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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Well, tonight (8/29/12) is the big night for vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, who will deliver his speech at the convention in Tampa, Florida, where they have escaped the worst of Isaac’s wrath.

Ryan has been criticized for authoring a budget that would drastically curb the national debt, but would end Medicare as we know it and ultimately privatize Social Security.  As a fellow Republican conservative, I realize the need for this and the respective sacrifices, but as a member of God’s human race, also concerned about the impact on the elderly and disabled.  Yes, Mr. Ryan’s plan is to not touch these entitlements to anyone fifty-five (55) and older.  But as Murphy (Murphy’s Laws) once wrote, two things you never want to see manufactured are sausages and laws.  After 535 senators and congressmen have their hands in it, there is no guarantee the final polished version of the bill that hits the president’ desk (regardless Romney or Obama) will ensure that.  Also, there are many of my fellow baby boomers in their early fifties that have hit hard times and may not be able to make it on savings and 401Ks alone, especially if they got laid off and had to change jobs (if lucky enough to find another job).  And remember the obligation in the preamble of the Constitution that states promote the general welfare; written long before the creation of the modern welfare state we now scorn, but stating an obligation to care for those who are completely unable to care about themselves.

If I had a chance to converse with Mr. Ryan (or Mr. Romney for that matter), I would like to state the slight ridicule with respect to having privatized Medicare and Social Security services, and yet, have a government operated railroad, we know as Amtrak.  Would it not make more sense to first privatize Amtrak before exploring privatizing social services?  In Great Britain right now, British Railways, the railroad owned by the British government, is now being challenged by Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Atlantic, a popular airline that is now offering rail service as well.  It seems to me Delta or United could diversify and offer rail service in addition to airline service; and by the way, that would create jobs.  Furthermore, instead of those Kawasaki built M-8 rail cars that are taking over on the Metro North New Haven Line I use to commute to work (which are by the way nice cars, but made in Japan), Boeing or Lockheed-Martin who manufacture jumbo jets for the afore mentioned U.S. airlines, could manufacturer the rail cars and keep them current, comfortable, and safe; once again creating jobs.  A Montreal, Quebec Canada based company knows as Bombardier is currently the only manufacturer in the world that makes both trains and planes.  When I ride the diesel powered Waterbury branch of the Metro North in the off-season, many of those rail cars are made by Bombardier.  The Bombardier concept can serve as a prototype for how the afore mentioned jumbo jet manufacturers to set up their train division while Virgin Atlantic would be the airlines’ prototype for their diversification.

I am suggesting we see how much money the federal government can save, and subsequently curb the deficit by privatizing Amtrak before encroaching on the so called third rail of politics.

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With the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon for the Apollo-11 moon mission in 1969, those of us old enough to have actually been alive in 1969 and have watched it on analog television sets (we had a Sears-Roebuck color television made in 1967), it is a time to reflect on how rapid technology moves and all the things like the Internet, cell phones, I-Pads, I-Pods, and I-Phones that were merely science fiction back then.  1969 overall was a special year for me.  I was seven years old in first grade, I saw the Miracle Mets win the World Series and the first man walk on the moon.

As Neil Armstrong stepped down from the lunar module to walk on the moon, install his Plantronics headphone with microphone set in his space helmet and source of air, throw a switch to turn on a television camera for the world to see, he spoke the famous words, One small step for me, one giant leap for mankind.  The words of symbolism appropriate for the occasion.  But as the rocket took off from the moon to return Neil along with moonwalk partner Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and commander Michael Collins back to Earth, Armstrong made another statement, Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.  At that point in time, no one had a clue who Mr. Gorsky was.

Interesting since we speak of baseball with the miracle Mets along with the moonwalk as the highlights of The Summer of 69, also made famous in a Bob Segar song.  Armstrong would not say anything about Mr. Gorsky until a speech he made in 1995 after Mr. Gorsky had passed away.

Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky were next door neighbors of the Armstrongs when young Neil was ten years old and hitting a baseball with a friend in his backyard.  The friend hit the ball over the fence into the Gorsky’s yard and Neil climbed the fence to retrieve the ball.  Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky were having an argument and as the argument concluded, Mr. Gorsky asked Mrs, Gorsky for, as coined by Ray Romano in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, make-up sex.  Mrs. Gorsky, still not completely over her anger, said to her husband, Sex?  I’ll have sex with you when that boy walks on the moon!  Hence, the adult and astronaut Neil Armstrong concluded the Apollo 11 mission with the words, good luck Mr. Gorsky.

It is a leap year and presidential election year and the two major parties will once again be hosting conventions.  Romey, Ryan, and the Republicans are in Tampa, Florida this week.  Although Tropical Storm Isaac almost postponed it, it looks good for now.  Obama, Biden, and those Dems will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, another venue affected by hurricane season a week later circumnavigating around Labor Day and a nice three-day shorty like Nixon’s confirmation in 1972 in Miami.

For me, a voice for the Republicans, conservatives, and believers in the revival of the American Dream, it is merely an interlude as conventions these days are for confirmation as the primaries determine the nominee.  For my late father, who wrote state and national politics for the Bridgeport Post prior to its sale in the late eighties to a firm that turned it into a rag, it was his finest hour as he would go to both parties’ conventions and get the scoop for stories in the daily edition as well as for his regular column in the Sunday Post.

My father loved the camaraderie of interviewing the candidates and the other important people in both parties.  I don’t think he would be thrilled with the fact that the two conventions are only a week apart this time around, especially with the second one on Labor Day week.  He would have to work on Labor Day to wrap up the GOP convention in his hotel in Tampa and then catch the red-eye to Charlotte.  Nonetheless, it was in his blood and we would have our Labor Day cookout thinking about him.

It would have been nice if there were something exciting going on like if Romney had chosen to let the delegation decide his running-mate; with the collapse of my beloved New York Mets, there is not much to cheer about on the baseball front and it hard to watch them give away runs to teams with worse records than them by not covering the bag and nobody covering home last Wednesday night when the last place (NL West) Colorado Rockies beat them 6-2 and ultimately swept them in a four game series.

Next stop is the debates and then the general election on November 6.  I hope we get our Republicans in to curb the deficit and begin the process of rebuilding the American Dream for all of us.

 

 

Last Thursday (8/16/12) my home town of Oxford, Connecticut held a referendum to decide whether or not the town should spend $7+ million for athletic fields for the high school that opened for business in 2007.  When I was living in Norwalk and planning the move to Oxford, I had mixed feelings about whether or not Oxford needed its own high school—in the past it bused its 9 – 12 pupils to neighboring Seymour.  Oxford has two 55+ condo complexes, has an older population, and nobody is expecting another post WWII baby boom.  But since I was not a resident of Oxford when the high school was approved, I had no say in it and that I consider it water over the dam.  But now that I am a resident and registered voter, and taxpayer in this town, I feel [we] should not have to pay for a mistake.

As with most high schools, the athletic field (mostly football) is located in the back of the building.  They put in state of the art clubhouses, scoreboard, bleachers, and the like.  The problem is the field does not drain properly; since the high school opened for business with 2008 being the first season they fielded sports teams, about twenty (20) outdoor sports events were cancelled or changed to away games because the field was unplayable.  Understandable, but in a recession economy, is an $80 a year property tax increase to correct a mistake justifiable?

Unlike the existing field, the complex they want to build in a lot behind the current field off a small access road is for five fields in one.  Not just a football field which can be marked and used for soccer and lacrosse as well, they are building five separate field for five separate sports using field turf, an artificial surface that is more forgiving than Astroturf and does not result in the same degree of injuries, it is costly and its base is usually recycled tire treads—many little leagues have banned field turf because the vapors from vulcanized rubber are not healthy to inhale.  If they absolutely had to do something, they could have gone with the single football field built for multi-purpose with natural grass; and they could have held off, maybe move the home games to the Nolan Field Complex in nearby Seymour, until a better economy.

