Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Global Warming Humor from Dennis Miller

I picked this off of Facebook; a tip of the hat to Shawn Rogers for posting it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reading a Problem in Washington

I happened to glance at one of the books left out of the toy box when my grandchildren were over last, The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read. It’s a cleaver short story about a man too lazy to learn to read. His wife sent him to the store and picked up items; believing they were one thing, only to find, upon opening these items later, he’d purchased something entirely different. If only he’d been able to read…

My granddaughter enjoyed having the book read to her, the simple pictures along with my expressions of pending disaster each time the little old man picked up an item and placed it in his shopping cart made for a great time, perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes together. It will be even more fun when she gets a little older and learns to read on her own, all those words will make the world come alive and all she’ll need to do is turn the pages.

This is only an observation on my part; but wouldn’t it be simply splendid if the folks elected to govern this great country took the time to read the pieces of legislation which shape our society? They might start at the first page, read what’s been proposed, turn pages one by one until the entire bill has had a chance to be understood.

Ah, that might be problematic since the important pieces of legislation have become burdensome to read, hundreds of pages; on the really important bills over a thousand pages. It would seem as if the folks writing the laws of the land intentionally made them difficult for anyone to understand or get through; why would they do that?

The folks we elect to congress, who take an oath to uphold the Constitution, have an important responsibility to those who elected them. Remember that part in our founding documents:

“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.”

What good are these representatives if they don’t bother to read the bills put before them; after all, that’s what they promised to do? If they willfully disregard their duties on important matters which will affect an entire nation; what recourse, other than waiting for the next electoral process to vote them out of office, what recourse is left other than to implement the rest of the paragraph previously mentioned?

“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.”

Wouldn’t most responsible folks agree that voting for a piece of legislation without having read it is reckless at best and perhaps even criminal, to the point of falling into the impeachable offence, “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Voting for a bill which clearly violates the Constitution is a crime against everyone, isn’t it?

I’m not advocating the abolishment of our form of government; our form of government, if applied in the manner our Founding Fathers had intended works just fine. No, the problem isn’t with the form of government; but with those who have decided they have a “better way”, a means of bypassing the safe guards of the Constitution in order to form “their more perfect union”. Pardon me while I spit in the sink; something got stuck in my throat.

Imagine signing a huge piece of legislation, say for example Cap and Trade , one of those thousand plus pages of legislation which hasn’t been read by most of the folks who want it passed. The EPA said it was critical to our moving forward as a nation.

“Cap and trade is an environmental policy tool that delivers results with a mandatory cap on emissions while providing sources flexibility in how they comply. Successful cap and trade programs reward innovation, efficiency, and early action and provide strict environmental accountability without inhibiting economic growth.” (emphasis added)

If that information is correct, and I seriously doubt it; then why would those holding the majority in congress throw out options to eliminate this overly burdensome legislation in the event it becomes evident that such Cap and Trade mandates are inhibiting economic growth ?

“Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won't pinch wallets, behind the scenes they've acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming. During the brief few days in which the bill was debated in the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three amendments: one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%. Democrats defeated all of them.” (emphasis added)

If you add to this, "the inconvenient truths" which may or may not have intentionally been left out of the EPA’s “crisis” determination; the proposed legislation has absolutely no legs to stand on and would appear to be politically motivated rather than based on actual scientific data. (I should beg forgiveness; those in government would never ever tell a lie in order to fool the public.)

I could go on and on; but the simplicity of the children’s book did a better job. When, after the ink has dried on the paper, it becomes evident that we could have avoided serious mistakes which will alter the landscape of industry and production here in America; wouldn’t it have been so much better to have read the document first?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not to sound pessimistic; but…

America’s Great Experiment appears to be jumping off a cliff as a majority of our elected representatives have decided that not reading legislation is better than being made aware of what is being shoved down our throats, all in the name of “change”. Several thoughts come to mind, none of which are flattering to our current crop of congressional representatives and senators.

Why are the pieces of legislation being proposed so massive as to make it nearly impossible to read and digest? If the principle of Akem’s Razor is true, that the simplest answer is usually the correct answer, then those writing these all encompassing pieces of dribble are intentionally making it difficult to understand what has been proposed.

Why would any responsible elected representative vote on any bill without first having a thorough working knowledge of what is being proposed? I think it’s time for everyone, especially those in Washington, to sit back and watch the movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

“Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that's what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we'd better get those boys' camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it's not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!” (emphasis added)

The Stimulus Package, a misdirection of a name if ever there was one, had well over a thousand pages; and, never read before the bill was put up for a vote. Over a trillion dollars was put up for a vote and nobody could tell you anything about it; is that responsible?

Let me put it another way; say for example, I wanted to sell you my used car. You get a look at it in my driveway everyday on your way to work and notice the for sale sign in the back window. One evening on your way home you stop by and mention you might be interested. I take you inside to the dining room table and there, in the middle of the table is a contract waiting to be signed. I hand over a pen, point to the dotted line and say, “Sign here and it’s yours!”

What’s wrong with that picture? Maybe the prospective buyer would like to drive the vehicle to see how it feels and performs. Yea, it looks like a fine automobile, polished and waxed; but wouldn’t it be a good idea to drive it first? What kind of maintenance records are available, oil changes, tune ups or has it had any serious issues such as transmission problems or accidents? How much is does it cost, are you prepared to offer a payment plan, and if so, what kind of interest rate is involved?

So you say to this prospective buyer, “No, just sign on the dotted line. You don’t need to know the details.”

“Never mind; I’ll be off to Crazy Eddie’s Used Cars. I heard he has some real cream puffs and he’s offering 60 month payment plans with variable rate interest, what ever that is.”

I read a CNS news article this past Friday regarding Sen. Harry Reid regarding the pending Health-Care Reform Bill.

