The New Year

It’s a New Year but we’re hearing the same “ol’ Rag”. Disgruntled former (decorated) Vietnam Veteran John Murtha once again is singing sour notes about our military. Not satisfied with classifying the Armed Forces as “demoralized” and “ill-equipped” the Pennsylvania Congressman is now telling Reuters that he “wouldn’t join the military now”. With his defeatist attitude, today’s Marines wouldn’t want him doing midnight KP in Antarctica. Picking up where he left off after a nice long congressional vacation Murtha’s call for folding the tent is the second verse in a song we’re sick of before hearing the refrain. Like much ’formula POP’ these days, we’re already punchin’ buttons on the tuner. Coincidentally, we received the latest newsletter from the Marine Corps Heritage Museum to which we donate. I also noticed Rep. Murtha’s name on the Honorary Committee. I respect the former Marine’s fight to protect my right to criticize him. I still think he’s wrong. You can  donate to the Marine Corps Heritage Museum here.

 

Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff has Washington reporters licking their collective chops. With the Bush Administration bereft of any real scandal, the press must look to the enlisted ranks for malfeasance. Clearly congress has the door open 24/7 for any opinions other than those of their constituents: Levin & Stabenow come to mind. Congress enjoys the convoluted nature of the legislation they produce. It allows for the endless calls for “reform” and “consideration” when the law produces ’unintended consequences’ for some suddenly beleaguered group. The AP headline reads: “Top Republican Lobbyist Pleads Guilty…”. The report names 2 Republicans, but leaves out many Democrats that held the door open for Abramoff. These types of headlines bore us these days. With the ’blogosphere’ and the alternative media, Reuters, AP, and the other wire services get their ‘sources’ picked clean before the carcass gets cold.

 

A forgetful media assumes that simply being Republican is synonymous with ‘corruption’. Conveniently forgetting names like Rostenkowski, Don Riegle, John Glenn, Charles Keating, we’ll except the media favorite: “straight talking” John McCain. Carl Levin busily searching the dumpsters of the White House is having his own wastebaskets looked into with his own ties to Abramoff.

 

With one hand we applaud the Republican’s policy of limiting terms of congressional committee chairs. It is at best, a symbolic measure meant to stave off possible corruption and perpetual pork channeling (IE: Robert Byrd) The other hand wants to strangle whoever authored the policy for the ascension to leadership roles Senators like Frist and Specter.

 

A single rate tax policy for all could go a long way toward real Lobbying Reform. Simplification is a medicine consistently rejected by members of congress. Rather than taking the oral treatment, it looks like many are now going to get treatment where it hurts.

 

As many now know Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is in very fragile condition following a stoke Wednesday. After 2 operations to stem hemorrhaging, the outlook for the Military Legend is bleak. While the free world waits and hopes for good news, the enemies of Israel fire guns and hold rallies rejoicing the Prime Minister’s demise.

 

Congratulations to ‘Blog favorite; Mayoral Re-elect Kwame Kilpatrick. After brushing aside meager polls early on, Kilpatrick is now enjoying a second term as ‘Hizzoner’ in the Motor City. While many enjoy taking the potshots that come with the turf, Kilpatrick’s inaugural speech was spot on. Admonishing Detroiter’s to take pride in the City and vowing to improve the City’s image as well as an attempt to ’reach out’ to us in the ’burbs. We hope you do, Mr. Mayor. Could you start with some speech coaching for event killer Gov. Jennifer Granholm? Kilpatrick will probably get more of what he wants and needs to get the city right with the retirement of council President Maryanne Mahaffey, the commissar of obstruction for decades. Her claim to fame was being the “ROAD CLOSED” ’ to regulatory and zoning flexibility that’s much needed in Detroit.

 

The Detroit Lions hunt again for a new coach.  It’s all been said and done before. We don’t expect much to come of it. Maybe once in 40 years the Fords and Matt Millen will surprise us. We’re not holding our breath, we’re holding our nose.

 

The Citizens of Detroit get their own School Board back after nearly 6 years of state control. We could rag on the quality of Detroit Public Education, the Teachers Union, the limo rides former board members used to get to work and the deplorable condition of the city’s schools. Instead of a ‘rag’, we here at the ’blog will change the tune and boot up: “The Morning After”.

“Let’s get Crackin’!”

Rosa Parks Remembered

Sort of…

We all have habits. One of ours here is tuning into Rush Limbaugh weekdays at Noon. Yesterday however Rush was pre-empted by a 7-hour live broadcast Memorial service for Rosa Parks. Mrs. Parks Is the pioneer of the American Civil Rights movement. Famous for her refusal in 1955 to give up her seat on a city bus for a white man. A simple, dignified act. Saying  in effect: “I can sit where I please!” Her actions didn’t just usher in a call for civil rights as much as they shoved a poorly constructed wall of racism into the ash-heap of history.