But the worst thing about this situation is the one-sidedness the town took.  There were stake signs all over route 67 and local roads saying VOTE YES OHS TRACK & FIELD.  Not one VOTE NO sign in the whole town.  I voted at 6:30 AM and avoided crowds but my mother voted later in the morning and ran into First Selectman George Temple.  She asked Mr. Temple who paid for those signs and he responded by saying a PAC (Political Action Group) funded the signs.  Although I am a Republican and share a great deal of political philosophy with Mr. Temple, I think this is an abuse of PAC money.  The town used PAC money to sway the townspeople to its side on the issue.  The most fundamental of all democracy, both representative and New England Town Meeting formats, is that both sides are represented.  I have said in prior blogs that although I am right of center and a compassionate conservative, I am thankful that liberals to exist and state their cases as I state mine.  Earth is the imperfect world and nobody is right all the time.  If everybody agrees on everything, there are only two possibilities, either everybody’s right or everybody’s wrong and if everybody’s wrong, everybody thinks they’re right.  We have two distinct parties for a reason, so one keeps the other in check.  Our Founding Fathers, who studied and took the advice of philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Locke, intended conflict to be the tool to use to resolve conflict.  The Platonian Dielectic is based on the principle of starting with a thesis, responding with an (opposite) antithesis, take the best of both and form a synthesis.  The synthesis becomes a new thesis which may have an antithesis of its own; the process continues until [practical] equilibrium is achieved.  As we observe in Washington, DC today, there is no guarantee this will prevail, but there is zero chance of it in a one-sided environment.  We need to revert to Thomas Payne common sense solutions.

It’s official!  Romney has selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as the Vice Presidential running-mate.  Ryan, 42, is a good Christian (Catholic), a good family man, and a good conservative from the Tea Party faction.  Ryan’s budget plan would end Medicare as we know it, privatize Social Security, and offer the most drastic spending cuts in history.

As a proponent of limited government, we now have someone who fight for fiscal sanity by limiting government and take a huge step in restoring the American Dream.  Many pundits claim this changes the face of the election as it is now a referendum on liberal vs. conservative policy and a sub-referendum on Obamacare.  The downside to this is it does not enable middle-of-the-road swing voters, those who make or break an election, to [our] side.

The hurdle we Republicans will have this November is not the ticket, but Romney himself.  His past stands on abortion, gay marriage, his version of Obamacare dubbed Romneycare implemented in Massachusetts when he was governor, and wealth un-relatable to the average middle class Joe and outsourcing jobs.  Sure, we Republican conservatives like Paul Ryan because he is one of us, but we are not voting for Paul Ryan, we are voting the Romney-Ryan ticket and Romney is the one that will be running the country.  The Ryan selection alone does not ensure the conservative base that Romney himself is committed to [our] conservative ideals.

The biggest affect the Ryan Factor may have on the November 6 election is on the congressional election—it should motivate fellow Republican conservatives to vote in Republican conservative senators and congressmen to get our plan for limited government and fiscal responsibility implemented.  Now is the time for all good men [and women] to come to the aid of their party.

With the debate over Obamacare and the desire of liberals and Democrats to want government regulated healthcare, it amazes me what people believed dating back to about the first half of the twentieth century, how America evolved health-wise, and that a little common sense may result in healthier people.

I came across an old Dr. Pepper bottle with the numbers 10, 2, and 4 on the label and growing up in the latter half of the twentieth century and the fact that this Texas-born soda pop was a late comer to the New York metropolitan area (remember Eddie and The Kid in 1970?), I was curious of the significance of these three numbers on a bottle of Dr. Pepper.  Today, the number they promote is 23, because the beverage’s flavor is a combination of twenty-three different fruit flavors.  Charles Alderton created the formula in Texas in 1895.  But in the past, it was 10, 2, and 4.  This is what I found out.