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nev.) will not commit to giving senators and the public a full week to read and review the final version of a health-care reform bill before he holds a final vote on it.”

Say that again, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nev.) will not commit to giving senators and the public a full week to read and review the final version of a health-care reform bill before he holds a final vote on it.”

This piece of legislation has over a thousand pages containing very complicated language, intentionally written in such a way as to distort or disguise the purpose of the legislation. Is it any wonder Sen. Reid doesn’t want anyone to know what kind of a Flim-Flam is being pushed through?

Remember, “The final text of the stimulus bill was posted on the Web site of the House Appropriations Committee late on the night of Thursday, February 12. Both the House and Senate voted on the 1,071-page bill the next day--not providing enough time for members to actually read the bill.”

I fear for the future of America when a band of thieves; that’s right, I called the House of Representatives and the Senate a band of thieves, when a band of thieves can get away with stealing America’s Great Experiment in freedom through deceitful and underhanded legislation intended to destroy individual incentives to be productive and destroy individual liberties as provided in the Declaration of Independence. This band of thieves appears to have gotten away with it, at least their legislation is being rubber stamped on through as if it had met with any serious debate or public scrutiny.

We’ve had the Cap and Trade thing passed in the House, awaiting the Senate, all based on the EPA’s declaration that we are in a “crisis” regarding Climate Change, Global Warming and eminent destruction of the entire planet. Never mind that the so called “scientific consensus” lacked either science or consensus. Apparently these folks would rather believe the “Sky is Falling” based on corrupted data, intentionally falsified in order to advance a major growth in government than to recognize the guaranteed negative results attached to such legislation.

Reading from the Wall Street Journal’s article, The Cap and Trade Fiction :

“When the Heritage Foundation did its analysis of Waxman-Markey, it broadly compared the economy with and without the carbon tax. Under this more comprehensive scenario, it found Waxman-Markey would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill's restrictions kick in, that number rises to $6,800 for a family of four by 2035.”


“Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won't pinch wallets, behind the scenes they've acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming. During the brief few days in which the bill was debated in the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three amendments: one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%. Democrats defeated all of them.” (emphasis added)

I don’t want to sound pessimistic; but, the America I grew to love and wanted my children and my grandchildren to have doesn’t look like it will survive these assaults. It would appear Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev may have been correct when he laughed at the United States for being so incredibly gullible, we’ll pour like over ripe fruit into the hands of communism and there won’t even be a shot fired.

God forgive us for having elected thieves to guard the liberties which were given us and God help us for what is yet to come.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ALOA Used to be About Locksmith Work

I’ve noticed the trend for years; but this week’s update which landed in my email only backed up something that’s been bothering me, the Associated Locksmiths of America no longer represents the locksmith industry. The ALOA needs to update; maybe call their group, Alarm Specialists and Surveillance Camera Installers; but they don’t even bother to mention locksmith work anymore in articles sent out to locksmiths.

What would you think if your newsletter contained the following articles? The Legal Side: Alarm Licensing Questions, Security Cameras Can “See” a lot More These Days, Security-softwear Market Shrugs Off Economy, Banks Fight Robberies with New Policies Camera Positions, Survey: Most Small Businesses Expect to Grow in 09 and Small Business Road to Recovery: Choosing a Location. There was mention of a contest to see which locksmith had the best looking mobile shop and a sign up form for the next locksmith convention.

Several years ago I wrote my thoughts on what was happening to the locksmith industry, What’s a Locksmith , the change from mechanical operations to electronic. I never imagined the locksmith industry would become overly weighed down by alarm servicing, remote camera installations and computer access systems which, if you consider the word “Locksmith”, a key part of the definition of this industry; then none of the other branches really fall within the scope of locksmith work.

I knew a fellow here in Houston a long time ago with a shop on the north side of town outside a major shopping mall. He’d cut duplicate keys for folks and every now and again he’d rekey a dead bolt or knob if the customer brought it in; but he was an all purpose handy man business in actuality. He sharpened knives, scissors, saw blades and lawnmower blades most of the time since that’s what folks paid him to do; but he called himself a locksmith because it looked or sounded better than “blade sharpener”.

I’ve another friend who really is a locksmith; does all aspects of the business to include light industrial, residential and automotive on occasion. I talked with him not too long ago, mostly to see how the company he works for was doing in this sluggish economy; he works for a shop where there are several “outside locksmiths”. There was a hesitation in his response, a marked disappointment regarding the type of work which filled most of his days. He no longer was servicing locks; instead he was running wire for control systems and remote cameras. It paid well; but it wasn’t what he’d “signed up for”, as he put it.

I guess it boils down to priorities; the Associated Locksmiths of America no longer has locksmith work at the top of their list. That spot’s being held by the more general and all encompassing “Security” industry. I’ve nothing against folks who enjoy installing wiring for cameras, hook up security systems to computers and the like; but pardon me for bringing up, the glaring fact is none of that is locksmith work. Maybe they could be the Associated Security Specialists; but who wants to pay their dues to ASS; that would be asinine.

Here’s a picture of me hand filing an impression key at the back of my service truck; taken a few years back, before I shaved off my facial hair. I don’t claim to have the “Best Locksmith Truck”, not by any stretch of the imagination; but it works well for me, everything is laid out in such a way as to be accessible from the outside.

A few observations June 25, 2009

A fellow called my office this morning and requested I drive over to his apartment complex and make a key to his 1992 Ford Tempo. He wasn’t home when he called and said he’d be on the way there soon could I wait about 20 minutes before heading his way. I scheduled him for 9:00 because he told me he needed to be at work by 11:00am.

Nine o’clock up and down as I drove up to the keypad at the entrance of the gated complex and called him on the phone to let him know I’d arrived and push the magic button to open the main gate. “Never, mind; I found my spare key.” He hung up, like I’d inconvenienced his watching the Today Show.

