Monday, August 25, 2014

Gas prices and little ado about little

I am sure by now you are aware gas prices will be going up in the next day or so since Labor Day weekend is coming up. And they just came back down from the last unnecessary spike ten days or so ago. It is way too predictable. The only guess is will it be Tuesday or Wednesday when they spike. I am hedging my bets on Wednesday.

Some personal drivel:

First off though, my better half posted on her facebook page something pretty compassionate. I don’t have facebook so I have to get her to forward it to me so I can copy it to my blog. Hopefully she will.

The Cowboys’ defense still sucks.

If you are in a long line at a store or fast food place and when you get up to the counter you still have to decide on what you want, please get out of line. Seriously folks, how about some consideration for those behind you. If you are standing there doing nothing and you cannot be prepared when it is your turn that is sad.

Things aren’t always broke. Sometimes you just did push the wrong damn button. What sucks is when it takes you ten minutes to figure that out. Technology is not my best friend.

Finally got around to going to the bookstore. Still haven’t decided on what to get and I have two gift cards. In the interim I read some great quotes about thinking. One of these days I will actually buy something, post some of those quotes, and maybe even work on part II of my ideas on thinking. Hmmmm, yeah I do procrastinate. Don’t tell the better half I just admitted that.

Spent three hours doing yard work on Saturday, had a whole bunch of ideas while working, and by the time I was done in the yard all the ideas seemed to have gotten all bagged and thrown away along with the grass. Moral of story, don’t think it will only frustrate you. (above paragraph included)

There are times, rare, but times when David Letterman can be very poignant. I am going to miss him. Oh yeah, he is funny occasionally too…….

As you go through life you accumulate friends, then they end up on your wife’s facebook.

Kids are wonderful until they become teenagers, then they grow up, get married and give you grandchildren and they become wonderful again. Hey they even go back to listening to you. Well okay, sometimes. This isn’t an epiphany, I think I have heard this by all sorts of grandparents for years.

Don’t ever let the better half become a grandmother. That is the real reason men don’t/can’t retire.

Remember the old joke: guy goes to doctor and says, Doc it hurts when I do this, Doc says, well then don’t do that. As you get older it just begins to be common sense. Or at least it seems that way.

There is too much TV, however, the Big Bang Theory still rocks.

I hope you have a great and safe Labor Day weekend. Too bad much of the country will have to work. We forget what is important. We spend so much time trying to be more or better than who we are, that we don’t spend enough time doing the things that actually make us who we are or better. Family and friends are much more important than corporate greed. We will all spend money on Tuesday or next weekend or sometime, no need to force it down our throats every day of the year.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doing what is best, can be most difficult

We all know the horror that is going in in the area of Syria and Iraq. I don’t want to call anyone out by name because I don’t want to give them any, well I was going to say credence or recognition etc., but I just don’t want to give them any.

First let’s step back a few years. I was one of the people who said we should have captured Bid Laden alive. I do have reasons for that and I will get to that in a minute.

A few days ago I was reading through some articles and read the one basically titled “Foley’s death isn’t changing views in Congress” And the comments were mostly filled with we need to kill them all statements, nothing is good for them etc…. I use to comment on the stories; however, I have cut back because it is either a hate fest on the topic or lambasting of someone politically. There is rarely a real discussion of the issue so I have cut back, yet this time I felt compelled and wrote:

The hate begets hate problem. How do we eradicate these monsters without succumbing to their hatred? We must stay rational in our endeavors. If we get caught up in hate also, they begin to win. We need to win, but we need to show the world we are out for justice and for people, not revenge.

Anyway I got a few down votes and some comments basically saying how much they hate them. Point not taken I guess.

Not only did they not get we need to rise above theory, I don’t think people understand how important it is how the world views how we handle this situation. The US is still a major, if not the major player, in the world. How others perceive us can help us down the road with other crisis and catastrophes. I think many of my fellow countrymen seem to miss that point. Our success or our success in building a coalition to rid the planet of these monsters can help us in the present and future. For example, how much more help would we get in supporting Ukraine if people felt what we were doing was the right thing, not just because another country was invading them, but other’s perception of us was in high regard. Putin gains ground or has gained ground because we have lost sight of doing the right thing. Russian can protect Russia’s interests and Putin has a right to protect his country, but how does the world view our interests towards Ukraine. Right now to some people it is tainted. If we show up regularly doing the right thing then in areas where it is more gray than black and white we can still garner support for which we consider right or at least make a case for one side and people will listen. And this is just one example, how about China and Vietnam and South China Sea. There will be many international events going forward. We are still a conflict driven planet, if we want to exert influence on events we need to have credibility by handling crisis in Iraq and Syria well.

