Thursday, December 31, 2009

A State of the Union Carole - Chapter 1

"A State of the Union Carole"

Chapter 1
As the room dimmed from the waning light of the setting sun, the man pushed aside the pile of papers awaiting his attention to run his hand lovingly over the surface of his desk. A desk where many great men had performed their business, and he was sure that he would be considered a great man one day as well. In fact he was sure he was considered a great man already. There was no question in his mind that his place in history would be assured. The wood of the historic desk he stroked seemed to glow as the golden light was filtered through the panes of glass at his back. If he believed in God he would see this as a sign of his ordination, but he did not believe. Not really. He pretended to believe because he knew it would cast him in a better light, but the only god he served was his own ego, and it was a jealous god.

His hand bumped the paper on his desk again and he was reminded of the task before him. He retrieved the stack of papers and a red pen and set his self-admiration aside for a moment in order to turn his mind to the task at hand. His lips pursed as he found a particular phrase objectionable and scratched a line through it. In the margins he scribbled in the message he wanted it replaced with. Nearly an hour later the paper bore more red ink than black and the man’s temper was on a fine edge. Setting the pen aside he reached for the phone and called in the unfortunate author of the harshly edited document.

He waited impatiently for the young and idealistic man to appear before him. When the door opened and the once smartly dressed but now decidedly rumpled man appeared at last, taking his stance in the center of the crest imprinted on the carpet in the oval office, The President raised an angry stare in his direction, pushed the pages towards the young man and said, “Is this the best you can do? With all of the changes I made I may as well have written the speech myself. What do I pay you for?”

“I’m sorry sir,” the young man stammered. Having always had a flair for words and a true belief in the progressive ideals, John Alexander had been thrilled to be offered a job as the Presidential speech writer. It was an honor beyond anything he’d ever thought possible, but now, just six months into the job he believed he’d prefer digging ditches. No matter what he wrote, no matter how eloquent or uplifting, it was never good enough. Every speech was written and re-written and then written again. Many times the final comments by the President strongly resembling John’s original text. He no longer felt young and idealistic but beaten down, demoralized and old beyond his years. He had an ulcer, insomnia, a nervous tick and an ever growing desire to stab the president with his fountain pen.

“I have to give this speech tomorrow evening so I expect to have a new version of this on my desk before sunrise tomorrow. Do I make myself clear?”

John swallowed and nodded, but seeing the raised brows of the president remembered his instructions on address. “Yes, Mr President.”

The President stared at the door as it closed behind the hapless young man who had proved to be such a disappointment. A good speech writer was invaluable to a man of his elevated stature, and he needed some time to review the speech before he had to stand in the full House of Representatives and read the speech before the joint houses of Congress. He could read off the teleprompter with a skill and ease that few people possessed, but it helped to feel at least a little comfortable with the text. He already received a bit of flack from those nasty right wing zealots regarding the way he looked down his nose when he spoke, but it was the only way he could read the teleprompter and keep his head up. And everybody knew those crazies on the right were just looking for something bad to say about him, but he had his revenge. He worked in a way to blame them in nearly every speech and, though he had done interviews with Oprah and The View, he still refused to appear on that “other” network. The one he refused to acknowledge as a news program.

He returned to the papers on his desk and worked his way to the bottom of the pile where the communication from his general in Afghanistan resided. He took a deep breath and did what he’d been avoiding for nearly two weeks. He flipped the folder open.

“It’s about time you got to that.”

The President jerked in surprise at the sound of the voice. He jerked so hard that he flipped his chair back, lost his balance, over-recovered and smacked his head on the beautiful desk he’d been stroking just hours before.

At the sound of the ruckus the secret service burst through the door with guns drawn and searched for the source of the threat. “What happened Mr. President? Are you secure?”

Shaking his head slightly, refusing to reveal any weakness, he frowned at the men before him. “Secure? Did you not hear that voice? Where did it come from and how did the speaker get in here?”

The two men glanced at each other for support, but neither indicated that any voice had been heard. “I’m sorry sir, but we didn’t hear a voice, we only heard what sounded like a struggle. Was there a struggle sir?”

The men still stood with their guns drawn, and guns made the president nervous. So nervous that he had promised himself that guns would be outlawed before the end of his second term. That he would have a second term he had no doubt. With the machinations he had going on, he knew that even a third or a fourth term would be possible. He would serve longer than the man he believed to be the greatest President of all time; Franklin Roosevelt. He had ensured, while he was in the senate, that the necessary laws to prevent an economic disaster were not passed so that he could set up a platform which would put him on the level of Roosevelt. He was running the FDR playbook and he was absolutely convinced that he was running it better than old Frank had himself.


In his ruminations, the president had all but forgotten the men in the room. “No, there was no struggle. But there was a voice. Somebody is here.”

“They can’t hear me,” came the voice again.

“There!” The president cried. “There it was again. Did you hear it?”

“No sir,” the agent replied. A well trained secret service agent, his face betrayed none of his feelings. He valued his job way too much to show with even a twitch that the President was sounding crazy. Maybe the president was just having an acid flashback. He had done drugs in his past after all. Wasn’t that in one of those books he wrote before he had ever accomplished anything?

“They think you’re losing your mind you know.”

The President looked closely at the agents, but neither gave the slightest hint that they’d heard the new voice. If he answered it this time there was a good chance that the voice would be right and the agents would fear for his sanity.

“I’m fine,” the President said. “You men can go now.”

“Are you sure, sir?”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure.” The President waved his hand dismissively. “I’m sure it was just the wind that startled me. I didn’t sleep well last night so I’m sure that didn’t help.” He really hated indicating any weakness, but far better lack of sleep than insanity.

The agents holstered their weapons, cast one last glance around the office and strode back through the door to resume their guard.

“It’s the bump on the head,” the president said to himself. “I’m sure it’s just the bump on the head causing hallucinations and they’ll go away in a minute or two.”

“That would work as an explanation,” continued the voice, “except hearing the voice is why you bumped your head. The bump is an effect not a cause. I know you have some trouble with that kind of logic and science but give it a try.”

“Who the hell are you,” he whispered angrily. “I demand you show yourself.”

“OK, you asked for it.”

Before the President’s eyes a thin mist appeared, and then thickened, and then began to take shape. In the space of a single minute, empty air solidified into the form of a man. It was not a man, but only the opaque image of a man. Cast in shades of gray and moderately transparent. The President wondered how this was done and whether it was a new trick from the crazies on the right -- And they wondered why he had them listed as potential terrorists with the Department of Homeland Security.

The milky image of the man stood about two inches shorter than his own six feet and one inch. His hair was slicked back in a style of previous generations. His hooded eyes were crowned with thick brows and ringed with deep lines. His thin lipped mouth was quirked to one side in a crooked smile as he held his arms out in a “ta-da” type of gesture.

“Who are you?” The president asked.

“The man you want to be. Or perhaps the man you want to be better than. Though I’ve learned that’s not hard to accomplish.”

“I don’t understand,” the president replied. “Who are you really? And what are you doing in my office?”

“It was my office too once, though this desk wasn’t in here at the time. It was still up in the study.” The image crouched down before the desk to examine it, his smile one of nostalgia over a pleasant memory. “I see they finally put in the panel over the kneehole with the presidential seal. That was my idea you know.”

“Who gives a shit! Who are you? I demand that you reveal your identity to me immediately.”

“Or what,” the image asked. “You’ll call the secret service in to haul me off. I dare you to try that.”

Frustrated beyond belief at being the most powerful man in the world and yet having no authority over the image before him, the President’s political fa├žade had slipped and the real man underneath the mask was beginning to show. His fists and jaw were clenched as he asked yet again, “who are you?”

Instead of revealing his identity, the man only asked, “How much do you know about this desk?”

Fearing what it said about his sanity to not only engage in a verbal battle, but to lose one, with an imaginary man in his office, he decided to just answer the question. “The desk was commissioned by Queen Victoria from the wreckage of the HMS Resolute. She has a matching one in her office.”

The image waved his hand dismissively. “Anybody who saw the second National Treasure movie could tell me that. Do you have any information that is not held by the average movie goer?”

The President just stared mutely at the image before him.

“This leads nicely into the reason I’m here. How can you presume to be the leader of a nation you know nothing about?”

