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Archive for September, 2013

America is petrified of home grown terrorists, correct?

We appear to believe that these home grown terrorists will attempt to set off bombs in Times Square in New York or use something like Sarin gas in our subways, correct?

American’s believe that these home grown terrorists will poison our water supply, the feed for our animals, and commit openly heinous crimes that will cause great death in human terms and destroy our infrastructure, right?

Allow me to postulate another scenario: What if these home grown terrorists had been planted in the United States decades ago? What if their parents were the original sleepers and raised their children to infiltrate various groups in the United States? What if they eventually infiltrated a single political party that already had a somewhat dubious reputation and whose sole goal appeared to be repression of those not in positions of power and to abet the rich and shameless who, other than knowing how to make money off the backs of others were unequivocally stupid in the ways of the real world?

Let’s give these home grown terrorists a group name, shall we? Let’s call them the Tea Party. That’s right; I’m openly calling the members of the Tea Party home grown terrorists. The founders of the Tea Party state, “Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation.” To that extent, what have they actually done? The answer is that they have attempted to fulfill this so-called mission by disruptive, demoralizing, and devastating the two-party system of government in the United States which has, over two and a quarter centuries, brought this nation to a leadership position in the world more rapidly than has ever been achieved by any civilized nation in the world.

Think about what has happened since the cowardly attack on the United States since 2001. Although they waited until three years later, when perhaps 20 percent of the shock had worn off, the Tea Party moved in to fill a void and to appeal to the less intelligent about their goals and objectives. Let’s take a few of their core beliefs and examine them. I freely admit that I do not have the capability to examine them to the depth that perhaps they should be, so let me give simplistic explanations.

The first of the Tea Party “Non-negotiable core beliefs” is that “Illegal aliens are here illegally.” Well, duh, that makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, except it doesn’t say anything about what should be done. Illegal aliens are here illegally because the jobs they are willing to take are jobs that the average American citizen won’t touch because they are hard, back-breaking labor, without which, you and I would probably (a) not have vegetables on our tables or (b) the cost of our vegetables would be so high that we couldn’t afford to put them on our table. Americans are funny; they want a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. Illegals just want ‘some’ money that they can send back to wherever it was they came from, ie, countries that are not fully developed or that inhibit that development in order that the government can keep them under said government’s thumb. While the Tea Party’s non-negotiable core belief is that illegal aliens are here illegally, I don’t see or read how they would remedy this situation.

“Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.” I can really think of a single way in which we could make this happen in some fields. That would be to repeal all of the Civil Rights legislation that has ever been enacted and to bring slavery back to the United States. That would certainly ensure domestic tranquility. Can you say, “Uncivil War,” or “Race War,” or any one of a hundred wars occurring in every city, town, village, and hamlet in all 50 states? This sounds to me like a guarantee of work for every American citizen, whether naturalized or born here, but what kind of job will this be? Tell me how you’re going to do it and don’t just toss out these blanket statements.

“A strong military is essential.” We have a strong military; we have a strong volunteer military. We have a military that, in terms of its equipment and training, is probably ten times stronger than any other military in the world. Some have even argued that our military is almost too strong and that because of its strength, it is called on to be the world’s policeman. Is that what America really wants, to be known as the world’s policeman? Isn’t that something like empire-building, because whenever we step in to help somewhere, it seems that we always have to leave troops behind? I’m not talking about the men and women we bury on foreign soil, and God knows there have been too many of them. I’m talking about the ones along the DMZ in Korea, the troops in Vietnam, Germany, Iraq, and other spots around the world. I’m also talking about how sick and tired America’s moms and dads are of changing that blue star flag in the window to a gold star.

“Special interests must be eliminated.” This is a gutsy core belief. I congratulate the Tea Party for putting it on their list…when I can finally stop laughing. The sophistication of special interest groups to influence every member of every party, both in power and out, is so great as to be a government unto it or themselves. I have no idea which egomaniacal son-of-a-bitch thought this one up, but if we haven’t been able to do it over the past two centuries, it’s not going to happen when the new kids on the block tell the special interest groups they’re no longer welcome. Telling the farm lobby, pharmaceutical lobbyists, bankers, tobacconists, and automakers to get out of Dodge is just likely to get you unelected really quickly.

