in over a year because I was having some back problems but the more I've been walking on the treadmill, the better it seems to be getting. Anyway, I started out by trying to use my iPod but my wife left it on after her last walk and the battery was dead. So I got her old iPod and used that but it died after 20 minutes. So I was without music for about half the walk. The route is very uneven with lots of fairly steep grades & hills to go up and down. Without question my back bothers me the most when I go down the hills. I guess that makes sense since I'm using my legs as brakes and that puts strain on the lower back. Nothing much in the neighborhood has changed since I last walked it. I did go by actor Anthony Edwards who was jogging in the other direction. We exchanged greetings and went on our individual ways. I assume he was in the last stages of his run because he was out of breath and kind of gasping. I could never understand why people jog. I used to see people jogging all the time when I walked and they were clearly suffering. I remember once one guy honestly looked like he was going to collapse any minute. I kept looking back to see if he was OK until he was out of sight. The other changes in my neighborhood were a couple of houses for sale that hadn't been before. Also, one house had an in-ground pool installed in its backyard which was a hill. They literally carved out a notch in the hill, built a retaining wall, leveled it off and put in the pool. It must have cost a fortune. Like jogging, in-ground pools are very over rated-especially in this climate where use is limited. I can understand one in Florida but not here given the trouble and expense. Plus they worry me with small kids around. Anyway, that's it for my walk. Not very exciting. Maybe next time I'll come across some money or a dead body. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

About Sarah Palin: What an unbelievable loser!! At this point one can only hope that she isolates herself within the confines of Fox News so sane people won’t continue to be exposed to her lunacy.

About MJ: RIP. Can we finally move on?

About morning shows like Today & GMA: There’s got to be something better to watch while I’m reading the paper, checking emails and Facebook. I wish I got better radio AM reception in my family room. At least I could listen to Imus.

About the Stimulus Package: What’s going on? An item in the paper recently reported on a number of ‘shovel ready’ state projects that were supposed to get kick-started by Obama’s stimulus package. Where’d the money go? Why isn’t more money available to credit worthy people and businesses? Obama’s administration needs to answer these questions.

About the Supreme Court: They finally got it right by overturning a Federal Appeals Court ruling that allowed New Haven’s recent firefighter’s fiasco. Racial quotas are no longer needed or appropriate. If you pass the test, you’re in. If not, you’re not. It doesn’t matter if you’re red, white, black, yellow or pink with purple polka dots. Period.

Finally, check out the following website:
You could end up doing something very good and important for some man or woman serving our country.

Thus endth my rant for the day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Here We Go Again (and again..and again...and again...)

Just as Michael Jackson's name mercifully eased off the headlines, who should appear? Our dear Sarah. There is no possible way I can improve on the recent column of Gail Collins of the NY Times so here's the link to that piece. Enjoy:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Scream If You Liked That Shot

I don't usually watch tennis but the other day while taking a lunch break I happened across a match on the tube. It was a women's tournament taking place somewhere or other and I was astonished at the racket (no pun intended) the women make when they hit the ball. It sounded like they were being shot or something. What's that all about? Does it help their game? I know some people make those obnoxious noises in gyms and I recall my son-in-law or daughter telling me that they're not allowed to do that in some gyms. Recently I heard that some of the tennis players were complaining that their opponents were distracting them by doing it. I can understand that. Some of those gals really let it go. I can understand a grunt or sudden expulsion of breath. I'll do that myself when I lift something heavy but that's not what they do. They scream their brains out. I can see how it would be very unnerving to an opponent. But then I observed BOTH players do it so now it's the spectator who is bombarded by a constant barrage of screams, yells & sounds of torture and mayhem. If you're watching on TV, fine. Hit the mute button. But if you're sitting there you'll have to do what I did at the last musical concert I went to. Stuff bits of napkin in your ears.