Wednesday, December 31, 2014

                                                               Starting over all over again

It's been 2,014 times since we officially started counting the number of times we've circled around our home Star. On another planet circling another star we could easily be twice as old or twice as young. We're a truly gifted species capable of leaving our home planet as none others have so far on this earth. We and our brother and sister species literally rose from the dust. We acquired means of locomotion, reproduced, made tools, organized, grew crops, smelted metal, built vast cities, discovered and tamed fire, electricity, and gravity.  We learned to communicate verbally and created alphabets for writing on paper, and electronically. We sang and made musical instruments, wrote poetry and works of literature. Movies, cars, trains, airplanes, rockets. We circled the earth in satellites and even landed on our Moon. What we've accomplished  is beyond the scope of anything that could be imagined in the wildest Science Fiction fantasy. Now all we have to do is learn how to get along with each other and make sure that everyone has food and shelter. We pray to mysterious Gods to understand our purpose and guide us- then kill each other in the name of those same Gods. We allow dictators to repress people. We allow the wealthy hoard the money supply  and we allow the weak to fall by the wayside.  Clearly our scientific achievements far out weigh our social achievements.
We can do better and we will do better. Let's make that our resolution as the new year approaches with the rising Sun.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

                                                                  Peace of Earth

Wouldn't it be nice if all of the leaders of world's religions developed a sudden case of  temporary insanity and came together to call for an end to all of the senseless religious warfare, hatred, and killings? Almost every war that we humans have fought since our species began to occupy this planet had some basis in religion.  It began with sacrifices to Gods to insure crops and guarantee the rising of the Sun. Seeing how easily we could be led to violence, generals and politicians began leading us to endeavors of conquest and mischief on bloody battle fields. Most generals and dictators, no matter how ruthless, soon learned the secret of seeking the blessing and sanction of their God before going to battle. Advances in weapon technology over the centuries  only made our wars more destructive and deadly. In modern times we've seen the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the burning of "witches" at the stake. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been killing each other for centuries. Arguments about virginity, prophets, vengeance, chastity, head covers, circumcision, sin, the after life, heaven and hell, the devil, the word of God, The Holy Trinity, and idolatry, never end- nor will they ever end until we find less deadly ways to satisfy our instinctive need to seek and please a mysterious Maker. That instinct appears to be unique to our species and what a deadly instinct it has turned out to be when misused. If the worlds religious leaders aren't willing to lead us to peace our only solution is to refuse to partake in the insanity any longer. We need not wait for our leaders to put an end to the religious violence.  We have it within our power to end the violence today.  So let's make that our pledge as the new year rolls in. No more arguments, beheadings, or wars about religion. Pray if you must but pray for peace and acceptance not intolerance. Peace on Earth and Good Will to All!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


We're supposed to be the good guys- the ones in the white hats, the people who condemn forced confessions, beatings, and mistreatment of prisoners. We're the Country which has a Constitution giving everyone the right to a fair trial. We're the Country whose criminal justice system is based on Habeas Corpus- - preventing the government from holding prisoners indefinitely without  bringing charges.

Now we hear reports of systematic barbaric beatings and torture of prisoners being held in Cuba and other locations. Force pumping liquids into prisoners rectums is an act of sadistic perversion done by cowards.  The point is not whether this gross mistreatment of prisoners provided critical information (which it clearly did not). The point is that we're supposed to be a Country which provides international moral leadership around the globe. We're a Country that condemns war crimes and mistreatment of prisoners.

The actions of the CIA are little different from some of the brutal actions by the Nazis in their concentration camps during second world war. It's clear to any observer that our actions violate all international treaties with regard to the proper handling of prisoners of war. Our actions are war crimes by any definition and as such should be prosecuted in an International Court to the full extent of the law.

Dick Cheney convinced a rookie President Bush to invade Iraq and we've been paying the penalty in lost and ruined lives ever since. Our actions upset the delicate balance of  politics in the Middle East. We invaded Iraq on false pretenses with no plan to deal with managing the complexity of  political, religious, and social chaos that followed. Dick Cheney's company (Haliburton) made a fortune in Iraq working as a subcontractor for the Army and now he has the balls to claim that torturing prisoners and denying them the right to Habeas Corpus is justified? Cheney was a coward during Vietnam and managed to avoid getting drafted but he didn't  hesitate for even a second before sending our young soldiers into Iraq to have their arms and legs blown off.  If anyone should be convicted of war crimes Dick Cheney ought to be at the top of the list. He should be tossed in prison in Cuba with the other prisoners and left to rot. Congress needs to identify and bring the CIA employees who \tortured  prisoners to trial as quickly as possible before they can hide behind any applicable statue of limitations. I"m not certain that war crimes are covered by that type of statue. After all we continue to prosecute Nazis.

If we want to continue to be the good guys in the white hats we need to step up to the plate and confess our sins and take full responsibility for our actions.

Friday, December 5, 2014

                                                         Death by Cops

It's recently been suggested that many Cops are afraid of African American males and that a scared cop is a deadly cop. If true, this is a different slant on racial prejudice than we normally associate with prejudice and it may help explain why so many African American males are being shot by policemen. Fear could even explain why a cop recently shot a 12 year old boy who brandished a toy pistol within a few seconds of the  cop getting out of his squad car. Whatever the cause, the use of excessive force by cops needs to be brought to an end as quickly as possible. Too many black males are being killed unnecessarily. It's one thing to shoot an individual who is making an unprovoked attack with a deadly weapon. It's quite another to shoot someone who is unarmed and merely fleeing. Shooting someone who steals a few cigarettes, or shop lifts a beverage from a convenience store is an excessive use of deadly force and not warranted. Some police departments are reported to be instructing their patrolmen to never back down. That's the wrong message. Backing down and trying to reduce the tension should be the first priority. Killing should only be the choice of last resort when all else fails and a life in truly in danger.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

                               Compromise is a Universal Law of the Universe - Not a dirty word!

