The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘VALUES’ Category


For some reason, President Obama’s use of the “n” word during a radio interview has caused a brand new conversation about race,  racism and the inevitable segue into “white privilege” in America.  Why anyone pays attention to what the Klutz in Charge has to say is beyond me.  God knows the Iranians could care less and the Israelis cringe every time El Jefe speaks.  Well, perhaps America’s new found friend, Fidel Castro cares since that was a title that used to be reserved for him.

Perhaps I can lay my attitudes at the feet of my parents.  They taught me to judge people not by their race, nationality, religion, gender or anything else other than who they were as people.  And that judgment was not made until you saw how they treated other people.  If they were kind, considerate, generous – then they were good people and were the kind of folks that we would have over for dinner.  If not, then we would pray for them and try to encourage them to adopt the characteristics that I described earlier.  Well, it was a simpler time when we learned values from family and religious leaders rather than the internet.

During the course of many years in business I hired many people.  Furthermore, being in the business of executive search my staff and I referred many thousands of people as candidates for positions.  We did so irrespective of that person’s race, age, gender or anything other than their qualifications and ability to do the job for which they interviewed.  In the sweet bye and bye, the Federal government came along and told us that we should be doing just what we had been doing all along.  And caused us to fill out additional paperwork to prove that what we were doing was moral, ethical and legal.  I often wondered why they were the supreme arbiters of the first two of those items.

Now if everyone had my upbringing, this whole conversation about racism would be moot – that is if we all had parents like mine and we all had listened to them.  But obviously that is not the case.  And while I have heard arguments that racism exists worldwide, which is probably a true statement, that hardly mitigates its existence here.

If we want to look at one of the most obvious examples of racism we have to turn the clock back to February 19, 1942 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (he had a pen,too), which resulted in the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese resident aliens and U. S. Citizens as well as approximately 300 Italian-Americans and about 5,000 German-Americans who also were citizens.  Those of us who marvel that we were foolish enough not only to elect BHO in 2008 but to repeat the error in 2012 should take some solace in the fact that the country elected one of the most prominent racists in American history, FDR no fewer than four times.  (For those of you who are younger or got your American history via the public school system, Roosevelt was a Democrat).

It seems reasonable before we solve the world’s problem with racism we should first clean our own house.  After all, how can we, with moral impunity, critique the Chinese for hating the Japanese or the Indians for hating the Pakistanis, to cite only two of numerous examples, unless we set an example ourselves?  And I am pleased to say that I have a solution which I will be forwarding to my Representative in Congress and one of my senators.  (I’m not going to send a copy to Harry Reid out of respect for his eye condition and otherwise generally deteriorating health, physical and mental).

I am proposing that we establish a national program and create a new Cabinet level position which will be called the Department of RAH.  In this case, RAH stands for Rent A Human.  (Those of you who know how much I would like to reduce the size of the Federal government may be surprised at this proposal, creating as it were yet another bureaucracy.  But I have that covered.  We abolish the Department of Education thus making this a zero sum swap out.)

This is how it would work.  Any person would be able to rent any other person in the United States to be their “friend.”  But instead of this being a merely symbolic friendship as on Facebook and the rest of the social media, the person who wanted to befriend (or rent) another person, would pay a fee for that privilege, the price depending on the specific characteristics of the person to be rented.  Needless to say, the more characteristics which are currently in vogue, the greater the fee.  But the good thing is that the fee for renting people would go directly to the person so rented.  For some of the more popular categories, this might result in people being truly lifted out of poverty and the welfare rolls.

I haven’t worked out all the details (give me time), but as an example, if a white person wanted to rent a black person (your ordinary vanilla type individual), the fee would be, let’s say, $20 a month.  But if you wanted to add someone to your friendship list such as a transgendered black male who thought he was a lesbian and who happened to have an Hispanic surname and several felony convictions, well that might cost you a couple of thousand a month.  True, only good liberals like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Hollywood celebrities might be able to afford such a “friend” but hey, what the heck, they have the money to spare.

So, other than the obvious of doing good, what’s in it for the people of the United States and the country itself?  Quite a lot.  First, if we get enough of our citizens involved, and I’m banking on the fact that there is still a great deal of generosity in America, we might totally wipe out the need for anyone to be on welfare – which would be a tremendous savings to each of us.  And for the person who collects the most points for the greatest number of “RAH” members (weight adjusted based on characteristics) in any given year, I would propose that we put their likeness on our ten cent pieces, retiring Roosevelt from that coin along with the Confederate Flag to a museum and a place in racist history.


It was just another beautiful day in Panama Beach, Florida.  The white sands rapidly filled with young partyers enjoying their spring break festivities.  For some, just hanging out with friends was their idea of a good time.  But that was just for a few.  For the vast majority of the college students, funneling booze down their throats in contests of drinking skill or taking hits from bongs was more the theme of the day.  But for some, even that was not enough.  And that’s when it happened – early in the afternoon after the party goers had become sufficiently drunk and stoned.

A young girl who had passed out, perhaps through conscious choice, perhaps because someone had given her drugs that induced her unconsciousness was raped by three young men as she lay unresponsive on the beach.   As brutal as this animal act by these three thugs was, perhaps even more appalling is that within feet of the rape, ten or fifteen partyers stood around, drinking their drinks and smoking their dope.  And not one of them took time from their self-absorbed enjoyment to do anything to help the young woman being victimized in full view.  Who raised these young people – and what may we expect from them in the future?