What is wrong with our society or folks like that? Did they miss out on Social Grace 101 as they stumbled through life? How much trouble would it have been to pick up the telephone to let me know not to make the trip over; that same phone he used to summon my services? I know, having listened to Jim Rohn’s motivational tapes , “That’s just the way it is.”

I was listening to the Glenn Beck radio talk show this morning, well worth the effort by the way; and it dawned on me how many folks were listening to the latest rock radio, oldies radio, classical radio or “what ever”. Our country is in serious trouble right now; major decisions being made at all levels of government which will have an impact on how, perhaps even “if” our country survives the underhanded power grab and yet, far too many of us are comfortable being lulled into a stupor with yet another top ten hit, Desperate Housewives or Dancing Queen contest show.

Here’s a free plug for Glenn Beck’s book, Common Sense . That’s supposed to make you wonder, “Wasn’t there already a book with that same title ?” WAKE UP PEOPLE! Your government is stealing this country out from under you.

I did another locksmith job this morning; this time the customer actually did need my services so he was waiting for me when I arrived. He’d called the night before; explained how his girlfriend was over at her parent’s house and lost the key. She would be at work while he took care of getting the work done as he asked; would that pose a problem as far as showing proper documentation, driver’s license and all.

I explained how he’d need to present a valid photo ID as per State law and he said he’d show me his along with her driver’s license. I joked that he’d need to alter his voice if he used her license. Sure enough, he pulled out her driver’s license first and showed it to me.

“Looks just like you”, I shot back as I noticed the attractive image of a young woman with long brown hair pictured in the upper right corner. We talked about how the government had gotten involved in running small business operations and my ever increasing love for bureaucrats. The movie, Firefox, came to mind as I recalled the Clint Eastwood character moving about inside Russia with KGB spooks trying to figure out what his “game” was.

He was in a train station going through various check points where government goons scrutinized documents and papers of everyone. Apparently these folks were used to living under an oppressive State and had accepted the intrusive nature of government. One of the goons was playing mind games, acting as if our hero’s papers were no good, even though they were. The next thing you know that goon got his neck broken there in the men’s room when Clint reacted to the relentless pressure of some irrelevant prick’s constant antagonisms.

I can see this type of intrusive government creeping into our everyday lives here in America; and no, I’m not going paranoid on you. It’s already here in various stages if you’d only take a moment to open your eyes; been to the airport lately?

While programming the key, still engaged in our conversation about the movie Firefox, I imagined some jerk bureaucrat from the DPS/PSB stopping by to make sure I’d followed all the nit picking guide lines. I pictured, in my mind's eye, pointing a large caliber pistol into his face; smiling as I acknowledged his last moment on this soil prior to his becoming part of that soil, pulling the trigger and dumping his worthless corpse into the nearest dumpster.

“Have a nice day”

So, back in Washington they’re about to push through Cap and Trade; a clever distortion of what it really is, government taking over America’s industry at every imaginable level, the destruction of everything which made our nation the most admired and productive in the history of the world. They have to get this done before they break for recess; don’t bother reading what’s on the pages.

Sound familiar; I’ll give you a hint, think about the “emergency crisis” created for the Stimulus Bill, the one nobody read before signing? If they didn’t get it passed by the weekend the entire economy would crater and never recover. They’re doing it again; just sign the bill, show us you want “change”.

They want to “improve” health care by destroying the free market version, replacing it with a “government HMO”; wow, that will work so much more efficiently. I’ll try to forget wasted tax money poured into other government backed projects, “I want government HMO, sign me up, sign me up, sign me up”.

Have you seen the
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7415354 "> video explaining how millions of dollars was spent by Jack Murtha at an airport where only three flights a day are scheduled; they all go to Washington DC and for each ticket purchased the taxpayers kick in about a hundred dollars of matching funds. Twenty people a day use the facility, other than the full time employees who sit around and do almost nothing; the place looked like a ghost town in the middle of the day.

They have a neat looking brand new air traffic control tower that would rival anything a real “working” airport might need, a fully serviceable runway that would accommodate any kind of aircraft and they even are refurbishing the old runway just in case they have more airplanes some day. This is your government making sure tax money is spent wisely; the same folks who want to hustle health care; yea and I bet they have some ocean front property for sale in West Texas too!

Here’s another hint, anytime they write a piece of legislation which requires speed reading to get through it; odds are it’s got so much garbage in between the pages it would make a BFI dumpster seem like the Garden of Eden. This is how an oppressive government operates; pushing garbage through before anyone figures out what’s really going on; transparency, my Aunt Tilly!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Points Outside the 7 Ring

This is going to come off sounding cold and I admit that up front; remember, this is a retired night shift cop spouting off about another human tragedy. An AP story out of Delray Beach, Florida reads, “Man Fatally Shoots Himself at Florida Gun Range” .

I read the story, half way expecting something along the lines of novice handler, accidental discharge or malfunctioning weapon; wrong on all counts. This was a straight up suicide and nothing more.

“Police say the man came to Florida from another state and rented a car Tuesday morning. He went to the range, rented a revolver and fired several hundred rounds. Police say he waited for two other patrons to leave before shooting himself in the head.”

“Authorities say they found a detailed suicide note with his belongings.”

Why did he pick Florida, or that particular gun range? Don’t they have places in other states where he could have done the same thing? Maybe he got a good deal on the car rental or just wanted to do some sight seeing before leaving this world. What goes on inside the mind of a person about to commit suicide?

He fired several hundred rounds, presumably he knew that dead center on the target is worth ten points; then as the target rings expand, nine, eight and lastly seven. All these are in the torso of the target; there are no points outside the 7 ring. You’d think this fellow would have known not to shoot himself in the head.

I can only imagine what he’s having to listen to while sitting on the bench outside St. Peter’s Gates.