“I know what I need to about this nation. Which is why I’m working to remake it.”

The image shook its head in sadness. “Bad move my boy, bad move. I attempted the same thing and faced a terrible fate for it. I wish to save you from facing the same shame and embarrassment.”

“What shame,” the president asked. “What shame can there be in remaking this nation into what it should be?”

“It’s the shame of making this nation into what it was never supposed to be. I found that out the hard way. “ The image moved gracefully across the room until it settled behind the resolute desk, its hands hovering over the wood in much the same way the president’s had just hours before.

“When I got to heaven—“, at the gasp, the image looked at the president and grinned. “Yes, heaven exists, as does God. When I got to heaven I was excited to meet the founding fathers of this great nation, and I found they were anxious to meet me as well, but instead of being greeted warmly, I was faced with their censure and dismay. In addition to a verbal tongue lashing the likes of which I had never faced on earth.”

“I can’t imagine what you could have done to deserve that, but what difference does it make? They’re just a bunch of dead white guys who have become totally irrelevant. Their opinions no longer matter.”

The image lurched up and attempted to slap his hands on the desk, but instead of meeting the wood with a resounding bang, they slid right through it. “Those men may be dead but their ideals will never be irrelevant. It was just that kind of thought that got me exiled in heaven and the type of thought you must change if you are ever to be welcomed into their group.”

The president locked his spine to prevent the shudder that racked him as the image floated to him once more from showing. “Why would I want to be welcomed into their group? Why should I care what they think?”

“You really are a misguided young man, aren’t you?” Failing to receive an answer the image continued. “In heaven the leaders of this nation are divided into two categories, those would made free men of slaves, and those who made slaves of free men. What I was shocked to find upon my death was that I was considered a man who had made slaves of free men.”

The president threw his head back and looked down his nose at the image before him. “I will definitely be regarded as a man who made free men of slaves. I’m going to dispense economic justice in this land and free those in poverty.”

The image’s jaw dropped in shock at this statement. “Do you honestly believe that I would be here to warn you if you were viewed in that manner? Right now they’re reserving the head of the free men to slaves table. They already have a plaque on the chair for you. You’re the first president they’ve ever placed before his death.”

“That’s not possible.” He shook his head vehemently, but the image just kept nodding.

“Where is George Bush sitting?”

The image’s brows pulled down in confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

“Is George Bush sitting at the good table or the bad table? He has to be at the bad table.”

“Are you serious?”

“I’m absolutely serious. Which table is Bush sitting at?”

The image rolled its eyes, an eerie occurrence with his level of transparency. “If I had to guess, I would have to say he’s sitting at a table at his ranch in Crawford, TX.”

The president looked dissatisfied and slightly confused by this answer.

“The man’s not dead yet. Not much for deductive reasoning are you?” the image asked.

“Don’t speak to me in that insolent manner. I’m the leader of this nation and I deserve your respect.”

“I respect the office, but not the man currently holding it. And your current behavior does not dispose me to change that opinion.”

Now truly angry, a vein bulging in his temple, his fists clenched so tightly they were cramping, the president growled, “I demand to know who you are.”

The image raised his brows at the insolent tone. “If you knew anything at all about the desk behind which you sit then you would already know who I am. I’ve given a hint so obvious that previous presidents would have no doubt as to my identity.” The image leveled an assessing stare upon him and, after a moment’s silence continued. “I suppose I can give you another hint. I hate to do this one though as it is so obvious. Too obvious really.”

The president unclenched one fist and slashed the hand through the image causing it to dissipate and then reform. This couldn’t be real. It was too little sleep. The excuse he gave the secret service had to be the real reason behind this. He couldn’t actually have a ghost in the oval office. It was completely beyond the realm of possibility.

“Forget about it, I don’t care who you are anymore. You’re probably nothing but a figment of my imagination anyway.”

“OK, if you’re going to be a baby about it, here’s my hint. A date which will live in infamy. If you don’t know who I am now then you really have no business being behind that desk.”

“No,” the president shook his head vehemently. “It’s not possible. You can’t be….”

“Can’t be who?” the image asked.

“You’re not Franklin Roosevelt. You’re not. You can’t be. I know for a fact you’re not.”

“Do you really? What’s your proof that I’m not?”

“Roosevelt was in a wheelchair!” This statement was delivered with such pride, such self-satisfied victory that the image had to shake his head once more.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I appear to you out of thin air, admitting that I’m the ghost of a dead man, and you actually believe I can’t be that ghost because my astral body isn’t confined to a wheelchair as my physical body was? That’s really your argument?”


“Not much for abstract reasoning either.”

“OK,” he shrugged, “But I still don’t understand.”

The image placed his hands on his hips and rolled his eyes. “That’s becoming glaringly obvious. But which particular thing that you don’t understand would you like an explanation for?”

The president started pacing around the oval office, still aware of the secret service outside the door, he kept his voice low. The ghost of Roosevelt didn’t appear to have any trouble hearing him no matter how low he spoke.

“The one thing I don’t understand,” he heard a snort from Roosevelt but opted to ignore it and continue, “you were the greatest president in our history so why would you be ostrasized by the founding fathers? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Doesn’t it? In retrospect it makes perfect sense to me.” Roosevelt’s voice had dropped and sadness radiated from his expression. Sadness and regret.

“But you lifted this country up out of the worst financial crisis it had ever seen. How can that be a bad thing?”

“Did I really do that?” Roosevelt asked.

“Of course you did. Everybody knows that. Everybody acknowledges that you and your New Deal saved the country from total collapse.” The president couldn’t believe that he was actually in the oval office attempting to convince the ghost of FDR that he had saved the nation.

“The founding fathers have a different view of things, and I have to admit that I now agree with them.” His voice was now filled with the regret only hinted at before. He grasped his hands behind his back, dropped his head, floated over to the window and stared. “I put food on the table for many people by creating government jobs for them to do, but what did I really do to stimulate the economy?” He turned, his gaze boring into the current president. “Nothing. I did nothing. I believed that the government was the answer, but the jobs I created could only last as long as the money the government had to spend. When that money ran out, so would the jobs. Looking back now I have to wonder if I did anything but prolong the pain.”

“Of course you did,” the president replied. “Your government spending plan saved the country and brought the unemployment rate from 25% down to 4%. Nobody but you could have done that.”

“No my boy,” the ghost whispered in reply. “I stabilized the unemployment rate at 14% and that with government jobs only. The war did the rest. Yes, it was government spending but all for the war.” He turned and glared through his opaque eyes at the man before him. “Do you really believe that sending millions of young American men to their death was a great way to lower the unemployment rate, because that’s what I did? I didn’t really create more jobs, I simply sent the excess workers to their deaths on foreign soil. That is not a plan that should be emulated by anyone!”

“You did the right thing,” the president argued. “The government was the only answer for the horrible situation the economy was in and you delivered it. The government is always the answer, it has to be.”

“Does it really? You have so much to learn.” The ghost of Roosevelt sighed and straightened his shoulders. “I suppose this brings me to the reason for my visit.” As the president opened his mouth to argue, he was forstalled by the ghost. “I am but a messenger. I precursor to the real events which you will experience this night. My role is to advise you that you will be visited by six ghosts this night.”

“This sounds familiar,” the president sneered, “but doesn’t the story use three ghosts? Not a very original bunch of founding fathers are they?”

“You will not blaspheme the founding fathers!” roared the ghost.

The president looked over his shoulder in fear, sure that the secret service had to hear the bellow which was so loud that it had rattled the window panes and still rang in his ears, but nobody was bursting through the doors to save him.

The ghost took a deep calming breath, though of course air was not required for this astral body, and spoke in a softer, more moderate manner. “I apologize for my outburst, but the disrespect you show for the men who risked everything to create a form of government you now seek to destroy upsets me greatly. I think it best that I deliver my message before all control is lost and I do something I regret more than my actions as president.”

Kept mute by fear at what this ghost could do, the president clamped his lips closed and nodded his head. He would say not a thing.