“Gun ownership is sacred.” No, it’s not sacred. The Second Amendment of the Constitution provides “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It says nothing about owning a gun being sacred. As a matter of fact, it could be interpreted as saying that anyone who owns a gun is, de facto, a member of the Militia, ie, military, and is subject to being called to active duty at any time so long as he or she owns that or a gun. “Because you are a registered gun owner, we’re going to put you through eight weeks of basic training and then we’re sending you into the hills of Afghanistan. You will receive shit for pay and eat MRE’s every day. You will sleep on some of the coldest friggin’ ground upon which you have ever slept. You will get fired upon on a regular basis and if you aren’t alert, you will be killed. How’d ya like them apples?”

We will examine several more of the Tea Party “non-negotiable core beliefs in future essays. When all is said and done, however, I believe you will begin to question whether or not our own home grown terrorists are merely masquerading as members of a third political party.

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It took me a little while but I finally figured out that the majority of people under the age of 25 who own automobiles are idiots! No, no, no…not you and not her, but that other her, she’s a blithering, drooling, semi-trainable asshole! They just nailed another one in New Hampshire who hit a child. She was “under the influence,” whatever that happens to mean in this case. Anyway, they list her age as 25. If you had asked me from looking at her picture, I would have said, “45, ridden hard, and put away wet.” Man, did she look used, abused, and totally confused.

We seem to have a lot of car killers going around in New England lately. One woman, also in New Hampshire, had been stopped for speeding eight hours before she plowed into a group of riders doing their thing for charity. She killed two and injured three others. Here’s the kicker: On that first stop, she was found to be driving without a license…in a car borrowed from a friend…who loaned her the car again, and this time she killed the two cyclists. The police say that not having a license is not an arrestable offense. Shouldn’t it at least be impound the car and call for someone with a license to come and pick you up? To this day, I don’t know if it was a case of not having a license; whether or not she had one and it had been suspended; why did her friend loan her the car the second time; and finally, don’t the politicians in New Hampshire think it’s about time to take another look at the laws governing drivers in the state?

Cars are not toys. Yes, it’s true; most of them are made of crap these days. My late wife had a 1936 Buick that she swore was capable of plowing through saplings four inches in diameter and brought certain destruction to roadside mailboxes. This, of course, was in her wilder, single college days and the car had originally belonged to her mother. I’m quite certain that when it was given to her by her mother, there wasn’t a dent or scratch. Anna, her mother, was approximately four feet, eight inches tall, and never allowed the speedometer to pass 25.

Today’s cars are made of aluminum foil and plastic. They don’t hold up to well against saplings and fair even worse when it comes to mailboxes. Several years ago, I was run off the road and had to have some body work done on my ’99 Toyota. The fellow at the body shop is the one who told me about the aluminum foil. After he’d removed the rear quarter panel, he demonstrated what he meant by tearing a part of the panel by hand. He then invited me to try; if was frightening to feel the ease with which I could rend this piece of ‘tinfoil.’

What I really don’t understand is what makes people believe that they are safe behind the wheel. Safe to have their music blasting as loud as possible; safe to be talking on the telephone while driving through parking lots with no regard for other cars that might be leaving their parking spots; safe to totally disregard people walking in crosswalks…people can also make a hell of a dent in your car and smash your windows if you hit them hard enough! It’s almost as though they regard their car as a tank. They are not tanks. SUV’s are not tanks. They are not heavily armored. Most important of all, cars are not toys. They require sensible driving, not senseless aiming. They require people to handle them with the same amount of care with which you would handle a loaded weapon.

Recently, I was talking with a young neighbor who is also on the race car circuit.  “It’s not me I’m worried about when I’m on the track,” he told me, “but you have to keep your eye on your four mirrors for the idiots who are behind and beside you because you never know how they may try to get you off the track. That’s how I’m beginning to feel about neighborhood driving or driving on major highways. I was returning from a doctor’s appointment earlier this week and was on a highway where the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour. I decided to conduct an experiment to see if I could set the cruise control at 65 and remain in the right lane all the way home. I did not pass one car and drew several dirty looks as drivers passed me. This is a four-lane highway…on either side. I tried to guess how fast those in the left lane were moving. My guesstimate was somewhere between 80 to 85…and no one slowed down through construction zones where the speed was supposed to drop to 45. I love the sign, “Speeding fines are doubled in construction zones.” The zone was crowded with State Police cars, blue lights flashing, and no one seemed to give a damn.  Two radar guns and some speed traps up the hill and Massachusetts wouldn’t have had to worry about a budget shortfall ever again!

