Looking Presidential 5

In the South Carolina GOP Primary debate last night, John King, exhibiting the lowest common denominator of journalism, asked Newt Gingrich about his ex-wife’s statement that he had asked for an open marriage. This kind of stuff is interesting to us only in prurient ways, but has nothing to do with a Presidential Candidate’s ability to hold the office.

Newt responded as only he should have. The issues of divorced people are usually messy, and political campaigns are not the place to air them.

SOPA/PIPA And Government Regulation 1

This is the age of increasing government intrusion into our personal lives. Today, Wikipedia went dark, and Google, the webs most popular search machine blacked out their logo to protest impending legislation that would give the US government control over content on the internet.

PIPA, Protect IP Act, and SOPA, Stop On-Line Piracy Act, are two bills  that would result in exactly that. PIPA is a Senate bill, and SOPA is a House bill. Both would force search web sites and other web sites to embargo so-called pirate web sites that sell or give away US copyrighted content like music and movies.

The Motion Picture Association if America is the primary driver behind this legislation, and they managed to get a lot of legislators behind the bill. This is big Hollywood money driving legislation that forces enforcement of copyright laws onto US companies and consumers. This is nothing but censorship by another means. It opens up government regulation of web content, and is such an obvious Trojan Horse that anybody can see it for what it is.

If the legislation comes to pass, Google would have to know all the pirate web sites in the world, and keep them from coming up on searches. Likewise, other web sites would be held responsible for links to the pirate sites, and the government could shut the sites down. This means you, friends, could be shut down and run out of business if somebody complains to the government about a link on your site.

We need strict enforcement of our intellectual property laws, but these bills are not the answer. Why cannot the government do its job by negotiating treaties and taking advantage of international laws to stifle the pirate sites? Why can we not with hold our foreign aid from those countries who shelter those scofflaws?

The solution to the problem is not simple, but that is no reason to make me responsible as a blogger and web site developer for the sins of others. We have enough bad laws.

I Was In Memphis 4

It is not a claim to fame, nor is it some sort of apology for me being white in a heavily, racially segregated City of Memphis. I couldn’t help it. I was born, educated, and found my wife all in the same town. I was one of those natives considered provincial by many, and downright evil by others.

I was a white man in a city where there were black drinking fountains, black schools, strict rules on black people’s conduct on public transportation, and just an all-around bad situation in which to grow up. The “N” word was in everyday use, and black people were expected to kowtow to their white superiors.

As a teenager, I delivered the morning newspaper. White kids delivered the paper to white neighborhoods, and black kids took care of the black neighborhoods. When we picked up our papers prior to delivery, we all went to the same “paper station” where there was not a lot of interplay. That was for two reasons,. Nobody was really playful at 5:00AM. The other reason was that some of the bigger white kids would purposely keep the racial lines drawn. For some reason, they felt threatened.

I particularly remember a black guy about two years my senior. He saved his money and bought a really great looking motorcycle. Charles was his name, and he was cool. Unfortunately, some of the bigger white guys didn’t think Charles was so cool, and were probably jealous of Charles. There were incidents were Charles was really pushed and derided, being called the N-word all the time, with the white guys demanding some sort of obedience. Charles never gave in.

The City of Memphis did not have school busses at that time. The reason was because they had a great public transit system, and a school kid could go anywhere in town for a nickel. Many times, I have witnessed a bus driver forcing black people to leave their seats for white people. This was a standard thing, and as a simple pre-teen and teenager, I didn’t know what to think or do. I didn’t go to the aid of those people. At that time, things were just that way. I didn’t know better.

When I was older, and possessing a car, an apartment, a wife and a dog, the racial scene really got tense. The city garbage workers were unionized, and went on strike. At that time, it was not legal for police, fire fighters, or any other city employee to be a union member. Mayor Henry Loeb stuck by his guns, and it looked like the scabs he hired would win the day.

Jerry Wurf, union organizer and communist, was successful in getting the garbage workers to stage protests. His biggest success was turning the strike into a racial cause when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. got involved. The citizens were not behind the garbage workers because their garbage was being collected. All the pain was with the workers.

