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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Only the Dead Have Total Liberty

A couple of weeks ago, Senator Rand Paul said it was appalling for President Obama to use the families of those who died in the Sandy Hook massacre  as props. I would like someone to explain how Ron Paul criticizing the decision to shut down Boston is  not using the  Boston Marathon bombing to support his misguided view of liberty. In both cases the people willing participated.

Ron Paul is known to use hyperbole  in trying to make his case. It was reported that a few people were out on the streets of Boston during the manhunt, but they were not harassed, arrested or told to get back inside. I was surprised that a large city was in lock down, but I also saw the residents of Watertown applauding the efforts of the first responders after the ordeal ended.No question that it looked like a military operation but it worked.

I believe Victoria was locked down during Hurricane Rita, and we were given a few hours to evacuate or hunker down because we were not going to be allowed to roam the streets. That decision was made to protect the citizens from looting, being an unnecessary burden for the first responders and common sense. I remember when I worked for the Texas Highway Department and had to barricade off impassable roads during a flood. We were told that we could only advise but not prevent people from driving past our barricades. I remember one night when three different motorist walked back to where we stationed asking us to call a tow truck because their vehicle was stuck in the flood waters. In all three cases, the tow truck operators said they would  come after the flood waters receded. The first responders and tow truck operators were also exercising their liberty to live another day.

Ron Paul thinks that turning a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city should frighten us as much as the attack itself but that  is ludicrous. It was a manhunt and at that time, no one knew if the bombers were acting alone or if more bombs were ready to be set off. Mr. Paul complained of the door-to-door armed searches without a warrant but wouldn't it be easy for a judge to sign a blanket warrant for the 20-street perimeter? Ron Paul has 1791 mindset and criminals and terrorists of today will exploit that if we don't grow with the times. The expectation of privacy ends at your front door. For example, we know that there are 2,397 cameras in Manhattan, but more are coming to help their 1,000 man terrorist task force.

Ron Paul said ." Government's job "is to protect our liberties, not to keep Americans safe." I don't believe I stand alone in disagreeing with that statement. We do have a national defense which has a duty to protect our Constitution and the people of the United States. Mr. Paul has a right to believe what he wants but he and other Libertarians are protected under the same umbrella of our national defense and police force.

Monday, April 29, 2013


I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my copy of the Victoria Advocate and saw the headline “ Analysis shows Victoria’s debt stands at the manageable level” by Melissa Crowe. Coincidentally, this feature story appeared on the first day of early voting.

Melissa presented an in -depth analysis of our manageable $167.5 million debt and not some  uninformed formula like dividing the debt by the population and posting a bill for every resident in our city. The fallacy of that formula is that everyone knows that in the first years of the debt, the interest will be more than the principal, assuring the lender that they won’t get stuck for the entire amount of the loan.   If I' d told my family (after signing the papers for our first home) ,guys each of you have a $6000 debt, the kids would have gone out to play, and my wife would have continued washing the dishes. It’s the same way at the local level.Taxpayers have enough information to tell the difference between a scare tactic and a legitimate concern.  It comes down to the taxpayer’s level of trust.

Tom Halepaska brought up an interesting point when he said”previous city councils passed the buck on several high-dollar projects.” That’s an age-old problem I’ve been talking about for years where one administration will promise to lower your property taxes, but they don’t tell you that in order to do that, they will have to ignore needed infrastructure repair. If it gets too bad that same administration will raise fees or put in some toll roads because they promised not to raise your taxes. It’s one of those “pay me now or pay me later.”

I finally watched the candidate's televised forum which separated the polished from the amateurs and ideology driven ones. For example,  the mayor’s segment, Andrew Deases was way out of his elements, sometimes looking for random words to fill in his allotted time. The incumbents had the clear advantage when it came to answering the questions. Quality of life means lower property tax rates for a couple of candidates, one said he was a Constitutionalist and didn’t favor a partnership between government and the private sector. He used a common buzzword in saying that the government shouldn't be  “picking winners and losers.” I thought Tom Halepaska had the zinger of the evening when he told Tom Pruitt had he submitted ten amendments to the council, and the taxpayers rejected all ten.