“Yes what will happen bears a resemblance to Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carole’,” Roosevelt stopped at glared at the president, daring him to make a comment. When the president remained silent, Roosevelt clasped his hands behind his back and paced the oval office as he spoke. “Several of the founding fathers hold Dickens in high esteem, and they have learned something you have not. That much can be learned from the actions and ideas of others. Personally I find Dickens a bit maudlin but this story does suit us nicely.” He looked once more to the president and nodded in approval at his continued silence. “The first pair of founding fathers will appear to you at the stroke of midnight and will show you the state of the union past. The next pair will appear as the clock strikes one and will show you the present. The final pair will appear at the stroke of two and will show you the future that awaits both you and the union you currently lead.”

The ghost flew across the floor until it hovered nose to nose with the current president. “If you are wise, which I question greatly, you will listen to what these men tell you and pay close attention to what they show you. Set your ego aside if you can and learn from an encounter that many in this nation would give their lives experience.”

In the blink of an eye, the image was gone. The silence of the room now pervasive, the president returned to his desk and sat, taking deep, calming breaths. This couldn’t have happened. It didn’t happen. He was sure it hadn’t really happened. And yet, he glanced at the clock counting down the minutes until the first pair of ghosts would appear.

To be continued........
The next installment will be Thursday, Jan 7.  If you enjoy the story, please share it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A State of the Union Carole - Synopsis

A State of the Union Carole - to be delivered in sections each week.

As the state of the union address approaches, the president of the United States of America prepares for his speech.  A speech that will indicate how far we have strayed from our founding principles.  In order to save The President and the nation as a whole, he is visited by the ghost of a former president who warns him of the fate that awaits him.  The president is also advised that he will be visited by six of the founding fathers in three sets of two who will show him the states of the union past, present and future in an attempt to change his mind and his path.

The first installment of this story will appear tomorrow and a new installment every Thursday until the story is completed.  If you like it, I ask that you please share it.  All comments are also welcome and appreciated.  The story is not yet fully written, so if there is something in particular you would like to see included, please let me know.

Thank you,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unto You A Child Is Born

Luke 2:8-14 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Our God sent word of the birth of his only son to the shepherds.  He did not send it to the kings and prices and wealthy men of the time.  He sent it to the men in the fields whose lives were hard and solitary for this was a gift for ALL men.  Even the message of salvation was written for the shepherds for being washed in the blood of the lamb was something they knew well.  It was a part of their job. 

There would be times when a ewe would die but the baby would live, and times the baby would die but the ewe would survive.  You would think that getting the surviving ewe to accept the surviving baby would be easy, but it was not.  The dead lamb would be skinned and it's bloody fleece placed upon the orphaned lamb.  The ewe would smell her lost lamb on the orphaned one and accept it as her own.  This was a message that the shepherds understood quite easily.  By being washed in the blood of the lamb we bear the print of Christ and are adopted into God's family, recognized as one of His own.  No longer must we be born into the right family in order to be the chosen ones, for the adoption process was begun and that door still remains open for all.

It says so much about our God that the good tidings of great joy were not sent to the scholars and the kings to be passed down to the people, but sent to the people themselves. 

For those who wonder why the son of God would have to be born in a stable, ask yourself this -- where else would a lamb be born?

Merry Christmas to one and all.  May the light of God shine brightly upon you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grandma Got Run Over By the Congress

Grandma Got Run Over By the Congress
(to the tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer)

Grandma got run over by the congress
Just days before this Christmas eve
Now she requires approval from a panel
To get the care her doctors say she needs

Grandma needs a hip replacement
She has cancer in her bone
But the panel says it isn't cost effective
The truth is that the woman's just to old

She needs supplies for Diabetes
Her blood sugar she must check
But the panel has denied her
They say it's all because she's way too fat

Grandma got run over by the congress

Just days before this Christmas eve
Now she requires approval from a panel
To get the care her doctors say she needs

And we can't forget old Grandpa
As his prostate starts to swell
He needs some tests and maybe medication
But the panel told the man to go to hell

All that panel will give grandma
Is a body bag in black
But they approved an augmentation
To give Michelle a slightly bigger rack

Grandma got run over by the Congress
Just days before this Christmas Eve
Now she requires approval from a panel
To get the care her doctors say she needs

Now her goose is cooked and roasted
Her grave we've just begun to dig
She died while waiting for approval
From a government's that's gotten way too big

What will be the fate of Grandpa
None of the Congressmen can tell
The only thing of which they're certain
Is the need to exempt all of themselves

Grandma got run over by the Congress
Just days before this Christmas Eve
For wrongfull death my family is now suing
Both Pelosi and that Harry Reid

A Real Reform Bill

While on vacation I was discussing politics with my father, which I always do, and we came up with a Congressional reform bill. This bill was written by two process improvement specialists but we would love your input on it. If you like what we have come up with, please pass it along. If you have any suggestions on anything that needs to be added or changed, please leave a comment to that effect. I will be sending this bill to my Congressmen and encourage you to do the same.

To the purpose of Congressional reform, reduction of federal debt and elimination of wasteful, and unnecessary, spending the following provisions must be implemented.

Section 1: The Allocation of Dollars for the Federal Budget.

There will be no automatic budget increases for any department. All departments, excepting the department of defense, will initially receive a 20% budget reduction from their previous year’s allowance. There will be an additional 5% decrease each year for the next 5 years.

Any department or area under the Executive Branch which performs a function designated to the Legislative Branch by the Constitution will be immediately defunded.

The White House budget is included in the above reductions. The President may hire as many Czars and advisors as he deems necessary, but they must be paid out of his existing budget.

No money designated for one purpose may be directed to another.

No funding request may be added to a bill less than 4 business days prior to the vote. Also, all funding requests must be directly related to the primary objective of the bill.

Any funding bill, or any line added to a funding bill, must be for the benefit all of citizens. Any item within a bill which directs federal funds to a single state or a pair of states is prohibited in all cases except for national disaster relief. However, the theory of man-made global warming does not now, nor will it ever, fall under the category of natural disaster. Any funding to address damage resulting from an act of war or a terrorist attack is to be considered for the benefit of all citizenry even if the damage is limited to a single state.

To enforce the aforementioned stipulations, there must be executive authority for a line item veto.

Section 2: The Reduction of the Size of the Federal Government

All government agencies created in the last 3 years will be immediately eliminated. There will be an additional reduction of 2 agencies per year for the next 20 years.

One agency may be combined with another agency to meet this reduction. However, in the event of combined agencies, their budget becomes 75% of the combined dollars.

No new government agency may be created without a two-thirds positive majority vote in both houses. The creation of the agency can only be raised for a vote when the first 5 years of funding has been appropriated and the method by which it will be funded must be included in the bill for the agency’s creation.

Section 3: Compensation for Federal Employees Including Congress and the White House

Congress may not exempt themselves from any law, mandate, regulation or legislation of any kind which they impose on the general citizenry.

Travel will be paid out of federal funds only when it directly relates to the people’s business. Family members may join Congress, the vice president or the president upon a business excursion, but no public funds may used for the expenses of the family members. Any exception to this policy must receive a unanimous vote from the Senate appropriations committee.

Congress will no longer be able to vote themselves a pay raise or an increase in their discretionary spending allotment. Their pay and discretionary spending allowance will be directly tied to the GDP of the nation. Their pay will be based on their performance and the growth of the organization they lead just as it is done in the private sector. Each year their pay will be evaluated against the GDP. If the GDP increased, their pay will raise at half the rate of increase. Should the GDP decrease, their pay will be reduced by twice the rate of decrease. For example, if GDP raises 6%, then Congress will receive a 3% increase in pay and their discretionary spending allowance; if GDP drops by 6% then Congress will receive a 12% reduction in pay and discretionary spending.

The pay received by federal employees may not exceed the comparable pay in the private sector by more than 10%.

All federal employees will be held to an increase of the lesser of 2% or the cost of living increase until the federal debt is paid. This excludes those whose current pay exceeds 10% of the comparable pay in the private sector as they will receive no pay raise until the private sector rises to their level.

Section 4: Elimination of the Federal Debt

All excess revenue either not designated to a department or not utilized by a department will be applied directly to the federal debt. The utilization of these funds for any other purpose will require a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

Section 5: Taxation Protection

No new tax of any kind may be levied on the American people without a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

Section 6: Term Limits

A Constitutional amendment will be ratified which limits the Congressional terms to 3 in the House of Representatives and 2 in the Senate. Additionally, after meeting the limit in one house, they may not run for another position for at least 2 years.

