Is Uncle Ted Killing Caroline’s Chances?

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

I don’t believe the liberal press and their treatment of Caroline Kennedy. One would think that after the way the press kissed Obama’s butt they would welcome Caroline with open arms. I could understand their treatment of Sarah Palin, but not Caroline.  Sarah presented a major threat to the Messiah and they had to annihilate her. They did a fine job of it. Now they are doing the same with Harvard educated liberal minded Caroline. What’s up?  Why is it that an ordinary citizen is not qualified for the job of  U.S. Senator. Barack did it, he wasn’t qualified either, but somehow he got out that stressful job into another. They say that if you have an employees who is totally unqualified, promote him to a new level, and let someone else deal with him. We did that.

Caroline’s only problem is her name. She is definitely linked to her Uncle Ted. We all seem to think that the Kennedy clan is too wealthy  for the rest of us. We want to punish them for being so rich. They don’t have to work for a living so they find nice cushy public service jobs. In their minds they are giving back to the peons.

I heard a news commentator discuss Caroline’s use of too many uhs for a Harvard graduated lawyer. Caroline sounds like a teen ager when she speaks.  The commentators recommendation was to find a good speech coach and work hard.  My recommendation is to let Harvard know they have a problem with their method. If the world expects every Harvard graduate to speak eloquently, the world should expect Harvard to train them to speak eloquently. 

 Since when does eloquent speech qualify a person for the Senate? Is that in the job description? I want someone who can read, and  write, and has some common sense. We don’t need another eloquent speaking lawyer writing laws to invent instituions like Fanni Mae, and Freddie Mac. We need Senators who will reduce the size of the government and let  the people in Washington find  jobs that add to the quality of the economy.

I want a Senator who will make spread sheets on the cost of running government, and then apply the Pareto Principle known as the 80/20 rule. It’s so simple  even a Harvard lawyer can figure it out.  Perhaps the law students should take some courses in the Harvard business school. Eighty percent of the good comes from twenty percent of the activity. That would mean alot of office space in DC becomes available for rent. It also means we would pay eighty percent less taxes.

A good Senator would concentrate on identifying the activities that are in the twenty percent, and work at eliminating the remainder. That is the way companies run their businesses. The principles work in any organization including our sacred government.

Ocean Day

Atlantic BeachOne of the greatest gifts a grandfather can receive is the realization that his grandchildren are maturing into fantastic human beings. On Christmas eve my Dana gave me a piece of her work. I hadn’t realized that she is a poet. Fourteen year olds are not usually  very poetic. To my amazement, she is; she is also athletic, musical, and a brain. I’m not too proud.

Let me share the gift she gave me:

Ocean Day

With the pale light of dawn

The waters seem mystically drawn

Sunrise sending peach light

Waking from the black night

Foam tickling the shoreline

With the sweet smell of brine

Patiently waiting for the sky

To open with a silent sigh

Sun’s rays begin to reach

Warming sands of the beach

Waves caress the shore more eagerly

Crashing with puzzling glee

Rhythmic pattern spellbinding

Beauty absolutely blinding

Every sound a pure note

Sharing a hushed anecdote

Endless blue, from aqua to indigo

Below an eternal sky’s glow

Dreamer’s delight

Of magical flight

A whole new world

A different view unfurled

Day to twilight

Unexplainable sight

Sunset painting

Color draining

Moon, pearly white

Stars shining bright

Another day gone

Just to open up to another dawn.

Dana, I love you!

Bah Humbug Blahs

Winter Bear

Winter Bear

As good as I felt last Sunday after our Lion Club food basket distribution, I am in a Bah Hum Bug mood today. It’s two days before Christmas, and I have the blahs. Maybe its light affective disorder, or something like that. It has to be a hormone gone wild to make a person feel so down. I can’t explain it. It couldn’t be that for the last twelve months I’ve been brainwashed by the messiah speaking about failed economic policies, and  another preacher damning America, or that the entire banking system came tumbling down by some social engineering. The weather isn’t helping me out either. It’s way too cold, it’s snowing and blowing. My joints all ache, and my muscles long for a walk, but I’m too lazy to go out .  Maybe I feel blue because I just wrote to my Senator telling him not to give himself a raise, and I expect him to give me the finger instead. Watching my 401K vanish  hasn’t added any light into my life either.