Anyone who was paying attention in their High School science classes probably remembers one of Newton's Laws which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.The same can be said for legislation. Every law designed to produce a positive benefit also produces a corresponding negative side effect. For example, if we spend tax money to help the needy there will be able bodied "dead beats" who take advantage of that program by applying for assistance- instead of getting a job and taking responsibility for their own welfare. Does that mean we simply ignore the needs of those who require assistance, or do we accept the fact that a certain lazy percentage of the population will 'scam' the system for their own benefit?

That's basically what compromise is all about and it's why our politicians on the Left and Right can seldom agree on anything. Neither side is willing to recognize and accept the side effects of enacting legislation which is designed to benefit of a particular group of citizens (or non-citizens as the case may be) while having a negative effect on another group of citizens. 

For example, a law requiring coal burning power plants to reduce their emissions helps the environment and cleans up the air that we breath while placing a financial burden on the owners of the power plant. That same law may reduce the number of coal burning power plants and cause unemployment. Yet at the same time it will reduce the number of workers who may die of lung cancer and it may help people who lose their jobs mining coal find new jobs fabricating solar panels.

Compromise isn't about giving up one's principals and it's not about winning or losing. It's about recognition of one of the basic laws of the Universe. If we going to make progress we have to accept the fact that there is a side effect to every social, moral, financial, and legal recourse that we legislate. The result is not "stalemate" but rather getting the maximum benefit with the minimum side effect.

When an Architect designs a skyscraper, or an Engineer designs an airplane, he or she searches for the most affordable materials with the greatest strength and flexibility and the least weight. Every step of the design is a compromise- an attempt to get the greatest benefit with the least side effect - whether that side effect is cost, durability, safety, availability or adaptability. The ability to learn to use compromise in a constructive manner is what's allowed our species to achieve so much. We must instruct our politicians to take a less rigid approach to problem solving. Recognizing that there are no perfect solutions entirely free of side effects- but there also will be no progress if they continue to cling to their "win at all costs" approach to legislating.

Monday, December 1, 2014

                                                          Driving while (fill in the blank)

For all of the hard fought energy and lost lives our Country has endured in order to rid ourselves of the demons of racism and the ugly shame of our national history of slavery, we've still got a long way to go before we can claim to be a  truly color blind Nation. It matters not whether people of "color" occupy the office of the President, move into white neighborhoods, inter marry, or become leaders in all fields of endeavor. No matter how hard we try to claim that racism no longer exists in America we can't hide the ugly truth. It still lives in unspoken attitudes, it lives in pockets of unemployment, it lives in substandard schools, it lives in neighborhoods, it lives in our speech patterns, in the way we walk, in our music, in the way we talk and the way we don't talk. It lives in what we do not say. It lives in our every denial.

 The conversation is not over. It's barely begun. The conversation won't be over until we share our tables and hearts with everyone of color- not just athletes and entertainers. It won't be over until every Ghetto is rebuilt, and every school is color blind, and every goverment agency and every police department and every University, and every school teacher, and every political body, and every Army and Air Force, and every Native American is completely integrated into the fabric of our society. We've got some work to do people. The first step is to look in the mirror of our society and purge every racial thought and prejudice from our very souls. It's a person by person process. It's a process of  opening our hearts to the unique individual beauty of each our fellow human beings. A person's value is not determined by the color of their skin, or their language, or their accent, or their manner of speaking. It's determined by what is in their hearts.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

                                                              Police Shootings

Once again we're seeing how quickly some of our police officers and border patrol agents resort to the lethal use of fire arms instead of using non-lethal methods of apprehending or getting control of suspects. Yesterday a police officer shot a 12 year old boy who had a toy pistol. Was that really necessary or justified?  Michael Brown in Ferguson may indeed have been physically attacking the policeman while he was sitting is his patrol car but the policeman had no reason to fear for his life. All he had to do was call for back up and stay in his vehicle..He claims he wasn't carrying his Taser because it made him feel "uncomfortable". So he decided to shoot Mr. Brown? Even then he could have shot to wound instead of shooting to kill. Border Patrol agents almost routinely shoot fleeing suspected aliens with total impunity. No one disputes that law enforcement officers have a dangerous job but the decision to kill someone who has not, or is not committing a life threatening crime can't be justified. It's far better to lose control of a suspect- even allowing the suspect to escape rather than killing them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

                                               Immigration Policies

What are the odds that Congress would have passed an immigration bill if President Obama had waited for them to act? For all their complaining, both Boehner and McConnell must be thrilled that Obama has given them an excuse to back away from public pressure to pass a bi-partisan immigration bill. Now they'll be able to continue their endless attack on Obama instead of actually passing any significant legislation for the next two years.

Friday, November 14, 2014

                                            Climate Change- Fact or Fiction?