As shocking and repulsive as this gross indifference is, perhaps we can chalk this up to youthful immaturity.  That’s a stretch but that’s the best spin I can put on it.  But there is a far deeper, far more pernicious ignoring of this event that took place and that comes from people who are older, presumably wiser and whose responsibility and livelihood is to provide us with the news.  The mainstream media managed largely to ignore this story for three days, FOX News being the sole exception.

Perhaps that is because the three rapists in Panama Beach were black males and the main thrust of the liberal media’s news reporting is to weave a tale about the oppression of minorities in the United States.  It is endemic to the liberal playbook that, despite whatever inconvenient evidence might be at hand, blacks must always be portrayed as victims, not victimizers.  This incident clearly did not meet their criteria – hence the silence, until the outrage beame so loud they could no longer ignore it, finally giving it some token, brief coverage.

In Lueneburg, Germany a man is on trial for things that he did as a young soldier.  Oskar Groening, now a 93 year old white-haired man is accused as an accessory in the mass murder of the 300,000 Jews who were gassed at Auschwitz during a three month period in 1944.  Groening, known as “the accountant” didn’t push the button that activated the lethal poison in the gas chamber.  He was merely responsible for going through the belongings of the soon-to-be-victims as they arrived at the camp and taking any valuables which might have helped the effort of the Third Reich.

According to Groening, he was only present once during one of these mass executions.  In his trial he described how one of his fellow Nazis poured the canister of poison gas that began the mass extermination process for the latest load of “Jewish offal” after the doors to the gas chambers had been shut.  As the gas was released into the death chamber he described the screaming that came from the victims which gradually subsided until the poison took its final effect and all those inside were dead.  He described his attitude at the time as being a “dedicated Nazi.”

“If you are convinced that the destruction of Judaism is necessary, then it no longer matters how the killing takes place,” he said, describing his feelings as a young SS officer.

It took seventy years but Groening now reflects back on his youthful attitude as being “morally corrupt.”  Perhaps there is hope after all for the partyers at Panama Beach that at some point in time they will reflect back on their indifference and reach the same conclusion.


Virtually everyone who has attempted creative writing has probably experienced the phenomenon known as writer’s block.  I don’t know if its antithesis has ever been diagnosed or documented, but in mid-January I experienced what I refer to as writer’s overload.

As I sat down to write my next post I heard a story on the news that grabbed my attention.  Dutifully, I saved the half-completed piece and focused on the breaking story which I found more interesting than the post on which I had been working.  As I began developing that post I took a break for lunch.  Returning to my desk, I turned on the news and returned to working on the second piece.  Yet another story broke that day which I felt had even more interest than either the one on which I was working or its predecessor.  Needless to say I began to tackle that subject.  Then, halfway written, I put down that piece and sat back to reflect on what was happening.

I was feeling so overwhelmed by information that I was having difficulty focusing on any of it sufficiently to write something that was either worth writing or worth reading.  The same thing happened the next day and the next.  I was beginning to feel like a teenager who was experiencing an explosion of acne but who only had enough medication to treat one lone blotch.

I remembered an experience when I was in my late teens and went on a two week religious retreat at a monastic community slightly outside New York City on the banks of the Hudson River.  I was going to begin my freshman year in college in the fall and felt that I needed some time to focus and identify my goals and develop a plan of attack.  Part of the discipline of the retreat was living in a small cell with only the bare necessities of a bed a desk and a prie dieu – and total silence other than at religious services.  I left and felt refreshed after fourteen days and boarded the Greyhound bus to return to the city.

As the bus drove to New York I felt very peaceful yet energized.  I read as we sped along and almost before I knew it we were pulling into the terminal.  The time had literally flown by.  Then the bus driver announced our arrival and opened the door to allow the half full bus of passengers to exit.  As I gathered up the small grip which contained my belongings I was suddenly amazed at all the noise inside the terminal.  It was overwhelming – almost deafening.  And I realized that I heard that noise every one of the days I had spent in NYC in my short seventeen years – but that I was so used to it I had never noticed it.  For me and my fellow New Yorkers, noise was normal.

That was in the mid-60’’s.  Television consisted of the the three major networks; news was delivered via the morning and evening newspapers; the latest innovation in telecommunications was the introduction off the “Princess phone.”  Yet even with those limitations in our ability to send or receive information there was so much noise   By today’s norms we were forced to function at a near-primitive information level.  Yet, knowing nothing else, we seemed to get along just fine.

The jury may be out on global warming, climate change or climate instability or whatever current incarnation is in vogue.  But it is clear that our access to information has exploded in the past half century.  I doubt that our ability to process all that information has kept pace.  Perhaps that is one contributing reason that one in ten Americans is purported to have some form of mental issue and the reason that the prescriptions for psychiatric medications are being dispensed at record rates.

The posts which I began during the past month had a common theme.  Whether it was the abuse of power in New Jersey in closing down the George Washington Bridge; the scandal in New York City of firefighters and police falsely claiming disability and collecting monthly payments; our Secretary of State Kerry proclaiming to the world that environmental change is as urgent a concern as jihadists with shoe bombs and bad intentions; the Syrian government’s failure to comply with their “agreement” to turn over their chemical weapons and our government’s inept policy not only in the middle east but globally as the fires burn in Kiev and the people mob the streets in Venezuela.

