Archive | February, 2015

Gesundheit!

27 Feb

Have you ever noticed how almost every politician these days begins every speech with, ” This is the greatest country in the history of the world.” Or “I’m proud to be a citizen of the greatest country on Earth.” Or, This great country of ours has the finest citizens and the best system of government in the world.”

And then they proceed to tell us everything that is wrong with the United States and how everything about it needs to be changed and how all of their opponents are NOT any of those finest citizens that they had mention the U.S. was full of. How can something so great require so much change?

Then of course every politician makes sure to end every speech with “God bless America!” I guess as though the greatest country and its people still need more blessings?

According to National Geographic, during the bubonic plague of AD 590,  Pope Gregory I ordered unceasing prayer for divine intercession including the immediate blessing of anyone who sneezed, since sneezing was often the first sign that someone was falling ill with the plague.” So saying the blessing, “God bless you”, became a common effort to try to halt the disease. But In some other cultures, sneezing is seen as a sign of good fortune or God’s beneficence and so they have alternative responses when someone sneezes.  For example, the German word Gesundheit, which simply means “health”.

So I propose that rather than finishing each speech with “God Bless America” as though we, the citizens of America listening to them are possibly diseased and need to get better, all politicians should end their speeches with the more simple “Gesundheit America”, as in, ” Now that I’m finished, You’re all blessed to be as healthy as you were before I started spouting all of this crap that I just made you listen to!”

Just another idea…

It’s Academic

25 Feb

In the history of the world there have been many great and prosperous civilizations and they have all failed. And usually at the time of the failing some few folks had all of the money and most other folks had none. They were either Kings or Queens or Popes or Emperors or Czars or Caesars or Pharaohs or whatever and they always invoked the divine right of the gods as the reason for concentrating all of that wealth in the hands of one man or one small circle of family and friends. Eventually the disenfranchised, poor populace grows disinterested and disaffected and the empire succumbs to a force of outsiders who invade and plunder. While the wealthy few run away or hide or are murdered or all 3! Then the new conquerors share in the plunder and even rejoice while sharing, and then the cycle begins anew as the new leaders emerge and invariably begin indulging in their own grandeur until…

Fortunately we no longer have empires such as those in the world today but we still have world leaders who rule with concentrated power and wealth. In the United States however, our president is not among the wealthiest men in the nation and we have no all powerful despot who rules with an iron hand under the divine rights of either religion or lineage but we still have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few and those few are now the business and corporate leaders of the world. Where we once had popes and kings we now have CEOs and corporations (The latter which ironically enough have recently been declared to be persons by our Supreme Court composed of actually real people!) and they have quite a large amount of wealth at their disposal which is growing while the wealth of the common population is shrinking. This is the historical recipe for national disaster. No matter how vast and distant the empire may reach, when the interior rots the empire always withers and dies.

Our public schools represent that interior. They are the nucleus which fuels the fire of freedom and free enterprise. We have built our greatness from the inside out and we look to replenish our strengths and our greatness through the rebirth and reaffirmation of our ideals in our children. In our best of times, We have spread our influence through the free trade and free movement of our citizens and by setting an example of economic wealth that can be earned and shared and experienced by all and not concentrated within a few.

Our public schools must be fortified and not abandoned. They must be embraced and enhanced and empowered in terms of anticipating and responding to technological, social, political, economic, and competitive change. Healthy cultures must always be willing to rethink their most basic assumptions about themselves in order to improve and grow and repair their societies and we must be willing to accept that what our schools need now more than ever is not a cut in spending but rather a renewed effort to spend more on the future and the future generations who will lead us.

Today’s students are willing to work hard but what makes us think that they are going to be willing to work hard for low wages that would suffice a life in China or India or some other-where where they don’t live? America’s corporate leaders and great men of wealth need to stop hoarding and start spreading the wealth. They can begin by first embracing the public schools of this country with largess and generosity and then by raising wages across the middle and poorer classes of society so that the term “working poor” is eradicated from our vocabulary.

Today’s students of the 21st century in America are beginning to notice that it is getting harder and harder to bring the American dream, a dream of studying hard then working hard, and then achieving affluence, into focus and for most of our poorest students that dream is nothing more than a taunting apparition of their hopelessness: a happy meal that they will never be able to afford

And Now a Word From the Vestibule…

22 Feb

This week, former New York City mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, made this statement during a speech at a Republican fundraising event in New York:  “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

The next day when asked on Fox news if he wanted to apologize for that statement he responded, “Apologize? I want to say it again.” He then went on to emphasize that in his opinion President Obama is probably more of a communist than a christian and more someone who sees what’s bad about America rather than what is good. And he concluded with the basic rhetoric about how everything in America is good. Who doesn’t know that? Just NOT the president of America.