For many years, people referred to me as Scrooge. I created that personae in order to survive my job. We always had ‘performance appraisals’ right before Christmas. Often,  the news I gave my staff was not what they wanted to hear, therefore, the “Scrooge,” moniker. A negativity overtook me like the devil. I became negative the year around. Then one day, I heard a motivational speaker, and he changed my life. His name is Bernie,  he’s a medical doctor, and he changed my life with his speech. I learned that “positive” works much more effectively than “negative.”

It took me several years to break out of the negativity habit, but I did it. I  became a positive person. That is why these blahs are affecting me so. My mind wants to revert to negative, yet I know its the wrong way to go.  I see myself  being tempted by Darth Vader.  I hear him calling me to the “dark side.”

Several times today, I had to stop what I was doing to  find a positive moment to reflect upon. It has kept me going. I have to make alist of everything positive happening in my life today. It will help me bury the blahs.

A Feel Good Day

Ice Angel

The temperature outside is minus six, the wind chill brings it to a cozy minus thirty three. I drove six miles through open farm country with a thirty five mile wind blowing powder snow across the road making  it slippery as heck. Why then was it such a feel good day?  I joined  twenty of my fellow  Frankfort  Lions  at Lion Al’s wilderness place south of Frankfort to pick up food baskets. We then delivered them to needy families. This is a primary project of the Frankfort Lions every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  What made today special was the way it was done, and the brutal weather of course.  In the past, we met at a grocery store to pick up the baskets(actually bags.) The  grocer picked the food and packed the bags, The Lions paid the bill and then delivered. We’ve done it the same way for over twenty years. This year we changed the process. We eliminated the middle man, the grocer. Three of our members did the shopping then packed the bags. The rest of us delivered. 

 Why was it necessary to make this change?  We’re not going to waste time by analyzing what went wrong, it is water over the dam. All that is important is to know that by doing the work ourselves we tripled the amount of food we were able to give to families in need.

For what ever reason, the times have changed, and we were running along complacently accepting the norm. Eventually, we began asking questions about the quantity and quality of food being delivered. An inventory of the basket contents and a pricing revealed that we could probably do better on our  own. We did.  This striking improvement has made me re-aware of the necessity to challenge a process even when it is deemed not broken.

In spite of the bone chilling minus thirty three, there was camaraderie, and a spirit of service this morning that warmed our souls.  After ranting during the election for so many days, and speaking against the evil of the government redistributing our wealth, I witnessed a redistribution of wealth performed by the Lions as they have been doing all around the world for many years. Truly an inspiring and warm feeling in spite of the cold.

Give ’em the Loan!

2009-buick-lucerneAs angry as I am at GM,  Ford, Chrysler, and the UAW, I have decided to speak up for the bridge loan. It is so simple, yet I almost blew it. If these companies suddenly go out of business, we will be forced to buy foreign. Think about that for a minute. Where will all those cars and trucks come from? The US car companies make about  four million cars in the USA each year. If their plants are no longer producing, who will build these cars? Easy you say, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Sweden, etc. Well folks, these companies all have their own markets. They would never be able to ramp up to build an extra four million cars overnight.

So your beater finally died, and you have no other choice than to buy another car. You go to the local Toyota showroom and discover that a Camry costs one hundred thousand dollars, and you are placed on a waiting list. Not to worry, you amble over to the used car dealer to discover that a used Chevy with one hundred thousand miles is commanding twenty five thousand dollars. What the hell is going on?

