We Are the Last Ones

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Sent to me by a friend who played with me on the streets of Burnside a neighborhood  in Chicago. It resonates mightily with all of my generation, i.e. those who remain.

A short (sad) memoir
Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special age cohort. We are the “last ones.” We are the last, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the war itself with fathers and uncles going off. We are the last to remember ration books for everything from sugar to shoes to stoves. We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans. We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available. My mother delivered milk in a horse drawn cart.
We are the last to hear Roosevelt’s radio assurances and to see gold stars in the front windows of our grieving neighbors. We can also remember the parades on August 15, 1945; VJ Day.
We saw the ‘boys’ home from the war build their Cape Cod style houses, pouring the cellar, tar papering it over and living there until they could afford the time and money to build it out.

We are the last who spent childhood without television; instead imagining what we heard on the radio. As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood “playing outside until the street lights came on.” We did play outside and we did play on our own. There was no little league.

The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like. Our Saturday afternoons, if at the movies, gave us newsreels of the war and the holocaust sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons. Newspapers and magazines were written for adults. We are the last who had to find out for ourselves.

As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth. The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. VA loans fanned a housing boom. Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work. New highways would bring jobs and mobility. The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics. In the late 40s and early 50’s the country seemed to lie in the embrace of brisk but quiet order as it gave birth to its new middle class. Our parents understandably became absorbed with their own new lives. They were free from the confines of the depression and the war. They threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

We weren’t neglected but we weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus. They were glad we played by ourselves ‘until the street lights came on.’ They were busy discovering the post war world.

Most of us had no life plan, but with the unexpected virtue of ignorance and an economic rising tide we simply stepped into the world and went to find out. We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed. Based on our naïve belief that there was more where this came from, we shaped life as we went.

We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future. Of course, just as today, not all Americans shared in this experience. Depression poverty was deep rooted. Polio was still a crippler. The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks. China became Red China. Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisors’ to Vietnam. Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.
We are the last to experience an interlude when there were no existential threats to our homeland. We came of age in the late 40s and early 50s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, climate change, technological upheaval and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with insistent unease.

Only we can remember both a time of apocalyptic war and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. We experienced both.

We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better not worse.

We are the ‘last ones.’
Now why won’t anyone listen to experience?

This Is Scary As Hell

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HERE IS SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!!!!!!!!

A lot of people have brought up the fact that they won’t vote for Trump if he’s the eventual nominee. I just want to put something in perspective.
Justice Scalia’s seat is vacant. Ginsberg is 82 years old, Kennedy is 79, Breyer is 77, and Thomas is 67. Nowadays, the data shows that the average age of a Supreme Court retirement or death occurs after 75.
These are 5 vacancies that will likely come up over the next 4-8 years. The next President will have the power to potentially create a 7-2 Supreme Court skewed in their ideology.
Think about that… 7-2. If the next President appoints 5 young justices, it will guarantee control of the Supreme Court for an entire generation. And 7-2 decisions will hold up much more over time than 5-4 decisions which are seemed to be lacking in mandate.
Hillary has made it clear she will use the Supreme Court to go after the 2nd Amendment. She has literally said that the Supreme Court was wrong in its Heller decision stating that the Court should overturn and remove the individual right to keep and bear arms. Period.
Everyone saying that they won’t vote for one candidate or the other if they are the GOP nominee, please realize this. If Hillary Clinton wins and gets to make these appointments, you likely will never see another Conservative victory at the Supreme Court level for the rest of your life. Ever.
If you are a Conservative, a vote for anyone but the GOP nominee, whomever that will be, is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Borders and Immigration, Revisited

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The border between the US and Mexico has been on my mind for some time now. The issues of illegal immigration and the border loom ominously ahead of us. Why is it that this border is so different from the others?

Immigrants are the heartbeat of America. We are all children of people who came here from someplace. I am a first generation offspring of  parents who immigrated to the US in the nineteen twenties. Both Mom and Dad told us their stories of how they got here and who sponsored them. They needed visas and a passport, before leaving their home country. Both of them had to travel hundreds of miles to a harbor in northern Europe, board a boat, and endure weeks of sea sickness while crossing the “border” into the United States.