Disclaimer - I'm not a Scientist but I do have a masters degree in Geology and I've got a basic understanding of the chemistry involved as well as the climate history of our planet. Fact number one is this: Climates change and always will change whether we continue to exist or not. Fact number two is that without climate change there would be no life as we know it on the planet. Fact number three is that Carbon Dioxide is Nature's chemical buffer. It has a major influence of the acidity of our oceans and atmosphere.

The climate history of our planet reveals a fascinating chain of events which eventually created enough oxygen in the atmosphere for life to come out of the ocean and live on land. Originally our planet was extremely hot. As it cooled down it began to solidify into layers some of which were less dense than others. Eventually these layers began to float around - migrating from one climate zone to another. For example at one time half of North America was below the Equator. Another example is that the Sub Saharan Desert was at one time a tropical rain forest. Our orbit around the Sun is elliptical and the path of that ellipse changes periodically over millions of years-thus changing the portions of the planet which receive the most  heat from the Sun. Our planet also wobbles in predictable patterns of time which also has an effect on the distribution of heat.  We've also been bombarded by numerous asteroids over the ages which threw up clouds of dust blotting out the Sun and affecting temperatures on Earth. Finally, there have been numerous volcanic eruptions which also send clouds of tiny particles into the atmosphere with resulting changes in the climate.

Our planet has endured numerous ice ages over millions of years. There have been times when almost the entire planted was covered by ice. Many people aren't aware of the fact that we're still in the the grips of the most current major ice age- as proven by the fact that an entire continent is buried under a mile of ice at our South Pole and our North Pole has still has permanent iced over areas. Additionally, we still have glaciers in some of our higher mountain peaks. Those glaciers are mostly the remains of what is called the "Little Ice Age" which occurred oddly enough during the so called "dark ages" from about 1450 to about 1750. Interestingly enough some scientists believe that the Little Age was caused by melt water from Greenland which may have cut off the warm Gulf Stream from the South. In other words it's possible that global warming could actually start another Ice Age. Modern civilization as we know it blossomed just as the Little Ice Age drew to a close. Coincidence or not- who knows? There is some thought by Anthropologists that the Little Ice Age and it's retreat stimulated human experimentation,  scientific advances and the development of new technologies.

Now that we've hopefully established that Climates by their very nature change, whether humans exist of not, we find ourselves asking whether our activities are contributing to the well documented temperature changes we're currently witnessing. Many people are in strong denial that human activity could cause climate change.
That denial is so strong that one can get the impression that they take such charges personally. That's  probably due to the fact that they fail to realize that human activities can produce the same type of atmospheric and oceanic pollution as a volcano or an asteriod. This brings us to the basic point. Our planet isn't able to distinguish between the effects of human activity, or volcanic activity, or changes in our orbit path around the Sun.  After all, Carbon Dioxide is Carbon Dioxide. We're part of Nature and part of the natural forces of the Universe. We're not separate from Nature. We rose from the dust by natural processes and everything we do,or produce,or use, is part of that same process. The difference is that we have the ability to minimize the effect of our activities on the environment whereas volcanoes, earth quakes, and asteroids do not.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

                                    AMERICANS VOTED WITH THEIR FEET!

Almost two third of eligible voters stayed home on election day. That's hardly a mandate for either party or any candidate. Politicians claim that they got the 'message" and they claim to understand that we want them to "reach across the aisle" and "compromise"- but everybody knows that most career politicians are wired for only two things  -  getting re-elected and attacking each other along partisan lines.  Compromise, cooperation, listening to each other, are out of the question. I doubt there is a single voter in America who actually believes that the politicians are capable of working together on anything other than approving their own annual their salaries and fringe benefits. Congressional hearings are eerily similar to staged reality shows.  Lots of posturing and self righteous emotion in front of the cameras for the folks back home.  Their primary goal is to get re-elected and they'll spend the majority of their time and votes preparing for the next election. The separation of our political class from the rest of us is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. They know virtually nothing of our lives and we know virtually nothing of theirs. We speak different languages. We have different goals. We have different values and different skill sets. The thing to remember is that we are the employers and they are the employees.We set the agendas- not them. We fire them when they fail to perform. The high rate of turnover in Congress this election was more about their performance and less about the issues. We're far more united on the issues and far less partisan than the politicians are. Unfortunately they don't seem to have received that message yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

                                                          Veterans Day is not a Holiday

Too many Americans think that Veterans day is a day to relax, go out to dinner, and catch a movie. Some may see a person in uniform and "thank them for their service". but for those who have served on the battlefield and been physically or mentally injured those words sometimes sound hollow and have little meaning. It's become far too easy for many Americans to look the other way and forget the sacrifices that so many young men and women have made in battlefields on distant lands. Many of these young men and women volunteered to put their lives and limbs at risk - believing that they were doing so in defense of their country. They did not question the "cause" or the reason they were sent into battle. They accepted the risks with incredible bravery and when they returned minus a few limbs they did not wallow in self pity, or regret their decision.

Politicians send these young men and women into battles while they themselves remain safely at home. Sometimes the causes are just sometimes not,  but our soldiers, once in uniform,  don't have the option to decide which cause they're willing to die for.