“How long you been goin’ to the shootin’ range…and you couldn’t hit dead center even at point blank range…Bwahaaaa haaaaa!”

“Sonny, you ain’t much of a shot with that there pistol; maybe you should have stuck to shootin’ with shotguns…Bwahaaa haaaa!”

Can you conceive of going through the eternities putting up with horse feather jokes about your inability to hit the center of the target after having practiced all afternoon? Now, on top of being dead, he’ll have to worry about some anti-gun legislation being named in honor of his thoughtless act.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father’s Day 2009

I spent some of the afternoon after church standing with the garden hose in the front yard trying to keep the bushes and grass alive; over a month now with no rain to speak of. There was a small rain shower just north of us this evening; but it didn’t even show up on the radar.

Lucy got me a nice Cross pen and pencil set along with Mark Levin’s book, Liberty and Tyranny; the same book I got for my Dad. We had dinner with Jennifer, Justin and the grandkids at a local Mexican food place up on 1960 where we gave Justin his Cross pen and pencil set; his was cobalt blue whereas mine is platinum colored.

I also was given two DVD’s; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Gran Torino; those will be for later in the week when I have some time to enjoy them. Bonnie called to wish me a Happy Father’s Day and William and Abby brought by a neat package of sliced fruit with a baseball ceramic piece that I can put loose change in later on. The chocolate covered strawberries never made it past the first inning, the rest will become breakfast as I plucked them off and put them into a zip lock bag and placed them in the refrigerator.

William mentioned how he would like to have the WWII rifle from my closet to mount on the wall of his apartment, a memento my father brought back from his service in the Navy. Dad was to be part of the invasion force sent to Japan had they not surrendered after having the living daylights kicked out of them in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the power of the atomic bomb.

I hear folks apologize for the use of the atomic bomb, saying we should have avoided the use of such horrible weapons. My own thoughts gravitate in a different direction; had they not brought the proud people of Japan to their knees, my father might not have made it home along with thousands of other American troops. It was war and you do what you have to do to win, something our current crop of leaders might not understand or have the intestinal fortitude to follow through with; but I’d not intended for this to turn political so I’ll leave it at that.

Father’s Day is for everyone; sons, daughters, wives and husbands too. I’m one of the lucky ones; I get to fly out and visit mine next month and tell him I love him. Hope your father is still around so you can wish him well too; if not, remember him for the good he may have done rather than the failings he might have shown.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Found an Interesting Sound

Here’s a tip of the hat to Neal Boortz for posting a short video today on a group called Perpetuum Jazzile . I’d never heard of these musically talented folks before; but ended up spending about an hour listening to their sound after visiting their web site.

This may come off as a bit odd; but the rhythms and feel of their music reminded me of the background music from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they’re on the run and some of the music from the movie August Rush. I was hoping to have another weekend pass from the hospital; statements like that last one won’t help my cause.

Porn Only Bad In China?

I read an AP article on the Foxnews website where Google is working diligently to keep pornography from reaching China . Now, I recognize how the Chinese government has a desire to censor many forms of information in order to limit the freedom of its subjects; but, isn’t pornography bad for everyone, adults and children?

“We have been continually working to deal with pornographic content — and material that is harmful to children — on the Web in China," the statement said.”

Why isn’t Google working to keep pornography off the internet everywhere else? The rest of the world is, after all, part of the same human race; are the Chinese somehow more important? I can just hear the explanations offered at one of their morning meetings down at Google.

“We have 20% of our income associated with the porn industry here in the States; but only 2% in China; is that about right Humphries?”

“Yes, Sir; about 20% of our information searches have to do with pornography; but those figures are misleading. Most of those numbers are from California and the East Coast. The so called “fly over” states don’t seem nearly as interested in porn as they are in wholesome traditional topics.”

“So, you’re saying we need to ramp up our efforts to make porn more available to folks, say in Peking, Oklahoma or Nebraska?”

“I don’t think you understood what those numbers mean, Sir.”

“Humphries, could you be a little more specific; I mean, everyone deserves the same opportunity to become degenerates addicted to porn, don’t they?”

“Sir, these folks don’t want porn entering their homes in any way, shape or form. They don’t want to view it and they don’t want their children viewing it either.”

“What’s wrong with them; aren’t they Americans? Don’t they appreciate the fact that there’s no censorship here in our country? We can say anything we damn well please without worrying about some do-gooder bleeping out what isn’t proper and prim. We’ve gotten past morality barriers. Personal degradation is a natural right here in America.”

“That reminds me, Sir; your significant other, Charlie, called. He said to tell you that his HIV test came back positive and was wondering if that will affect the adoption proceedings for that cute little Cambodian boy.”

“Such a sweet looking boy; found his picture on our chat room’s bulletin board and we just had to have him for our very own.”

“About that China issue, Sir; I don’t think they give a hoot about threatening them with ACLU lawyers. Wouldn’t it be in our interests to simply close down the porn sites which offend them? We could start by doing away with those side bar advertisements for hot babes in your area, the ones which promise to get you in bed by nine.”

“I told you when we first started doing business with the Chinese how this whole business of pornography and religion was going to be a problem. Isn’t that what I said?”

“Just a moment, Sir, while I review my notes of that meeting… yes, you did say, “Those damn Chinese are almost as bad as the Baptists.”

Yup, just look how much better we are here in America because we can look up any porn site you want and have it instantly fill a room. We’re a regular beacon on a hill for the rest of the world when it comes to freedom of speech.

Cheerios Under Attack

According to a news article on the Foxnews website written by William La Jeunesse, FDA Take Cheerios to Task for Boastful Labels , the popular breakfast cereal isn’t considered a food; instead it’s a drug.

“Based on claims made on your product's label,” the FDA said in a letter to manufacturer General Mills, “we have determined (Cheerios) is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation and treatment of disease.”