Once they crossed the invisible line called a border somewhere in New York Harbor their boat docked. It didn’t dock at the mainland, it docked at Ellis Island. There, they disembarked and stood in long lines until they came before a magistrate of some kind who officially registered them in the books of immigrants. I assume they were given papers to allow them entry.

Not all folks off the boat were lucky. Some, who carried disease or some undesirable malady returned home. How in the hell they accomplished that is not clear. Many of the folks who came from Slavic countries carried some weird names. At least they were weird to the magistrates who could not pronounce a string of consonants. Often the magistrate registered the alien with a new name spelled as he heard it said. So some of them came to America and immediately had a new identity as well as a new home. Well, not yet. There was the matter of getting from Ellis Island to where ever you were going to wind up.

That is the Eastern border, the Western is not much different. Contractors building railroads, dams and bridges conscripted Chinese and Japanese laborers by the thousand to help build railroads across the country. Many of these contracted laborers never made it back home. At first, they came by boat and entered harbors in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Later, after air flight became the norm, seating capacity limited how many could come on Boeing airplanes. Airplanes land in controlled spaces such as airports. They disembark the plane and herded to the immigration terminal where a nasty looking man in a uniform verifies their credentials. They must have passports and a visa to continue to customs. Eventually, they enter the mainland to a new home. In review, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans present a unique border that limits immigration to discreet entry points.

Let’s look at the northern border next. Canada is a country much like the United States. Canada’s make-up is from immigrants who enter the country from the East (Atlantic) or from the West (Pacific). Their northern border is the arctic circle and most likely is not breached nor has it been breached since the last ice age when the Bering Sea froze over and immigrants from Asia walked across to North America. There was also a brief time in the  seventeen hundreds when Russian adventurers sailed across the Bering Sea and settled in what is now Alaska. In any case this migration limited entry to very few souls.

Most of Canada’s immigrants come to Canada the same way as they do to the USA from the East and West.

The Northern border of the USA is with Canada. Canadians bent on migrating to the USA are already documented and familiar with the process. They apply for visas and passports and cross into the states at designated border crossings. The standard of living in Canada is like that in the USA so there is not the huge wish on their part to leave one good thing for something else.

America’s southern border presents a different perspective. At one time, the native population of Mexico stretched into North America into the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Then the Spanish came and invaded Mexico in search of gold. They proceeded to bastardize the Indian population with Spanish blood to the extent they creates a new referred to as Hispanic. The Spanish brought with them Jesuit priests to convert the pagan natives to Christianity. Many of the Jesuits were successful in establishing missions to do their work. In a sense the missions were mini countries ruled as theocracies. When the Spanish decided the missions were too successful they began secularization and order evolved into chaos under Spanish rule.

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We all know that Spain did not hold its grip on Mexico and the now Hispanic native population came to be ruled by the very wealthy aristocracy. It is the same to this day. Mexico is a dirt poor country because the leaders want it dirt poor.

In eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, the Republic of Texas became a reality by  seceding from Mexico. Texas later became a state.

Mexico ceded New Mexico, Arizona and California to the United States during the Mexican-American war of 1848 under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). The US also paid Mexico $15,000,000.00 dollars for the land.

The western border states quickly became agricultural and needed labor. Mexicans living on the land did much of the work. Others who lived across the border would simply walk or ride across to their jobs and return home at night. The culture of free passage has prevailed for centuries.

The Mexican people come to America for the same reasons my parents did, to make a better life for themselves. Yes, we have laws on the books defining requirements for entry, but our government choses to ignore them. We brag about the number of immigrants we lawfully allow into the states every year, but sweep the number of illegals under the carpet.