Melissa Crowe’s great article will not impact the ideological driven mindset, but it will put things into a better financial concept. There is nothing wrong with thinking that $98 million worth of general obligation debt is scary because everyone’s level of trust is different. When ill-conceived  theories  are submitted to distort general accepted principals then it’s the home-town  newspaper obligation to put out the facts before people get led astray.

I’m glad the distinction between the federal government, and the local one has been explained because too many people couldn’t tell the difference. On the federal side, people's principals change when their side gets in office, and they seem to have short memories. It’s amazing that the same Republicans who ran away from President Bush for four years are singing his glory today. The facts haven’t changed, but memories have. It shouldn’t be that way on the local level but there will always be a few who will try to force their ideology on the gullible.

Friday, April 26, 2013

They Turn on Their Own

I have to admit that I'm loving every minute of this feud between Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough;I wonder if it rivals  that of Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann? Sean Hannity's ratings are slipping so perhaps this is a way of boosting his numbers.

Why is when right-winders have their purity battles the less conservative is called a liberal?  Why don't they call them a moderate? In this case, Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough disagree on the impact of talk radio and guns but are lockstep in their other  far right conservative beliefs.  Joe Scarborough was one of the House Managers who led the charge in impeaching President Clinton.If Joe Scarborough is a liberal; I'm an avid fan of Rush Limbaugh.

Joe is pro-background check, and he points out that an American Jihadi in Somali produced a video telling his potential converts that it's relative easy to acquire a weapon at an American gun show, and he gives the location of such shows.  Joe does not like Wayne LaPierre because he doesn't represent the responsible gun owner.

Sean Hannity and Joe Scarborough  are so much like because both are blowhards who like to berate anyone who disagrees with them. Both are small government, fewer taxes, anti-Obama Republicans. The only difference is that Joe is on a show "Morning Joe" where he has to get along or lose ratings. On the other hand, the more Sean Hannity screams and belittles those who disagree with him, the higher his rating goes.

Jon Stewart had me rolling on the floor laughing when blasted Fox News and their love of the constitution. "Stewart played clips of multiple Fox anchors being upset about suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being read his Miranda rights, while others said he should be declared an enemy combatant and "intensely interrogated."

"In the wake of an assault on our freedom and way of life, we have quickly jettisoned the Sixth Amendment — right to a fair and speedy trial — and the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination," Stewart said. "What's next?"

Next was Fox News host Sean Hannity saying he didn't "believe" waterboarding should be considered torture. 

 There goes the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment," Stewart quipped. Any others?
On "The Five," the hosts wanted surveillance to be stepped up at mosques, including possible wiretapping. 

"Sure, illegal search and seizure? Done!" Stewart said. "The freedom-lovers at Fox are jettisoning amendments like Han Solo dumping cargo to make the jump to light speed."

But Stewart said it takes a "true patriot" to take on the First Amendment — "The Five" host Bob Beckel, who suggested that the U.S. might have to "cut off Muslim students from coming to the country for some period of time."

"Since we're just throwing amendments away willy-nilly, what if we wanted to track the weapons that any of these America haters bought, or do a background check?" Stewart said.

There was a little different take on the Second Amendment."

You've got to see it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Propaganda is Propaganda

I can't believe that people think that it's impossible to self- radicalize; the Boston marathon bombers had to be supported by elements of Al Qaeda.  There is just no other answer,the older brother probably got beyond the point of no return when he came back from Russia because he couldn’t possibly be turned in the United States.  Propaganda is propaganda, whether it comes from the extreme right or left or from foreign sources.

Today is the opening of  former President George W Bush’s presidential library and I decided that I was going to let him have his day without any sarcasm from me but unfortunately a freshman republican representative from Arkansas,took to the floor of the House of Representatives to say“I rise today to express grave doubts about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies and programs. Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state -- the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask ‘why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?  I don't have to tell you that those words were unnecessary and false.  Republicans always start their sanctimonious task of keeping this country safe after September 11,2001.  The representative forgot about the anthrax attacks that were never solved the day after 9/11, but I’m glad that no Democrat took to the floor one week after the horrific event to blame President George W. Bush and his administration.  As I recall we came together as a nation after that, but I see little hope of that when members of Congress can’t wait to exploit their hate. 