Bishop Ellis Charles of Greater Grace Temple opened the memorial with the most elegant and dignified observance comparing The ‘Houses’ of Washington to the Greater House of God.

Any truth however took an early hit as (s)ex-President Bill Clinton recalled suffering segregation in his version of the Jim Crow South. Whereas Mrs. Parks acted because it was the right thing to do, Clinton improvised. Recalling (For the very first time!) to mourners from his fertile imagination: “I rode a segregated bus too”. The crowd loved it.

Sadly to say, it went from a memorial to a quasi-political rally with Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick reminding the mourners in attendance to vote next Tuesday in a veiled pitch to; “re-elect Kwame Kilpatrick for Mayor”. Congressman John Conyers, whom Parks’ worked for many years sounded disorganized, meandering, and as usual taking so long to make a point that wasn’t worth waiting for.

The Reverend Al Sharpton correctly observed the sacrifices of pioneers; Parks, Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whom delivered civil rights to all, only to have their efforts result in low voter turnout of Blacks in urban areas across America. A few pastoral denunciations of the drug-culture and single parenthood hit home, but the denigrating Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, the only black person in America today who could be elected to the Presidency for shirking their conventions of group-think like Parks shook off demands to give up her seat on that bus. Rather than embracing Rice as one of their own, they chose to chide her and remind us she may be black, but not quite black enough.

Lost in the memorial, was the family of Rosa Parks. Their comments and remembrances were delivered last…after 6 agonizing hours of political posturing by a group that did not even stick around ’till the end. Abandoning their constituents like the Wednesday following an election. These same posers have failed to reform or even enhance prospects for minority Americans. Failing to show up when Rosa Parks needed them most, they’ve stood steadfast in the schoolhouse door of their progeny, demanding not a reform of education but their take of corporate profits. In the end, the memorial service resembled a 3rd tier awards show for those that never got the big prize. An assembly of also-rans, one-hit wonders, and wanna-be’s. Either because they were too busy being careful or too calculating. Fearing failure rather than trusting their wits. And in the end, after Parks, Evers and King gave it all they had, there’s nobody left to lead the movement, leaving the family of Parks, and her followers to fend for themselves after the broadcast was over.

Iwo Jima

January is just another day closer to spring and then summer soon after. In Michigan, February is typically cold, damp, and wintry. In above freezing temperatures the sun’s angle looms ever higher and the lighter snowfalls melt off and reveal dormant lawns underneath. Even with the warmth of the sun, it’s still cold outside.

Until a few years ago, that’s how I summed up Late February. Another few weeks until the warmth of spring became real. Nowadays on February 19th, I remember and thank the US Marines.

On the morning of February 19th, 1945 the US Marines invaded the tiny island of Iwo Jima. Why? Iwo Jima was just barely large enough to have an airfield. America’s long range B-29’s were already destroying the Japanese mainland, but at a devastating cost. The tiny airstrip at Iwo Jima was 660 miles from mainland Japan and could provide much-needed fighter escort support. Iwo’s airstrip also allowed for a much shorter flight for US bombers and the safe return of many more US airmen, many of whom were otherwise captured after being shot down, lost at sea, having either lost their way, or having to splash a damaged aircraft in the ocean with a slim chance of rescue.

The Marines invading Iwo Jima walked into a deathtrap of pre-arranged killing zones. The long flat beachhead gave no cover from enemy fire and a terrain of volcanic rock provided little footing to the determined Marine invaders. Of all the US Marines killed in World War II, the battle for Iwo Jima claimed over a third of that total. The Japanese soldiers defending the island knew for themselves that there was no escape. Prior to the Marine invasion, many Japanese officers stationed on Iwo sent letters home to their loved ones telling them that they weren’t coming back. It was for the Japanese soldiers, with the high command having abandoned them, a battle to the finish. The suicidal resolve the Japanese displayed on Iwo Jima played a large part in the American government’s decision to drop “The Bomb” on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Unlike Omaha or Normandy, the shoreline at Iwo was still a killing zone more than 24 hours after the initial invasion. Many wounded Marines waiting for evacuation on the beaches of Iwo were killed by hidden Japanese fighters and mortar strikes. Even after weeks of fighting, few places on the island were truly secure. The Japanese had dug intricate tunnels connecting to many bunkers that provided fire lines and mortar placements, which claimed many Marine casualties. Many Marine rifle companies on Iwo Jima reported over 200 percent casualties. The original company, their replacements, and their commanding officers.