Why is this the case? Our low-cost labor requirements are greater than the number of immigrants we can process yearly. We lack a valid worker pass program that allows true migrants the ability to cross into the USA for legitimate reasons, i.e. to work. The result is they enter the country illegally and make themselves legitimate with stolen social security cards. This not only allows them to get drivers licenses, but they now qualify for benefits even though they had no intention of asking for benefits when they got here.

Many of us argue that our generous social programs draw these people here. I contend that this is wrong. Most come only to get a job that pays more than they can make in Mexico. We as a country insist they get the same rights as our legal immigrants and valid citizens. Our insatiable desire to offer equal outcome for all is eating us alive. Guest workers do not deserve any benefits, they are here to make a wage and to go home.

What is the answer here? Control! The same type of control we have on the East, and west borders. On the South, it means a fence, moat, or a deterrent system as effective as three thousand miles of ocean. Control will allow us to assimilate and integrate new people at a pace we can all be happy with. Classify guest-workers as that, guest-workers. Why insist they be given all social benefits allotted to legal citizens, even when the guest-worker does not demand it.

Define the guest worker with a contract describing his salary, duties and daily time on the job with a three years limit. When their contract time is up, they go home.

Singapore brags about 110% employment. How can they meet that demand? They have a generous guest worker program. They do not have guest workers who over stay visas and get lost in the system, and Singapore follows its laws.

The immigration debate is simple to fix, we do not need another 1220 page bill loaded with muck to fill the days of our Congress with endless arguments about how to fix it. What we need is some common sense, and a President who loves America as it is, and one who is not fixated on transforming America into a Socialist State. Couple that with a Congress that cares about the country more than keeping their jobs. The kind of President and Congress we have is up to us. We are the only ones who can fix that problem by paying attention to what our government is up to and electing candidates with character, integrity, and genuine love for the country.

Here is my proposal:

  1. Implement a Vigorous Border Control
  2. Initiate a formal Guest-Worker Program
  3. Differentiate guest worker benefits from immigrant benefits.
  4. Define the number of immigrants allowed
  5. Define the number of guest-workers we need, and will allow.
  6. Expand and improve border crossing stations to increase the flow of guest workers.
  7. Define the length of time a guest worker may stay before returning to his home country.

Your comments are welcome.

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A New Religion

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Duck Dynasty is my favorite program. I like it because the characters are real and don’t care what I think when they say something or do something. If they believe something is true or good, they say it or practice it.

The controversy over Phil Robertson’s comment regarding homosexuality shows me that A&E is a new religion practicing in America.  I looked up the definition of religion and found there are several. One of them is this,  a “pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: consumerism is the new religion.” The Arts and Entertainment network is pushing their religion on those of us who watch their programs. Without realizing it, they are apostles for gayism, political correctness, and diversity.  They claim to have corporate values which they pretend to live up to, but what they are doing is no different from the Jehovah’s Witness who knocks on your door and tries to convince you that what they believe is the one true way to achieve redemption.

The writing on the wall became clear about a week ago when they chastised Phil Robertson for using the word Jesus in his prayers. A&E claimed Jesus is offensive to Muslims. Well no shit big boys, but why would you care? Why would any true Muslim watch a program based on Christian values? Most likely, if they do watch it is to learn new ways to kill Christians and Jews. So A&E is for Muslims but they are against Christians. How is this showing diversity?

It is okay to watch programs based on gays but not programs based on Christian values and heterosexuality. By choosing gays over heterosexuality A&E openly espouses their religion and pushes it on us.

My guess is that the big guys at A&E are all Muslim gays. I am in total agreement with Phil Robertson’s statement that he cannot see why any man would prefer an anus to a vagina. I guess you must be gay to understand that. So A&E is decidedly pro-gay and anti Christian which is another mockery of their diversity policy. If A&E were truly interested in diversity they would abandon their crappy Progressive policy and embrace the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Instead they have walked all over the First Amendment which assures us the right of free speech and religion. They have denied Robertson of both.

A&E lost me as a viewer and that is sad, because I will now have to  give up watching Duck Dynasty, at least until they move to a network worthy of their popularity.

