Thoughts of a Southern Yankee
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“WHEN THE FISH ARE BITING,
I WON’T BE WRITING.”
Dedicated to the memory of my cyberbuddy
Cap’n Dee (aka Darrell D. Haverley) - March 22, 1927 – June 9, 2011





April 8, 2012
 
 
A LITTLE BIT OF
HOLY HUMOR
 
During these serious and troubled times, people of all faiths should remember these four great religious truths:
 
 
1)       Muslims do not recognize Jews as God’s Chosen People.
2)       Jews to not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
3)       Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
4)       Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store.
 
 
Spend some time with your family this Sunday. May you have a HAPPY EASTER celebration.
 
 






April 6, 2012
 
 
 
OUR BIGGEST EXPORT
A little known fact you need to know
 
 
Most Americans don’t take the time to read government reports. It makes sense actually; because many Americans these days are too busy looking for work.
 
However, there is a little known fact that you need to know. It has been reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration that America’s biggest export is gasoline.
 
We have constantly been told that if we conserve gasoline, the price of oil will remain “affordable.” Bureaucrats have preached to us since the Arab Oil Embargo that if we conserve gas, buy electric cars and keep beating up Detroit auto manufacturers for better gas mileage, America will become oil independent.
 
Well, we’ve done all that according to the Obama Administration. His claim seems to be verified by those government bureaucracies who report on such things.
 
So what happened?
 
American auto manufacturers who must comply with laws and government directives continue to raise the price of new cars.
 
And, in spite of all this accomplishment, a gallon of gasoline will soon surpass $4 per gallon and the record highs we saw back in 2008 which (in my opinion) caused the Great Depression of 2009.
 
Oil that is drilled and extracted in the United States is refined and sold on the global market. This doesn’t decrease the cost of gas for us. It actually increases the cost.
 
Do the oil companies really care about American’s citizens or the state of the American economy or is it greed on their part?
 
Oil companies should be selling the refined products to U.S. consumers at prices reflected by U.S., not international, gas demand.
 
Meanwhile, American taxpayers continue to subsidize the oil companies with tax breaks. This observation is a reflection on both political parties.
 
It’s time for our elected officials to start doing their job and protect the American consumer.
 
It’s time to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies, and/or restrict the exportation of U.S. gasoline and petroleum products to other countries, for economic and military reasons.
 
Otherwise, it will be impossible for America to ever have energy independence.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 







April 4, 2012
 
 
PEACE ON THE BATTLEFIELD
April 28, 2002
 
This article was originally published in the IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® Newsletter edition of April 28, 2002. At that time, I was a teacher at H.L. Johnson Elementary School at Royal Palm Beach (Palm Beach County), Florida.
 
 
It was early on Friday morning last when I arrived at H.L. Johnson Elementary School. It is my usual custom to commandeer the Golf Cart and take a “spin” around the campus. I have described this “spin” as a safety check to assure myself that our propane tanks have not been molested and that the homeless or other possible intruders have not entered our remote campus areas.
 
There was an early morning quiet (7AM or so) when I arrived on the edge of our front athletic field, commonly called the SOCCER FIELD. For the past week, our SOCCER FIELD has been the site of our track and field events for FIELD DAY. Within a six day period, over 1250 children had competed, screamed encouragement to their classmates, and battled for the coveted title called FIELD DAY CHAMPION. It had truly been a battlefield where competition and sportsmanship had built a measure of self-esteem for some, a measure of worth for many and a festival of fun for all.
 
It was quiet now and I had time to slowly reflect upon my objectives and accomplishments. The painted lines of the makeshift track now lay in ruins. The once green grass where the 50 Yard Dash starting lines were located was now bare and trampled. There were small articles of human occupation such as empty water bottles, hats, ribbons, and other memorabilia.
 
As I viewed this carnage of competition, a slow smile came to my face. The competition had been fierce. The armies had been thoroughly engaged. The soldiers had experienced “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” on this field.
 
In this brief moment of self-indulgence and self-praise, my mind wanders to the images seen on television. On my battlefield, the soldiers had walked away. The victories had been won but all have benefited in the engagement and sacrifice.
 
The battles were fought but on my battlefield, no lives were lost. During these battles, the fighting was fierce and the noise was deafening but when the engagement was decided, 1255 smiling souls left the field to fight another day.
 
No bodies were buried.
 
No funerals were arranged.
 
No widows or orphans were in mourning.
 
These have been tough times. It was my desire to make my program at HLJ as transparent to the events of September 11 as possible. I can’t say it was easy. It was a lot of work and effort but I am happy to say it was successful.
 
But have I done the right thing?
 
In many places, children are being prepared for a different kind of battle. 
 
Where I teach self-esteem and accomplishment, other children are taught hatred and self-sacrifice. 
 
Where I teach sportsmanship and respect for the opponent, other children are taught how to kill and maim through martyrdom.
 
Where I teach victory from playing within the rules, other children are taught that the only real victory is death.
 
In the United States, we tend to shield our children from the terrors of this world. In the Middle East and other regions, the children are the terrorists. We teach our children that freedom is not free but do we prepare them for the ultimate sacrifice that may be necessary to guarantee our way of life?
 
Tomorrow, I will observe 1255 smiling faces that will tell me how much fun they had at FIELD DAY. On the Monday news, it is entirely possible that I will see a picture of a young child who offered the ultimate sacrifice in order to kill those that are hated.
 
As the sun came up on Friday morning last, I took a brief moment to pray for guidance. I also took a moment to thank God for allowing me to live in a country where we are free to express our beliefs and pursue our goals.
 
PRAY FOR US!!!
 
These are difficult times to declare that…
 
I AM AT PEACE.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 








April 3, 2012
 
 
 
 
THE PROFESSION OF TEACHING
TEN YEARS - THEN AND NOW
 
The following article was published in my April 14, 2002 edition of IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®  I didn't note who had written it as it was sent by one of my high school friends.  If you take a few minutes to read it, it becomes painfully obvious that the teaching profession hasn't progressed at all; in fact, has taken a giant step backward.
 
For those who have retired since 2002, I think the expression "Got while the gettin' was good" fits well.  For those still teaching or thinking about entering the profession, it is time to get involved.  I was very sad to read the Palm Beach Post article about our union this past week.
 
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® 
April 14, 2002
 
 
I will be taking a TDE (temporary duty elsewhere) on Friday to attend the first BARGAINING session between the CTA (Classroom Teachers Association, our union) and the School Board of Palm Beach County, for our 2002-2003 labor contract.  The first meeting is usually a formal session where speakers are selected and formats and rules are agreed upon.  There is very little to discuss concerning money issues as the Florida Legislature has yet to adopt a budget for 2002-2003.  The following commentary was sent to me by the other TWS of the Headland High School Class of 1965.  It is strangely appropriate for my purposes in serving on this committee.
 
 
 
 
WHY TEACHERS GET TESTY
Thanks to MayAnn Hawkins
 
Any ordinary comedian can sustain a half-hour schtick.  An extraordinary one - a Dave Broadfoot or a Rich Little - can sustain a solo performance for a while evening.  And a few geniuses - such as George Burns, Danny Kaye, and Bob Hope - could entertain audiences almost indefinitely.  Among modern performers, perhaps only Robin Williams has that manic capability. 
 
But not even the great ones could go out the next day, in front of the same audience, and keep them happy for another five or more hours.  And then do it again the next day, and the next, five days a week, 40 hours a year.  Yet, that's exactly what we expect of our teachers. 
 
Five days a week, five hours or more a day, they have to face the most demanding audience in the world - kids.
 
Professional actors, having memorized the unabridged five acts of a Shakespeare play, can keep an audience entranced for hours.  But they don't have to learn a new play to perform the next day. 
 
Teachers do. 
 
"We're on stage, constantly," one teacher told me, as she groped for an explanation of why teaching has become such a difficult profession.  Until then, she had been showing me binders full of lesson plans, booklets of regulations, lists of "learning outcomes". All I saw was paperwork. 
 
Suddenly, the pressures she lived with made sense to me.  I do adult education workshops called "Eight Step Editing."  At the end of the day's teaching, I'm exhausted.  Not because it's hard physical work.  But because I spend the whole day "on stage" - constantly on edge, keyed up, on guard against booby traps, watching for unexpected opportunities. But if I do another session the next day, I can use the same materials over again.  I don't have to prepare fresh materials.
 
 
A DIFFERENT WORLD
 
A generation or so ago, teachers could do some of their preparation while classes did assignments.  That's no longer possible.  Everything has to be ready in advance.  Classes are bigger.  And much more unruly.  Kids no longer submit unquestionably to authority.  Students of all ages talk back, challenge instructions, even threaten teachers with retaliation. 
 
In today's litigious climate, teachers are no longer allowed to use any force.  Students may come to school high on drugs, carrying weapons, threatening physical violence.  Teachers cannot respond to anything but reasoned words. 
 
How many cops, I wonder, would willingly face a mob of 30 to 40 teenagers, all trying to see how far they can push their boundaries? 
 
How many cops would risk it alone?  And with nothing but their ability to persuade - without being able to resort to using their guns, clubs, or even muscles?  Very few, I imagine. 
 
But this is what we expect of our teachers.  In addition, most classes now include at least one student with significant learning disabilities.  These students can't be left to work on their own. 
 
Until the provincial government started slashing budgets, most teachers had assistants who gave special attention to difficult children.  Teachers will now have to assume that responsibility themselves, while still supervising the other 30 or so pupils in the class.  And parents, who once treated teachers with respect, are now as likely as their children to harass teachers.
 
 
NOT ABOUT SALARIES
 
Since the B.C. government legislated teachers back to work, I've talked with about a dozen teachers, with representatives of the teachers' union, and with a district superintendent. 
 
The conflict was never really about salaries.  Payment is simply the way our society measures respect.  Sports stars, movie idols, and bank presidents earn big respect.  Teachers don't. 
 
"Bad timing" shrugged one teacher, when I asked about their salary demands. 
 
The economic climate - and the government - changed between the time the teachers instructed their union what to ask for, and the time negotiations opened. 
 
The teachers work more closely with the children, day after day, than anyone else - often more closely than the children's own parents.  They deal with the strengths and weakness of the curriculum.  They believe they know, better than anyone else, what a good educational system needs. 
 
But their insights, their experiences, are no longer valued. 
Like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, they "don't get no respect."  More and more, teachers feel like sweatshop workers cranking unwilling bodies through an educational sausage machine. 
 
Control has shifted from teachers to bureaucrats and administrators, whose primary concern is not the children but the bottom line.
 
 
TAKING ON ADDITIONAL ROLES
 
I have not met any teachers who chose their career for the money. 
 
Or for the holidays.  They want to teach. 
 
They want their pupils to develop the skills, attitudes, and experiences to get a good start in life. 
 
But today, they're having to do much more than teach.  They're having to pick up the pieces of broken families, split families, blended families, and abusive families.  The traditional two-parent family is a distinct minority. 
 
Today's "father" may be missing, or may change every few years, even every few weeks.  Yesterday's total strangers become today's siblings and roommates.  Even in two parent families, economic pressures often force both parents to work outside the home.  There's no one home most of the day to maintain discipline, to supervise homework, to nurture curiosity. 
 
So teachers have to be both instructor and substitute parent.  One teacher admitted that she regularly makes up extra lunches each morning, from her own supplies, for a few students whose parents lack either the money or the ability to provide for their own offspring.
 
 
PASSING THE PROBLEM ALONG
 
The teachers' real quarrel is with an educational system in which the economic bottom line matters more than the students do. 
 
"Education should not be run as a business," one special education teacher told me. 
 
It should at least, she suggested, compare the short-term savings of cutting services with the long-term costs of supporting unproductive and dysfunctional adults. 
 
But by then, of course, they will be a different government's problem.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 
 





April 2, 2012
 
 
“I’M 74 AND TIRED”
Unsolicited thoughts from Bill Cosby – an American comedy icon
 
 
I’M 74 - Except for (a) brief period in the 50s when I was doing my National Service, I’ve worked hard since I was 17. Except for some serious health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn’t call in sick in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea and…
 
I’m tired. Very tired.
 
I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic.
 
I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I’ve earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.
 
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor.”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christians and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
 
I’m tired of being told that I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.
 
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?
 
I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers, and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught.
 
I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.
 
I’m really tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions.
 
I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.
 
I’m also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and early 20s be-deck themselves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making themselves unemployable and claiming money from the government.
 
Yes, I’m damn tired.
 
But I’m also glad to be 74.
 
Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. 
 
I’m just sorry for my grandchildren and their children. Thank God I’m on the way out and not on the way in.
 
 





March 25, 2012
 
 
 
 
THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF 2009
Originally published in:
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
July 27, 2008
 
 
I have several surviving family members and long-time readers who grew up during the Great Depression times of the 1930s. Many of them are now in their 80s and take great pride in their ability to have survived those hard times.
 
They often state with great pride that their values of family, country, hard work, and honor were learned from this experience.
 
Today, many of them practice what are referred to as the
conservative philosophies prevalent after World War II. However, many of them don’t realize how the political radicals have taken over this movement. We’ll save that observation for another writing.
 
One reader, now 88 years old, remembers being able to buy flour and fatback for a few pennies. A 96-year-old retired lawyer writes about how he struggled to find work and after much determination and diligence, was hired by the county for the princely sum of $50 per month. One family member in her 80s takes great pride in a picture showing her graduating from high school in a hand-me-down dress.
 
Gasoline cost about 17 cents per gallon during the 1930s.
 
One of the more interesting books written about the GREAT DEPRESSION OF 1929 comes from Darrell Haverely (aka Cap’n Dee) in his book – VILLAGE LIVING – THE RETURN TO SMALL TOWN VALUES. In a chapter titled FRUGALITY, A NEW WAY OF LIFE, he described his perception of life through the eyes of a young boy.  With his permission, I have included a few lines here:
 
 
 
All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. The great depression hit. The years of the dust bowl hit. Things went from bad to worse for everyone in the USA. But we survived. We became stronger because of those days. When the USA was forced into WW2 on December 7th, 1941, we did not send any wimps for crybabies to fight for our country.  No, we sent a bunch of mean, tough citizens that were ready to kick ass. We sent young men and 17 year old boys that could make head shots on squirrels at 100 feet or more (if they missed they might go hungry that night. I know.). In the early days of the depression before I learned how to hunt, I went to bed hungry many nights. Not fun, not cool.
 
As I recall, unemployment went through the roof and it was not until the late 1930s that this changed. No work, no money coming in. There was no such thing as discretionary income. Whatever money that both parents and children in our extended families could muster in any fashion (I sold Kool-aid for two cents a glass one summer, the pennies went to mother) was spent for food.
 
Can’t speak for kids living in cities in those days, but have always suspected that things were much worse for them. Folks in villages and rural areas looked out for each other. Shared when there was little to share. Kids were and still are resilient, as anyone that deals with them will attest. They quickly learned to both adapt and survive. Absent traumatic events that destroy their self-confidence and warp their minds, they became stronger, more capable to cope with what comes next in life.
 
Despite all of this, were we unhappy and did we complain, bitch and whine a lot? We knew almost all the other kids faced the same problem, that was how things were, so we chose to look at the bright side of things; and searched out “happy” things to fill our time. It always worked. But our nation was in a vicious downward spiral with no hope in sight, the doomsayers claimed.



I have great admiration for those who endured this nation’s worst economic crisis (so far) but I often fear that the passing of years has “honey-coated” some of the memories.
 
There was a wonderful TV series called the WALTONS back in the 1980s. This show centered on a family growing up in a rural Virginia community during the Great Depression and World War II. The family, consisting of John and Oliva Walton and their seven children as well as John’s aging parents, struggled to make a decent life. They operated a lumber mill with the sons working in the business until they grew older.  Occasional strangers and family members needing food and shelter periodically would visit and stay with this hospitable family. Cash money was hard to find but the farm provided food, shelter, and a value of life which later became known to some as CORE VALUES. My grandparents never missed an episode.
 
AMERICANS TAKE NOTICE!!!
 
The warning signs are here. In the case of my own family, Grandpa and Grandma will be retiring (of suffer layoff) within the next 2-3 years. Our oldest son and his family are living with us as a result of job loss. Our youngest son (age 23) lives with us. Our two daughters and their families are working (so far) but if things really get bad, they have nowhere else to go. Great-Grandpa lives in assisted-living by his own financial provisions but a massive banking and market collapse could wipe him out as well.
 
There is a saying we Floridians have learned after enduring the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.  
 
“Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”
 
So far, at least for our family, good planning has rendered temporary success.
 
Unfortunately, the Great Depression of 2009 will not take place in a rural-type family farm setting. Even today, in a so-called pre-depression period, those who live in poverty don’t behave themselves. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Great Depression of 1929 and the Depression of 2009 is that poor people are no longer invisible.
 
 For comparison purposes, consider the following:
 
The Depression of 1929 sent unemployment rates surging to around 25%; for black people, it exceeded 50%. It sent families into “shantytowns.” Banks failed. The government enacted stimulus packages. The so-called World order collapsed setting the stage for another great war.
 
