Total Pageviews

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You’ve Got to be Kidding

I used to think that Texas led the nation in wacky and unnecessary laws but we have to step aside for Oklahoma. Oklahoma passed a law banning Sharia law. It's a state where females are forbidden from doing their own hair without being licensed by the state. On a serious note, the Oklahoma Legislature overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto on two anti-abortion bills, one of which gives doctors immunity from being sued if they conceal information about a fetus’s possible birth defects from a pregnant patient. However, state Senator Ralph Shortey introduced a bill banning the use of the human fetuses in food, takes the cake. (No pun intended).

This is the same senator who came in with the 2010 wave of tea party folks, who wrote a bill denying Oklahoma citizenship (what da?) to children of illegal immigrants born in another state. Additionally he submitted a bill that would allow Oklahoma to confiscate homes and cars of illegal immigrants. As if that wasn't enough he also wrote a bill which would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed on an Oklahoma primary ballot. Needless to say, none of those bills became law.

The Oklahoma Republican said that he did his research and was astonished to find that he had become the joke of the nation. I heard about this bill on HBO's Bill Maher, but I had no idea what it was about until I read more about it in today's Houston Chronicle. The senator's research was an article, he saw about reports of a 2010 boycott of the Pepsi Company by the Children of God for Life, an anti- abortion group based in Florida. The boycotters claim that Pepsi Company was in contract with Semomyx, a San Diego firm that the allegedly was using human embryonic stem cells in the testing of artificial flavors. Pepsi and Semomyx, they denied the allegations and the Fed food safety officials had never heard of such a thing.

Senator Ralph Shortey's assistant wrote a couple of paragraphs stating," no person or entity shall manufacturer or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption, which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which use of aborted human fetuses in the research development of any of the ingredients." When pressed, “Are fetuses being chopped up and put in our Doritos? Shortey asked. "No." The senator said he had thick skin and didn't care what people think of him. Obviously! This is just the first leg of the senator’s legislation named SB1418 it still has to go before a committee after some revisions.

These bills are examples of how legislators misuse state and Federal governments. The senator could have made his complaints known to the Federal food safety for them to investigate. The Federal government already has laws on what companies can and can't do with discarded embryos. I don't know whether this is a continuation of a recent appetite for state rights or just another exaggeration from pro-life groups to get sympathy from those who are opposed to government intrusion.

This is another one of those " It depends on what the meaning of is, is" that was uttered by President Bill Clinton when he was quizzed about the Monica Lewinsky affair. What are useless regulations that keep our companies from prospering? Can laws meant to apply to everyone be called government intrusion on the Catholic Church? Obviously, the discussions were led in part to the anniversary of the passage of Roe v Wade, but that doesn't mean we have to lose our sensibility or respect for our fellow human being. I saw where one poster called those that are not in lockstep with a pro-life movement “pro abortion" meaning it's an " either you're with us or against us" proposition for him. I've never seen a compromise come between a mindset like that. Hopefully, we have intelligent people that rise above the hyperbole and work on reducing abortions, while respecting the life and the health of the mother.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When did you drive your first standard?


It's been so long ago that I had to look up the year and model of the car we had back then but then my memory bank started slowly powering up. The year was 1963 and our family car was a 1950 hydraulic shift Dodge. As you can see by the picture, it wasn't exactly a car to woo the girls.Now, picture that car with rusted paint, a few dents and lots of miles. That old car let out so much exhaust fumes that my friends used to call it "The bomb." They forgot about that when they used come over begging me to ask my stepfather if I could use the bomb to go out on the town because their fathers would let them use their family car.