We should have seen this coming down the pike when the Obama administration took over the mortgage industry and General Motors. Instead of General Mills it will be Government Meals, your daily ration of swill; mildly nutritional with a little roughage.

“It is showing us that there is a new era,” says dietician and a former advertising executive Ashley Koff. “They are saying, we are coming into town and we are going to show you what will and won't be allowed, and we’re going to be going after every single claim, whether it’s on a package or in TV.”

That takes a lot of Moxie; although most of the present generation wouldn’t have a clue as to where the term Moxie came from. “Moxie” means “guts” or “courage,” that is to say “intestinal fortitude” and “overtness” as in, “He’s got moxie!” I’d have to add, “brass” or “unmitigated gall” to go along with some of the sentiments voiced by others; “It’s cereal for goodness sakes!

“Consumers outside a Los Angeles grocery store were less supportive of a move some called "silly" and heavy-handed.”

As a side note from a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, for the longest time I thought Cheerios might be a form of religious indoctrination for children during the Sacrament meeting. My observations of parents holding little zip-lock baggies of the familiar little “O’s”, handing them out one at a time to their children as a reward for learning various points of basic Mormon doctrine; turned out they were simply doing their best to keep the kids quiet. There’s actually a light hearted book written on the premise; wish I had a link for you, that would have been even better.

“Obama administration goes after Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – Not No Cheerios, Not No More, Not No How!” What else could you expect from a president intent on slipping under the sheets with Islam? I suppose we should give him the benefit of the doubt; perhaps Obama isn’t getting enough fiber; maybe that’s why he’s so full of it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Book of Mormon and Freedom

I wanted to give a tip of the hat to my friend Don Guthrie for posting this video on his Facebook page. I invite you to consider the information contained and, if it hits home, let that determine the truthfulness of it.

The Haberdasher

I posted another short story, The Haberdasher , over at Stern’s Stories; well, to be perfectly honest, it runs a little long. I started writing this one several years ago and for one reason or another couldn’t finish it off; this afternoon the ending came to me. Hope you take a few minutes to check it out and leave a comment here; I closed the comment section to Stern’s Stories after being attacked by computerized spam.

I found this picture of some needle and thread on a clip art page. I’d wanted a picture of an old run down store front, something like I’d imagined in my story; couldn’t find one.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Slow Start Friday

Business has been okay this week, well, maybe not so good today; but the sun’s still up and there’s plenty of time to make a go of it. I’ve walked away from some jobs this week, jobs that would only be a headache.

One of my body shop customers had a Hummer H3 door lock that he wanted me to work on. In the dictionary next to “POS” there’s a long list; near the top of that list is the H3 lock. This is the same lock design used on the Colorado in case you wonder why your factory key sticks and doesn’t turn sometimes.

My daughter is in engineering school learning the math needed to enter that field; what kind of school did the folks who designed the H3 lock go to? After insulting my customer’s lock for a few minutes I handed it to him and explained that he could take it to the Hummer dealership down the road. I went on about how if I worked on it, that it would forever become “my” problem and how I’d rather Hummer be the ones to work on it; thirty five dollars only buys so much.

Yesterday John, another regular customer, called and wanted me to work on an 06 Malibu door lock. He had the ignition key; but it wouldn’t turn in the door lock. This wonderful GM lock uses the “Z” keyway which has a tendency to “hammer” those flimsy little lock wafers as it goes in and out each time you use the key. It doesn’t take much to bend or crack one of the wafers; instant malfunction. A quick review in my head as to what was entailed in taking the lock out of the door, fixing it, putting it back together and justifying any price charged flat out doesn’t make for good business.

I’d originally told my long time customer and friend to take it to GM and let them cover it under any presumed warranty left on that fine automobile. He then begged and pleaded, enough for me to come by. I told him I’d drive over, look at his 06 Malibu lock; THEN I’d insult his lock before letting him take it to GM. Several of the folks who work there have known me for years and we always shake hands and have a good time shooting the breeze about this, that or the other so it was no big deal telling him that his rotten no good 06 Malibu lock wasn’t going to be worked on by me.

Going back to the dictionary where “POS” has its list; the “Z” keyway locks are just a tad lower down from the H3 style locks. I was reminded of something from years back when I was on patrol with HPD and shared it with John and friends.

While driving my blue and white city ride I would stop by and visit a mechanic who used to do small electronic repairs on the side, radios and car stereos. Somebody brought him a unit to work on and I’ll never forget how he handled it.

“I don’t work on That particular brand; but there is a company, down the street, where you might take it.” There was a large blue rectangular box at the end of the block, “You put it in that box and once a week they come by to collect”, he’d pointed to the BFI dumpster next to the Stop & Go store and let out a deep belly laugh while the potential customer’s smile turned to anger for the insult.

I made keys for an old “beater” at one of my hole in the wall car lots one time many years back. While filling out the temporary key tag, where it asks for Year, Make, Model and, under where it asks for Color; I wrote, “BFI Blue”, to indicate the potential use for such a POS. My humor, something of a question mark at times, get’s me through days like today.

My cell phone rang in the middle of our joking about that fine lock that wasn’t going to be worked on. My friend John, the one who’d called me to begin with said, “You need to answer that; might be a Real Customer.” They all laughed as I went into my “answer the phone mode” of being serious. I looked at the caller ID and recognized one of my larger car dealership’s number on the information screen.

“Good afternoon, T. F. Stern & Company, locksmiths; is this a Real Customer?” I gave a quick glance to my friends as they were falling out of their chairs laughing. Turns out it was a Real job; they’d lost a set of keys to an 03 Ranger and needed them right away.

One of the many and varied telephones in our house rang a while ago and it took a moment to figure out which phone was ringing. Lucy had a couple of her friends over to do some canning and with the extra cell phones it was almost comical.