It’s Baaack!

This morning I awoke and peeked out he window at the 2013 Monet Vision. It looked the best it did all year-long. Bathed in white it looked better than the white theme I tried to make this year. For the past twenty years I have commented on the pussy winters we have had, but this year promises to become the winter I know and hate, . . er I mean love. When you live in Illinois you have to love winter or you are not worthy of living here.

This week we experienced the joy of breathing below zero temps and decided that Arizona looks pretty good. Then it snowed three times counting today. The first was a shoveler. That’s a powdery snow fall that is less than two inches deep and it is not worthy of wasting gas in the snow blower, so shovel I did.  The next day, it snowed again. Another powdery one inch not worthy of a blow job. In fact, because I had a doctor appointment early, it didn’t even get a shovel job. This morning when I opened the garage door there was nine inches of powdery snow in front of me: Hear that all you guys who moved to Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida? This was definitely worth a blow job. Except, my blower was not ready. I had it serviced, I had fresh gas, but I removed the blower-chute when I stuffed the machine into the trunk to take it for service. The winters have been so pussy, that I kept gambling on not needing to get it completely functional. It took fifteen minutes to install the chute and three pulls to get it going strong

Lucky for me the Frankfort snowplow had not yet come by to fill the driveway with a block worth of snow moving at forty miles per hour. My trusty Honda, inherited from my son who moved to snow-less Houston, moved right through the powdery stuff. The temp measured 31.4 degrees F at my front porch.

I had about 90% of the driveway completed when I noticed the snow was no longer flying out the chute. Instead, it packed into the chute and didn’t clean very well at all. The temperature was now above 32 degrees and the snow was, as we used to say as kids, “good packing.” That meant it is perfect for making snowballs and snow men.

It took about an hour to finish the drive and the walk in front of my house and the walks in front of the neighbors on each side of me. A few years ago, this would have taken me less than forty minutes and I would have had a great workout. This time, it took much longer and it tired me out completely. That is Nature’s way of telling me that the old bod’ ain’t what it was a few years ago. I guess it is the result of too many glasses of Cabernet and endless hours in front of the computer doing absolutely nothing.

After clearing the front, I tackled the patio to gain access to the bird feeders. There wasn’t a single dove, cardinal, or sparrow in sight. Must be the snow, I thought, until I heard the screeching call of a hawk. He sat in a tree observing the action around the feeders. I reveled at the sound of his call as he obstinately stayed perched and screeching high above me. I was shoveling a path around the post feeder and the hanging feeder at the window when I spotted Grandma Peggy peering out keeping the hawk under surveillance. Now that’s neat, a predator observing his prey while being observed by a constable protecting the prey. The look on Peggy’s face was enough to scare any hawk from the area.

I took some pictures with my phone and declared the 2013 Monet Vision had finally achieved a state of  beauty worthy of talking about. Remember, Churchill said, “never, never, never, never give up.” I’m glad I didn’t because the garden finally looks good.

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the waterlessfall

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The Hawk keeps surveilance

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Snow Angel

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2013 Monet Vision in December looking at the bird tower

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Grandma Peggy keeps her eye on the hawk

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Front Drive

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Walkways

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My flag Flies Everyday

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2013 Monet Vision September reference

Fifty Years Down The Drain?

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This morning I read a supposed true story about the ACA clause that enables the White House to set up gas stations to dispense free gas to those too poor to get to a doctor because they had no gas. This afternoon, I fact checked the article and it is false. It didn’t keep me from drawing a cartoon to depict my opinion about  the matter.

All day I kept asking myself, why would our beloved president want to give free gas to poor people? If they are poor would they even own a car? Would they take an empty milk jug to get gas and then come home to look for someone who would take them to a doctor for a free gallon? None of it made sense. Because of how I feel about Obama and his administration, I bought the lie hook, line, and sinker. He has done stupid things before, why not this? It falls into the free phone category, i.e. poor people need a phone  to call 911. I believe he would deliberately destroy fifty years of Civil Rights progress just to start another redistribution scheme.

