Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Going forward. Where is the Republican Party going to go? Myself included, [we] must define a direction and stay on course. Otherwise, as NYT Magazine intimated, Welcome to Planet Hillary.

 Hillary Clinton has few friends in America, and yet if there are no intervening forces by the GOP between now and November 2016, she will be sitting in the oval office in January 2017. Not only a tragedy, but a victory for Satan. How quickly we all forget the china and dishware she stole from the White House of Bill’s departure on 01-20-2001. She is not even nice, and now she is trying to personify herself as America’s Choice and thanks to the traditional liberal media, she is succeeding. How can someone so revered be the people’s choice? Because our side has failed to provide a viable alternative.

 What happens when a Major League Baseball team either trades away its credible superstars or allows them to walk away when eligible for free agency? Usually no pennant in its future. We can’t make it happen with the likes of McCain, Romney, and Christie, especially the latter now that he has shown his true colors. It needs a superstar like Santorum or Rubio; even both of them on the same ticket. There are even some good women who affiliate with us because they know what’s right that can be viable candidates should they opt to run. The first woman president does not have to be a liberal Democrat, it can be one of our own. The RNC must gets its act together and the registered Republicans in all fifty states and the District of Columbia must band together on getting the best man or woman for the job on the ballot in 2016.

Is the far right side of the Tea Party Republicans the best direction? Consider the fact that Ty Cobb was one of the most revered and disliked men not only in baseball, but in the history of this country. But he did hit .367 lifetime, number one all-time. And he could run in the outfield, run the bases, and one of the top choices when picking teams in the All Time All Star edition of Strat-O-Matic baseball, for those of you old enough to remember board games before technology got the best of them. The Assyrians were among most evil people ever to inhabit Mesopotamia (where life began north of Baghdad) and yet God made use of them to defeat the Canaanites and defend the Israelites. A Tea Bagger may be just what the doctor ordered to limit government, get spending under control, balance the budget, and allow America to move on so that The American Dream can be restored.

 What we don’t want is for Tea Party philosophy to dominate American politics for the next 100 years. Winston Churchill once said If you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you are still a liberal at 40, you have no brain. I was not a liberal when I was 20, I backed The Great Ronald Reagan all the way. At 52, I am a compassionate conservative and one flaw I see with many Tea Baggers is they lack compassion. This is why I supported Rick Santorum’s run in the 2012 primaries because he is a Godly man and a man of great compassion. I did not get to vote for him in Connecticut’s primary because he had a family matter and dropped out of the race. Our Founding Fathers professed to their dying days the importance of a central government undertaking and maintaining a limited presence in the everyday lives of its citizens; that is why the wrote a very rigid constitution dedicated mainly to enunciating the rights of its citizens and provide a limited text on how to govern a free country. The problem is our Founding Fathers had one tragic flaw—they were slave owners. The one birth defect in our great nation is we began as a free nation with slaves. But if it weren’t for what they did create, we would not be able to pass the thirteenth amendment four score and nine years later. As I have said from the beginning, we must drink from the fountains of wisdom they passed on to us, but not become carbon copies of them.

 The Tea Party is a source of wisdom for the soon to be reinvented GOP, but not the pseudonym for where it must go in the future. It has been accused of being the party of no. What we need in power right now is the party of not yet. We must first balance or budget and then help the American people who are unable to help themselves with real money, not IOUs from foreign lands. We must enable more Americans to help themselves with access to better education and opportunities to use their skills in their own small businesses and live The American Dream. We can have one Tea Bagger now, but we must build a future on the traditional GOP philosophies of Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Let’s build the Grand NEW Party!

Alex Rodgiguez will lose an entire 162 game season due to his involvement with PEDs, the Biogenesis scandal, and is denial of the aforementioned of which there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. He cannot play minor league ball in any affiliated league, and the Japanese leagues said they would voluntarily uphold the suspension. The Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of baseball said they would be interested in him playing for them and since they operated independent of MLB are not covered by the ban. But a represented for the union tweeted only if he has the Yankees’ permission—although suspended, he is still under contract.

