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.
TV news (yes, even Fox News) has become a wasteland over the years. Maybe for me it's due to my getting older and just not giving a damn anymore about the people responsible for the drama in this world; the 15 minutes of fame media darlings who try to capitalize on one event in their hum-drum lives and spend the next 6-12 months trying to leverage it into a lifetime of social media or money-making fame.
My generation knows them as morons. Or as I like to refer to them as: Ungrateful bastards.
The recent school shooting at Parkland High in Florida has spawned a new crop of self-serving and self-righteous social media twerps in the form of David Hogg and Cameron Kasky. After their first publicity grab at a forum with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, liberal media has found ways to fuel these two's desire for fame at the cost of the truth by putting their mugs on every news show imaginable on CNN and MSNBC (funny how they won't show up too often on Fox, apparently), and even on HBO with uber nut-case Bill Maher.
Since I don't watch these shows, I usually read about things afterwards online. So without having to put up with whiny hosts and equally whiny guests, I can get a summary of what went on. And no one has summed up the shallow and ignorant behavior of these two coddled brats than Robert Tracinski of thefederalist.com. His article here is pure gold.
In it, Tracinski writes that gun deaths by suicide occur twice as often as homicides by guns. Not a surprise to those of us who aren't fixated on the gun, but by the reasons behind the use of the gun. A fact like this is lost on Messers Hogg and Kasky (and the rest of the liberal media).
And while not in the article, the fastest growing segment of the U.S. to commit suicide are people aged 15-24, even if they still lag behind all other age ranges. We had more kids killed in car crashes when I was growing up than kids these days lose classmates to suicide, and these two vacuum-headed media hogs are focusing on one of the smallest (and dropping) reasons for students getting killed today.
I hope to have another 30 good years on this earth to enjoy life, but one of the things I'm not looking forward to is a country which produces wannabe "leaders" like David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, and the media that glorifies them.
I've been meaning to post something this week, but my second bout with the flu in one month's time has prevented me from doing so.
Almost a week ago, a bright light in the extended Richard family was extinguished. Auntie Marge Fudge, my dear departed Mom's youngest and only surviving sister, passed away last Monday morning. It's hard to describe the impact this one woman had on so many lives, especially my own and that of my family's.
She opened up a world of travel to hundreds, if not thousands of people, including my Mom and Dad. As one of the owners of Liberty World Travel, she planned trips, vacations and cruises to far away and exotic locations, always searching for places she hadn't been before.
When Thomas Talbot Lodge in Billerica was looking for a way to raise money, Auntie channeled her inner Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and cried, "Let's put on a show!" From it's humble beginnings on the Lodge stage, to ever-increasing productions filling the seats at Marshall Middle School, Auntie wrote, directed and occasionally performed in classic shows reminding everyone of the Golden Age of Hollywood and Broadway. Many of our performers were reluctant to get up on stage (unlike myself, my brother, Doug, and our good friend Paul Mancuso who needed no such encouragement), but Auntie cajoled dozens of previously unwilling amateurs to embarrass themselves in front of family and friends for three shows each year for many, many years. My love for classic movies and musicals is due in a large part to my Mom and Auntie Marge.
But her biggest role in my life was as family. Specifically, as my Mom's best friend in the world. No two sisters were ever closer. Starting out by living above us in the two-family home they jointly owned in Tewksbury where I grew up, to never being more than a 15 minute drive from each other, Mom and Auntie were inseparable. Not a day went by when they didn't speak over the phone, one or the other calling just to check in and make sure all was well. Woe be unto myself or Doug if we failed to shut off the phone in the spare bedroom when coming in for a visit after a long day of travel, because Auntie would surely be calling long before we were ready to get up! Not an Easter dinner was spent without Auntie and her family, nor a Thanksgiving or Christmas until we grew older and moved to far away places.
