Archive for September, 2007

Ben and Ted’s Abhorrent Misadventure

September 28, 2007

I was reading in USA Today about this Sen. Ted Stevens and his boy, Ben, also a former Senator.  Ted Stevens, you’ll recall, is the guy that wanted to shut down the Internet because “people were loading it like a truck” and slowing down the process of him receiving his e-mail.  He also claimed that people were getting “rich” off of it at the expense of the American people and insinuated that was a bad thing.  Good ol’ boy Ted, watching out for us poor hokeys.  But it appears Senators are slowing down the process and getting rich off of the American people, too.  (Read more about this from the post:  “Sen. Ted Stevens verses the free and open Internet” dated 9-14-06)

 This is the guy that blocked the bill to make available government spending records to the public, and since he is the one opposed to the bill, it can’t be brought up to a vote until he lifts the block.  Why would he care if the American people (that he has sworn to protect and ride shotgun over our Internet) knows how the government has been spending our money?  This man is in league with the oil companies that do business in Alaska, that’s why.  Not only was his Bridge to Nowhere set to benefit Big Oil, but when the government rejected his $450 million bridge, he sets up the Navy with $85 million to restore a project that they originally scrubbed.  Now construction workers for the oil company can be ferried across to the island that the bridge was originally designed for (population 50) and work at minimum cost to the oil company.  You would think that if the American people are helping out in the production of oil,  American petroleum products would be available at a discount.  Why does it cost as much as foreign? 

It has been documented that two years ago the federal government appointed three oil companies to research oil reserves found in Colorado and Utah and begin the extraction process.  These discoveries claim the yield would be at a cost of around $25 a barrel to produce and has 10 times the amount of oil than Saudi Arabia.  Why do we continue to kick the Alaskan horse in the flanks when it is in our own back yard?  Because the oil companies don’t want it cheap, they want it scarce and hard to come by.  They want us to be interdependent on these foreign governments to control world markets.

Ted Stevens is a business partner to the former chief executive of VECO Corp. which is now being investigated by the FBI for corruption and bribery charges, which also involves Ben, Ted’s own baby boy.  They are one of the companies that would have benefited from the bridges Stevens was so gung ho on and now the ferry service provided by the U.S. Navy will work for instead.  (Stevens was also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and it’s defense subcommittee which appropriates expenditures and doles out the taxpayers money)

We give these people too much power, they stay in office way too long and then we give them lifetime pensions and health care.  FOR WHAT?  this bullshit?  and they protect their own…

For a change, I think government officials should work on a pure voluntary basis, no income or benefits whatsoever.  The people that run for office would already have made their money and thus would be less likely to succumb to bribes (like free house renovations) and be interested in service simply because they want to give back to the community.  Imagine how our government might work if the ones running it are successful business men. 

John Kennedy was one that donated his salary to charity, which was a step in the right direction.  And what ever happened to conflict of interest? If you have part ownership in something or had a history with such and such a company, the policy should be “your hands off” any project that might have personal gain for you or your constituents. 

Ted Stevens motto has always been: “Do what is good for Alaska!”  I think he should follow his own advice and resign.

check out the video below…

 peace.

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TPMtv – Ted Stevens Muck Update

September 28, 2007

TPMtv: Ted Stevens Muck Update

no wonder Ted wants the Internet shut down!

…and look at the date!  A year to the day of the post “Senator Ted Stevens verses the free and open Internet” brought to you by AMRFP! 

peace.

live and let liv tyler

September 28, 2007

You know, this live and let live thing has gotten out of control.  We have let too many live, pure and simple.  When we say “live and let live” is that giving license to “anything goes?”  I wonder…

Our society has gotten so liberal that we have given sway to just about every crazy notion that has come down the pike.  Because of that we have a bumper crop of individuals who think they have a right to something just because they have dreamed it up. 

Take for example the right to be dumb.  Dumb has become the new right in America.  People haven’t got the sense to get out of the rain and that is their right.  “Hey world!  I’m going to stand out here in the middle of the pourin’ rain and there ain’t nuthin’ you can do about it!”  Then what happens?  We get all these right to be dumb people sufferin’ from pneumonia.  They start wringing their hands and demanding to be cared for because it was their God given right to be dumb and the rest of us can do nothing about it because we live in a right to be dumb society.  Now we have to put up with the consequences of a few come what may.  And invariably the people that DO recognize the folly in standing out in the pouring rain and refrain from exercising their right to do so end up footing the bill for those who don’t and do.  Now I ask you… is that fair?