At least twice a week, our local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates show cars wrapped around trees, cut in half by a collision with another car, bark shorn from trees by cars whose drivers thought they had everything under control.  Yet, no one seems to learn. Either they don’t watch the news or they believe themselves to be invincible and immortal, and it just ain’t so.

Here me on this one: The minute you climb behind the wheel, you are in a war zone. At 45 mph, you’re driving a car; at 65 mph, you’re steering a car; at anything over 75, you’re aiming a car. And when you’re aiming, control is no longer in your hands. In addition, if you drink or do drugs or text and drive, you might as well have a gun in your hand and be playing Russian roulette, because it’s not a matter of ‘if’ your accident is going to happen; it’s merely a question of ‘when’ it’s going to happen.

Cars are not toys. More and more, they appear to be weapons of destruction, driven by those who know, without question, that rules don’t apply to them…but they always apply to the other guy…who believes exactly the same thing!

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I live on a fixed income. What that means is that I have gone from being part of the…well, to be blunt, part of the upper middle class to the very top of the poor class. Yep, it can happen that fast. I retired fifteen years ago and felt pretty damned good about where I was heading. Okay so a good part of the pension depended on the way in which the market went, but there was also a part that was reasonably solid. Things were good; they’re not at all that good right now. What happened to the economy and, conversely, what happened to the cost of living have created a whole new life. The economy appears to be recovering slowly; unfortunately, the cost of living seems to be rising a bit more rapidly.

We used to clip coupons if we saw a great deal in a food store or if Macy’s was having a “spectacular one day sale,” and we wanted whatever was on sale. “Wanted” is a word I don’t use anymore; today, that word is “need;” do I really have to have it? If I buy this today, what will I have to give up? These are questions to which I really never paid attention. Today, I pay very strict attention.

In Thursday’s paper, there was an insert from our local grocery store which read, “Giant meat sale; five for $25.” Included in that sale were pork tenderloins. I happen to like “the other white meat,” and perhaps the Chick-Fil-A ads are getting to me, but early Friday morning, I was one of the first in the store, making a bee-line for the meat case where those tenderloins were ready for the plucking. Of course, going to a grocery market for one thing is asinine so I did buy a few more items. After unpacking my forty-one dollars and thirty-seven cents worth of groceries, I took a quick glance at the register tape. Try this on your bippy…I saved more money than I spent! That’s not true of course, but my savings were $41.81. I saved a whole forty-four cents! That just doesn’t happen to me.

I don’t know anyone in the retired category who doesn’t print or cut coupons. If you live on a fixed income, it’s mandatory to do so. Between Coupon Suzy and all of the other sites on the Internet, plus reading the weekly newspaper inserts carefully, it’s almost possible to live otherwise if you’re living on a fixed income.

Do I know people worse off than I? Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. It’s one of the reasons we grow vegetables and give them away. I have a friend whose wife has dementia. He was caught in the recession and lost his job at 59. It’s tough to find a job when you’re that age. He and she will be okay, but they certainly won’t be living as they once did.

This is a wonderful country in which you and I live. We are free to travel through 49 states without travel documents. Hell, we even free to go to our 50th state if we can afford it. The shelves in our stores are well-stocked and there are fast food restaurants on damn near every corner. We’re not told how many children we can have or for which political candidates to vote. There aren’t soldiers on every corner with a weapon slung over their shoulders. You and I are free. Ours may not quite match the freedom of a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet, but then again, who is to say that they don’t have problems that you and I aren’t experiencing. Does that sound ludicrous? It really isn’t.

My point is that while I may not be able to live as I once lived, I’m alive, happy, and received a couple of good medical reports this week. Hell, what more could one ask…saving forty-five cents at the market maybe?

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True or False…This is the most ineffective group of Senators and Congressmen in the history of the United States of America.

