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Showing posts from 2011

My Back Pages: Thankful

My Back Pages: Thankful: Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of them all. It's a time when most of my family gather's at my home for a good, old fashioned Thanksgivi...

Thankful

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  Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of them all. It's a time when most of my family gather's at my home for a good, old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. It makes me stop for a while and think about the things that I am thankful for. Granted, the past few years have been difficult. The economy crashed a few years ago, and shows just a few signs of improving. Most of the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, thanks to free trade agreements and  the exploitation of the underpaid workforce in the third world by corporations. There seems to be a general malais in the world at large that seems to be very hard to shake off. 
 Times, indeed, are hard. Still, I have many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me with a good sense of morality and a decent work ethic that served me well for all the years that I was able to work. I am thankful for finding a good, steady career in Telephone work that enabled me to raise my family under decent conditions and p…

My Back Pages: Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011

My Back Pages: Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011: Every year, during the second week of November, I get very reflective and tend to keep a little bit to myself. It's Veteran's week. This we...

Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011

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Every year, during the second week of November, I get very reflective and tend to keep a little bit to myself.  It's Veteran's week. This week contains the Marine Corps Birthday, and Veterans Day. You won't find the week designated on any calendar, or noted in any article anywhere but here. The individual days are noted and honored; but, to me, the entire week should be dedicated to the remembrance of all those who have served and sacrificed so that we all can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have; not only in this country, but in many countries around the world. Many have paid the ultimate price so that we can continue to argue right and left over the direction of this ship of state. It didn't matter what they were. Democrat, Republican, Leftest, Rightest, they were all united in one belief, that an individual should be free to state their  beliefs without fear of repercussion from any governmental body.I can remember back when I was in the Marine Corps, we had …

My Back Pages: Marriage: Why it's Not an easy proposition.

My Back Pages: Marriage: Why it's Not an easy proposition.: My Wife and I just celebrated our 32 nd Wedding Anniversary this past Thursday. 32 years of marriage! We've actually been together almost 3...

Marriage: Why it's Not an easy proposition.

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My Wife and I just celebrated our 32nd Wedding Anniversary this past Thursday. 32 years of marriage! We've actually been together almost 34 years. In this day and age, this is quite an accomplishment, if you think about it. With the number of couples getting married declining each year, and with the average duration of todays marriages is 7.8 years, any marriage that goes past 15 years is considered a great success. Today, people enter into a marriage betting on it to fail. You have pre-nups, contracts that guarantee you part of the marital pie and laying the ground rules of what is fair game in the inevitable divorce action. Gone are the days when a couple that entered into marriage went with a belief that they would be together forever. Now, it seems that it's more of a declaration of possession for a few years until the happy couple is no longer happy, and are ready to move on to the next phase of their lives. 
To me, it's a sad statement on our times that fewer and fewe…

My Back Pages: Religious Intolerance In America.. Did we take a s...

My Back Pages: Religious Intolerance In America.. Did we take a s...: From Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States Of America: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of t...

Religious Intolerance In America.. Did we take a step backward?

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From Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States Of America: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. Let me extract the portion that I am looking for : No religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Public Trust under the United States. 
That says it all, does it not? It means that you do not need to be a Evangelical Christian to hold any office in the this great country. The first people who colonized this country were running from religious repression. And yet, I hear this Reverend Jeffress the other night calling another man’s religion a cult and inferring that, because of his religion, he is not fit to hold o…

My Back Pages: It's Time For Cooperation and Compromise

My Back Pages: It's Time For Cooperation and Compromise: What has happened this country? Where did the dynamic, can-do, American Spirit go? I'm talking about the United States of America that my f...