Last night I saw a clip of  Sean Hannity explaining his anger to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani because the president never calls the terrorist “ radical Islamic terrorists” as if saying those words makes one an expert in the field of terrorism. Even  Fox’s liberal,Bob Beckel,  made a stupid remark when he said”I think we really have to consider given the fact that so many people hate us that we’re going to have to cut off Muslim students from coming to this country .”Yeah,that’s a great way to make friends and influence minds;stick all Muslims into the terrorist category.

We can’t have a serious discussion about drones, protecting our homeland, guns, health care or our financial problems, unless we tune out the fringe element and make them a laughing stock.  The faithful followers of Alex Jones,Infowars, Glenn Beck and others want you to engage with them, but I found out  a long time ago that laughing at them works best.  Alex Jones wants us to believe that the moon landing never happed, neither did Aurora, nor Sandy Hook and that the government was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing in order to set the stage for gun confiscation.  Matt Drudge said Alex Jones will be the “Man of the Year.” 

As I have mentioned before and Rachel Maddow said it again last night, you can be on the no- fly list, but that doesn't prevent you from buying  50 pounds of gunpowder because a background check is not required.  You can also buy a firearm because being on the no- fly list has nothing to do with a background check.  Senator Harry Reid will try to rectify that by introducing a bill that requires a background check to buy gunpowder. Senator Joe Manchin is working on a bill that will bar anyone on the no-fly list from buying a gun. Let’s see where the NRA and their puppets line up on those measures.

Although not propaganda some well established truths have to be audited from time- to -time to verify its accuracy.The self –evident truth that any country where debt debt is 90% of GDP will not have any growth has been debunked by a 28 year old UMass researcher, Thomas Herndon......Harvard's respected economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s study titled “ Growth in the Time of Debt"became the justification for austerity  policies in the United States and abroad. Representative Paul Ryan,Senator Tom Coburn and some conservative democrats found that " conclusive empirical evidence that [debt] exceeding 90 percent of the economy has a significant negative effect on economic growth.” It’s just another case where we hear the parts we want to hear ,so no further investigation is needed. The study proved to be flawed because “the UMass researchers reveal that the study excludes Australia (1946-1950), New Zealand (1946-1949), and Canada (1946-1950). Since these countries have high-debt and solid growth, the consequences of excluding them are clear. Canada had debt-to-GDP over 90 percent during this period — and 3 percent growth. New Zealand had a debt/GDP over 90 percent from 1946-1951. If you use New Zealand’s average growth rate across all those years, it is 2.58 percent; if you only use the last year, as Reinhart-Rogoff does, the Kiwi growth rate is -7.6 percent. That’s a big difference, especially considering how they weigh the countries.” How ironic,Joe Scarborough used to shout the names of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff to cement his argument but lately he  been pretty quiet on financial matters.Not to worry,prominent proponents of austerity will not let the debunking deter them because they know the voters are not paying attention. They will act as though nothing happened.

A week ago, I had a lengthy three -hour discussion with a long time Republican friend who hates President Obama with a passion.  As he was leaving I said to him"I know you don’t believe half of what you just told me” and he turned smiled and with a look like the “cat who ate the canary," said, “ it’s frustrating.” Yes, I know it is frustrating because we now know that the Boston Marathon bombers intended to set off some bombs in New York but people like Rep. Tom Cotton won’t give the administration credit for deterring something that never happened. The administration will be the first to say that the FBI could not have done anything without the cooperation of Massachusetts law enforcement and people. It takes a village.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Great Day for Soup

It didn’t take much persuading to convince my wife that today was a good day for soup, but it might have been harder if I had asked to make some, so I took the easy route and took her to La Tejanita. It's not that La Tejanita makes a great caldo (broth soup) but it's close enough to stir up old memories of my mom's soup.

It seems like every time a cold front (we used to call them northerners and it didn't matter what direction it came from) came in; my mother would get my step- father to take her to Dick's, so she could pick out a soup bone.  My mother never ran low on spices, and she used whatever vegetables she had in the refrigerator as her other ingredients that she threw in her only soup pot.

It wasn’t cold enough to put on the other gas stoves(if they weren't already put up), so the kitchen was always the warmest spot in the house. My step-father had already removed the duct tape(poor man's weather stripping) from the window sills and front door frame and we were already prepared for summer which was still officially two months away but this is south Texas.