I don't really remember when I got my license but I do remember using my future brother in-in-law's 1962 Chevrolet Impala to take my date to the junior/ senior prom. There was no way that I was going to take the Bomb. I remember my brother in laws’ car was a standard, so the 30 minutes or so of instructions I got from him was enough for me to take it to Victoria High School. I met my date, who had come in from Inez with friends, at the gym but I was supposed to take her home. I've kept trying to get one of my friends to double date with us but they had their own plans. I wanted one of them the drive. All during the prom, I kept wondering how I was going to take her home safely but I damn sure was not going to tell her I didn't know how to drive a standard. After the dance we found the car and she kept telling me how beautiful it was and I did admit it wasn't mine. We didn't get the very far before she asked to pull over and let her drive because as a country girl, she learned how to drive a standard pickup as soon as she could see over the windshield. On the way to her house, she told me all about her driving tractors and working on old cars. I was glad she drove because I remember Inez being pitch dark and her long driveway was not exactly made of smooth concrete. Compound all that with four or five dogs barking, I imagine this young 17 year old would have run into a tree. I'll skip the other details but the next day my brother- in -law asked me " How in the hell did you get the car so muddy and what's with all the grass?" My sister came over and asked him why he was hollering at me and I used that opportunity to slip away.

I didn't really learn how to drive a standard ,or as we like to call it "stick shift"until I went into the service. It was on the day we had jeep driving lessons. We were out pretty close to White Sands, New Mexico when my Sergeant told me to slip over into the driver's seat and to assume the driver’s position. We were surrounded by sand and I remember my sergeants words" pull over into the sand," I did and then I heard those words" Don't stop, don't stop, don't turn sharply put your foot on the clutch and put it 4 wheel drive." As I write this, I still can hear his words" don't you embarrass me; you better not get stuck." It's strange, I can't remember if I embarrassed him but all I can remember is the anxiety of my first real lesson in driving a standard vehicle.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keystone XL..The real story


It's funny how someone can just type a few words without doing any extensive research and the local anti-Obama crowd will just follow along because it's the fun thing to do. I want the jobs just as much as anyone else because I hate to see people unemployed but it's important to see how much politics or other factors play into this. I won't post this at the VA because it'll get butchered by those that don't read and who are much more comfortable with their hate radio talking points. Yes, the case can be made that we have 2 million miles of pipelines carrying crude oil and another 170,000 miles of pipeline carrying petroleum products without incidents. I accept that argument but that doesn't mean that I’m not nervous about a pipeline going over our drinking water.

I just got through reading an article in Austin American Statesman from its editorial board who informed their readers that this project will be delayed but it will NOT be stopped. They explain that the pipeline does have some environmental concerns because of the route that was chosen. It crosses the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer which supplies water to 60 Texas counties. Fights over property rights and eminent domain are at the forefront. This fight is not about liberals or President Obama. It started with the State Department because Canada is involved. It does involve politics at the national front because republicans want to force the president's hands before the project is deemed safe and the concerns of the states are satisfied. Nebraska initially complained about the pipeline route passing over their environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region, under which lies the Ogallala Aquifer. It's funny how people value clean water. If rerouting is a solution, the February 21 deadline the republicans gave the president is not enough time to investigate all the options. There's a lot of territory between Nebraska and Texas. TransCanada can submit another application after Nebraska approves a new pipeline route.

Texans must consider the tradeoffs because extracting bitumen ore from oil sands requires a process similar to strip mining which uses a great deals of energy and water, to process it into transportable form. It does destroy the forests and contributes to climate change. Of course for those who  think climate change is a hoax, it shouldn't bother them at all. Under investigation is the excessive amount of heavy metals being used like mercury polluting the Arctic Ocean destroying the salmon.The extra asphalt from the refining process will find a way to get on our roads and into our surface waters?

It looks like everyone fell for the 20,000 jobs a year but most of those jobs would be temporary and a TransCanada executive told CNN that the permanent jobs would only be in the hundreds.

Another argument is also false because this pipeline will not relieve our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Much of the oil will be refined in East Texas but it will be sold overseas.

President Obama did not cancel the Keystone pipeline; he’s just sticking what he'd said all along, he wants more time to consider the alternate routes. I don't know what wrong with due diligence, it would seem that we want to consider all the options before pulling the trigger. Didn't we learn from Iraq, the 2008 financial crisis, and the BP spill?