The controversy that arises is the collective bargaining agreement is for a first offense to be only 50 games, a second offense to be 100 games, and possible lifetime banishment for more than two offenses. A-Rod admitted to using steroids for two years in a Texas Rangers uniform and the man who claims he injected Mr. Rodriguez has come forward. He was originally suspended for 211 games, appealed it and played in pinstripes to the end of the 2013 season while under appeal. The result was a reduction by 49 games and prohibition from any post-season play. MLB claims A-Rod’s case was an exception to the 50-100 rule because in addition to just using, he also lied under oath. A-Rod claims the Yankees and MLB are colluding to relieve Hal Steinbrenner of a large contract and not have to pay him. Then why would the Yankees deny him permission to play for the Long Island Ducks? Sure the Ynakees would prefer to get out of the contract and since A-Rod was in the wrong, although anyone but a Yankee fan would not side with Steinbrenner who represents the one percent, the fact that the Yankees may get this break is simply collateral damage resulting from the justice system doing its job within the framework in which they have to work. Hal Steinbrenner also has to cover his own butt—suppose he doesn’t win? If the courts rule in A-Rod’s favor and he plays ball again in 2014, or if he miraculously makes a comeback at age 39 in 2015 as a Yankee, the Yankees are entitled to the healthiest most productive A-Rod they can get. He could play for the Ducks and suffer a career-ending injury. That would be the biggest tragedy of all as nobody including MLB would win. Think about it, if he can’t play anyway, the suspension becomes moot; weakening the infrastructure of the CBA and how it can handle PEDs.

The days of my youth when you could see most Met games on channel 9 in New York and sit in the upper deck at Shea Stadium for $1.30 are long gone. Even cheap seats at Citi Field can set back a gang (or family) of four over $100 and you have to subscribe to SNY on cable or dish to see the boys of summer play the game. The clock cannot be turned back now that the Reserve Clause was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and we have no choice but to pay through the nose if we choose to be fans—myself included. The one demand we has fans have is if we are going to pay through the nose, we at least want the assurance we are seeing an honest game. The game is being played with integrity and the players are maximizing their God-given talent, not injecting themselves with something allowing them to simulate a higher level of talent and sending a tainted message to the youth of America who worship these guys. Baseball must win, A-Rod must lose, for the good of the game.

From the Teapot Dome Scandal, to Watergate to Monica Lewinsky, America has seen plenty of faux pas in its time. Granted, so has the world, but the price we pay for free press is ours cannot be swept under the rug. The latest snafu in American politics seems to be the George Washington Bridgegate concerning New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, considered the GOP frontrunner in 2016 up until now.

First of all, not to downplay Governor Christie as a viable candidate for president, I believe the Republican party can do better. Like his predecessor Mitt Romney, his lack of commitment to the Republican conservative causes had a lot to do with his demise leading to the re-election of Barrack Obama in spite of his decline in popularity; albeit his forty-seven percent remark was ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back. One Republican I never fully exonerated was Richard Nixon; he did not tell the truth when he claimed he had no knowledge of what was going on at that hotel on Virginia Avenue and if the Republican party was to go forward in the future and promote our conservative agenda, it must railroad out problem people. It is fine and even fun to debate political issues 364 days out of the year, but on one Tuesday in November, we are all America’s head coaches for a day and the objective is to pick the best team. Sometimes the [players] we agree with on issues the most are not the best people or team players.

After saying that, although being a free American is one of the most important things for an American, we are God’s children first and it is important we are not too quick to judge. Even Washington and Lincoln were not perfect people and their faux pas were not exposed the way those of modern era politicians are with mass media technology today. Should we dismiss a candidate over just one mistake? It depends, of course, on the severity of the mistake. There was one death on the George Washington Bridge that fateful day. No one committed wonton murder, the motorist was in duress and the traffic jam delayed response time too long for EMT to get to this person. But the point is it could have been prevented if the powers that be did not artificially inseminate a traffic jam. Our criminal justice system implements something called the felony murder law which does hold criminals accountable for deaths at the crime scene even if the nature of the crime was not to murder anyone. This is not considered a felony offense, at least not yet, but the principle is the same. The evidence is surfacing that Christie was cognitive to the actions that led to this and he may have backed himself into a corner of which he cannot free himself.

For baseball historians, the Eight Men Out of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, Pete Rose, and most recently Alex Rodriguez pay the price for not playing the game of baseball with integrity. When it comes to those who wear the Federal Government uniform, it is more important that they play the game with integrity than what the actually stand for and it is important as voters we all base our decisions accordingly.

This morning the CBS public affairs show Face The Nation celebrated its 60th year on TV with first program on November 7, 1954. Bob Scheiffer got Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) on the show and Reid seldom does interviews. Follow up with Congressman King (R-New York) and Congressman Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) as the debate is rising with respect to the issues of extending unemployment benefits and raising the minimum wage. Are we brushing the guardrail on the Schoenhaus Theorem?