It appears that 75 percent of the Americans think that this group of men and women certainly rank right up there with the very worst. Not since June 2013 has a Congress been so mistrusted. They are on target for the fewest bills ever sent to a President since the time when records were kept. They passed the Affordable Care Act and have since tried over 40 ways to repeal it while other important pieces of legislation have been sitting in committee. Republican Ted Cruz of Texas made an absolute ass of himself and drew the ire of fellow Republicans for his 21-hour faux filibuster against funding the Affordable Care Act. Cruz then turned around and criticized members of his own party for a “defeatist attitudes.”

During my working years, I admit that I was not as involved in the political process of our community, state, or country. Looking back, I think that I’m probably just as well off not having done so; however, I now see why some of my more politically active friends became as fanatical as they were.  I believe it was Ronald Reagan who said “It’s been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.” Ii is my contention that nothing could be closer to the truth, particularly with the members of the 112th Congress. As Harry Truman put it [on more than one occasion], “My choice early in life was either to become a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference. I, for one, believe the piano playing job to be much more honorable than current politicians.” This current crop of whores, pimps, and con men make the “Do-Nothing-Congress” of Truman’s time look like a hard-working bunch of public servants. If one were to write a television script for a dysfunctional government and use this as a model, producers would laugh the plot out of any office as being too implausible. The problem, as we are seeing first hand, is that not only is it plausible, it’s starring in its own form of TV comedy every night…we call it the evening news.

Washington political actions are an embarrassment to America. The question of whether to attack Syria had Congressmen and Senators waived sheaves of papers over their heads, screaming that their constituents didn’t want America to become involved in another war. That was the first time that I had ever heard this group blaming their constituents. They didn’t even have the courage to say, “No, Mr. President, we, the legislative body, strongly advise you not to go to war.” Many were pleased, I’m quite certain, because it appeared that Obama was backing down from that line in the sand, and anything that made the President look bad was a good thing for his opponents.

This Congress is so dysfunctional that they wouldn’t know how to cross the aisle if they were given a guide dog a white can, and a pair of sunglasses. In elementary schools today, conflict negotiation is taught to resolve problems between disagreeing parties. Really, how sad is it that peer negotiation isn’t a compulsory workshop for Congressmen and Senators every two or four years. Party politics has no place in the political process today. Ours is a fractured nation and we are demonstrating that to our allies and our enemies on a daily basis…and that, my friends, is an exceedingly dangerous position in which to be.

Ezra Klein is a writer for the Washington Post. A little over a year ago, he published a list of 14 reasons why the 112th Congress is the worst ever. With all due respect to Mr. Klein, his list made me want to vomit…not because of any inaccuracies, but quite the contrary. He was so on target and so concise in his reasoning that seen in this light, it made  two things clear all over again: (1) The American people don’t really give a damn about who represents them, and; (2) the people who are supposed to be representing the American people don’t really give a damn about them or THIS COUNTRY! They are a greedy bunch of naïve spoiled children who are playing at being politicians.

Here are a few of Klein’s observations:

  • ·        The Congress is not passing laws – To date, 219 bills have been signed into law. That is the most abysmal record since Bill Clinton had to face Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolutionaries. Even then, 333 bills made their way to the President’s desk.
  • ·        Unpopularity – This Congress ranks just above Fidel Castro in terms of popularity. They are less popular than British Petroleum at the time of the major oil spell. They rank below Banks in 2011, Nixon during the Watergate Investigation and Paris Hilton in 2005. Now if that ain’t below the scrapings on the bottom of the barrel, I’m not certain what is.
  • ·        “They are incredibly polarized” – There was a time when Congressmen and women would listen to both sides of an argument and might cross the aisle to vote with the opposite party. You do that today and you will be ostracized from your party immediately. Instead of “my country right or wrong,” it has become “my party…never wrong.”
  • ·        Congress has delayed economic recovery – At a time when the nation had begun its recovery, adding jobs month by month, the Republicans began a pissing contest over the debt ceiling. Business, seeing this, slowed down and damn near came to a stop in terms of hiring. This, as much as anything, has served to delay economic growth and recovery.

I invite you to locate Mr. Klein’s list of 14 reasons this Congress is the worst ever. It’s well worth the read. As for me, I just weep for America. We have allowed people with no interest in us to rule us. The next time you decide not to vote, take a second and think just how badly you are getting screwed by the crowd that now “works” {???] on Capitol Hill.