That's how I see it...Am I missing something? I 'll be more than happy to read other sources or consider another viewpoint. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Toddler Dropped the F Bomb


I must getting old because when the two- year old girl supposedly dropped the F -bomb three or four times during the  ABC show “Modern Family, I didn't think much about it.  I imagine it happens, perhaps to a lesser degree, in all families.  It wasn't until I watched MSNBC’s “The Last Word” and hosted by Lawrence O'Donnell that I found out that it created quite a controversy.  Lawrence stated that the producer, purposely wrote those lines in the story line  to create controversy for ratings.  Lawrence said that the little girl actually said” fudge it” so ABC knew their boundaries all along.

I don't recall if that ever happened in our family even though my stepfather cussed a lot and my mother threw  one in every now and then ,when she was angry at my step father.  I didn’t use profanity in my teens but I picked it up when I joined the military. Profanity was a second language because it was used by the commanders and it flowed down to the enlisted ranks.  We didn't think much of it.  It wasn’t until I got out that people started noticing that every other word I used was laced with profanity. I started toning down and eventually won that battle.  It stuck because I don't hardly cuss at all these days but it's not because I'm a prude,(far from it) but it's because of my environment. Profanity doesn't bother me in the least bit because I hear a lot of it on TV show,movies etc. and I think it gives extra punch to the lines Jon Stewart and other comedians put out.  I also think if you didn’t use profanity in a war film, it would lose its credibility.

Steven Levitan, creator and producer of  the TV comedy had the little girl say “fudge” during the taping and bleeped it as she said it and had her mouth obscured by pixilation to make the viewers think that the little girl was actually using the F-bomb.It got the 35,000 member “No Cussing Club” stirred up but I'm surprised that we haven’t heard from the evangelicals yet.  Perhaps they they have their full focus on the 2012 election.

TV profanity has become an issue for the Supreme Court and a decision on what can and can't be said will be made in June.  We have to be the only industrial nation in the world who tries to be something we're not. We're not Puritans.

I remember several instances where teachers would threaten some students with a bar of soap to wash their fitly mouth because they said the word “damn.”Am I missing something? I don’t think it's appropriate to use the little girl as pawn for pushing the envelope and I think parents should correct their children for using profanity because there are better ways to get your point across.  That's a family decision but I'm interested in what you think. Is it a little bit to do about nothing, or is the entertainment media trying to change our culture?


Monday, January 16, 2012

I’m a bit of a hoarder


I remember the job it was to get rid of all the stuff my parents had accumulated over the course of their long lives. I’m pretty sure I inherited that trait from my folks. I swore I was not going to put my family go through that. My wife has accused me of being a hoarder for a long time and now, I tend to agree with her and I now realize those old printers, monitors, and cables weren’t spare parts at all. They were dust collectors.

I wanted to do things the right way, so I got on the phone and called the city to get their e-waste information but I was not impressed with it. I then called Best Buy and they told I could take 2 items and receive a store credit of $10 for each computer but at that rate it would take too long to get rid of all my electronic equipment. Waste Management said they would pick it up for a nominal fee of $75. Yikes!!!…My neighbor said he uses the unofficial Tanglewood Recycling Center. He said he places his items out front and in about a couple of hours the neighborhood “Sanford & Son” will pick up just about anything you put out there. I think I will give it a try. He said he has seen them cruise the neighborhood everyday looking for our junk and their treasure. My old postman used to tell me we had a neighbor that either stole the items or cruised the neighborhood acquiring items for a garage sale every six months or whatever the law allows. I used to call our postman “Cliff Claven” after the character on “Cheers” because he was nosy and knew- it- all. He once ran my door bell to warn me that they were some strange kids in the neighborhood because he was afraid they might steal my meds.

I thought of selling the items on EBay but then I would have do take pictures, scan them in, mail them and then wait to get paid. Sometimes getting rid of them the old fashioned way is best.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Expectation of Privacy


The longer I live, the more I ask" what is the expectation of privacy?" When I read about all the people being photographed at a Super Bowl game as part of a security measure, I knew it was miniscule or none. The representative for Super Bowl said," your expectation of privacy ends at your front door." That's about right because we don't have any control over camera location, in our town or anywhere else, for that matter.