I think for every push there is a pull, for every up there is a down, every ying has it’s yang, for every popular song there is a b-side, for every good movie there is a written clause for a sequel. When we become the “great equalizing” force of the world, there are bound to be some things thrown in for good measure that, quite frankly, don’t measure up.

100 people are in a theatre, each person paid admission and has equal access to seating on a first come, first served basis.  99 came to enjoy the show, one person wants to exercise his right to cry fire in the middle of the second act.  99 people may support the right to cry fire in a crowded theatre, but the exercising of that right at an inconvenient time might cause them to rethink their priorities.  The right to do something is not necessarily the right thing to do.  We need to acknowledge this plain and simple fact.

When I was young I was deprived of a certain candy.  I remember my mom used to buy these putrid orange flavored candy slices.  If we wanted something sweet we had to choke a few down and pretend that they were our flavor of choice.  Or she would buy some sweet chocolate pinwheel candies that would last from Easter clear through Halloween (because nobody liked them except her.)  I would begrudgingly let one melt on my tongue out of sheer desperation for “real” candy.  I used to tell myself when I got older I would buy all the candy I desired and eat it whenever I wanted.  Of course, now I can do this… I have the right to do so, but the flip side might be rotten teeth, pimples and a colossal tummy ache.  Not to mention bad health, short attention span and an eventual distain for $100,000 candy bars and Kit Kats.  In other words, I know the foolishness of catering my every whim.

Some have bobbed for too many apples, porked out on an excessive amount of chocolate covered raisins or raided the cookie jar once too often and sent it spiraling to the floor to meet an untimely dismantling only to discover that there are some things left better out of reach. 

When we cater to every whim and notion as a right without giving full thought to accountability, we are like children with our hands caught in the cookie jar.  Then we reason that the temptation was more than we could resist and instead of facing the reality of our misguided choices we be-cry the calorific content and demand a lighter fare.  Our right for freedom of choice has with it a certain syllogism.

I remember the movie, That Thing You Do! where Liv Tyler told this dude, “Shame on me for wasting my kisses on you!” and I think there is a good analogy here for us.  A thing we want to do may feel good, right and free of guilt at the time but is it the right thing to do?  Should it be done just because it can be? 

Shame on us if there is no bridle, handle, lock or barrier that says, “This is ouside the realm of our care, custody and control.  This goes beyond all human decency.”

peace. 

Dear Abby, “ma’am” ‘n’ me

September 25, 2007

A while ago (back in January ’07) I wrote a post entitled, let me call you sweetheart.  It was in response to a random blog I had read about a woman who was curious as to the appropriateness of calling a stranger “babe” or “hon” or “sweetie,” etc.  Unbeknownst to me, the lady tracked me back and commented on my comment of her blog.  I had generalized her inquiry as a “complaint” but which I readily recanted on my comment back to her and rightly so, she wasn’t really “complaining” just wondering how others felt about it.

 My feeling then and now was that those endearing terms being used liberally is not a bad thing.  (I won’t spoil the post if you want to research it further on your own, feel free)  I had mentioned that as a young person I had always called men, “sir” and women, “ma’am” and looked at those titles as precursory to the showing of respect to that individual regardless of gender.  Nuff said.

Today I did my John Prine rendition of reading the newspaper and checked out Dear Abby.  Now, Abigale Van Buren (Pauline Phillips) and me go way back.  Recently the torch has been passed on to her daughter, Jeanne.  I am amazed at how much wisdom can be inherited by syndicated columnists. (I do not mean that in a derogatory way)  I have read the column faithfully each time I read the newspaper.  I may go many days in between reading (the Internet has the news sooo much faster) but when I do I check out her advice without fail.

Today’s topic brought the recollections of my post (mentioned above) because apparently there are women out there that feel the use of “ma’am” is inappropriate, quaint, belittling or just down right offensive and/or dated.  I can imagine Rosie O’Donnell freaking out and blubbering a spew of jibberish on how sexist it is to be called “ma’am,” but really, is it that bad of a term?  The woman writing to Abby felt that men have a solitary, “age free” form of address in the word, “sir” while women have multiple forms to depict their age category.

Men have other forms of address, “young man” is a form that comes to mind and crosses the boundary of pre-school up through college and beyond.  “Mac” is another.  I doubt if I say, “Hey Mac!” someone is going to get in a tizzy over it.  How about “Buster” or “Bud” or “Dude,”  for that matter?  “Hey man” is one that I use quite often, I don’t recall anyone feeling like I was questioning their sexuality or age.  (“Hey man!”  “I’m a boy, you moron!”)  In Bible times women referred to their husbands as, “my Lord.”  Rosie would have a field day with that notion these days.  (ever notice every picture you see of her she has her mouth open?)