So where does all this lead us. We just cannot go over there, kill the bad guys come home and be happy. This goes back to why we should have captured Bid Laden. If we kill them it only emboldens the next megalomaniac. They thrive on their philosophy and it includes high regard for being a “martyr”. And we will probably go through a few more horror stories before we really start to make a shift in terrorism, especially the terrorism fueled by the jihadist insanity. Bid laden being captured and put to trial would have made him a failure in their eyes. We may have the current craziness, but their ammunition in recruiting would be weakened if they have less people to show their world as martyrs. And this will have to go on a few times before the overall momentum they have is weakened. So we need to capture the current leadership and bring them to trail for war crimes. The world and especially their world need to see them fail. Killing them will only embolden the next psychopath who wants to be a jihadist hero. Whether any of them actually believe they get all this wonder if they die in combat is unimportant, they espouse this to gather more people to their cause. Take away their mantra and you can slowly take away others from rallying to their cause.

And yes capturing, holding them, putting them on trial is a logistics nightmare, but it must be done. If we take the easy way out (which won’t be easy, it is a tough fight) and just kill the current leadership or take back territory we will continue to have a growing problem. We must do the very difficult task of taking back their territory, capture their leaders, put them on trial for the world’s benefit, and then deal with the aftermath of probably another person trying to be the next leader in the jihadist world. And the cycle of capturing him etc. would need to happen again. We will need to do this until we can create a shift in the dynamic so the young guys who feel the insane calling starts to die down and these leaders then have no traction to begin. Eventually the momentum changes and we start to see a real decline in terrorism and a safer world.

And yes I know all of the above falls under the category easier said than done. Yet to really achieve success in the war on terror we need to remove the motivations. One is to remove the glory in their eyes. Another is to work on building a world where people see hope in their future rather than a need to die fruitlessly. And this second reason is a topic for another day. There are other tasks needed to combat this war, but we have to start somewhere. Their leaders must fail. And if needed, again and again. Killing them because we hate them is not going to solve the problem. If we hate, they begin to win

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Economic prejudice

Yahoo Finance had an article the other day basically saying the rich are greedier than ever. And that is news to just about nobody. If, for any reason, you don’t understand this, it is time for you to take the stone off your cave and come into the sunlight.

Yet, what does this mean? Another article/point was the economy is stumbling because the rich don’t spend or invest their money. The article did state that wage growth has been stagnant. The real truth according to some reports I have read over the years is wage growth compared to inflation has been flat to lagging behind for decades. And the article goes on to state it won’t be until wages grow that consumers will begin to spend. Now consumer spending will help the economy, but realistically the people with money need to invest in the country, their workers, and new development. Of course the uber rich argument is we need to control costs to afford to invest. Well that just hasn’t happened and is one of the points as to proof the rich are greedier and greedier as time goes by.

So where does all this leave us folks in the middle? Can we actually do something about all their greed? Funny thing is, yes. One way is to build up the political will to change who we have in Congress. And no, this doesn’t mean becoming a socialist nation. I have expressed ideas before about only giving tax breaks to companies that actually invest, create jobs, and invest in their people. This is not socialism; this is doing what our government should do to help the country. The government’s role is to protect the people and create an environment for all of us to thrive. And the above is just one idea.

Another way is to change the way we think about the rich or people that have more money than us. We think people with money are better than us. And yes we do. Don’t deny it. It is engrained into our society now. Maybe for many of you it is subconscious, but it is true. And we need to stop thinking this way.

We think, act, live, breath, believe etc. people with money are better than us. This is manifested in so many ways. Most of it can be seen in our consumer society. We keep trying to be as good as the next person by having the same goods they have or trying to buy something better so we can consider our self-better as a person. And you may say to yourself, not me, but I challenge you to really think deep about it. Who do you consider better? And why? And don’t lie, especially to yourself.

There are three basic ways people get rich. And this is simplistic and multiple factors can overlap, but overall the three ways are: a person works hard, makes good decisions saves and invests, probably in their own company and through perseverance becomes successful; they have a silver spoon in their mouth, and sometimes they do enough to continue to grow their wealth; and sometimes events transpire to allow them to get lucky, be in the right place at the right time, find that one product or idea, have a certain talent they exploit, and receive or even earn a windfall. None of these factors make any one person better than another though.