The suffering was so widespread, presidential hopeful Franklin Delano Roosevelt couldn’t wait to take office so he could fix it. He came up with the NEW DEAL and government agencies like the Work Progress Administration. The WPA put people to work building roads and buildings and created arts and literacy projects.
 
Most historians agree that the beginning of World War II brought the world out of the economic depression.
 
As the Depression of 2009 continues to deepen, our politicians are taking what we learned from history in an attempt to head it off. The government has enacted stimulus packages. Banks are failing and the so-called World Order seems to be setting the stage for another great war.
 
Unfortunately, with the passing of 80 years, times have changed and the situation at home is quite different.
 
Today, many Americans live in communities that are disconnected from the job market. Many Americans live in the suburbs away from cities and drive excessive distances to their place of employment. In many cases, only the poor Americans utilize any type of public transportation assuming it is available.
 
Poverty, especially during the past eight years, continues to grow at an alarming rate. Unlike the Depression of 1929, however, it is more concentrated and thanks to the modern communication media, more visible. That’s made it harder to fight and ignore.
 
The CENTURY FOUNDATION is a nonprofit policy research foundation that believes that an effective mix of government, open democracy and free markets, can solve the nation’s most pressing poverty problems. The foundation recently produced a report titled “Poor Excuses: How Neglecting Poverty Costs All Americans.” This report states that people living in predominately poor neighborhoods are find it difficult to improve their lives.
 
“Unfortunately, not only have no new policies been enacted to improve prospects for low-income households, but federal and state governments, hit with large budget deficits, have been cutting back on existing programs.”
 
Rest assured, these struggling people will, like their Depression of 1929 counterparts, survive. I have every confidence that a new powerful leader will soon emerge and America will once again prosper. Whether this leader will emerge before 2009; of that I’m not sure (yet).
 
What is different in 2009 is that many of the poorest of the poor are living on the streets. Instead of furthering their education in the public schools to better themselves, many are joining gangs and selling illegal drugs. With guns readily available, crimes against society and violence against law-abiding citizens are common news items.
 
Also different than the Depression of 1929, the government has attempted to deal with poverty, not by fostering job creation and sweeping education reforms, but by building new prisons.
 
And the violence that has erupted on the street corners of our country is a direct result of governments’ failure to acknowledge and cope with this problem. Instead, politicians blame our teachers, our schools, and our failure to instill family CORE VALUES.
 
Are these lessons to be learned from these aging veterans of the Depression of 1929? I believe they are and I always enjoy hearing and reading about how they survived those times. The success stories are fondly recalled by the survivors and those who chose a work ethic to crawl out of the depths of poverty.
 
Those who failed have long since been forgotten.
 
For those survivors who weren’t already poor, who were grappling with job losses and higher gas and food prices, the stories of thrift and sacrifice during this country’s longest economic downturn pose great lessons to be learned.  Their stories and advice should compel us to find ways to conserve and stop measuring our modern concept of self-worth and values by our capacity to consume.
 
But their valor and honey-coated stories shouldn’t make us lose perspective on the modern challenges posed by poverty in today’s America if, in fact, we actually survive and profit from something history may record as the Great Depression of 2009.
 
It’s one thing when poor people aren’t an afterthought to their government.
 
It is quite another when they are.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 








March 18, 2012
 
WHAT HAS HAPPENED
TO MY PARTY?
 
It is hard to believe (folks who know me say) that there was a time in my life when I was a registered member of the Republican Party.
 
During the campaign of 1992, I changed my registration to Independent.
 
Some of my politics and political beliefs may be a carryover from my parents. My father, an upstate New York native and a 9th generation American, believed in the Republican concepts, at least until the last 15 years or so.
 
My mother, a native of Texas, a descendant of Confederate soldiers and a 8th generation American, believed as most Southerners of that time, in the ideals of the Democratic Party.
 
When I came of age, I questioned why Dad was registered Republican and Mom Democrat. Their collective answer was that they would receive information about both parties and could make “independent decisions” on who to vote for. I often wonder if their votes cancelled each other out.
 
By today’s standards, they were and I am, a representative of what was once known as a “compassionate conservative.”
 
As a 10th generation American, I am proud of my conservative values. 
 
And because of my “compassionate conservative” beliefs, I am disgusted with the turn of direction that the Republican Party has taken during the past four years (and overall, for the past 20 years).
 
Of recent times, I miss the days of John McCain and I’m hopelessly – albeit indirectly – nostalgic for the times of Barry Goldwater who some refer as the “Father of Modern Conservatism.”
 
Goldwater stood for American ideals and fiscal conservatism. Unfortunately, the South, who had voted strictly Democrat since the end of the Civil War (War Between the States) misinterpreted his philosophy as an endorsement of segregation. In some modern radical circles, this misinterpretation continues today.
 
The current GOP, whom I often refer as the Ultra-Right Wing Tea Partiests, does not reflect true Goldwater conservative ideals – ideals that John McCain embodied in 2008. In my opinion, McCain could have won the White House if it weren’t for his age and his rogue Alaskan running mate.
 
Toward the end of his life, Barry Goldwater warned his constituents and colleagues that if (when) the religious right took over the Republican Party, the GOP “would be headed nowhere good.” He even promised to fight against their moral imposition in the name of “compassionate conservatism.”
 
He warned us but many of his “conservative” disciples failed to heed his warning.
 
And now look what has happened!!!
 
There’s been an overflow of hypocrisy emanating from the Radical-Right Wing Tea Partiest movement ever since a “few good men” discovered that they could be shameless in their personal beliefs and personal policies if they cloaked them within the sanctity of religion.
 
These few good men has evolved into many bad men and now instead of Barry Goldwater and John McCain leading conservative beliefs, we’re left with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump.
 
This new movement wants the government “out of the way” and unable to control firearms, but very much “in the way” to control sexual behaviors and marriage, and the so-called Judeo-Christian ethics that they say our country was founded on.
 
There’s nothing “conservative” about inappropriate government intervention and that’s why true conservatives (compassionate conservatives) are yearning for a government that is hands off of everything, not just when it’s politically, morally, and religiously convenient.
 
The current GOP has traded its respectful spokesmen for rude, unapologetic narcissists, the likes of which this country has never seen before.
 
Example:
 
There was a heartwarming incident during the 2008 campaign during which a woman told John McCain during a Town Hall meeting that she was scared of Senator Obama because he was an Arab.
 
McCain abruptly took the microphone from her and declared his respect for Senator Obama, confirmed that he was not an “Arab,” and that he was indeed a good family man which whom he (McCain) disagreed on some fundamental political issues.
 
McCain went on to make the point of reaffirming that the campaign was about those fundamental issues and not about the conspiracy theories relating to where Senator Obama was born or what color his skin was.
 
In my mind, McCain is a true Goldwater “compassionate conservative” and I would have voted for him had he not let the Radical-Right Wing Tea Partiests force him to select Sarah Palin as his running mate.
 
I shudder to think what somebody like Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich would do were they be faced with such an occasion (the Obama question). 
 
Senator McCain was, and is, a good man and there’s a reason there’s been a growing disgust of and distrust in the Republican Party. The GOP needs a John McCain revitalization; a return to traditional Goldwater conservative politics; the absence of which is tearing apart the party and the country.
 
As previous stated but something I want to emphasize; Senator McCain restored my faith in “compassionate conservatism” and the Republican Party in 2008. He made me dream idealistically about the future path for our country and he still does.
 
This present slate of candidates is amusing to watch but continue to give me nightmares about the possibility that they might be elected.
 
I could be wrong but I digress to a quote from my late father who we often kidded about never making a mistake. Dad would say, “I made a mistake once – I thought I was wrong but I wasn’t.”
 
In my humble opinion, the Grand Ol’ Party – the Party of Lincoln, needs to go back to its original roots and ditch this egotistical, far-right, holier-than-thou, “Don’t do as I do – Do what I say” disrespectful faction that has hijacked the Goldwater conservative movement.
 
After all, it was the Party of Lincoln who freed the slaves and saved the union for the sake of unity. Abraham Lincoln was a true patriot and perhaps, the original “compassionate conservative.”
 
Ol’ Abe must be spinning in his grave waiting for the real Republican Party to emerge once again. This election may be a defining moment for both the radicals and the “compassionate conservatives.” One of these factions will be destroyed.
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 



 

 

 

 

NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH SOMEONE WHO THINKS YOU’RE DOING THEM A FAVOR

Old Family Saying

 

 

 

In the course of doing business, I have always exercised this philosophy of my late father.  I don’t mind spending the money if: 

 

 

1) There is quality of workmanship.

 

2) There are genuine mutual thanks and appreciation for doing business.

 

 

It would seem this concept should be applied to our “allies” in the world; those whom we support with massive amounts of American taxpayer funded foreign aid and those we support with American soldiers who put their lives on the line each day in the name of God, country, Democracy and freedom.

 

The recent massacre of Afghan civilians by a rogue U.S. soldier was clearly the act of a crazed individual and he will have to be dealt with in a military fashion. 

 

Piled on top of several other recent incidents, however, there’s little wonder that it’s caused the Afghan people to reflect.

 

But for an Afghan government and population supposedly facing an existential threat in the Taliban/al-Qaida Axis, this nation’s leaders remain amazingly obstructive to the U.S. “allies” pumping dollar after billions of dollars to prop it up – and possibly keeping President Hamid Karzai from losing power and taking a bullet in the head.

 

The Pentagon has been reporting that President Karzai is now using this incident as leverage to negotiate a strategic agreement with the United States for what comes after the scheduled U.S. troop withdrawal, currently planned for 2014.

 

One sticking point is the elimination of nighttime raids by U.S. Special Forces. 

 

This, in my mind, is unacceptable.

 

Nighttime attacks have proven to be one of the most effective methods in combating the Taliban and al-Qaida.  These attacks are credited with killing or capturing thousands of terrorists and their leaders.

 

This lack of gratitude of the Afghan government and the Afghan people is appalling, considering the trillions of dollars spent (squandered) in the last 10 years on their behalf; not to mention the brave American soldiers who have died defending their right to freedom.

 

But now Karzai wants the American soldiers confined to their base of operation.  He wants the Afghan’s to take over the fight for freedom.  He wants the Americans out.

 

And I say, I agree.  It is time to leave Afghanistan.

 

There are many ways to do it.  In Vietnam, we declared a victory and quickly withdrew (just as Ho took over).  Our soldiers, shamefully, came home in disgrace.

 

In Iraq, we declared victory and quickly withdrew.  This story has yet to be written.  Once again, our brave soldiers, this time a volunteer army, shamefully are coming home to an economy that has no place for them.

 

American isn’t treating them as badly as the Vietnam vets were treated but this story is also, yet to be written.

 

As for the Afghans, they don’t seem to like us anymore (understatement).  Their thank-you for the trillions of American dollars spent and the American lives lost hasn’t been offered to those of us who had or have family members involved in this cause.

 

“NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH SOMEONE WHO THINKS YOU’RE DOING THEM A FAVOR.”

 

Karzai has never hesitated in taking our money but he now seems ready to abandon the United States and pledge his troth, once again, to the Taliban.

 

And I say, let him!!!

 

And I’m not alone.  Recent polls show Americans increasingly dubious about our mission in Afghanistan; why even chicken hawk Newt Gingrich is now expressing doubt.

 

This doubt could be blamed for our military personnel in Afghanistan who seem to be out of control.  Their incomprehensible behavior is more like throwing gas on a fire. 

 

A few of our soldiers, many of them serving their third or maybe fourth tours, have blasphemed themselves in the eyes of the Afghan people and the eyes of the world by urinating on corpses, burning Qurans, and now, murdering 16 innocent civilians.

 

It is little wonder that the Afghan leadership finds it hard to “work” with “allies” who might murder you the moment you turn your back.

 

And now, there is danger to our leadership (and perhaps, our innocent civilians) as well.  There was last week’s bizarre incident where an Afghan evaded security and was able to drive a truck onto a runway just as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s plane was arriving.

 

What happens next?  Will they come here?

 

Our Commander-in-Chief is in a tough spot.  Facing a re-election campaign, he may find any decision to be a no-win situation.

 

If he pulls out our troops ahead of schedule, he will be blamed when the corrupt Karzai government is taken over.  If he stays the course to withdraw all troops by 2014, he’ll be blamed for more U.S. casualties and the waste of hundreds of billions of American dollars in a losing cause.

 

But this is what leadership is all about and the reason he makes the BIG BUCKS.  It’s easy to assume a position on the sideline and prognosticate what should be done.

 

I’m doing it and you can bet your last dollar that the GOP candidate, whoever it turns out to be, will be doing it as well.

 

The other night, I watched the 25th Anniversary concert of one of my favorite folk singing groups from the 1960s – Peter, Paul & Mary.  During their concept, they sang their protest song EL SALVADOR.  Noel (Paul) commented that this was the only protest song they ever got booed for singing.

 

The song ends, “It’s time to leave El Salvador.”

 

And putting this thought into a 2012 context, it’s time to cut our losses and get out of Afghanistan as fast and feasible as possible.

 

“It’s time to leave Afghanistan.”

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 



 




March 9, 2012
 
 
 
MITT GOIN’ SOUTH??
 

Mitt Romney has to be feeling frustrated. The talking heads and so-called political prognosticators told him that he HAD to win his native state of
Michigan to remain the top-runner for the GOP nomination.
 
Well, he won Michigan.
 
They told him he HAD to win Ohio.
 
Well, he won Ohio.
 
They told him he’d have to win a MAJORITY of delegates on “Super Tuesday.”
 
Well, he did.
 
So why isn’t this GOP farce over?
 
One thought might be that he’s constantly getting bashed by the competition he’s running against…
 
Loosely translated… by those in his own party – those who don’t have a true organization, who aren’t well-funded and who don’t have a bustling campaign headquarters and bottomless bank account.
 
Another thought is that he hasn’t done well in the south where a majority of Ultra-Right Wing Tea Partiests, Evangelicals, and those who don’t regard the BIBLE BELT as a drink reside.
 
They would like us all to believe they represent the “Goldwater Conservatives.” They don’t but they would like us to believe they do.
 
So I ask the question that may be the deciding factor in TampaBay.
 
Is Mitt goin’ south?
 
There’s no other region or political philosophy that better represents today’s Ultra-Right Wing Tea Partiest movement that the South with its deep conservatism, its ardent belief in state’s rights, and its wealth of white Christian evangelical voters.
 
There is no region in the country that has caused the Romney campaign to stumble; in 2012 and when he ran in 2008.
 
He has failed (so far) to win over the GOP nerve center and frankly, it’s logical that Republican wanna-be’s are sitting on the sidelines either until Romney proves he can win the nomination or someone calls them to come forward “for the good of the country.”
 
The Deep South should prove no problem to him unless…
 
Unless the New South states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia) go against him along with California and New York.
 
Perhaps the biggest Romney problem of all is the fact the he hasn’t found a unique message that he can compare to President Obama. Those within his own party are defining him against themselves and in spite of his highly financed NEGATIVE AD system; he’s just barely beating them.
 
Romney is much like a top-ranked college football team who wins “squeakers” against unranked opponents.
 
Look at the record. Perry is gone. Cain is gone. Bachmann is gone. Pawlenty is gone. Huntsman is gone. Johnson is gone.
 
And Obama is waiting in the wings, watching the GOP destroy each other.
 
So I ask the question again. Why isn’t this GOP farce over?
 
The answers are intriguing. Republicans aren’t happy with their choices and it’s not that they’re anti-Obama, they’re anti-Mitt. The trouble is after they rally around the next front-runner, they seem to discover a whole lot of stuff they don’t like.
 
Santorum wants Gingrich to drop out of the race so he can beat Romney or so he thinks. The problem with that thinking is the inability to recognize the flaws in himself. If Santorum was such a great candidate, why can’t he defeat Romney on his own?
 
Gingrich truly believes he is the only true conservative in the group that can beat Obama. He panders to Southerners who perhaps, are the best at knowing a real conservative and what they stand for. If those Gingrich voters aren’t fond of the Grand Faith Party that Rick pushes and he continues to press Romney, it’s quite possible the Newt voters will choose Mitt over Rick because the theology doesn’t appeal to them.
 
Romney wants the others to drop out so he can “wrap this up.” What does it say about Mitt if he can’t convince Republicans that he’s their nominee?
 
All of these candidates, Mitt, Rick, Newt, Ron, and maybe a few others on the outside, need to take a serious look in a mirror and ask why they aren’t “locking up” the nomination instead of blaming the other candidates for siphoning off votes. 
 
Does it occur to them that maybe, just maybe, it could be their message that voters aren’t crazy about. 
 
It most certainly is the voters aren’t real crazy about them personally.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 
 





March 5, 2012
 
 
 
“The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.”
 
 
 
These words come from The Old Man and the Sea written back in 1953 by Ernest Hemingway. Although I haven’t read the book nor watched the famous Spencer Tracy movie for several years, this thought from the book struck me as I was cruising on Lake Okeechobee last week.
 
I worry about this animal called MAN. I worry about what man has done to this planet in order to reap profit. I worry about MAN and his short-sighted analysis of GLOBAL WARMING. 
 
And I worry about his arrogance toward life.
 
“Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.” (Planet of the Apes – 1968)
 
A marvel of nature; a hellacious weather system last Friday rampaged the mid-west of the United States and the pictures of death and destruction have appeared on every news program. 
 
From the comfort of our living rooms, we watched the fury of Mother Nature, kicking up powerful storms and perhaps sending a message to humanity that “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature (remember that old margarine commercial from the 1970s?). The power generated from these storms FAR EXCEEDS any of the terrifying weapons man has created.
 
And it costs nothing to produce, defies control, and to any degree of modern science technology, defies predictability.
 
I’ve watched the awesome thunderstorms that often cross Lake Okeechobee during the summertime. From a safe distance while enjoying a few cold ones, I’ve observed the winds blowing and the lightening strikes.
 
And relished in the fact that indeed; LIFE IS GOOD!!!
 
After the storm passes, I often go outside and marvel at the return of nature’s serenity. I watch the cardinals’ flying through the air, the call of the wild turkeys’ in the woods and observe the calming of the waters.
 
And as my mind is cleared, I feel a sense of peace and understanding about my place in this world and the purpose of my life. 
 
Man’s troubles are primarily caused by man. Any attempt to “Fool with Mother Nature” may prove to have dire consequences. No matter what you believe in, take a few moments with the Holy Bible and read the book of Revelations.
 
But as I put these thoughts into words, I look to the heavens and thank the SUPREME LEADER that I believe in for allow me to catch a quick glimpse of this beautiful world and how it works. I pray for a better understanding of life and the ability to sort out what is meaningful, important, and necessary to live out my days in peace.
 
LIFE IS GOOD!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 
 
 




March 4, 2012
 
 
 
LET’S PRAY FOR A VETO
Or a Supreme Court Ruling
 
 
With all the economic challenges facing our GOP-dominated Florida lawmakers, they insist on squandering their limited time on divisive and constitutionally hopeless social issues. This latest glaring example of government intervention is a bill that allows students at public school assemblies to offer their own “inspirational messages” – i.e., prayers.
 
For the record, it’s never been unlawful to pray in a public school. As an educator of some 37 years experience, I can assure you I’ve done it many times. 
 
What is unlawful is to lead my class in a Christian prayer; especially if I am a Christian (which I am). As a Christian, I can’t even say the word CHRISTMAS in a public school but that is another matter.
 
Once again, the Radical Right Tea Partiests have won a victory of sorts. This bill was sponsored in the Florida Senate by Orlando’s Gary Siplin. You may remember him last year when he sponsored legislation requiring students to pull up their pants.
 
The Radical Right Tea Partiests see this bill, now on its way to Governor Rick Scott’s desk, as a way to return prayer to public schools decades after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against it. If Scott signs it, a constitutional lawsuit costing millions of taxpayer dollars is inevitable.
 
Regardless, this bill will create needless distractions and divisions at schools which need more controversy as much as they need another round of spending cuts.
 
Consider the implications: If some students lead prayers at school events, others who don’t share their particular faith may feel pressure to join in or risk isolation if they don’t.
 
And what happens if a student takes the microphone to deliver an “inspirational message” about Satanism?  What about an Islamic prayer?
 
This bill becomes another problem in search of a problem.  
 
Students have always been able to pray silently in school whenever they wish.  In fact, state law permits districts to set aside time at the beginning of the day for silent prayer and/or meditation.
 
Governor Scott should veto this bill and let schools and students stay focused on more pressing issues; like learning and passing the FCAT!!!
 
But he won’t and there will be another colossal waste of taxpayer money going into the coffers of lawyers.
 
Is this what happens when lawyers are elected to make laws?  
 
Interesting thought!!!
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 






February 26, 2012
 
 
 
THE “GREEN THING” BACK THEN
Boy, does this bring back some “good” memories
Thanx to Sharon and the Internet
 
 
 
Checking out at the store, a young cashier suggested to an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
 
The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this GREEN THING back in my earlier days.”
 
The young cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation doesn’t care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
 
Who can argue facts? Our generation didn’t have the GREEN THING in our day.
 
Back in our day, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store for a “deposit refund.” The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled so it could use the same bottles over and over. 
 
This was true recycling. But we didn’t have the GREEN THING back in our day.
 
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an electric escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the neighborhood grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower automobile every time we had to travel over two blocks.
 
Who can argue facts?  We didn’t have the GREEN THING back in our day.
 
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a clothesline, not in an energy gobbling machine that burns up 220 volts of electricity. Oddly enough, wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in those days.
 
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers and sisters, not always brand new clothing.
 
Who can argue facts? We didn’t have the GREEN THING back in our day.
 
Back then, we had one TV or radio in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
 
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.
 
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
 
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower than ran on human power.
 
We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
 
Who can argue facts? We didn’t have the GREEN THING back in our day.
 
We drank water from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or plastic bottle every time we got thirsty. 
 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
 
Who can argue facts? We didn’t have the GREEN THING back in our day.
 
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.
 
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not a bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
 
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we older folks were just because we didn’t have the GREEN THING back then?
 
Remember this article the next time a smartass youngster talks about the environment and how the older generation is to be blamed for global warming and resource waste.
 
 

 
 





February 18, 2012
 
 
 
WHAT THE GOP CAN LEARN
FROM THE PALM BEACH COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD
 
 
I’m sure I’m not the first one to think it but there is a valuable lesson that the GOP can learn from the brouhaha meeting held last Wednesday in which the School Board of Palm Beach County (Florida) selected their new superintendent from outside the ranks of the declared applicants.

You may recall that the board put out a job notice last November for school superintendent. There were 23 applicants.  Through the evaluation process, the number of finalists was reduced to three.
 
In the meantime, the assigned interim superintendent decided to return to retired life. One of the locals who has applied unsuccessfully for other superintendent positions in other places was chosen but only if he would sign a document declaring he would not seek the Palm Beach County job.
 
Why was this done? 
 
Perhaps to assure others outside of Palm Beach County that the job was actually open rather than a rubber-stamp for an internal candidate.
 
If you scroll back a few articles, the outcome is revealed.
 
Last Wednesday, the new interim was drafted to fill the position of superintendent and unanimously selected over two other finalists that were declared candidates and followed the rules and procedures.
 
So what can the GOP learn?
 
We have declared candidates that no one seems to be comfortable with. The field has been narrowed to four but if it keeps wallowing in political rhetoric and monumental cost without producing a clear winner, the mainline GOP could, at their conference, select someone outside of the declared.
 
Who would this be?
 
Jeb Bush comes to mind almost immediately. Sarah Palin is waiting in the wings and starting to run her mouth again. Mario Rubio could emerge as Florida’s favorite son (if he can produce a birth certificate) and maybe, just maybe, Condolezza Rice, my favorite (but only if she will get her nose out of George W. Bush’s butt and speak her mind).
 
The GOP will need some clever politicking to pull this off but they have always been capable of placing blame where it doesn’t belong. Karl Rove is the master campaigner and the master of smear. I’m sure he is up to the task.
 
How about blaming Obama for the rising gas prices? So far, the economy may not be a factor. Of course, there is Iran and the question of his birth certificate.
 
For those who read my blog and live in Palm Beach County, I pose the following observation.
 
Did you ever think that our meager School Board of Palm Beach County members would “mirror” national politics and control who get elected president in 2012?
 
Why that would put Palm Beach County, Florida on the map.
 
What’s that? We’re already on the map for controlling presidential elections?
 
Whoops!!! I almost forgot about the Election of 2000.
 
Let’s hear it for “hanging chads.”
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 
 
 




February 17, 2012
 
 
 
SO LET IT BE WRITTEN
SO LET IT BE DONE
A quote made by Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke (19Feb1893-6Aug1964) playing Seti I, Pharaoh of Egypt, in the classic1956 movie THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
 
 
 
It was done with all the pomp, circumstance, and scripting of a movie. The players all said their lines with perfection and in the end, E. Wayne Gent walked away with the prize.
 
For the last five years of my teaching career, I attended school board meetings almost religiously. There was much controversy between the teacher’s union and the former administration. I was the senior member of the union negotiations team and a staunch supporter of union presidents Shelly Vana, Theo Harris, the late Robert Dow and the 12,000 teachers that I represented.
 
If you scroll back to my last YANKEE passage, the school board meeting followed the format that I described three hours before it started.
 
First came the elected officials’ speech forum. The overwhelming majority (especially the Afro-American community) emphatically stated their support for Mr. Gent.
 
The Classroom Teacher’s Association (teacher union) in an unexplainable act of political stupidity (in my opinion) endorsed the candidate from Lee County who eventually would have finished last. If they knew this was a scripted meeting, why would they back a “loser” and alienate Mr. Gent right from the beginning?
 
After the speaker forum was completed and as I predicted, the board “amended” its contract with Mr. Gent and allowed him to become an instant finalist for the superintendent’s job.
 
Two newly elected board members, Karen Brill (District #3) and Jennifer Prior Brown (District #4), objected to the change stating “It wasn’t fair.” Mrs. Brill refused to be involved in the interview questioning. Both voted against the motion but it passed.
 
Mr. Gent got up from his seat on the stage and assumed the position (figure of speech) at a table facing the board. For nearly an hour, he was asked to respond to ten (10) pre-determined questions (developed in secret a few days previous) and other questions from board members.
 
Once again, Mrs. Brill refused to ask questions.
 
When the formal interview was completed, each board member took their microphone (something they all love to do) and gave lengthy speeches about who they were going to vote for when the call for votes was made.
 
Finally, it was time to vote. 
 
In an act of unbelievable hypocrisy, Mrs. Brill, who had only an hour before condemned the process and refused to participate in the interview, offered an amendment to the board that Mr. Gent unanimously be declared the new superintendent.
 
“So it was written. So it was done.”
 
There are two schools of thought. 
 
One would be that the procedures were not fair to the applicants. It was obvious that Mr. Gent signed the agreement not to apply because this would make those from the outside think the selection was an “inside” deal.
 
It was.
 
The other is that Mr. Gent was far and above the other applicants and finalists. 
 
Perhaps he is and perhaps he isn’t. This remains to be seen.
 
As far as the board and what they did, there is mixed review. They didn’t break any rules or laws. They may have turned away some highly qualified applicants, one in particular whom I have worked with and have great respect for and someday, they may have to answer for it.
 
Once again it is important to remember that the superintendent-elect (or appoint) is accountable to the board. The board is accountable to the voters.
 
November is coming fast.
 
My personal message to Dr. Janis Andrews, an outstanding educator and in my opinion, was the best qualified. Don’t be discouraged that the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program) got in your way. Retirement is a great thing and DROP will make it more livable and enjoyable for you. Perhaps when the smoke clears, you’ll count your blessings. I have.
 
Now the fun starts.
 
Don’t misunderstand me; I offer all of my prayers and support to Mr. Gent. I believe him to be highly qualified and maybe the “mover” that Palm Beach County Schools needs to promote the healing from the past that must take place immediately. After all, as Asst. Superintendent of the North Area, he was quick to approve my wife’s request to finish out the school year when her DROP was up in March 2010. She wanted what was best for her students and so did Mr. Gent. The request was stopped by the number two person at the district.
 
Mr. Gent, any time you’re out in the Farms (Planet Jupiter), you have an open invitation to stop in and talk to a couple of old retirees who collectively massed some 73 years of educational service to the children of Palm BeachCounty.
 
One of my former colleagues and political activist wrote the following on my behalf after reading my post from February 15th:
 
 
“Man, I sure wish YOU would put your name in for PB County, State of FL, or USA Congressional office. You make SO much more sense that what we have had or MIGHT have in the near future. Or… wanna take over Cerebino’s column in the PB Post? I’ll write a letter of support, help raise funds… whatever… if you DO decide on one of the above! Just keep sharing your thoughts.”
 
 

Thank you for those kind thoughts and words. I often think about seeking high office but after some 409 days, 5 hours, 52 minutes and 7 seconds of retired life, I’ve decided that…
 
LIFE IS GOOD!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 

 






February 15, 2012 @ 2:15PM
 
 
 
WHO EVER SAID THAT LIFE
WAS FAIR
 
 

Robert Fulgham (
4Jun1937-          ) once said, “Play fair. Don’t hit people. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”
 
If my hunch is correct, tonight, the members of the School Board of Palm Beach County will determine a finalist for the job of school superintendent. 
 
If my hunch is correct, tonight, the members of the School Board of Palm Beach County should offer an apology to the remaining candidates who played by the rules and were not chosen.
 
It has taken nearly a year to find a replacement for the defrocked former superintendent of Palm Beach County (Florida) Schools. Dr. Art Johnson’s arrogance and unwillingness to give up the post in spite of a “lack of confidence” from the teacher’s union and general disapproval ratings from parents groups has been costly.
 
First, there was former district administrator Bill Malone. The board appointed him as “interim” superintendent. He stayed for about ten months until he realized that the train may be headed off the tracks again. He suddenly resigned in November due to “health reasons.”
 
Then came the appointment of Wayne Gent, a current administrator who has made several unsuccessful bids for superintendent positions outside of Palm Beach County. In order to satisfy various parent and union groups concerned about “fairness,” he was required to sign a document stating that he would not accept the superintendent’s position in Palm Beach County if offered. 
 
After what seemed to be endless talk and posturing, the school board finally advertised the superintendent position last November. The national search yielded 23 applicants, some local and some far away. After a lengthy evaluation period, the board selected three finalists.
 
During the past two weeks, interviews were held in public places, in the public eye, and in the public interest. 
 
Last week, all three candidates were interviewed in detail before the board and before TV cameras. At the end of the process, the board announced that Mr. Gent, in spite of his agreement with the board, will also be considered.
 
The media has raised the question whether the process has been fair to the three candidates who gave of their personal time and resources to display their skills and personal talents to the citizens of Palm Beach County.
 
The obvious answer is NO.
 
One candidate withdrew immediately and although he didn’t say it outright, it was similar to the childhood act of “taking my ball and going home.”
 
Nothing has been said publicly to the other candidates by the members of the board (yet). There has been no formal thank you for coming or announcement that they did not meet the apparent criteria that the board has set for the new superintendent.
 
And the overwhelming public reaction has been…
 
“That’s not fair!!!”
 
I can’t enumerate how many times during my teaching career that students have loudly exclaimed this statement when they lost a game or were rejected from some event. My answer, to them, and to those who are saying it now is the same.
 
“Whoever said life was fair?”
 
Tonight, the Palm Beach County School Board may make a final decision. They will choose from three candidates: Dr. Janis Andrews (presently asst. superintendent for curriculum), Dr. Constance Jones (chief academic officer from Lee County, FL) or Mr. Wayne Gent (temporary superintendent who signed a document saying he would not be considered).
 
The meeting will be worth attending and worth watching on TV. Many of the local labor unions, educators, and parent activists who have supported this new board will be there.
 
Some are saying that the board’s decision to consider Mr. Gent as a last-minute candidate is a slap in the face to those who followed the rules.
 
I agree.
 
Some are saying that the board has taken much too long and been much too indecisive in handling this delicate matter.
 
Again, I agree.
 
But common sense would say that if a person has the overwhelming qualifications to assume the position and is willing to be considered, he/she should be considered in spite of the rules.
 
I agree but fully understand there are tremendous risks, both personal and professional in taking this stand.
 
It is important to remember that many of these board members were newly elected to replace the rubber-stamp incumbents of the former superintendent.
 
I remember interviewing each newly elected board member when I represented the teacher’s union a couple of years ago. Instead of a rubber-stamp board, the union wanted board members capable of calibrated research and decisive action.
 
Tonight, their credibility and their “electability” will be viewed and evaluated by the citizens of Palm Beach County who voted them into office.
 
Superintendents serve at the pleasure of the board. Elected board members serve at the pleasure of the voters.
 
I’ve been retired for 407 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes, and 22 seconds. In response to some commentary I wrote for the PALM BEACH POST last week, I received a call from a political action group asking if I might be interested in running for the School Board seat in District #1 presently held by Dr. Monroe Benaim. This story will be continued….
 
Robert Fulgham also wrote, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you.”
 
Tonight, Palm Beach County will be watching. 
 
 
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 





February 8, 2012
 
 
 
REAL ISSUES?
Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature once again wasting time on social non-issues
 
 
As candidate Ronald Reagan once said to incumbent President Jimmy Carter during a presidential debate back in 1979, “Well, there you go again.”
 
Last year, the newly elected leaders of the Florida Republican-dominated legislature served notice to the voters that due to the financial crisis, members weren’t going to spend valuable time on divisive social issues that generally go nowhere – and often have no place in the public forum.
 
“The top three issues,” said Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park) “will be job creation, a responsible budget that doesn’t raise taxes, and reapportionment.”
 
Taxes and reapportionment are controversial issues within themselves and job creation is the buzz word for all elected officials in 2012 (a non-issue, who is against job creation?).
 
I thought to myself that maybe for the first time since the Republicans took over the Florida legislature (Senate since 1992 – House since 1996), we might have some smart people running this state who will solve some of our pressing problems.
 
I also said I was skeptical that the Ultra-Right wingers (Tea Party) would’nt be able to keep their hands off their personal, time-consuming social issues.
 