In over 35 days of hellish fighting the Marines had suffered over 16,000 casualties with over 3600 Marines killed. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima, less than 1,000 survived the onslaught, with the last 2 Japanese defenders surrendering in 1949. In all over 4900 Marines gave their lives to conquer Iwo Jima. Of the millions of American soldiers fighting abroad in World War II, only 353 were awarded the Medal of Honor. 27 of those so awarded were for action on Iwo Jima. Many have argued whether it was worth it. According to “The Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley: “The American victory unquestioningly hastened the end of the war. In the ensuing months over 2400 damaged B-29 bombers, carrying 27,000 airmen would make emergency, lifesaving landings on the island”.

Christmas Has Passed

For Christmas, my son asked for a “Green Day” disc. He got one. But not from us. Possessing relative savvy with electronics, my fortunate son also received an I-Pod, which I endeavored to set up for him with the aforementioned “Green Day” disc: “Bullet in a Bible”, a live compilation. [PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT]

“THIS SONG IS FOR ALL THOSE F*CK!N’ REDNECKS OUT THERE!”, as the band tears into; “American Idiot”. The title track from their recent disc. No rednecks on their guest list we can assume? Probably skippin’ some Southern venues there, Mr. Armstrong?

The most swearing I ever heard in a rock tune as a pre-teen was Steppenwolf’s: “The Pusher”. The ’curse’ was not gratuitous, but a condemnation of: The Pusher. Perhaps ABC records and the producers felt it could ‘generate ‘buzz’ and $ell records with an ostensible anti-drug me$$age.

Detroit’s own MC5 delivered it front and center in their debut 1968 album: “Kick Out The Jams!” Most of my youth I grew up thinking the live recording contained the salute: “Kick Out The Jams! Brothers and Sisters!” I never knew of the serious tape editing that had taken place to get that song on CKLW and other radio stations. The album’s liner notes, were soon removed by Elektra Records for suburban consumption after initial public outcry. Beatle record burnings got passé in a hurry. Recording swear words was ‘in’. Years later, upon hearing the unedited version of “Kick out The Jams!”, I found it disappointing. Calling your supportive audience “MF’ers” doesn’t seem as community minded as saluting them: “Brothers and Sisters”. I love the MC5, and I don’t think I’m an MF’er? By the early 1970’s, rock was ‘mainstream’ and social issue gripes were commonly being delivered via its medium. John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band delivered us the “F” word via the darkly bemoaned folk tune: “Working Class Hero”. Parents across America unwittingly compounded record sales by smashing the nasty recordings or they hid them in attics, while the kids bought them again with their next allowance, to the delight of record companies.

 

The gratuitous amount of profanity in POP music recordings and movies these days may be interpreted as ‘art’, or being ‘expressive’ by the artist or their critics. We at the ’Blog are easily bored with these adolescent attempts at defining modern day outrage with anti-language. An utter lack of imagination is what we call it. Just who are these: “F*ck!n’ Rednecks” Green Day grouses about? Anne Coulter wrote about them a long time ago.

 

As a parent I allow my children to listen to many recordings by Heavy Metal and rock bands. AC/DC, Judas Priest, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, The Police, The Rolling Stones, The B-52’s, Beatles, Bowie, and many others. They write great songs, devoid of the compulsion to swear at any and everybody. The Green Day disc was a gift from a ‘relative’, off of my son’s Christmas wish list. Perhaps ‘Father Knows Best’ after all, and: “Merry F*&ki’n Christmas!”

 

Great rock music has always been about a good time. Or at least times that are relatable to the populace at large. Good tunes aren’t a perpetual bummer. Compared to today’s top recording artists, The Blues are Zoloft music. Today’s rock music is rife with navel-gazing, self-indulgent, introspective whiners who probably got beat-up by bullies (or girls) on the school playground and were ignored by the cute girls. Life is tough all over, and who likes a complainer? Evidently, everybody likes ‘em these days.

 

Green Day, a bummer:

 

“…My mother says to get a job

But she don’t like the one SHE’S got

When masturbation’s lost its fun

You’re f*&king lazy ”

 

Compare that with the Ramones in 1977:

 

“I was feelin’ sick, losin’ my mind

I heard about the treatments from a friend ‘o’ mine

He was always happy, ‘smile on his face

‘said he had a great time at the place”

 

I’m drinkin’ beer with the Ramones (well I would if they were still alive). The Dems can cry and share wine coolers with Green Day.