Many Americans feel that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were just causes for someone other than themselves to fight and die for but very few were willing to put on a uniform and put their own life and limbs at risk. When I see people taking advantage of Veterans day to go shopping and catch a movie it makes me sick to my stomach. Please spare me the token "Thanks for your Service". Sometimes that comment is truly heart felt but far too often it's just a cop out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

                                                   Obama earns his salary

Members of Congress have spent the past six years of the Obama Administration sitting on the side lines criticizing and attempting to block every single action President Obama takes while they essentially only work a two day week themselves. Members of Congress typically spend more time raising money for .their re-elections than dealing with legislation. They also give themselves periodic extended breaks by shutting Congress down between "sessions"  Meanwhile our Presidents work 24/7 looking out for our National Security interests, dealing with trade issues, domestic issues, economic issues, problems in the Middle East, energy issues, environmental issues, immigration issues, diplomatic issues--- the list goes on and on. A President rarely gets a single day when he's not faced with some type of problem requiring his immediate attention. Presidents noticeably age and turn gray while in office. Members of Congress grow fat and rich and when they leave office they become lobbyists and grow even more wealthy. Whether you agree with Obama or not I think we can all agree that he shows up for work everyday and never once complains about the burdens of the job. I wish we could say the same for Congress. 

Monday, November 10, 2014


It seems more like a lifetime, instead of only 25 years, since the Berlin Wall  came down and the cold war came to a close.  After the wall came down Russia become more democratic, allowed it's ethnic satellite countries to self govern - even worked together in Space with America, and now we're on the brink of plunging back into another cold war because Russian paranoia eventually prevails. Let us pray this war, for however long it lasts, stays "cold" and doesn't turn hot. The reason for walls come and go but the walls remain as scars and testimony to our never ending conflicts with one another over the ages.  The Great Wall of China, Hadrian's wall in Scotland keeping the Roman Army at bay. The welded iron fencing we've been installing along our border with Mexico. They all eventually become historic reminders of fear, paranoia, invasion, and misunderstandings. Not all walls are made of concrete, iron, or earth. There are ideological and religious walls as well as in the Middle East and even between our two warring political parties here in America. Putin seems like a man who needs some love. Some TLC. We need to bring him and Russia into the circle of global democratic nations. Welcome them to global trade markets. It benefits none of us to allow Russia to fall back into self inflicted isolation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

                                                     Vote early and vote often!

If you haven't already voted please try to do so before the polls close tonight. I know it's only one vote and I know how tired you are of all of the negative advertising but one vote can make all the difference and it often has! They say that fewer people vote in the midterm elections. That makes no sense. The mid term elections are every bit as important as the four year elections. Remember, if you don't vote you lose the right to complain and none of us wants to lose that basic right!  Nag, Nag, Nag!

Monday, November 3, 2014

                                                   The lost art of letter writing

 The younger generation is missing out on one of the most pleasurable and personal forms of communication.
No matter how easy and efficient it may be to communicate with your friends and loved ones by texting or using email you'll never be able to achieve the closeness that comes from receiving a letter in the mail with recognizable handwriting on the outside of the envelope. The sight of that handwriting with its unique personalized  loops, curls, slants,capitals, style, and scent stimulates every sensory image of the reader before the envelop is even opened.. You don't have to look at the return address to know who wrote that letter.

Writing a letter takes time and requires the writer to search for the perfect words to express the thoughts and emotions that one wishes to convey. In days of old letters were routinely used  for purposes of courting and expressing devotion and love. Many a long distance romance between parted lovers kept the fire of passion alive. Mothers wrote letters to sons on the battlefield. Travelers sent letters back home describing their adventures. Business was conducted by letter also. Each form of communication required its own special protocol which was commonly known to all. 

Exchanging letters by mail (or the pony express) takes time and thus creates a certain delightful level of anticipation when awaiting a reply. There is no instant gratification when exchanging letters with someone which fact makes the waiting all the sweeter. Writing letters also requires that you chose your words carefully in order to prevent any possible misunderstandings. People often find it easier to express their emotions in letters rather than when talking face to face. Many a heart has been poured out on hand written page. Give it a try sometime you might find it rewarding. I promise you that whatever you write by hand and personally address in an envelope will be read much more carefully than anything you text or tweet.

Friday, October 31, 2014

                                                    Leaders from Hell
 When we start blaming our leaders for all of our  problems it's probably a sign that we've become too lazy and indifferent to solve our problems ourselves. After all our problems usually are "our" problems- not the politicians problems. If we take ownership of the problems we'll probably have better luck solving them than the politicians will because we're the ones that have to deal with these issues everyday.We're the experts not the politicians.

 Have you noticed how many politicians are buffing up their "so-called" leadership credentials lately? Technically a leader is someone who has the ability to bring people together in common cause. Hopefully those causes will be just and righteous but that's not always the case.  Hitler was a leader and so was Stalin, Castro, and Gengus Kahn.
Given the recent performance of our current crop of politicians we'd probably have far better solving our challenges ourselves than letting them fester and hope our politicians will find solutions. If we step back and get some perspective on our daily lives, and the ways that we interact with one another, we seem to do a pretty good job of getting along and working together. The vast majority of us get up everyday and do the work that keeps the Country running with a high degree of efficiency and a minimum of discord. It's time for us to become leaders and let the politicians know who they work for and what we expect them to do.  We do that by voting, by writing letters, and making phone calls. 