President Obama alone provided the substance for several posts in his most current revisions of Obamacare through executive fiat which seem to be occurring weekly.  And what is that common theme?  It is not in the substance of the event but in the fact that it will soon be replaced and forgotten as some even newer story emerges and captures our attention  for the next nano-second.  It is in precisely this environment that politicians and poltroons can either get away with bad behavior or just plain ineptitude, knowing that the public’s attention will soon be distracted by someone else’s bad behavior before they are called to account.

Let’s be honest.  The mindless mob would much rather hear or see a story about Miley Cyrus than have a conversation about the Madison papers.  The vast majority of our public would rather talk about the Super Bowl, well perhaps not the last one, than the implications of a Supreme Court ruling.  It’s difficult to be informed unless you perceive a reason to be informed.  And most people would rather be entertained by “Jersey Shore” than be concerned with “justice for all” – unless they are themselves the victim of injustice.

No matter where we turn the airwaves are filled with stories of greed, self-absorption, victims and victimizers, heroes found out to have attained their achievements in violation of the rules of fair play and countless stories of those who feel that the laws made for all were beneath them.  “What’s in it for me” rules the culture and the country.

There is no doubt that this can continue as long as there is left some marrow to be picked from the bones of the doers, the makers and the taxpayers.  The truth of that statement is that it has gone on – perhaps for half a century.  But there is always an accounting – no matter how hard those in the media and those in the seats of power try to postpone it.  Eventually we will kill the last fatted calf and there will be no offspring to replace it.

Whether that day is tomorrow or decades from now is uncertain.  Whether we come to the realization that we have been wanton in our values and our priorities because of an apocalyptic moment or through mass self-examination is also unsure.  It is unlikely that the aegis of this enlightenment will be the thousand channels of cable jabberwocky that are beamed at us each moment and without which far too many of us would see no point in living.

But if  the media suddenly had a cathartic moment and focused on things of importance rather than fluff and sensationalism, the question remains.  How many of the mob would listen – and how many would understand and work for change both personally and in those whom we elect to serve in political office?


Let’s be honest.  Even the administration is resorting to a bit of honesty – uncharacteristic as it is for them.  Obamacare is sinking under its own 2,000 page weight.

When I write these blog posts – which are brief, I always sit back and let the finished product rest for a bit before I re-read it.  Almost inevitably I make revisions to my first draft.  They might be as simple as rephrasing a sentence or adding a new thought.  Sometimes, if I am less than satisfied with the finished product I might even revise it after it has been published.  And I am just one person doing the work.

So it should come as no surprise that a piece of legislation one thousand times as long as a blog post and written by a committee has a few screw ups in it.  Those are readily manifesting themselves.  Perhaps the biggest glitch being the deferral of the employer mandate until 2015 – safely past the mid-term elections so as not to roil the voters whose jobs were going to be reduced to 28 hours or less from their current full time work schedule.

Well, fortunately for the Republicans, the individual mandate is still and place.  And when our friends in California get a peek at their new insurance rates, even the most brain dead among them may get a little incensed.  According to a number of studies, they should expect to pay anywhere from 15-25% more than currently.  Now if the liberal press can spin that into the “savings” that were promised under this massive piece of dross, I’d like to hear that argument made.

These are relatively new developments.  But there has been one that has been in the news for well over a year.  That is the requirement that employers offer insurance which includes abortion, birth control media and abortifacients in their employees’ insurance coverage.  Though not alone in this, various Roman Catholic institutions and the American hierarchy have gotten their shorts in a twist over this particular item.  As well they should.

People who are members of that communion are taught (whether they practice it or not) that resorting to any of those measures is sinful and they should not utilize any of the above.  For years the “Rhythm System” was the only appropriate way for a Roman Catholic couple to regulate the size of their family.

I appreciate the outrage that the American hierarchy has expressed.  I have no doubt that it comes from a deep and heartfelt belief that they are being asked to do something that is morally wrong and repugnant to them.  I do believe that Obamacare intrudes on the Constitutionally protected separation of Church and State.

But my empathy for the American Roman Catholic Church’s leadership would be far deeper if they had consistently maintained this position not just when it was their ox that was being gored but in collegiality with other Christian churches who have met the same sort of compulsions in the past.

There are a number of Christian churches which rely on faith rather than medicine to heal their physical ills.  One of the most apparent examples is Christian Science, dismissed by the former river boat captain turned writer, Mark Twain as “being neither Christian nor scientific.”  The atheist Mr. Clemens was certainly entitled to his opinion – and not afraid to share it with others.

As it happens, I have some familiarity with Christian Science and with some of those who adhere to its teachings.  I grew up just down the block from the Eighth Church of Christ, Scientist in Manhattan.

My family would return from our own services and, if the weather were nice, we might head over to Central Park.  (I was equally enamored of the swings and the Central Park Zoo).  As we normally went to an early service, our expedition to the park usually began shortly after noon – just about the time that the service at the Christian Science church was concluding and the church members were leaving.

On virtually every one of these encounters, one or more of the church goers would greet us with a warm, “Hello.  How are you today,?” or some similar greeting.  What was interesting was that they sounded truly genuine in their welcome.  They just seemed like nice, caring people.

So that was my introduction to Christian Science.  I knew nothing more about the faith than that – some nice people saying, “Hello.”

As it happened, one day a woman came into my Mom’s store, looking for a gift for a friend.  But she liked quite a few items and thought of others who might appreciate these gifts as well.  As it turned out, the total cost was more than the cash she had with her so she asked Mom if she could give her a deposit to hold her purchase and she would be back in a few days to pay off the balance.