Further research led me to a clock available for about $500 on Ebay as a collector’s item with the 10, 2, and 4 in large, red, bolder-face than the other numbers.  A few articles later on Wikipedia determined the advertising centered on the idea that one should drink a full size bottle of Dr. Pepper at 10:00, 2:00, and 4:00.  In the days when diet soda was not a gleam in any beverage-maker’s eyes, a 150-calorie bottle of Dr. Pepper at 10:00, 2:00 and 4:00.  Dr. Pepper is a caffeinated beverage, around the level of the average cola and the pseudo-medical claim was one’s blood-sugar runs low at 10, 2, and 4, and one feels fatigued and run-down, low ambition so pepper up yourself at 10, 2, and 4.  The full slogan was Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2, and 4.  To help promote the concept, in Texas and other Midwestern states did a half-hour radio show called The 10-2-4 Ranch where listeners would hear cowboy music sung live and reminders throughout the show to drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4.  The show aired Monday through Friday three times a day at…you guessed it!

Getting back to healthcare, what doctor today would advise a patient to drink three Dr. Peppers a day?  Especially since a report was aired on last Sunday’s edition of Sixty Minutes (CBS) about the harmful effects of excessive sugar intake on diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and on how if a cancerous tumor is present in the body, the sucrose converted to glucose feeds the tumor making it far more dramatic and worse.  Three Dr. Peppers a day would result in an additional 450 calories and loads of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweetener (associated with other health concerns), and even in people with accelerated metabolism would stop eating right as they would not feel hungry for meals.  And Dr. Pepper is not a meal replacement.  Calories resulting from sugar or corn syrup have no proteins, fats, carbs, or essential vitamins and minerals.

We can do our part to keep the cost of healthcare down by learning from the past and using common sense methods to be healthier in the present, the future, and pass it on to the next generation.  An apple or other fruit snack at 10, 2, and 4 makes more sense as it achieves the same purpose, natural energy to get through the day and aids us in our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  As for Dr. Pepper, I like the flavor too and an occasional Dr. Pepper will do you no harm, just don’t overdo it.  Leave the 10-2-4 ranch in the past.

I doubt anyone from the original field of eight candidates vying for the nomination beginning in December 2011 will be selected—at the debates they made it obvious they are more conservative than Romney and a sweetheart deal would be required.  I still think Marco Rubio would be the best choice but he prefers to get his feet wet with more time in the Senate.

There was a rumor about Condoleeza Rice but I understand she has no aspirations at this point in her life.  I would say the front runners are Kelly Ayote, the conservative New Hampshire senator, John Portman of Ohio, and of course Tim Pawlenty, the most likely choice at this point.

Ayote would be a powerhouse choice as it would cover tea party conservatism and has potential to sway women voters, even the liberal ones, to eat some crow and swing the G.O.P. way to make history by electing the first woman V.P.  I know Sarah Palin failed to achieve such, but the competition was the first African American Prez vs, the first woman Veep.  The former has happened and unfortunately for him, his policies continue to fail.  The downsides are (1) you are taking a Republican out of the Senate and the legislative branch which could have an adverse affect on which party will have a majority in Congress as her replacement would not be guaranteed to be Republican, and (2), it could entice Obama to switch from Biden to Hilary Clinton eliminating the urgency for liberal women voters to cross party lines to make history.  Nonetheless, I would commend Mr. Romney for making such a bold choice.

John Portman is not a very dynamic personality, but he is from Ohio, and for the last century, as Ohio went, so went the nation with respect to picking the winner.  Governor Tim Pawlenty would be the one I would place a wager on if I were a betting man.  Although Pawlenty stated he would prefer to help Romney get elected in other ways than be on the ticket, he would accept if he saw it in Romney’s best interest and Romney-Pawlenty is the most compatible ticket of the choices at this point.  With all due respect to conservative talk maven Rush Limbaugh, I don’t think he got it right this time claiming Romney will win by a landslide.  I see him slightly favored over Obama, but far from a cakewalk.  A dynamic Veep may be a good idea in that case.

If I were advising the Romney camp, I think he should do what Adlai Stevenson did in 1956 when Estes Kefauver, a sharp contrast to Stevenson but well respected by both liberals and conservatives at the time, ran on the ticket because Stevenson elected not to select a running-mate but let the delegation decide for him at the convention.  With Eisenhower being a war hero, no one was defeating him either in 1952 or 1956, but today, it just may get Romney someone he would never think to pick but will be a huge driving force on the ticket.