It's Time For Cooperation and Compromise

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 What has happened this country? Where did the dynamic, can-do, American Spirit go? I'm talking about the United States of America that my father and my friends fathers handed over to us for safe keeping. The USA that was self-sufficient and able to grow enough to share with the rest of the world. The USA that was the greatest manufacturing force in the history of the world. Where did it all go? And who's fault is it that it has declined? Our two major political parties stand and point the fingers at each other, "It's their fault...." is the cry that you hear from both. Yet, this country thrived under our current system until the last 15 years or so. There was a thing called 'Compromise for the Greater Good'. Where did it go? When did it become 'My way or the highway?'. Well, you know folks, that is an impossible thing these days. One party may have a slight edge on the other at any given time, but things change rapidly. We cannot continue on the …

My Back Pages: Not My Brother's Keeper? If Not, Then Who Is?

My Back Pages: Not My Brother's Keeper? If Not, Then Who Is?: You should never talk politics or religion with friends. Let me put that right out there. I have always said this but, occasionally I do not...

Not My Brother's Keeper? If Not, Then Who Is?

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Not My Brother's Keeper? If Not, Then Who Is?

September 19, 2011 You should never talk politics or religion with friends. Let me put that right out there. I have always said this but, occasionally I do not follow my own advice and, invariably, I end up losing a friend. I am not a Democrat or a Republican, or a Tea Party lunatic, or a Communist. I am a mixture. There are certain aspects of all things that I believe in. I do believe that when a person get’s into trouble in this country, it is the moral responsibility of his friends and neighbors to help him or her out. This is not a socialist doctrine, unless you consider the Marine Corps a Socialist organization. This is the way things are done in  a civilized society. If we lose our compassion and the ability to help each other, then we lose our humanity. Animals do this for the injured or hurt in their packs. This is what I was brought up to do. This is what was taught to me when I was in the Marine Corps. This is what bei…

My Back Pages: September 11th And The Politics Of Fear

My Back Pages: September 11th And The Politics Of Fear: So we are have reached the ten year mark since the events of September 11, 2001, and it seems to me that nothing has changed. The politici...

September 11th And The Politics Of Fear

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September 11, and the Politics of Fear September 10, 2011So we are have reached the ten year mark since the events of September 11, 2001, and it seems to me that nothing has changed. The politicians and the builders are still arguing over what will go up at the old World Trade Center site. The shadowy Al Qaeda  group is still out there, somewhere, plotting to pull off another spectacular attack. The world, it seems, is at constant war with itself. One group wants to commit genocide on another. There are revolutions going on across the globe, all with one thing in common: They call for the United States and her Allies to “Help Us”. If we don’t go, they curse us. If we give them support, they complain bitterly that we are not doing enough, and the offended regimes curse us and scream about interfering in an internal affair. If we go all out and help them, then you can rest assured that when the dust settles we will be reviled and vilified  as a war like nation that fosters instability. …

My Back Pages: Labor Day, The American Worker, And The Legacy Of ...

My Back Pages: Labor Day, The American Worker, And The Legacy Of ...: Today is Labor Day, 2011. It’s supposed to be a day that is dedicated to this country’s labor force, a force that brought us through wars ...

Labor Day, The American Worker, And The Legacy Of Unions

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Labor Day, The American Worker, and the Legacy of Unions September 5, 2011
Today is Labor Day, 2011. It’s supposed to be a day that is dedicated to this country’s labor force, a force that brought us through wars and good times. A force that has struggled through one Depression and countless recessions. It was a once booming, vital force throughout this country, at one time making it the greatest manufacturing country in the world.
 These days, having been undercut by third world countries that pay their laborers less for a weeks wage than most of our workers make in a single hour. They work under unsafe conditions, for incredibly long hours. If they dare complain, they are fired, if they live in a ‘free’ country, imprisoned if they live in a totalitarian society. Some of them are working as slave laborers. Yet, they produce items for our country and countries throughout the world. Electronics, clothing, tires... you name it. Meanwhile, these corporations that buy from these factories …

My Back Pages: Of Unions, Companies, Strikes, and Broken Promises...