We weren’t surprised to smell the aroma of soup cooking when we got home from school. My mother always made masa tortillas (a thicker corn tortilla) to go with it. It was very satisfying the first night, but we would get the same soup tomorrow if we didn’t finish it all up. Afterwards, our old dog gnawed  on that big soup bone for a week and then buried the remains. What a silly dog because I can’t ever remember him digging it back up. I do remember teasing him as he was gnawing that old bone and his little growls let me know that he didn’t like it one bit. 

Some of those nights my mom would make us a pot of chocolate,  and we would put some big marshmallows in it. Today we use the packages of chocolate but do they even sell the big marshmallows anymore? It doesn’t matter because it would probably drive my blood sugar off the charts.

As I get older I can’t wait for summer because these old bones don’t tolerate the cold winds like they used to..Smile

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Local Elections…Why Bother?

I am the last person you should consult about voting in local elections because I find them rather boring, so don’t follow my bad example. I hope our city has a large turnout for the municipal elections because if change is needed your vote will help bring that about. Now I will vote on local issues like building new schools or the “no smoking” policy. Perhaps that will change now that the League of Women Voters has brought the elections into the 21st century with their televised debates.I can watch the candidates from my comfortable recliner.

I am not a micromanaging type, so I have not or will I ever attend a county or city meeting of any sort. Remember don’t follow in my bad footsteps. I rely on the annual financial reports and what I read in our local newspapers. I don’t personally know the candidates so my opinion will vary from time to time based on what they say, but it keeps me from having a personal vendetta. 

I have my own criteria for choosing a candidate to represent my wishes, and it’s not based on rumors, innuendo or unsubstantiated facts.Yes; a candidate's past performance is important but so is their vision for Victoria’s future. I certainly don’t want a single-issue  candidate or one who is consumed with ideology.

I badly want my hometown to grow and not let opportunities go to other cities because of some misguided ideology of “austerity only.”I believe a city must use all the available and necessary tools, and sometimes that means partnering with the private sector and using enticements like abatements. I began taking notice when some local council members started echoing the talking points of a national party. 

I’m going to be completely honest in my assessment of our local candidate based on what I have read in our local newspaper knowing full well it’s my opinion and fully admitting that I am one of those city election low information voters.

I’m going to start with Russell Pruitt, who is running for a seat in Super District, Place 6 currently occupied by Tom Halepaska. I am not that big of a fan of Tom Halepaska, but he’s much more open-minded than Pruitt. Russell is a long-time  tax protester and what I call a single-issue  candidate who is consumed with ideology. Russell Pruitt issued a very misleading statement when he said that he sees Victoria heading the way of Detroit, a city now strapped by financial mismanagement, apples to oranges Mr. Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt’s poorly structured website doesn’t mention growth or vision for my hometown. It’s just a single page of three pledges, but it’s really only two since” vote for lower taxes” and “vote against wasteful spending of tax dollars” amount to the same thing.” His other pledge is not to become a “ good old boy” whatever that means because that can have several meanings.

I’m going to wait on the televised debates before I comment on the mayor’s race. I can say that for me I will have to decide between Polasek or Armstrong because the other candidates haven’t impressed me. 

I want end this segment by posting some great comments I heard the candidates say and also some that were very strange.

For the life of me,I don’t know what former councilman Gabriel Soliz was thinking when he said "I honestly don't believe that whites hate Mexicans in Victoria," Soliz said. "When I ran, there were plenty of white people with Anglo descent who voted for me." He then said “he is running to break stereotypes and be a positive example for Hispanics.” Those are the most stupidest comments that I have ever heard from a local candidate.   His biggest claim to fame was that he toed the conservative line with his votes. I don’t have an interest in that race but I liked the words of Councilman Truman when he said” this is the third oil boom he has seen during his time in Victoria, and he wants to come up with long-term plans to keep the economic growth going.

"I don't want to anticipate a bust, but eventually it does happen," Truman said. "We need to come up with sustainable industries that will keep our hotel rooms filled and keep Victoria growing."