I'm left wondering why the discussion about reporting a suicide is still going. It must be an interesting discussion but I'm just as guilty of keeping it alive. I don't know if it has to do with a prominent business man being part of the story or if people are questioning the professionalism of our newspaper or maybe it's a little of both. I agree with the poster who said, "If it's news, report it." It's better to report it than it is to suppress the news and be accused of favoritism. As I said in my post “reporting the news is the best way to stop gossip from spreading."I have been around suicide three times in my life and newspaper coverage was not a concern for any of them, but I admit I don't honestly know how the family felt but we are all assuming, one way or the other.

I was in my teens when a neighbor friend about three years older than me accidentally ran over a small child with his car. After 6 months of lawyers draining his family's life savings, repeated calls from strangers and the child's relatives harassing him, and losing friends, he left for school one day; came back when he knew everyone would be gone, pulled out out a gun, stuck it in his mouth and ended his life. I don't remember if it was reported, but I recall all the cops and the family telling the neighbors exactly what happened. The second suicide happened in South Korea when my sergeant cut his wrist and bled to death because someone mailed a letter to his wife with details of his infidelity.The third and most tragic happened when my little girl's best friend came screaming at our door saying, "my mommy wants me to stay here and wants you to call 9/11 because daddy hurt himself." The story was reported as an accidental shooting, but we later found out after a thorough investigation by the insurance company, that it was suicide. I don't think it's important to me to know all the intricate details but the truth, though embarrassing, should not hurt the family. I think placement, and minimum details should suffice in reporting a suicide.

The original draft of the lawsuit against a major company or person should have a place in our newspaper, and if it goes to court, it should make the front page. The Victoria Advocate has used discretion in the past, and it came back to bite them. I can recall two major stories where out -of -town newspapers reviled much more the Victoria Advocate because of their policies. Fairness is nearly always subjective.

It wasn't long ago when the county was forced to redact our Social Security number from property records that could be viewed by all. Income tax preparers were given personal identification numbers because they got leery because when they signed the income tax return, they were providing their Social Security number to their customers. Many times your Social Security number is the gateway for a lot of your confidential information.

I can remember my mother's probate hearing was held in front of five prisoners waiting to be arraigned and a court full of strangers, as all that private information of the will was read by the judge. I  also remember being in a jury pool standing next to a nervous old friend during voir dire. When I asked him what was wrong he said," I'm afraid one of these lawyers is going to ask that if we have ever been convicted of DWI." It was a DWI case. That question was asked, and both of us were selected.He was ashamed of me finding out, but he felt better afterwards because the information was out.

In conclusion, the expectation of privacy is minimal because we have the Patriot Act which allows government law enforcement to check your reading habits and just about anything else in the name of security. We've always had technology that most don't even know about. I read where the FBI used a computer program to access all the credit card transactions that were made in Las Vegas over a weekend, as part of their investigation of a terror threat. They are not supposed to use the evidence gathered in a terror threat against a defendant in another matter but are we sure of that? Do we even care?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remembering our first home purchase


My wife and I were talking about old times the other day , one of the first things to come up was how we saved to purchase our first home. She remembered more than I did of course because I don't remember eating sardines and crackers. She also confessed to overstating our grocery bills, so she could buy some essentials. She said my envelope budget would have never worked, so she had to improvise.

I took on a second job that started at 5:15PM and ended at 10:30PM. It was a two-man operation, the owner of the old Handcock service station, Mr. Tate, was getting along in age, so he didn't mind showing me the ins and outs of the service station business. I guess fatigue is a state of mind because time flew by. I enjoyed talking to the customers and between times I had to give directions to the lost, charge batteries, fix flats, and pump gas, so I really didn't have time to be tired. I was also young and foolish. Mr. Tate didn't pay me very much, but he gave me a lot of responsibility, so I felt like I was a manager rather than an employee. I guess our relationship was like that of the old Freddie Prinze TV show called “Chico and the Man." The old man started getting lazy, forgetful, and grouchy on his shift, so the regular customers waited until after 5:15PM to get their automotive needs. The service station was located off the Houston highway next door to the old Jet drive Inn, so the day shift was busy regardless but due to the old man's recent change in temperament, both shifts became busy and our sales increased. Our jobber, Tolson Oil Company of Austin, noticed our increase in sales, so he left two tickets to the Cotton Bowl on the desk. I went home that night to tell my wife about the tickets and that the old man would probably ask me to go with him. The next day, I overheard him tell a customer that he and a friend were going to the Cotton Bowl. My feelings were hurt, and that's the reason I never hesitated when Tolson Oil Company asked me to manage the service station because the home office was getting too many complaints about the irritable Mr. Tate.

