OK, so I've always been someone with a lot on my mind.
Mainly because I don't like being mentally idle, and because I'm one of those people who likes to have more than just a passing acquaintance with knowledge and issues. So while I generally prefer to leave people to their own devices, issues and lives, I still take notice of a lot of what surrounds me. Some of it bothers me, but much of it just amazes me or simply stuns me into thinking, "How could that happen?".
Hence, my current bout of insomnia.
I'm the person many spouses hate; the half of a married couple who can fall asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow. And for most of my life, it's been a blissful night of 6-8 hours of continuous sleep. No so anymore. I still fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but now my sleep comes in 2-3 hour increments, followed by another 3-4 hours of being awake, and back to another extended nap. It's a good thing I work retail where the hours are all over the place between opening and closing shifts, because if I had to do a 9-5 job right now, I'd be a walking zombie.
So what's keeping me from 7-8 hours of continuous bliss right now? Lot's of things; some trivial when looking at the big picture, and some of major importance to my future. Some are clearly a side effect of being bothered by something else, and some of them are far higher on the concern scale than I'd like them to be. This next section will read much like some of my earlier columns entitled "Random Thoughts", because they are - so deal with it.
We'll start with one of the more trivial, but one of the most annoying things that has morphed into something that keeps me up at night - The Song In My Head.
- When Barbara and I got our Mini Cooper convertible last year, it came with Sirius XM radio, and don't get me wrong; it's a wonderful thing to have, especially when you're driving in remote areas where traditional radio reception is weak or nonexistent. But their selection of songs on their '60's and '70's channels is - limited - and songs you may not have heard in years on traditional radio (and are welcome when you first hear them again) are repeated very often on Sirius.
And they stick in my head. Since they are some lesser-known songs, I only know the repetitive chorus. Not the whole song. So the chorus sticks in my head. And is repeated over, and over, and over. I'm not going to tell you the names of some of these songs, because I don't want to visit this musical Hell on anyone else, but it's irritating right now.
But it's not just songs on the radio. TV themes are now repeating in my head. During an internet search one night when I couldn't sleep, I inadvertently came upon an old episode of 'The Danny Thomas Show' (also known as 'Make Room For Daddy'). Now, the orchestrated theme song for that show, "Danny Boy", has been rolling around in my head for days!
- I used to like watching my Red Sox and Patriots play games when they were available on the rare occasion down here in Georgia. Not any more. I find myself getting too invested in the outcome, much more so than I used to be, and as a result, I get way too anxious when things don't play out well for my "home team". I guess my suspense meter has been reset as I've gotten older, but my heart rate simply goes way too high to enjoy the viewing experience, even when things are going well in their games. All I can do now is wait for the games to end and look at the final score. The outcomes of the recent World Series win by the Sox and the last two Super Bowl appearances by the Patriots were all taken in during the early morning view of the world via my computer.
- One obvious concern is the countdown to our retirement. Don't get me wrong; I am thoroughly looking forward to a life without employment, but because of the nature of our retirement towards full-time RVing, it holds a LOT more anticipation (which in itself is like a kid finding out they're going to Disney World) and trepidation, because it's all going to be new to us. No settling down in an existing home which we are used to. The challenges of life on the road. The excitement of new destinations on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. What to bring and what has to go. No wonder it wakes me up at night.
- I worry about the world my grandson, Jace, is inheriting. He's too good a kid to be saddled with a country where our election process can be hijacked by people and parties unwilling to give up power. Where their adherents are unwilling to accept defeat, and throw hissy fits and violent demonstrations because they didn't get what they wanted. Where politicians and their supporters are willing to deliberately destroy another person's reputation with known lies and false accusations because they think he or she might - possibly - maybe - make a decision which requires them to take on some personal responsibility. Where a news media decides to shape and make the news, and not simply report it. Where a government education system is wholly inadequate to teach Jace how to THINK.