Mom said that she would be happy to do that – or the lady could write a check if she would prefer not to make a second trip.  (This was in the days before the ATM had been invented).

The woman appreciated that and wrote the check for the purchase and Mom accepted it.  (No drivers license required).  They were simpler times when people made decisions based on their instincts, not on multiple forms of identification – and to Mom’s credit, her instincts must have been very good because in all the years that she ran the store she only received one check which was un-negotiable.

As it turned out, this woman attended the Christian Science church down the street from our apartment.  And she and Mom became very good friends.  This lady introduced a number of her fellow church members to Mom’s store and so Mom got to know quite a few Christian Scientists.

There was nothing Mom and Grandma loved more than cooking and sharing their fabulous meals with others.  And so this lady, Leah and her son Marvin, as well as a number of other Christian Scientists, became semi-regular dinner guests.

Beyond those meals, there is something about all of them that I remember most vividly.  I never heard one of them say one bad word about another human being.  It was as though malicious or spiteful conversation simply did not exist in their vocabulary.

Perhaps it was their positive attitude; perhaps it was the fact that they did not use tobacco or alcohol or caffeine; perhaps it was that they reinforced their faith through reading their daily Lesson Plan; perhaps it was sheer coincidence; but virtually all of these people lived to be well into their eighties and nineties.  Fifty years ago, that was extremely unusual.  And they did it without using medicines or doctors.

Christian Scientists are not alone in avoiding the services of doctors.  Members of some other groups consider certain procedures, blood transfusions for example, to be repugnant and immoral.  Yet over the years, a number of courts have decided that they had the right to supersede those who adhered to these beliefs and ordered either medical procedures be performed or transfusions given.  And the “mainstream churches”, perhaps because they believed the courts were right, sat silently as government infringed on the religious values of others. It’s always easy to let abuses slide when they don’t affect us personally.

Today the Judaeo-Christian ethic is under attack – frontally assaulted in large measure with the endorsement of the present administration.  Obamacare is merely one expression of that attack.  Fortunately, our Jewish friends have millennia of experience in dealing with that sort of oppression.  This is a new phenomenon to many Christian churches and they have proven themselves ill-equipped to handle it.

The hierarchies, pastors, bishops, priests and laity all need to read some history – and the history of the Russian Revolution would be an excellent place to start.  Marx and Lenin realized that the Russian Orthodox Church – or for that matter any religion – posed a threat to their ability to rule and subjugate.  And it was for that reason that one of the first and deepest attacks that Lenin instituted was the closing of the churches and converting many of them into secular, state owned buildings.  The state, and the state alone, claimed to be the sole moral as well as political authority in Russia.

There is no question that church membership and attendance has fallen during the last twenty to thirty years.  That is understandable.  Today we have smart phones and Lindsay Lohan.  Both provide us with outlets and entertainment, perhaps far more rewarding than an unusually dull sermon.  Furthermore, we don’t have to get dressed up or go anywhere to enjoy them – PJ’s or undies work just fine.

Maybe the current climate is a blessing in disguise.  The Christian churches have gotten fat and that comfort level has, perhaps, obscured the original message and their real mission.  There’s nothing that gets us Christians back on track faster than a little persecution.  Had it not been for the Romans’ attempt to wipe out the sect and the faith of those who were willing to die for it which inspired many to join, Christianity might have been far slower in developing a following.

So to the “mainstream” Christian churches in America, I would offer a suggestion.  You should consider as your fundamental goal your right to exercise and practice your faith and, whether you accept the tenets of another sect or religion, their right to practice theirs.  An attack on any religious group should be felt as deeply by you as by them. For the sake of all who subscribe to a higher moral code, you who are strong and have resources should be ready to stand by those who are weak and have few.  That is a principle that is fundamental to Christianity and transcends all sectarian boundaries.

There are only two choices.  Either the churches will define the standards of ethics and morality (and live by those standards) – or the government will do so.  At this point, it appears that government is winning.  Take a look at the list of Seven Deadly Sins.  Now pull up an internet news page and see how long it takes you to find at least one example in today’s news for each of them.  If this requires more than 10 minutes, you must be using a dial-up connection.

The principles to which our Founding Fathers clung and which served as their guiding light in developing our Constitution are very consistent with values that Judaeo-Christians espoused.  It is clear that those values have not only been eroded but their validity and relevancy are being assaulted on a regular basis.

We would do well to heed the words of Benjamin Franklin when he said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately.”


If I were a bookmaker, I’d lay 10/1 that George Zimmerman will be found guilty on at least some charge.  I’d feel very confident in that bet – and it has nothing to do with my review of the trial or the evidence which has been presented.  It has to do with the culture that is ever-present today in American society.

It is the culture that must find in the scapegoat “racism” the diversion to distract us from the fact that the policies that so-called liberals have put in place over decades have created a permanent, impoverished, uneducated underclass to which the majority of our black (or if you prefer African-American) citizens belong.  It is a tragedy, and anyone who has ever voted in Congress to expand or extend “welfare” rather than devise a program of “workfare” should, in my mind, be arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for life without possibility of parole.

I mentioned this in a much earlier post but an experience from my days in the temporary help business bears repeating – particularly in light of this trial and the overall culture we find in America today.  It is a story about a young black woman who responded to an ad and who was looking for employment.