I’m confident that the council will stay within its means because no politician wants to be part of the reason a city gets cash- strapped and has to raise taxes and lay off people. We currently have a $20 million reserve fund; a AA bond rating;business seems to be booming;interest rates and materials are low, so our city doesn’t have to operate as though it’s going broke tomorrow. With that in mind, we should be thinking  more about the future of our city when deciding our priorities.   It’s not always about what appears on the yearly financial reports because I believe the new schools, improved roads, and an open-minded city council is conductive to having new businesses consider our city their new home.

There were a few candidates I didn’t mention because their view points were similar to those of the others.

These are my personal views and I certainly won’t try to pretend that I represent the views of Victoria,Texas.

Monday, April 22, 2013

This Week has to be Better Than Last Week

First Responder Heroism
Mike Barnicle, regular contributor to MSNBC’s " Morning Joe” made me want to stand up and applaud when he said the words to the effect of “the senators should just shut up and get out of the way and let the Justice department do what it has to do.” He was responding to Senator Chuck Grassley, who thought we should put off the immigration bill for a while and the three amigos, senators Gramm, McCain, and Ayotte calling for the administration to make Boston's bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaeu an enemy combatant. Then there was Representative Peter King saying that the FBI dropped the ball on the older brother thus allowing the bombing incident to happen.

I don’t know what connection Senator Grassley is trying to make between the bombers, who were here for 10 years, and the current immigration bills that are being worked on. One of the bombers was a legal resident, and the other was a naturalized American citizen. I can understand where one who is opposed to an immigration bill in the first place looking for straws to make their case. This immigration bill has been in the works for a long time and border security and vetting those who are allowed to enter our country has always been at the forefront.

The questioning of Dzhokhar is already taking place even though he is unable to talk. A first-year law student could win a death penalty for the prosecution because there’s a mountain of evidence against him such as an eyewitness, admission to the fact and video. Peter King wants him to be labeled an enemy combatant for 30 days, so they can squeeze all the intelligence out of him. In 2009, a special group of interrogators, known as the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, was created especially for terrorism cases. The group is comprised of FBI, CIA, State Department and other agencies, to extract the needed information as quickly as possible. Even when Dzhokhar is convicted, he will be housed for a time in maximum security where more information might be obtained. I have a problem with Representative Peter King labeling America, a battleground because that makes it easier for government to label American citizens enemy combatants. Dzhokhar Tsarnaeu will be tried in a civilian court because it’s unconstitutional to subject American citizens to a military commission.

The Sunday talk shows were mostly about pointing fingers and questioning the lock down of a large American city. Peggy Noonan took it a step further by blaming President Obama for not being able to push through the background check which had a 90% approval. What rock has she been hiding under? The American people backed background checks; 90%% of Democrats voted for it, but 90% of Republicans voted against it. Only in our dysfunctional government does a 54 in favor and 46 against count as a loss. This morning Joe Scarborough said a source in the Boston police force (unanimous of course) told him that the lock down was questioned. It is my opinion that Joe Scarborough (libertarian) saw the move as government takeover. On another show, one Republican consultant said that if the subject were hiding in a boat in Louisiana, he would have gotten his head blown off. I believe that and that’s why I’m against vigilante justice. We needed this subject to taken alive because of the information he might have might help us prevent another bombing.

It’s funny how jealousy takes over a professional journalist. I’ve always thought Howard Kurtz was as good a journalist as there is. Sunday on his program “CNN’s Reliable Sources," it was obvious that he didn’t like the idea that during the coverage of the bombing, NBC’s Pete Williams was quoted as being the most reliable newsman. He said Williams made a mistake by telling everyone the police had found a body in a boat. Kurtz thought that the word “body''” meant “dead body.” CNN is still reeling from being wrong on the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, and now they are being mocked along with the Boston Globe, AP, and Fox News for jumping the gun. CNN used to be the one cable network that you could rely on to give up- to- date and accurate news, but they are being caught up in the numbers' game. CNN made a major mistake but nothing compares to putting the picture of two innocent teenagers on the front page (implicating them to be the bombers) just to sale newspapers. like the New York Post did.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Job Well Done

I’m so impressed in the way Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured alive by professional law enforcement. The Federal and State and local law enforcement performed as if they had done this several times before (which they haven’t) using the knowledge they acquired from intensive terrorism training. Think about this when you prefer low property taxes over training for such events; this is an item tax protesters put into the debt column. I don’t think we will ever see a large city like Boston and the surrounding communities being put into a lock down ever again. Perhaps many of you got to see a rare picture of Boston without traffic. I give a lot a credit to the people who complied and stayed indoors, rather than try to confront the suspect. Then again, this is another situation where a lot of the homeowners in Watertown probably had guns but were afraid to confront a nut case who might have had  more firepower than they did and was not fearful of using it. When I saw the overwhelming amount of law enforcement on the scene, I deviously thought about those blowhards who brag that they want to buy the baddest guns on the planet to fight off a tyrannical government coming for their guns. Good luck with that. Wasn’t it heartwarming to see all those clapping and cheering for the first responders as they were leaving the area?