King changed all that. It was planned for him to lead the garbage workers (all black) in a march in downtown Memphis as a protest against the city. We all know what happened, then.

It was 6:01 PM April 4th, 1968 when King was shot, I was at a Shelby County Sheriff’s location, waiting in line to get my tags. I was a procrastinator and that Thursday was my last chance to get my 1968 license tags for my car. I had waited outside in a long line for hours, getting a sunburn in the process. None of us in the line noticed that there were NO sheriff’s deputy cars at the station. They were all on duty downtown for the big union march.

When I finally got my tags and got back to our apartment it was getting late. I had heard on the radio that King had been shot. When I got back to the apartment, my wife was watching Channel 13 coverage of the event. It didn’t take long for a Channel 13 reporter to jump everybody, and report that Dr. King was dead.

All hell broke loose. There were riots breaking out all over downtown , and the City of Memphis police, with the Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol could not handle it. Downtown was burning, and black people were in a rage. More than one person was shot for looting.

That’s when the National Guard was brought in. The guard mobilized quickly. Downtown was now patrolled by soldiers with M1 rifles, and live ammunition. Armored personnel carriers were seen charging around town. Indeed, the following Sunday morning as I was on my way home from a night at the radio station, I was almost run over by one of those behemoths. It is awesome to be tooling along in your VW bug, only to top a hill and find an armored personnel carrier in your lane, coming toward you . Whew! That was close.

Neither Memphis, nor its people were ever the same. Some people continued to push a racial agenda, and others came to a different way of seeing things. None of us were without sin.

Urinating Marines Got It All Wrong! 3

It is shameful. The recently exposed video of four US Marines urinating on the corpses of dead ragheads Taliban freedom fighters is turning out to be another scandal of international proportions.

Our nation is in a tough fight. This war on terror is having more setbacks than my New Year’s resolutions. It seems like every time things are going OK, somebody just has to screw it up to make it tough on everybody else.

Where did those Marines learn their manners? I’ll bet their mothers did not teach them to urinate on corpses, Muslim or not. We have sent our best and brightest into a thankless war with the aim of being examples of the best America has to offer.

So, what was going on? Did those Marines just leave a beer party, shoot a bunch of Muslim terrorists, and then urinate on them? Why do things like Abu Ghraib persist to take place and embarrass us?

Those damned Marines got it all wrong.

You are supposed to piss on the bastards, and then shoot them.

Heaven Is For Real – Book Review 4

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

 – Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Occasionally, a book or story is published about near death experiences (NDE), which are accounts of people who have supposedly been near death, or actually died only to return to the living with stories an afterlife complete with heaven, angles, and God. The stories are encouraging to those who believe in God, and they usually support the things we have read in the Bible or the way we have learned to see heavenly things.

Picture of Book Cover for Heaven Is For Real

The Story Of A Little Boy Who Went To Heaven, And Back!

This book, Heaven Is For Real, was written about a little boy, Colton Burpo, who suffered from a ruptured appendix, and was mis-diagnosed by his local, small town doctors. With poison raging in the childs system for several days, the parents in a desparate move whisked the child off to a metropolitan hospital.

The life of three year old Colton Burpo was touch and go for over a week. His parents were concerned that their little boy would not survive. The father, Todd, is a pastor of a small church, and called upon his church family and friends to pray. After a couple of desperate operations, and much prayer, the child survived the ordeal.

Colton’s story did not end with surviving and living happily ever after. As three year old children are wont to do, little Colton spoke in a fashion children seem to prefer, directly and honestly. The descriptions started issuing forth from the young man about having been held in the lap of Jesus, the presence of Jesus’s Dad (God), and the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Throw in some Angels dressed in white garb with belts of gold, and you start to wonder just how much was in Colton’s out of body trip to heaven, and how much was in his memory banks from his father’s sermons and overheard conversations.

That’s the rub. It is easy for believers to treat the story as real, and equally easy for skeptics to doubt the story.

Todd Burpo, father and pastor, does explain at length that the descriptions were a surprise to him and his wife. In talking with their son over several months, they tried to not lead him in his answers. To Todd’s veracity, there are a few validating things that Colton described.