Back when I was a young police officer we were advised to be suspicious of folks with extra phones in their houses because there was a good chance of some sort of illegal activity going on; bookies needed extra lines to do their business whereas most regular folks would only have the one line, two at the most. The red flags for alerting Vice Division were the extra phones that only the criminal element would have.

Let’s see; there’s the line for my business, the dedicated fax line, the home phone which Lucy uses, my cell phone and lastly there’s Lucy’s cell phone. Interesting how a couple of decades changes the way things appear, normal or otherwise.

One of my neighbors stopped by yesterday evening while I was watering what’s left of my sun baked yard. I wave at everyone who passes by; part of a be neighborly approach to life. I didn’t really know this fellow; all the same he wanted to say howdy and leave his condolences for the loss of my next door neighbor who died last month from a severe heart attack. We talked about common interests, how long we’d been working, how long we’d lived in the neighborhood or where we went to church.

As he left he was looking at my business card and said, “Well, I’ll keep you in my prayers; but I won’t pray for my friends to lose a house key.” He laughed a light hearted laugh for having wished harm on anyone, even if only a joke.

“Oh, no; not house keys, I only work on cars and trucks.” I smiled back and had some fun. Maybe I need to call him on the phone; his business card is in my file now, get him to start praying for the loss of a car key; it’s been a slow start for a Friday.

Stimulus Analogy

I got this from my friend Richard Sutton and thought it would be fun to share. I have no idea who to give credit for the original piece; all the same, Thank You for clarifying the Stimulus Package.

It is the month of August on the shores of the Black Sea. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. It is tough times, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

Suddenly, a rich tourist comes to town.

He enters the only hotel, lays a 100 Euro note on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.

The Butcher takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.

The pig grower takes the 100 Euro note, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 Euro note and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute that in these hard times, gave her "services" on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel, and pays off her debt with the 100 Euro note to the hotel proprietor to pay for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 Euro note back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, and takes his 100 Euro note, after saying that he did not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now without debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism..

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is doing business today.

Hate Crimes - Don’t Step in It

It didn’t take long for the topic of hate crimes to jump into the spotlight following the murder which happened at the Holocaust Museum.
I’m one of those conservative “stick in the mud thinkers” who believe charging a person with murder is sufficient; but for some, to make sure everyone knows it was a very bad thing to do, there is the need to add that most horrible of all crimes as a sure ticket to hell, hate crime. In the words of a friend who used to sell furniture at the same place my dad worked, “What a crock!”.

Sure enough, in a commentary on CNN’s website, Ruben Navarrette Jr., had a piece on hate crimes full of racial overtones.

“My view is that hate crimes deserve special punishment because they don't just victimize whoever they're aimed at; they're intended to send a message, and they terrorize the whole society.”

That pretty much covers “feel good legislation” that has no business becoming law; that word “intended” holds so much interpretation as to make it limitless. Hate crime by definition requires a giant leap of assumption, going past an action which is already listed as criminal and prosecutable. To include hate in “beyond a reasonable doubt” category places an enormous burden of proof on things which are speculative at best. Why not keep it simple and rely on laws which already serve to bring criminals to justice? Stop spreading manure on the steps of the court house simply to impress everyone with how much better we feel now that we got some hateful person off the streets.

The use of adding Hate Crime to an already despicable crime such as murder sanitizes the crime of murder to a certain degree. Those “other murders” where some insignificant White person with no particular ethnic origin was exterminated from society must have been done with careless abandon rather than the ones which require hate such as, the ones in which a Latino, a Jew or an African-American were singled out because they were a part of a minority race or ethnic group. Those other murders must not be as heinous because they don’t qualify for that added Hate Crime enhancement. This whole Hate Crime nonsense is nothing more than sanctioned racism.

Now we can find him guilty of murder and send him to prison for life, let him out on the streets after a few years to show we are compassionate humans; but no, he had the hate crime star on his conviction so he will have to serve his full sentence? Yea, right! This is all pure BS!

You want to fix the system, just a little? Go read about the young “alleged” career criminals up in Philadelphia who ran over and killed a mother and three children while escaping after a robbery . You want to fix the system; just a little, then put criminals behind bars and keep them there long enough to make a difference.

I guess I must be hateful for wanting to keep convicted criminals off the street; add me to the list of folks needing constant surveillance, one of the whacko conservatives who might go “postal” while visiting the Monet Exhibit simply because I might not appreciate impressionism. I’m all for enforcement of criminal laws; as for Hate Crimes, don’t step in it.

“The driver of the car, Donta Cradock, and the man who fled on the motorcycle, Ivan Rodriguez, have been charged with murder, armed robbery, assault and related offenses, police said.

Cradock, 18, and Rodriguez, 20, have long criminal records and already had bench warrants out for their arrests, but police said it wasn't immediately clear for what offenses. Cradock has eight prior arrests on charges including assault, burglary and weapon possession; Rodriguez has five prior arrests on charges including car theft and criminal mischief.”

These career criminals shouldn’t have been on the street. The story didn’t specify that these fine fellows had been convicted of assault, burglary, weapon possession, criminal mischief and auto theft; however, and this makes me wonder, no mention was made that those crimes were “alleged”. Any one of those major crimes mentioned should have made for a lengthy prison sentence, not so much to “rehabilitate” the criminal; no, to keep that scum off the streets and make society a better place to live.
Image is Claude Monet’s Woman with Parasol.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God Given Rights vs Progressive Relativism

I happened to catch a bit of the Glenn Beck radio show the other day when he was interviewing Matthew Spalding, author of the book, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future . A simple statement he said rang true with me, something which serves as a common thread in my blogs, A Line Drawn in the Sand , which also linked directly to another article I’d written, Author of Liberty ; nice to have a little validation.