It was pointed out in today’s Abby that  in military terms, “ma’am” is the equivalent of “sir.”  No disrespect or age defining connotation in that usage.  Another alert reader brought out that “ma’am” is derived from the word, “madam” which comes from the French term, “ma dame” and translated to English means, “my lady.”  He reasoned that, “to be called “ma’am” is as close as anyone in the U.S. can get to being referred to as royalty.”

Regardless of your station in this life, respect is something we seem to show very little of these days.  From the office of the President right down to local law enforcement, the entitlement of respect goes with the position held, whether the individual warrants it or not.  If a person is going to be taking offense at another persons attempt to show a little respect, then that effort will gradually recede with each occasion until we have a generation of people not showing ANY veneration to gender, position and/or authority.  Then there will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth to the wonderment of “where has it all disappeared to?”

C’mon, girls… give the notion that your age is showing by the use of a polite terminology up, will ya?  You might just make some ol’ geezer’s day by showing a grateful nod of approval and/or win the heart of some well meaning lad.

 peace. 

John Prine – Dear Abby

September 25, 2007

Dear Abby

listen up buster…
ma’am is NOT a four letter word! (it is a four letter word with an apostrophe in the middle of it)

peace.

The Brave Highway

September 22, 2007

Went for a little tea and sympathy last night, didn’t get either.  What did I expect? not much, hoped a little… missed her that much.  Took the brave highway, didn’t have a road map… she told me to get lost. 

Drifted around today, mostly cloudy and rain.  Felt antsy, like I needed to be going somewhere.  Sometimes the bug bites me and I wonder… “what am I hangin’ around for?” 

I moved alot when I was younger, back and forth… aimless.  Guess it started when I was a kid.  Never really had a home for more than a few months until I was in the sixth grade.  That upbringing put the wanderlust in me.  No real goals or desires, just being free…  I knew there was a big, bad ol’ world out there that I wanted to take hold of.  I wanted to experience things, see ’em up close and first hand… explore.

I hitch-hiked all over the country.  Slept under bridges and in parked cars, met people that helped me out and others that tried to take advantage of me.  Nearly froze to death in Montana during one winter, spent the night in a hospital.  Spent another night in a jail while passin’ through Cheyenne.  Always searchin’ for that elusive freedom, no strings, no responsibilities.  I’d get the brave highway itch and I’d just have to scratch it.  Sometimes I’d just hitch-hike to go somewhere.

I spent hours and rode many a mile on Greyhounds, slept in terminals with one eye open, panhandled money for something to do.  Snuck into theatres, hung out in museums, drank coffee in truck stops ’til the wee hours.  Made friends with Western Union, got stuck… needed money.  I was 16. 

Went from job to job, didn’t take no shit.  If I got pissed… I was gone… adios, sayonara, happy trails.

Sometimes the world isn’t the brass ring… you wish you could get off the merry-go-round.  You might even question your own sanity, your validity, the reason for your very being.  It is a tough place, a hurtful one if you are not careful… dangerous, unforgiving.  Cold.

My daughter is so much like I was then that I want to cry sometimes, for her… and myself.  Don’t go there, it isn’t safe for you.  3000 miles, out of reach, out of touch… I want you near, I say.  Just in case you need me.  It is easier for boys and it isn’t safe for them.  It wasn’t safe for me, I was lucky… I met her mother and settled down.  Became a man, became a better man than I ever could have while trying it my way. 

Rainy days like today… who needs them?  Who needs the struggle within when the easy way is so darn easy.  Turn your back, walk away… easy, right?  Forget your umbrella… let this rain just wash away all that bullshit, let it fill up those tracks that sunk with your weight in the mud.  That’s your reflection in the window… outside, looking away.  I don’t want my eyes to condemn me, those aren’t raindrops.

No, she needs me to stay here… I am a foundation, an institution, I am the voice on the phone when she is away and she is scared, or lonely because she had a fight… or worse yet, got a phone call.  Men are bastards, I say… I was a bastard. 

I want to chuck it all, the responsibilities and the headaches.  I want to run… it would be so easy.  Turn my back, don’t look back…

Cowards go, I tell myself… they take the easy way.  There is the brave highway now.  Somehow I got sidetracked, life put me on it… an unwilling participant but still navigating between the ditches.  Still counting road signs and walking those ribbons of asphalt, weaving between splinters of dotted white lines.  Dogs bark as I pass, threatening me… fields roll out to the horizon, birds chirp and follow along, dancing on fence posts or high voltage wire with impunity.  Katydids buzz a static monotone, dragonflies have dogfights while the air is filled with the aroma of barnyard animals, the farmers call it the smell of money.  Cars pass by… occasionally one honks to make me jump.  I’m not too close, the shoulder is just too narrow. 

