Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coalescing

What an emotional day it is here in Colorado. Our beloved little general, Mike Shanahan, has been fired as coach of the Denver Broncos, because the last three years his record has been 24-24. A press conference featured both Snanahan and owner Pat Bowlen. Shanahan was class all the way. He was surprised by Bowlen's move, but took it like the man he is. Shanahan choked up when saying Bowlen is the best owner in sports. Then he recovered and said you have to make tough decisions, and he "felt for Pat." As Shanahan said, "tough times don't last, tough people do." He is tough as nails. Both of these guys are all about winning, and not afraid to make tough decisions.

If people could only coalesce around who would be the best leaders for our country, like the people of this region coalesce around the Denver Broncos, our nation would be in better shape.
"The business of progressives is to go on making mistakes, while the business of conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." G.K. Chesterton 1929

"If a key fits a lock, you know it is the right key." G.K. Chesterton, explaining his Christian faith, in his book Orthodoxy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

There are Limits to this Organic Thing

A customer came up to my cashier stand at my weekend job with a dozen brown organic eggs costing $4.50. The woman informed me, without prompting from me, "These are worth every penny of what they cost!" I agreed, and told her I live on a farm where some of our hens are still giving us 4 to 6 eggs a day, even in the cold winter months. She was impressed, until I told her how delicious the goats' milk is. She quietly backed away.

Organic eggs were one thing, but drinking milk from a goat was quite another! She had a limit. She would not cross that line! She couldn't wait to get out of that store!

"Daydreaming, Following Your Intuition, Romantic Improvisations"

For the New Year, the Wall Street Journal asked some influential people three questions: What professional project do you plan to complete in 2009? What personal resolution do you finally hope to keep next year? And what problem should your industry or professional community tackle more effectively?

As to that last question, my favorite answer came from a man named Phillippe Petit, the wirewalker in the documentary "Man on a Wire." He said, "I live in the clouds, among the birds. My problems are the treacherous wind currents, and ah yes, on the ground, the men and women who have been trained to say no to miracles. So, let's include in next year's school curriculum classes in daydreaming, in following your intuition, in romantic improvisations."

Are We Listening to God?

Are we listening to God...or do we only want God to listen to us? If we heard God speak to us, how would our lives be changed? Would we be doing the same things tomorrow that we did today?

Israel Retaliates

Israel is being criticized for a "disproportionate response" to terror group Hamas' indiscriminate lobbing of rockets into southern Israel. Shouldn't Israel's goal be to put an end to the Iran puppet's ability to continue their immoral acts of violence?

How should Israel respond to the continued missile attacks? Negotiate? Trust terrorists to abide by their word? You've got to be kidding me!

Here is another question. Is Israel acting now because of their uncertainty about the Obama administration? Or, have the Bush and Obama administrations given Israel the silent, but green light to do it now, before the inauguration? This gives Obama cover, and he can come in as the peacemaker.

Driving While Texting

Someone ran over a child last week, while driving her car and texting on her cell phone. I think someone will introduce a bill soon in the Colorado legislature to ban the use of cell phones while driving an automobile. Do you think that would be a good idea?

It is hard for me to be objective about this one. One year ago I slumped to the floor and pushed "mom's cell" button on our phone. Our two-year-old foster child thought I was playing, so she climbed up on my back. I wasn't playing; I was having a heart attack!

Colleen was driving home, after taking the kids to school. She dialed 911 from her cell phone. The EMS people were there within ten minutes, and I was on my way to a topnotch hospital. My life was saved because a call was made on the cell phone while Colleen was driving.

I am not a fan of texting, though. Severe penalties are levied against drunk drivers who are involved in accidents. The same should apply to texters, who are not even trying to look where they are going. At least the drunks are trying to see!

Will We Take Up The Slack?

The demise, or at least the considerable thinning down of the ranks of newspaper journalism, seems to be accelerating. Will blogggers take up the slack? I have my doubts. We decry the obvious slanting of stories to fit the "journalists'" personal ideology, but are we really much better on that score?

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Gospel According to...

Dad overhears this religious discussion at the breakfast table.
Sara asks, "Is Jesus the only One who comes back to life after He dies?"
Greg answers, "Yes."
Sara asks, "How did He do that?"
Jon explains, "He lives always, through eternity."

Sara asserts, "I'm not going to follow the devil."
Greg explains that it is not all that easy, because "He hypnotizes you. All he cares about is himself."
Jon again explains, "If you ask Jesus and God for forgiveness, you can stop following the devil, and follow Jesus!"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Benefiting From Love

Many people who are childless treat their animals just like they would a beloved child. Animals now get almost all of the medical procedures that humans get. This must be a great time to be a veterinarian!

In Colorado there are always about 800 children in foster care whose parental rights have been terminated. That means they are available for adoption. If they were adopted, wouldn't their lives benefit as much as those animals who have such loving caretakers?

Benefiting Poor Children

Did you know that the National Football League has a policy that benefits poor children in India and Africa? After each championship game, like the one Sunday night between Denver and San Diego, fans snap up shirts and baseball caps with the logo of the winning team. The losing team's apparel used to be destroyed. Not any longer. World Vision distributes the apparel of the losing team to kids in Kenya, Tanzania, and India.

The Christmas Spirit

On Christmas Eve a fire devastated the home of a family of five children who lived in the mountains just west of Denver. A Denver man watched TV coverage of the dramatic blaze, then drove to the fire scene with an amazing offer. He has a five-bedroom home for sale, but he offered to take it off the market and rent it to the family for a dollar as long as they need it!