Colton related an out of body experience when he could see himself on the operating table, along with the doctors and staff working on him. He also said that he saw his father in a small room praying while his mother was talking on a cell phone, simultaneously. Since neither parent had talked about that particular moment, they realized something might be going on.

Later in the book, the child tells Todd that he met Todd’s grandfather in heaven. Now, Colton never saw his great-granddad and Colton did not recognize a picture of the great-granddad in his sixties when shown. Later Colton did recognize a picture taken when great-granddad was in his thirties. The little boy said that there were no old people in heaven, and nobody wore glasses as portayed in the old man’s picture.

I am prone to be skeptical of stories like this, but I do like the story, and have chosen to believe it.

Why do I believe it? You will just have to read it for yourself. You can buy the Kindle edition for about $5.00, and the print edition for a little over $10 on Amazon.com

Tired Of Politics? Try A Reality Show 3

This political season started the morning after the last election, and will not end until November of this year. We have had non-stop political coverage on the cable news channels for the last year or more, and it has become really tiresome. It is even worse now that the primary season has started.

Picture of Rick Santorum

You Are All Sinners!

Now, I like politics almost as much as the next person, and my opinions are more correct than most others. Why should I waste my time giving others a chance to convince me of something for which I have no respect? I can find better ways to spend my valuable time than watching Rick Santorum explaining why condoms are bad. A lot of people think that way.

In my search for other pursuits, I have stumbled on even more entertaining, and sometimes stupid, television productions. Oh, yes, bring more of those Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with all their trivial concerns and parties. We all know the whole thing is staged. Even so, the girls do a credible job with their acting.

Kyle Richard, Actress And Beverly Hills Housewife

Kyle Richards, Actress And Beverly Hills Housewife

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is a real kick, too, with all those lovely, big-busted ladies pretending to be relevant. One of them recently said that they make their living with their  , uhmm, somethings.

On this Saturday afternoon before football starts, I am watching that hugely popular reality show, Ax Men on the History Channel. This is one of the best productions since Ice Road Truckers and The Most Dangerous Catch. Logging is a dangerous job, and these guys demand respect for the chances they take everyday on the job.

The newest, and most entertaining reality show this season is on the Discovery channel, The Moonshiners! In this series, Tim, and his little brother, Tickle, make moonshine literally by the light of the moon. Tim is trying to make enough money to go legit and make whiskey legally, but the law is after his kind, using infrared imagers, airplanes, helicopters, and the usual set of informants. Plus, little brother, Tickle, seems to drink a good bit of what they make, staying drunk most of the time.

In one scene, Tickle got all patriotic and exclaimed, “If you love your country, you’ve got to love moonshine!”

Tim, Lead Moonshiner On Discovery Channel Reality Show

Tim

You know, I kind of agree with Tickle. Our country was built by famous whiskey makers and whiskey drinkers. George Washington was one of the largest whisker distillers in the young country, and, certainly, Ben Franklin was no slacker in his consumption of that product.

Tickle, Tim's Little Brother

Tickle

Tim and Tickle are the primary stars of the show, but there is a really good segment on the most famous moonshiner of all, Popcorn Sutton.

Old Popcorn is not with us anymore. He was caught by the revenuers, and committed suicide because he didn’t want to go to prison. Do not dispair because Popcorn left his recipe with a protege, who later went legit and is legally marketing their moonshine.

Popcorn Sutton

Popcorn Sutton

Life is great, ain’t it?

The message is clear. Whenever you get tired of all the political mumbo-jumbo on cable news, take heart. There is reality show on a channel near you.

Who Owns Your Representative? 9

Every election cycle we hear screams and shrieks about all the money going into the election process. President Obama is poised to launch a One Billion Dollar campaign. Instead of standing by and wringing my hands about the rivers of money in our political system, please allow me to say the following.

So what?

Let’s put forth a fundamental relationship:    MONEY = POWER = POLITICS

These three concepts are so intertwined that you can never separate them.  The sooner we recognize this definition as equivalent to the law of gravity in the physical world, the better we can order our lives. Our election funding laws should be predicated on these basic principles.

Instead of restricting what people give to their political candidates, let it go. Let people give as much as they want. After all, this is one of the definitions of free speech. There have to be some conditions, though, and I will try to flesh these out in the following lines.