- I worry about a generation of voters who fervently believe that they are owed something of mine; not because they earned it, but because they want it. Kids who, because Mommy and Daddy decided to be their pal and not their parent, gave them everything they wanted growing up. And now they've set their sights on the rest of us because they never learned to respect anyone else's property.
- I lose sleep at night worrying about how I'm going to get rid of all this crap in our apartment and in storage during the next 9 months.
- I lie awake at night worrying about whether my two remaining Subaru Foresters will survive long enough to get some resale value out of them.
- And I worry about my two daughters being able to cope with life without a local parental safety valve when things go awry. Because that's what a father does. But I'm not sure they fully realize we're no longer going to be just a phone call away like we always have been. This whole RV thing is hard for some people to internalize.
The fact that it's nearly 2:00 in the morning and I'm writing this should solidify why this stuff is important enough for me to lose sleep over. Especially since I don't have this urgent need to head back to bed for my next extended nap.
I have never seen a group of people so completely unhinged in my 61+ years on this Earth.
Add to that irresponsible. Irrational. Distasteful. Disrespectful. And mean-spirited.
Never. Been. Seen.
I get it. Donald Trump wasn't your guy, and he found a way to show America that the oft-crowned "smartest woman in America" was neither smart not electable. I get that Trump's direct, boorish and hasn't treated women all that great in his lifetime.
But you don't fight uncivil discourse with more uncivil discourse. You don't make everything political when it isn't called for.
Aretha Franklin was a great singer, and by all accounts a wonderful person to be around. So when her funeral service was held in her native Detroit today, wasn't it a great time to celebrate her life and talents? Not according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, a proven tax cheat who has managed to avoid the same criminal process that Paul Manafort is now going through. From Hollywoodlife:
“The other day I misspelled ‘Respect’ on my radio show and a lot of y’all corrected me,” he said. “Now I want y’all to help me correct President Trump to teach him what it means.” Ouch! . . . The reverend received a standing ovation for his comment, but he didn’t stop there. When all of the cheering and whooping died down, he delivered another solid diss.
Referencing Trump’s ‘tribute’ to Aretha after her death, in which he mentioned, “She worked for me on numerous occasions,” the reverend stepped in to clarify. “She performed for you. She worked for us,” he said."
Really? is this the kind of nonsense ANYONE should be spouting off during a funeral?
New York Governor Mario Cuomo a couple of weeks ago said in a speech covered by The Federalist:
“We’re not going to make America great again,” Cuomo said, in an apparent reference to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan. “It was never that great.” Members of the assembled crowd audibly gasped at Cuomo’s remarks. (editors note: some also cheered)
When being interviewed on the left-wing mouthpiece CNN, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren didn't miss a chance to hit her anti-ICE, anti-Trump talking points. The problem is that she was supposed to be addressing the murder of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbets, allegedly by an illegal alien. After giving what was the coldest and least heart-felt expression of sympathy to the family, she took a severe left turn into her coldly-calculated talking points:
"I'm so sorry for the family here and I know this is hard not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.
Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers. I met with those mothers who had been lied to, who didn't know where their children were, who hadn't had a chance to talk to their children.
And there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children. I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat and I don't think mamas and babies are the place we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer."
Wow. It's safe to say that Sen. Warren will not be getting an invitation to the memorial services, nor will her reception in Iowa in 2020 be friendly as she campaigns for President.
Democrat candidates for the U.S. House have liked Donald Trump to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. From Fox News:
“I don’t mean to sound overly, I don’t know, hyperbolic on this,” Sean Casten, a Democrat, originally said in a recording obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “Trump and Usama bin Laden have a tremendous amount in common because they have both figured out how to use the bully pulpit to activate marginalized young men.”
“Every demagogue has done this, right – find a group of angry people and give them something to be angry at,” Casten continued.
Veronica Vera, spokeswoman for Roskam’s campaign, called the comments “hateful, vicious language” that is “exactly the wrong approach.”