I kept my day job, but I had to take a couple of days off to train one of my nephews on how to run the day shift. In the meantime, I suspected this was going to be a high turnover operation, so I started training my wife on the basics, just in case an employee didn't show up. My suspicions turned true so my wife became an asset. That's one of those job descriptions that don't show up on a marriage license. I didn't make a lot of money because I got a 4% margin no matter what the price of gas, and the Fiska on Navarro kicked my butt so much that my wife started filling up there. They remained at 19. 9¢ for hours before I was allowed to lower my 31.9¢ price. It got so lonely that I would talk my customer ear, off so I wouldn't be left alone with the crickets.

Looking back on those days I now realize that experience, and luck were just as significant as wages, in saving for our first home. I didn't realize how influential a credit history was because credit wasn't easy to get back then. I became an unofficial overseer for the hancock/ Billups stations in Edna and Victoria. I decided to manage the Handcock across from the Rio Grande Firestone, but it was in spitting distance of a Texaco next door. The challenge of turning that station around inspired me. See, I told you I was young and foolish because I already had a high-volume station, but I wanted the challenge. One day I was talking to the Tolson Oil representative about expanding the services of the low volume station. I told him I wanted to sell beer, but I couldn't afford a cooler. To my surprise, he picked up a phone and asked to speak to the bank manager at the old First National Bank. When he hung up, he said, "I'm going back to office, and I will mail you a letter of credit to get whatever you need. That was my first credit transaction. Paying off that note, the G.I bill, luck and a little having a good job, all contributed to us owning our original home. Where would I be without a trusting wife, employers, friends and customers?No one does it all by themselves,there is the spouse,luck,family,friends,employer, and a banker who took a chance on you.

This not a story of me sacrificing because I did the easy part, a few of my coworkers operated a ranch/farm full time and I failed to mention that my wife cared for our two children at the time,yet baby sat a few more for extra spending money.  I didn't get my reward in cold cash, rather it was being able to afford a couple of employees to manage my station,so my small family  and I could enjoy a rare full weekend together..

My story doesn't end well because one day, back during the oil embargo (mid 70s) Tolson Oil said that they were not allowed to purchase gasoline in this area anymore but I could continue to run the station. Just as fast as our community lends a helping hand; they can take it back even faster. I was was told that in no uncertain terms that Mr. Alkek Oil would not allow me to purchase gasoline.I sold my remaining inventory but I had to drink or give away the beer I had left because my liquor license was for that premise. I drank Jax for a while,Lone Star and Pabst on other days because my friend's were choosy ,even for free beer. They took all the free Bud and Schlitz and even offered to pick it up...:-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Take the Right Steps in Solving Our Illegal Immigration Problem


I will give you fair warning, if you are easily offended, stop reading this blog now. This blog is not intended to target BigJ but more to relieve my frustration because people continue to be led astray by unrealistic proposals in handling our very serious problem of illegal immigration. The only reason I'm using BigJ’s proposals is because he continues to post the same 13 points without any updates or thorough research. I read his proposals five years ago; they were wrong then and more wrong today. For example, the president is already using a systematic way of going after criminal element first and is now finding ways of keeping families together with his new deportation, methods. It’s a more humane approach that invites cooperation from our southern neighbors. I think the proper thing to do is explain how BigJ’s approach would be better since this president’s plan seem to working better than his predecessor and that’s without the cooperation from congress.