“The whole notion of limited government depends upon us having rights granted to us by God that we each possess. If there is no moral truth behind that, there is nothing that limits government. That's what progressivism means. What they said very clearly because they went over and studied with these really bad German philosophers and they came back and they had discovered the new truth that there was no permanent enduring timeless truth, no self evident truths as it says in the declaration. Carl Becker, one of the great historians wrote to ask whether the declaration is true or not is a meaningless question. They are relativists at their core. All truths are merely relative to one another. You like ice cream, I like eating small children, all right? It doesn't matter. Once you've accepted that philosophical assumption, there are no limits on government, the Constitution is living, the president can do whatever he wants. None of this matters.”

Compare that with what I wrote back on July 23, 2005:

“…When the citizens of a once noble society, one in which our Creator was revered and honored, now refrain from giving Him their respect and obedience; instead insist that their government is the provider of liberty and the provider of freedom, then it becomes only a matter of time when that society will become debased and unworthy of the blessings of that Creator who once they counted on for those liberties and freedoms.”

…or something else I’d written:

“…If we are then to use the word inherent within the context of any discussion of rights then it must first be expressed somewhere, “From whom are we to inherit?” Who is it that has the ability to create such characteristics and to have the power necessary to propagate characteristics? Maybe I should restructure the question; In who’s image are we created after, that we might be heirs?
It is my opinion, rather than contention since contention seems to abound, that to ignore the source of any inheritance is to abandon the right to inherit altogether. If a person was invited to the reading of a will for the purpose of receiving a portion of an estate, then it follows that he would, by virtue of his attending that reading, acknowledge the origin of any and all benefits to be received. In the case of inherent “rights”, does it not seem natural to acknowledge the Author of those rights?”

I went back and read the comment section to my article, A Line Drawn in the Sand. The information generated in that comment section explains much about the lack of understanding and gratitude to our Father in Heaven’s gifts to His children, what we call rights. I recommend taking a few minutes to see what others think about rights, choice and freedom as they stand on their own soap boxes. Our country’s future hangs on the acceptance of this most basic idea, that individual rights come from God.

Flash forward to the present and you will find our nation in serious trouble for a number of reasons; however, at the foundation of all our issues would have to be the marginalization of God being the Author of our Liberty. How else would you explain the total disregard for our Constitutional form of government by elected representatives, a government which provides the necessary safeguards for individual rights which He provided through divinely inspired individuals we refer to as “Founding Fathers”, being thrown in the trash like yesterday’s newspaper?

A Barry McGuire tune from the anti-war era popped into my head as I wrote just now, Eve of Destruction. The frustration of a generation unclear about many basics seemed to flow out of that song; a generation not sure about the righteousness of America’s interests in Viet Nam, America’s being founded on Christian principles, America’s societal issues as pertain to race relations all came to the surface in a very negative statement against the current leadership. “Take a look around ya’, boy…It’s bound to scare ya’, boy…”

The anti-war movement generation got older, I was tempted to say they grew up; but that implies reaching levels of wisdom and maturity. Many of these folks have been elected to lead in Washington; wanting to “change” everything they thought was wrong. The way they talk and vote you’d think the whole premise of America was wrong and needed to be changed. This whole idea of America being tied in with God, that’s gotta go!

Of all the issues that bothers the Progressives, the idea that God gave individuals rights keeps them from moving forward toward their idea of Utopia, a place where the State provides everything equally to those in need. If they could just get past that sticking point they could do anything they wanted because then government in all its glory would determine what’s best, not the individual. These folks would have us believe that the America we live in has “living documents”, just pieces of paper which, while good at one time, mean little today. They deny God as the head of our government at every turn; is it any wonder that they scoff at individual rights?

In their desire to “change” America, the implication that change is always for the better; aren’t we throwing the baby out with the bathwater when the template used to get us this far is now valued so little? We were never promised Utopia here in America, only the promise of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights were put in place to protect individual’s God given rights from government, not to enable the monster our huge federal government has become. To achieve lofty individual goals requires going beyond merely wishing; it requires individual effort and self constraints which fall within the boundaries set up in the commandments the Lord has given to all men.

The leaders of my Church have instructed us to be optimistic in spite of dark clouds which seem to be all around us; to live up to the standards we know to be true. The war in heaven mentioned by John the Revelator, the one in which Satan was cast out of Heaven; that war is still being decided. We have the choice, as part of the agency given to us by our Father in Heaven, to live up to His expectations and be obedient to the commandments or follow the adversary; either way we choose.

This IS Ceti Alpha 5!

Warning: Do not read this to your little children as a bed time story!

I don’t think I’ll bother going to work now that it’s been explained how Earth may collide with one of our sister planets and explode, just like in the Star Trek movie, Wrath of Khan. You remember, they were looking for a planet which could be used for the Genesis Project, a planet devoid of life; “…not even a microbe or the deal’s off.”

There they were on the surface of a wasteland, wind blown sand and scorching heat following a small blip on their hand held tri-corder device when they found the Botany Bay storage units. “Botany Bay! Botany Bay! We must get out of here!”

Too late as they are confronted by the survivors of the abandoned Botany Bay settlement, led by Khan. “I never forget a face; you, I know, Checkov. You, I don’t know.” Khan goes on to explain how Kirk had marooned them on this hell hole of a planet.

“Ad-mear-al Kirk left you on Ceti Alpha 5, a paradise, after you tried to take over his ship,” Checkov reminds Khan of the old television series episode in which Khan and his crew of long living super humans floating through space had been revived by Kirk only to attempt a hostile take over of the ship.

“This IS Ceti Alpha 5!” Khan relates how after Ceti Alpha 6 exploded and tore away the atmosphere leaving the planet barren of nearly all life that Kirk never bothered to check up on them. This is where the squeamish need to cover your ears, just before Khan has those nasty little bugs dropped into the ear.