We can admire the hard worker, we can empathize with the trust baby, we can bless the luck of the windfall, but they are not better than us, nor are they less of a person because they got lucky or have money. We have to learn to distinguish the difference between what has happened to a person, what a person has done and whether or not they have any money. Again we can admire people. There is nothing wrong with recognizing people have done something special. It does not make them fundamentally better than us. We are all people. Yet we treat those that have money as being above us. We are creating our own caste system and there is no need. Our constitution says we shouldn’t, but over and over we keep adding accolades to people just because they have more money than us. It is becoming engrained into us as a culture.

This needs to change for us to solve many of our economic and social problems.

And as Americans we love to point the blame. So is it because of the infamous line in the movie from the 80’s “greed is good”? No, because we had already started to believe that money is might. The movie was just a reflection of society, not a precursor. Is it because of the 70’s and the me generation? No. Can we blame Disney? Heck they were one of the first to institute; if you pay more you get to go to the head of the line. Are we teaching our children that money buys privileges? And that we do, but it isn’t all. The problem is there is no blame. This is something that humanity has dealt with since the dawn of time. It will not be until we learn to recognize we do this so we can change our attitudes that we can overcome our self-created disadvantage. Now recently, in our country we are taking this to an extreme and our uber rich are taking advantage of us. And this is our fault, not because Congress doesn’t enact laws to punish the rich, but because we continue to let ourselves be sold this attitude by the people who benefit from it.

Anyone wonder why education is so important?

The rich do not want us to become self-aware. This is dangerous. An educated society is going to demand better. Society will demand, not necessarily economic equality, but equal recognition of the value of all people. Our constitution gave us the framework to achieve this goal however, we fail in not striving to reach our Founding Fathers’ visions. Once we can separate the person from the environment we will achieve much more than we ever have before as a society. There is nothing wrong with being rich. And you can strive to be economically successful along with being successful as a person. The goal is for all of us to strive to be the best person we can, not to be better than another person, but to be better. Yet until we can stop falsely elevating people above us in stature for superficial reasons we will continue to hurt ourselves and our society.

The choice is yours and mine. We can let greed consume us and our country or we can realize no one is better than us for any reason other than we let them be better than us. We prejudice ourselves.

And has this been said before? Well, probably also since the dawn of time. Now I ask you again, who is better than you? Think about it before you answer. Now, go look in the mirror, can you answer? This is our world, let’s make it all ours.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I hate to say this...


Jerry Jones has just about finally destroyed my heart as a Cowboy fan. I am still holding on, but after years and years of what he has done to this team, it is taking its toll.

I have been a Cowboy fan for 54 years (ago I was a toddler back then, but still a fan). I have lived through the late 60’s when the boo birds came out against Meredith (still my favorite Cowboy), the can’t win the big one era, the mid to late 80’s, the who is Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson shock, and even the 5-11 seasons of the early 2000’s. I still was a fan through thick and thin. I felt hope with Bill Parcels, but after Mr. Jones chased him off it has become harder and harder to get excited about a new Cowboys season.

I still try to be a fan and keep them my number one team. Even this year Mr. Jones shocked me and did the right thing and drafted a lineman in the first round. It was hard for me to believe that he didn’t move heaven and earth to get Johnny Football, but at least for now our offensive line looks like we might be developing a future.
And yet right now I am more excited about the Mavericks season in November than I am the Cowboys season in September. And it is not just the Cowboys aren’t going to win the Super Bowl this year, it is just the whole attitude. Usually I can wait for basketball till January, but quite frankly the Mavericks are just the better organization right now and they are winning my heart. I have always been a fan, but the Cowboys were always first. I don’t know if it is Dirk and his class act , the whole organization, Cariisle as the coach, or what, but right now the Mavericks have the best chance to win a championship of any Dallas team over the next two years and yes that is exciting, but even during all the 2000s when the Mavericks were making the playoffs year after year and the Cowboys weren’t I was still a Cowboys fan first. Now, I don’t know. In the past I would still wait till January to start really watching the Mavericks.

I shouldn’t complain though. Cleveland is probably more ready than any city to win a championship and someday I hope they do. I just don’t think it is going to be now.