That life-long friendship and sisterhood was shattered a year and a half ago when Mom passed away, but Auntie never failed to speak to Mom every day since then, even if the conversations were now one-way. I don't know if there is a Heaven, but if one exists, I can guarantee you that Mom and Auntie have been reunited with a love that will never die.
For my final post of 2017, here are my wishes for myself, my family, my friends and my country.
For me, a winning lottery ticket worth at least $250,000 after taxes, so that I can retire even earlier to my RV lifestyle. (Let's get the most important one out of the way, right?)
For my friends and family - a year of health. No colds, flu, or serious illnesses. May all your doctor visits be for annual checkups, and may those checkups bring nothing but good news to you.
I wish to be an empty-nester for more than 3 weeks in 2018.
I wish for limited drama, both generated and received for all my friends and family. Wishing for no drama is clearly impossible, but if it can be limited in some way, I'll consider it a win.
For the country, I wish for less extremism and more cooperation. The world is not black and white; there are subtle hues of gray all around us, and if this country is to survive, we need people in general (and our elected officials specifically) to work towards those common ground issues on which we can all agree.
I wish for a news media that just tells us the news straight up. I do not care about their opinions.
I wish for a balance between respect for people's differences, and less sensitivity when people realize they aren't the center of the universe because of those differences.
I wish for a 2018 where people think before they react, and doubt what others tell them until they research whether what they've been told is actually true.
I wish for eternal silence from the Clinton camp,
I wish for prosperity at the end of a hard year's work. There is nothing so frustrating as treading water after breaking your back working.
It is my wish that Twitter would be hacked in 2018, and shut down for good because they refuse to pay the ransom. Nothing is killing civilization more than Twitter. It is a singular affront to intellectual discussion, thoughtfulness and civil discourse.
I wish for one more Super Bowl win for Tom Brady and my New England Patriots. Because he's the GOAT and a second set of three-in-four-years would just be super cool.
I wish for my daughters a new sense of independence, knowing that as of this day, in one year, eight months and three days they will have to work very hard to find us.
Finally, I wish that everyone would take the time to slow down and enjoy their lives, their co-workers and their family. Life is too precious and too fleeting to run from appointment to appointment, to game after recital, to meeting after meeting, and not enjoy our surroundings, our communities and our loved ones. We still live in the greatest country this world has ever known, and we need to change the way we measure the time we spend in it; not in quantity, but in the quality of that time we spend.
Make 2018 a GOOD year! Happy New Year!
My God but have liberals have become unglued this past year!
Look, 2017 hasn't exactly been the year we'd all like it to be, but if you ask your basic liberal how things are going, you'd likely expect them to be leaving the U.S. for any country but ours.
Not that liberals ever follow through on their proclamations to leave if (fill in the blank) is elected anyway.
But you know, from an American perspective, 2017 wasn't too bad.
There are lots of things that play into economics, but one of the most important ones is consumer confidence. If people think things are going to get better, people start buying more stuff. Based on early numbers just released, this holiday season was a big winner for the retail and online shopper. Sales are up, because people's economic outlook is on the rise. Personality-wise, President Trump is pretty much a loud mouthed jerk, but you can't deny he is all into making people think things are great again. Let's give credit where credit is due - Trump is boosting the economy with policies and attitude.
Tax reform is in the bag. While many (myself included) would have preferred something with even less deductions and tax breaks for an even simpler tax code, when leftist news organizations like CNN start admitting that the recent changes passed help just about everybody, you know it was a pretty good bill. If the Senate wasn't so hidebound in it's rules and processes, this could have been even better. But beginning in 2019, those tax returns are going to look pretty nice to many Americans.
ISIS has been thoroughly marginalized and almost wiped out completely largely due to a Trump-inspired offensive partnership between America and Iraq. Anything that can contribute to the destruction of a 12th century-thinking organization in the 21st century is a very, very good thing.