My skepticism turned out to be well-founded. This week, the Republican led lawmakers signed off on three anti-abortion bills after a highly-charged, lengthy debate. 
 
Committees also squandered precious time debating a proposal to authorize public-school districts to permit students to lead sectarian prayers.
 
This time, however, the political sideshow was led by Orlando Democrat Gary Siplin who by all counts, should be a member of the GOP. You may remember him as the legislature’s champion and leading opponent of droopy pants.
 
You can’t make this stuff up!!! Don’t we have more important things to worry about?
 
How about adequate funding for public schools?
 
How about a balanced budget?
 
How about Governor’s Scott’s favorite subject and his campaign promise to create 700,000 new jobs in seven years?
 
These are Florida issues that voters expect their elected officials to attack and solve. Spending hours trying to erode the established constitutional right of women to an abortion while throwing around inflammatory language about “killing” children might play well to the ultra-right conservative wing but it does very little to solve Florida’s REAL economic problems.
 
For example, SCHOOL PRAYER. Here’s an issue that’s been visited time and time again and every time a law is passed, the courts overturn it. 
 
It’s never been against the law to pray in public school. As a teacher of 37 some years, I’ve often prayed.
 
However, the move to pass a law allowing student-led prayer in public schools is so disingenuous that it’s outright dishonest.
 
The issue has never been about prayer or religion. Those who espouse prayer and religion in the public schools rarely are willing to include the prayers or religions of Mormons, Jews, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh-Day Adventists, Muslins, Hindus, Buddhists, or even Catholics.
 
They use the term RELIGION as a whitewash for the real goal of proselytizing THEIR personal religious beliefs to the exclusion of all others. 
 
Public schools however, operate under constitutional law and must be religiously neutral so that all children and staff, religious and nonreligious, feel included, respected, and safe.
 
Jesus Christ himself, in the gospel of Matthew (Chp. 6 Verses 5-6) made the prayer issue very clear when he said (something to the effect that) “When you pray, don’t be as the hypocrites who love to pray in front of crowds… When you pray, go into a closet or private place, shut the door, and say your prayers to the father in secret.”
 
No public school student or staff member has ever been restricted by law from praying in school. As a teacher, I privately prayed every day for divine counsel and guidance. There are no laws that prevent anyone, student or staff, from saying a personal prayer before taking the FCAT test, eating a meal, or participating at any school function.
 
What isn’t allowed by law is a structured Christian prayer (or any specific religious belief) that is designed for, and on behalf of, everyone. 
 
Don’t get me wrong. I am a Christian, bred and baptized in the First Baptist Church of Owego, New York; a church were five-generations of my ancestors have worshiped.
 
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the power of prayer and the free expression of religion.
 
But understand this. 
 
I don’t believe in or allow any group or organization to ram their religious beliefs down my throat. My ancestors came to this country for religious freedom back in 1734. There are times that organized religion has tried to impose beliefs on America but so far, our constitution has prevented this from happening.
 
And after all, our constitution has protected us from religious zealots since its ratification back in 1791.
 
So knowing all this and understanding the purpose of our constitution, why would anyone or any group propose such a flawed and potentially offensive law with a 100% chance of a costly legal challenge, especially in a time of financial crisis in Florida?
 
It’s a terrible idea. Who keeps returning these people to elected office?
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 


 
 
 


February 7, 2012
 
 
THE SIXTIES
 
Yes, I am a self-proclaimed spokesman for the BOOMER generation; being a charter class member born in 1946. I grew up in the 50s, became a teenager in the 60s attending high school and college during this period. I stood for fairness, equal opportunity, equality, and free expression.
 
I fought the establishment but after I matured, became a part of it, at least in the eyes of my children and grandchildren.
 
But I still speak fondly of our ideals and find a quote from one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, to be most interesting in light of the turmoil we are presently experiencing from the Bush Recession of 2007 and the lack of leadership in Washington, D.C.
 

“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”
 
 

The 1960s may be written as one of the most turbulent periods of social change in our nation’s history. At times, it truly felt as if the fabric of
America was being ripped in several directions.
 
1962 brought the tensest moment in US history; the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy’s diplomacy prevented the deepest fear of millions of Americans; nuclear war. Now, we may soon face that same fear again in the Middle East.  Will diplomacy win the day again?
 
In 1963, our nation lost its innocence when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Hardly a member of the BOOMER generation cannot remember where he was and what he was doing on that fateful day; November 22.  I pray this NEVER happens again.
 
The Vietnam War divided America. Pegged as a war against the spread of communism, many questioned if the cost of American lives was justified. Now, we ask these same questions again concerning our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
During the 1960s, Civil Rights became a pressing issue that no longer could be avoided. The bravery of Rosa Parks gave oppressed Americans hope and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. struggled peacefully for equality for all races. Now, we face many of the same problems with those whom we’ve dubbed “aliens.”
 
Violence played a major role in change during the 1960s. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 and Robert Kennedy, who challenged Americans to get up and change their lives for the better, was assassinated later that same year. Now, we see senseless shootings and killings in our schools and were horrified at the events of January 8, 2011 that took the lives of six people and crippled in Arizona that crippled Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords.  We see the same social turmoil in Egypt, Libya, and Syria (not to mention Iraq and Iran).
 
The sixties were not without major accomplishments in technology. It came to a triumphant close in 1969 when America fulfilled JFK’s promise and beat the Soviets in a race to land on the moon. Now, we have a promise by a presidential candidate to establish a colony on the moon by the year 2020 but our technological advances come from China and Russia.
 
This has to change.
 
 
 
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE 1960s
 
 
-        The US population was 177,830,000
-        US unemployment was 3,852,000 = 2.2%
-        The US national debt was $286.3 billion
-        The average salary was $4,743
-        The average teacher’s salary was $5,174
-        The minimum wage was $1.00 per hour
-        Life Expectancy: Men 66.6 years Woman 73.1 years
-        An estimated 850,000 BOOMERS entered college as freshmen.
-        58,272 of our finest young Americans lost their lives in combat during the Vietnam War
 
 

If you’d like to know more or relive some of the events and special memories of the 1960s, click on this link.
 
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 
 



February 5, 2012
 
  
SUPER BOWL XLVI
Originally published at this time last year.
 
 
 
A man had 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl.
 
As he sat down, he noticed the seat next to him was empty.
 
He asked the man on the other side of the empty seat whether anyone was sitting there.
 
“No,” the man replied. “The seat is empty.”
 
“This is incredible,” said the first man.
 
“Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world and not use it?”
 
The second man replied, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife but she passed away.”
 
“This will be the first Super Bowl we haven’t seen together since we got married in 1967.”
 
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible.  But couldn’t you find anyone else – a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?”
 
The man shook his head.
 
“No, they’re all at the funeral.”
 
 
FEARLESS PREDICTION:
 
In consideration of how well I’ve done in the presidential primaries so far (0-3), I predict that New York will defeat New England 33-24.
 
So sayeth I.
 

ENJOY THE GAME!!!
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 



 







February 4, 2012
 
 
 
WILL IT MATTER WHO WINS?
 


In 2000, Americans were promised that integrity would be restored to the White House.
 
In 2008, Americans were promised that change was coming.
 
We all know that the upcoming 2012 presidential election is a big one that may impact our economic stability for generations to come.
 
However, whether it’s Barack Obama returning to the White House, or Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich winning, I have this bad feeling in my gut that NO REAL CHANGES are going to be made.
 
Each side argues that it’s the other’s fault but one thing that constantly missed is that our elected leaders need to stop this dividing REPUBLICAN-DEMOCRAT mud slinging and start becoming a country that solves real AMERICAN problems, regardless of religious background and/or party affiliation.
 
I’m sick and tired of the negative ads on TV and hearing these quasi-candidates talk about what the other candidate HAS done.
 
What I want to hear is what these quasi-candidates intend WILL do if I vote for them.
 
Back in 1968, the late Pat Paulsen ran a mock attempt of a presidential campaign. One of his greatest quotes that stuck in my mind was…
 
“People ask me if I’m elected, will I end the war, balance the budget, and eliminate the national debt.”
 
“Sure, why not!!!”
 
So far, we seem to have a wealth of LOSERS who continually run for high office. They will say whatever we want to hear and because they say it in a way resembling REALITY TELEVISION, we tend to believe them.
 
As long as these LOSERS continue to run touting their own agendas (including what their party wants for them), we, as a working middle class of Americans, continue to be misrepresented in Washington.
 
Some will ask why these so-called quasi-candidates are unable to fix the problems associated with job creation and the working middle class. The answer is easy.
 
They simply don’t understand our problems because they’ve never walked in our shoes.
 
We have to find credible candidates who refuse to compromise their beliefs and stop allowing lobbyists and the super-rich 1% to run this country.
 
Unfortunately, these credible candidates are too busy supporting their families and can’t afford to take time from their REAL JOBS to campaign.
 
This has to change.
  
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 




February 3, 2012
 
 
SHOULD I REALLY JOIN FACEBOOK?
Thanx to the other TWS from the HeadlandHigh School Class of 1965
 
 
This Internet-floater seems suitable for the BOOMER generation and has been edited and modified for my purposes. I didn’t actually write it but it provides some interesting thoughts, concepts, and a good laugh for people in the Over-50 generation.
 
 
 
When I originally bought my cell phone, I thought about my 37-year career in computers and public education. After all, I worked with a countless number of colleagues over the years who didn’t carry electronic devices that play music, takes videos, pictures, and communicates with Facebook and Twitter and we seemed to be happy and very productive.
 
Now that I’m retired, I signed up (under family duress) for Twitter and Facebook so my four kids, their spouses, and my six grandchildren could communicate with me instantly in the modern way.
 
They don’t think I have anything better to do and after all, I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.
 
And everything seemed fine until one of my kids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck, Twitpix, and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program in the texting world.
 
Initially, my cell phone used to be used for phone calls only.
 
What a liberal idea!!!
 
Now, it is beeps every 30-seconds with the details of everything going on in the world (with probable exception to the bowel movements of the entire “Y” generation). 
 
I’m not prepared to live like this; after all, I keep my cell phone in my bedroom attached to a battery charger for most of the day.
 
With the purchase of our new GMC a few months ago, we included a GPS device because my kids worry that I’ll get lost every now and then going to the grocery store or the doctor’s office.
 
Before the new car (which has every new electronic toy known to the universe), the kids bought me a BLUE TOOTH (actually, it’s red) phone that I was supposed to keep in my ear when I drove. I wore it once and the first time I used it, I was standing in line at the grocery store. Everyone within a distance of 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take out my hearing aid to hear it and I suppose I got a little loud.
 
The on-board GPS seemed to be a great idea for our new car but that lady inside this gadget is the most annoying, rudest person I’ve ever run into. Every 10 minutes, she will sarcastically announce, “Re-calc-u-lating.” You’d think she could be a little nicer.
 
But NO!!!!!!!!!
 
This lady, who I named Gypsy, the GPS bitch, can barely tolerate me as she will heave a deep sign and order me to make a U-turn at the next legal place.
 
When I make a right turn instead … well, let’s just say it doesn’t promote a good relationship.
 
Sometimes when I do get lost, I use my cell phone to call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets. While she’s starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy , at least I know she loves me.
 
I have to be honest with my lack of expertise with modern technology. After all, I’m still trying to figure out how to use the cordless phones in our house. We bought them about five years ago and I still can’t figure out how I can lose three phones all at once and have to run around the house digging into chair cushions and checking bathrooms and dirty laundry baskets when the house phone rings.
 
I guess this world is getting just too complex for me.
 
They even mess up my mind when I go to the grocery store. You’d think they could settle on simplicity but this sudden “Paper or Plastic?” question every time I check out just knocks me for a loop.
 
I thought I had them tricked with those cloth reusable bags that I bought but I always forget to take them with me.
 
But I figured how to toss the ball back into their court when they ask “Paper or Plastic?” 
 
I just say, “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m bi-sacksual” The look on their faces is PRICELESS!!!
 
One former teaching colleague, now retired, recently asked me if I tweet. 
 
I answered, “No, but I do toot a lot.”
 
As I advance into my “golden years” I’ve concluded that I really don’t need any more gadgets. The TV remote is about all I can handle.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 







February 2, 2012
 
 
 
DRUGS AND THE 1950s
A Different Drug Problem
Thanx to my shirttail cousin Ray
 
 
 
The other day, someone at the store in our community told me that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in one of the foreclosed homes in our neighborhood.
 
He asked me a rhetorical question; “Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up in the 1950s?”
 
I replied that I had a serious drug problem when I was young and in spite of it, have learned to live a full productive life.
 
For example… 
 
I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family outings and community socials no matter what the weather.
 
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity.
 
I was drug outside to pull weeds and cockleburs in our garden and flower beds.
 
I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my parents had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, I was in danger of receiving a distinct type of discipline that seems to be out of favor in these so-called modern times.
 
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.
 
As a consequence of these drugs, they have affected my behavior in everything I do, say, or think.
 
The drugs I took were much stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a much better place.
 
God bless those parents of the 1950s who drugged us.
 
 
 






January 31, 2012
 
 
 
A REPUBLICAN PRAYER
O’ Lord, Send Us a Savior
 
 
It will soon be over (at least for a while). Today, as I write this musing, the Florida Republican Primary voting is taking place. By tonight, the talking heads on TV will tell us how it came out and analyze what will happen next.
 
Hopefully, presidential politics will move far away from Florida, at least for a while.
 
The four remaining GOP candidates will move on to other states. I never thought I would look forward again to sleazy lawyer ads, power company ads (our local monopoly who claims that the commercial funding comes from shareholders – not customers) and all the other obnoxious segments that yell and scream at us during the new programs.
 
How did this race get populated by these losers? A coach that I once played baseball for used to say, “If you play on a team with losers, you will lose.”
 
And Yogi Berra would say, “It’s déjà vu all over again." History is repeating itself and suddenly, time has taken us back to 2008.
 
The so-called GOP moderates have raised their voices in great alarm. Isn’t it strange that the “credible” candidates from both sides have apparently decided to sit out the Election of 2012.
 
Our local ICON, former Governor Jeb Bush has been contacted by the media and GOP moderates about the possibility of accepting a DRAFT at the convention. So far, Bush has made it clear he’s not interested but considering his EGO and his last name, he is listening.
 
Some of us who live and work in Florida believe that Jeb Bush has royally screwed up our public education system. Some of us believe that Jeb Bush went to great lengths to provide tax cuts for the wealthy.
 
But he is considered to be the “Smart Bush.”
 
And to his credit (at least up to now), he reflects the family values that moderate Republicans claim are essential for the White House. He hasn’t had an affair or been convicted of any crimes. 
 
Of course, the proliferation of money from his educational consulting may be found to have reached personal interests but that will only come out later if he decides to throw in his hat.
 
Meanwhile, the old GOP guard, considering the prospect of a Romney nomination and/or a Gingrich third-party split, is truly yearning for the GOOD OLD DAYS when a puppet president could assume the White House and actually look
like a president should. 
 
In the case of Jeb, it might be real poetic justice that a sibling swoop in to clean up his brother’s mess.
 
I don’t agree with the concept and neither do the Bush-weary moderates who know that this current mess started in 2000 and culminated with the Bush Recession of 2007. This event has been well documented in my musings.
 
And the current administration has had three years to clean it up. 
 
Where is the leadership?
 
Of course, I have fond memories of another Bush Recession in 1992 when I lost my computer management job and wandered through the unemployment lines for 17 months. 
 
“Overqualified” was a word I came to hate because it described my skills within the few job interviews I was able to attain.
 
I ended up taking a teaching job at the minimum starting salary, a cut of some 40% over what I was making before.
 
Overqualified!!!
 
However, this got me back to work and took me out of the unemployment statistics. It made what appeared to be an economic recovery.
 
Does any of this sound familiar to the BOOMERS who also went back to work for less during these times? 
 
I have to give good politics credit where due. Jeb and many of his former cronies are waiting in the wings but at this time, they’ve concluded that President Obama has too good a chance to win this one, regardless of the economy. It is best to keep their powder dry and run when this current recession is over, no matter who gets elected.
 
The advantage to this is that once everybody is earning an income again (as in 1993), they’ll get their minds off the income inequality so the GOP can restore SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMICS and make the 1% richer.
 
And it's worked like a charm. Check out the financial earnings of Corporate America and those CEOs who run these companies.
 
And also check out the corporate corruption statistics. Does money really encourage corporate corruption? After all, who is responsible for this monstrous obscene PACs?
 
If you don’t believe this, have you checked the price of gas today at your local station?
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 
 
 
 







January 26, 2012
 
 
STATE OF THE UNION
A lesson to be learned from those sworn to protect our freedoms
 
“With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a while lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.” 
 
No matter how you feel about his politics, President Obama spoke great words last night during his final moments of the STATE OF THE UNION address.
 
Yes, we can do great things when our political leaders unite and work for the best of all rather than just a select elite few. Sadly, I don’t think this present DO-NOTHING Congress is capable of doing this. Unfortunately, their political battles are more important to them than the needs of the people whom they represent.
 
SOLUTION: Throw the bastards out!!!
 