I will start with saying any proposal that doesn't immediately deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States today will not go anywhere. Right now it's a battle of semantics; green card or amnesty. The plan should not call for an amendment to the constitution because that will delay any solution by six years or more because it will take ratification by all the states. Before that, it will take a 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress and a signature by the president. BigJ's idea of the deporting United States citizens under the age of 16 is a violation of the 14th amendment. That's the reason the only way that we can resolve a problem is with a comprehensive  immigration reform plan. It can only be done by people who know the consequences of their proposals; that's supposed to be Congress. My brother-in-law (lawyer) said the bold print “All persons born or naturalized in the United States” clause of the 14th amendment is almost impossible to overture.

A lot of BigJ's proposals are in place now, but he never tackles the problem of Visa over- stays or the economics' of building a temporary fence and taking it down. Never does he mention the outdated Social Security database which keeps us from implementing E-verify. I have no idea what 1800 land grants have to do with illegal immigration because that's a civil case or one that has to be settled by the State Dept of both countries.Besides,that’s already been settled;it’s called “to the victor goes the spoils.”

Proposals such as limiting immigration from the Middle East is insulting and will make dealing with those countries much more difficult. It's the same way with trying to end NAFTA and imposing high tariffs on our southern trading partners because their citizens are violating our immigration laws. Especially when they are enticed by United States companies. These are feel good solutions but are not very pragmatic. His other solution is to entice people from other countries to fight our wars with a promise of citizenship. What happens when that soldier dies? That sounds like a way to get someone else to fight our wars because I guess they are expendable. You see what I mean when I said if you are easily offended? That goes along with wanting people to pick the fruit (at very low wages) during the day and then go back home at night to their country of origin to have their babies. I read a book (What's Matter with Kansas) that described the origins of our out-of hand illegal immigration problems. The author used the meat-packing plants outside Chicago to illustrate his point. He said that they collectively decided to move out of an area loaded with investigative reporters and environmental lawyers to a more hospitable business friendly (wink* wink*) state like Kansas.They agreed to look the other way as the plants were allowed to pollute and use deplorable labor practices, since they were using illegal immigrants. When the immigrants were no longer able to work they were dumped and forced on the surrounding communities. The companies then ran campaigns screaming about the ills of illegal immigrants to take the attention off them. It worked by greasing the palms of city and state officials.

Then you have people like Getsmart, who will exaggerate the problems we're having and support it with one-sided hypotheticals. The other 20% are like jasonbourne who want to send the military to the borders armed to the teeth and conduct a war of cracking heads. That illegal action would not improve relations with our southern trading partners. He doesn’t care just as long as he gets self-satisfaction. These people represent the radio talk show audience that kept us from signing the first comprehensive immigration reform bill by President Bush. What they don't know is that their hateful rhetoric alienates American Hispanics, and they make their views known at the polls. Everyone should know by now that attrition will not work. The demographics are changing, so, unless they come to the table with a more reasonable humane plan; they will get a solution not to their liking.

If I'm going to criticize all the proposals; I'm obligated to give my opinion. I've already mentioned winning the battle of semantics in dealing with the 11 million undocumented people residing in this country. That's a security issue. This isn't just about Mexico because we have to implement E-verify, tamper proof identification cards and documents. We have to come up with some incentives for people to come forward and get processed because having 11 million undocumented people is unacceptable. A majority of those who did not cross an ocean to get here are not interested in citizenship, but they don't want to get in the back of a 10 year line just to get a green card. Those people should pay a penalty for breaking our immigration laws, get processed, and if accepted, be put on a probationary status for some period of time,fined and not be granted automatic citizenship at anytime.

The Democrats and Republicans are using “secure the border first" as an excuse for not tackling comprehension immigration reform because it might anger their constituents. All they have to do is update our Social Security database put the tamper-proof documents in place and that will take away the excuses American companies have for hiring illegal immigrants. We then have to accept the realization that the cost of goods, we buy will go up and there will be fewer people paying into Social Security and Medicare to support those who are on the system. I've read stories of orchard farmers creating web sites trying to recruit American workers to work in their fields, but they rarely get takers. I've always said that I wish I was a lawyer representing these people because I would encourage them to leave our country voluntarily because I know I would have a great bargaining chip, when it came time to renegotiate.