I believe that these provisions would force our government to become more efficient and effective. Please let me know your thoughts and ideas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brief Hiatus

I'm heading off to Florida to spend Christmas with the family so I won't be posting for a while and when I return I'll be doing something a bit different.  As some of you know, I like to write fiction.  I currently have a political suspense thriller with an agent and I'm desperately trying to get published, but more than getting published I just want to write and have somebody read the story.  Along that aim I'm going to write a short stroy (at least that's the plan - it could end up 400 pages long) and begin posting it in installments on my blog.  It will still pertain to politics, conservative values and the illustrious history of this great nation.  I hope you are willing to read it, and more than that, I hope you enjoy it.

I wrote a 400 page novel in 8 weeks so I shouldn't be off-line for all that long.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who Are the Fat Cats

Obama went on 60 minutes and talked about the Banking Fat Cats who took billions from American taxpayers and then give raises and big bonuses. 

All this while the government is expanding, creating more departments we don't need and increasing pay (which is already frighteningly higher than the equivalent in the private sector) while the rest of us go without a raise and pray we still have a job. 

Gee, seems to me that in the fat cat department the bankers got nothing on the federal government. 

Why Cap and Trade is Counterproductive

No matter how much we talk about how cap and trade legislation would raise cost of electricity, there are still those who believe it is necessary in order to reduce emissions of green house gases.  The problem is that it will NOT reduce that for very clear, economic and logical reasons.

In order to reduce carbon emissions a company will need to invest in research and development in order to find a better, cleaner way of doing what they already do.  If you really want climate change legislation, the companies should be encouraged to do just that.  But is this what cap and trade will do?  Of course not.

The companies that emit the most green house gases will be required to either pay heavy fines or buy credits from companies who emit low emissions.  Either way, this not only increases their opperating costs; costs which will have to be passed on to the customer in order to stay in business, but it also removes any available funds from research and development.  In other words, we actually prevent them from creating the very innovation we say we need them to make.

If we need our companies to innovate and find cleaner ways of doing things, instead of punishing them for not already having it, why wouldn't we give then incentives to get it done?  Give tax breaks for any funds invested in clean technology and reward the reductions in emissions instead of levying heavy fines which would prevent the innovation.  Why don't we do that? Oh, wait, I know, it's because that would prevent the government from playing favorites within the private sector.  The current cap and trade is nothing but a way for the pet industries of the government to rape the other industries.  I'm very confident this is will happen because this legislation has already been tried in Europe and actually caused emissions to go up.

Instead of repeated the failed policies of Europe, why don't we try something that might actually work.  Incentivize verses punishment.  A novel concept I know, but it just might work.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stop Remaking The USA

Stop Remaking
(To the tune of Rock Me Gently)

Just what the hell is
Happening here
Where are the values
We hold dear
Federal spending Is way out of control
(control, control, control)

On the floors
Of the House and Senate
They vote to raise their spending limit
Sinking the nation into a deficit hole

Stop remaking
Restore today
The Constitution
Of the USA
For we have never been screwed like this before

The people cry
Stop what you’re doing
Congress won’t listen, just keeps moving
Unemployment they refuse to see

Buyers remorse
Is setting in
44% now
Want Bush back in
Return the power, back to you and me

Stop remaking
Restore today
The Constitution
Of the USA
For we have never been screwed like this before

Fredd, if you want to appy you imagination to this one as well it might help to get "The Night Chicago Died" out of your head.

Perfect Example Of Socialism

We keep hearing that health care is a crisis.  It's a crisis, everybody agrees it's a crisis.  Never mind that 60% of Americans are against the plan, everybody agrees.  We won't actually start covering new people for 5 years but it's a crisis.  And why is it a crisis?  It's because people have to file bankruptcy due to medical bills.  Some studies say that 60% of bankruptcies filed are due to medical expenses.  It is horrible that anybody ends up in that situation and my heart goes out to them, but if 1.5 million people file bankruptcy and 60% of those are due to medical bills, that means that 900 thousand people a year go bankrupt from medical expenses out of an adult population of 217.8 million.  This means that the percent of people who file bankruptcy due to medical expenses is less than one half of 1%.

In order to fix the problem for 0.4% of our population, Congress is willing to pass a health care bill that has the possibility of bankrupting the nation.  Therefore, instead of 0.4% of the population being bankrupt, we'll ALL be bankrupt.

This is the real problem with socialism.  It seeks "economic equality" or "economic justice".  The government and socialist policies cannot make us all equally wealthy, all they can do is make us equally poor.  The health care bill is the perfect example of what socialism really does.  It does not raise us all to the same high level, but reduces us all to the lowest common denominator.  Is that what we really want to be? 

Friday, December 11, 2009

He's A Chicago Guy

He's A Chicago Guy
(To the tune of The Night Chicago Died)

As we’re watching the decline
Of the worth of the dollar bill
A fix he’s yet to find
And I’ll bet he never will

On and on and on he drones
Hearing no voice but his own
Unemployment he ignorers
While on the Congress floor

We’re hearing Harry cry
With the agenda we all must comply
Give the President just what he wants
Or Rahm Emanuel will bludgeon us
Glory be

We’re hearing Nancy cry
Sacrifice your seat to please this guy
Forget about what the people want
We’ve got to get our agenda done
Yes indeed

Now the Hill is under the thumb
Of a plain Chicago thug
And capitalisms grave
They’ve already dug

As with health care, cap and trade
They try to spend our wealth away
And if you dare to disagree
You’re declared the enemy

We’re hearing Harry cry
With the agenda we all must comply
Give the President just what he wants
Or Rham Emmanuel will bludgeon us
Glory be

We’re hearing Nancy cry
Sacrifice your seat to please this guy
Forget about what the people want
We’ve got to get our agenda done
Yes indeed

When the American people called
To halt our country’s fall
They’re concerns were waved away
Just increasing their dismay

He’s a Chicago guy
Barack O-ba-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma
He’s a Chicago guy
Economic justice spread the wealth
You have a right to a home and health
Glory Be

He’s a Chicago guy
Barack O-ba-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma
He’s a Chicago guy
He’s gonna do what he’s gonna do
So better prepare ‘cuz we’re getting screwed
Yes Indeed

I really wish I had the technical capability and knowledge to record this and make a video to post on youtube.  Too bad I'm eletronically challenged.

Plethora of Paradoxical Policies

My head has been spinning with all of the potential legislation coming out of Washington so I'm trying to get everything straight.  Here's my understanding of what's going on.

Health care - medical costs and premium costs are so high that people can't afford insurance and Medicare will be bankrupt.  The legislation does nothing to address the medical costs impacting Medicare while simultaneously cutting funding and expanding membership.  This will actually increase the cost of premiums and accelerate the date at which Medicare will bankrupt the country. 

Climate Change - We must cut carbon emissions so heavy fines will be levied on those companies that emit CO2.  The legislation will raise the cost of energy so we use less.  People will be unable to afford their energy bill so will not be able to heat or cool their homes.  They'll end up receiving medical care for hypothermia or heat stroke which will drive up the cost of health care.  They could use a fireplace to heat their home but logging permits have been cut back so there will be no wood to use as heat.  The same legislation in Europe has been ineffectual at best and increased CO2 emmissions at worst.

The private sector companies are losing money and can't pay their bills.  As a result they are laying people off, closing their doors and freezing wages.  The federal government is losing money and diving deeper into debt but has created new positions within the white house, voted to create additional departments and given raises to all of their employees.  While the private sector shrinks while the government expands.  Paradox.

The House passes legislation which will enable the Federal Government to break up companies they view as harmful to the economy while Congress pursues legislation that is harmful to the ecnomy.  Will they break themselves up?  Paradox.

The people are very concerned about the unemployment situation and request actions which will stimulate job creation.  The government spent $787 billion on pet projects which created no jobs.  Then they held a summitt with unions and community organizers whose suggestion was to pass another bill just like the first one that didn't work.  Employers beg for assistance which will open access to credit or allow them to keep more of their money.  Meanwhile congress is still pushing the health care and climate change legislations which will add costs to employers without generating any cash flow for them.  Paradox.