It takes several years to build new car plants. The extra sales placed on the foreign car companies would strain their resources. There would be a severe shortage of cars for several years after the “big three” have been buried. The shortage plays into the hands of the economists old rule that the price is dictated by suppy and demand. Fewer cars, more sales equals higher prices.

Do we really want to see car prices triple, or do we want to see the “big three”  live on?

As much as I hate the UAW, and the even dumber GM management for their stupid tactics over the last forty years,  I would sooner see the big three survive.  Let’s give them the loan!

Mary From Human Resources Saved the Day

Tree in Walnut Room

Tree in Walnut Room

About ten years ago, Barbara and I started a tradition in our family. Every year at Christmas, we take a trip downtown to have breakfast in the Walnut Room under the big tree. When we started, the Walnut Room belonged to Marshall Field’s Department Store. Their tradition began many years prior. On one of our trips down, we stood in line behind a lady in her thirties with her children. I asked her how long she had been coming to the breakfast. “Since I was five,” she proclaimed. Her tradition began with her mother and aunt bringing her and her cousins.

I was introduced to the tree by Barbara.  She and I made the trip, only to say we did it. Little did we know it would begin a new world for us.

Barb and I began with our granddaughters when the kids were five and three. Barb has been gone for five years, so Peggy and  I have continued the trip with the kids. We are up to a party of twelve when we go.

A week ago, we left the house at seven a.m  to drive downtown. I like to get an early start, because the line to get into the Walnut Room is sometimes very long. We have waited for as long as an hour to get to the elevator then another hour to be seated. The temperature was eleven degrees. The wind was heavy, but it was sunny.  We parked in the Grant Park underground near Randolph Street. I expected to use the Pedway to walk underground to keep out of the cold. It was closed. Why? Probably to keep the homeless from squating and making the Pedway their home.

A few years ago, Macy’s Department Store bought Marshall Field’s . Luckily, Macy’s decided to keep the Walnut Room tradition alive, but they made changes.  Nevertheless it was our tradition, so we felt good that they kept the breakfast going.

On Saturday, we called Macy’s to check the hours. They told us the doors open at eight a.m. and they begin serving at nine. It was not unusual to have to stand in line on State Street just to get into the store at the opening hour.

We arrived at seven forty-five in a severe wind chill which had all of us shivering and wanting to get out of the cold. The Randolph Street  door was still closed, so we ventured around the building to the State Street side to find another entrance.  State Street doors were closed so we wrapped around the corner to the Washington side.  Also closed.  Several more people joined us. The line began to form.  None of the doors were open. The crowd began to mumble. We were early, so I thought nothing of it. We walked back to the Randolph Street entrance. It was now eight o’clock and it was still closed. The kids were really cold, as was I. We spotted several people entering the employees entrance. My son Mike asked if they would open the door and let us in. The Associate said they would check with Security. Nothing happened. Mike kept asking each Associate passing through to see if they could have some Christmas Spirit and to get the doors opened. Nothing happened. In fact, no one knew what the heck we were talking about. Nor did they care. 

Finaly, a nice blond haired lady came through. Mike pleaded with her in his finest sympathetic tone. She also said she would check with Security. It was about eight thirty when she came back and asked us to enter into the Associates lobby. By now there was a crowd waiting. We crammed the room. She asked us to move into the store. We were met by a Security person who made sure we didn’t advance any further. Our blond haired lady stayed with us until security allowed us to move toward the elevators.

Mike thanked the blond haired lady and learned her name was Mary.  She worked in Human Resources. Macy’s has one associate with a heart and some Christmas Spirit. She saved our day. I failed to say, that before she arrived I was ready too walk without ever entering another macy’s store again.    

We were seated immediatley, and an associate took our orders. The big tree is outstanding this year. Decorated with toys, red lights, and ornaments by FAO Schwartz . I gave it a ten on the scale of beautiful. Last year the tree ranked  a three on my scale. 