“Sean Casten has called Republicans pedophiles, likened abortion to gallbladder surgery and called Republican Party donors ‘a bunch of morons,’” she said in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Not to be outdone, a Democrat from Virginia made the same claim. Again from Fox News:
"Democratic congressional candidate Dan Helmer drew a comparison between President Trump and Usama bin Laden in a new campaign ad.
“After 9/11, the greatest threat to our democracy lived in a cave. Today, he lives in the White House,” Helmer, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said. In the video, an image of bin Laden is shown before the camera pans to the White House and Trump.
“No one, not even the president, is above the law,” he continued."
As radio talk show host Michael Medved pointed out, you can disagree with what Trump has accomplished and how he acts, but bin Laden trained and encouraged young men and women to attack innocent civilians and kill them. Trump has not.
How many candidates for office have called for the abolishment of ICE, the department chartered to protect our borders?
Just today, a series of off-the-record comments in an interview by Bloomberg News of President Trump were leaked to the public. Off-the-record means they should never see the light of day, but some liberal at Bloomberg News felt it was their duty to violate a tenet of basic journalism.
Look, Trump isn't everyone's cup of tea. I wish he'd stay off Twitter and speak with a bit more maturity. But you don't elevate the conversation by lowering yourself to someone's level. And don't give me that crap about "He started it!"
That excuse stopped working in kindergarten.
Can everybody just grow the Hell up?
I thought long and hard about writing this column due to the abortion issue; one that has no real solution and few people like me who can see both sides and compromise in the way we should approach this. For the record, I believe that women should have the ability (not the right, as a right does not require the participation of another in which to exercise it), to govern their own bodies - so long as their decisions do not require the use of taxpayer dollars. I also believe that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided, in that there is no inherent right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, which was the basis for that flawed decision. The ability to allow a woman to choose an abortion should have been left to the individual states and not made Federal in scope.
But this column isn't about whether abortion should be legal or not, nor whether it is right or wrong. This is about the Death of Reason.
Last night, President Trump announced his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy. His choice, Brett Kavanaugh, touched off what has become the usual overreaction to anything anyone does when anything is done that certain left or right extremists disagree with.
Earlier in the day, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to "avenge President Obama if it’s the last thing I do". Personally, I would love for ANYTHING to be the last thing Nancy Pelosi does in public life, but that's neither here nor there. The Death of Reason shows that Nancy Pelosi cannot do ANYTHING to stop - or even slow down - the confirmation process of a Supreme Court justice. For people who didn't pass Civics 101 in school, only the SENATE can advise and consent Presidential nominees. The House has no voice in the matter.
And what's with all this "avenge" thing, anyway? Did Obama die? Was he attacked? Is he unable to speak (if only . . . )? Look, I know that Democrats think that Republicans in the Senate "stole" a seat that could have been filled by another Obama appointee when Justice Antonin Scalia died, but they had every right to delay any vote on a nomination for the Supreme Court submitted during the tail end of a PRESIDENTIAL election year. Trying to use the same "logic", as one Democrat Senator tried to float over the weekend in trying to delay a vote due to a CONGRESSIONAL election cycle is actually not logical at all. The current President is not leaving office until 2020 at the earliest, so there is no need to think that an appointee would be different since the President would be the same. And waiting for, or moving forward, is the purview of the body that will advise and consent; namely, the U.S. Senate. The Democrat's argument is just another example of the Death of Reason.
Following the announcement, far left pro-choice groups denounced the appointment as expected, but the Death of Reason once again reared it's ugly head.
In attempting to justify their opposition to any pick President Trump made, there were two corresponding press releases issued from two different organizations. From Fox News:
"Within seconds of Trump's announcement in the White House Monday night, the far-left political action committee Democracy for America called Kavanaugh, 53, a "reactionary ideologue" whose confirmation would "directly lead to the deaths of countless women with the dismantling of abortion rights."
And in a statement, the Women's March said ominously: "Trump’s announcement today is a death sentence for thousands of women in the United States."
"Stripping a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body is state violence," the group continued."