 
Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
 
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But it doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates – a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary, and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.
 
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job – the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other – because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.
 
So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.
 
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 





January 24, 2012
 
 
 
BRILLIANT BUSH PLAN WILL
MAKE HIM THE
GREATEST AMERICAN PRESIDENT OF ALL TIME
Originally published on August 20, 2006
 
 
Although this YANKEE article was written tongue-in-cheek during the height of the Bush regime, many of the suggestions and truths seem to be coming out as the ELECTION OF 2012 progresses:
 
 

About a month ago, I offered very specific job objectives for President George W. Bush. It is my hope that he emerges a true world leader and takes his rightful place in history as one of
America’s great presidents.
 
Those objectives were:
 

1)        
No U.S. troops will be sent to the Middle East to support the Israelis’ (as if they wanted our help).

2)        
The U.S. will veto any attempt by the United Nations for a cease-fire until the Hezbollah are destroyed in Lebanon. In addition, we must “allow” Israel to chase and fight Hezbollah and any other terrorist group wherever they run (including Syria and/or Iran).

3)        
George W. Bush assumes the image of a decisive world leader and postpones his annual August vacation to Crawford (most important condition as far as I’m concerned because it makes GWB look presidential to the rest of the world).
 
 
As of August 20th, he has achieved the following evaluation notes:
 

1)        
He hasn’t sent any troops to support the Israelis’ but he is returning furloughed troops to another tour of Iraq.

2)        
A cease-fire has been declared. The Hezbollah must have watched our FEMA response to the hurricanes and learned how to please the masses. Those suffering damage from the war are being paid relief by Hezbollah in the form of American $100 dollar bills supplied by Iranian oil profits. What a wonderful way to make friends and influence people.

3)        
President Bush left Washington for his annual vacation to Crawford but he did compromise by only spending 10 days. The media hardly noticed.
 
 

Meanwhile, a fascinating political tone has been sweeping the nation. What does it mean to the registered voters in
America and what will be the ramifications?
 
Senator Joe Lieberman, essentially a good man, made a huge political blunder. By aligning himself with President Bush, he opened the door for an opponent within his own party with no experience to win the Democrat nomination for senator. At the time of this writing, he made another colossal mistake by running INDEPENDENT which will assure another Republican seat in the Senate.
 
I am fascinated with the alliance of Charlie Crist and Tom Gallagher, Republican candidates for Florida governor, with the likes of Jeb Bush. Why would any sane person want to continue with the Bush legacies?
 
Interesting thoughts are now appearing on conservative websites; thoughts that I have supported and agreed to since the alleged Iraqi War started:
 

In a nutshell, WW3, against terrorism MUST continue until the bitter end. And that will take both violent means and more years. But pure, sweet, and simple, while it WAS right for us to go in there at the time we did and for the reasons that existed, it now is time to haul ass and go home. This is NOT “cut-and-run”, it is simply getting out of the way of someone else’s wars; wars that THEY must fight. Not us.
 

As baseball great Yogi Berra would say, “It sounds like Déjà vu all over again” but it worked for President Nixon when we declared victory in
Vietnam and brought the troops home. Maybe it will work again.
 
Congressman Clay Shaw, an incumbent Republican from South Florida, touts in his political ads that he sometimes disagrees with President Bush. Many moderate Republicans still claiming the conservative label are starting to distance themselves from the current administration.
 
BUT FOOLS, WAIT JUST A MINUTE!!!
 
Since the year 2000, I worried that the man we “chose” to lead the Free World was a mental midget.
 
I WAS WRONG!!!
 
And as promised, I will admit it publicly.  During a recent drunken stupor for a sore throat, the Bush strategy for America and the Free World was revealed to me from a CUTTY SARK bottle…
 
AND THIS PLAN IS BRILLIANT!!!
 
Allow me to share it with you.
 
The plan calls for us to get out of the Middle East before Election Day (2008) which will stop the terrorism against Americans. It is so simple and complete that even our allies will be dumfounded (a good strong word) when they discover what was done. The original plan was to sacrifice some 2500 American soldiers and make America howl.
 
IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!!
 
The world regards our president as weak and indecisive. 
 
WHAT A BRILLIANT DECOY!!!
 
As we speak, obscure “unarmed” National Guard state regiments are massing at the Mexican border under the guise of stopping illegal immigrants. As more unrest from the war hits America, President Bush will order larger groups of soldiers home and these men will quietly be deployed at the Mexican border.
 
As a deception to average thinking Americans and the media, we will now address our political ads to real problems. 
 
Gone are the gay marriages, pro-life, family values, stem-cell research, burning the flag and other pointless issues that have no opposite view or support.
 
The economic fallout from the war is starting to hurt our economy financially. Detroit has stopped making the large gas-guzzling cars that Americans love to drive. We start to despise those illegal aliens in the USA who are making our economy suffer by taking jobs that Americans don’t want. Their children are crowding our public schools and bringing down test scores and the restoration of the American Welfare System designed for the needs of real Americans is becoming financially bankrupt.
 
We have a tenuous situation with oil supplies, both from the Middle East who pay our enemies from the profits they extract by overcharging us, and the money-hungry oil companies who demand a &%$#load of money for maintaining a reliable supply of gasoline.
 
This drives up gas prices and keeps the working middle class teetering on the edge of financial bankruptcy.
 
What better way to solve our current energy problems but to take over the Mexican oil fields and put native Mexicans to work. This way, we can leave our precious land resources within our own borders alone and really protect our native environment for future Americans to enjoy.
 
Our obsession for piss-ant dictators that other administrations in power decades ago placed in power will take a historical turn. 
 
Fidel Castro, one of the most hated men in South Florida, may be near death. Hugo Chavez, the puppet dictator in Venezuela, is sitting on one of the largest oil reserves on either continent. 
 
Our old enemies, the Russians, have more interest in selling their nuclear technology to the Middle East than protecting the few remaining communist states in the Western Hemisphere.
 
They aren’t paying attention to us and we can catch them with their pants down. Who knows, when President Bush makes a chump of Vladimir Putin in front of the whole world, the new Russian leaders might be persuaded to open their vast oil field reserves to American technology.
 
I dream of the day I see an American president say to OPEC, “Two dollars a barrel; take it or leave it.”
 
Once Castro and Chavez are out of the way, American industry will rush to Cuba. The government becomes a democracy modeled after America; complete with gambling houses, drug lords, organized crime, and illegal immigrants. 
 
Havana becomes another Las Vegas and with the massive number of jobs, illegal immigrants living in the USA will organize a boat flotilla; this time going from Florida to Mariel.
 
While the world watches this peaceful transition on the National Media, we move in our troops and take over Mexico and Venezuela. Their massive oil fields and our American technology more than makes up for the Middle East imports that are crippling our economy and unlike Baghdad, Americans will be welcomed.
 
What a marvelous strategy that only a great leader like George W. Bush could think up. We pull out of the Middle East and let Israel fight their own battles. No matter who wins, it doesn’t matter. Jews and Muslims will continue to kill each other but the infidel Americans will be long gone.
 
Illegal immigrants living in America will RUSH to the oil fields of Mexico and will work for a decent (Mexican) wage. HALLIBURTON will supply the equipment and security and Bush might even send a few Democrats to Mexico to establish a union and assure worker rights. 
 
Just imagine!!! Once these people start working, western oil will flow and Detroit will start building large cars again.
 
And who knows; perhaps someone will find some of that gold that our European ancestors from Spain missed when they came over some 500 years ago.
 
With this brilliant leadership revealed, I have no doubt that George W. Bush will take his place in history as one of our greatest American presidents. With the war in control, Americans can study real issues – like who killed Jon-Benet Ramsey or what kind of car Mel Gibson is driving.
 
And maybe; just maybe, I’ll vote a straight Republican ticket in 2008.
 
NOT!!!!
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 
 
 






January 19, 2012
 
 
THE VIETNAM WALL
A Little History Most People Will Never Know
Thanx to Muriel
 
 
During each and every Safety Patrol trip to Washington, D.C. during my 17 year tenure as an elementary school teacher, I took my students to the Vietnam Wall. For those who have never actually visited and see it in person, it is a sobering reminder of a war that history has not remembered kindly. They say that each generation of Americans had a defining war to fight; this one belongs to my generation.
 
 
I think the Vietnam Memorial Wall is something this country got right.
 
Here are a few items of history that most people will never know about the place my generation calls the WALL.
 
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
 
The names are arranged in the order in which the soldiers were taken from us; by date and within each date each name is alphabetized. It is hard to believe that 36 years have passed since the last casualties.
 
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon of North Weymouth, Massachusetts; listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III who was killed on September 7, 1965.
 
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
 
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 years of age or younger.
 
8,283 were just 19 years old.
 
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
 
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
 
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
 
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
 
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.
 
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.
 
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
 
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
 
54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.
 
8 Women on the Wall were nursing the wounded.
 
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.  153 of them are on the Wall.
 
Bealsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
 
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
 
The Marines of Morenci – they led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Colorado Trail, stalked deer in the ApacheNational Forest.
 
And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
 
The Buddies of Midvale – Leroy Tafova, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lives on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh avenues.  They all went to Vietnam.
 
In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. Leroy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on December 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
 
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 – 245 deaths.
 
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.
 
For most Americans who read this, they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. For those who survived the war and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces and we feel the pain that these numbers created.
 
For after all, we are, until we too pass away, will forever be haunted by these numbers because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. 
 
There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
 
 
Dedicated to the memory of Private First Class Howard William Snitcher (24Jun1946-28Apr1968), son of William Snitcher (14Feb1921-          ) and Hilda Marie Shoultes (20Mar1926-7Sep2006) of Largo (Pinellas County), Florida who was assigned to the 11th Lt Inf Bde (U.S. Army) and was killed in action at Quang Ngai, Vietnam on April 28, 1968.  His name appears on the Wall.
 
Dedicated to the memory of Corporal Neil DiNaples (U.S. Army), a close college friend from Miami-Dade Junior College, who committed suicide as a result (my opinion) of action incurred during the performance of his duty somewhere in South Vietnam during 1968. His name DOES NOT appear on the Wall.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 





January 14, 2012
 
 
 
 
WHAT ABOUT  MITT?
 

With a grim outlook forecast for the world in the near future, will it really matter who occupies the White House? 
 
Maybe this election warrants the same philosophy I used in 2004 by voting for George W. Bush. My mother always used to say, “You made the mess; you clean it up.”
 
He’s been gone since 2008 along with many of those “who made the mess” being thrown out as well. President Obama is taking the heat now but isn’t it interesting that the heat comes from those who made the mess during the Bush administration (and in some cases, before).
 
Hating Obama seems to be a national obsession these days, especially for the GOP. 
 
So what about Romney?
 
He’s kinda’ like a bag of oatmeal. Bland, boring, and really no fun to use as a political punching bag. Dave Letterman joked that his personal demeanor is similar to the guy who comes up to your table at a restaurant and asks if everything is OK.
 
The scary thing about Romney is that he manages to pander to so many people and that he could actually have a chance of winning the election. Then we’d be stuck with him for at least four years; something similar to the situation in 1928 when Herbert Hoover was elected.
 
Maybe the way to make this election interesting would be a third-party candidate. How about Smash-Mouth Newt with Rick Santorum as his purifying running mate?
 
That would get the attention of the Radical-Right evangelicals. 
 
Can you imagine a three-way debate? Newt at his best, slapping Obama and Romney around and making them actually explain what they would do to create jobs?
 
Bring on the melted Velveeta drizzled on pork rinds. Perhaps afterward, we could have another round of Election Reform discussions in Congress.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 









January 13, 2012
 
 
 
FINALLY, HELL EXPLAINED
It’s an old Internet floater but one of the best explanations I have ever seen.
 
 
 
The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term examination. This answer given by a student was so profound that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
 
 
BONUS QUESTION: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
 
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. 
 
I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. 
 
As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.
 
Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and that people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to hell. 
 
With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. 
 
Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
 
This gives two possibilities:
 
1.       If hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate of which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2.       If hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
 
So which is it?
 
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my freshman year that, “It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,” and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true and thus, I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.
 
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct… leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting…
 
OH MY GOD!!!
 
 
 
POSTNOTE: The student made an A+.
 
 
Thanx to Debbie
 




January 12, 2012
 
 
SMART VOTING
10 Smart Ways to Make Your Vote Count
 
 
1.       Vote in every election this year or please keep quiet while waiting for a foreign takeover.
2.       Vote intelligently, not based on stupid, extremely expensive media rhetoric or by party lines.
3.       Vote to save the nations first, jobs second, poverty third and your needs last.
4.       Vote knowing the economy cannot be fixed by the government – research and understand the economy.
5.       Vote against any form of socialism; all countries in Europe that are going under financially are socialistic – it’s against nature, it abolishes competition.  Everything in the universe is competing to survive.
6.       Vote knowing your vote is for a representative who represents the nation first and you second.
7.       Vote knowing if we return incumbents to office, nothing will change – they will not be representing us.
8.       Vote knowing that we are the problem, not the government. We put them in and we can take them out.
9.       Vote to increase the government’s low approval rating; time to totally clean house.
10.  Vote to send future messages – our votes cannot be bought by pledged, special-interest money.
 
 
We may not be the smartest people in the world, certainly not the dumbest either. Please vote intelligently – government of the people.
 








January 10, 2012
- Tuesday (posted @ approximately 9:30AM)
 
  
 
FEARLESS PREDICTIONS
 


Start preparing yourself for an endless tirade of political ads and nasty campaign accusations that will dominate our airways until Election Day.
 
So far, at least in Florida, the only person who is constantly buying “prime time” ads is Mitt Romney. The only equals to his airtime ad (the same one over and over and over again) are the Ford Guy and our monopoly electric company Florida Power & Light who claim these “ads are paid for by company shareholders, not customers.”
 
If you believe that FPL claim, I have some Florida land for sale that I’ll be happy to show you when the tide goes out.
 
But I digress…
 
With the college national championship decided and football season coming to a close, it’s time to step up and offer my fearless predictions for 2012.
 
Today’s primary in New Hampshire – Mitt Romney.
 
South Carolina – Ron Paul (in a squeaker).
 
Florida - Newt Gingrich.
 
My dear readers, please understand that if my football picks and lottery winnings were dependent upon feeding my family, we would’ve starved a long time ago.
 
And I will add the following note: In my opinion, Romney will probably gain the Republican nomination.
 
What is sad, at least for academic reasons, is (once again, my opinion) there are no candidates in this present group of clowns who stand out over President Obama. 
 
When the GOP finally decides what candidate it can control (if any), that will be who runs in November. This is what happened in 2008 and it will happen again.
 
The biggest problem I see on Election Day is that one or more of these present-day Republican candidates who don’t get the GOP nod, will run independent.
 
And this means one thing. Obama gets four more years.
 
How sad our election process has become when, like in life, those who have the money will dictate who wins this election. The Golden Rule of politics will apply: Those who have the gold make the rules.
 
Who will be the ultimate winner? Certainly not the common Middle-Class working American citizen. No matter who wins (likely will be Obama), 2013 will probably resume business as usual.
 
My wish for all politicians, political pundits, talking heads, and news media is a pandemic of laryngitis lasting until… let’s say November 6th.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 




January 10, 2012
 
 
 
 
IS THIS THE CHANGE WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR?
 

In 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised that his presidency would be a time for change.
 
YES WE CAN!!!
 
I am what used to be called a “compassionate conservative.” I identified more with John McCain than Barack Obama in 2008 and would have voted the Republican ticket had not McCain caved in to the Radical-Right and allowed Sarah Palin to be his running mate.
 
At first, I made excuses for President Obama as his adversaries were so blatant about voting him out of the White House in 2012 but the gridlock and excuses seemed to go on and on and on without any semblance of leadership and direction.
 
Until about a week ago, I have been openly critical of President Obama and his failure to live up to his campaign promises. I’ve been especially disillusioned by his seemingly total abandonment of the labor movement and his failure to do anything about financial industry reform.
 
Up until this most recent congressional holiday, Obama had followed a tenet of capitulation with those Radical-Right Republicans who would rather throw the country into turmoil rather than compromise any situation with his administration.
 
Many of Obama’s supporters (myself included) had resigned ourselves to seeing more of the same from this president and have started woefully looking beyond this current pack of clowns for a REAL representative of the American conservative ideal.
 
All of this suddenly changed and I say it’s about time.
 
During this most recent congressional holiday (they call it recess), President Obama made four (count em’ – 4) appointments that hopefully, will signal the change I’ve been hoping for when I voted for Obama in 2008.
 
These appointments will most certainly insure that the National Labor Relations Board will still function as an agency to protect workers and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will finally have an acting head to ensure consumers are properly represented.
 
This new “get tough – in your face” policy by President Obama is a good start and one that he should have used from the very start of his administration.
 
Make no mistake.
 
If Obama wants the support of labor, he must continue to help the middle-class and he must do it with more than words. 
 
Will current labor leaders support Obama and make sure he is sincere and not pandering for their support?
 
I hope so because without labor’s support, he cannot be re-elected in 2012.
 
  
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 





January 9, 2012
 
 
 
THE AUDIT
With Income Tax time just around the corner, it’s time to share this wonderful Internet-Floater once again.
 