The fire erupted just before sunrise with soaring flames that devoured the home. A son was home from the Marines. He and four teen siblings escaped unharmed, as did the parents.

Christmas night the family, dressed entirely in donated clothes and shoes, showed up at the Denver Rescue Mission, to help serve dinner to the homeless!

Athletes Who Deliver

The Denver Nuggets NBA basketball team has a genuine leader named Chauncey Billips. Chauncey is home-grown, winning state high school basketball championships and taking the University of Colorado deep into the NCAA tourney. After winning an NBA championship at Detroit, Chauncey has come back home. The Nuggets have a 17-8 record since he suited up with them after being traded from Detroit.

Not only is he a masterful leader on the court, but he is also an excellent role model for the kids in Denver. Before Christmas he asked a local elementary school near the recreation center where he learned and honed his game of basketball, to refer to him families who might need help at Christmas. He purchased $3000 in gifts for the children of 26 families, and gave each family a $100 gift card at a local supermaket.

Chauncey has earned the respect of his teammates, who now play a much more unselfish brand of basketball. Maybe he can rub off on the rest of us, too, inspiring all of us to follow his example of unselfishness in the community.

Denver Broncos football stars Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are two other athletes who are making a great contribution. For too long it has been considered cool to be a member of a gang in minority neighborhoods. Cutler and Marshall have been working with a gang-prevention program. Kids come after school, and learn the meaning of concepts such as courage, wisdom, justice, compassion, hope, respect, responsibility and integrity.

Rocky Mountain News columnist Dave Krieger, who, by the way, is one of the best, notes that "The temptations of the gang life are as great as ever, maybe greater, with legitimate jobs so scarce. Selling kids on another way at a young age is a challenge; except maybe Broncos players." As Krieger points out, whether these players deliver on Sunday or not, they are definitely delivering in the community.

Cutler and Marshall, joined by tight end Daniel Graham, distributed several hundred footballs and glossy Broncos photos, which kids from over 400 families brought up to the athletes to be autographed.

Protecting the Vulnerable, Versus Protecting Their Abusers

There has been a recent Bush Administration change in rules on nursing home inspections. These changes will make it harder for people to find out what happened to their loved ones who have accidents or are abused by nursing home employees. Under the new rules, state employees who inspect nursing homes are reclassified as federal employees, and are not allowed to provide "privileged information" or documents to the public without approval from the head of the centers for Medicaid and Medicaid!

The reason given by the head of HHS is that responding to requests "diverts employees from their federal survey, certification, and enforcement responsibilities." Baloney!!

I have written before about experiences I had as a Director of Human Services. I had a radio program, called Senior Saturday, which was broadcast on a local CBS station. Each Saturday I interviewed seniors whom my caseworkers had told me were interesting characters.

One Saturday I interviewed a 99-year-old woman who was telling me about coming to Colorado in a covered wagon, crossing over Wolf Creek Pass! A resident of the nursing home, whose bed was across the hall, came into the room to listen to the interview. The Director of Nursing roughly shoved him back into his room.

The following Monday I filed an official grievance with the state. My caseworkers followed up with a dozen additional grievances over the next few weeks. The nursing home lost its Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Hearings ensued, with lawyers in three-piece-suits from Philadelphia defending the corporation that owned the nursing home (the corporation owned a vending machine network in Pennslyvania). The corporation finally made a ton of changes to clean up the operation. after losing all their appeals, and regained their Medicaid and Medicare funding.

There are interesting sidelights to the story. After the clean up, my ex-wife became the director of the nursing home, and I later brought my own mother to live there, after she suffered a series of strokes, and kept crashing into things on her way to the golf course!

It sounds to me as though the high-priced guys in three-piece suits have successfully lobbied the Bush administration to protect the interests of their corporations. I don't believe it is good news for seniors, many of whom society has already forgotten.

Undermining Public Confidence and Trust

Can you believe the financial institutions that received billions of dollars from the taxpayers are refusing to disclose what they are doing with the money? How does that improve public confidence and trust? Unbelievable! Talk about power and arrogance!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Effects of Government Intervention in the Economy

Thomas Sowell, a man whom I respect immensely, has a warning for us. He reminds us here that it was not the stock market crash of 1929 that caused unemployment in the 1930s; it was the Hoover and FDR government intervention in the economy! In 1929 unemployment after the October crash did rise to 9% in December, but then began a downward trend to 6.3%the following June.

That was when the Smoot Hawley Tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country. Five months later, unemployment hit double digits, and continued to rise under Hoover and FDR's government intervention in the economy. Beginning in February 1932 the unemployment rate never fell below 20% before January 1935!


Sowell points out that it worked great for four-term President FDR, but not for the country. He also points out that FDR had Herbert Hoover to blame; now Obama has George W. Bush!

Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours

Well, I managed to get a few pictures before the screen on the camera died. Fired too many shots in too short of a time, I guess.





Wednesday, December 24, 2008

They Just Don't Get It!

The New York Times last month described a Jewish center in Mumbai, India, as the "unlikely target" of terrorists. When terrorists murdered Christian workers, while sparing Muslims, in the offices of a Karachi charity in 2002, CNN International said there was "no indication of a motive."