I know I've missed a lot of things and please let me know if I have any of this wrong.  Even listing it this way I'm not sure what the justification for any of this is.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama Speech - America Fights for Feedom out of Self-Interest

You can call me naive, but I have always believed that America was dedicated to the spread of liberty and the abolition of Tyranny because we believe in man's inherent right to freedom.  If our help is sought, we will give it and risk the lives of our people in order to promote the freedom of others.  There have been times when we waited until we were personally impacted before joining the fight, as in WWII, but we have usually jumped in when there was no direct threat or benefit to us.  In my mind, this is who we are and what we believe.

If England were invaded again and asked for our assistance to secure their freedom and liberty, would we first do a cost benefit analysis and ask the "what's in it for me" question before going to their aid?  I certainly hope not, but in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech Obama stated that America liberates others out of self-interest. 

Much of Obama's speech showed an understand of the necessity of a fight that I had previously believed him unaware of - that sometimes the only way to achieve peace is to wage war - and I was with him until he hit this part of the text.  "The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest - because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity."  Say what?  So basically we don't really give a crap about their going through but only how it impacts us.  Really?

From this point on the speech was about how unjustified the war in Iraq was and why it was so wrong for us to go there.  How we shouldn't go to war alone and why the UN (the most ineffectual band of bureaucrats ever assembled) must be utilized and strengthened.  From there it goes in to how he really believes he can stop nuclear proliferation with his rhetoric. 

A speech that started out strong, ended with the usual apologetic stance.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Party of Hell No!

Maybe it's just me, but I would love to see some passionate opposition to what the Demoratic leadership is attempting to do to our country.  The people are passionate so why aren't the Republican leaders?

Instead of trying to overcome the label of "party of no" slapped on the Republicans, why don't they embrace it and add some passion to it?  Wouldn't it be fun to have some leaders coming out and saying with passion and conviction, "We're not the party of no, we're the party of Hell no, not on my watch!"

Hell no to a deficit so crippling we're in danger of losing our credit rating.
Hell no to wasteful spending that serves nobody but the politicians
Hell no to crippling legislation for a problem that may not even exist
Hell no to unprecedented growth of the federal government
Hell no to a transfer of power from the Legislative to Executive branch in direct violation of our Constitutional principles.
Hell no to civil rights for terrorists
Hell no to a new entitlement program which will cripple the American economy
Hell no to putting climate change and health care above job creation

If asked about why Republicans don't have new ideas, they should simply respond, "Are you kidding, we've got our hands full just trying to keep the Constitution from going through the shredder."

Wouldn't it be lovely?

He's Remaking America All Right

Obama has used the phrase "remaking America" in several of his speeches and it always gave me pause.  We as a nation do not need to be remade.  Restored perhaps, but not remade.  I couldn't help but wonder what he meant by this.  Now I know.

Our government was set up so that the majority of the power over domestic policy lies with the legislative branch.  What our founding fathers absolutely did not want was a single person in charge of everything.  A voted monarche as the case may be.  They created the balance of power to ensure that the bulk of that power was in the hands of many, and with a check and balance system.  So what is Obama remaking us into? 

With the appointment of Czar upon Czar Obama created positions of power not answerable to Congress and not voted on by the people.  This was an unprecedented growth in power of the executive branch but not anything to get our knickers in a twist over, right?  Well my knickers are officially twisted.  With the EPA now giving themselves the authority to regulate green house gases if Congress does not, imposing onerous requirements on businesses all to fix....nothing and in spite of the will of the people, we saw another huge power grab by the executive branch of the government.  Hot on the heels of that announcement we have Obama working behind the scenes to institute his plans for universal healthcare without a vote on the actual plan by Congress.  He and his cronies plan to go in through the back door by moving the responsibility for the Social Security Act from the Legislative Branch to the Executive Branch.

This administrations answer to get what he wants in spite of the will of the people is to move control over the issue from the legislative to the executive branch thereby defiling our founding principle to have the power in the hands of many and NOT the hands of one.

Consider that the Executive Branch was such up with so little power in the first drafting of a Constitution - The Articles of Confederation - that the branch didn't even exist.  Now that branch is snatching power from other branches with a disgusting disregard and disrespect for our entire form of government.

The ""Yes We Can" Slogan has now been revealed to translate into "Yes I can and if you don't like it I'll find a way around you."

Months ago, as a joke, I wrote a blog about Obama appointing himself King.  It doesn't seem like such a joke now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Congress Regulates TP Usage

I initially wrote this six months ago but with the way things are going I thought it would be fun to resurrect it.

In the new green environment of Congress and the Obama Administration, legislation is being passed to control how we use products that impact the planet. When the Cap and Trade was proposed, Republican Roy Blunt said, "Taxes on air my ass!" This gave the Democratic leadership in congress what they believe is a brilliant idea.

"Americans use too much toilet paper," said Harry Reid. "They don't consider how these big wads of paper clog up our sewer systems and put strain on our water treatment systems. They also don't consider how many trees have to be cut down in order to wipe their asses. This selfish lack of consideration for our environment is partially responsible for the global warming / climate change crisis."

New regulations are being put on the toilet paper industry so that 2 ply toilet paper will be banned, and biodegradability will be more important than softness. It has also been proposed to put a per sheet tax on the toilet paper to ensure that Americans are not using more than they need. Questions arose on how to manage this in public restrooms and the suggestion was made to install automatic, coin operated dispensers. These will not be installed in the Capital building or in any other restroom utilized by Government officials and their staff. However, Lindsey Graham (R) offered an alternative stating that we use the numerous copies of the stimulus package as a toilet paper alternative. He said, "all that bill was good for was wiping our asses anyway."

The toilet paper industry is just the first in many publicly owned companies that the Congress will now attempt to design products for. They have decided that they can't get us to buy what they want us to so they will ensure that any undesirable products are no longer created. Enjoy that 2 ply soft toilet paper while you can. If Congress didn't chap your ass before, the certainly will soon.

Obama and 7 Obstacles to Effective Leadership

I'm in a leadership role in my day job and because of this have read several articles on how to be an effective leader; but the most helpful one I found was on what makes you a bad leader.  I've taken the steps from an article by Duncan Brodie on "7 Obstacles to Effective Leadership" and looked at how Obama is fairing.

For my Obama supporters I will admit that Bush wouldn't have faired all that well in this comparison either.

Obstacle 1: Old mindsets
This might not be the thing that you would automatically expect to see at the top of the list. Truth is that when we become a leader it is easy to forget that there are different expectations and challenges. If as a new leader you are still in the manager mindset you are going to struggle. Even if you are not a new leader old mindsets and complacency can be an obstacle.

For Obama this can go either way.  People can claim that he's brought new ideas, but I disagree.  What Obama brought with him is the Saul Alinski playbook and his Community Organization processes.  He has brought his old mindset into this leadership job and he's unwilling to let it go.  He will run his play book the way he has it written and he's not going to change even if the plays are causing him to lose the game.

Obstacle 2: Personal rather than corporate agenda
Ever noticed how someone's leadership career evolves. At the start they are a breath of fresh air, full of new ideas and enthusiasm, after a while, especially if the going gets tough, they start to focus on their own survival rather than on delivering success. Be alert to becoming too focussed on your personal agenda.

Hello!  Forcing his plans for climate change legislation and universal health in an economy that is already struggling.  In this case the coroporate agenda should be job creation, but his personal agenda - which will stymie job growth -- is taking center stage.  He needs to put his personal agenda aside and work on what's best for the nation as a whole.  Which means expanding job creation beyond infrastructure and green jobs.

Obstacle 3: Vagueness about direction
As the leader people will look to you to provide clear direction. After all unless you have a clear direction in which you want to take the organisation or team forward in, how are you going to communicate it and get the support you need.

Gee, I really don't know about this one.  He's communicated his specific plan on all of the issues so clearly hasn't he?

Obstacle 4: Micromanaging everything
One of the areas that differentiates the best from the poorer leaders is their ability to let go of things. When a leader spends all of their time micromanaging everything they get lost in the detail of the day to day stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.

Hmm, a weekend visit to the Senate to push his agenda springs to mind.

Obstacle 5: Failure to act
We have all probably encountered this situation at some point in our career. The organisation is facing some struggles, needs to make some decisions and most importantly act on them. Yes it takes courage but failure to act is a recipe for disaster in the long term.