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Two of the day-long workshops that I used to teach were Domestic Violence and Bullying. Both were quite popular, and while they were far from being ‘fun’ days, it was nice to at least believe the audiences left with a better understanding of what they could do to help prevent both from happening in their community. It also taught them that like the drug war that law enforcement faces on a daily basis, we will never wipe out either of these things. Someone is battered every 15 seconds in the United States of America. You think we’re going to stop that, let me tell you about the tooth fairy. How about the occurrence of bullying? During the course of a school year, it’s estimated that a child is bullied about every seven minutes. I don’t care how many courses or penalties or workshops or whatever, you cannot stop this phenomenon. The only thing that you and I can do is work toward the prevention of these forms of cruelty.

October seventh is “Stand Up To Bullying” day. It’s a day when, particularly in Southern Florida – don’t ask me why; I don’t have a clue – everyone is supposed to wear his or her blue shirt. The little kids who are wearing them will get punched out by the bigger kids who don’t give a damn and who will be bullies until somebody comes along, kicks the crap out of them and tells them to stop bullying younger kids…or the next time it will be worse! Get one thing straight…you cannot reason with someone who is a bully, particularly if he or she is a young child. You have a ball that I want and if you won’t give it to me, I will take it because I’m bigger than you are and I can knock you down. Six and seven year old kids don’t understand peer negation behavior, and if they get away with the bullying behavior, they will continue to use it to get what they want. There are people who go through life as bullies; they bully in the workplace and when they are called on their bad behavior, they either back off temporarily or they move on to a job where they can get away with it. Management by intimidation is not a myth, and that is a form of bullying.

I went off on a tangent in that preceding paragraph and I really didn’t mean to do so; it’s just that old habits die hard, and both of those topics really raise my blood pressure. By the way, October ninth is Domestic Violence day. They probably have a shirt for that, too, but I haven’t seen them on sale yet. It’s no laughing matter, and I shouldn’t make light of a situation that is just so repugnant to me, but it seems that the American way is to designate a day, week, or month to some cause or other. Many of these celebratory – if that’s what one wishes to call them – days are no cause for celebration at all. They are ongoing and bad things that we should be trying, with everything we’ve got, to eradicate them.

Depending on the calendar to which you adhere, October is Fair Trade, Pizza, Computer Learning, National Roller Skating, International Dinosaur, Hunger Awareness, and several other celebratory months. Personally, I look at October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is one of the cancers that contributed to the death of my wife so it makes October a pretty easy month for me to be more aware of that @#$%&* disease.

It seems that every day of the year has some kind of recognition. For example, my birthday, September 1st, is also Emma M. Nutt Day. ..don’t laugh. While Emma may have gone the way of the dinosaur because of technology, she was the world’s first telephone operator…sort of a patron saint of those switchboard wonders of yesteryear. It’s also Calendar Adjustment Day, and I don’t have a freakin’ clue what that is. As I was growing up, my parents seemed to take great delight in letting me know that on my fifth birthday, Hitler invaded Poland. Somehow, I never thought of that as being something of an accomplishment…although I have mentioned it to a few grandchildren as they were celebrating their fifth. They invariably let me know my age by responding, “What’s a Hitler?” Lovely little shits! September is also Chicken Month which could, in part, explain why I never became a boxer or a football player in the NFL, although I believe it actually means we are celebrating that fine bird that can be eaten in so many ways. If we begin the month with Emma Nutt, we end it with National Mudpack day. “Make yourself beautiful for Mud Pack Day by plastering your face and skin with (safe, ‘clean’) mud! Keep your skin supple, your pores clear and your face looking youthful and clean – just don’t forget to wipe the mud off!” Thus endeth the month of September.

You and I are living in a time when there is too little humor in our lives. Between the gun violence that is taking place not only in our country but throughout the world, the fear of our own government having to shut down, a staggering national debt for which there really is no cure, unemployment, and an economy that is moving ahead at what seems a snail’s pace, it seems easier to walk around with a grimace rather than a grin. Hey, don’t take life too seriously; what the hell, you ain’t gonna get out of it alive!

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Say What?

Probably every small town in the United States has a weekly newspaper. I’ll even bet that some of them are well edited. Our hometown weekly arrived recently and after reading that the Council on Aging will no longer be doing waxing, my eyes skipped over to the story about the reopening of the local thrift shop. All was going well until I read that “all the proceeds [will be] going to the Massachusetts Society for the Preservation of Cruelty to Children.” Now that’s progressive thinking. If you don’t think you’re being cruel enough to your kid, they have a society to help you do it; man, I can hardly wait to get to the thrift shop to support the MSPCC! Sure it’s a misprint, but it’s a beauty.