On and on goes the media bias and ignorance. These and other examples are given in a new book entitled "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion." The book was reviewed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal by one of my favorite columnists, editorial-page editor of the Rocky Mountain News, Vince Carroll. Maybe Vince can get a job with the Wall Street Journal after the Rocky folds in mid-January.

Let's Get Going!

The financial news, with the exception of Wal-Mart, McDonalds, and too few others, is pretty bleak. What do you think lies ahead for our country? Are you optimistic, or pessimistic? President-elect Obama says it will get worse before it gets better.

Have you run out of trust? Are you worried? Are you confused? In whom do we have confidence? Do we still have our wit, our sense of humor? Will we overcome? Is anybody in control?

The fact remains that we are still the one country in the world where millions want to come. They want our freedom, our safety, our opportunities, our health care, our universities. We have to keep on keeping on! With gas prices as low as they are, we have lots of disposable income. Mortgate rates are the lowest I have seen them. It is not all bad news.

Great fun, but soon coming to an end

There they go again. Big headline yesterday in the Rocky Mountain News: "Rice gets $316,000 in jewels, gifts from Arab leaders." In the eighth paragraph the reader learns that the gifts have been turned over to the General Services Administration and government archives in accordance with federal law, which bars officials from accepting personal presents.

How about this headline: "Condi Rice complies with federal law." No, even though accurate, it's just not juicy enough. Let's go with the one that is completely misleading. It will influence people to hate our Secretary of State.

Isn't it fun to have this newspaper to play with? I know we are going to lose it in a couple of weeks, but it has been great fun loading it up with our biases!

Where was the Secret Service?

I just saw a replay of a video showing the "journalist" throwing his shoes at President Bush. Right after he throws the first one, he kneels down to get his second shoe. Where was our Secret Service? They should have been all over that guy immediately after he started to throw the first shoe!

"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

Greg is hoping there will be room in Santa's sleigh for the tooth fairy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Questions About Job Creation

Only six companies have gone public in 2008! Is entrepreneurship dead in America? What killed it? Will Obama be remembered as the next FDR, or the next Herbert Hoover? Does Obama really think public make-work projects will get the country out of recession? What incentive will there be for risk-taking entrepreneurs? Have a few bad apples, like Enron and other accounting scandals, created so much new government red tape that it has killed the creation of new public companies in America?

Frontier Values

Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit fame, has written a review in the Wall Street Journal yesterday of a new book called "How to Live on Mars." According to Reynolds, the book is "in the vein of 19th century guides to the New World." Reynolds says the book "views the values of the frontier as superior to those of a closed civilization." The author, Robert Zubrin, "has written elsewhere that he believes the outlet and example of a frontier is necessary for the long-term survival of freedom for those who remain behind."

The frontiersmen and women of America were, indeed, necessary for our survival. Self-reliance, hard work, large families, trustworthiness, loyallty, honesty, faith in God, risk-taking, inventiveness, and resourcefulness are some of the attributes they brought to the American frontier. What are some other attributes you can think of? More importantly, do you think our people still practice these values in our every day lives?

Succumbing to the Lure of Polyester

Why do old people prefer to wear cheap polyester pants? I promise not to join that trend when I am in my eighties. I have noticed, though, that generation after generation of octogenerians succumb to the lure of polyester. Do you understand it?

The Commies Do Capitalism!

Will capitalism solve the China/Taiwan problem? China is allocating the equivalent of $19 billion dollars to Taiwanese companies doing business on the mainland over the next two or three years. In addition to increased industrial cooperation, the plan calls for the wider sale in China of agricultural products from Twiwanese farms. Last week China and Taiwan initiated daily air and direct maritime links after a break of nearly 60 years! The above facts were gleaned from an AP story with no byline. I also heard on BBC radio last night that China has given Taiwan two pandas!

A National Holiday to be Enjoyed by all Americans

Radio talk show host Michael Medved has written a new book entitled, "The Ten Big Lies About America." I want to read that book! I heard Michael discussing the book Monday on Dennis Prager's radio program.

Apparently, one of the big lies is that America is multi-cultural. Multi-ethnic, yes; but multi-cultural, no! We are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all? Right?

Dennis and Michael, two devout Jews, are living proof. Playing wonderful Christmas music throughout the program, they both celebrate Christianity throughout the year on their radio programs, and Monday was no different. They both pointed out that Christmas is a national holiday to be enjoyed by all Americans.

Worshipping

Is the instinct to worship built into our DNA? Tucker Carlson, subbing for Dennis Miller, believes that it is. If we don't worship God, does our DNA still urge us to find something to worship? A sports star, a rock star, politician, a drug, or our own narcissistic selves? Whom do you worship?

Resolve

Do you know Mr. K.R. Ramamoorthy? He is a man who, the last time he stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, he was taken hostage, bound, beaten, and berated by the terrorists who took over the hotel last month.

On Sunday night Mr. Ramamoorthy joined hundreds of guests for the partial reopening of the hotel. "I thought I should come back to the place where this happened and show my support for the Taj and my defiance against those who did this to me and to this magnificent city," said Mr. Ramamoorthy.

Another person who returned was Bill Bakshi, a 68-year-od disabled man from Delhi, who also was a guest during the terror seige in November. He came back to try to conquer the fear that has caused him to awaken most nights anxious and sweating, unable to sleep. "I must demonstrate I did not get cowed by this incident. I'm hoping against hope that this gives me a chance to knock the fear out of my system."

The information cited in the previous paragraphs was gleaned from a Wall Street Journal story yesterday by Greta Anand and Eric Bellman.