I agree with King and Salmon that job creation should have precedence over distribution algorithms for government-sponsored unemployment. But in order to do that, you have to stop outsourcing both menial and manufacturing jobs to foreign lands. Wherever any state or the Federal Government sets the minimum wage, it can only apply in America to American workers. We cannot dictate other nations of the world comply to our standards—this explains why George Washington argued for isolationism. In a free-enterprise system both the 99% and the 1% (albeit 80-20 is what it should be) have rights, the best way to accomplish this is to raise tariffs on foreign produced goods. The problem with that is there are entire of categories of goods, such as television sets and many home electronic products, that are currently not produced at all in the United States. Before you raise tariffs, you first have to resumes state-side manufacturing—something we have to do according to the Schoenhaus Theorem, but it is far easier said than done. Unemployment is a bad thing, but it is a self-inflicted wound on the American economy dating back to early greedy industrialists like H.C. Frick and John Bayer, the monetary cost of The New Deal, and the shifting of manufacturing overseas over the last fifty years. On the one hand, we cannot turn our backs on those with no means of support. On the other hand, states and/or the Federal Government cannot pay the unemployed with money they just don’t have. Spending cuts, limited government, are Hobson’s choices and just cutting funding to Public Television, Planned Parenthood, and the like will not generate enough revenue to make a dent in the deficit. Changes in operating procedures with respect to that so called third rail of politics are pretty much inevitable and they cannot be done without somebody getting hurt so a critical, unpopular decision must be made.

As for raising the minimum wage, I differ from many of my fellow Republicans and say yes; the question is how much? While the Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr, in my home state of Connecticut, it just went up from $8.25 to $8.70 and according to bill approved by our General Assembly, will be $9.00 even 01-01-2015. President Obama wants to raise the Federal minimum wage all the way to $10.00/hr. Sounds inviting to working class Americans, but be careful what you wish for. I have seen small pizzerias and hobby shops right here in the Naugatuck Valley where I reside (Oxford, CT) go under when the minimum wage was first raised to $8.10. Most small business owners are people persons and want to see their employees happy and do well; they usually (not always) have bigger hearts than large business owners; they just don’t have the wherewithal. The Catch-22 is they cannot just reduce their hours and stay in business so many go belly-up and not only the minimum wage employee is out of work, so is the small business owner. As for large businesses, it is a bigger invitation for them to lay off their menial employees and outsource those jobs. On the other hand, if a minimum wage employee cannot make ends meet whether they work or not, why work? You get more content unemployment recipients who ultimately become part of the Welfare system. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), said the government gets back 50 cents on every dollar it spends on unemployment compensation. This is not the case with every Welfare dollar, we get nothing back there.

It is very important that my Republican party de-emphasize being the party of no and redefine themselves as the party of not yet. We have limited resources with a $17 Trillion deficit and we are brushing the guardrail with the darkest side of the Schoenhaus Theorem, but I believe the last hope for America to recover with a balanced budget is to invest in something even though it can’t really afford it—education. We can’t raise tariffs on foreign-produced goods if there is no American competitor, it will take the rest of this century to bring back manufacturing to the level it was at the peak of the industrial era; even then it can only be a shadow of what it was due to environmental concerns; even then it can only create a shadow of the jobs it created in its hey day due to automation and robotics. If we can’t raise tariffs, we cannot dictate big business stop outsourcing as we would be infringing on their freedom; not their freedom as businessmen, their freedom as American citizens. If we invest in education and have a world class educational system from Kindergarten to College, we can diffuse the issue of whether menial jobs are done by Americans or foreign outsourcees and whether manufacturing is done by human hands at all or by robots by creating more higher-paying technical jobs; jobs of which we desperately need even in early twenty-first century America but either have to do without or outsource due to the skills gap. This will not create more assembly line jobs, but will allow the building of the robots and the writing of the computer programs that run the robots to be done by Americans. In the technological world we live in today, this is a critical precursor to the twenty-second century industrial America we are trying to conceive.

The other thing America must do, if not invest in monetarily, take a huge interest in, is small business. With those graduating college at the top of their classes not finding suitable work, and the fact that the job market will take another big hit when we are completely out of Afghanistan, our troops come home, and even the military will be facing some layoffs, this should be a no-brainer; one cannot be fired or laid off if they work for themselves. If a 4.0 GPA Computer Science major can write source code for any company in the world (or at least in the United States), why can’t he or she write source code for him or herself, and make it available for sale in other specialty businesses? Prior to the industrial revolution of the early twentieth century, America was primarily an agrarian society and a majority of the farms and plantations were privately owned—per capita there were more farm owners than farm workers (the slavery issue not withstanding). With respect to what America has become over the last three centuries, this is the direction it needs to go. Many costly social programs will become obsolete with a generation of independent owners and then and only then can the Federal Government maintain economic sanity and focus on what services the American people absolutely need.