Wow! Pretty strong statements huh? I mean seriously if you believe that someone doesn’t love you and me, meaning everyone, right? And that that person was brought up incorrectly by others who didn’t have any love for this country, meaning foreigners, right? Then what are you saying? Mr. Giuliani even prefaced his remarks with “I know this is a horrible thing to say.” So he knows that what he said was horrible but he had to say it anyway! Our president is a horrible, unloving, foreigner who was brought up to be hateful!

Good lord! And this powerful insight comes from a man who knows a lot about love, communism and being brought up properly… In New York City as mayor, He cut city services for the homeless. He served an eviction notice on five community service programs, including a program for the mentally ill. He cut the public school budget in New York City by $2 billion and trimmed the school repairs budget by $4.7 billion and Two days after the Massacre at Columbine he stated that he would like to “blow up” his own Board of Education.

And speaking of communism…He barred public events from the City Hall steps, refused to allow taxi drivers to assemble for a protest, would not allow city workers to speak to the press, barred church members from delivering an AIDS education program in a park, denied a permit for a march to object to police brutality, issued summons and seized literature of workers collecting signatures to get a candidate on the presidential ballot, imposed strict licensing restrictions on sidewalk artists, used a 1926 cabaret law to ban dancing in bars and clubs, imposed an excessive daily fee on street musicians, and imposed varying city fees for newsstand owners based on the content they sold.

And speaking about being raised to love…the former mayor has been married 3 times so he does know a lot about loving relationships…especially since he began each one of his new relationships while still being married to the former wife.

So all in all “America’s Mayor” is just a great guy like you and me who like many politicians these days knows a lot about people and is an authority on human behavior and what it means to be a true American..and who just can’t wait to share everything that he is thinking, with us.

Why must we continue to tolerate these moronic “public servants”, both former and present, as though we really don’t know any better? Why do we even allow them to remain relevant and continue to let them spit out their hate speaking, fear mongering, vitriolic, rancorous, spiteful, poisonous rhetoric, just because we think it may be entertaining in the press or eye catching on TV…or just because they said it?

Why can’t everyone in this country just decide to grow up and act like we really are something special and then demand those same adult qualities from each other…especially our politicians: those who represent us all, in front of ourselves and the world?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually get some serious, intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, unselfish, compassionate, principled, scrupulous, well-mannered, civilized citizens, candidates and politicians to run for office…while shutting the others up? Is that just too much to ask…or demand… from our supposed representatives and leaders?

Then maybe the United States could actually return to leading the world someplace…better…and with the hopeful and deserved blessings of a more enlightened…and loving being, that those self same opportunistic politicians invoke after every speech they make.

The Wild Wild West

19 Feb

A mother in Nevada was out teaching her daughter to drive when they were passed by a speeding vehicle. The daughter honked her car’s horn at the speeder who took offense. That driver then stopped his car in front of hers, got out and approached her and her mom with angry words. That led to the mother driving home to pick up her son who came equipped with his handgun and they drove off in search of the rude road-rager. Amazingly, She found, and for a time followed, the vehicle she had been looking for but then decided to return home without incident where soon a car described only as a four-door gray sedan pulled up and someone inside opened fire. The son returned fire and during the shootout the mother was shot and killed and the sedan sped away… No suspects have been identified or arrested.

Nevada is among more than 30 states with “stand your ground” laws that allow deadly force against people who threaten to kill or seriously harm someone else. An armed citizen has no duty to retreat from danger and, in some circumstances, deadly force is justifiable. For this, the shooter must not be the original aggressor and they must have “a right to be present at the location where deadly force is used.

So who would you say was the original aggressor in this tragic incident? The speeding car operator? The horn honker? The irate driver who didn’t like getting honked at? The mother who insisted on following that driver? The son who decided to bring along his gun? Or the armed passenger in the gray sedan who took offense at being “chased and followed”?

…And who was “standing his ground”?

Now imagine this same incident without the free and ready access to guns?

In my home state of New Jersey it is now unlawful to drive with snow on one’s vehicle lest it fly off and into the face, as it were, of other vehicles or pedestrians on the roadway causing possible damage or injury. One could be fined up to $1500 for failing to properly clean one’s car during or after a snowstorm. For some reason our founding fathers never saw fit to provide US citizens with rights to own and operate motor vehicles without regulation, even though Americans count automobiles as among our most precious possessions, and to this day no one, not even today’s politicians, knows why. As a result the regulating of motor vehicles and their registration and use in the United States is nothing new to America’s drivers. We are used to it and we do realize that the regulations, no matter how onerous, are intended to keep us all safe.