Do you remember how united we were as a nation after 9-11? Did the constant drumbeat of the old media, constantly pointing out negative aspects of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, finally break that resolve, that unity of Americans to fight the terrorists?

A Christmas Poem by Eight-Year-Old Jon

The stockings had fallen all four in a row.
I was hoping that Saint Nick wouldn't be so slow.
I waited for an hour,
Feeling quite sour.
When I was about to give up, I sat up!
I heard a bump, then got a lump.
Oh, no! It wasn't Saint Nick,
It was just Uncle Rick!

The Good Ole Days!

Obama has picked Hilda Solis to be Secretary of Labor. This is his payback to the unions, who hugely supported his candidacy. She publicly states that she has a goal of expanding the reach and power of unions in America.

One of her first efforts will be to push something called the Employee Free Choice Act, which the Wall Street Journal says would do the opposite of its name. It would end secret balloting to unionize a workplace!

President Bush's Labor Secretary, Elaine Chao, has improved the enforcement of financial disclosure rules governing union operations. Union leaders fight transparency requirements regarding their compliance with federal laws.

There is, however, one constituency that needs the Labor Department to enforce union compliance with federal laws: dues-paying union members!

Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters this spring over Hillary Clinton. How did he do it? By quietly promising to end federal oversight of the Teamsters! Back to the good ole days of mob influence!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Training Your Brain to Control Your Emotions

We are having a problem with self control among the siblings. One idea we had was to buy a chess set. As we play, I constantly stress training your mind to control your emotions. I don't know...the problem may get worse before it gets better!

Update: After writing this post I surfed over to My Three Sons. Daddio has posted a great idea that I am going to try, and I will report back!

Update: The chess game disintegrated into name-calling. Jon left the table and went outside. Greg went downstairs and brought up a box of blocks. He started making a fort. Jon came inside and sat down next to Greg and they began building a fort together. That lasted a long time, with singing, laughing, and a good time had by all!

Update: After successfully building an army base with their blocks, Greg and Jon decided to play chess! So far, so good!

Final Update: They were having so much fun, the teens decided to join them! It looks like Greg is pulling his hair out, but I don't think he did.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Prelude

With the magic of blocks, a city appears, with a few pink ponies mixed in with the skyscrapers.
Meanwhile, on a farm outside of the city, a manger scene appears. Dad says, "I see Joseph and Mary, but where is Jesus?" We lost Him," is the answer that comes from the children. Dad suspects the dinosaur.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Green Light

Have we ever had a classier First Lady than Laura Bush? Her work supporting oppressed Muslim women and girls in Afghanistan and throughout the world has been remarkable. She will not stop after leaving the White House. Her moral clarity has been outstanding, as has her husband's. Moral clarity is not currently in vogue, however, as "pacifism and plattitudes" are now glorified. Therefore, the terrorists believe they have a green light to escalate their violence, especially against those who are unarmed and vulnerable, as in India.

Choosing Happiness

Yesterday I heard a caller to the Dennis Prager program. He told Dennis that he has learned to make a conscious decision every day to choose happiness. You see, the man lost his son fighting terrorists in Afghanistan. Rather than fold up in bitterness and despair, he honors his son's memory by choosing to be happy every day. He and his wife are involved with the Gold Star program, helping others deal with the loss of their brave sons or daughters.

Do you let others drag you down? What a waste of precious time.

Later, I heard Rush Limbaugh explaining why he chooses to be happy. He said he believes in a God who wants him to be grateful, appreciate life, and live it to the fullest.

Scamming Their Own People

Are there worse people than those who scam their own people? This year in Denver two prominent black pastors bilked members of their congregations out of many thousands of dollars in insurance and real estate scams. Now we are reading about Mr. Madoff, who made off with billions of dollars, mostly from fellow Jews.

Pay it Forward

On Thursday 1,400 people lined up on Colfax Street in Denver at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. In memory of a beloved priest who believed people should not have to sleep outside in the cold, an anonymous donor and the Daniels Fund (developed by a man who made a fortune in cable t.v.) gave each person an envelope with two ten dollar bills. The people were urged to keep one of the bills, and pass on the other to someone else in need. Hot chocolate and cookies were served to everyone outside the doors of the cathedral. Gloves were passed out to everyone who needed them.

Many of the people asked for wool socks. Next year, socks will be provided.

Governors' Money

Sarah Palin, whose Wasilla Bible Church was burned by arsonists, will not accept a pay raise recommended by a state compensation commission. She did not believe it would be appropriate to accept a pay raise in the middle of her term in office. Her first term ends in 2010.

Illinois has a governor, too. He is someone Barack Obama used to know quite well, but no longer.

A New Day

Yesterday: Shadows on the pond.

This morning: a triangular sunrise points us vertically upward.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pardons

Who will President Bush pardon before he leaves office? The parents of American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh are asking Bush to pardon their son as an "act of mercy during the Christmas season."

I would much prefer Bush to pardon border agents Ramos and Campeon.

Playing the Game Successfully

Illinois Governor Blagojevich was caught on tape bragging about what he was going to do. Now that's a new one: a guy bragging about what he is going to do! Having a big, foul mouth is now a crime?

Blagojevich is small potatoes, when compared with Bill Clinton's pay-to-play schemes. He is an embarrasment to the Dems, because he doesn't know how to play the game successfully.

Ah-Chew!

1500 parakeets were rescued from a two-room apartment in Berlin. The birds were flying freely around the apartment, which was "littered with feces, feathers, and left-over food."