I decided to do a bit of research on the topic of newspaper misprints, and it wasn’t long before I came across some that are dynamite. One headline that immediately caught my eye was an Associated Press story out of Boston: “Study Shows Frequent Sex Increases Pregnancy Chances,” read the headline. Another intelligent headline noted, “Pregnant Girls are Vulnerable to Weight Gain.” My first reaction to these two headlines was, “No shit Sherlock; do ya think?” I found that the Huffington Post had already beaten me to the punch with their 25 Most Obvious Headlines, some of which I’ll share with you.

“Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison.” Oh damn, and we were planning on having Decon burgers tonight. I guess we can’t even have Roundup on the mashed potatoes…ah, such is life, at least if we obey the folks at the UPCC. Otherwise, we might wind up laying next to Brigham Young.

I don’t know where the Express Times is located, but their headline writer sure had a sense of humor when he wrote, “Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police.” Good Lord, I should hope not. Can’t you just picture this scene…It’s a dark and stormy night [of course it is]; blue and red lights bounce off the puddles in the street from the cop cars that have shown up. On the sidewalk is a body with six shots in the head. A guy in a trench coat walks up to a soaked beat cop and asks, “Okay, Smitty, what the hell happened here. From the sidewalk comes a voice, “What the hell are you asking him for; I’m the one with six slugs in my skull”…both cops drop dead from heart attacks! The stories one could create and relate around that headline are the stuff of a comedian’s delight.

Since we are still in the process of an economic recovery, following the worst recession in decades, you should be aware that, “Jobs remain the best insurance against unemployment.” Certainly makes sense to me. Google that headline and you get 33 million hits, not one of which appears to see the irony in what is written…re-freaking-markable! Not surprisingly, once I put the headline in quotes, no results appeared; however, I did get 47 million hits this time. Yikes, maybe Google also has some problems.

“Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop: Find Weapons” read the headline in one daily newspaper. “So, you was expecting to find a counter filled with Hebrew National hot dogs?” Now this happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma where, I’m quite certain, there are any numbers of gun shops to be found. It should be noted that the federal agents also found, in a gun shop, mind you, land mines, hand grenades, dynamite, and other explosive devices.  I’m thinking that maybe they should have raided the local newspaper office and arrested the headline writer for being so damned dumb!

Veronica Bosman, a staff writer for the World Herald – don’t have a clue where it is –began her article by writing, “If you can’t control yourself, please don’t swim.” And the headline for this great lead: “Health Officials: Pools, Diarrhea not a good mix.” If you ask me, that’s a pretty shitty way for the people of Omaha, Nebraska to treat their neighbors. We used to tell the kids that if they peed in the pool the water around them would turn purple. What do you tell someone with loose bowels? “Well, I lost the race because I ran into a pile of shit,” is not really an excuse that most coaches will swallow.

Now here’s an intelligent headline, “Winter is the only time to go ice fishing.” Uh duh, do ya think? It’s a bitch trying to cut a hole in the water on a warm summer’s day; the damn thing keeps filling up. I wonder if the people who thought that headline to be informative are the same folks who would take this one to heart: “Putting urine in your ears not recommended to treat sinus infections.” They might also be interested in the story that follows this headline: Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.” You betcha!

Finally, an Associated Press story led with this headline that ought to leave you chuckling; “Missipp’s Literacy Program Shows Improvement.” Maybe we should enroll this headline writer.

There are tons of laughs if you’ll just take the time to search, and don’t forget to send your contributions to the Massachusetts Society for the Preservation of Cruelty to Children.

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If this little essay doesn’t cause some controversy, nothing I write ever will.

My question is simply this: Am I missing something or is the news coverage of crimes overly skewed toward African-Americans. Chicago says their murder rate is down, yet every couple of days you see that the Black community in Chicago has been at it again, playing bang, bang, you’re dead. The same is true in Boston, New York, and just about any damned city you wish to choose in the United States. I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I’m personally offended because, with one exception that I know of, my Black friends are great people.