Not so with guns. In America, thanks to those same founding father’s, and their having mentioned firearms so dearly in our constitution’s 2nd amendment… gunliness is next to godliness. And so now as a result of their foresightedness, or perhaps lack thereof, A person can absent mindlessly drive down the highway with snow on his car, have it inadvertently blow into the windshield of another unsuspecting driver. Who then in a fit of rage runs said snowy driver off the road where they soon find themselves drawing their concealed handguns, standing their own ground, with guns ablaze until one or both or maybe others are shot dead.

And the only crime committed will be?

“Any vehicle with a dangerous accumulation of snow must have it removed before entering a public road.”

But Thankfully it’s not all that bad because, “No motor vehicle points or automobile insurance eligibility points shall be assessed for this offense, however, any violation of this law will require an appearance in Court.”
Appearance in court?! Oh yeah? Over my dead body! Thank you founding fathers…For making life today, that much less complicated.

A Winter’s Tale

17 Feb

comparison of Arctic sea ice extent

Well, it’s cold and snowing here in the northeast again so the global warming deniers, Big oil company executives and evangelicals everywhere are probably having a field day. Winter weather during the winter? That’s Absolute proof that the Earth is getting colder not warmer and that we earthlings can do as we please here on Mother earth because…well, it’s ours and has been given to us by Our Father to do whatever we want to with it. So there, mom! Dad says we can go out and play!

Anyway, the scientific data still says that the ice is melting in the arctic and that is definitely having a global affect on weather patterns everywhere. Normally here at the Jersey Shore (and I say normally meaning over the last 10-20 years or so) the daffodils are beginning to bloom right about now. Which I found quite strange for February when it first happened, but not so much any more…And nowadays hurricanes come along quite regularly right as the beach season is beginning to end. Used to be that hurricanes at the beach were once or twice in a life time events. And summers at the beach now bring more than just tourists and sun seekers. They bring tornado season! To the beach! In Jersey!?!

So, have there been any climate changes where you live? And if so, who’s to blame, if anyone? Earth Mom? Father God? Or the 7.25 plus billion humans who live here every day producing waste, destroying forests, fracking shale, burning fossil fuels, growing feed for 10 billion animals to eat so that we can eat them in return each year, and blowing noxious gasses into the atmosphere at ever increasing levels?

These were just thoughts running through my head as I was shoveling the by product of another winter snow storm…in winter…Global warming? Nah!

…But would someone please tell that to the stray wolf chasing that polar bear past my driveway!

Set Thy People Free!

6 Feb

Can someone please explain the Republican party to me? Do Republicans listen to themselves when they speak? And is anyone else actually listening to what they are saying? Especially Republican voters?

I get it…Republicans want freedom.

Freedom from Healthcare

Freedom from vaccinations

Freedom from having to make cakes for homosexuals

Freedom to carry and use your gun whenever and wherever you want

Freedom for corporations to have religious and personal rights

Freedom to go hungry when you have no food

Freedom to be homeless when you have no place to live

Freedom from all government regulations of any kind

Freedom to buy politicians and political influence at any cost

Freedom to condemn all beliefs not Christian

Freedom to pollute the Earth, water and air

They apparently want all present day Americans to have so many freedoms restored that it will feel like the 19th century all over again when the Robber Barons ruled the world and most Americans lived in abject poverty and without: health services, vaccinations, clean water, clean air, worker’s rights, decent wages, safe workplaces, personal rights to vote, worship and enjoy one’s sexual orientation, nationality and skin color without fear.

Is there but only one freedom necessary in the Republican world?

The freedom to carry one’s own cross and be nailed to it while your fellow citizens watch with indifference?

A Big, Fat…Waist… of Time

4 Feb

How can we save money in Government expenditures? Fire the politicians! They obviously don’t have very much to do and if they ever do find something to do…they don’t do it anyway! Just check out this link to an article in the New York Times about the carousing and cavorting of our own New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. He obviously finds extra time to squeeze in some snacking, noshing and grazing but When does he find time to squeeze in any effort to govern something? And at $175,000 per year in salary he is the 4th highest paid governor in the U.S….If this were you at your job you would have been fired long ago. Hopefully if our Girth-ful Governor does decide to run for the presidency the American people and the Republican Party will have enough sense to tell him (in his own favorite words) to “Shut Up and Sit down!”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/nyregion/in-christies-career-a-fondness-forluxe-benefits-when-others-pay-the-bills.html?smid=fb-sh

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