Whatever Happened to the Hippocratic Oath?

The Iraqi doctor who planted car bombs in the heart of London will spend at least 32 years in prison in England. He also rammed a jeep packed with containers of gasoline into a terminal at Glasgow International Airport. He was a doctor with Britain's National Health Service.

A Man Who Finds Good Solutions

Obama's choice for Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has a pretty amazing life story. He is one of eight children who grew up on a ranch with no telephone and no electricity. All eight Salazar children earned college degrees, four earned graduate degrees. Ken earned a law degree from the University of Michigan.

The ranch he grew up on is in the beautiful San Luis Valley, one of Colorado's poorest regions. Five generations of Salazar families farmed and ranched there, even before Colorado became a state.

Salazar, whose brother John is a Congressman and potato farmer, has a reputation of being a good listener, who balances different points of view to come up with good solutions to problems. He has a reputation for reaching across the aisle to get things done.

Salazar was Attorney General of Colorado when the mass murders were committed at Columbine High School by the two narcissistic spoiled brats, Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold.

While We Are Distracted...

While the U.S. is transitioning to a new presidency, China and Russia are flexing their military muscles. China plans to send a fleet to fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters. Russia is donating 10 MiG-29 fighter jets to Lebanon, and is committing to supply Lebanon with even more weapons.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Elections, Choices, and a Purpose-Driven Life

Barack Obama has chosen Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama's inaugural. Gays are furious. Instapundit has this to say:
You know, as I’ve noted before, the reason not to get too excited about elections is that the guy you like generally turns out to disappoint you, and the guy you don’t like generally turns out not to be as bad as you feared. A lot of Obama voters are encountering the downside of this phenomenon. . . .

Hickenlooper for U.S.Senate

It seems to me that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is by far the most accomplished candidate for the Salazar-vacated U.S. Senate seat. I have not read in detail the Denver papers' coverage of the issue this morning, but the lead paragraphs indicate that unions are opposed to Hickenlooper, and favoring Congressman Ed Perlmutter.

The Scary Truth: No One is in Control!

Once again this week David Harsanyi has written a very provocative column. This time his subject was the gullibility of Americans. We believe almost anything! David thinks it is because we want to believe someone is in control, someone can help us make sense of things.

So, what are some of the weird things we believe? We believe that 9-11 was a conspiracy of our own government. We believe UFOs exist. We believe Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul should be President of the United States! We believe there is an Illuminati ruling class that controls everything in Washington D.C. We believe that all you have to do to understand someone is to learn their astrological signs or numerology.

Harsanyi hits the nail on the head in his concluding paragraphs, where he states that to realize that no one is in control is even more frightening than "tales of furtive organizations that control our destinies."

A Sad Fact

According to the 2009 edition of Uncle Sam's Almanac, just published by the U.S. Census Bureau, 38.5% of all children born in America are born to unmarried mothers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scam Artists

Minus 19 degrees was our temperature Monday morning, 13 degrees colder than the previous record low temperature for December 15. If this is global warming, I'd hate to see global cooling! If there is a bigger scam artist than Al Gore, anywhere on earth, I'd like to know who that might be.

Not Far Enough To The Left!

Some environmental groups are unhappy with Obama's pick of Colorado Senator Ken Salazar to head the Interior Department. They are afraid he might be too much of a centrist! Latinos are afraid Salazar's U.S. Senate seat might go to a Republican (heaven forbid!) in two years.

Environmentalists want to protect the sage grouse. It is truly a fabulous bird, but protecting it might create major roadblocks to oil and gas work President Bush is allowing on federal lands.

Growing up on a farm in the beautiful San Luis Valley of Colorado, Salazar learned how to conserve resources and produce products. His current immediate family recently operated a Dairy Queen store in Denver. Farmers and small business owners learn how to face challenges. Salazar will have many as Secretary of the Interior, not the least of which will be having to deal with the environmental whackos and ethnic minorities who think they should own Obama, since they overwhelmingly supported his candidacy for the presidency with money, time, effort, and votes.

Like Obama, Salazar is left-of-center. His record as U.S. Senator, Colorado Attorney General, and Director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, however, is not extreme left, like the environmental whackos want.

Butt...

My four favorite Supreme Court Justices were on the losing side of a 5 to 4 vote this week. People are suing the tobacco companies for their deceptive advertising practices with regard to their "light" cigarettes. The court ruled that smokers may use state consumer protection laws to sue cigarette makers for the way they promote "light" and "low tar" brands.

Cigarette companies deceptive? You don't say! Yes, I know that individual smokers should know better, and have been warned for years. But cigarette companies have to be the most deceptive liars on the planet. I have no sympathy for them. They hook young poor spellers in by urging them to be "Kool," and then teach them how to be Marlboro Men, creating life-long addictions.

You never know what is going to come out of her mouth.


Last night at the school play, Sara met the woman who will be her principal next year. The principal came over to give her a friendly greeting. "Hello Sara, are you going to be coming to our school to be in kindergarten next year?" Sara replied, "No, I am going to high school next year."

Later, Sara told Colleen, "Mom, I am going to forgive Jesus." Colleen replied,"Uh, why?" "I am going to forgive him for dying."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Trouble With Civilization

This week we have had a barbarian throw both of his shoes at the President of the United States, another barbarian burned down Sarah Palin's church in Wasilla, Alaska, and the pirates are active in the Gulf of Aden. Of course, I could have cited many other uncivilized acts. How about the little girl in Florida? How about the Holocaust? How about the corruption of Chicago politics? How about the guy who bilked millions of dollars from people in Palm Beach, Florida? I am sure you can add many more examples.