The way to judge the skill of a  leader is to ask whether  they bring us together or pit us against one anther.The way to judge the quality of a leader is to ask if their actions are fair, just, wise, moral, and compassionate. Politicians who attempt to get elected by pitting us against each other should be turned out of office as quickly as possible. Don't forget to Vote!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

                                                      Democracy doesn't have a "Party Line"

Only a few more days before the election and we'll be able to start answering our phones again!
It's interesting  to watch the ads on TV  that accuse the candidates of  consistently voting  for the so called "Party Line" of each political party. Communism has a "party line". Democracy doesn't. The sooner we get "Party" out of politics the better.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scary days come  up! Ghosts, goblins and politicians prowling the streets looking for handouts and votes.
Hard to tell who is really behind those masks or what they plan to do after they count their goodies and claim their votes. It's scary to vote and even more scary not to! All those promises fade away in the morning like a fog burns off with the sunrise. They'll disappear by noon scuttling back to their caves and offices in the East. We won't hear from them for a few more years. No more ads, no more promises, no more masks. Let us be neighbors again. Let them swarm back to their nests. Leave us in peace!We're doing just fine without you!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who was Ayn Rand?

This Russian immigrant probably had more influence on our Free Enterprise system than any other writer in the 20th Century. Her novels portrayed wealthy Oligarchs who controlled the major industries of the Nation and could be counted on to do what was best for the Country. Al Capp, one of America's noted social commentators who expressed his social views in the comic strip - Little Orphan Annie, created a wealthy Oligarch named "Daddy Warbucks". Not hard to figure out how he made his fortune. Any Rand created similar Oligarchs in her novels. She came to America as an Atheist knowing virtually nothing about a Free Enterprise system and for some unknown reason decided to write novels about heroic oligarchs. She wrote about a highly idealized concept of Free Enterprise which was so convincing that her philosophy became the bed rock of todays Republican Party. Alan Greenspan was among those who virtually worshiped at her feet.
Paul Ryan is another admirer. The characters in her books weren't just good business men, they were heroic and handsome as well and it goes without saying that their wives were gorgeous.  These larger than life characters owned the railroads and all of the major industries of the Nation. They created the jobs, financed the industries, and basically controlled every major segment of the economy. It's ironic that a Russian immigrant who had no concept of a true Free Enterprise system could have had such an enormous influence on many of our Nation's economists and investors over the years. She was a skilled writer. Her characters were larger than life, highly romanticized  and always could be counted on to know what was best for the country (and their own pocket books). Her appeal was largely to young college age boys (I confess to being enamored with her books in college). Her basic thesis was that Oligarchs could be trusted to do what was best for all of us. Alan Greenspan was so brain washed by Ayn Rand that to this day he can't believe that the bankers and the boys on Wall Street couldn't be trusted with the reins of our economy.

It's ironic that the core members of the Republican Party so admire a Godless Russian who promoted an Oligarchy controlled economic system. Her views were the very antithesis  of everything that our Free Enterprise system is supposed to represent.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why Martha Stewart?

It's been five years since the economy collapsed in 2009 and so far the only CEO who's gone to jail is Martha Stewart. Not one of the Bank CEO's, not a single Wall Street CEO, has even been prosecuted but for some reason they went after Martha Steward for a stock transaction that was so small it;s hard to imagine how it even popped up on the radar of the Justice Department. They nailed her for so called "insider trading" as if the majority of the big players on Wall Street don't take advantage of "inside" information every day of the week. So what gives? Why did they pick on Martha Stewart and ignore the really big fish who nearly brought our economy to it's knees? Was she just an easy target, some  low hanging fruit that the Justice Department could parade around to show that they were actually going after the law breakers? Frankly I think she got the shaft. Who among us wouldn't buy or sell a stock if we knew someone who knew something. There are all kinds of experts who make a living by using insider information to buy and sell stocks. Every Fund manager has ties to market, financial, and corporate insiders and they all use that information to help them make profitable investments. Everybody who buys stocks has an ear to the ground trying to get insider information. If the Justice Department needed to make an example of someone why did they pick on Martha Stewart? Was it simply because she was so well known or did someone with some influence in the Department of Justice decide to take her down for other reasons? A business competitor for example, who makes big donations to a few powerful politicians? To quote the famous bard -there's definitely something rotten in Denmark! This had to be pay back from someone she crossed swords with.
The fact that she never complained and took her medicine without saying "why me?' may indicate that she knew who sent the message and why they sent it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Falling in love with Fall....

What a great time of year to get out on the open road and leave the fumes and traffic of the city behind. Roll down the windows and breath in some fresh air. Give those tired eyeballs a chance to focus on something farther away than your smart phone. Breathe - exhale - breathe - exhale - let go of the tension and get in touch with the natural rhythms of nature. Give that adrenal gland a chance to rest and recharge. Dump those worries by the side of the road. Pick any road - it doesn't matter which one -  just pick one and drive away from the artificial insanity of all the things we think are so important. Dump those worries by the side of the road and you'll get much better emotional mileage out of those calories you've been burning 24/7. Friend the breeze, the clouds, the silence. Friend yourself.

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

                                             Why can't politicians be more like us?

The over whelming majority of Americans go to work every day and get along with each other. We cooperate with one another. We work together to find solutions to our problems. We praise and encourage each other, and form long term rewarding relationships in the work place.

Politicians live in an entirely different world than ours. They live in a world of continuous conflict where people try to destroy each other instead of coming together to work as a team. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all acted like the politicians? Imagine a world where nothing every gets done, where every idea is opposed and every action is criticized. Imagine a world where your work mates primary goal is to get you fired from your job. Imagine a world driven by non-stop negativity . Imagine how much you would dread going to work every day if you had to work in that type of environment.

Why can't the politicians be more like us?