There is no glamor, the romantic in me stinks from the baking sun…  my clothes look like I’ve slept in them and I’m hungry… I’m discusted with myself.  God, this rain! there is no rainbow… at times my feet are soggy and my heart is so heavy.  My soul is awash with regrets and the thoughts in my head plague me with doubt.   I want to go home and try again, take my place on the brave highway…

I’ve been here before…

peace.

Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down

September 22, 2007

Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’ve heard it said that if God sang a song He’d have the voice of Johnny Cash…

peace.

learn to avoid Internet scams! send ten dollars to…

September 22, 2007

Get rich quick schemes, ya gotta love ’em.  I mean, getting rich quick is the best way to get wealthy, right?  Who wants to work, scrimp, save, invest and wait… wait and… wait?  We want those riches NOW! before we are too old to enjoy them.  Ofcourse, I’ve never heard ANYBODY complain that they were too old to enjoy their money.

I remember reading the Rolling Stone when it was an underground effort and way in the back pages were the want ads.  People advertised guitars, drums sets, tie-dyed t-shirts, hash pipes and auditions for rock and roll bands.  One person ruefully lamented, “If everyone would just send one dollar we could start our commune.”  I thought that was a unique concept.  Who couldn’t afford a dollar?

Ever since reading that little ad I have wondered about all those marketing ploys and pyramid efforts.  Who had the kahuanas to dream those up, anyway?  They had to know there were enough “marks” out there that would gobble up the notion of getting rich quick hook, line and sinker without giving a thought to who might be harmed.  Imagine bilking someone out of their life savings because you had appealed to their own greed?  Would that make you a bad guy?  Not hardly, thinks the guilty person… you can’t put one over someone that is honest.  The “mark” gets what he deserves if he “buys” into the scam. 

Of course, the culprits that start the ball rolling are the ones that make out in the long run.  They are at the top of the money mountain that keeps getting pushed up higher by the fledglings underneath who dream of life on easy street and are swept away by the intoxicating allure of wealth.

It is called a Ponzi, named after an illegal Italian immigrant who lived the American Scheme.  Promising great returns to investors, people flocked to him and eventually invested millions of dollars.  Back in the 1920’s, a million was a lot of dough.  He paid off the early birds with the ever increasing revenue of the also rans.  Even after he was caught, people refused to believe that their judgement and faith in him was not sound.

Today’s economy troubles lend credence to get rich quick enterprises and put hope into the hearts of unwary people in search of relief.  Beware!  unscrupulous people seek to pry those hard earned dollars from an unsuspecting public, if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.

So now that being said,  in a continuing effort to educate the public, you too, can learn to avoid Internet scams.  Just send ten dollars…

and welcome to the camp!

 peace.

pass it on…

September 21, 2007

We pass things on to friends and family, sometimes we aren’t even aware of the influences we are having on an individual until some time later.  For example: tastes in music.  I was influenced by my mother and sister, Cyndi, with two distinct tastes.  My mother loved country and western music, my sister took to rock and roll.  Now that blend influences my tastes years later to where I appreciate both on their own merits.

Some people are born into a Republican household and carry those ideals while others form Democratic alliances because of how they are raised.  With religion, too, most people are born into a faith, raised in that faith and embrace it as their own without much thought or exposure to any other beliefs.  Gimme that old time religion, it’s good enough for me… etc.

I like to think we can influence others to do good whether they really want to or not.  It is called, “by example” and it is probably the easiest way to get someone to do what you want them to do.  It is hard to say, “don’t smoke, drink or do drugs” if we ourselves are doing them.  That is hypocritical, and people see right through it. 

Imperfections aside, there are some things we do willingly that we know we shouldn’t and usually end up paying the price for by it’s consequences.  How much better it would be if we could think things through, or learn from others mistakes… but we can’t somehow.  It is human nature to think that what ever hard times fell on our predecessors in such and such a predicament will be avoided by us because we have our eyes open.

You may not know it but people will scoff at the good intentions of this post.  There will be those that feel it is all bunk, malarkey, foolish, or naive thinking.  But I’d like to believe that there is good in ALL people.  Most are  just lacking in guidance, looking for a good way to express themselves. 

Knowing that, in God’s eyes we are all #1, some look to that universal sign that is understood in every language… bless their little hearts. 

(see the photo below)

 peace.

Sweet Little Angels

September 21, 2007