The "deaths of countless women" who might seek an abortion? Really? OK, so getting back to the abortion issue for a moment to make my point about the Death Of Reason, estimates range as high as 57 MILLION babies being aborted since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. If a "woman's ability to make decisions about her own body" is so damned important, maybe the women in question here should consider the results of their actions BEFORE deciding to have sex if they can't afford or aren't prepared to become a mother, rather than just put their own personal pleasure ahead of the life of an unborn child. Maybe she should make a decision about her own body BEFORE having sex; it's something I like to call "personal responsibility", and it is dying just as surely as reason is dying.
And the Death of Reason can also point out the absurdity of the "state violence" comment above. Violence is INITIATED. It is an ACTION. It causes UNASKED FOR harm. Women's March is about as hyperbolic as any group can get when it comes to their comments.
The Death of Reason is alive and well in 2018 America. And that doesn't bode well for the future of America.
This post is going to be short and sweet.
A judge in Michigan ruled this week that kids don't have a fundamental right to literacy. The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit that alleged that Detroit government schools (and of course, the GOP Governor Rick Snyder) had failed to provide adequate education.
Don't get me wrong; I think that an education is crucial in succeeding in life, but the plaintiffs went overboard in trying to get their agenda (and a commitment of taxpayer dollars) codified in law by claiming a right that doesn't exist. And one judge, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III, got it right.
Look at the list of protections in the Bill of Rights. Speech, Religion, Assembly, Self-defense, Self incrimination, Search and seizure. Care to guess what they all have in common (hint: one word is repeated in the list)?
That's right: Self. All these actions are things that you can accomplish without the active (or forced) participation of another person. And that is the very definition of a "right".
So when someone tells you that we have a right to literacy, or education in general, or even health care, remember that ALL these things require the active participation of someone else, which nullifies any claim of a "right".
Oh, not by the new standards of the Left when it comes to optics, but they're not making any friends in the center / right rest of the nation with their antics. Le't review the highlights, shall we?
- Protesters storm a restaurant where DHS Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen is trying to have a lunch with her husband. Among the chants they make: "No borders! No walls! Sanctuary for all!" Really? Apparently these Socialists (they were from the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America) never learned about national sovereignty in their many years government education. Worse yet, the protest was led by a DOJ employee, Allison Hrabar, who was apparently pretty proud of being able to take time off of work to harass another Federal employee. Methinks Ms. Hrabar's next work review will be less than stellar.
- The owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, VA couldn't rush down fast enough to her business when employees called to tell her that WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders was dining there that evening with family and friends. Worried that her employees might just be offended (more likely worried about what they might do when preparing Sanders' meal) by Sanders' presence, she pulled the Trump administration official aside and asked her to leave. Ms. Sanders had the good grace to agree to leave, but apparently "No shirt - No shoes - No dissenting speech - No service" is now the new norm at the Red Hen.
- An Senate intern decided to ruin her future employment opportunities by yelling, "Mr. President, F--- You!" as he was heading to meet with GOP Congressional leaders. Suspended for one week - ONE WEEK?! - 21-year-old Caitlin Marriott's long term employment opportunities plummeted like the proverbial lead balloon.
- Democrat rep Maxine Waters (D-Looney Farm) basically tells her supporters at a very well attended campaign event of about a dozen people that it is perfectly fine to harass and stalk government officials who are following the laws of this nation. When called out on her actions by fellow rep Jeff Hensarling (R-TX), Ms. Waters doubled down on her remarks by stating, “Let me just say that I think every reasonable person [has] concluded that the president of the United States of America has advocated violence, he has been divisive, and he has been the one that has caused what we see happening today . . . So Mr. Chairman, if you want to talk about civility, you start with the president of the United States".
OK, has President Trump been divisive? Sure. He's also been crude and boorish in his public remarks. But I'm a reasonable person, and I haven't concluded anything she's ranting about. More to the point, her defense of her actions can be summed up by using the kindergarten defense - "He started it!" Most people actually stop using that defense when they reach their teen years, if not sooner.