Yes we should make every effort to seal the borders, stop the abuse of our welfare system (Federal laws prohibits welfare to non-citizens) acknowledge the burden on our schools and hospitals but that's not all there is to it. We can send all the task forces we have but unless we do something about our excessive appetite for illegal drugs ,we are just wasting time and money and perhaps lives.

I know a lot of you are not controversial or that discussing this issue makes you uncomfortable, so I don't expect a lot of comments but views contrary to mine will not make me angry. This is another one of those issues that remain out there because we can't come to grip with what's fair or tackle the complexities that prevent us from finding an actual solution.

BigJ, feel free to come in here and tell and show me where I am totally wrong because I know I don’t have all the answers. I have studied this issue for a very long time and I was around when illegal immigration was not a problem and more or less accepted by the locals. It was common for fellow coworkers to hire and recommend illegal immigrants but the situation is much different today. I also disagree that liberals and conservatives can’t fix this problem because a compromise will have to made. One last thing, I know that a solution won’t come from us; it has to come from Washington.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It’simple.... more recess


I just finished reading an interesting article in this week’s Time Magazine, titled the Reason for Recess by Alice Park that states that children who are more physically active may do better in school. I remember Rebecca explaining that to me just a month ago.

Researchers in the Netherlands reported children who get more exercise either on their own or at school, tend to have higher GPAs and better scores on standardized tests. In a review of 14 studies where researchers looked at academic performance and physical activities, the students who moved more in school achieved better grades in basic subjects like math, English and reading

According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention students need at least 1 hour of physical activity to remain healthy; only 18% of high school students met this requirement and 23% had not exercised at all.

It's so funny because conventional thought is that P.E.may be taking away time from study time. Administrators thought that since standardized test grades have been falling, it was time to take the kids off the playground and devote that time to the classroom. Physical activity can improve blood flow to the brain, fueling memory, attention and creativity which is very essential to learning. Exercise releases hormones that can improve mood and suppress stress. I would tell my daughter about these findings but it would depress her because she doesn't have any control over the school curriculum. The kids are not just exercising their bodies; they are exercising their minds.

I don't see any State Board of Education taking these findings and putting them to use but our adversaries will. We just need to go back to the basics, insert a little technology instead of throwing up our hands and saying “It can't be done."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What’s a Conservative?


It's fairly easy to go to Wikipedia or read a definition from any number of dictionaries, to properly define the word conservative but I want a little more than that. I'm constantly hearing that someone is not conservative enough or that a local politician is not acting like a conservative. It seems to be a personal observation from the accuser. I'm not alone because this morning, I heard Joe Scarborough send a Republican representative through his paces. Joe went onto say that he's a small government fiscal conservative, so he didn't know why we added $1 trillion to the debt since the House of Representatives controls the purse strings. The representative replied" we would have to shut down the government. That's why the name of the game is a compromise, not liberal or conservative.

I don't know what the obsession is with Ronald Reagan; it's as if Republicans haven't found a leader since he left office. I hear the national candidates say, “I’m a Ronald Reagan conservative" that's just another definition of a conservative. They still talk about the 1980 Reagan Democrats; those people are long gone and had babies who are now voting. The example from above has a clear definition, but then I hear people saying, “well they're not conservative enough." I think it all boils down to a how right of center a person is. The more moderate the person is; the less they care about distinctions. I think people on the extremes sides have controlling issues but I don't have a degree in psychiatry.

A lot of conservatives will take the most positive traits of a human being and apply to conservatism and say the rest of the traits are liberal. Some people think that clean water and air is a liberal viewpoint, but it's not, it's an American or better yet, a human being viewpoint. Others will say that smaller government, fiscal economic policies, and a strong defense is what conservatism is all about. I want smaller government but I want a government that is efficient, so what I call small maybe too large for those that dislike government.