Of the 29 NFL arrests that have happened since the last Super Bowl, the bulk of them have been of Black players. Recently, in the Clemson football game against North Carolina State, a Black Clemson player leveled an NC State Black player with an uppercut that put the State player on the ground. What happens? Oh, he’ll be suspended from next week’s game. Where the hell is the lesson in that?

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report, over 841,000 African-Americans are in jail or prison as compared to 694,000 White inmates. That’s one hell of a majority. ..and it’s sad.

I’ve heard the bullshit that the whites are still keeping the Black man down; that’s what it is. The White man doesn’t really give a damn because he’s out there scratching for a living just like everyone else. These kids in the projects who see the fast money coming in by selling drugs feel they must have a gun to protect their stash or their cash. What happens? They get gunned down by somewhat who wants what they have or they get arrested by the police or they feel cool and try to shoot it out with someone who is just that much better than they are and their blood runs down the street into the storm drain.

Don’t these young people recognize that they can find other ways to get the hell out of the projects, ghettos, if that’s how you wish to refer to them? Do they think that Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, John H. Johnson, Berry Gordy, Adam Clayton Powell, Oprah Winfrey, and names that could fill this page came from well-to-do families? If they do, they are deluding themselves.

Let this old White man reiterate what Bill Cosby said a few years ago.  It’s up to each and every Black male in this country to change the Black culture. You must become much more responsible in your actions; in the manner in which you treat women; in the manner in which your treat one another; in the manner in which you treat your children. The Black men I know are not all college-educated; however, they are all hard-working. One of them has been laid off so many times I’ve lost count. As the building trades shift, so does his job. He’s self-educated about so many trades that the layoffs are becoming fewer and fewer. He has a kid who is attending college out of state, and it’s a bitch for him to keep that kid in school, but he doesn’t give up…and he’s not alone. A Black woman who came to this country from Sierra Leone is not only on the board of one of our public utilities, but she has built a hospital…yes, she has built the place. It’s largely for people of color, staffed by people of color – with a few whites thrown in for good measure – and she came here with nothing.  However, it cannot be done without bootstrapping your way up. It can’t be done as long as men treat women as just another place to drop their seed. It can’t be done if Black men don’t pay attention to their families and cuff their kids upside the head at the first sign they’re going off the straight and narrow.

Admittedly, I’m an old white guy who grew up in a town where there were only two Black families…the Proctors and the Kennedys. I went to school at Northeastern University in Boston. It bordered on the edge of Roxbury which, at that time was the Black part of the City. I drank beer in a bar owned by a Black man and was one of only about three or four white faces in the bar. Of course, the others were all members of the old Boston Patriots football team so I wasn’t worried about getting thrown out on my ass; besides, we had been invited!

Have I any right to talk to Blacks this way? None whatsoever. I have worked with Black people; in fact, my last boss was a Black woman and she was one of the best bosses I ever had…but I don’t know all of the problems facing the Black community. I am ‘white bread’ all the way, and my comments are purely anecdotal and observational. Still, I don’t see too many Black role models standing up and working to improve the lot of their brethren.

What is happening today is exactly what is happening in other parts of the world. Our tribes are fighting. They are fighting against one another and they are fighting against tribes of different colors and different ancestries. Other nations must get a real kick out of seeing Americans doing the same thing that the Shia’s and the Sunni’s. In Darfur, Somalia, and other countries around the world, we expect some of this behavior. We call it uncivilized; we call them underdeveloped; we call them savages and other names to numerous to mention. Oh, how they must be laughing at America, the richest country in the world, and they fight just the way we do…is that what our various communities want. Is that what you, Mr. Black America want? Do you even care what others think of you?

Is there still racism in America? You bet your ass there is, and there always will be because mutual trust cannot be built over five or six centuries. That is but a piss hole in a snow bank in terms of time. Look at the Middle East if you don’t believe me. They have been fighting for over 3,000 years, and they still can’t get it right. America cannot afford to wait that long. We will cease to be a nation unless our salad bowl regresses to being a melting pot once again. I will be dead, cremated, and turned into fish food before Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Russians, Vietnamese, Chinese, and all of the other ethnic enclaves in this country get together, but somewhere there has to be a beginning. I sure hope it starts before my grandkids’ grandkids have to grow up in a garbage dump!

I’ve had my say. How about letting me hear what you have to say?

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