Now that the subject is caught and recuperating from his wounds the controversy will begin over giving him his Miranda rights and a civilian trial. It’s primarily a Federal case because terrorism (possible international terrorism involvement) so the feds will use the “public-safety safety exception” to ask Dzhokar the obvious questions such as who else was involved, are they any more bombs and why they did it. After 48 hours, he will have a lawyer, and his Miranda Rights read to him but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will clam up. What he says prior to him being read his Miranda Rights can be used in a court of law. That ruling is far below his constitutional rights, so I don’t know why people aren’t satisfied with that. . I hope the Atty. General doesn’t give in to those who want him tried in a military court. Justice would be served if he was tried in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I agree with a pundit who said that the scene of the people cheering law enforcement and shouting”USA USA” is not what the terrorists of the world wanted to see. Boston doesn’t have near as many cameras as New York, but I bet as soon as the City Council meets; a lot more will be ordered. Cameras are a deterrent to terrorism because I just can’t imagine that the two Boston Marathon bombers thought they would ever see their pictures splattered on the nightly news. True, they weren’t the sharpest terrorist in the world because they stayed in the vicinity not knowing our capability of putting together video from citizens and store owners.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Plagiarism at Best Capthenry

I know no self respecting individual believes a word our local blog hog ,a poster who calls himself Capthenty ,writes in his daily posts but just in case there is a naive person out there; I'm submitting this from the February 18,2000 that was updated for after submission to explain any mass murder. .. It was debunked.

School Killers are all Democrats…

Comment: Why is it that those who steal guns and kill movie goers and children in school are always Democrats and not conservatives or NRA members?
Ft. Hood shooter - Registered Democrat – Muslim
Columbine shooters - Too young to vote but both families were registered
Democrats and progressive liberals.
Virginia Tech shooter - Registered Democrat - Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff.
Colorado Theater shooter - Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign; Occupy Wall Street participant; progressive liberal.
Connecticut School Shooter - Registered Democrat; hated Christians.
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ shooter – Leftist, registered Democrat.
All of these shooters were progressive Democrats!
Why is that the media always tells us that conservative NRA-type
gun-owners are the real danger?
Lesson... Don't trust the media! Or politicians!

It must give Caphenry comfort knowing that whatever self-righteous  group he belongs to is always right. He must have low self-esteem  if he has to make things up.IMO

I don’t know how the media classifies left or right wing extremists but I can guarantee they are not regular card carrying Republicans or Democrats who  vote on the issues of the day. These deranged individuals or groups  don’t know the meaning of democracy and most are disturbed people. They are fixated on their agenda and violence.

I gather Caphenry classifies the media as being a mass communication network other than Fox News, talk radio or conservative blogs. I have my issues with the so-called mainstream media. Yesterday, CNN reported that the FBI had caught the suspect of the Boston explosions and then they described with certainty that it was a dark-skinned man. Obviously, it was not true but Fox News repeated the lie without doing any fact checking.

I have the utmost confidence that the FBI will catch the people who bombed the Boston Marathon, but we need to be patience  and not  get carried away with our TV CSI expectations. I’m one of those who embraces my civil liberties, but I know we are dealing with sophisticated terrorists, so I no longer mind a camera on every street corner.  My expectation of privacy diminishes  as soon as I leave my front door.