 

Sadly, great music lost another fine artist: Wilson Pickett 64, of a heart attack on the 19th of January. Years ago, I was watching a detective movie with Vietnam as the backdrop that played Pickett’s; “Funky Broadway” as the detectives motored around Saigon looking for a suspect. Rather than walking on the song, it played through completely, reminding me of the old CKLW–AM radio days here in Detroit when hearing such tunes was commonplace. Pickett, along with many other fine artists of Stax & Volt Records competed fiercely with Motown for the airwaves in those days. Stax Records, a real R & B ‘Soul-fest’ that gave us so much is sadly relegated to the dusty library shelves, occasionally opened and remarked upon.

 

Enough of these “Top Ten” lists already! Especially for things as subjective as movies. We all have our favorites…for our own reasons. To suggest that the error riddled “Farenheit-911” or the socially marginalized “Brokeback Mountain” are somehow ‘mainstream’ consequential movies when the only audience that attends motion picture statements are the advocates of the subject matter. Movies like these endeavor only to make a select few happy and fail to reach the American public at large…except in print. Missing are massive and timeless successes like: “The Godfather”, “Star Wars”, “Ben Hur”, “The Longest Day”…etc. A list of the “greatest movies” is long by any movie watcher’s standard. How another paper, or writer chooses a few flicks of the last 30 years and labels them “the most consequential”, disregarding the entire history of movie making is simply ridiculous.

 

Lion’s fans, used to sharing wine-coolers with Green Day, may cheer up with the announcement of a new head coach. For Lion’s fans, it’s another year of watching other teams play in the Superbowl. Which is in Detroit this year…for what that’s worth. Let the ‘rebuilding’ begin…again, and again! It’s not ‘Smashmouth football either” It’s: “Watch ‘Yer Mouth!”

It’s Clean

Political propaganda is marketed like soap, repeating a pitch until it is accepted as common knowledge:

“The United States permits torture of prisoners.” This disinformation elicits sympathy for terrorists that behead and bomb civilians and our troops.

 

“President Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction.” Saddam Hussein had already murdered a hundred thousand people using conventional weapons.

 

“Christians are intolerant of other religions.” It is Muslims that persecute infidels.

Unlike soap, this is a dirty product. Don’t buy it!

Automobile manufacturing remains profitable in this country but not in Michigan—perhaps for the same reasons we rank second from the bottom in employment. Some union contracts make lay-offs almost like paid vacations. Minimum wage workers notice that unemployed neighbors survive and decide to stay home themselves. Charity and sympathy are good politics but make being poor an acceptable lifestyle. Tough Love is the obvious solution; reduce unemployment benefits to encourage going to work. No one is entitled to live perpetually from the effort of others. Entrepreneurs create wealth with good ideas and hire others hoping to expand and become richer. Capitalism is not third world economics.

Candorville is out of place in the Free Press Sunday Comics, noted for classics like Blondie, Prince Valiant, Zits and the Lockhorns. Please don’t corrupt this section by inserting nasty political comment.

Aging friends have difficulty with our front porch steps, especially when snow from the roof melts and ices them. The kitchen steps are inside, short and carpeted. I added handrails and we have a handicapped entrance. We had changed the yard to accommodate Kirk’s motor home. The Subaru delivers passengers and groceries to the rear door.

New York transit workers are taking the Holidays for all they can get while the public is in a giving mood. Bringing a great city to its knees is an American form of terrorism.

GM, Ford and Chrysler were shut down at vulnerable moments, often during new model introduction. Resistance proved futile because government assigned politically oriented “arbitrators” to the negotiations. Resulting price increases and mediocre quality were accepted because there was little competition. Now Japan, Germany and South Korea can build better vehicles cheaper in the United States as domestic manufacturers suffer from previous concessions.

President Ronald Reagan changed our economics from socialistic to capitalistic by firing striking aircraft controllers. Unions never forgave him but most of the world sees America as he predicted, the “Shining City on a Hill.”

The kids gave us a Netflix subscription and a DVD player. Ken Paulson helped me install it on our old TV. Betty selected 5 movies (I know nothing of current productions) from 50,000 available on their website. I only watch Closed Caption because I cannot hear and never go to theaters. We even held hands watching “The Notebook.”

The DVD takes 2 days from their stockroom to our home, 1 day to view, 1 day to mail (walking past Blockbuster to the mailbox), and 2 days for Netflix to receive and mail the next DVD. We might average four movies a month, but it is the only way we can see current films with captions.

If exposing the identity of a CIA employee who might become an undercover agent is treasonous, why is publishing CIA methods that effectively protect our homeland from terrorism heroic?