Monday, October 13, 2014


Violence comes in many forms. Physical, emotional, and spiritual. Violence in the Middle East takes the form of separating peoples heads from their bodies over religious beliefs. In Africa violence takes the form of  tribal warfare, starvation, and disease.  In China, Russia, and North Korea we see political violence emerge in the form of imprisonments and executions. In portions of Europe immigration issues produce prejudicial violence. In third world countries economic problems  produce a form of social violence we call poverty and starvation. World wide ethnic and racial prejudice produce psychological and economic violence. Competing religions often produce spiritual violence. Politicians thrive on ideological violence- which take the form of personal attacks on individuals occupying or running for office.

As we approach our mid-term elections in November we're bearing witness to some of the most infantile and reprehensible "dark money" attacks on candidates from both sides of the aisle. The thing about the so-called anonomous "dark  money" ads is that they produce violence against the "truth" without the liars risking legal penalties for libel .

We cam thank the Supreme Court for removing the legal barrier against libel for lying. If you want to express you opinions to the Justices of the bench of the Supreme Court for the infamous "Citizens United" decision you can write to the address shown below. You can also contact your local media outlets and let them know how you feel about them accepting money to run these vicious personal attacks on the candidates.

Supreme Court of the USA
One First Street
NE Washinton, D.C. 20543

Friday, October 10, 2014

                                            Climate Change (hoax or real?)

Climates by their very nature change and the climate on our planet has gone through numerous changes long  before we appeared on the scene. If we're ever going to have an intelligent discussion about this contentious issue we need to ask if there is a difference between "human" caused climate change and non-human caused climate change. The climate of our planet went through a multitude of changes long before our species started making mischief.  Many of those changes made it possible for life to even exist on our little rock.. It took probably a billion years just to create enough oxygen for life to emerge from the sea and walk on solid ground. For much of our history the planet was covered by ice. Over the eons incoming asteroids and erupting volcanoes have caused significant changes in the atmosphere and changes in temperature while killing millions of species of life. Natural processes such as the wobble of the earth and periodic changes in  our orbit around the sun, as well as periodic reversals of our magnet field have all contributed  to climate change. Variation of  the temperature of the oceans have been a major cause of changes in climate long before human activity became significant. Recently human activity has become a measurable factor in climate change as well. Those who seek to deny that human activity can contribute to climate change tend to exclude our species from the natural processes of nature. In fact we are just as much a part of nature as are volcanoes and asteroids. Once we face that fact we can free ourselves from our ego-centric cosmic sense of  guilt and set about the task of seeing what we can do to limit the extent of our influence on our climate - remembering all the while that earth's climate is destined to go through many more climate changes whether or not we continue to survive as a species. History shows that the species which do survive over the long period are those that adapt to change. We've proven to be one of the more intelligent and adaptable species to inhabit this planet so far. This is no time to bury our heads in the sand and deny that our activities have no effect on our climate.

                                      Count our blessings?

Why do we keep electing the same types of politicians ? The majority of us are sick of the "do nothing" Congress and the politicians who spend the majority of their time attacking each other or raising money for their re-election.

Maybe we should count our blessings. Imagine how much damage they could do if they actually showed up for work every day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Political Attack Ads

The good news is that we're only going to have to endure these nasty ads for another 30 day. Most of the ads are so contrived, shameless, untruthful and unbelievable that the only people who benefit are the Television stations who get paid to run them. It's doubtful if any of the so called "dark money" ads change any votes but maybe they will serve a purpose in the long run if the voters finally rise up and say "enough already!"  If you're sick of the ads the best way to register your disgust is to contact your local  Television Stations and then drop a line to the Supreme Court expressing your disapproval of the Citizens United decision which condones this sort of activity. Any candidate who attacks another candidate doesn't deserve our vote.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pima County Animal Shelter

Everybody knows that the Pima County Animal Shelter is way over capacity and needs to be expanded but not at a cost of $500 per square foot. Pima County Supervisor Huckleberry supposedly based his cost "guess" on a project in California that probably was not comparable- instead of actually putting together a detailed line by line estimate based on local costs and conditions. The proposed bond also has wording that appears to allow Huckleberry to divert some of the money for other purposes. In addition, Huckleberry is using the threat of killing dogs in order to play on voters sympathies. A" no" vote will force Huckleberry to bring this much needed project back at a realistic cost. Huckleberry's management of local construction projects is very poor as witnessed by other construction projects in Pima County - re: La Canada and other road improvements.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Martha McSally vs. Ron Barber?

Independent voters have an interesting choice in Arizona's Second Congressional District. Neither of these candidates is at the extreme end of the political spectrum and the last time they ran against each other it was very close. I contacted McSally's office last week and asked for a clarification of her positions on some specific issues. The young Intern who answered my call read from a prepared script. She said that McSally opposes Border Patrol Check points except along the actual border. She's also opposed to same sex marriage, abortion,and birth control. (as a side bar, I've never understood why Republicans who oppose abortions also oppose birth control).  When I asked questions about McSally's positions on the economy, Corporate Inversions, education, budgets,and various other National and International issues the Intern said she  would have to call me back. She never did make that call. McSally 's campaign is centered her claim that she showed "leadership" by standing up to the Military policy of requiring female pilots to respect the dress customs of the Arabs. Both candidates run the usual ads featuring them walking along the border fence with ranchers and residents who live along the border. It's amazing how politicians love to be photographed walking along the border at election time. The events are always staged and you can bet that they probably won't visit the Border again until the next election. Both candidates seem to claim credit for supporting the basic functions of the two military bases in Southern Arizona. McSally apparently wants to turn Social Security into a voucher system but she doesn't provide details. One of the Barber ads claims that McSally wants to get the government out of education. That ad runs a short cropped clip from a McSally speech. We don't know what the full content of her remarks were regarding education. Pro McSally ads tries to associate Barber with Obama Care but they doesn't provide any information on what she would do to improve our health care system. Barbers campaign centers around him being a home grown individual who has deep roots in the District. The credibility of both candidates is stained by the so called "Dark Money" negative advertising. Neither of the candidates has condemned or spoken out against the sponsors of those ads. One McSally ad claims that Barber votes consistently with Nancy Pelosi. It doesn't indicate whether or not McSally would consistently vote with the Republican Speaker of the House. This is going to be a very close election. The winner will probably be the candidate who gets the best turnout. Both candidates are intelligent and capable. Personally I don't think McSally has much experience with budget or economic issues. Nor does she have experience in the private sector. Barber has played his cards close to the chest- rarely making mistakes or offending members of either party. Which ever candidate wins we'll have an honest capable representative from that district.
Pima County Animal Control Bond