I'm constantly amazed at the level of Jewish support for the Democrat party, given that there are really very few friends of Israel in elected office. That being said, there is apparently no better friend of Israel than Donald Trump, whose recent decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has liberals in general, and the world specifically spinning their heads. Even after a moronic non-binding vote in the U.N condemning the move, where ally after ally abandoned the U.S. for purely propaganda points, the administration took the once-unthought of move to PUBLICLY threaten those countries with cuts or downright elimination of U.S. foreign aid. And they they cut a quarter billion U.S. dollars out of our payments to the U.N. The U.N. has never been a friend to the U.S, and anything that weakens that organization and it's effect on the world is a good thing.
The "science" of man-made global warming continues to crumble, as the correlation between solar output (which was highest during warmer years) and temperature increases slowing to a virtual standstill are becoming more apparent. This will never stop government-funded "scientists" (usually people who can't make it as TV weather-people, let alone hold gainful employment outside of grant-filled academia) from crying about "the warmest year on record", even as temperature levels continue to be lower than their dire predictions of just a few years ago.
The last vestiges of Obamacare had a stake thrust through it's heart as the individual mandate was killed when tax reform passed. Now, if the Congress can just put through a bill which keeps the two really good things in Obamacare intact (no limits on coverage and no denial for pre-existing conditions) combined with individual choice, access across state lines and tort reform, coupled with free-market principles, we'd have us a pretty good health care opportunity in the U.S.
Yes, 2017 could have been worse. Let's hope we see an even better 2018.
As the days of 2017 dwindle down to a precious few, it's appropriate to reflect on the year in review, both from a personal and worldwide perspective.
And what a year it was.
Donald Trump took office after one of the most intense and nasty elections in recent memory, and the liberal left's collective heads immediately exploded. Fake news became the new norm for much of the already biased media, and most reporters dropped all pretense of any objectivity. Trump Derangement Syndrome is running rampant in Hollywood, where most any actor or actress finds something vapid, silly and downright ignorant to say about him. Rosie O'Donnell even went to far as to commit a felony on Twitter by bribing two sitting U.S. Senators to not vote for tax reform. She should be prosecuted and jailed to send a message.
North Korea is apparently working to mate biological weapons to ICBMs to use against us here in America. It's time to take that fat little runt out for good.
Congress, as usual, found more ways to waste time and money instead of doing the People's Business, with just about ZERO legislative successes until tax reform this past week. Republicans continue to prove that they are more concerned with social issues they cannot control than fiscal issues they can, and Democrats continue to refuse to engage in any serious conversations that don't concern increasing government control over the individual.
The entertainment and political worlds found a way to have a shared coming out party; not over the gay issue, but on sexual harassment. Seems they are equally adept at harassing women (or the occasional man) and finding ways to pay them off for their silence when necessary. Too bad when the politicos use our tax dollars to pay of their accusers, though. Oh, and a note to Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton: stop lying about not knowing about that pig Harvey Weinstein. You knew. Everybody knew. Worst kept secret in the entertainment industry.
On the personal side of things, the best way to describe 2017 is a roller coaster.
The year started off great with my New England Patriots making the greatest comeback in the history of sports; being down 28-3 in the middle of the 3rd quarter in the Super Bowl, scoring three touchdowns and three two-point conversions to tie the game as time ran out, then winning the coin toss and marching downfield for the winning touchdown in overtime. Tom Brady gets his record 5th Super Bowl ring and is certified as the GOAT.
Then, two days later, my father-in-law passes away. Barbara no longer has any living parents.
Spring rolls around and Barbara and I sell our house in advance of retiring in two years to full-time RV living. We're excited to begin life as empty-nesters and to cut back on bills.
Then our daughter's rental house isn't ready on time. Our empty nester life is put on hold for 5 weeks as she takes up residence in our family room.
I get to drive a tank and crush a car! And our daughter moves out! Life is getting better . . .
Three weeks later, my other daughter, son-in-law and one year-old grandson have their rental house sold out from under them. Now we have 5 people in a two bedroom apartment (and they're still here!) Empty nesting still seems like a foreign concept to us.