Anyway, according to scientists who’ve be studying computer generated models of our solar system there’s a 1% chance of similar catastrophic planetary collision in Earth’s future, probably the same reasoned and solid scientific minds who are running around all worried about global warming. No need to get ready for work since it’s all going to be a waste of effort anyway.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Thoughts on D-Day

I’d already watched the History Channel’s presentation of the D-Day invasion earlier in the week; the impact and realization of exactly how costly that moment in time was caused me to appreciate the most basic freedoms I now enjoy, freedoms paid for by the horrors of war. Life is a precious gift to be appreciated; even more so when others give up their lives in order to improve other’s chances to live in the light of freedom rather than oppression.

I caught the tail end of Saving Private Ryan on one of the movie channels yesterday; just as well since that’s the best part of the movie. I hope I live my life in such a way as to justify the sacrifices made by all those young men. I quietly look inward and plead, “Please, tell me I’ve earned the life they’ve given”, just as Private Ryan sought as his wife stood next to him at the grave there in France.

Several years ago I
wrote and posted , “Perhaps Saving Private Ryan explained my tears. I remember the old man standing there in the cemetery with his family on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. All around him were the markers, those young men who had given their lives, their chance to roam this Earth, to have families with children and grandchildren all around them, their chance to enjoy the “good life”. This old man was cognizant of the sacrifices made in his behalf. He knew that he needed to live his life in such a way as to “deserve” the opportunity to live out his life based on his having known these men.”

I’ve thought about the German soldiers who died during the D-Day invasion as well, what they were fighting for. The long and the short of it; Germany was fighting to remain rulers over a conquered people whereas the Allied forces were fighting to set those people free. It really does matter what you’re fighting for; hope your causes are worthy of your efforts.

Photograph Credit: Taxis to Hell – and Back – Into the Jaws of Death is a historic photograph taken on June 6, 1944, by Robert F. Sargent.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Boys of Summer

My buddy Don Guthrie had four tickets to the Astros ball game he couldn’t make and he remembered how much Lucy and I enjoyed going to the park. We shared our good fortune with two friends, Carmen and Chuck, living here under the Witness Protection program; hope they don’t mind mentioning their names.

Lucy took this picture as we entered Minute Maid Park on the Right Field side where they have all manner of photo opportunities for the younger kids. They have a mock dugout bench with cardboard cut outs of notable Astros like Craig Biggio and Carlos Lee.

When I was working as a police officer for HPD one of my extra employment opportunities was at the Astrodome. A couple of times, not very many, I got to sit in the dugout during the game; stepping out onto the playing field in between innings as a security measure. There’s something about baseball that brings out the Boys of Summer.

In case I didn’t say it earlier, Thanks Don! I hope you have to go out of town on business again, soon.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Obama Risks Alienating American Citizenry

I was looking over the morning headlines on FoxNews this morning and one jumped out at me, “With Speech in Egypt, Obama Calculates Risk of Alienating Israel” . “…Obama Calculates Risk of Alienating Israel”, no kidding and how long did it take to figure that out?

You could read the article if you have the time to waste; but one line by Obama sums up the entire article.

“Part of being a good friend is being honest.”

It took me several moments to get past that. Have you never heard the old joke, “How can you tell when a politician is lying?... If his lips are moving; he’s lying!”

When has Obama been honest about anything? I’m still waiting to see that birth certificate, the one that’s been locked away from view. Why would anyone lock away a simple document which could clear the air of any doubt? Part of being a good friend is being honest; yea right, and Obama has some ocean front property he wants to sell you in West Texas.

Obama’s overtures toward Iran and the Middle East reek of the suicidal mentality shown by England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain while discounting the dangers of NAZI Germany, a big smile and a handshake of friendship extended to our good and trusted Muslim friends, friends who would never lie to us.

Obama has passively agreed to their demands regarding nuclear capabilities while stating, “Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations…” Never mind the promise to wipe Israel off the face of the earth; that’s just trash talk, kind of like what is said on the basketball court. “Muslims are our friends, Muslims are our friends, Muslims are our friends; I believe, I believe…Muslims are our friends…”

Obama has only been in office for a short while and yet in that time he has figured out how to destroy the free market system far more efficiently than any previous administration; of course he’s had the help of a Democratic majority to rubber stamp the process. Our government has decided to put the citizenry into debtor’s prison for two generations to come by spending the national treasury on anything and everything rather than admit “We just don’t have the money”.

Our once vibrant “can do” industrial nation is now struggling because we’ve bowed to the all knowing and all powerful EPA. We’ve been instructed to live below our level of potential by the High Priests of Global Climate Change rather than lead the world in productivity and prosperity. Those with capitol to invest are in a quandary because the government is taking ownership of corporate entities and destroying the competitive edge required for growth. We’d rather watch China produce what we could have; but no, it might damage the ozone, the oceans might rise in 80 years.

Our monetary system is on the verge of collapse because the Fed is monetizing the national debt, a national debt that continues to grow in leaps and bounds. For those without a clue, that means we are printing money which has no real value in order to pay off that which we owe. Why should it matter that some general in Korea was printing high quality hundred dollar bills? What’s the big deal, he’s only doing what the Fed is? His hundred dollar bills are just as worthless as ours.

Empathy, it would seem, is more important than the rule of law. Czars are being churned out to manipulate the every day workings of government, or better stated, what once was a government for the people by the people is now a government which rules over the people. The American dictionary will have to erase the word “citizen” and replace it with “subject of the state”.

Come to think of it, Obama isn’t risking anything; he really doesn’t care what happens to America as long as he gets to pull the strings. There is no risk, really. The coup of all times has been pulled off without a shot being fired. The America referred to in the Declaration of Independence died when the citizenry permitted thieves and robbers to take over Congress and the Presidency.

I don’t think Obama is smart enough to have pulled this massive overthrow off on his own; who, I have to ask, is pulling Obama’s strings? I’m not smart enough; you tell me.