Mike Rosen is a center-right talk show host and columnist in Denver. He wrote recently that the problem with civilization is that, at times, it can be entirely too civilized! He reminds us that barbarians prey on that vulnerability.

Did the "journalist" in Iraq throw his shoes at Saddam Hussein? No, Hussein was a fellow barbarian. He would make sure the man would be dead in minutes.

While we are marching toward civilization, we need to make sure that the barbarians do not attack our vulnerabilities. Our laws need to take into consideration that there are barbarians among us who want to attack those of us who seek to be civilized. We must never be defenseless against those who would destroy our freedom, our civilization.

What 19 Below Zero Looks Like

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hope and Beauty

This morning it is around zero, or below, and there are two rainbows in the sky!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gullible Parents

A man in Cincinnati, Ohio has pleaded guilty to molesting children, after telling their parents that he was an "underwear market researcher." He told parents he needed to measure their children's underwear for research. They let him! The children were between the ages of 9 and 16, both boys and girls. He made appointments with the parents, and met them at their homes, schools, or hospitals.

No Decency

Harry Belafonte was recently caught trying to profit on the death and memory of Dr. Martin Luther king. He possesses King documents worth from $750,000 to $1.3 million. The King estate stated that the documents are a part of a "wrongly acquired" collection. Sotheby's Auction House withdrew the documents from sale, after hearing from the King estate.

Poisonous Legacy

Greg Dobbs has a piece in the Rocky Mountain News entitled "The Poisonous Legacy of the Vietnam War." As a reporter for HDNet Televison, Dobbs and his t.v. team were the first western journalists to visit areas around former U.S. Air Force bases where Agent Orange was stored. Water supplies in Vietnam were tainted, and three generations of people living in the immediate areas around the bases have been born with grotesque birth defects.

The Vietnamese call it the American War. Of course, many American soldiers were also exposed to the poisonous chemical dioxin in Agent Orange. President Bush has asked Congress to appropriate $3 million for humanitarian aid and chemical mitigation. The Ford Foundation is adding even more funding.

Agent Orange, named for the color-coded barrels in which it was mixed and loaded onto aircraft, then sprayed on the trees and jungle foliage along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to deprive the communists of cover as they moved men and equipment down from North Vietnam. It is just one aspect of the poisonous legacy of that war.

What about the way the media reported that war? What about the way our troops were treated when they returned home? What about the huge numbers of Americans who fled to Canada? What about the disgraceful way we left Vietnam, allowing the communists to slaughter millions of Vietnamese in the south? What about the courageous efforts of the boat people to escape in tiny boats, hoping to make it to freedom?

But-Monkeys

Betsy Hart is one of my favorite writers on the subject of parenting. In her latest column she writes about how hard it is to get kids to say, "I'm sorry," (without adding a "but,") to take full responsibility when they mess up, and to ask for forgiveness. Of course, as always, what the parents model in their own behaviors, is the best teacher.

Hart thinks part of the problem is the "I am great just as I am" culture our kids our growing up in. No, you are not! You might be great, if you work hard to develop self control, responsibility, courage, perseverance, honesty, faith, humility, and integrate these and other other elements of character into your personality.

Unfortunately, kids are more likely to mimic what their parents do, instead of what their parents preach. Of course, they are also greatly influenced by the behavior of their peers, and by what they see on television, movies and video games. No matter how hard we parents try, a lot of things just have to come along as the child matures, usually learning the hard way, just like their parents!.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Winter Scenes

The geese from the pond decide to check out the sunset. If you click on the photo, you can see the geese just to the right of the tallest trees in the center of the photo.
These leaves are refusing to drop!

Friends in Low Places

All this focus on Chicago politics may help us understand our new president better. I hope we learn as much about Chicago as we learned about Wasilla, Alaska during the election campaign.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That was then; this is now.

Remember when Special Prosecuter Fitzgerald was going after Scooter Libby? Remember how the investigation went on and on and on, as Fitzgerald tried to see how far the corruption spread? This time, Fitzgerald abruptly arrested Governor Blagojevich in Illinois, before we could see how far the corruption extended.

Falling

Folks, thanks to Illinois Governor Blagojevich, we are about to get a scenic tour of Illinois politics. Did he get a million dollar offer to appoint Jesse Jackson's son to Obama's senate seat? Obama says he did not discuss the vacancy with Blago. Will Blago take a fall to protect Obama or Jackson? He does not seem like that kind of a guy. He seems more like a guy who would take others down with him.

The Pond After the Snow


Mountain Views

The mountains the day before the big snow storm.
The next day!

Are You Going To Hold Me Next, Mommy?

How Should We Proceed?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other male creatures have abandoned their defenses, and plan to confess their roles in the September 11 attacks. The judge was unsure exactly how to proceed. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Will This Put It to Rest?

The Associated Press published a story Tuesday quoting Hawaii Health Department Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino and the state's registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, who say they checked health department records and have determinied there is "no doubt" Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. One more conspiracy theory put to rest?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Indigestion

Did you read about the guy in Tyler, Texas who died after eating his girlfriend? Police said they found an ear boiling in a stovetop pot and flesh on a fork at the man's kitchen table. The man was found "unresponsive" in his jail cell.