Barbara and I buy a new MINI Cooper convertible as our future tow car, and rediscover just how much fun driving can be, especially with the top down.
In August, I suddenly lose all strength in my arms and legs and topple over like a tree (and yes, I did make a sound because Barbara was on the other side of the bed and heard me). I'm carried down the stairs to my apartment by the fine paramedics of Dawson County and rushed to the hospital. Five days and $141,000 later, I'm released from Northeast Georgia Medical Center following a battery of tests and a cardiac ablasion procedure to fix an errant wire in my already weirdly wired and plumbed heart. That one-in-ten-million thing is beginning to get old. The follow-up visit to the cardiologist shows complete recovery and no need to ever see him again for this issue - fixed for good!
Headed up to Massachusetts to visit my Dad and friends, stopping off at the Hershey RV show on the way. Sat in the exact model of our future land yacht for almost two hours talking with other prospective buyers and came to the realization that this could really be a home for us beginning in September of 2019.
Headed home to find out that the company I work for has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and will be closing 1/3rd of all it's stores. Fortunately, mine isn't one of them.
Barbara's cataracts finally reached the stage where she needed to have them removed (after all, I can't have a navigator on the road who cannot read street and highway signs, can I?). The good news is we can afford to get implantable lenses to give her 20/20 vision for the first time in - forever. And she doesn't have to wear her wraparound senior citizen sunglasses anymore.
Ended up incurring over $170,000 in medical, dental and vision bills in 2017 before insurance kicked in. Wow!
But my company should be out of Chapter 11 by the first of the new year.
I'm too old for this crap . . .
Here's wishing you and yours (and me) a year of no drama and smooth sailing in 2018!
Once again grasping defeat from the jaws of victory, southern Republicans lost a rock-solid Red State Senate seat in Alabama last night, putting their already precarious majority in jeopardy, and further reducing their chances of any legislative wins regarding President Trump's agenda.
In a state that Trump carried by over 20 points just one year ago, a Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate. Oy!
Plenty of blame to go around on this one. Let's start with President Trump and his "drain the swamp", don't accept anyone who doesn't agree with the President minions who decided that a sitting GOP Senator appointed to fill in the term of now AG Jeff Sessions wasn't sufficiently "Trump" enough for Trump. Now to be fair, just about any normal GOP candidate would have cruised to a victory against any Democrat in Alabama, so why not make sure that the GOP candidate in question would be as Trumpish as possible, right?
Enter attention-whore and Christian conservative whack job, Judge Roy Moore; a man whose ability to believe that it's all about him is only exceeded by Donald Trump's.
Now, I've never been a fan of Roy Moore. He's kinda creepy and his views on religion in government exceed the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution as far as I am concerned, but in Alabama, he'd be a pretty sure bet to get elected to the U,S, Senate in just about any year. Except this one. I am on record as having serious doubts about the veracity of the sexual harassment claims of his accusers, given that he has run for state-wide office four previous times and not a peep was heard from these women in the past. But given the current environment of personal destruction politics and the emergence of the "Me too" movement, Roy Moore seemed the perfect target for a liberal media focused on derailing any momentum of the Trump agenda.
And for the record, when I was just 18, I was sexually molested by my boss (an older man). I dealt with it at the time, moved on, and didn't let it derail the Dave train of life. But I digress.
So we have the "only Trumpers" and the Christian conservatives partly at fault for this electoral debacle, but let's add in a third element to this: the media. There is no longer any distinction between reporting the news, and giving an opinion. People who used to be reporters and who used to at least hide their liberal bias are no longer hiding it, and claiming freedom of the press to justify their opinionated reporting. If you want to be a reporter, you have to play it straight. That is what gets you freedom of the press. Roy Moore was convicted in the court of public opinion because he was convicted by the court of journalistic opinion. Only Roy Moore and his accusers know the truth, but you wouldn't know that by reading "news" articles on the subject.