First Johnny Football is going to be a bust . It is inevitable. He may have a few moments or even a year or two, but the NFL will take its toll on him like it did Tim Tebow and Vince Young. The college game is not the pro game and especially for quarterbacks. I think most people know this, but year after year we see people in the “business” have great expectations for college quarterbacks who just aren’t NFL quarterbacks. And for the Browns sake I hope I a wrong, but I am glad Mr. Jones didn’t go get him.

And now for Cleveland’s best chance. Yes, Lebron coming home and getting strong supporting case along with two other potential all stars you would think Cleveland has a great chance to win a NBA championship. I don’t know. They maybe the best team in the East , if not definitely one of the potential two best, but a championship may still allude them. I am not sure this win now with Lebron mentality is the best answer for Cleveland. They had a chance to build a team that could have been a strong contender for 5-10 years easy. And if Lebron really wanted to come home I am sure they could have worked something out for him to stay through at least five of those years and a possible couple of rings. There is a reason Mavericks fans love Dirk. He has been here and is willing to ty to do whatever on and off the court to win. Can Lebron say that? At least for now? I hope for Cleveland’s sake he stays, but he should have let the team build around him. Tim Duncan stayed, shoot even Kobe stuck with LA, yes he got the money, but he stayed year after year. Sometimes it takes the superstar committing to the team for the team to win a championship. It just gives the rest of the team that confidence to make the extra effort. Don’t believe me, well then you haven’t seen San Antonio play.

And I know it is hard for me to understand what it might be like to be a Cleveland fan right now. With every major Dallas Sports team having at least played for a championship in the last twenty years, if not won one I cannot imagine going fifty years. I just hate being that dose of reality, but unless something changes with the Cavaliers even with Love etc… Cleveland may just win the East once in the next two years. I know many are saying they have the right people in place, but their coach still has much NBA basketball to learn and some of the pieces are a bit iffy for an 82 game season and long playoff runs. I would have stayed young and worked through the learning curve for a couple of years to become dominant starting in three years for many years. The “win now” theory is a dangerous theory for the future if it doesn’t happen. You end up starting all over again. The fans of Cleveland definitely deserve to have a championship caliber team in their city. They are close, but I fear it is going to be not close enough.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A few thoughts

I can be a bit of an oxymoron. I am a conservative environmentalist. (okay maybe not the best use of the term oxymoron, but it applies in a strange way). And of course the root word for conservative is to conserve.

A few posts ago I mentioned that maybe using graywater technology should be part of municipalities building codes going forward. And the use, especially in government buildings really comes together for me as a conservative environmentalist. It achieves two goals. It can save on tax dollars and it can save on water.

This would work for school districts, city parks, and other facilities that have large amounts of land associated with a building.

And for cities there are many productive uses such as all the large skyscrapers in central business districts could adapt the technology and send back the water for use in other areas. The benefit is twofold; the businesses could receive tax credits, water bill credits, actual income from the water, or some combination. You have to think there is much water coming out of the buildings that could be recycled. The water district or utility district now has non potable water that it can use to sell to department of transportation for highway landscaping or other similar ideas such as developing or maintaining green belts within city limits.

And these are just some examples off the top of my head. Over time many applications of the technology could be applied to help save on water more than just my original idea of new houses being built with it to help with landscaping and water conservation. It is beneficial for neighborhoods to have greenery etc. This helps to create much healthier environment for everyone to have trees, grass etc. to balance out all the cement. Yes, you could have landscaping that doesn’t use water and that helps reduce use of water, however, you lose much in the big picture when it comes to balance.

I was reading on a website called Daily Caller I think (read it the other day) about an interview with President Obama. Part of the discussion was about immigration and the importance of diversity; the other part was the President saying conservatives were the problem in our country. I think it mentioned the original interview came from the New York Times.

First of all, Mr. President there is a big difference between a conservative and the current right wing monologue dominating our political landscape. Please understand there are many conservatives that do not associate with the current tea party or establishment Republicans. Please learn that conservatism in this country is much more than a few slogans and obstructionists.

Second, if you want to have your diversity, then many Democratic policies are going to be a problem. Our country is so large that you cannot create a one size solution for all the problems facing our country. The federal government cannot even begin to solve all the problems each community may face and most definitely should not try. The government can create policy frameworks each community can adapt to their situation, but to solve problems at the local level is a pipe dream.

This reliance or idea of the Democratic Party that all problems are fixable by the Federal government is dangerous and unrealistic. This is one of the reasons why our government is so cumbersome. There are too many federal agencies spread all over the place accomplishing nothing. Yes there are national problems our government needs to address such as the highway/interstate system. And yes there are some obstructionists that do not realize the importance of this infrastructure, but the federal government needs to stick to the issues that affect the whole nation.