My Back Pages: Of Unions, Companies, Strikes, and Broken Promises...: August 19, 2011 I am a bit under the weather today, but better than I have been in the past week or so. It all started out with a s...

Of Unions, Companies, Strikes, and Broken Promises: The Politics of Labor

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Of Unions, Companies, Strikes, and Broken Promises

August 19, 2011 I am a bit under the weather today, but better than I have been in the past week or so. It all started out with a simple ear infection... something that I have not had in over thirty three years. As a matter of fact, the last time I had an ear infection is when I re-joined the Bell System after a 3 year hiatus, having been laid off from Western Electric in 1975. Soon after re-joining the Communications Workers of America, my service was bridged, and I had health insurance right away.. a good thing, since I soon came down with an ear infection and was out of work for a week. I was never one for taking time off for illness, but this was one of the exceptions.   Flash forward thirty three years, and there I was with an ear infection being paid for by the same health insurance plan. I am retired now, and over the years, CWA took less in wage compensation so that we would be assured coverage for our illnesses. I never fear…

I'm Tired!

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I'm Tired!                     
August 10, 2011
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I'm tired, folks.. not just tired from lack of sleep, although this is also true. No, I'm tired because of the constant, daily haranguing from the media about everything and anything. Someone needs to tell me, when we became a country that lives in a perpetual state of crisis? From one day to the next, from one hour to the next, there is something that we rend our garments like the prophets in the old testament, because conditions are so dire, so overwhelming, that we cannot possibly overcome them. From the panicky sissies on Wall Street who SELL, SELL, SELL and the drop of a decimal point, through the crazed media that followed the Casey/Cayley Anthony debacle like it was a religious event, to the loud mouthed pundits such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Matthews, Madow, and the entire group of them from both sides, who predict, with a giggle, the eminent demise of the the United States …

Summer, The Heat, The Internet, and Old Friends

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Summer, The Heat, and Old Friends
July 23, 2011- Well, yesterday is in the record books as the hottest day on record for that day in July since they started keeping such things. It was sweltering, no doubt about it. Sheryl went over to my daughter Danielle's house to pick up Johnny boy. They have no AC because the windows are louvered, so she brought him back here to nap. Grandpa asked him if he wanted an ice pop, and John replied with a big grin and a "Yes! Ice Pop!" The boy never ceases to amaze me... he is just one year old.
 Well, he finished his pop, and Grandma took him in to nap. Two minutes later, she was back. "We have no power!" Just John's luck. I called the electric company and went through the usual reporting routine and was told that they would get someone out as soon as possible. "Sure" I thought. "We will have to eat out, and will be lucky if the power comes back on in 6 hours or so. A very short time later, the power came ba…

Father's Day

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 June 18, 2011         Father's Day, 2011
With Father's Day fast approaching, I am painfully reminded that my own father has been gone now thirty years. Thirty years without hearing his voice, or having him see his grandchildren.... how very, very sad. We used to go to my parent's house every Sunday. We'd pack the four kids, then that last year five kids, into my old Pinto wagon and drive the short twenty minute trip to their house for Sunday dinner. It was something families did in those days, no thought to doing anything differently. Mother's Day and Father's Day were always special days, and we tried to make it as happy for them as we could. I miss that, sometimes painfully so. I wish I had them both back so that I could tell them how much I love them, and thank them for raising me to be a decent man. I am what I am because I tried to emulate my father, who was always forthright, decent, and respectful to all. He worked  long hours as a mechanic and, eventual…