Disclaimer: I got this story from the Associated Press, so its accuracy may be questioned.

The Death of Old Media

The front page story headlined at the top of the fold in the Denver Post yesterday was by Associated Press writers Phillip Elliot and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. It was about the "multi-billion dollar bailout of Detroit's Big Three automakers." It contained eighteen paragraphs. Not a single word about the role of the autoworkers union! Not a word about paying workers not to produce anything. Not a word about the benefit plans far exceeding plans of workers producing Toyotas and Hondas. Who do you folks at the Associated Press think you are kidding?

Next to that story was one about the Tribune Company hiring "bankruptcy advisors." The Tribune Company owns the L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, cable t.v. superstation WGN, and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, along with t.v. stations and newspapers all across America. The Cubs and Wrigley Field have been put up for sale.

I understand that sharply dropping advertising revenues account for the main reasons why the old media corporations are failing. However, articles like the one about the "bailout of the Big Three," with the glaring ommission of any responsibility on the part of the union, surely must account for part of the reason so many people no longer get their news from local newspapers and t.v.

They Have A Secret

Barack Obama says that over 40 million Americans are without health insurance, thus implying that they are without health care. That implication is false. Go into any emergency room in any hospital in America. You will see signs in both Spanish and English, telling people that the hospital is not allowed to refuse services to any person who needs them, but is unable to pay for them. At least 12 million people are in this country illegally, but are included in the census figures Obama cites.

If you station yourself at the front entrance of any emergency room in America, you will see such persons coming into the hospital for health care that is provided free for them, thanks to the taxpayers of America, who, the media tells us, are in the middle of a deep recession. Word spreads. Persons who are here illegally have no trouble locating a hospital where they can get free care; neither do any of the rest of the people who are without health insurance!

Rights

Remember the terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba, who created havoc in India a few days ago? Turns out they had supporters in America.

Lawyers for a person the New York Times calls a "Muslim scholar" named Ali al-Timimi have asked Congress for an investigation into new evidence that the US. National Security Agency illegally wiretapped Ali al-Timimi, then concealed the eavesdropping during a 2005 trial in which the "scholar" was convicted on terrorism charges.

The "scholar" from northern Virginia was convicted on charges of inciting his "Muslim followers" to commit acts of violence overseas. Where did they go overseas? To Kashmir, where Lashkar-e-Taiba trained terrorists.

A Democrat from New Jersey, Representative Rush Holt, is chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. Holt says he plans to ask the inspector general of the NSA to open what would be the first formal investigation by the agency into whether its eavesdroppoing program had improperly interfered with an American's right to a fair trial.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Crooked Politician?

Senate banking committee chairman Chris Dodd wants General Motors to get rid of GM chief Rick Wagoner. I guess Wagoner did not offer him a Cadillac Escalade, like Countrywide offered him special mortgage rates.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Building an Inclusive Party

One of the most insightful and funny writers about America 2008 is David Harsanyi. In a recent column here he takes on James Dobson, a man many media-types love to hate. Harsanyi writes that for a politician, "pleasing Dobson can be a holy hassle." I think Harsanyi's point is that the Republican Party, if it ever wants to win elections, must make room for all kinds of conservatives: fiscal, social, those who want strong national security, and those who cherish individual freedom.

Harsanyi believes Dobson is not inclusive, and that he confuses traditional values with "illogical rigidty." Moreover, he thinks Dobson's doctorate degree must be in "divine insight."

The GOP had some really outstanding candidates for president this year, in my opinion. Thompson, Romney, and Giuliani, for example, brought significant skills and experience with them for our consideration. But each had something in their background that Dobson did not like, and he could not support them. I think Huckabee was the candidate Dobson would have preferred. Dobson withheld support for McCain until Palin joined the ticket. Dobson poured a half million dollars of Focus on the Family contributions into the Prop 8 fight in California, then had to lay off or not fill over 200 positions at Focus.

The same media that loves to hate Dobson, like they used to love to hate Jerry Falwell, persists in turning to Dobson when they want to know what an evangelical thinks about this or that politicial issue. Dr. Dobson certainly has a right to speak his mind on political or any other matters. Through his best-selling books and his incredible global outreach of his radio programs, he has earned the respect and listenership of millions of people who care deeply about moral, spiritual, and cultural issues, and the effects of those issues on the family and the individual in today's world.

On the other hand, who among us is perfect? As Jesus said, if you are without sin, go ahead and cast the first stone! Where is the mercy? Where is the forgiveness? Each of us has something in our past we'd like to do over, perhaps even Dobson. We need to field the best candidates we can find; people who believe in conservative principles, have a record of being faithful to those principles, and an ability to articulate those principles clearly to large numbers of people.

It almost seemed at times that John McCain enjoyed bashing Republicans, that he was proudest when he joined hands with the likes of Teddy Kennedy on issues that mattered to millions of Americans. McCain, therefore, had earned the lukewarm support of Republicans, and that allowed Obama to win the White House rather easily.

Ronald Reagan had a record as California Governor that established him as a person who proudly stood up for traditional values. He earned the enthusiastic support of millions of people. Kind of like James Dobson!

Competition, Anxiety, and Absurdity

I guess this was predictable. A lawsuit has been filed against Wal-Mart by the family of the 6'5" 270 lb Wal-Mart employee who was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers on black Friday. Listen to the language of the lawyers: store ads "created an atmosphere of competition and anxiety that led to "crowd craze." No one in that crowd was responsible, because they had anxiety caused by a retail store that "created an atmosphere of competition!"