I see where we're going back to having free- for- all forums, where people post without vetting. That may have been the case all along, but I believe we had a long spell of opinionated blogs, but they didn't get their basis from conspiracy web sites. I will never understand how some people could write a letter- to -the- editor or post a blog in a public form without vetting. I have made all sorts of mistakes and have been properly corrected, but I would never think of posting something without doing the proper vetting. It may be old fashioned pride, but it would be embarrassing if someone found my blog to be a complete lie. I'm not going out a limb by saying that it's fairly obvious that those posters hate the president and everything he stands for. That in itself is perfectly OK but purposely trying to deceive posters to get others to share their hatred is what I call a “low life." The problem won't go away without the Advocate Staff commenting about the inaccuracy of a blog. It doesn't have to be mean, just a statement making other posters aware of their findings. I don't know, perhaps the posters on the VA  forum like their freedom to post without interference, thinking that the posters will always police themselves. There's something to the free flow of information based on personal opinions.

I've always admired the free spirit posters ,who will not be tied down by labels because their thoughts are not from web sites or filtered media; it comes from their heart and brain. Sometimes it's a little bit of this and a little bit of that but mostly they are 100% conservative on some things and 100% liberal on others because they refuse to be tied down to a label.It’s too bad and too bad for this liberal from Victoria.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Off to a bad start


I know that the events of the first week of January do not necessarily indicate what type of year I will have. At least, I hope it doesn't. This is only day 2 but I'm not off to a good start mentally.

Last nights, Dallas Cowboys loss was upsetting because I really thought they would put in a better effort. The tackling was atrocious as was the blocking, even if they pulled out a victory after a 21-0 setback, it would have just delayed the inevitable because you don't have the fundamental down by week 16; don't expect them to come back in the first playoff game.

I bought my wife a computer tablet for Christmas and after setting it up for her, and I've told it was better for her to learn on her own. That's my way of instructing people; make your own mistakes and learn from them. Things were going pretty good until she told me that her tablet would not charge. I said," you're probably doing something wrong'" but he just left it there on the coffee table, and I took the hint. As I tried to trace the problems, I said to myself that it can only be three things:1. The outlet was bad 2. My wife didn't insert the cable into the tablet or outlet correctly 3. She was too impatient and didn't give the battery enough time to charge. I went with the latter but when I checked it 30 minutes later, the battery icon was a bright red. I connected the tablet to the USB Port of her laptop and the tablet started charging. That left me off the hook, for while so I got to watch the rest of the game but this morning problem 2 came up. I bought the tablet at our local Sam's Club. My wife had already typed in all the information and downloaded the apps she wanted, so all I was interested in was a replacement charger. I called the 800 number, and Rodney answered( with an Indian accent) telling me that Sam's had not reported our tablet as being sold, so I had to scan the receipt to him, he thanked me (I think) and said that a charger would be mailed to me, so I hung up. I got a little suspicious because I never gave him my mailing address, but I did have a case number. I immediately called back but this time Anita answered in an American voice telling me that Rodney should have told me that tablets or replacement parts wouldn't be  in until the end of January , but if I didn't want to wait, she would send me a $65.00 store credit. Huh? I decided to call the local Sam's Club to see if I could replace the tablet, but they informed me that they have completely sold out of that tablet and weren't sure if they were going to reorder. It's not an earth-shaking problem because she can still charge off her laptop but if another problem pops up, I know that it won't be until the end of the month before the problem is resolved. I have a sneaky suspicion that the “end of the month" is not a date certain but more of a stalling tactic.

I submitted my first blog of the New Year to the VA this is morning but as of late I haven't received any comments on any of my most recent blogs. I'm going to try like hell not to respond to the trash talkers and just state my opinion, link some sources and move on. Have you noticed that one trash talker will get the ball –a- rolling and then the rest of the parasites hop on for the ride? I really don't care if a person likes Obama or the Democrats, for that matter, because those are just personal opinions, and it may or may not have anything to do with the issues at hand. I genuinely like the idea of humanizing a poster. I think that's the idea of using real names because then you can take their objective views or rants and not be offended by them. That's just "X" being "X."….User names serve the same purpose as real names to me.

I hope the old timers at the VA  don’t leave in frustration because it will be a lonely year.