I was disappointed but not surprised that the Senate did not pass  the background check.  Contrary to what some people think we've had a background check for 17 years and will continue having them.. This legislation was extending it to internet sales,gun shows and private sales.  I think Senator Rand Paul went beyond the line when he said that the president used the Sandy Hook parents as props, but I'm glad that the president chastised him from the bully pulpit.  This issue is not over, but the first round was won by the NRA and those who fear them.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

That Dreaded "C" Word

 Cancer Ribbon Decal - Bladder Cancer (Marigold/Blue/Purple)

On Friday, April 5,2013 my wife went to see an urologist for her urinary tract infection(UTI). She never dreamed that her doctor would tell her that she had a 2 cm tumor that had to be surgically removed. The doctor was equally stunned because my wife has never smoked nor has she been around heavy smokers. I've never smoked, and neither has my children. Bladder cancer is not inherited, so the source of this terrible disease is still not known. The fact that we have health care is the primary reason the cancer was found in its early stages, and that's the reason I'm so adamant about preventive care.

The next step was to tell our family. After the crying, questions, and convincing everyone that the doctor's prognosis was correct, my wife defused any negative feelings in the room. She said"guys the worst-case scenario is that my bladder would be removed, and I would have to wear a catheter the rest of my life." She then reminded us that my mother had her bladder removed when the procedure was primitive, and we all know she led a very active life for many years. That message had to come from my wife, or it would not have had the same impact. The surgery was set for Tuesday April 9 at Citizens.

I'm not ashamed to say that on the Sunday before the surgery, I got on knees and prayed. Sure, I've prayed for a lot of things but somehow this time it was different. 

 Tuesday morning finally came, but we said very little to each other in the 5 minutes it took to get to the hospital. After 46 years of marriage, we both knew words couldn't express the anxiety we both were going through. Three hours later,the nurse came to take my wife to surgery and showed us the familiar waiting room.

Family members kept talking to me, but my mind was miles away. An hour later (although it seemed like an eternity)the doctor told us the  tumor was actually 3 cm, but it was successfully removed but we now had to wait for the biopsy to see if a second surgery would be necessary. Friday April 12th was a joyous day because the biopsy came back negative ,the cancer was completely removed. My wife came home that Friday, and at this moment in time it was up to me to allow her to get the rest she needed for recovery.

Our two cats didn't take pity on me as soon as I got home in the evening, they started meowing to get fed and watered and get their litter  boxes emptied. Yes, they have his and hers litter boxes. Pudge,our three-year-old  Persian cat had a bad UTI case, and that breed is susceptible to them, so he has to eat special food, including a cranberry morsel everyday. My wife has him spoiled rotted, and he howls if he doesn't get his nightly brushing. The first two nights my wife was in the hospital Pudge laid down by the front door and let out a loud howl every few minutes until he finally fell asleep on her house shoes. When my wife got home, she immediately called the cats, and they came running to get their pats and baby talk. When she sat down in her recliner, Pudge jumped up in her lap and went to sleep.

It was now time to remember the poor domestic housework skills I acquired from my younger days.I still don’t know why I had to scrub all the dishes prior to putting them into the dishwasher, but I did learn that I didn’t have to remove the plastic covering from the dish-washing soap because the hot water melts it. I still think the old-fashioned  sink method is a lot easier.

I was restricted to only washing my clothes after asking my wife “what’s the load size, wash/rinse temperature, and knits and dedicates' about on the clothes washer selector..I didn't get to ask her about all those selections on the dryer. She remembers the last time I went to the grocery store when I only bought name brands, and apparently I spent more money than I should have.  I think she will follow me to the grocery store today after her doctor visit, and I will be restricted to placing items in the grocery cart.  I'm thrilled to have her back home but how does she keep up with it all?  Its only been a week, and I'm exhausted, but I’m not complaining because our prayers were answered.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

That’s the Cure All……..More Guns

Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell,had former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark) as his guest to explain the results of his NRA funded report on school safety. Lawrence was rather rude to his guest, but I think it was due to the frustration of this issue. I think a lot of us knew what the answers would be before the NRA commissioned the 12-person task force to find a reason ,other than guns,to stop the needless killing. They didn’t disappoint; their conclusion: arm teachers and loosen gun laws that restrict people from carrying a firearm on school property. They also recommended training interested school personnel (40-60 hours of gun training) and then the schools should be willing to arm them.