One of our best clients, the Quaker Oats Company needed someone to do filing and make copies on their Xerox equipment.  The position was scheduled to last for two months but there was a good possibility that they might hire the individual permanently.

Most of the people whom we put out on assignment had extensive skills, far beyond the level of this position so our list of potential candidates to fill this spot was limited which is why we advertised the job.  The day after the ad appeared in “The Chicago Tribune” a young woman arrived at our office to apply for the position.  I interviewed her myself.

Because I was interested in maintaining my relationship with the client, I was willing to take a loss on this job and planned on paying the applicant far more than the going rate – specifically, I would offer a salary of three dollars over minimum wage – minimum wage or a few cents more being what the position was worth in the market.

I sat down with this young woman who was 22 years old.  She was dressed very appropriately for a job interview.  It was obvious that she had taken the time to try to put herself forward in the best possible light.  She seemed eager to find a job and, in fact, was the first one to respond.  I liked that about her.

She did not have a high school diploma – owing to the fact that the first of her children was born when she was 17.  She also had two younger kids.  Nevertheless, she seemed quite bright – and I was impressed with her attitude.  She wanted to do better for herself and her children.

After decades of interviewing people, sometimes you just have to go by gut feelings rather than documentation and I wanted to give her a chance to enter the work force.  (Other than having done some babysitting, she had never held a job).  So I offered her the position and told her what it would pay.

As I said, she was bright.  She asked how many hours a week she would be able to work so I told her 37-1/2.

She did some rough multiplication and came up with her weekly gross earnings.

Then she looked at me and said, “You know, I would really like to take this job but I can’t afford to.  I know there’s taxes going to come out of this, and I’d have to spend on carfare to get to and from, and I’d have to pay a baby sitter, and if I take this I would lose my welfare and Medicaid and one of the babies has got the colic.  I just can’t afford to take this job.”

I nearly cried.  This young woman was exactly correct.  It made no monetary sense for her to accept this job – and if not this one, certainly not any other at minimum wage.  Thus we had condemned her to a life on the public dole – a life in which she had only dependence and could never develop self-respect.  What a tragedy.

That interview haunted me for days and while I will not say it was the “Eureka moment” which caused me to march to a conservative way of thinking (I was already there), it certainly reinforced my belief that was the correct path.

That interview occurred about 20 years ago.  It would be incorrect for me to say that nothing has changed.  It has – and for the worse.  And every time politicians expand a welfare benefit, they tighten their grasp and twist the noose around the necks of those whom they need for the sole reason of getting themselves re-elected.

There is an obvious solution to this problem – so simple that you don’t need a PhD. in Economics to understand it.  Here it is.

Rather than cut off a person from welfare and Medicaid because they have found employment, simply reduce those benefits by a percentage, based on their earnings on their job.  In that way, the person is going to have significantly more money to take home and spend and will have an incentive to seek employment.  The other benefit is that the taxpayers will save money.  And perhaps the most important benefit is that the individual who is working will be able to take pride in herself.

So what does this all have to do with George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin?  Everything.

You see if you slap the word racism around loud enough and often enough; if you have the not very Rev. Al Sharpton bellowing it at the top of his lungs; if you have constant media attention paid to the trial of the allegedly “racist” Mr. Zimmerman; if you have Obama commenting on it; you have set the stage to divert the easily diverted public’s attention from the failings of our Congress; from our departure from the American ideal of America being a place where you can have anything you desire if you’re only willing to work for it; and from the real racists – who have built a power base composed of the ignorant, uneducated, welfare mothers and children who think having an Obama phone is the greatest thing in the world.

Those who have voted to establish this group that is only one step removed from slavery are the ones who should be on trial.  Not Mr. Zimmerman.


As usual, last week on the 4th of July around 5:00 a.m. I arose and Gracie and our houseguest Zeus headed over to the dog park.  Apparently, for dogs as well as humans, bodily functions do not recognize the significance of official Holidays.

We went to the park but stayed only briefly because by 6:30 it was already beginning to get hot.  I could see that the fire that has now consumed about 7,000 acres north of Las Vegas on Mt. Charleston was still out of control.  Large almost cumulus-like clouds hung in the air, but rather than being white they were charcoal in color.

Perhaps it was the poor air quality that started me sneezing.  To my knowledge I don’t have any allergies.  I also didn’t have any tissues with me nor did any of my friends at the park.  So, getting tired of snorting the mucous back into my throat,  I decided to stop by the little convenience store on the way home and pick up a small pack of tissues.

It took me a few minutes to find these and pay for my purchase – which I began using in the store before I had paid for them – ah, what a relief – and when I went outside there were three teenage boys standing at the side of the door.  One of them very politely said, “Excuse me.  Could you help us?”

I thought that they were going to ask for some change.

“How can I help you?”

“Well, we was wondering if we give you the money, would you go inside the store and buy us a can of malt liquor?” said the one I took to be the oldest – perhaps 15 years or so.  Of course, doing so is a violation of our liquor laws, and more importantly is just wrong.  So that wasn’t going to happen.  But I didn’t say that.

Instead, it being the 4th of July I said, “I’ll tell you what.  I’m going to ask you a question about America – this being Independence Day – and if you can give me the correct answer I’ll think about buying the malt liquor for you.”

They seemed to perk up with the hope that I had given them.  But before I asked them my question I inquired what grades they were in at school.  Two were in the eighth grade and the oldest had completed his freshman year of high school.