Anyway, SNOPES declares this story false, but I am not buying that it isn’t inside the thousands of pages of the Un-Affordable Care Act we so dearly refer to as Obama Care. The joke is on me.

“You Own This”

When I began this blog my intended goal was to preach the benefits of human potential, or the power of positive thinking. I still preach allot but not much on positive thinking. In fact, I find myself struggling to stay positive in a transformative government. You see, I don’t want the country transformed. What I see coming is something everyone will hate, even the notorious millennium generation. They are just too young and idyllic to understand now.

I received an e-mail from my young son living in Texas. He isn’t so young anymore, but he is my baby. Mike, it turns out, is a better writer and a better motivator than his dad will ever dream of being.  Mike has three kids, all are gems.(This is where I preach about how great my grand kids are. I do so only because they are). Mike’s three kids are all swimmers. I mean swimmers who get up at 5:00 am to go to the pool to workout before school, and then they go to the pool after school to work out, They spend their weekends at swim meets, they live for swimming, academics, and music. I spoke to Mike last week and he told me that he was taking his daughter Abbey to a swim meet at Texas A&M. His wife Lisa was taking Danny to a swim meet closer to home.

This morning I told myself that I will have to call and get details of how they did. As I sat waiting for Peg’s foot to soak after a surgery I found his e-mail. I read it and tears of joy streamed down my face. Here is Mike’s account of  Abbey’s swim meet at Texas A&M last Saturday.

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1650 meters.  

5413.39 feet.
Just over 1 mile.
For swimmers, the 1650 is the ultimate endurance and conditioning race….66 laps.
 
 
Your grand daughter Abbey competed in her first 1650 meter free style event this weekend at Texas A&M University Champions Swim Meet.  Her coach told her that she would experience several emotions during this race: pain, anguish, quitting, crying, asking “why am I doing this?”  He also told her that she would experience physical signs, burning legs, burning arms, burning lungs, thumbing heart.  He was telling her what she didn’t want to hear, the truth.  I was lucky enough to be on deck timing for this event for Abbey.  I know better than to interrupt per pre-swim ritual and concentration, so I sat there watching her psych herself up for the pain.  Before getting on the block, she looked at me, and I told her: “You own this”.  She proceeded to get on the block, and prepare for the start.
 
The horn sounded, and she was off.  She looked very strong, and very consistent with her breathing.  Every 4 strokes of her arms, I’d see her head turn and come up for air.  Her split times were very consistent, almost to the tenth of a second.  She looked like a finely tuned engine in the water.  After 20 laps, she was still keeping her splits.  Her breathing pattern was not as consistent, sometimes going four strokes, sometimes 2, sometimes 3.  It’s obvious the burn had started.  
 
After 40 laps, her splits were amazingly consistent with the start of the race.  Her breathing was not as in synch, but she looked strong.  After 60 laps, her pace was still on.  By this point, I think I was feeling more emotions than she was.  She had told me she had 2 goals for this race, the first, to finish, the second, to finish in under 20 minutes.  As the last few laps were counted, down, she still maintained her initial pace.  
 
After the 66th lap, she came in strong, touched the wall, and I hit the button on the stop watch.  I looked down to see Abbey needed any help getting out of the pool.  She stayed in the water for a moment, so I gazed down at the stop watch.  She finished the race in 18:53:33!!!  That is an AA time for this event.  My mouth dropped open. I looked up and saw her drying off.  She wanted to see the time, so I showed it to her.  She looked at me and smiled, then went off to get her post-race talk with Coach Trent.  
 
I asked her if she had gone through those waves of emotions like her coach mentioned, and she said “not really”.  Then she told me “it wasn’t that bad”.
 
Here is a picture of the facility at Texas A&M, as well as her “reloading” on a nice big chocolate brownie after lunch.  You can still see how red she is in the picture.  This was at least 30 minutes after the event.  She actually went back into the warm down pool and swam a bit to cool down after the 1650!!
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