The Pima County Animal Control facility definitely needs to be expanded and improved but not at a cost of nearly $500 per square foot. If you read the language of the bond closely you'll notice that it appears to gives the County (Chuck Huckelberry) the ability to use the money at his discretion and it doesn't require him to spend all of the money right away.  It's highly likely that he's planning on using some of that money for other purposes- as he and the County Supervisors appear to have done with other bond issues.  There is no way that it should cost this much money to expand the current facility.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

UofA President gets $40,000 bonus. Apparently her $600,000 annual salary is only an "appearance" fee. If she actually does anything besides just showing up for work and redecorating her office we give her a bonus.
There is an incredible amount of dead wood at the UofA. Some of the reasons the cost of tuition is getting so expensive is that a significant number of professors spend more time writing proposals for grants that they do teaching. The campus is full of little known fiefdoms sequestered in small buildings and offices - draining the resources of the University - professors and graduate assistants taking a salary funded by student tuitions and grant money funded by the Federal Government at the same time. Essentially double dipping.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shoot first-Tase later?

Is it really necessary to shoot people who commit minor crimes? No one condones the behavior of people who commit non-violent crimes but is it really necessary for the police to kill them? When did the police stop using tasers to gain physical control over someone who is resisting arrest? The killing of the teen age boy in Missouri comes to mind. The young man appears to have broken several crimes by the time he was apprehended and he appears to have physically attacked the cop, but he was not armed. Surely he could have been tased if the policeman was out manned, or the policeman could have stayed in his car and radioed  for back up.  Was it really necessary to fire six shots and kill him? Deadly force should only be used against deadly force, or the cleat threat of deadly force. Too many cops are starting to act as if using their gun is the first option. There are two sides to every story and no one disputes that being a policeman can be a very dangerous and stressful job. That stress can be reduced by training law enforcement individuals to remember that taking a life is seldom the best solution. Far better to avoid the confrontation in the first place- even if it means losing face or letting someone act out- or even temporarily escape. Cooler heads should prevail. The loss of the young man's life and all the rioting that followed could have been prevented had the policeman restrained himself from over re-acting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

 Ebola and Religious Terrorism

Religious terrorism is the Ebola virus of civilization. It spreads under conditions of poverty and intolerance  when  ideologies become infected by zealots. It's unquenchable rage from those who see no meaningful future for themselves. It's madness masked as Barbarism. Like a parasitic vampire it sucks the blood of the host religion. Islam risks losing it's relevance in modern society unless members of that faith speak with one voice  and condemn the Islamic terrorists who claim they are acting in the name of God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't Blame God

Christians, Jews, Muslims have been at war with each other ever since our species abandoned Pagan Gods in favor of a monotheistic male God  more than 20  centuries ago.  The ancient Jews created their version of God in dark caves and wrote what later became known as the "Old Testament".  They paid a steep price for their heresy. Later, a spell binding healer named Jesus came along and was quickly and efficiently crucified by the pagan Romans. There is debate about this- but some claim that Jesus was resurrected from his grave.Whether that was the case, or not,  his disciples and their descendents traveled far and wide in the old world to resurrect his reputation in order to create a new religion called "Christianity". Not to be out done, a self proclaimed prophet named Mohammad decided that Arabs deserved their own version of a male God and very quickly the doctrine of Islam spread throughout the shores and trade lanes of the Mediterranean Sea. Problems quickly arose when Jews, Christians and Muslim all  began to claim the holy sites as their own and promoted their own version of God's words and directives to humanity. All three religions have been at war within their own ranks and with one another ever since. There are dozens of divisions and versions of Christianity, numerous versions of Islam, and the same goes for those who follow the Jewish faith.  Neutral observers have fruitlessly pointed out over the centuries that each of these religions appear to worship the same God, and pay their respect the many of same prophets. They also have in common that all three religions were created by men, not women, and that the men firmly place the blame on women for arousing their sexual urges. Therefore each religion encourages women to maintain their virginity and to wear modest clothing that will not unduly arouse men. The  ensuing centuries have given us the crusades, the "Inquisition", the attempt by Nazis to exterminate Jews, the creation of a "Jewish State", and now deadly warfare between several branches of Islam.