But way to go Alabama! You've shown just how dysfunctional the GOP is right now. President "Art of the Deal" needs to remember that half a loaf is better than no loaf at all, and the media has just been emboldened to continue their irresponsible attacks on conservatives.
All-in-all, a very bad night for the GOP and our country.
1. I've watched ESPN's Jamele Hill on TV a few times, and I'll admit that as a sports commentator, she is weak.
Now I know why. She's an idiot.
To claim that Donald Trump is a white supremacist, without any factual basis for that claim, is pathetic. To claim that he has "surrounded himself with white supremacists" when there was, arguably, only one in Trump's inner circle, is moronic. Does Jamele's Twitter rant rise to the level of a "fire-able offense" as the White House spokesperson alleges? Probably not in and of itself, but ESPN and their parent company, ABC, should be considering whether they should be employing someone willing to display a gargantuan level of stupidity on most subjects.
2. I read about some of the recent Miss America contestants answers to some politically-charged and biased questions from celebrity "judges" last week, and their answers reminded me of one of the rules of marriage that my favorite former talk show host, Neal Boortz, always used to say about dating and marrying pretty girls - "Sooner or later, you have to talk to them".
Let's just say that MENSA will not be reaching out to contact many of these women for membership opportunities.
3. Why does anyone care what entertainers or people in the media think?
Actors and actresses spend their entire lives reading back what someone else has written for them, and move and act according to what their director tells them to do. They don't have an independent thought running through that vacuum between their ears.
And so-called journalists? They don't DO anything. They just tell you what other people have done. They're basically just state-protected tattletales. And they can't even do that well, now that they think their role is to OPINE about a person, instead of just reporting about someone.
4. If you think a deep thought can be expressed in a maximum of 140 characters, you're part of the problem.
And I just did that in less than 100 characters. #efficiency
5. I'm all for giving non-citizens living in America the right to vote in local elections, and local elections ONLY.
Just as long as citizens get two votes.
There are too many ignorant Americans ruining our country today. This is a message for all of them.
If you have to wear a mask to a demonstration, you have not come to protest, but to commit a crime.
And you're a coward.
Protesting someone's point of view is an American right.
Denying them their right, no matter how distasteful you find their views, is patently un-American.
If people would realize that the Libertarians were right all along, and that there is not only a left and a right, but a libertarian (small government) and statist (big government), people would be better educated. In short, there isn't a line to define ideology, but a diamond, where folks are positioned based on their social and economic views.
It would show that Neo-Nazis are not "conservative".
Nor are the Ku Klux Klan.
It would show that the new media darlings of "Antifa" are actually closer to the fascists they claim to abhor. It would be nice if these idiots who are attending universities would actually learn some of the above.
Issac Asimov said it best: "Violence is the last act of the incompetent".
If you're in the news media to bring people the truth, good for you. If you're in the media to target those you disagree with, find another line of work. The Founding Fathers gave the Fourth Estate Constitutional protections because they were to remain neutral. Because of that, if you choose to go off the reservation, you should lose those protections.
I've written this before, but the extremists in the Republican and Democrat parties who are responsible for getting people elected are going to be the death of this nation.
Most Republicans today are social conservatives, but they are no more small government believers than many considered to be on the liberal side.
Most Democrats are closer to the authoritarian side of the diamond.
I have great sympathy for those in Houston and South Texas who are, and are about to be going through following Hurricane Harvey, but who in their right mind waits for an order to evacuate from the government?
Can someone tell me why government-offered flood insurance costs so little to buy, when the fund is insolvent BEFORE Hurricane Harvey hits? If government wants to be in the insurance business, then run it to at LEAST break even.
Stop looking at everything through a political lens. Most things happen regardless of political affiliation.
The University of Tampa did manage to fire their visiting professor, Ken Storey, who claimed that Texas deserved their fate because they voted for Trump. As Dean Wormer in Animal House once said, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son".
In 10 years, people are going to look back at this column and say, "Damn, he was right!"
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.