But the bigger point to her last comment is what needs to be addressed. Civility doesn't start with someone else; it starts with each and every one of us. If Maxine Waters thinks that harassing and stalking people and getting in their faces is going to change President Trump's way of governing, she's got another thing coming to her. There is a civil way to protest, but she knows it doesn't get headlines, and headlines are all she cares about.
- Masked "Occupy ICE" protesters storm and block an ICE facility in Oregon. Masked? Aren't you proud enough of your actions to show your face?
- Nearly 600 arrested for blocking access to the Senate's Hart building.
- An avowed Socialist ousts a vocal anti-Trump Congressman in the Bronx on a platform of Medicare for all, free college tuition and abolishing ICE. Her qualifications for making legislation: working a bar.
Playing for headlines, but is it playing across America? Time will tell, but I don't think so. It will likely just energize BOTH sides in November. But all the above is just optics - what about substance? The Left has had a bad week there as well, in the form of the U.S. Supreme Court.
This week, rulings were handed down on Trump's travel ban, abortion rights and workers right. None of them went the Left's way.
On the travel ban, the SCOTUS correctly ruled that the President has broad powers that can be used to protect the security of our borders and nation. With Trump specifying certain countries whose vetting policies for people attempting to travel to the U.S. that are less than thorough, the court overturned previous Federal rulings claiming he didn't have that power and even admonished those judges ruling incorrectly to stop using a nation-wide scope to their judgments and stick to their local plaintiffs. Liberal dissenters at the SCOTUS level tried to use Trump's campaign speeches to justify their opposing viewpoint, forgetting that it's not what you say, but what you do. You cannot rule based on intent; you can only rule on the law.
The SCOTUS also ruled that government unions cannot force non-union members to pay dues if they disagree where those dues will be going. In short, many people choose not to join a government union because they don't want their dues funding Democrat candidates with whom they disagree. In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan claims the ruling "weaponized the First Amendment". I'm not even sure SHE understands what that statement means, but what the RULING means is that the right to assemble is still intact - but that you can't be FORCED to assemble or pay for others who wish to do so.
Finally, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a reliable swing vote on many issues for 30 years, announced his retirement. This gives President Trump yet another SC pick, and with liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg hanging on by her fingernails, the potential to set the Supreme Court on a Constitutional (not legislating from the bench) course for decades to come. Liberal heads are exploding.
No, it hasn't been a good couple of weeks for the Left.
I could only stomach 5 minutes of listening to MSNBC on the drive up to Massachusetts today.
The guest on MSNBC Live was the President of the American Federation of Teachers, a liberal lobbying group formed to do everything BUT improve the quality of education in America. The hosts were typical liberal media whiners who have been graced with hosting duties on a midday "news" show that no one likely watches.
The hosts and guest were lamenting the fact that Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVoss, just testified in from of some ineffectual congressional committee that the bipartisan group (of which the Dept of Education is a member) studying the recent rash of school shootings was not specifically addressing the gun issue.
They were stunned. They were incredulous.
They were clueless.
Look, this issue is serious stuff. Kids are getting killed. But the bottom line is that any group studying this problem needs to focus on what can be addressed and/or changed.
The gun portion of this issue cannot be changed. Pretty much every shooter in the past 10 years has obtained their guns through means which skirted our gun laws, therefore no new laws would have stopped nearly all these shootings.
And you're not going to get the guns. There's a little thing called to 2nd Amendment that keeps you from getting them, so citing Australia and Britain as countries that don't have our problem is just dishonest.
Take a look at mental health issues, look at social media and how it's removing our personal interaction with our fellow human beings, look at video games which dehumanize killing, and more importantly, look at how government should harden our schools from outside attacks. Why do I say this is the most important thing to look at?