“Okay, guys – name any one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.”

I thought this was a pretty easy question and I know that at their age I would have had no difficulty naming quite a few of them.  But instead of a response, I got a dazed look from all three.  Then came the most telling statement from one of the eighth graders.

He looked at me and said, “Foundin’ Fathers.  I don’t knows none of dem.  Hell, I don’t even know who the M*ther F*cker was whoz my own  father.”

To dredge up the old aphorism, “You could have knocked me over with a feather,” at this response.  I’m sure that my mouth was open wide enough that you could have easily fit a large pizza in it and had room left over.

But I recovered and told the boys that by asking an adult to buy them liquor, everyone could get in trouble and there were reasons that we didn’t allow minors to drink.  I doubt I made much of an impression as they were still hanging out at the front of the convenience store as I pulled away with the dogs.

Perhaps this is what we now consider the new “normal”.    One of my dictionaries defines “normal” as “conforming to the standard or common type; usual; regular; natural.”   It goes on to give a secondary definition:  “free from any mental disorder; sane.”

I would put forward the argument that there is nothing sane about any government’s policies which encourages mass reproduction in an already over-crowded world and rewards those who conform to that normality with increased compensation which is insufficient to raise a child in a wholesome manner; at the same time, mandates the universal availability of abortions in the event the mother at that particular moment has something more pressing to do than bring another offspring into the word; that then provides an inferior education – if any at all – to these offspring who are allowed to be born, leaving them with little alternative but to repeat the mistakes their mothers (and absent) fathers made; and then preaches that the greatest threat to planet Earth is global warming.

Or perhaps we are missing something from the equation.

I don’t want to sound cynical but I do not believe that the government’s concern for this underclass that they have created over multiple decades goes to the welfare of these slaves.  But they serve an important, albeit momentary, purpose.

That purpose is to allow those in office (and who manipulate their strings behind the scenes) to seize more power for themselves.  Once entrenched, propelled into their positions by a mindless electorate, fawning, as though they were dogs at their master’s table, hoping that a crumb or two will drop for them to devour, the great unwashed will have fulfilled their purpose and at that point become irrelevant and their continued existence unnecessary.

And tyranny will have come to America.  But a far greater and more brutal one than the world has ever seen.

Why the dichotomy between rewarding the natural process of child bearing through government subsidies and, at the same time, offering unnaturally to terminate that process?  Might it not be to condition our thinking into “normalizing” the idea that an unborn fetus has little worth and no rights.  And if something unborn that merely looks human has no worth – why not apply the same principle to those who have been born but who do not produce or contribute anything that society deems important and of value?

I have argued since the advent of Roe v. Wade how that decision leads us down the slippery slope toward that kind of “ultimate solution.”  That argument was not based on any religious philosophy or morality which is, essentially, unarguable.  It was based on a doctrine of self-preservation.

We have already marched in the direction of being able to discriminate about who it is we allow to be born (in the same way that Hitler proposed eugenic solutions to the world’s problems).  And while those choices, however heinous they might be, are presently left to the individual, it is not a far reach to imagine that soon that choice may be made on our behalf by those “enlightened” ones who will be running our healthcare system.

At one point, with a limited population and comparatively primitive methods of producing food, we needed an underclass to spend their lives in slavery, in the fields, bringing in the crops that the privileged required to survive.  They may have been second class citizens but they were a necessary part of the economy.

Today, technology has largely eliminated the need for this group of people.  And rather than being important, though humble contributors, they are now devouring the fruits they once brought to the table by the sheer numbers in which they exist.  In other words, they are more of a burden than a benefit to society.

Is it really difficult to make the transition from the concept that “abortion is a woman’s right” to “it is the right of the government to determine how many children may be born and to whom?”  China went down that road.

And from there, is it really all that extreme to imagine a government which has taken to itself the right to determine “for the common good” – not only those who might be allowed to reproduce – but which of those who have already been born, serve a meaningful purpose that conforms to the government’s concepts of what is in everyone’s best interests.  The step toward euthanasia is a very short one from where we are today.  Obamacare and its equivalents in other countries where the state runs medical care are the first step down the path to darkness.

So in light of all that, it shouldn’t surprise us at the President’s statement that “Global Warming” is the greatest threat to planet Earth.  Assuming that he actually believes that, what better way is there to reduce human impact on our planet than to cull and reduce the human population?  Problem solved.

Like the Founding Fathers who girded themselves for the battle, let this be an open statement to the future Eugenics Police who may come for me.

I’m armed and won’t go down without a fight.

Happy belated Birthday, America.


Baseball may officially be America’s national game – but the truth of the matter is that it’s football that really turns us on.  It also turns on the books in Las Vegas and elsewhere who make far more money on football than on all other sports combined.  Given the fact that the casinos come up with bizarre but fun “teaser cards” each week during both college and the NFL’s seasons, I was a little surprised that I couldn’t place a wager on whether or not there was going to be a Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

Since the last Super Bowl we’re averaging more than one player arrest per week with offenses ranging from using illicit substances, DUI , being in possession of unlicensed firearms and most seriously murder.  So I began thinking at our current arrest rate, will there be enough players left to field two teams when the next Super Bowl rolls around.

Football is a violent game played by people who are in large part, violent people.  And if you examine the backgrounds of many pro players, they come from inner city environments where the only escape is either becoming proficient in a sport and going pro, selling drugs or making it in the entertainment industry.