Dithering about Afghanistan for 3 months, finally addressing jobs after 10 months.  Of course you could say he acted quickly with the stimulus, but you could also say he didn't considering that the vast majority of the money hasn't been spent yet. 

Obstacle 6: Having to be right
Of course it is great to be the person who comes up with the ideas, turnaround or transformation plan or initiative. On the other hand when this becomes essential to you as the leader you stop listening, taking ideas on board and potentially miss out on real opportunities.

I'm going to let an evil witch cackle serve as my response to this one.

Obstacle 7: Failing to adapt
Every situation requires a different response. Failing to adapt leads to a situation where you become stuck. In the worst case scenarios this failure to adapt can result in a whole organisation collapsing. Always be ready to adapt to new and changing circumstances.

The public support for health care is dropping in the face of the unemployment rate and the way the bill is shaping up, but instead of adapting to this change he is willing to lose Congressional seats in order to acheive his personal goal (see obstacle 2).

Bottom Line - Obstacles are an inevitable part of leading. The question is are you going to successfully deal with them and deliver great results?

So how do you think Barack Obama is doing in dealing with these obstacles.  I'd love your opinion.

Obama's Selective Memory

I'm listening to Obama speak on the economy and of course he blamed the Republicans for everything saying they created the mess and then wouldn't help fix it.  Revisionist history at best and a down right lie at the worst.

The economic collapse was all driven by the problems with Fannie and Freddie and the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  So who was responsible for this? 

It was Clinton in 1995 who signed legislation which required lenders to give money to people who were a bad risk.  If they failed to give these loans which were a bad business idea, they would no longer be able to receive federal funds.  Blackmail to force them into stupid business practices.

In 2003 Bush attempted to pass legislation to undo this and stop the forcing of loans to people who wouldn't qualify under other circusmstances.  He asked the Congress to stop making the banks piss money away.  The Democrats in Congress refused to cooperate and threatened to fillibuster.  Had this been passed in 2003 the current economic crisis would have been averted, but according to Obama it is the REPBULICAN'S fault.  When Obama joined the Senate in 2005 he added his voice to the refusal to address this situation.

In 2006 Greenspan brought the urgency of the situation to the attention of Congress and said that the risky practices of Fannie and Freddie (legislated by Clinton and attempted to be fixed by Bush) would cause a collapse.  Chris Dodd and Barack Obama (yes that guy now blaming somebody else) were the top two recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie, and Chris Dodd was the chairman of the committee on banking which SHOULD have addressed this issue.  Neither did a thing.  With the Democrats taking control of Congress in January 2007 all hope of fixing this impending disaster was lost.

So here's the timeline in summary - 1995 Clinton passes legislation to start the mess.  2003 Bush attempts legislation to prevent the mess but Dems filibuster.  2006 Greenspan warns of imminent disaster and Dems refuse to address.  In 2008 economy collapses as a direct result of what Greenspan warned.  In 2009 Obama is blaming Republicans for not fixing the problem when he voted to filibuster against the fix.

The man really does have selective memory, and a total inability to accept any personal responsibility for the current situation.

Abortion is Not Health Care

Why is there any debate at all over whether or not abortion should be included in a health care bill.  I don't want the bill to pass so I'm glad this is a sticking point, but I still don't understand why it's an issue.  Abortion is not health care.  By insisting that it is included in this bill, they are equating an UNWANTED pregnancy with diabetes, heart disease, broken bones, cancer, etc.  It's ridiculous.  A woman who finds herself preganant and doesn't want a baby does not need an abortion for medical needs.  It's her personal choice of how to deal with her situation (and I believe the wrong one), but it's not a health care issue.

If we were to cover abortions would we cover other completely elective with no medically substantiated necessity procedures?  Are we going to cover tummy tucks and face lifts?  If we cover abortion are we going to cover infertility treatments?  Just because abortion is legal does not mean that it qualifies as health care under this type of legislation.

I know it's a horror that a woman will actually have to take responsibility for her own actions and pay for her own abortion.  Perhaps we can explain to her how buying a box of condoms (and actually using them) is much cheaper.

The more I've thought about this the more frustrated I've become.  There has been talk about charging fat people more for their health care because they'll cost more, well does that mean we charge sluts more for their health care coverage as well?  If a man or woman is premiscuous that has the potential to cost us a lot more money.  We'd have the treatment of the preganancy, veneral disease and AIDS.  The pharmacological costs of AIDS is astronomical so, according to Democrat philosophy, should anybody who has multiple partners within a single year have to pay more for their health coverage than somebody who doesn't?  They're a higher risk after all, and it's all due to their life choices.

This whole thing is just absurd.  The bottom line here is that, other than in a case of threats to the life of the mother, there is no MEDICAL reason for an abortion.  We should only be covering services that there is a medical reason to perform.  "I got knocked up and don't want no kid," is not a medical reason.

Monday, December 7, 2009

No New Ideas

Over and over and over again we hear the Democrats reciting their standard lines that Repbulicans have no new ideas, that they are repeating the failed policies of the past, blah, blah, blah.  But what new ideas do the Democrats have?  None.  They don't have a single idea that hasn't already been tried - and failed - in Europe.

Universal healthcare is a bankruptcy inducing mess in every country where it has been tried.  It leads to long wait times, rationing and higher taxes.  Sure, these programs work great as long as you're healthy, it's when you get sick and actually need the program that it really fails you.

Cap & Trade was tried in England actually resulted in an increase in carbon emissions, and tons of corruption within the program.  It has failed utterly and yet we are wanting to repeat that failure.

Why won't Congress actually copy actions that have actually been proven to work?  Like lowering taxes, especially corporate taxes.

So the new Democrat campaign slogan should be, "We won't repeat the failed Republican policies.  We'll repeat the failed European ones instead."

Sen Reid Compares Healthcare to Slavery

To counter the pleas of Republicans for the Democrats to slow down, step back and start over on a piece of legislation that has more patches slapped on it than a pair of 1970's bell bottom jeans, Harry Reid uses a comparison to legislation on slavery, civil rights and women's sufferage.  You've got to be kidding me!

As a justification for pushing ahead in spite of many questions and concerns on what will be covered, what it will cost and how it will be paid for, the Senate Majority Leader used a comparison to the abolition of slavery, the debates on civil rights, and the legislation for women's right to vote.  He says that at that time people were asking to slow down and step back but it was important to push forward.  I'll give him that.  Those issues were important to push forward, but it's insulting to compare government run healthcare to civil rights.

Setting aside the offensiveness of the comparison, there was also a major difference.  Slavery, civil rights and women's sufferage were all yes or no questions.  The healthcare debate is not a yes or no question but a legislative takover of a major part of our economy.

Oh, and of course the biggest difference. 
Slavery was abolished by Republican President Lincoln with the cries to slow down coming from Democrats. 
The civil rights legislation was initiated by Democrat President Lyndon Johnson but supported by Republican members of Congress, filibustered by Southern Democrats in the Senate and eventually passing.  Thank God.
The women's sufferage I may have to give to the Democrats because Republicans had control of both the Executive and Legislative branches for much of the fight and it was a Democrat President who spoke in support.  Although Wilson had not much choice since the women were using his own words spoken in support of WWI against him.

Does Harry Reid honestly believe that government run healthcare is as important to our nation as these fights for civil liberties?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Silos, Self-interest and Citizenship

I wrote a letter to leadership and posted it on my facebook page.  The letter was all about asking Congress to slow down, focus on the economy instead of personal projects and do something right instead of fast.  This is a basic request for the citizenry, something that will serve the interest of the nation as a whole, but what happened?

The first real comment was the equivalent of "but what about me?"  Then it got into debates on social issues, a justification of current actions because of what the Republicans did and a total loss of the initial message.  So because Repbulicans weren't great we should sit silently by while the situation gets worse?

A little over a year ago my family and I went through the belongings of my grandmother who had passed away.  One of the things we found were ration booklets from WWII.  I've kept them not just because they were my grandmother's, but because of what they represent about us as a nation.  The nation banded together and everybody sacrificed much in order to battle the enemy and win.

On December 7th 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and more than 3,500 people were killed or injured.  We declared war on Japan and on Germany and finally entered the great war.  The cost in lives and in money was astromical and tragic, but we banded together, set aside our individual agendas and worked together as a nation to win.