 
 
The IRS decides to audit Ralph and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor is not surprised when Ralph shows up with his attorney.
 
The auditor says, “Well sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I’m not sure the IRS finds this believable.”
 
“I’m a great gambler and I can prove it,” says Ralph. “How about a demonstration?”
 
The auditor thinks for a moment and says, “Okay, go ahead.”
 
Ralph says, “I’ll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.”
 
The auditor thinks for a moment and says, “No way! It’s a bet.”
 
Ralph removes his glass eye and bites it.
 
The auditor’s jaw drops.
 
Ralph says, “Now, I’ll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.”
 
The auditor can tell Ralph isn’t blind so he takes the bet.
 
Ralph removes his dentures and bites his good eye.
 
The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand with Ralph’s attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.
 
“Want to go double or nothing?” Ralph asks.   “I’ll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk and pee into that wastebasket on the other side and never get a drop anywhere in between.”
 
The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there’s no way this guy can manage that stunt so he agrees again.
 
Ralph stands beside the desk and unzips his pants but although he strains mightily, he can’t make the stream reach the wastebasket on the side so he pretty much urinates all over the desk.
 
The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.
 
But Ralph’s attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.
 
“Are you okay?” the auditor asks.
 
“Not really,” says the attorney.
 
“This morning, when Ralph told me he’d been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and you’d be happy about it.”
 
 








January 8, 2011
 
 
 
 
WHAT ABOUT NEWT?
In order to “compare and contrast” as we say in the Ed Biz, you may want to scroll down to May 21, 2011 and check out the blog titled WHAT ABOUT JEB?
 
 
 
Newt Gingrich is another bloated example of an egomaniacal politician who has been around so long that he’s actually started believing what his toadies and backers are telling him.
 
“You’re the only one with the moxie, the brains, the ideas, and above all, the fundraising power to beat that Pretender in the White House,” they whisper seductively into his ear. 
 
Since it’s what he wants to hear, why should he discount their sage advice?
 
Gingrich, much like those with whom he’s debating against, are politically damaged goods that have either lost previous election bids or been thrown out of office by the voters.
 
And, at least until this moment, he doesn’t seem to get the message.
 
My favorite story about Newt actually came during the last presidential election. It was said that he served divorce papers against his first wife as (so she alleges) she lay recovering from cancer surgery in her hospital bed.
 
At that time, he was cheating on her with the person who would become his second wife.
 
Later on, he was steppin’ out on his second wife with his future third wife as he led the Republican “family-values” charge during the Clinton impeachment hearings.
 
You can’t get much more breathtakingly hypocritical than that!!!
 
When confronted with his past marital behaviors during this current presidential quest, he merely stated that he believes in a forgiving God and that by implication, if God has forgiven him, the voters will do the same.
 
I’m not too sure that all the evangelicals and Radical Right-Wingers who tend to vote Republican would agree with this line of reasoning.
 
Many of them are still having trouble trying to forgive President Obama for being a Muslim born in Kenya.
 
Concerning his three marriages, my father would say that “Newt apparently keeps falling in love with people he doesn’t like.”
 
He does have one striking personality issue that I think Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post summed up best by saying, “He frightens the children.”
 
Actually, I hope Newt is able to go all the way and officially becomes a presidential nominee. If he is overlooked for some obscure reason, I hope he runs as an independent or “third party.” Since he is counting on South Carolina to escalate his popularity, perhaps the DIXIECRAT party would rise again to national prominence.
 
It really doesn’t matter but it would keep things interesting.
 
If I were a betting man, I would wager that Gingrich will probably lose but he’ll most certainly lose dirty which will give the media and those constantly “talking heads” something to analyze and talk about over and over and over again.
 
Imagine the attack ads on the public airways!!!
 
Newt could be the best thing that ever happened to President Obama. He’ll fry all his colorless Republican primary opponents to a crisp as he scorches the earth behind him.
 
But considering $4 gas coming in the spring and a possible war in the Middle East, does anyone really want to be President in 2013?
 
Are there any Hoover descendants available?
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 







January 7, 2012
 
 
 
WHY RUN ANYTHING LIKE
A BUSINESS?
Why is selling pizza a prerequisite for
good government?
 
 
I offer a very simple question: Why is it that Fortune 500 businesspeople are running around saying they can fix all our problems if we’d just let them run things like a business?
 
Isn’t it business that got us into this mess in the first place?
 
Banks that were too big to fail?
 
Wall Street companies that went so greed crazy that they nearly destroyed our country?
 
Automakers that were so badly run that we had to loan them money to stay in business?
 
Pharmaceutical makers that constantly get sued because their drugs kill people?
 
Chemical, oil, and mining companies that destroy the environment in the name of profit?
 
Tobacco companies that sell products that kill their own customers?
 
Am I missing something?
 
So just for a moment, let’s try and get behind this idea. 
 
Folks, like pizza mongul and all-around good guy Herman Cain, or hair model Donald Trump, suggest that because they were successful in business, that makes them the perfect people to lead our country.
 
Why is selling pizza a prerequisite to good government? In fact, why is earning large sums of money really any indicator of future success in anything?
 
Think about what it seems to take to succeed at a big multinational corporation today. To be a successful businessperson, you need to be focused on highly dedicated. 
 
OK, that could be good.
 
You need to value profit and material success above all things.
 
Hmmm, possible problem here.
 
You have to be heartless, ruthless, and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
 
Ohhh, now things are sounding a little dicey.
 
And finally, you should be willing to lie, cheat, steal, or destroy to achieve success. Oh, and you have to keep the one overarching principle of modern business in the forefront of your mind at all times:
 
Don’t get caught!!!
 
So if these ideas are an accurate description of a successful big businessperson, then, by their own admission, a successful president should be a lying, cheating, unfaithful, greedy criminal with a really good team of defense attorneys. He or she should also be monomaniacal, and probably sociopathic.
 
Does this sound like the sort of person you’d want in the White House?
 
Does this sound like your next senator or congressman?
 
The simple truth is that we’ve been told for years that what’s good for business is good for America
 
The last few Republican presidents adhered strongly to that belief and history shows that our country has gone steadily downhill since then.
 
Millions of jobs have been sent overseas or just eliminated for perfectly good business principles like increasing stock dividends or maintaining profitability.
 
Millions of acres of forest and farmland have been destroyed or damaged, lakes polluted, the oceans over fished, and all those actions were driven by business plans that resulted in profits.
 
So, no real harm done.
 
Right?
 
And now, these same business principles are being applied to everything from non-profits to public education. Highly paid superintendents (CEOs) are leading cadres of administrators (middle management) in a full-fledged charge to break the backs of unionized workers (teachers) all to supposedly better serve students (consumers) and keep stockholders (taxpayers) happy.
 
And has this effort been successful?
 
Not so far.
 
What about Charter Schools?
 
Largely profitable, but test scores are mostly as low or lower than public schools, teachers are not unionized, facilities like libraries are absent, and standards are questionable.
 
But from a business standpoint, they’re doing great in that they’re undermining the competition (public education) by draining off their funding (tax money).
 
And taxpayers have virtually no say in any of this.
 
So again; I ask a simple question:
 
Why is running anything like a business a good idea?
 
Most new businesses fail within the first year. Most workers at big businesses (and many small businesses) are stressed, unhappy, abused, underpaid, and afraid to speak out in protest for fear of losing their jobs.
 
And consumers are paying more for less every day and being lied to, exploited, and abused.
 
If it were up to me, I would run the government like a service-orientated non-profit association. The one and only goal being to serve the association members (public) in the best way possible with the only guiding principle being lot do the right thing for the most people.
 
I would run the public schools like a non-profit educational institution with the only goal being to educate the students in the best way possible as guided by evidence-based research every step of the way with absolutely no input from politicians, special-interest groups, or businesses.
 
And business should be run like a credit union where intelligent practices are used to maintain cash flow on an evenhanded and sane matter. Profits go back to owners (members) and employees are treated with dignity and respect and are valued for their contributions.
 
My favorite definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Big business has been committing the same crimes for the last 200 years and things always go the same way.
 
A few people get rich and everyone else gets screwed.
 
So where are we folks?
 
Are we rich, insane, or screwed?
 
Any questions?
 
I’m still waiting for answers.
 
 
The following was written by Michael Seinberg and was published in the December 15, 2011 edition of the ALTAMONTENTERPRISE, a small newspaper from Albany County, New York that has been serving their readers for over 127 years. Mr. Seinberg describes himself as a writer, photographer, father, husband, and artist; he is most definitely not a businessman.
 
 
 







January 6, 2012
 
 
 
THE REAL “POWER” OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS IN FLORIDA
Under Florida’s RIGHT TO WORK doctrine
 
 
During the Christmas holidays, I engaged in a rather heated discussion with a Tea Party supporter over the role of public service unions in Florida. Once again, this Tea Party supporter represented the opinion that Florida public service unions are to blame for Florida’s economic woes.
 
Let’s take a look at a few facts.
 
First of all, Florida is a RIGHT TO WORK state. In simple explanation, this means that those working in public service jobs (teachers, firemen, policemen, etc.) cannot go on strike and/or walk off the job. Therefore, contract negotiations do not have any real TEETH should IMPASSE be declared or a labor contract offer be rejected.
 
Public service unions are not the sole cause of Florida’s
current economic problems due to excessive salaries, benefits, pensions, etc. for public employees. All of these items were budgeted, negotiated and agreed upon by both parties as a condition of employment. Any and all dollars paid in salaries, benefits; pensions, etc. belong to the employee, not the taxpayer. 
 
In other words, it’s my money. If those in the private sector failed to negotiate a similar compensation, benefits, a retirement pension etc. for yourself, shame on you. In reality, these items are agreed to as part of a package and designed in concept to attract and keep good employees.
 
As I said before, Florida is a RIGHT TO WORK state. For clarity purposes, let’s use teacher compensation packages as an example.
 
In truth, teachers’ salaries and health benefits are determined by local school boards by a simple majority vote. Even though the union bargains on behalf of teachers, if contract talks go to impasse or a special master, the local school district (school board) ALWAYS has the final say. 
 
Should a special master be hired to hear both sides and offer an impartial opinion, the local school board is not bound by that opinion and/or recommendation.
 
By law under the RIGHT TO WORK doctrine in Florida, ALL pensions, retirement benefits, tenure and bargaining rights are determined by the Florida Legislature and the governor, not the unions. The Florida Retirement System was created to implement and manage these funds and benefits.
 
The Legislature has the power to change the law and/or do away with the Florida Retirement System entirely.  However, those current enrolled in the program are bound by contract agreement and (hopefully), the courts would protect their rights.
 
Florida teacher’s union’s (and all public service unions) main functions under the RIGHT TO WORK doctrine are limited to the role of “watchdog” for the working contract currently in force. The union also serves as legal representative for teachers rights in contract and insurance matters.
 
In Florida as in many other states, the teachers’ union does not serve as a powerful union lobby in Tallahassee. The Florida Legislature’s list of registered lobbyists does not have any local, state, or national teachers’ union lobbyist recorded.
 
The School Board of Palm Beach County has one professional registered lobbyist. The district’s health insurance provider currently has 25 professional registered lobbyists.
 
During my last 10 years of teaching service in Florida, I was a member of the Classroom Teachers Association of Palm Beach County, Florida Negotiations team. I represented some 12,000 teachers in working contract negotiations with the school district. There were times that we reached IMPASSE and several times that we walked away from meetings. At no time during my 10 year tenure did we ever go on strike. To do so would risk arrest, jail time, and revocation of my pension rights.
 
In reality, the teachers’ unions of Florida have no real power other than talk. There are no provisions under law that states the school district is obliged to meet with the union at any time for purposes of a labor contract. 
 
There are no provisions under law that the district is bound to any agreement that the local school board doesn’t ratify.
 
For those who see public service unions that represent public employees as the “Wicked Witch of the West” as in the WIZARD OF OZ; you might heed the words of Glynda, the Good Witch of the North.
 
When the Wicked Witch started making threats, Glynda threw back her head, laughed, and replied…
 
“Oh rubbish!!! Be gone!!! You have no power here!!!”
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 




January 5, 2012
 
 
 
 
SPECIAL THOUGHTS FOR 2012
Thanx to Uncle Russell
 
 
 
 
Be happy and successful in life.
 
For two reasons:
 
1)      It will make the people who love and admire you happy and proud.
2)      It will make the people who dislike you miserable and jealous.
 
Either way, it’s a win/win situation.
 
 
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
 
The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.
 
He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
 
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
 
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. 
 
“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. But it won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will always be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
 
Remember that friends are very rare jewels indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they will always open their hearts to us.
 
Cherish your friends. Show them how much you care.
 
If you have read this far, you are my friend and I am honored!!!
 
And if I’ve ever left a “hole” in your fence, please forgive me.
 
 
 





January 1, 2012
 
 
 
 
CONTRACT TO RECLAIM AMERICA
 
 
A new year prompts a sense of rebirth and renewal. Many cling to the hope for better tomorrows, hoping that a sense of cynicism and pessimism that has prevailed for the past six years can be erased.
 
On this traditional New Years Day, Americans would be wise to celebrate calendar newness and try to forget about the endless number of downturns during the old year.
 
During 2011, the working (and non-working) Middle Class seethed in economic heartburn, developing a perpetual crankiness toward our DO-NOTHING CONGRESS while feeling the sharp blade of statehouse and Main Street America cutbacks and job losses without any concrete remedies on the debtor-nation horizon that America seems to be rushing toward.
 
Working (and non-working) Middle Class Americans seem to be in a drunken state about the everyday tug-of-war with politicians from the Liberal Left and the Conservative Right that in reality, amounts to heating the air while accomplishing nothing but monetary fodder for talking heads who control the media agenda.
 
Don’t get me wrong!!! I would be the last person to stifle freedom of the press and free rhetoric but I hope the media’s right to free propaganda includes the citizenry’s right to challenge their mercenary, crowd-pleasing hypnosis.
 
Listening to machine-gun commentary polluting the broadcast air initiated by self-appointed presidential candidates who promise everything from baby food to Heaven-on-earth is enough to make me sick.
 
These self-appointed candidates, some of whom were thrown out of power during the 2006 and 2008 elections and some, who are on the payroll in various state offices or in Congress, seem to have an endless supply of money and followers who are willing to prostitute themselves…
 
For what?
 
One might conclude that many working class Americans are wallowing in the sourness of a nation adrift in self-imposed heartburn and are quickly being hustled into the darkness of economic decay by the corporate CEO’s who have sold them out to foreign entities.
 
Working Class Americans have the power to change things but for whatever reason, we continue to elect and restore these same self-appointed candidates from the upper class dynasties whose records indicate continued failure of this trickle-down economic policy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan back in 1980.
 
Working Class Americans wallow in the sourness that Washington and Wall Street are destroying the economic virtues of Main Street America.
 
We have the power to change it…
 
But so far, we haven’t!!!
 
We’ve been sold on the concept of FOLLOW YOUR HEART. 
 
Yes, there is a GRATIFICATION FACTOR and some of it is being caused by those from my generation; retiring BABY BOOMERS who WANT IT ALL and WANT IT NOW.
 
Yet, many from my generation cherish the American credo of DO YOUR DUTY. 
 
For some of us (retired teachers for example), it reflects the family values of our parents whom Tom Brokaw correctly labeled THE GREATEST GENERATION.
 
Unfortunately, some of my generation has also expressed an annoying lack of self-discipline seen as less a virtue and more as an antiquated sentiment designed to inhibit our ever-expanding comfort zone of inappropriate behavior.
 
But now, for the first time in our nation’s history, the America that our parents have handed to us is in danger of being lost to our children and grandchildren. 
 
So what needs to be done to reclaim our America?
 
First of all, a message to my fellow educators: Return to first principles; the primary job of teaching. Use your power and influence to direct the explosive, creative energy that will make America great again. Look upon teaching as a calling and not a job. Your reward will not be monetary but your contribution equals those who wear the uniform and fight for our freedom.
 
To students and the younger generation of Americans: Return to the primary job of learning and channel your idealistic passion to reform our society. Learn respect; learn self-discipline and accept responsibility for your actions.
 
To our elected and public officials: Embellish a self-renewing campaign to encourage participation by the people, bring government back to the people, and go easy on headline-triggering rhetoric that tends to divide people, condemn thinkers and the innovators. Represent us by being one of us; not by joining the elite but by demonstrating real American leadership.
 
To our business leaders: Ponder your values and bring more meaning and true rewards to the everyday common American worker. Make them a vital part of your enterprise; not merely a tool for greater profit. Restore pride in American workmanship and the MADE IN AMERICA label.
 
To our church and spiritual leaders: Understand and promote the strains of human love, mysticism and spirituality that infuse so many members of our younger generation. They too, are searching for their rightful place in the American Dream. Promote the enrichment of life, family, country, nation and nature without polluting any of it. Deepen our love for human rights and political freedom without mutilating it.
 
It was the biblical Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, who may have spoken for the ages:
 
 
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
 
 
It is impossible to promote public interest with disinterest. 
 
It is impossible to exert growth with inertia. 
 