Earlier in the day, Asa Hutchinson told a CNN pundit that he would consider a universal background check that exempted sales between family members. That exception for family members is a gigantic loophole that the gang bangers will use in Chicago and New York.  The uncle in the drug cartel would like to pass off a lot of guns to his family members.Oh the inconvenience of a typical five-minute  background check. When my daughter gave me her used pick-up truck, we had to drive downtown, look for a parking place, stand in line and finally produce our proof of insurance before we were allowed to pay the transfer fee. That’s we do in a civilized society. We willingly comply to help the system work more efficiently.

When Mr. Hutchinson was told that Connecticut was likely to ban high-capacity  magazines and assault weapons; he said that it was totally inadequate because it doesn't protect children. Mr. Lawrence angrily corrected Mr. Hutcheson, telling him that children need to also be protected when they are at malls or in movie theaters. Lawrence also reminded Mr. Hutchinson that Columbine had armed school guards.  Mr. Hutcheson used response time as his selling point but every mass shooting I have read about, the first responders got to the scene in less than 10 minutes. Adam Lanza was able to fire off more than 150 rounds in 5 minutes, and you are telling me than an armed teacher would stand a chance?They might stand a chance if you are going to equip them with the same weapons and not worry about innocent bystanders.

It’s frustrating to see a popular background check measure being sabotaged by the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. “ Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee — all Tea Party favorites — say they will "oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance." A filibuster is just a cowards way of avoiding of getting on the record as one who opposes the will of the people for their political expediency. The Second Amendment is settled law and not even the partisan NRA is using that argument. I’ll go on the record offering a cash reward to anyone who can find one word that evenly remotely suggests taking a law abiding citizen’s gun away. For the paranoid,that slippery slope will always be there.

John Boehner considers himself a shrewd politician because he took the easy way out. He won’t allow a gun bill to come up in the House until the Senate passes one allowing his members to go unscathed. Hopefully, the voters will be smarter than that in the mid-term elections because only 33% of American household's own guns.

By the end of the week, Connecticut will join New York and Colorado as states not bending to the wishes of the NRA and enacting some of the toughest gun laws in our country.

In the meantime the crazies will dominate the headline news and I’ll leave you with one. “Serbu Firearms used Thomas’s image in a t-shirt and Facebook campaign, using the phrase “No Serbu for you!” to mimic the Soup Nazi’s famous expression, “No soup for you!” from Seinfeld. In protest of the recently enacted Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act–which prohibits private citizens from owning certain assault weapons–Serbu has refused to sell semi-automatic sniper rifles to the New York City Police Department.

“I refused to sell my rifles to the NYPD, and when I talked about it online, it blew up like crazy,” company founder Mark Serbu told The New York Post Tuesday. “Everybody liked the idea of a gun law biting the government on the ass. There are only two manufacturers of semi-automatic 50-caliber rifles in the U.S., and neither will sell to the NYPD. This is like, ‘Screw you, New York.’ People are less safe without our rifles to protect you.”

I don’t know about you, but I want law enforcement to have better weapons than criminals. We have DAs and law enforcement dying for doing their job, and we are left without a clue as who committed these crimes but some are fighting tooth and nail to make background checks less disruptive and make law enforcement and government the enemy.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening Day

Houston Astros pinch hitter Rick Ankiel celebrates with

After all these years, I still look forward to opening day of the major-league  baseball season.  I used to be able watch 150 Astro games a year but this year  I'll be lucky if I see them five times because Comcast has the exclusive right to their broadcasts. As usual, the fans are caught in the middle between the cable and satellite companies fight for the fair market value of the distribution rights.

In the past, the pre- game hype was provided by the Houston Astro's organization where they would tell us to be patient because the future was just around the corner. ESPN gave a gloomy picture of what to expect from the 2013 Astros. One analyst said that they would probably be worse than last year. Yikes, they lost over hundred games last year.

The broadcast wasn't much better because it wasn’t until the seventh inning that the announcer’s started realizing that Houston might actually beat the mighty Texas Rangers.  The Astros prevailed  8 to 2 but that just assures the experts that the team won’t lose all of their 162 games.

When I was in my youth, opening day was always at noon in Cincinnati. We then had several cities opening the season, and they were moved to nights. One time the season opened in Japan. I ‘m pretty sure that this was the first-time  Houston has ever opened the major-league  season.

I’ve completed the cycle because I started enjoying the Astros by listening to them on radio and unless things change;that’s the way I’ll go out.