They are not intellectuals but we push them through our colleges and universities so that our alumni will contribute massive amounts of money to their alma mater.  And then we hand them multi-million dollar contracts which would overwhelm even the most stable and balanced person and which wreak havoc with the minds of kids who often didn’t go a full week as children with regular meals on their table.

There is no rational person who would not want to escape a life of poverty and hopelessness – so I don’t lay the blame at the players’ feet.  They are doing what they need to do to survive.  The fault really lies with us – the fans, the teams, the media and the league as we let loose our blood lust every Sunday and the teams accommodate us by taking our money.

We live our sublimated violent dreams through the players and while we commiserate over a serious injury on the field, it is soon forgotten as we look  forward to next week’s battles.  Perhaps our greatest concern over these injuries is how it will affect the line for the wagers we anticipate making the next Sunday.  There is no better example of the saying, “Give the people what they want” than professional football.  Unless it was the gladiators in the Roman Coliseum.  No, I take that back.

Yesterday in Brazil, a referee got into a dispute with a fútbol player and fatally stabbed him.  Before the player died en route to the hospital, the crowd stoned the referee to death, quartered his body and decapitated him, impaling his head on a wooden stake.  I guess by comparison that makes our game almost seem like a lady’s club tea party.  That event in Brazil should be disturbing to anyone who claims he or she is a human being.

Is there a solution to the NFL’s woes?

Well, if there is it is certainly not going to come from the fans.  It must come from the team owners, the league itself and most importantly from the media that broadcast their games.  They are the ones who really fuel the money pots that the NFL teams are filling to overflowing.  They are the ones who have the clout to say, “You know, unless you start writing some moral clauses into your contracts and enforce them, we’re going to reduce the amount of money we pay you per season.”  But is there an incentive for them to do that – other than being good corporate citizens?  Not really.  And doing the right thing in today’s America is, for the most part, a relic of a former time.

There will, no doubt be a Super Bowl XLVIII in February next year.  By then we will probably see an expansion in the number of arrests of NFL players beyond the current 38.   From the league’s standpoint I guess they will consider these “acceptable losses.”

And as for us fans, we will continue to buy and wear the jerseys that proclaim our devotion to this player or that.  In fact, they may turn out to be good investments – should Sunday’s hero wind up being incarcerated.

Does anybody have an O. J. Simpson jersey for sale?


God invented cream cheese for two reasons.  The first, of course, is as an ingredient in Cheesecake.  The second is for the liberal application of that substance on bagels.  (Without cream cheese, bagels have no reason to exist).

Perhaps, like me, you occasionally get a craving for something.  In my case it was for a bagel with a liberal amount of cream cheese applied to its toasted surface.  So I went to the best bagel bakery in town – only to find it had closed.  This shocked me since we have a relatively large and well-heeled Jewish population in Las  Vegas who I would have thought supported such a place.

Well, I’ve tried the bagels before in the large supermarkets but they are simply unpalatable (no matter how much cream cheese is applied to them).  So I went to a bagel bakery/deli very near my house and found that their doors were locked.  There was no sign on the door indicating the reason for that – so I assumed there had been some sort of family emergency which prevented them from opening.

Of course my taste buds were simply going berserk by now – but I decided to hold off until the following day and pick up my bagels.  But when I returned the next morning, a sign had been posted on the door which read “Store for Rent.”  Imagine, two bagel joints going out of business within a week.

Then I remembered there was an Einstein Bros. Bagel restaurant about a mile and a half down the road.  While I hadn’t truly loved their bagels five years before when I last ate one, they were still a step up from the ones at the supermarkets.  So I drove down there.  I needed a cream cheese/bagel fix bad.

It was relatively early in the morning, about 7:45 and I expected the restaurant to be full of customers picking up their “to go” orders as they went to work.  Much to my surprise (and delight), I was the only person in the store other than the cashier and three young women who were standing behind the bagel display.

I saw the sign, hanging from the ceiling that said, “Order Here” which was directly over the display case and I walked over to order.  On the wall there was a listing of the various bagels which one could purchase, though I found it easier to choose by looking at the bagels in the case.  And after a few seconds I had decided on one “Everything Bagel”; one “Garlic Bagel”; and one “Onion Bagel”.  I was ready to order.

Unfortunately, none of the three young women seemed remotely interested in interrupting their conversation in order to accommodate my wishes.  They were thoroughly rapt in discussing where they were going to get their next tattoos done and who did the best “Eyebrow Weaving” (whatever that is).  I checked my watch and waited patiently for two minutes.  Then I made a small, “Ahem” which they managed to ignore.

Finally, in pure desperation, I said, “Excuse me … would there be someone available to take an order?”  One of them looked at me, obviously annoyed that I had interrupted her conversation with her co-workers and said, “Whaddya want?”

I placed my order and she donned a plastic glove to pull the bagels from the case.  “For here or to go?”  She said this with all the delicacy of a hippo in rut.  I overlooked the fact that most individuals, particularly of my size are unlikely to eat three bagels in one sitting so I politely responded, “They’re to go, please.”

“Do ya wan em sliced?”

“If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would appreciate that,” I responded.

She then took my purchase down to the cashier who appeared a bit relieved that she actually had something to do.  As she rang them up I noticed she charged me $1.19 for one of the bagels and $1.29 for the other two.  (Frankly, paying more than $.75 for a bagel is, in my opinion, tantamount to highway robbery.  But I was desperate).