The Death Of Bin Laden and the Politics Of Hate

        The Death of Bin Laden and the Politics of HateMay 2, 2011
 I was spending my usual Sunday night, watching HBO and surfing the net, when it came over my news feed that Osama Bin Laden, the face of the 9/11 atrocity had finally been taken out. As the details came in, I thought to myself, 'How fitting that the name of the man in the Oval Office when this mass murderer was brought down is Barack Hussein Obama. Now, it's not be that it is just a white man of European descent brought this animal down. It's a man of multiracial, multi ethnic background giving the OK finally bring this killer to justice. It is a man who's makeup represents the multiracial victims of this atrocity.
 Let me make it clear that I did not voter for the President. I did not vote for him because I felt that he did not yet have the experience necessary to be President. However, once he was elected, I felt that it was my duty to get behind him and let him lead. He has not, in my humble opinion…

Welcome Home To Vietnam Veteran's Day

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               Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran's Day March 30, 2011
The Senate has approved March 30 as 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'. This measure still has to be approved by the house, which probably means it will never get done because those posing imbeciles cannot agree on anything. I guess the senate feels guilty about neglecting us when we really returned, all those years ago. They tried once before to honor us with a Welcome Home Day and Parade back in 1986. That, while it was still a bit late, went over well.
 Now, all of us are older, many of us in poor health either because of the chemicals we were exposed to over there (Agent Orange was just one of many), or because we came back, put our heads down and got to work raising families and re-building America's pride in itself. We never complained, never asked for anything except what was coming to us. Yet, recently, we have been called 'The Greediest Generation' by Alan Simpson, and selfish by others. S…

Of Dogs And People

                             Of Dogs and People                    
 February 26, 2011

I lost another of my best friends today. Shadow was almost 16 years old, and ancient by the standards of his species. He had been doing well up until about two weeks ago, when he started going down hill very quickly. Yesterday, he was having a problem emptying his bowels. Although he was almost completely blind, he kept going out the dog door all night, trying to relieve himself. This morning, he left the yard, through the electric dog fence, which must have caused him a great deal of discomfort. He crossed the road and went into the woods, probably to die. We noticed that he was gone almost immediately, or we never would have found him. My wife, Sheryl, charged into knee deep snow, down a hill and through trees and wetlands to save him. We had called my daughter, but she did not want to risk losing Shadow while we waited. When Danielle and Alan got here, both Sheryl and Shadow had to be rescued.  Al…

The Honors Affair

The Honor's AffairJanuary 5, 2011 I have this to say about Captain Honors, and then I will say no more. Captain Honors is a decorated Navy Pilot who has flown combat missions. I have served under pilots, I have been their subordinate, and I have also socialized with them after hours. This is not the normal state of affairs for the way officers treat their men. Fighter Pilots, as I came to know, are a breed apart. They have a wild streak that does not carry into their handling of a leadership position, on the contrary, they are better leaders; but the very nature of their job requires that wild streak and the unique way that they relate to their subordinates. Their  subordinates are the Plane Captains who make sure that the aircraft is ready to fly. They are the Ordnancemen that make sure that their munitions and weapons systems are ready and working. They are the Avionics people who maintain the critical electronics that not only fly the plane, but make sure that this man will co…

Zadroga Bill

The Zadroga Bill




I normally do not write two of these things so close together. I don't want anyone to think that I am so full of myself that I think that someone really cares what the hell I think. 
 That being said, I just had to write today because the battle over the 9/11 responders bill, the so called Zadroga bill, so fills me with anger against these arrogant politicians, that I just have to vent it.
 We are talking about people, men and women, firefighters, police, and just civilian volunteers, who went to 'Ground Zero' right after it happened to help out... first to try to find survivors, then just to help recover whatever body parts that they could find. It was nasty, choking work. That site bled smoke for what seemed like forever, and still they went. They were given filtering apparatus that was inadequate. They were assured that, despite the smoke and dust, the air was not hazardous and was safe to breathe. They were lied to. Without question, this is a fact. Now, …

This Jarhead's Viewpoint: New Year's Eve, 2010

This Jarhead's Viewpoint: New Year's Eve, 2010: " And so, the minutes and seconds tick inexorably towards midnight, and the start of the New Year, 2011. Can any of us say that we are s..."