This is what the mental health and legal professions have done to our country. If we have anxiety, we cannot be held accountable for our actions. Competition is a dirty word. We must eliminate competition, because it creates anxiety. Not only that, but if we lose in that competition, we must be bailed out, or we will suffer from low self esteem!

A Sad Day in Colorado

There is big news today in Denver, and it is not good. Like most other newspapers in America, The Rocky Mountain News has been losing money - expected to be fifteen million dollars by the end of the year. The Rocky's editorial page is common sense-oriented. If no buyer is found in 4 to 6 weeks, it will be shut down by Cincinnati-based E.W.Scripps. This is a very sad day for Colorado.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tell the whole story, please.


Both of my teens who still live at home are working on science projects this week. 16-year-old Erik is doing experiments to see which blends of gasoline will make his dirt bike run longest. He is finding that gasoline with no additives works best. The teacher, of course, is stressing E85, the corn alcohol blend. I asked Erik if the teacher informed the class of the disastrous effects worldwide of farmers raising corn for ethanol, causing food scarcities and destruction of rain forests. No, the teacher had not said one word about that.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Patience


Parenting is not a matter of one-size-fits all. Each child is different, and parenting them requires parents to be sensitive to those differences, and to be mindful of their own mental health needs. These differences are even more pronounced when your family includes adopted children or stepchildren..

It may be one thing for a parent who has ADD to be empathic with her offspring who show some of the same symptoms. However, when children exhibit unique behavioral tendencies outside of the parents' own life experiences, that is when the challenge begins.

Take Sara as a case in point. We have noticed that when she is confronted about a misbehavior by a sibling or peer, she actually gets a smile on her face. She actually enjoys a good verbal fight. We are learning to be more patient, take more time explaining calmly and lovingly to her what she needs to do to correct the misbehavior. We have noticed that when we do this, asking her to repeat back to us what she understands us to be saying, she is more likely to listen and absorb whatever the lesson is we are trying to impart.

Later, perhaps in the bathtub or in her room playing with dolls, we hear her taking the role of parent, explaining things to the doll, who is the child. Sometimes we even hear her stop herself from provoking an argument with siblings, saying, "Let's have a happy life!" Colleen has had that "happy life" conversation with Sara many times, and when we hear her repeat it to siblings, we know she has heard what we have been trying to teach, and is actually implementing the concept!

Children sometimes choose to act out in some public place, and be seen by onlookers as rude, obnoxious, and undisciplined. The parent may feel embarrassed, or humiliated. Parents may become isolated, when what they really need is support from friends, spouses, extended family, or professionals. Nevertheless, parents who make the effort to go the extra mile with patience, love, and kindness are sowing seeds that may show up later when the child becomes a productive adult, and may have skills needed by society, or even needed by the older parents!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tragedies

Jewish leaders are asking, "How could such a thing happen?" They are referring, of course, to the Mumbai attack on a Jewish Center, killing a young rabbi and his wife, and orphaning their two-year-old child. The answer to the question is two-fold: they were Jews, and they were unarmed. The Jewish community, we are told, is in a "state of shock." Did the Holocaust not happen? Do the Islamists not hate Jews? Of course it is a "tragedy," but failure of the Jews to learn the lessons of the last seventy years, aligning themselves with left-of-center politicians, is also a tragedy.

Snowbirds

My geese friends are flying over their pond all day long, but not landing, since it is now pretty much iced over. When they get hungry enough, I guess they will be flying south. Godspeed, my friends.

A Never-Ending Circle

Along with illegal immigration, our nation has a huge problem with drug abuse. Our hospitals are being asked to have beds available for druggies and people who are mentally ill. Extra security guards have to be hired to watch these patients 24 hours daily, because many of them are predisposed to violence, if they cannot get the drugs to which they think they are entitled. After brief stays of just a few days, police bring these patients right back in to the same hospital again in a week or less. These same emergency rooms see dozens of illegal immigrants daily. The circle is never-ending.

American Targets

The United States is planning to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States available within the United States within two years to assist civilian authorities in the event of a terrorist attack. That is a seven-fold increase since 2001. All these troops would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high yield explosive attack.

Given the havoc created by ten terrorists in India last week, these changes are probably warranted. How about also greatly increasing the numbers of Americans carrying concealed weapons? If terrorists and other crazies were uncertain whether they would meet up with citizens carrying concealed weapons, they might just decide to stay away from American targets.

Who Will Reward Him?

No other president in U.S. history has done so much for black Africans as President George W. Bush. In 2003 twenty thousand residents of Sub-Saharan Africa were being treated for AIDS. Now more than two million have been treated. Not only will they now have an opportunity to enjoy a full life, but also hundreds of thousands of babies will be born without the AIDS virus being present in their bodies.

So, what does President Bush get for this achievement? Blacks and gays comprise the most solid blocks opposing him, and are nearly unanimous supporters of Democrats, whose presidents historically have done next-to-nothing about the AIDS problem in Africa. President Bush's reward will not be forthcoming on this earth.

Let's Play!

Do I Have To Walk In This Snow?

Carpooling Executives

Today is the deadline for U.S. automakers executives to make their case before Congress. Instead of flying to Washington in their private jets, this time they have decided to carpool. Don't worry though, they are driving together in a Toyota. (Joke courtesy of Jay Leno.)