I did question why there was a price difference.  The cashier, armed with the answer to this question went on to explain.

“Well, your ‘Everything Bagel’ is one of our Classic bagels but your ‘Onion’ and ‘Garlic” bagels are Signature bagels.”  Feeling light-hearted that I was soon about to satiate my craving, I responded jokingly, “Well, who signed the bagels and where would I find the signature?”  Needless to say, the humor in this comment was totally lost.  I could see her brain was in a loop as she asked herself a question that had probably crossed her mind many times, “Why do I always get the retards when I’m cashiering?”  As an act of pure compassion I said, don’t worry, I’ll find out for myself.

So I paid for my purchase and slathered lots of cream cheese on my bagel as soon as it popped out of the toaster.  All things considered, I gave the bagel itself about a 6.5 and the overall experience of shopping at Einstein Bros. Bagels about a 3.5.  In other words, it was pretty close to the average of quality and level of service that I have come to find in most retail outlets.

It may be some time until my bagel craving returns.  That is the nature of cravings – they are evanescent.  But I’ve armed myself for its recurrence by finding several recipes for making homemade bagels.  They really don’t sound that tough.  I have all the ingredients but I do need a stylus so that I can sign my work and create my very own “Signature Bagels”.

In the meantime, all the cream cheese that I bought on sale that I thought I would apply over 12 days to the dozen bagels I anticipated purchasing did not go to waste.

You see, I do make a killer cheesecake.


“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions… Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

–  Portion of a statement issued by the U. S. Embassy in Cairo on 9/11/12 in response to the protests outside that embassy and the burning by “militant ultra-conservative Muslims” of the U. S. flag.

After I read the embassy’s response I began thinking about the only violent episode in which I have ever been personally involved.  Previously I wrote about my college incident when I was mugged by three men carrying switchblades, kicked unconscious and spent five days in the hospital with a concussion.

If I were to describe this mugging in the way in which our embassy in Egypt responded to the demonstrations outside its doors, I might have said the following:

“Yes, it was unfortunate and tragic what happened to me.  But if you think about it, really it was my own fault.”

“If I hadn’t accepted my professor’s invitation to join him and his family for dinner, I wouldn’t have been walking where I was mugged.  I would have been safe in my own apartment.”

“So, you see.  It’s terribly misguided to lay the blame on my assailants.  They were just doing what they do.  It was just a matter of bad luck that they did it to me.”

I don’t want to sound harsh because that is not my style.  I believe that anger, hatred and vitriol never settle arguments effectively.  But having said that, let’s look at the reality of what happened in Cairo.

The people who were involved in the rioting outside our embassy are  thugs – and You Tube movie or not have an agenda on which they will continue to move.  That agenda is to hate us – and any excuse, real or imagined – will serve their ends.

Is there anyone in our State Department who believes that those who murdered our ambassador and three others in Libya or participated in the riots outside the Cairo embassy are the kind of rational people who will be placated by our making statements like the one they issued?  People whose first response to any perceived “injustice” is to take to violence seldom are people who understand the concept of sitting down at a peace table and resolving differences through negotiation.

They interpret kindness and rational explanations as signs of weakness which merely further encourages them to continue their behavior.  Having delivered these “nice-nice” lectures many times, there finally comes a point at which the rational person realizes that conversation is insufficient to remedy a continuing problem and further, more assertive action, must be taken.

Why should the terrorists involved in these attacks believe the following sentence which was part of the embassy’s statement?” (Perhaps more germane to the point is, do you think that they care if it is true?)  But we, as Americans, should indeed hope that it is true.

“Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

These words directly mirror those expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  But is that what we really believe and how we truly govern ourselves?  Are we really committed to the individual’s right to practice his or her religious faith without government interference – or to allow our citizens to choose a non-religious path without fear of reprisal?

(Of course, this entire concept of freedom to choose or reject a particular religious path is abhorrent to the terrorists’ most fundamental view that there is only one true faith – theirs).

Let’s consider the crown jewel of the Obama administration’s four years in office, Obamacare.  One of the provisions, commonly known as the HHS Mandate requires that all employers must cover their workers by purchasing insurance which coverage shall include benefits for birth control, abortions and for abortifacients – or face severe government penalties.

This provision is a direct assault against those who are practicing adherents of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and many fundamental Christian denominations who view procreation as the primary reason for sexual engagement.  So by enforcing this provision on those who find it morally and religiously objectionable, we have essentially enacted a law that says it is alright for government to deny them their constitutional right to practice their First Amendment rights.

You might be a reader who is “Pro-Choice” and who believes that there is nothing wrong with practicing birth control or feels that abortion is acceptable.  The purpose of this post is neither to dispute or argue with your beliefs.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion – in fact your are guaranteed the right to hold that opinion by our Constitution.  I applaud the fact that we are blessed to live in a country where that is true.

But if we stand by silently and watch the rights of those with whom we might disagree be eroded by our own government, we should be conscious that we are opening the flood gates which might one day sweep our own beliefs away as well.

The murders in Libya and the demonstrations throughout the Muslim world are indeed acts of terrorism.  But they pale in comparison to the erosion of the Constitution that, if not the agenda of the Obama administration during the four years it has reigned, has been the ultimate result of their policies.


“The honest man recognizes that he has shortcomings; the wise man attempts to overcome them; the successful man succeeds in doing so.”

– Juwannadoright

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