Again the Federal government can lay out policy ideas, resources, invest in research etc. so our states and communities have the tools they need, but much of the actual work and legislation needs to be done at the local level where the problems exist. We are a very large and diverse nation, which is one reason we are a great nation, but to continue to be great the best answers will come from the people, not bureaucrats far removed from the situation.

I like to mention another comment around diversity and balance. We need both liberals and conservatives. There are times when certain policies are better than others. Yes there can be times when the government does need to increase spending such as to help lead us out of a recession if the spending is well executed and targeted to the needs of the day it can be beneficial. Yet government spending to solve all our problems will only create a bloated federal budget in the long run.

The other side of the coin for example: it is better during times of prosperity for the government to cut back on spending to keep inflation down, to save surpluses, to enact policies that encourage saving among the populace, tax cuts for working class to upper middle class, add back into the social security trust, (which is actually a democratic program that would benefit from some savings applications), and to keep the budget balanced to be prepared for future economic downturns.

Overall we need a government that can adapt to problems, not add layers of government on top of layers to solve problems.

And no matter what though, we need an education system that helps our children understand the true meaning of democracy and how blessed all of us are to live in this country. And for some strange and inexplicable reason our current crop of Democrats and Republicans on the hill just don’t seem to understand education is paramount to a successful democracy. Then again our current crop of Democrats and Republicans aren’t liberals or conservatives, they are just politicians and self-serving ones in the worst way.

Finally tonight, who let the gates of you know where wide open? The barbarous behavior going on in the Middle East has no rational solution in a civilized world. And how is a civilized world supposed to respond? It does us no good to resort to their level to eradicate them. The purpose of becoming civilized is for us, as humanity, to grow and evolve for the benefit of all humankind. Yet we are faced with a monstrous dilemma that should never have surfaced in the 21st century.

Yet we need to do something so we don’t go backwards. And it would help if some of the parties in the Middle East step up to the plate and bring their people into the 21st century and also help find a solution to the current crisis.

We are not who we think we are and nowhere near who we can be as humans on this planet. Until we truly understand how valuable and precious the gift of life is and live and teach this value, we are destined to destroy ourselves. And you may not want to hear it, but no one’s history is perfect.

Interesting side note, the US/west could potentially fight the Russians in the Ukraine and according to press rumors flying side by side in Iraq. We, as humans, are the strangest lot sometimes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Couple more quick hits

Reading through the internet and saw an ad for the Kansas City election board for up to four supervisors ..two democrats and two republicans. WHAT ABOUT INDEPENDENTS? No wonder we can't get change in this country. Yes just a small example, but nothing can happen till we realize how blind we are to the status quo.

How can people use their phone in the restroom? Seriously folks, it is not efficient or productive or whatever. It is disgusting. Can't imagine how I would feel if I was talking to someone and heard the toilet flush. I would never want to shake their hand again. Put the phone up and wash your hands. I don't want your crap all over the place.

Seems back to school advertising is starting to rival Christmas time. Even at my age the idea of summer ending is slightly depressing Quit rubbing it in with all this incessant advertising.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A variety of quick posts

Whatever we do about immigration reform should include serious policy and punishment for human trafficking. Seems odd to say we don't want people to have a better life, yet do nothing about people whose life has been taken away.

Democrats are still way to smug about the tea party. It seems they think the tea party is only ignorant white racists and facists. The reality is many of the underlying themes of their message resonates with many people. Too many democrats by dismissing the vocal leadership and wackos in the tea party are ignoring the concerns of a much larger audience than they seen to realize exists. Don't believe me, ask the establishment Republicans. The tea party is not going away. The goal is for pragmatic conservatives to put together a viable alternative to keep too many people from drinking too much sweet tea and infecting the country with their diabetic nonsense.

At the risk of sounding like a prude, but if you are a.young lady please think about what you wear to work. It is really annoying to sit next to someone or work next to someone that is always tugging and pulling on their clothes to keep half their body covered. It it belongs in a night club, wear it there, not to work.

There are times when my smart phone is an idiot and then times where it is smarter than me.

I don't care how much of a Cowboys fan you are; don't drink Mr. Jones' kool aid. The Cowboys have much to do to have anything close to a decent season.

And I am a Cowboys fan, but have you noticed no matter how much they or the Lakers suck they still get way too much press.