The warriors of our species have always carried their Gods into battle and the very first action of the victor is  to displace the Gods of those who are conquered. There is nothing new about the religious wars we're witnessing in the Middle East other than the fact that the weapons have become more deadly and efficient over the centuries. All three religions and their various sects still basically worship the same monotheistic "God" concept. Many observers note that religion evolved out of superstition. Our ancestors, failing yet to understand the laws of physics, the existance of planets, and the behavior of stars - didn't fully trust the Sun to return periodically, nor an eclipse to end, or understand the cause of diseases. Our tendency has always been  to defy what we don't understand and pray that it will continue, or go away- as the case may be.

Whether or not we share the views of others when it comes to religion, it might be useful to remember that the word itself implies something "supernatural". While there is much that we do not understand about the Universe and the concept of "life" there can't, by definition, be anything "supernatural" about something that clearly exists. We exist therefore life, and all that we witness or fail to understand, is perfectly "natural".
The fact that we don't understand something doesn't necessarily mean that it's" super natural", it just means that we're still in a state of ignorance.  No one can, or should, deny our never ending search for spirituality in our daily lives -even though we appear to be the only species who strives to find such meaning. If religion serves that purpose so be it. But maybe we can agree that killing each other over our differing views on spirituality is as contrary to any concept of spirituality as can possibly be imagined. It's been said many times that there is no God worth worshiping who would condone all of this hatred and killing. If we must worship let's worship a God that brings us together in peace - not a God that urges us to kill one another.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Try these on for size:

People opposed to abortions who are also against birth control.

People opposed to abortions who are also against providing financial assistance to unwed teenage mothers who do the right thing and then try to finish their education so that they and their child can escape poverty.

Christians who claim to follow the teaching of Jesus while urging the government  to turn back  undocumented immigrants seeking a better life in America.

Flag waving wealthy corporate CEO's who claim to be patriots while moving their businesses offshore in order to avoided paying their fair share of income taxes.

Self righteous anti- immigration people who claim that their ancestors came to America legally -ignoring the fact that our ancestors immigrated to America illegally without the permission of the true Native Americans - many of whom still live in poverty on Reservations. 

Monday, June 16, 2014


 If there is one constant in human history it's the impulse to invade, plunder, and rape. As far back as we can trace our history it's been a long series of wars, conquests, slaughter, and subjugation. The story never changes except for a few variations of the plot and the cast of actors. The plots revolve around intrigue, religion, territory, race, wealth, land,  resources, or any other possible excuse to stir people to take up arms against an imagined foe. The villains come from central casting where there is no shortage of unemployed evil doers with  over inflated egos ready and willing to wreck havoc upon unsuspecting populations. We call these actors our "leaders".  Leaders acquire power through inheritance, intrigue, brutal conquest, and persuasion (aka election). Once in power their primary  instinct is to acquire more power and attack other neighboring leaders. Somewhere back in Africa millions of years ago when we came down from the trees and started walking around hitting each other on the head with clubs and rocks there were probably a few sociopathic males with a "leader" gene in their DNA. That gene shows up at least once or twice every generation to produce people like Genghis Khan, Hitler, and the numerous other "leaders" who we all too eagerly follow into deadly warfare against our fellow human beings.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Boycott Partrisanship

For those of us who are sick of all the negative  political attack ads on television the best way to stop them is to boycott their advertisers and sponsors. Just drop a line, or call the TV stations and tell them that if they keep running the negative ads you're going to boycott their advertisers. Then make a call, or write a letter to the advertisers and tell them you're going to boycott their products. It's that simple. Television stations, media outlets, and the press  make a lot of money running these negative ads which only serve to pit us against each other and  encourage extreme partisinship. The result is that we end up with politicians who represent narrow minded ideologies.  It's up to us to say enough of the childish bickering! Just say no to political divisivemess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

 Putin's claims of American Hypocrisy?

Putin's land grab in the Crimea is very similar to America's invasion of Mexico in the 1840's when President Polk decided to use force to acquire Texas, California, and portions of Arizona and New Mexico. .Polk claimed that it was America's "Manifest Destiny" to own that land. He sent troops into Mexico and forced the President of Mexico to sell the land to America at the point of a gun. This caused an International uproar and our actions were broadly censured. The invasion was preceded by Mexico filing complaints against American citizens who were illegally migrating into Texas -which at that time was owned by Mexico.

We sometimes wonder why other Nations accuse us of hypocrisy. Our blatant land grab in Mexico, our invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are examples, as is our claim that we alone should be allowed to own nuclear weapons. We are after all the only Nation who so far has used nuclear weapons to kill thousands of non-combatant citizens.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Governments are supposed to protect individual freedom and provide for the general welfare of their citizens  not repress,  subjugate,  or spy on their citizens. Money was invented  to provide an efficient way to exchange goods and services, not  provide a way to allow a few individuals to take the majority of the money out of circulation for their own personal benefit. Politicians are supposed to represent the interests of all of the people not just those with enough money to buy influence.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mitch McConnell brandishing a rifle is about as childish as it gets. This is the man who said his primary  job was to prevent Obama from getting re-elected. What happened to trying to improve the economy and creating more jobs? What happened to  updating our infrastructure? What happened to healing the wounds of partisanship? What happened to raising the minimum wage for some of our nations hardest workers?
We're paying McConnell and our politicians above average salaries and they're not even putting in a 40 hour work week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

If Jesus were alive today the Tea Party folks would accuse him of being a "Socialist".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Big Horn Sheep

Let me get this straight. The Arizona Game and Fish department is killing mountain lions who kill big horn sheep so that hunters can kill the sheep instead.