1.  Allow individuals to give as much to a candidate as they want. No corporate entity, either profit or non-profit, union, association, or other organization is allowed to contribute money to any candidate for any US government office.

2. Individuals contributing to a politician must reside within the political subdivision for which the election is being held.

3. All donations to a candidate’s political campaign must be published on an internet web page within 24 hours of the donation. The donors name, city, county, and state of residence will be disclosed along with the amount.

The most important thing about my plan is that you know who has bought your representative. If the district is a poor district, the Koch brothers cannot make a donation to a candidate if they don’t live there. Likewise, George Soros can buy a President, but can only contribute to a Congressional candidate in the district where he lives.

Is George Soros a US Citizen? Does he reside in the US? Any individual contributing to a candidate may be compelled to demonstrate the requirements for residency of that state, or political subdivision.

My plan may not be perfect. Maybe it would be a good beginning.

Winter In Atlanta 3

It is January 4 in Atlanta. I know it is winter because it is cold. Sam, our fifteen year old dachshund almost refuses to go out to do his hygienic duties. Sam’s belly, and corresponding appendages. are so low to the ground that I imagine the outside experience can be a bit shocking.

Last night, the temperature got down in the twenties. Right now, the temperature is 42 degrees, with the low tonight expected to be 31 degrees. Man, that’s freezing! We are not used to such extreme weather here in the sunny south. This is a typical winter in Atlanta with the temperature dipping below freezing only a few times. Tomorrow afternoon, things warm up to the mid-fifties and the low tomorrow night will be in the mid-forties.

One of the problems with living in a temperate climate is that it can be cold enough in the morning to wear an overcoat, but get really warm in the afternoon making the overcoat a sweaty burden. My friends of northern origin gripe that the weather doesn’t stay cold. Sorry about that.

You can actually get by in the winter with an all-weather overcoat with zip out liner. Today, I have stayed in the warm house in my fleece exercise togs, with nothing on my feet but sandals.

Somewhere in Chicago is some poor soul that accepted the job I turned down long ago because of the climate, there. After spending a Sunday night in a motel in surburban Chicago, and having to fight a quarter-inch of glazed ice on my rental car the next morning, my mind was made up.

Recognize a good thing when you have it, and don’t let it get away from you.

Home, sweet home, Atlanta.

Iowa Caucused – So What? 2

I am so tired of seeing nothing on the news but the Iowa caucuses that I could, well, turn off the TV. That’s pretty much what I did.

You see, I don’t care what Iowans think about Presidential candidates. After all, those guys were on the other side during the historical unpleasantness between the Northern States and the Southern States. Plus, if I lived in Iowa, I would see no advantage to getting out in their super cold weather to talk about politics. No, I am more inclined to stay home with a fireplace and something warm to drink.

Who won the Iowa caucuses? Iowa won, and that’s about it. All the candidates got votes, some more than others. Some will drop out of the contest after having spent all their money at the Iowa State Fair. Didn’t our mothers warn us about such things?

Thank heavens that Michelle Bachman will leave the race, and hopefully Huntsman will get the message that he is not even on the playing field. History got repeated with the so-called young people voting for Ron Paul. We have seen this phenomenon before. Young morons voting for off-the-wall candidates. Nothing new, here.

The real race is the money race. The only significant thing about Iowa is that it exposes who has money, and who doesn’t. The eventual winner in the Republican Primary will be the person with the deepest pockets.

That’s the way the world works. We really didn’t need Iowa for that. Any old state will do, and the next boring contest is the New Hampshire primary. It is just another chance for the cash strapped candidates to throw their money away, and another case of a  totally unattractive state to get publicity. Like somebody is going to vacation in that deep freeze.

Ho-hum.

Blog Moved To WordPress.Com 2

This blog has been moved from blogger.com, a Google free service, to WordPress.com, a free service of WordPress. I am paying a little extra to have WordPress.com host the domain name, but that’s OK.

The real reason is to be able to go back to WordPress blogging software, simply the best. On the other hand, I found blogger.com to be less than good.

Please pardon any problems this move may cause. If there are problems, please contact me.