On September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacked the world trade center, the Pentagon, and another target that, due to the bravery of average citizens, they failed to hit.  Nearly 3,000 people were killed in this attack and the country banded together in a dedication to fight against Al-Qaeda and stop this from ever happening again.  In WWII we were fighting against the Nazi goal of forcing their ideology on the rest of the world, now we are doing the same against radical Islam.  In WWII we lost 418,000 military personel in the fight and we maintained the will to win.  And we did win.  In the War on Terror we have lost 5,500 and our determination to win waned as soon as the war began.

Although in WWII we stayed dedicated to winning in spite of any personal sacrifices that we had to make, the philosophy now is the opposite.  Though there are many who still believe in a shared sacrifice in order to achieve a common goal, there are many who support the sacrifice of the common goal in order to avoid any personal hardship.  The wars have cost a lot of money which is absolutely true, but should we sacrifice our battle against terror because it's too expensive?  While at the same time passing sweeping legislation that will cost the country trillions and never, ever go away.  At least the wars will end, badly written legislation on government run healthcare will be will us forever. 

This, "give me what I want or I'll take my ball and go home" philosophy is destroying us from within.  Is radical Islam getting what they want by our refusal to band together and fight?  Are they glorying in the idea that they have divided us and now we're ripe for conquering?  Do they use our obsessive need to push our own personal agenda in the face of broader, more wide sweeping issues as proof of what is wrong with western civilization?

We may all have different ideas on how to make things better, but we should all be looking at the big picture instead of focusing on our own small piece of it.  We should disagree and discuss, but we shouldn't be telling the other side, "you lost so sit down and shut the hell up."  We should look at what is happening now and analyze it based on what is happening now instead of justifying a new bad policy because we think somebody else wrote a worse one.  In other words, we need to stop behaving like bickering children and start banding together to save the country from economic collapse and bankruptcy. 

But then again, I can see why your personal issue may be far more important that the safety and economic stability of the nation as a whole.  That whole United we stand divided we fall slogan is probably just propoganda anyway.

Following the "Un"

With all of the discussion on climategate and the United Nation's goals as it relates to global warming, I have to wonder why we ever do anything in line with the UN.  Over the last decades they have earned their initials.  Sadly, if you want to know what the United Nations can do, just list your expectations and still their initials in front of it.  That is what they really are.

un - objective
un - ethical
un - effective (not a real word but you get the drift)
un - truthful
un - cooperative
un - productive
un - helpful
un - supportive

Yes indeed, the organization has lived up to its initials.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Angry Spinster's Letter To Leadership

I better clean the house because I expect the FBI to come knocking at my door.

I sent this letter to all of my Congressmen, Barack Obama and Joe Biden via the hand dany

Why, in the face of the unemployment rate finally stabilizing at the astronomical rate of 10% are the Democrats so doggedly determined to pass a bill that is guaranteed to send the unemployment rate higher? Why are they insisting on rushing something that should be analyzed, deliberated, debated and discussed until all possibilities and potential consequences are address? Why are they insisting on putting their personal agenda ahead of the best interest of this nation. Most importantly, why are they insisting on turning us into a European style of government which is what we fought a revolution to escape?

Stop turning us into Europe and go back and read the Declaration of Independence. As Congress continues on it's path to destroy everything this Constitution was designed to create and protect, you continue to skate ever closer to a specific line from that hallowed document.

We hold these truths to be self evident: That all men are created equal; that that are endowed by their creator will certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; THAT WHEN ANY GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE

Contrary to what you may believe, there are millions and millions of Americans who still believe in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and we are appalled at how you wrap yourselves in our sacred documents while shredding everything they stand for.

Get your act together or expect to find yourselves added to that unemployment rate.

Schoolhouse Rock!

If you're like me and of a certain age, you remember well the short clips that made up Schoolhouse Rock.  Most people around my age can still sing the preamble to the Constitution as a result of this educational tool.  Watching it again now, I think what I like most about it is the way it shows the progression of time and how those principles still apply.  The times may change but the principles of our government should not. 

Thomas Jefferson once said, "Educate and inform the whole masses.... They are the only sure reliance of the preservation of our liberty."

What are we teaching as far as American History in our classrooms today?

Friday, December 4, 2009

There's Hope in the Arkansas Race

Former Green Beret, Trevor Drown, fed up with the liberal philosophies and the corruption of the Republican party in his state has decided to run as an independent for his district's Senate seat.  I've attached the link to the full article and interview below, but I was struck by a simple truth that shows the man has some much needed common sense.

 "If you can’t spend your way out of debt in your personal life, how can the government?"

Or maybe I should take a page from the government's book and start maxing out my credit cards in order to buy lottery tickets.  If I don't win I'll just get more credit cards and max those out too.  This is bound to work eventually so who cares if I can't pay the credit card bills.  I'm sure there's no possibility whatsoever that those companies will stop giving me credit.

A U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas and an Independent's pursuit (Includes interview)

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Powers Not Delegated

I'm a Constitutionalist and I make no apologies for bieng so.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Before any party affiliation I might claim, my first loyalty is always to the Constitution of the United States of America.  As such, the growth and expansion of the federal government not only frightens me, it angers me.  It is a blatant violation of an amendment that the Supreme Court and Congress have evidently forgotten about.

The 10th amendment is one of the most important and least regarded amendments to the Constitution.  So important that it had to be included in the Bill of Rights.  I've read the Constitution several times of course, but I could remember the exact words of the 10th amendment so I went back and checked today.  Something leapt out and smacked me in my face. 

The amendment itself is only 28 words long, but its intent can be summarized in a single word of the 28.  The text reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The writers of our Constitution were very careful about the words they used so the use of the word "delegated" in that amendment is not an accident of chance or a misunderstanding.  It was deliberate.

According to Mirriam-Webster, to delegate means to assign responsibility or authority.  This means that all rights first belonged to the states and a very fair few were "delegated" to the federal government.  What the states did not agree to let them have through ratification of the document is in no way under the authority of the federal government.

I know that for the few people who actually read my blogs that I am most likely preaching to the choir, but I continue to be baffled by the misinterpretation of an amendment made so obvious by the use of that single, very powerful word.

Wouldn't it be fun to have an organization of lawyers the size and power of the ACLU whose sole function was to pull every law passed by Congress into the Supreme Court as a violation of the tenth amendment?  Maybe then we could get the two branches of government who should pay it the highest respect to remember it actually exists.

Enough With The Freaking Green Jobs Already

I was working away today with the television playing as background noise when I heard Obama at his meeting in Allentown, PA.  After cleaning up the blood from banging my head against a brick wall in anger and frustration, I went back to work; all the time my mind churning over the ridiculous statements that were made before I muted the TV in order to save both my head and the brick wall it was banging against.

He of course took the opportunity to herald what a great job he's doing with the economy now since the unemployment rate is back down to only 10%.  Oh praise the Messiah for his great work.  Then he talked about his job summit and what they are doing to increase jobs. 

First we had our shovel ready project pork filled stimulus bill and endless chants of how it will create green jobs.  Then we had the crap and trade discussions and how they were going to create green jobs.  Then came the cash for clunkers fiasco so we could drive greener cars, and now the jobs bill is focused on what?  You guessed it, green jobs.

It is becoming increasingly evident to me that if you don't work in construction or an industry related to replacing bad energy hogging products with shiny new green ones, then the President doesn't give a rat's ass if you're out of work.  His answer has repeatedly been to give government money to certain industries in order to create jobs in that industry.  But what about the rest of us?  What about the millions that are out of work and aren't in his pet industries?  Well, we're pretty much screwed.

I work for a large company that already does it's best to be a "green" company.  We went paperless years ago, we limit travel and hold meetings over the phone.  Nearly half of the workforce uses a home office so we don't drive our gas guzzling, air polluting cars in to work every day.  But are we benefiting in any way from any of the job creating actions this administration has forsaken taken?  Nope, not a bit.

I'm in the insurance industry (oh the shame and horror) and we supply a service to other companies.  As those companies lay off their employees we have less work to do and so need fewer employees ourself.  In an effort to save jobs, the company this year elected to not give raises and keep the people in the hopes of riding this wave out safely.  Right now the best case scenario is that the same thing will happen in 2010.  The worst case is that layoffs will be made. 