The same groups that protested the execution of a convicted killer are in favor of abortion.

“No weapons allowed on these premises” appears in a local store widow. The store has never been held up, so robbers apparently obey the rules.

Maybe the New Year will be understandable.

The Scowl

Showing us once in a while would be nice too. But when your Senator is dumpster diving outside the White House, what’s really important gets pushed further into the background. While we are blessed with a coherent National Defense Policy, enemies of the Bush Administration have informed Al-Qaeda about much of it. And thanks to our hapless US Senate, we have no inclination towards energy independence either. Rather than voting to allow for the exploration and drilling for oil and other energy sources on land that few people know about or have ever seen, and in the process stick it to the American-hating OPEC-ocracies of the Middle East. The Senate instead settles for a pre-9/11 status quo of empowered oil-rich Mullah-cracies holding Americans over the barrel, and segregated intelligence agencies here at home.

We’ve also been bludgeoned by the MSM and scowling Democrats about Bush failing to “connect the dots” that led to 9/11. So, what’s a loveable Shrub to do? He starts a dot collection program and the MSM/DEMS  scream about civil liberties violations. If the same press corps and their Democrat allies could provide any evidence of violations of law, the NSA Intercept program may be a story, rather than an intelligence coup for Al-Qaeda courtesy of the New York Times. The President is now having to wage a war on as many as four different fronts: The leaking at the CIA/NSA/State Dept., a campaign against the misinformation media, the Democrats, and…uh…oh… yeah, those terrorist types over there.

A predictable result from the Times’ NSA story is a trip back to court for dozens of suspected terrorist types  with their attorneys to try and prove that ‘illegal wiretaps’ or evidence obtained without warrants was the reason for their arrest and detention. We can only hope that the Administration or the Justice Department starts a real investigation into the origination of these leaks to the media.

On the home front it turns out that Detroit Mayoral loser Freman Hendrix is O.K. with the voters spurning his advances towards City Hall. After requesting, at the City’s expense, a hand recount of the November Mayoral election and then seeing no real gains come of it. Freman has thrown in the towel as Kilpatrick continued to pick up votes in every precinct. Hendrix meandered through an explanation for halting the recount on WJR-AM, nodding off and failing to finish sentences. Then waking up suddenly calling for “change”. Hendrix failed to state what needed changing, but threw a barb at the City Clerk’s Office. Any “changes” to be done at the City Clerk’s office falls to winner Janice Winfrey. Winfrey could start by calling these guys.

 

More woes for us folks that enjoy music from FM radio. WDET has swept the locals from their daytime music programs in favor of East Coast yaks from NPR itself. One more facet of local DJ’s spinning free form music is booted from Detroit radio’s already anemic musical offerings. Martin Bandyke, Judy Adams, Willy Wilson, John Penney among others have been shown the door in favor of syndicated programming by strangers from afar. WDET officials blame the I-POD and “dwindling local support for the existing lineup”. Like we need another; “All News (from the East Coast) All the Time” radio station.

We also have a continual problem sorting out the Detroit News’ online editorial page. Our major beef is that the editorials and letters, rather than being collected and viewed on one page, are individually packaged based on  subject matter. For editorials, it is somewhat tolerable because opinion pieces resemble news articles in their length and depth. But it would be much easier to compile all the “letters to the Editor” on a single page, rather than having to navigate endless single issue links that reveal comments only 5-12 lines long.

Under the weather but productive nonetheless: By the end of 2007 Oakland county will be under a cloud of wireless transmission. So update your laptop, office, or home computer with a wireless card and keep about $35 to $60 a month in your pocket as many give Comcast, SBC and Wow-Way the boot as internet providers. Why does anyone around here still have dial-up, or AOL for that matter? While it sounds like an expensive undertaking for the county, and it probably is. It is also typical of the forward thinking in Oakland County where making technology accessible to the public has been one key to the county’s continued success.

Simply read the Reuters news report. What’s left to say? Who teaches a kid to say those kinds of things? This whole Joe Wilson/Plame-gate story has now come full circle to reveal itself as the farce it was in the beginning. Or, for those of you that refuse to believe that Plame/Wilson are political hacks, blame Karl Rove.

The Exits are all clearly marked!

Hammer Time

A hammer is a useful tool. There’s not a week that goes by that most homeowners don’t go off on something with a hammer to set things right about the house. A “Hammer” is also a useful tool in The “House” of Representatives. The brand used by Washington Republicans: “Delay”. Tom Delay, known as “The Hammer” in the house for getting “conservative” things done has come under fire for events that are years old and have been reported on before with little or no fanfare are now “front-Page” as the news media and their friends, (Democrats) try to create potholes in the roads Republicans are trying to navigate.