Alas, this new American Dream is going to require the nation’s youth to dream bigger than just having a white-collar job and representing the upper end of middle class. The potential is still there. The light still shines on the hill overlooking the shining city, but it grows dimmer and dimmer and will go dark unless we act accordingly?

 

Hail, Hail Rock and Roll: Fellow rock and rollers from doo wop to The Beatles to Springsteen, get ready.  Rock and roll was born in 1955 making 2014 its 60th anniversary with it’s official birthday March of next year.

Pre-baby-boomers not convinced Danny and the Juniors were right when they sang, “Rock and roll is here to stay” either condemned the music or viewed it as “the epitome of youth.”   Who would have thought rock and roll would become the music of the rocking chair people.  Hail, hail, and happy anniversary!

I have seen strange laws get passed in my time, but what the state of Colorado just did takes the cake. I think they should change their nickname to The Stoned State and put it on their license plates. I don’t even approve of so called medicinal marijuana, so don’t even think of selling me on recreational.

 Let me begin by saying the term medicinal marijuana is the mother of all oxymorons in the American English language. Marijuana does not cure anything. If medical research ever demonstrated that it cured a disease currently on the terminal list, than even staunch conservatives like me would have to keep an open mind. But so far the only quasi-medicinal use for it is to ease the suffering of cancer patients (and other terminal disease) from the pain and suffering of chemotherapy and such treatments. There is not a shred of evidence they are going to live any longer if they use marijuana. And if they do live, is it fair to them to destroy their brain cells, make them unable to function normally, and yet they still can’t make it to a ripe old age? Remember, Jesus suffered on the cross so we all could live.

 When I was in tenth grade and had a required Health Education course for one semester, the teacher made us watch a film—remember 16mm movie projectors in classrooms? To teach in those days you had to know how to thread one! The film was called The Perfect Pill and it starred a very young Beau Bridges (I think is was made ten years before I was in tenth grade). Bridges talked about a perfect drug that could alter your mind, give you a buzz or high that would take your mind off your troubles but had no side effects or long-term consequences to body or brain cells. Absurd examples like Had a car accident and somebody got killed? Relax, take a pill and forget about it. Is that the society you want to live in—I sure as hell don’t. It is well known that excessive marijuana use does do damage to vital parts of the brain. Although it can be ingested other ways, if smoked, it is hard on the lungs. And nobody has yet done any studies on second-hand marijuana smoke—it could be as bad as second-hand tobacco smoke or worse.

 Now in Colorado, one can enjoy marijuana recreationally. Imagine someone working in a store or restaurant taking a “break” and coming back stoned—do you really want that person waiting on you? Maybe it doesn’t affect driving the way alcohol does; but it has been suggested they do drive slower and process trouble on the road slower. Maybe it has little to no physiological addictive properties. But it does alter the dopamine (pleasure) part of the brain and its users learn to really like it. Isn’t that the root of all addiction?

 My fear is that it will spread to other states. The two so-called perks to it are (1) if it is legal, it is state-regulated and taxed as tobacco and alcohol are and it is a new source of tax revenue to aid states in managing their debt and balancing their budgets. (2) If it is legal, it can be acquired by those who choose it legally and it is a stab in the aorta to organized crime. Both of these perks make it an attractive proposition to many states. First of all, it is going to be a lot harder to keep our youth away from it if it is legal. When it is legal, legal consequences, although not perfect, are better than nothing. Sure you can have a minimum age, but older people can acquire it for younger people, just as they do tobacco and alcohol. And the underage use it in places where they are unlikely to get caught. Besides, when you make it legal, you send a message to the underdeveloped adolescent mind it can’t be that bad. Second, marijuana is only one product organized crime deals in. Suppose we legalized cocaine, heroin, prostitution, assault weapons (weapons of war, beyond the 9mm and AR-15), and hand-held nuclear bombs, for the sake of being facetious and making satire? When you factor all this in, organized crime will survive just fine, with more emphasis on what is still illegal. As a matter of fact, marijuana is not a favorite among drug dealers. It is more of a start-up drug, because it works in the body backwards. The longer one uses it, the less is required to get that high so the user buys less and the dealer makes less. Hard-core dealers prefer drugs like cocaine—although deadlier, the longer one uses, the more the user needs and the more money the dealer makes. We certainly can’t make everything legal or we will not survive as a civilization. Even the far-left is on board with me on that.