What the President refuses to acknowledge is that all the businesses that offer services or products unrelated to his precious climate change agenda are scared to death of what is coming down the pike.  They're afraid of the immense taxes and fines that will slapped on them through healthcare legislation, cap and trade, card check and a myriad of other abominable policies that this leftist Congress will attempt to pass.  As a result, they aren't hiring until they know what the situation is going to be.

The only acknowledgement I heard of this was that "Employers don't like uncertainty so we need to get healthcare passed as soon as possible."  The sheer short sighted stupidity of this comment had me floored.  So we want to let our employers know that they're definitely going bankrupt instead of just facing the looming possibility.  I can see the jobs boom now.

Out of one side of his mouth Obama says that the government can't create jobs, and out of the other side of his mouth comes the statement that the government will give certain industries money to create jobs.  That aint how it works bucko.

Wouldn't it be nice if he stopped focusing on creating green jobs and started focusing on creating REAL jobs?  I know, there I go chasing windmills and building those sand castles in the sky again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mann Made Climate Change

Finally I understand the climate change debate.  For all this time I believed that they meant human beings were contributing to the documented rise in global temperatures.  Now I understand that when they said global warming was man made, they were actually saying it was Mann made.  It makes so much more sense to me now.

When do you think the UN is going to catch on?

Why Jobs Summitt Will Fall Flat

As some of you know, for my day job I am a Six Sigma Black Belt, statistical process control analyst, process improvement specialist or whatever you want to call it. What it all boils down to is that I'm a problem solver. As somebody who solves problems for a living, I can pretty much guarantee that if this summit identifies anything that actually works, it will be something the rest of us knew months ago.

There are basic rules that need to be followed if you genuinely want to solve a problem and the summitt is following only one of the three.

1. Know the size and impact of your problem. If you don't know this then what's the point.  You may not even have a problem to solve. This is the only rule the summitt is following because we know the unemployment rate.

2. Determine the root cause of your problem. This is most effectively done by listening to the voice of the customer. In this case the customer would be employers. In order to really solve unemployment, analysis must be done which determines why the employers are laying off people or not hiring more people. This information can only be gathered from the employers themselves. Guess who isn't represented at the summitt.

3. Once the root cause of the problem is identified, brainstorm ideas that will fix the cause and not just treat the symptom. Perform a risk analysis to ensure that no unintended consequences of your actions will be felt. The summitt cannot possibly do step 3 because it isn't doing step 2.

That's it, that's the basic guide to problem solving. A very simple and time testing process that works if it's used.  The most critical piece of fixing any problem is to know what's causing it -- and who does the summit have to give them that information? Labor Unions, academics and campaign contributors.

I guess we should be grateful that he's at least finally getting around to looking like he's doing something about unemployment.

Dance A Little Side Step

Replace Charles Durning with Obama. Need I say more?

Michele Obama Says "Let Them Eat Cake"

While unemployment rises, companies and individuals both are struggling to keep their heads above water and steadily losing ground, the Obama's throw the most elaborate White House State Dinner in a decade.

Among the attendees were Steven Spielberg, Alfre Woodard and M Knight Shamalan. Among the uninvited, the Republican leadership, thereby fulfilling Obama's promise of bipartisanship. Uh huh.

This all becomes even more important because of the "crashers" at this big shindig. The usual person with a clipboard and guest list was not at the door by the secret service because of "cost savings" initiatives. They didn't believe this would be necessary. Guess they were wrong, but of course they have no culpability whatsoever with the gate crashing. Not that they'll ever admit.

With all of the talk about the gate crashers the actual size and scope of the dinner itself hasn't been talked about much. Was it really necessary, in a time when government spending is out of control and unemployment is rising, to give such a large and elaborate "dinner" event?

Now, a full year after his election, Obama is finally getting around to looking into the whole job issue. A lower priority than healthcare, climate change, date night and parties. The so called jobs summit, like the state dinner, excludes anybody with a dissenting opinion from his own and will be as ineffectual as his speech at West Point.

The Obama's appear to be living high while showing a disregard for those of us struggling in a troubled economy that he plans to cripple even further, and possibly permanently, with his pet projects. His dogged and unrelenting pursuit of these projects in the face rising voter disapproval and the negative impact to the economy shows a contempt for the average person. He and Michele might as well go on TV and say, "Let them eat cake."

Curious about how much the dinner alone, excluding the cost of the crasher fiasco, cost the taxpayers I was unable to find a hard number. Part of that transparency that we were promised. All I could find were comments that it cost over $1 million. I do not begrudge the cost of a state dinner. I understand they are necessary and we can't very well serve our visitors fried spam and mac & cheese, but this could definitely have been done on a smaller (and cheaper) scale.

I suddenly have an image of Obama, with his usual chin in the air - eyes down the nose look at America said with gravity, "I know you are struggling and we are working dilligently to solve the problems that the failed policies of the past created," then breaking into a grin, throwing up his arms and screaming, "But tonight Michele and I are going to PAR - TAY!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sinatra Philosophy

I was watching Glen Beck this afternoon and he was talking about picking yourself up and starting over, and well, it got me thinking. A couple of songs popped into my head and they had the common theme of "when you get knocked down, get back up."

One of my favorite songs is Frank Sinatra's That's Life. And what a message it is. So true and sung with such strength and power. "That's Life. That's what all the people say. I'm flying high in April, shot down in May, but you know I'm going change that tune, when I'm back on top, back on top in June."

What a great philosophy of when I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race. How shocking that he's not saying, I found myself flat on my face, blamed society and sued the whole damn place. Another song comes to mind for me too. This one from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (yes I still love that movie). The song, From the Ashes of Disaster Grow the Roses of Success. It's all about learning from your failure and starting over again. Another great message.

Finally, the song that comes to mind is an Old Fred and Ginger tune with a refrain of "I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again."

What I find particularly interesting about these songs is that they're sung positively. The last two in particular have a really peppy tune indicating that this is a really good message. But it's a message we have shied away from. Life is hard and unfair. There will be times when you are flat on your face, dropped to your knees or knocked ass over tea kettle. Your life is not defined by how many times you get knocked down, but by how many times you get back up. If you get knocked out and decide to stay down, then you deserve to get stepped on by those who do rise again. People will reach out a hand to help you, but you have to take the hand and exert the effort to pull yourself up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself up and start all over again.

This is a hard thing for me personally to do. I over analyze everything and sometimes get to the point where I see so many negative possibilities that it's hard to move forward; but I was raised with the philosophy that the only person who can improve your situation in life is you. I have literally fallen off the horse and gotten right back on. I got bit by an ostrich that same day but that's a whole other story.

I write -- not just the blog but novels as well. I've never been published and the whole industry is really tough on the old ego. I wrote my first novel when I was 25 and I have to admit that it really sucked. But hey, it was 1991 and I wrote it by hand in a series of composition books. I didn't write another one until I was 30 and I had technologically advanced. This one started on a word processor and then progressed to a computer. I attempted to get it published but was inundated with rejection letters. A very demoralizing experience. I wrote another one a few years later, again I was rejected. I received some very nice and very encouraging rejection letters, but they were still rejections. But I didn't give up. At least not for long. I will continue to try.

My latest book is, I believe, my best chance for publication so far. It's a political suspense thriller where there is a plot to wipe out Congress and start fresh. Who doesn't want to read about Congress reaping what they've sown? But I'm still, in the eyes of the publishing industry, a first time author and it will be very difficult to get this published, and yet I've already started another novel. I won't give up. I can't give up. Being a published author is a dream I've had for most of my life and it is not one I will give up easily.

Hearing that something your poured your heart and soul into and worked on for months, maybe even years, is worthless in the eyes of the marketplace is one of those situations that will drop you to your knees. It's hard to hear once, it's even harder to hear over and over again. I once received four rejection letters in the same day. That was really hard to bounce back from, but I did.

What saddens me is that the message has changed from the get back up and try again, to a message that you can't possibly succeed so let the government take care of you. It's such a cruelty to so many people. Many of the American people need to relearn the lesson that life isn't fair and instead of dwelling on it you need to just suck it up and move on.

Failure is never an excuse to stop trying.