The Democrat tactics are pretty typical: demonize a Republican for doing what congressional Reps have done for years, but because he’s a “conservative” Republican, it’ll sound worse than it is. And get a few weak-kneed East coast RINO’s (Republican in Name Only) to go along. The Christopher Shays’ and the Richard Lugar’s whom are critique sensitive and prefer to get along with Democrats on the ‘Hill, but also crave face time like John McCain on Sunday Morning shows. The way they get both: Bash fellow Republicans. RINO’s have little to gain by destroying their party’s majority status, but at least they’ll be liked, in a 2-faced way by their enemies.

Delay’s troubles came to a head when he decided that the state of Texas needed more Republican districts than Democrat. Delay, along with fellow Reps in Texas drew up a re-districting plan which was advantageous and ultimately successful in it’s passage despite Democrat protests in the Lone Star State. A Local prosecutor and Democrat, Ronnie Earl has charged some of Delay’s associates which helped in planning and executing the redistricting plan. Earl also attempted but ultimately failed to indict Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson years ago for being a Republican.

It would prove fatal if all these “ethicists” could produce evidence that revealed that Tom Delay was actually guilty of something other than being an effective Republican in Washington and Texas. Being bereft of ideas, Democrats sadly offer little beside Texas sized flatulence.

Since reporting false news was embarrassing, the Detroit Free Press is gleeful to vent at Mayor Mark Steenberg when he asked Warren residents to consider a tax increase to buttress the “fortress” that Warren has become defending itself and Northern Macomb against the wickedness bubbling forth from the city of Detroit. This of course set the Free Press editorial page off on April 9. Detroit itself went for a murderous record last weekend resulting in the death of a 12 year old boy, and the wounding of a 7 year old girl. But the City’s headline hogging ways was cut short by an Eastpointe resident inspired perhaps by Frank Zappa and one of his classic tunes.

Mitch Albom is supposed to back on the radio today. A Free Press Reporter has been assigned to the event to calm the skeptical. Over at the Letters page of the Free Press, reader reviews are mixed. With most on either side of Albom’s politics, letting the fiction fade like a lesser known novel by a famous author owned but unread on every fan’s bookshelf. Memories of Jayson Blair’s escapades at the New York Times foment for a bit, but Mitch’s entire career hasn’t been called into account…yet. This probably goes away as soon as the Pistons start the Play-Offs. Hey Mitch! Your press pass is still good, just show up at the game and don’t depend on help from an athlete to do a reporter’s job.

John Paul

He couldn’t do it all, but Pope John Paul II did quite a bit. Including utilizing the 20th Century Catholic Church as a viable political force capable of breaking down Iron Curtains, shaming cruel dictators under rocks, and reminding the common man that there is more to life than just personal gratification.

John Paul II and his message of faith could not have come along at a better time in history for a world that settled for an indifference of morality where mankind was navel gazing itself into a recessed, if not depressed complacency. Dictators had the upper hand, pushing the good and the weak around with an unbridled arrogance. At a time when no one wanted to hear about rules anymore and when many were convinced that morality was for suckers, John Paul II did the wrestling smack-down of such missives with a warm and loving smile in the manner of a knowing grandparent.

Pope John Paul II, together with President Ronald Reagan and Britain’s PM Margaret Thatcher, stood tall for a free Eastern Europe and denounced a godless communism as an evil that defied man’s nature and man’s desire for faith in something larger than the state. In just over a decade the world’s tri-fecta of John Paul II, Thatcher and Reagan knocked the wall down and set hundreds of millions in dozens of countries on a path towards free societies.

Former National Security adviser for the Clinton Administration Sandy Berger finally emptied his pockets of whatever it was he stole from the National Archives. Suffering only an admonishment from the court and a $10,000 fine for the theft and destruction of after-action reports about the millennium bomber operations in 2000. Though this event gets swept under the rug and Berger is forgotten by the Mainstream Press that still wonders: What did Bush know and When?, inquiring minds still want to know the whole story, but don’t look for Berger on the cable news talk-show circuit anytime soon. Democrats it seems, don’t have a clue. It’s not enough to simply be critical of the President which is expected. One would hope that they do more than scoff, but they do not. Rather than praising John Paul II as he lay dying, Democrats instead chose to bash Bush’s ideas for Social Security, unlike the President himself who praised John Paul on his Saturday Radio Address.