 I believe it is largely connected to something I spoke out about in both high school and college and still discuss with friends and peers—voter apathy. I am not convinced there is a large majority in favor of this. Remember that public service ad where they elected Bag-of Leaves and they show a Glad Trash Bag filled with freshly-raked dead leaves and introduced it as a mayor of legislator to make a point in a humorous fashion what happens if too many people don’t exercise their right to vote. Two-thirds stay home on election day and the one-third that shows up at the polls wins by electing the representatives that stand on their sides. I also know a lot of people I work with or have worked with that became Democrats twenty to thirty years ago because of the liberal bill of goods they were sold—the media, particularly the low tech media such as newspapers and broadcast television are generally liberal. I have conversations with many such friends and peers of mine and I come to the unstinting conclusion they simply don’t know why they are Democrats—therefore they don’t know what they are voting for! So this is the consequential algorithm: Bag-of-Leaves gets elected and legalized pot! A much simpler concept than you ever imagined.

 The state of Colorado has opened a Pandora’s Box that can easily lead to proliferation. Through conventional logic, there is no immediate concern about legalized cocaine, prostitution, or weapons of war. But once a Pandora’s Box is opened, Satan has a field day and temptation runs wild; all I am saying is be prepared for disaster. If the day ever comes where recreational marijuana is legal in all fifty states, put up a sign on the front door of America reading, CLOSED—ALL GONE NUTS!

Monday, December 23, 2013 was the last regular work day before out Christmas shutdown. I was the 7:45 express from Stratford to Stamford with one stop in Bridgeport. A man boarded the train in Bridgeport with his daughter who could not have been more than eight years old. They were unable to find a seat so they stood in the vestibule in hopes a seat would free up when those like me detraining in Stamford would free up two seats together for them. With the exception of passengers ticketed for the very next stop, conductors punch tickets and then provide a small piece of oak tag called a seat check which is retained by the passenger in case they switch seats or move to another car; instead of paying a second fare, show your seat check to the conductor handling the new car and he or she knows fare paid.

 The conductor in the car I was riding was about my age, not a white-haired old man but not somebody in his early twenties—late forties would be a good guess. When he saw the little girl standing with her father in the vestibule, he took a blank seat check and his hole puncher and made a smiley face out of punched holes and gave it to the girl, who thanked the man and the conductor and little girl befriended each other for the duration of the train ride. An act of kindness that fits the song, Little Things Mean a Lot.

This brings up an interesting question, What will this conductor do ten years (or thereabouts) from now when they take his hole puncher away and give him an electronic scanner to scan bar codes on train tickets—or some sort of smart-phone interface? Sure, he could bring a pad of paper, some colored markers (or crayons if they still make them), and draw her a picture. But right now, a hole puncher is conductors’ tool and there is something about the spontaneity of just using the tool that is the extension of his hand to make this happen and get a smile in return for a smile. Will this little girl’s children appreciate such a miniscule nicety or will it have to be on [her] smart-phone; it is only a matter of time before smart-phones will be a birth right.

 Remember paperboys (and girls) who would fold the newspaper in such away that they could toss in into the neighbors’ lawns without it coming undone while they pass on their bicycles? More and more people read newspapers on their smart-phones or tablets now. Remember the county fair (I admit I am ad-libbing this one, I grew up in the city) where you could ring the bell with a hammer or throw baseballs at a round button and dunk someone in the water and grab a prize for your girl? Does this generation even care about such a thing or would they rather play video games? Before Facebook and Twitter (and to some extent email), remember writing an old-fashioned letter, putting a stamp on it and mailing it; then waiting to hear back from this other person? I was sweet on a girl who was in my twelfth grade first period physics class and after I graduated in June 1981, we kept a written letter correspondence for a long time (I still think about her from time to time). She had a used Volkswagen Beetle in yellow and I had a 1971 Ford Pinto in dark green given to me by my grandmother. With respect to today’s teenagers, Internet access and social media is more important than driving a car. Possibly a relief to parents of teenagers, although believe me, social media can be just as dangerous in a different way.

 I really hate to see the little niceties such as giving a horse a lump of sugar, helping an elderly person cross the street, dropping a coin in a juke box so a two teenage lovers (always one boy and one girl back then) could have a free dance, or even a train conductor using his hole puncher to make a smiley face for a small child, go the way of high-button shoes or the dinosaur. It may seem like obsolete activity to you, but I believe it is an integral part of the American psyche; it has a lot to do with distinguishes us from people of other nations. A characteristic I believe is essential to a people of a nation devoid of their own culture but rather the melting pot of all world cultures. I believe we need to retrace our steps and take a good look at the price we are paying for all this wonderful technology. I’m glad I lived when the world was like that so I can write this now and pass it on to my fellow readers.