Because it's government's responsibility to protect our kids while they are in government's care. Plain and simple, government forces our kids to attend school, and mostly government schools at that. If you're going to force kids into your buildings and institutions, then it's YOUR responsibility to protect them - no excuses. Don't tell us you can't afford it, because you can. Get rid of a couple of administrators you've padded into every school, and replace them with cops. Cut back on some of those investments in football and other sports, and buy yourselves some metal detectors.
Kids safety is Job #1, because if you can't do that, nothing you try to do to educate them matters one damn bit.
Used to be able to brag about this country when I was younger.
Not any more.
The social media with which you're reading this blog has destroyed us.
It has elevated the smug, sanctimonious and mediocre of this nation into celebrities, and it has killed intelligent discussion on just about any issue. Worse yet, it has created a generation of useless idiots who think that reading something online makes them smarter, which to them translates into better than the rest of us for many of these future wards of the state.
The most insipid of these social media whores is one David Hogg, who's only claim to fame is that he hid while his classmates were being shot and killed. He's turned that little Profile in Courage into a media circus, with him as the not-too-bright ringmaster. He's now a willing pawn of the liberal media and the Hollywood elite, and because of that, he's decided to become a full blown pissant.
He's hung up on the President of the United States when the President was reaching out to engage him and his classmates in actual debate. Why? Because he doesn't WANT to debate. He gets called out (rightly) for whining about not being accepted into the colleges of his choice, as if his new-found celebrity should be enough to gain him admission anywhere he chooses. He then demands an apology from the host who (again, rightly) accused him of whining, and when she publicly issues a perfectly acceptable one, he rejects it and decides to go on a campaign to boycott her advertisers instead. Because the only action he wants is what is acceptable to him and him alone. When an offer to debate him on live TV is issued by a fellow classmate who is on the other side of the school shooting problem, Hogg initially accepts, then - wait for it - backs out at the last minute, claiming his feelings were hurt by a post from the classmate.
Now this little poster child for abortion has turned his sights on someone else; and brave fellow that he is, has now focused on ailing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). McCain is someone who did more for this country in the first 30 years of his life than David Hogg will ever do, and this little pile of dog squeeze has the gall to ask Sen. McCain why he takes so much money from the NRA.
News Flash, David Hogg! McCain takes money from the NRA to DEFEND the onslaughts on the 2nd Amendment from people like you and your supporters who haven't got the first clue about why citizens should be able to defend themselves. That's why!
The problem isn't guns! The problem is YOUR GENERATION!
When I was growing up, there were more guns per household than there are today (not more guns total, but more per household). My generation took guns to school; not to kill our fellow classmates, but to show and tell about them in a particular relevant class. Our parents knew we had them, and made sure we knew what gun safety and responsibility was all about. When we were in school, we SPOKE to our friends and classmates - texting was passing a note from one person to another. When school was done, we sought out human companionship and interaction. We ate dinner with the entire family at the kitchen table. Many of us went to church.
Your generation, David Hogg, is doomed to arthritis of the thumbs due to a lifetime of texting and messaging on your smartphone or tablet, and you think this technology is just too wonderful for words! OMG! You've replaced personal contact with virtual contact, and the lines are now blurred between the people getting shot up on the video games you constantly play, and real flesh and blood. You think you're important because you have 600,000 followers on Twitter, a platform which encourages the participation of a generation of your fellow mental midgets who do not have the capacity of forming an intelligent, comprehensive sentence greater than 140 characters, let alone a paragraph. You cry when the littlest things don't go your way, you're coddled into thinking there shouldn't be winners and losers in life, you blame everyone BUT yourselves for your failures and lot in life, and you believe every piece of constructive criticism sent your way is a personal attack.
If you and your generation represents the future of America, then our future is indeed bleak.
An entire generation of Millennials is lost because the Gen-X'ers failed to remember what a generation of Baby Boomers taught them. And that is why I'm no longer proud of my country.
Hi! I'm Dave Richard, your host. I hope you enjoy your visit. We'll be talking about current events, politics, the occasional sports (I'm a HUGE New England Patriots fan, so get over it), and some "Get off my lawn!" issues.