The crisis continues…

Cease Fire

Another Day, Another “cease-fire” in another Middle Eastern region. One may as well pull out an old newspaper and re-read it rather than spring for a new one. The old news just like the ’New’ news will talk of some “agreement” based on “principles” that promote some ostensible “peace”. Until we suffer another rocket attack or subway bombing from either the Hez-bullies, the Hamas guys, or some other 7th century collective with an AK-47 and a grievance toward Israel and all things western.

If we treated the “cease-fire” industry as a real business, its products would be subject to factory recalls on an annual if not monthly basis. The simple reason is the unreliable engineering of these “peace” products. Yet the “cease-fire” business thrives with the smugness of a Fortune 500 company. The incongruence is striking but rarely acknowledged. Years ago a Heavy Metal band saw through the fog what those Laureate hopefuls at the U.N. fail to see:

“Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?”

Megadeth was onto something with a political statement squeezed in between dark metal tunes of “Conjuring” and ranting the excesses of alcohol on that mid-80’s classic. Megadeth scored that big hit a scant 3 years after the Hez-bullies killed 250+ U.S. Marines attempting to maintain another “cease-fire” in the Middle East.

Yet here we are courting insanity again attempting to maintain an agreement with an indifferent bureaucracy (the U.N.) and their insane Hez-bully clients. The Israeli people see through all the insanity. Many there recognize a reality that the “progressive” left of the world has yet to reconcile: The Laureates can live with “self-defense”, but they can’t live with the means.

Our “Greatest Generation” went off to fight a war on many fronts, and even with the relative observance of a “Geneva Convention” agreement regarding modern warfare, it was savage, brutal and bloody. An eternity’s worth of nightmares were branded into our soldiers’ minds. Yet few of those soldiers ever shared their experiences with the public…until recently. There have been a recent outpouring of many books and movies recalling the savagery and losses of WWII for this  generation to learn from. We have in turn, allowed our modern day leaders choose “cease-fires” over certainty, and choose “negotiations” over victory.

For decades now, the West has been seemingly content to “live and let live” with terrorist groups. Many in the West have tolerated the petulant posturing, the random waves of killing innocents, and even when it was brought to our own shores killing thousands, a contingent here at home sought an “understanding” with the hatred and murder perpetrated upon us. Rationalizing that it was “America’s fault” that 9/11 happened. Contradicting themselves a sentence later by stating the President; “should’ve seen it coming”  and stopped it, and that he should furthermore; “do something”…but don’t be too “excessive”.

To avoid appearing “excessive” by wiping out the festering problem the West has faced these many years, our leaders have bought the stock of those that manufacture negotiating tables and paper mills. In turn, their representatives have pushed this “peace” upon a marketplace without any product testing, research & development, and without any knowledge of whether the public was interested in such a widget in the first place. The mills and “peace” factories are running ‘round the clock’ and the stock is piling up. Not unlike the failing “Air America”, the product “peace” is what everybody says we need even as it languishes unsold in warehouses, failing to make the display counters or the “bargain bin” of your local retailer. Consumer advocate magazines such as TIME and Newsweek that so often detail our own political follies have yet to publish any thorough product reviews of the numerous “accords”, “cease fires” and reams of “white-paper agreements”.

“Peace” as a product is a failure because “peace” as it is currently defined simply means: “Stop shooting so I can feel better”. The Hez-bullies of the world treat these interruptions of “peace” as lock & load and re-supply time. We are not asked whether we want an agreement, we are TOLD to accept it, because it is: ”peace”.

The Joe 6-pack’s of the world know that these “peace agreements” are fecal. Joe 6-pack is the guy that will have to demonstrate for the “peace” marketers what morality really is: an absence of Insanity. Joe 6-pack is the Israeli soldier, the citizen on the street that hears the scream of the air raid sirens and feels the blast of the rockets. Joe 6-pack is the Public Safety guy in New York who remembers a lost friend. Joe 6-pack is the angry voter who has again been betrayed by their elected official that has sold us a ‘containment policy’ as “security”, while ignoring the porous nature of his own country’s borders. Joe 6-pack recognizes that politicians win when both sides are locked in a constant state of fear.

Joe 6-pack is the guy that will have to not only defend the “peace” makers, but live with the memory of how REAL “peace” is achieved. The “peace” industry has avoided what it takes to earn a lasting peace.