The meal was cold, even though we were there early and the room was not very crowded. The kids didn’t seem to mind, and the tradition lives on. Grumpa Joe, on the other hand is seriously thinking of beginning a new tradition next year. The new one will exclude the big store from New York. I really don’t think Macy’s is excited about taking this Chicago tradition seriously. Their people were not in sync with the operation, the kitchen served mediocre food that was cold, and the fairy princess was late getting there.  I forgot to explain that the fairy princess is one of the best parts of the morning for the kids. She comes around and talks to them and tells them to make a wish as she sprinkles fairy dust on their heads. Even the old man makes a wish.

Chicago Christmas Tree-2008

Chicago Christmas Tree-2008

After breakfast, the group trudges down to Daley Plaza to see the City of Chicago Christmas Tree. It is also a marvelous tree this year. One of the best.  It was still too cold to lolly gag around the plaza waiting for the Kris Kindle market to open, so we headed back to the car. We arrived home by twelve thirty.

I deliberately took a week to write about this day. I wanted time to cool my anger and warm my body. It would have been an angrier rant had I written it when we arrived home.

It was still a warm and fuzzy moment, and the tradition lives on, for now.

It May Be Too Late!

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

What a marvelous opportunity for the Illinois Republicans to make a major step forward in the state. That is, if there are any professed republicans in the state. The arrest of the current governor, Rod Blagojevich, opens the door for exciting new things to happen. Blago got into the position only because the previous governor, Republican George Ryan was going to jail. Blagojevich’s republican opponent, Judy Baar Topinka didn’t stand a chance against the stain left by Ryan.

If there is an honest, God fearing, republican with the integrity and desire to lead a state run amok with graft, fraud, and thieves, I implore him/her to take action now.  It is a joke in this state that the people who are right for the job will never take the lead, and those that want the job, we the electorate, don’t want. We always wind up chosing between the lesser of two evils.

I would take the job, under the following conditions. I don’t want to raise money, I don’t want to campaign, and I don’t want to work my way up the system through the good old boy network of ass kissing politicians. I know this doesn’t sound plausible, but that’s the only way I’d take the job. I know I could clean up the state and balance the budget in a short time. I wouldn’t be very popular, and I’d need body guards.

Cleaning up Illinois would require cleaning up Chicago. Anyone familiar with Chicago history knows the political machine that runs the city got started sometime before the great Chicago fire.  That means there is a tradition of over a hundred years to break. It is more than a tradition, it is a culture. The second culture that has to be broken is the Cook County government, which is closely tied to the Chicago machine, lastly there is the downstate group which is totally removed from the north.

It is questionable as to how much a governor can do to break this monopoly. He is one man against many hundreds who are elected into the jobs. There are many more loyal patronists who have been appointed to jobs because of connections. The network is huge. A governor can, however, lead by example and root out corruption by pushing the State’s Attorney. He can even solicit help from the Federal State’s Attorney, as is happening right now.

Our state is not alone in this regard, we are only better at corruption than the others. Recently, our elected leaders have been failing to cover their tracks. They are more blatantly open about the way they do business, and are becomming easier to trip up.

Illinois politics resembles the lawlessness  of the Old West. Before a territory became a state, there were no laws, no sheriffs, and no judges. The strongest  men ruled, and got what they wanted with intimidation and the power of the gun. In the modern case, the political men rule by intimidation, and the power of  money.

Blagojevich openly, and blatantly became goevernor not for the good of the people of Illinois but for the good of Rod Blagojevich. He fits the finest tradition of Illiois governors.

It is my guess that president elect BO is involved by association. He is a true Democrat, and therefore into the operation of the machine. His many questionable associations, and by admission that he is a believer in the Democratic Party make his denial of any knowledge of Blagojevich’s activities to sell his Senate seat questionable.  Isn’t is funny that BO officially resigned from his senate seat early to give the governor ample time to find a replacement?

I pray the federal politicians not learn to operate by the same rules as  Illinois. It may be too late.

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