On the other side we have a religion of “peace”…so we are told. In the name of this religion, there are interminable benefits awaiting those that do the bidding of their deity. Many Muslims argue…quietly that Islam is not what the Hez-bullies demonstrate it is. Yet they do not condemn the Hez-bullies, for they too are concerned not only about the length of the mini-skirted West, but that there is a skirt where a burka should be, and; “What’s that woman doing out in public?!!!!”. But we are asked to be insanely tolerant, and respect their culture, with the cute little kiddie-bomber belts, and the occasional bus in Jerusalem being blown up, their protests of joy at 9/11, even after America saved their brethren in Bosnia.

The Laureate hopefuls and the Hez-bullies know that “peace”  as they define it, is the only product that ensures their survival.

Under the name of Islam, many Muslims have declared war on the West. Regardless of whether or not it’s a religious hijacking as their “peace” publicists say it is. Real Muslims must either fight off their own hijackers, take back their religion and learn live with us. Or, by staying silent, they sanction the Hez-bullies of the world to go forward and attack us. The religion of “peace” must  address its own insane contradiction, and decide on which basis they will attempt to live in this world.

If the “peace” publicists of Islam do not reform their religion, Joe 6-pack is willing to do it for them, for it is immoral for us to allow insanity to take us over.

It is not the WILL to do what needs to be done that stands in our way. Joe 6-pack is a tough enough hombre to do the deed adn live with the memory. It is the Laureate hopefuls of the U.N. and the Hez-bullies who are in the way, hawking a product that no one but they themselves want.

We can deliver real peace, but only with an unconditional surrender of the enemy.

Gravity

A branch struck me on the head while using my chipper. I looked up, saw nobody throwing things and continued mulching leaves as more branches came down. I had about decided I was being punished for not being a nicer person when my next door neighbor came over and began pushing me. Gordon and Ruth had shouted as the 70 foot pine began to fall but I could hear only the chipper motor. A walnut tree blocked the pine from falling all the way. In retrospect, 25 years ago I almost mowed this walnut as it emerged from the grass. It grew 65 feet and saved my life. The odds of being struck by one tree and saved by another are slim, but being nicer would not have helped. Our insurance saleslady verified that “windstorm” was included in our policy. She appreciated the photograph I included with the application, but the $795 tree removal bill was below our $1,000 deductible.

I welcome the new council members as Farmington’s “mean spirited” old man. Jo Ann and I are on opposite sides of every issue and she gets re-elected by an ever larger majority, so we must be a minority. We joke with each other—I hope she was joking about the “Welcome to Farmington” boulevard island in front of our house. Betty and I watched the five candidates answer identical questions with identical answers. We understood Tom Buck wanting angle parking in front of business property he owns but voted for him anyway. When “traffic calming” detours traffic away from downtown, Tom cannot just say “oops” and turn to the next agenda—he loses his capital. We are making every effort to save Tom’s investment.

Cindy began a postcard tradition for my 70th birthday, doing it all herself. Each card contained memories of growing up Borgman. I carried on the tradition for Cindy’s 50th and Brad’s 50th. My 80th birthday comes December 7, and our four kids are sending twenty cards each. I’ve received 63 so far, and they are fabulous. It seems like they prepared for this a long time ago.

Betty’s 74 year old brother, Roger Champoux, died November 26. After graduating from Mackenzie High School, Roger managed a gas station at Chicago/Schaefer, and then started a vending machine business distributing milk to Catholic schools. Roger realized business contacts were made on golf courses and joined the Western Golf Club, once making a hole-in-one. He became a very successful auto parts distributor in California and retired to a home on a desert golf course. Unfortunately, he never got to play there because of Parkinson’s disease. Friends from all walks of life remember Roger as an independent, competitive self-starter. Joanna carried the ball in his last years, much like Nancy Reagan supported Roger’s idol Ronald Reagan at the end.

We were aware that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a busy traffic day, but this trip to Pete & Tacy’s took 9 hours. The first snowstorm of the season caught Michigan drivers unaware and many skidded into the ditch. The rapid transit rail system in Chicago has gates to prevent entering. Traffic was stalled and cars already on the track when the gates closed could not move off. The train braked to 65 MPH before striking two cars and piling up about twelve more. No one was seriously injured, but the delay was awful.

Supper was late, but Tacy had fixed an excellent meatloaf. Thursday, many hours were spent preparing a 20 pound turkey and all of the trimmings. Friday, we toured the nearby Cuneo mansion with ceilings comparable to some cathedrals in Rome. Pete, Tacy, Stephanie and Elizabeth provided a fine family holiday. We left Saturday morning, arrived home 5 hours later and ate turkey leftovers. We are dieting now.

Brad and Sue scuba dived 100 feet deep under the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Sharks cruised around them, but were not in the photographs. They are in New Zealand for a 5 day hike on the Milford Track.

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