It is impossible to lead by following. 
 
It is impossible to be content with discontent.  
 
It is impossible to look to the essential task by looking away.
 
Let’s rediscover the virtue and decency of civility and tolerance that can reclaim America.
 
 
Inspired from an article written by J. Earle Bowden of the Pensacola News Journal
 
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 

 






December 29, 2011
 
 
 
FOPEC
FOOD PRODUCING EXPORTING COUNTRIES
(Pronounced foo peck)
 
 
 
The price of oil has increased almost 15% in 2011 making it the third straight year that oil prices have risen. 
 
It is also the third straight year that major oil companies have seen record profits in spite of a major economic recession in America.
 
And the general consensuses among those who control our “free” market consider that another 15% can be handled by consumers and small business owners of America. Many are predicting the price of oil to exceed $130 per barrel by spring.
 
Many factors that have driven stocks to increase in value during 2011 may soon go away. The oil market speculators will once again find the buying interest they saw in 2009 and 2010 and gas prices for the average working American will soar.
 
Meanwhile behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia and OPEC have taken steps to close down surplus supplies in 2012 which will force crude prices upward in excess of that magical $100 per barrel.
 
There is also a much underreported rumor going around that the Saudis have abandoned a $200 billion, 10-year program of development that would have increased marginal barrel reserves in the kingdom by as much as 5 million barrels per day.
 
In addition, OPEC has agreed to a daily output ceiling of 30 million barrels. The last time OPEC established production limits cartel-wide was more than three years ago when prices had dropped to $50 per barrel and in my opinion, it caused the worst economic downturn in the USA since the Great Depression of 1929.
 
My friends, the next time you decide to exceed the speed limits on the Interstate (in excess of 65MPH), consider the following:
 
These are once again, the beginnings of a concerted controlled supply squeeze designed to line the pockets of our enemies, our oil companies, and our energy suppliers. 
 
If there are any disruptions in 2012 – whether from a war in Iran over the Straits of Hormuz, a collapse of the fragile Iraqi infrastructure now that the U.S. has declared an end to the “war”, a glitch in the newly instituted Libyan oil industry, or a number of other issues that maybe will and maybe won’t happen, we will have out of control oil prices once again that will drastically affect our meager recovery from the Bush Recession of 2007.
 
PROBLEM- Oil keeps going up but the larger cost is added on by U.S. Corporations and Wall Street Commodities Trading (as it was in 2007-2008).
 
SOLUTION- The formal establishment of FOPEC (Food Producing Exporting Countries) to balance the trade between energy and food.
 
 
a)       Use barrels to deliver our grain and match the cost of a barrel of grain to the cost of a barrel of oil. JUSTIFICATION- We are the breadbasket of the world – they are the oil basket.
b)      Remove oil from the Commodities Trading Floor.
c)       Nationalize Refineries and delivery systems.
 
 
JUSTIFICATION- When a country is once again faced with a CRISIS over a RESOURCE that affects the MAJORITY of the population and that population has PAID financially (over 4 trillion dollars) and with LIVES (over 700,000 dead) for the 16% we receive from Iraq, then this resource needs to be owned and managed “By the People and For the People.”
 
Enough is enough. After all, haven’t we learned how stupid is a financial system that bails out France from World War II, rebuilds Japan, Vietnam, and now Iraq?
 
And yet, we continue to be the world’s policeman!!!
 
No one can equal the USA when it comes to arms and war. We do it better than anyone on the face of the earth. It is time for this country to take a mature look at the situation in Europe and learn from their past experience of suckering the U.S. into war while they reap benefits from dealing with our enemies.
 
Time to grow up America!!!
 
If we don’t, 2012 will be another strong year for energy and the Middle East and another major downturn for us.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 

 
 



 
December 28, 2011
 
 
May your troubles be less, may your blessings be more, and may nothing but happiness come through your door. Happy New Year 2012 to all!!!
EdNote: If you read this blog and/or my weekly publication entitled IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFEON PLANET JUPITER? ®, you know how these values are cherished by the SHOULTES and all associated families. 
 
 
AMERICA’S STRENGTH IS FOUND IN HER FAMILIES
Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military advocate who writes about politics, the military, the economy and culture. She can be reached at susan@susanstamperbrown.com, her website www.susanstamberbrown.com and Facebook.
 
 
I write this final column for 2011 during a momentary and much-needed reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. When your family is spread across the country like pinpoints on a map, during holidays, your vehicle and body seem to be in competition with each other as to which one will wear out first. Presently the score is tied; my vehicle is in dire need of cleaning and an oil change and I’m in need of a shower and an attitude adjustment.
 
Family is a lot like praline candy – extremely sweet with a few nuts. No matter how crazy some of them make us feel or how crazy we make them feel, when it is all said and done, our family remains the most basic source of strength for our country. Winston Churchill once said, “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society are created, strengthened and maintained.”
 
Churchill could well have been describing America a long time ago, when divorce and unwed pregnancies were not normal, and two-parent families helped children to establish a moral compass by teaching them right from wrong and self-reliance by way of hard work.
 
“Once upon a time” seems light-years removed when one takes into account Hollywood’s interpretation of “family” plastered across prime time television time slots. Most telling are statistics found at the Childstats.gov.website, including a graph showing the percentage of births to unwed women from 1980 through 2009. The period experienced an increase in unwed births from every age category, and overall, the numbers doubled.
 
Another study, completed by the Pew Research Center in January 2010, exhibiting the “values, attitudes, behaviors and demographic characteristics” of young people ages 18 to 29 of the “Millennium Generation” also known as Generation Y, uncovered that only 60 percent of this age group were raised by both parents, and in the year 2006, this group far-exceeded earlier generations in unwed birth percentages.
 
Before you roll your eyes and succumb to your holiday break slumber, please humor me for a moment. Before you discount what I’m saying, think about the last time you poured yourself a much too hot bath. You suffered through what would otherwise be intolerable until your body adjusted, or the water cooled, whichever came first.
 
In the same way, this trend of not-so-normal families did not happen overnight; society has become so desensitized that shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER are considered strange and dangerous, and FAMILY GUY is classic. The decrease in the traditional families Churchill alluded to has also led to a decline of values like self-reliance (versus government reliance) that once strengthened this nation.
 
The 2010 Index of Dependence on Government Report prepared by the Heritage Foundation found that government dependence in America grew by 13.6 percent in 2009 and by a jaw-dropping 49 percent since 2001. What has also increased, according to the Pew poll, is that young Americans are relatively supportive of letting the government fill the economic gap created by single parent homes.
 
While it is true that a whole lot of great kids can come from single parent homes and some downright crummy kids can come from two-parent homes, it is both reasonable and fair to conclude that America is paying the price, good and bad, for each generation’s choices. No matter their flavor, it cannot be denied that one of our most precious commodities is found seated around America’s holiday tables, be it that Great Depression grandparent who eats what’s left on your plate or that disgusting at her age, braless peacenik aunt.
 
With that said, this nut is signing off for 2011 and hitting the road in my dirty SUV for another round of family.
 
 
 



December 22, 2011
 
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON JULY 12, 2010
Published again on January 7, 2011
NEEDS TO BE REVISITED AGAIN
 
THE HOME ACT OF 2012
Solution to Illegal Aliens
 I'm not the first one to think this up but I truly believe its time to try a different approach. After all, enforcing the law does not seem to be working and the children of these illegals are impacting our welfare resources, social security, medical services, and public education to name a few.
 
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the HOMESTEAD ACT which allowed application for up to 160 acres of land in the undeveloped federal land areas outside of the original thirteen colonies.

The law required three steps: file an application (with a fee), improve the land (within five years) and file for deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the
US government, including freed slaves, could file an application and evidence of improvements (compliance) to a federal land office.

Only about 40% of the applicants who started the process were able to complete it and obtain title to their homestead land. Eventually, 1.6 million homesteads were granted and 270,000,000 acres of federal land were privatized between 1862 and 1934; a total of 10% of all lands in the
USA. Homesteading was discontinued in 1976 except in Alaska where it continued until 1986.

Food for thought?

Perhaps a new law could be crafted to answer the overwhelming impact of illegal aliens presently living in the
USA who are draining our economy and (some say) preventing us from economic recovery.

Illegal immigration (illegal aliens) to the USA refers to the act of foreign nationals intentionally violating immigration policies and national laws by entering or remaining in the United States without proper permission from the government.

In 2008, the estimated population of illegals residing in the
US was estimated to be around 11 million. According to the PEW HISPANIC CENTER report, 57% of illegals were from Mexico; 24% from Central America; 9% from Asia; 6% from Europe and 4% from the rest of the world.

Illegal aliens seem to have access to financial resources provided by our taxes that far exceed those for Americans who were born here.

So this is my proposal.

Congress will pass a law requiring all illegals to register with the government as part of the HOME ACT OF 2012. By making application, the HOME ACT will provide American citizenship (no questions asked) to illegal aliens if the following criteria are met:
 
1.      Applicants must find a job, establish a home, and faithfully pay taxes for three consecutive years.
2.      Applicants must not be involved in any illegal activities against the government or be convicted of any crime.
3.      Any applicant, who volunteers for military service; wears the uniform of the United States and serves this country honorably, will be granted citizenship.
4.      After three years in any or all of these capacities and by show of proof that all requirements of the HOME ACT OF 2012 have been met, applicants will be granted full American citizenship with all it's rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
5.      Any illegal alien who fails to register for the HOME ACT of 2012 will upon conviction, be deported to the country of his/her origin.
6.      Any applicant after being duly registered who fails in any of the above listed criteria will be subject to immediate deportation to their original place of origin. Any deported illegal who returns to the US will be charged with illegal entry and imprisoned for life.
 

The creed of the HOME ACT OF 2012 comes from Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the
United States of America. There are many variations of his speech but in my opinion, these parts are the most noteworthy:
 

In the first place, we should insist that the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us; he shall be treated on an exact equity with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man becoming an American and nothing but an American.

There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American but something else also, isn't an American at all.

We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any flag of a nation to which we are hostile.

We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.

Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or to leave the country. English should be the only language taught or used in public schools

We can have no 50-50 allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.
 

Nearly 280 years ago, my Shoultes (Schuldt) ancestors left their home in Nordhofen, Vielback,
Westerwald, Germany on a perilous trip to the New World seeking freedom. According to family legends, they established a new home somewhere in the Palatine region of what is now upstate New York around the year 1734.

Illegal aliens?

Perhaps.

Squatters?

More than likely.

Recipients of welfare?

No such thing. They had to make it on their own.
 
It took hard work in order to survive. Had they not been good farmers, they would have perished in the first winter.

By hard work along with much sacrifice and perseverance, they were able to establish a prosperous farm in this
New World.

And when it came time to fight for their new home in 1776, Captain Matheis Schultes (
7Oct1740-9Jan1812) and three of his sons; Johan Jacob (12May1761-1Feb1852), William (19Dec1762-11Apr1808), and Mathias II (10Aug1764-4Jan1849) answered the call and fought for independence.

Today, somewhere in the old 18th century portion of Beaverdam Cemetery near a little village called Berne in Albany County, NY; a monument has recently been erected to the memory of Capt. Matheis Schultes (thanks to the efforts of his ancestors; in particular Cheryl Workman of Michigan).

His original grave location has long been lost to the elements of time but nearby, in faded glory to the greatness of our country, are the graves of his sons Jacob and William. About five miles away, at the top of a place called
West Mountain in a heavily wooded remote location, is the grave of Mathias II.

May we never forget them and what they stood for.

My ancestors, and many others like them, serve as testimony that hard work and sacrifice, not welfare and government relief programs, solidify the pride of American citizenship.

They did it!!! Their descendants have done it!!!

Many of those here illegally would willingly do it if given a chance.

Why not give the HOME ACT OF 2012 or something like it a try?


 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 






December 21, 2011
 
 
 
 
BIGGEST DO-NOTHING CONGRESS IN HISTORY
Here We Go Again
 
 
Once again, our DO-NOTHING Congress is headed toward a gridlock collision over chief ingredients of Obama’s recipe for reviving the economy.
 
Tax increases and jobless benefit cuts await millions of Americans on New Year’s Day if the gridlock isn’t resolved.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won’t renegotiate an extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment unless the House first approves a short-term bipartisan version the Senate has overwhelmingly approved.
 
House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that he expects the House to reject the Senate bill and then request additional talks.
 
The Senate passed a two-month extension of the tax cut and unemployment benefits last Saturday with overwhelming support from senators of both parties and the backing of President Obama. 
 
It had been negotiated by Senate Democratic and GOP leaders after they could not agree on how to pay for a more expensive, year-long measure.
 
Unless Congress acts, 160 million American workers will see a 2% increase in Social Security payroll taxes that will be deducted from their paychecks in 2012 (which also happens to be an election year). 
 
Benefits for millions of long-term unemployed people will start to expire in 2012 (which also happens to be an election year).
 
And once again, the will of the people is completely ignored by a two-party system whose members are more interested in getting re-elected than doing what is best for the country.
 
The GOP is engaged in protecting millionaires from tax increases at any cost. Payroll taxes are supposedly earmarked for Social Security and Medicare and are deposited directly into the general fund along with the rest of our income tax burden. 
 
Obama’s interest in extending only the payroll tax portion is targeted to help the paycheck earning Middle Class only. 
 
In reality, jobs only get created when employers determine there is a need to hire workers. Simply giving tax a tax break has never and will never create a job. Trickle down economics is a right wing myth that has been practiced since the 1980s when President Reagan was elected. That was over 30 years ago. 
 
It doesn’t work because of corporate greed and corporate tax breaks for those who have outsourced our American jobs overseas.
 
I propose taxing these rich corporations heavily. Then, the people earning the paychecks working these projects will spend their money on things not built in China. This will help to re-energize our American economy by creating jobs.
 
And voters; we must stop sending these bastards back to Washington; in any shape and in any form!!!
 
THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE – Obama needs to go on national television and say he won’t accept his party’s nomination for a second term (see my YANKEE entry of August 10th). 
 
This will cause the GOP to scramble because they won’t have anyone to blame. This will force them to nominate a credible candidate who can offer clear solutions; not continue this clown act we see in the GOP debates every week.
 
This will force the Democrats to find a credible candidate within their ranks. 
 
Have you noticed that for the past three years, a former Democratic candidate has been quietly and forcefully working her job on our behalf?
 
Maybe just maybe she will emerge as a credible candidate for president. After all, there are some who think she was the best candidate back in 2008.
 
Something to ponder…
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 




December 17, 2011
 
 
 
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED???
Ending or just Beginning
 
 
The USA officially ended its war in Iraq on Thursday. After nearly nine years since American forces moved into the country under the premise of ridding Iraq of “weapons of mass destruction” which we later learned they didn’t have, the fight is now officially ended.
 
But the war probably won’t be over for a very long time.
 
It won’t be over for those who believed the war should never have started, that the USA was led into the fight by a government that gave a false impression (some say lied) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and planned to use them against us.
 
Only a few years removed from the horror and embarrassment of 9/11, a trusted Colin Powell, then George W. Bush’s Secretary of State, made our case in front of the United Nations that the WMD argument seemed not only plausible but, to many Americans, imperative that we fight.
 
The war won’t be over for those families of the 4,487 brave soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 32,226 brave soldiers wounded.
 
And the war won’t end any time soon for the 1,000,000 plus service men and women; veterans who now return home trying to find jobs and fit into an economy wrecked by our nine-year involvement.

Even the question of whether our going to war was a success or a disaster will be debated and mulled into the history books in the coming decades.
 
This war will live on within a unique corner of American history. Iraq gave us the terms, “shock-and-awe” and “surge.”
 
It gave us “Mission Accomplished” and the haunting images and deeply disturbing morality of Abu Ghraib. It gave us Fallujah and Basra, and Green Zone and IEDs.
 
It made us look at how we protected our soldiers in battle and how well we treated them when they returned home; wounded either physically or mentally. It made us reconsider what American military power should, and should not do; it made us question our intelligence gathering organizations.
 
And it gave us the images of Iraqis holding up their ink-stained index fingers after getting a chance to perform the most American of human acts – voting.
 
To this day, and for countless days to come, there will be discussions and debate about this war’s value.
 
Was it a disaster, a place where we had no business interfering.
 
Did we get suckered once again by our European allies’ concept of “OK USA, I’ll hold your coat!!! Go get ‘em” while they made billions and billions from lucrative business deals?
 
Did we achieve our stated objective by bringing democracy and freedom to a Middle Eastern nation?
 
Was the war in Iraq a prelude to the Arab Spring?
 
Or will the Arab Spring happen in spite of our involvement?
 
The Iraq War was unique in that many Americans believed our leaders that it required little sacrifice from those who stayed home and didn’t have friends and family members fighting.
 
And unlike Vietnam, there was no draft; no tax hike to finance the war.
 
So how will history record the legacy of the Iraq War?
 
The fighting has now concluded. The debate is just beginning.
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 
 


December 14, 2011
 
 
 
COST VALUE OF ADDED
MEDICAL TESTS
Thanx to Skeletonfinder
 
 
 
A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.
 
After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”
 
The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?”
 
“Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.
 
“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might be in a coma or something.”
 
The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on, the dog placed his front paws on the examination, raised up and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.
 
The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later, he returned with a cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.
 
The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”
 
The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.
 
The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill.
 
$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!!!”
 
The vet shrugged. “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the CAT scan, it’s now $150.”
 

 



December 12, 2011
 
 
EdNote: I would like to offer an explanation about where I’ve been for the past month. My beloved father, the one I’ve written about previously, passed away on November 15th at the age of 87. Except for the Parkinson’s which had ravaged his body for the past five years, he lived a long and wonderful life. We should all be so lucky and although his death was expected, it still was a shock. There are so many times and events that remind me of him and I hope to indulge my readers with some of those special times.
 
 
FLORIDA VOTERS TO BLAME FOR IRAQ AND MIDDLE EAST
Commentary written by:
Chad Lowe
Florida Sun Sentinel
December 7, 2011
 
 
Well, that was certainly a bust. In hindsight, it looks like our trillion bucks and thousands of casualties didn’t exactly produce the shining democratic example to other Middle Eastern regimes the neocons were hoping for.
 
Instead, we’re leaving behind a weak sectarian government that will be a puppet of the Iranians, the very bad guys Saddam was doing a fine job of containing before we took him out.
 
Nice job!!!
 
Not that our troops let us down. They went in there and fought for their country, the way they wanted to and the way they were expected to. It was the civilian leadership that failed in its duty by squandering them in a pointless endeavor.
 
If you want to blame somebody for Iraq, blame Florida voters (and not for the reason you’d think). The late Lawton Chiles got tired of being a U.S. Senator from Florida and came back home to run for governor back in 1994. 
 
Had he not edged Jeb Bush out in that election, the smart son would have been the heir apparent to the presidency. Instead, W., as governor of Texas, was the only Bush left standing to anoint.
 
Jeb, whether or not you agree with his politics, would have been competent enough that Poppy Bush wouldn’t have felt compelled to attach training wheels to his boy’s administration in the form of Dick Cheney. Jeb probably wouldn’t have allowed Cheney and his paranoid fellow travelers anywhere near the White House, anyway.
 
Which is to say that we here in Florida had plenty of chances to screw things up and,
 
We took advantage of every one of them.
 
 




November 15, 2010
 
  
THE POWER OF
POSITIVE THINKING
Musings for a book to be titled later
 
 
About 10 years ago, I was on my way to my second job (teaching elementary school was my first job – yes, most teachers with families work multiple jobs) at the Roger Dean Stadium baseball complex. I stopped to watch a Little League game that was being played in the park next to the complex.
 
As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was.
 
“We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile.
 
“Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.”
 
“Discouraged?” the boy answered with a puzzled look on his face. “Why should we be discouraged?"
 
“We haven’t been up to bat yet.”
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 



November 13, 2011
 
 
 
DID PENN STATES’S LEGENDARY COACH PATERNO STAY TOO LONG?
 
 
 
Legendary college football coach Joe Paterno, in a written statement shared with the media last week, advised Penn State University’s Board of Trustees “not to spend a single minute discussing my status.” 
 
As a result of the ongoing child-sex scandal at Penn State University involving football program personnel, Mr. Paterno announced he would retire at the end of this football season.
 
That same night, board trustees rejected his offer of retirement and the winningest major college football coach in history was unceremoniously fired; effective immediately.
 
Many sports pundits conceded it was a “shame” to see this legend go out on such a sour note. After all, Joe Paterno was a sterling example and role model of young men; not only for on-the-field sports success but off-field integrity during his 61 year association with Penn State University and his 46 years as the head football coach.
 
However, another word is far more fitting. It applies not only to how Coach Paterno makes his exit but how he and others at Penn State abdicated their fundamental adult responsibilities to protect children.
 
Shameful!!!
 
And speaking as a teacher/coach of some 36 years experience, I also find his lame behaviors and excuses completely unacceptable.
 
Speaking as a person who accepted the awesome responsibility of teaching and coaching children, both in elementary school physical education and in formal sports programs, I’ll tell you why.
 
Time and time again, there are horror stories and headlines about those who managed to attain authority and influence on the lives of young people and then crossed the lines of morality and decency.
 
Shameful!!!
 
So far, no child sex abuse charges have been directed at Coach Paterno himself but rather some colleagues that allegedly, were under his direction and supervision. 
 
According to the grand jury report reviewed by the media, Mike McQueary testified that as a Penn State graduate assistant in 2002, he saw former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky having sex with a young boy who appeared to be about 10 years old in a shower facility housed at the school.
 
Mr. McQueary, now a full-time assistant, also testified that he waited until the next day to inform Coach Paterno. 
 
Mr. Paterno testified that Mr. McQueary told him he saw Mr. Sandusky “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.”
 
Coach Paterno relayed Mr. McQueary’s account of this story to athletic director Tim Curley, who then told finance vice president Gary Schultz, who then told President Graham Spanier.
 
The hierarchy of reporting leads one to believe that everyone was following the “chain of command.” Apparently, at some point in this hierarchy, somebody “dropped the ball .”
 
The big question now as this story has evolved in the national media is WHY???
 
Why didn’t anyone within this “chain of command” hierarchy inform any law enforcement agency?
 
Now, over nine years later, Mr. Sandusky is facing charges of allegedly molesting eight boys over a 15 year period. 
 
Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz have been changed with perjury and failing to inform law enforcement officials of their investigation into these allegations.
 
So far, Coach Paterno has not been charged with any crime but he faces the disgrace of being fired from the position of one of college’s greatest coaching legends. According to latest reporting, Mr. Paterno has retained the services of an attorney.
 
Coach Paterno, in a response statement to the press said, “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
 
No grown up or moral person in charge of young people should ever need “hindsight” to know the difference between right from wrong and what should have been done. 
 
According to the unwritten laws of morality (and in my case as a teacher/coach, written Florida law), any such observation or implication of alleged sexual abuse of a child by anyone (including parents) MUST be reported to law enforcement authorities immediately; either through the chain of command and/or directly to law enforcement.
 
The title COACH has a special significance in the teaching of children and the molding of athletes. Those of us who have it must demonstrate exceptional skills of morality and character that go far beyond “those of mortal men.”
 
Perhaps, Coach Paterno feels he followed the “chain of command” in this case. If so, hindsight provides an excuse for him that apparently, many of those who admire and follow the Penn State University football program are willing to overlook and forgive. 
 
Bullfeathers!!!
 
His implied oversight also begs the question many sports pundits have been asking for the past several years.
 
Of recent times, football coaching legend Bobby Bowden’s skills of oversight and ability to provide leadership and example to young modern athletes came under question at Florida State University.
 
And also of recent times before this scandal broke at Penn State, Coach Paterno’s ability to adjust his coaching philosophies to the modern times, modern needs, and modern athletes had also come under criticism.
 
So now the questions are asked and will continue to be asked of other coaching legends that have long tenures in teaching and in sports.
 
Is it possible to love the job too much and as a result, stay too long?
 
Did Coach Paterno stay too long?

 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®

© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 





November 12, 2011

 

 

A MOMENT TO REMEMBER ANDY

 

 

For as long as I can remember, the treat of the weekend was at the end of “60 Minutes” in the words and persona of Andy Rooney.

 

His talent at diverting our attention for a brief moment was as marvelous as it was simple.  He used props of everyday items – things he saw in stores, on his desk or gifts received from viewers – to express profound truths about himself and about us all.

 

He never took himself seriously and it was clear he held his audience in the highest esteem – sensing a sense of duty which was almost holy.

 

No one will ever fill Andy’s shoes, but we can appreciate his uncanny knack for finding a kernel of truth in every minute – which made the minutes we spent together with him all the more memorable.

 

Thank you Andy.  You will be missed.

 

 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®

© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 





November 11, 2011
 
 
 
WHAT’S WRONG WITH HUMANS
A DOG’S OPINION
Guest Writer - Rusty the Wonder Dog
Originally published - IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFEON PLANET JUPITER? ®
June 17, 2006
 
 
My name is Rusty and I want to take this opportunity to speak with you humans. My human “grandfather” has graciously agreed to take my dictation as I’m a one-paw typist and it would just take forever to get my thoughts written down.
 
So as not to confuse you about who I am, humans call me a JACK RUSSELL TERRIER. I adopted my family several years ago and after spending most of my life at a place called PLANET JUPITER, I am now a resident of Tampa, Florida. I’ve dedicated my life to keeping watch, playing ball and chasing squirrels but that isn’t the real purpose of my commentary. 
 
In keeping with my reputation as a “dog with an attitude,” I want you to know that I have serious concerns about whether you humans should be in charge of this planet any longer.
 
To begin with, you humans are really stinking up the planet something terrible. Those loud ugly vehicles you ride around in are an ecological disaster.
 
Have you ever smelled what comes out of them? Take it from a dog with a good nose. Compared to a rotting squirrel carcass (yum yum, makes my mouth water), cars and trucks really suck.
 
We won’t even get into the terrible things they do to dogs who try to chase them or cross the street in front of them. I have a close friend we now call “Tripod” who will attest to this.
 
The only good thing about these vehicles is when I stick my head out the window and enjoy the smells as it moves along but you humans aren’t even smart enough to appreciate this. All I ever hear is some nonsense about mussing your fur.
 
As if… of well, I don’t want to even go there.
 
We dogs have serious problems with your proclivity for destroying everything green. It seems as though anytime there is an open field or a bunch of trees, you humans have this unnatural urge to knock the trees down and build things.
 
You pave over everything with some black smelly stuff vaguely reminiscent of the car smells we were just discussing. Don’t you humans realize the critical need for green areas to romp in? A lack of regular romping can seriously mess with your karma.
 
Have you ever had to pee or poop on asphalt or concrete? Not the done thing for sure. A healthy dog needs green space and so do healthy humans, despite your utterly bizarre personal hygiene methods.
 
How do you humans communicate? When I take my family out for an evening walk, half the fun is checking my p-mail to see what’s up around town. You humans just don’t get it.
 
And what’s with the washing every day thing? Don’t you know how much water that wastes? Okay, I realize when I get the urge to roll in a dead animal carcass to get ready for a party; I might need a bath afterwards. Wearing “Eau de Deceased Squirrel” around the house might be a bit much for humans to smell but we dogs find the aroma very sexy.
 
Why do you humans insist on showering once a day and then dousing yourselves in weird smelling chemicals? That has got to cause some sort of health problem somewhere down the road. Don’t you realize dogs like the way you smell after a long day in the heat outside; after all the stinky stuff has worn off and you just smell like you?
 
I think the main issue here is you humans have lost touch with the real world. All you do is sit inside buildings and cars all day.
 
In the summer, you turn on air conditioning. In the winter, you lock your windows and crank up the heat and don’t go outside.
 
For a vacation, you visit some strange place called DISNEY WORLD that has about as much to do with nature as the asphalt it’s built on. I suggest the next time you’re feeling out of sorts, take off all that artificial fur you cover yourself with (what some of you call clothes) and roll around in some nice cool grass for a while.
 
Trust me, you’ll feel much better. In the afternoon when you’re tired, curl up on a nice pillow and take a nap. You’ll feel refreshed and ready for a nice evening walk.
 
If you feel cut off from other humans, try leaving some p-mail around the neighborhood. After all, if you want to get mail, you have to send mail.
 
And finally, find yourself a nice sunny spot to lie in with great regularity. You’ll get warm, relaxed, and it might even induce a nice nap.
 
Spend more time in green places and less time indoors. You humans were smart enough to invent something called “wireless Internet access” so start using it. Instead of sitting in a stuffy dark office, take that “laptop” and that silly “cell phone” out to a nice green field and work from there.
 
I bet you thought I was just a dumb animal and didn’t notice all this stuff. You humans call us dumb because you can’t speak with us but did you ever notice that we can speak to each other? Gee, I wonder who the dumb animals really are. By the way, I have my own account at several pet supply websites. Sometimes I can be a very picky eater.
 
Now, if you will excuse me, I just spotted a dead squirrel out in the backyard. I’m going to check it out.
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 





November 10, 2011
 
 
 
ARE TEACHERS OVERPAID, CONSIDERING THEY GET SUMMERS OFF?
This type of trash goes on and on and on. Most of it comes from what I call the Ultra-Radical Right Wing Tea Partiests (URRWTP) who have taken over the religious right segment of the Republican Party. They continue to bash public employees, pensions, medical coverage, and union collective bargaining right blaming their public service work contracts for bankrupting state budgets. The following was written by Gary Stein of the Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board on November 9, 2011.
 
 
 
Leave it to right-wing think tanks to tell the world that teachers are overpaid.
 
Right wingers hate unions and they hate paying public employees, so keep that in mind as you try to digest recent surveys from The American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation that say teachers just make too much money.
 
This isn’t the first time a conservative think tank has produced such garbage. In 2007, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research looked at hourly wages, and decided teachers were overpaid, based on working 36.5 hours per week.
 
To which I say, do you know a full-time teacher who works only 36 hours a week?
 
The two latest surveys say teachers are paid 52 percent above market rates and they earn too much for their level of education, and blah, blah, blah.
 
Me, I think people who work for conservative think tanks are overpaid. And I don’t even know what they make.
 
Yes, teachers get summers off. Whoop-do-doo. Teachers work morning, afternoon, at night, and often on weekends. They meet with parents and certain students before class and after class. They prepare lessons at night. They often go into work on weekends to get ahead of the next week’s work.
 
They also go to workshops, seminars, etc. They have to return calls from parents, often at night.
 
Most important, they are doing their best to prepare the people who will be the future of our country.
 
Overpaid? Please.
 
Ask yourself this; would you work a teacher’s hours – roughly 60 hours a week – for a teacher’s pay.
 
I don’t think so.
 




November 9, 2011
 
 
 
 
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
Obama to bring troops home by Christmas
 
 
 
President Obama has announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq by this year’s end and claims that this act fulfills a promise he made to voters.
 
Meanwhile, Republican presidential challengers called it a sign of U.S. weakness and a strategic mistake.
 
Apparently, neither the president nor those seeking “high office” in 2012 have watched sound bites from 2008 when President George W. Bush made virtually the same announcement.
 
The “agreement” which had been in negotiation since 2007, set a timetable calling for most U.S. troops to leave Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009 with about 50,000 troops left in place until the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces by December 31, 2011.
 
A little research that apparently hasn’t been done by either ideology documents shows that President Bush announced troop withdrawal from Iraq back on November 27, 2008 during a secret trip to Iraq and a nationally broadcast news conference.
 
“Today’s “agreements” affirms the growth of Iraq’s democracy and increasing ability to secure itself,” said President Bush about the positive Iraqi parliamentary vote.
 
“Two years ago this day seemed unlikely but the success of the “surge” and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi Parliament.”
 
At this point during the news conference, an Iraqi reporter shouted “It is ending now!” and threw a shoe at Bush.
 
Does this help refresh your memory?
 
Maybe years ago, before current technology, such a gaff could be perpetuated but thanks to “instant replay (recall),” the TRUTH comes racing forward.
 
My message to the ULTRA-RIGHT WING TEA PARTIESTS.
 
You can’t have it both ways. If you still think its wrong for Obama to bring the troops home, blame Bush. History will record that he gets the credit.
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 



November 8, 2011
 
 
 
TIME ONCE AGAIN TO
CLEAN OUT CONGRESS
 
One of my baseball coaches from many years ago had a favorite saying when we were learning a new play or trying to perfect an old one.
 
“Just keep running it until we get it right.”
 
The same philosophy seems to perpetuate itself with the Congress. Back in 2010, voters launched a nation-wide campaign to throw out incumbents.
 
I supported the cause and dubbed it “Throw the Bastards Out” in my Yankee blog.
 
It was known as the TEA PARTY movement and I was very supportive of the idea.
 
But somewhere along the way, it failed!!! Unfortunately, the Ultra-Radical Right Wing got hold of the concept and made it their own.
 
And somehow, someway, these same bastards got back into office and once again, these same bastards are causing gridlock.
 
As each month passes and new statistics about the economy are evaluated by the “talking heads” of the media, it becomes more evident that the loss of our American Way of Life dream seems more and more evident.
 
Recent polls show that over 85% of the American public believes that our leadership in Congress is a disaster. What is particularly remarkable is that this lack of faith and trust in both parties in Congress far surpasses the approval rating of the president.
 
This sentiment, therefore, is not a discontent with one political party or ideology. On the contrary, it is a sense that the current crop of elected officials in Washington has ignored the wishes of the American voter/worker, regardless of which side of the aisle they occupy.
 
These incumbent bastards are simply incapable or unwilling (or maybe both) to do what is necessary to put this country back on track and restore the American public’s faith in the ability of government to make a positive difference in our lives.
 
There is only one real answer given the reality of American politics today. I yelled it in 2010 and I continue to yell it today.
 
THROW THESE BASTARDS OUT!!! Vote out every single incumbent in Congress.
 
Yes, you read it correctly. 
 
Once again, it’s time to send a whole new team of legislators to D.C. with the hope of starting over with a clean slate. They certainly can’t do any worse than the current group that has nearly put our country into default and has been unable to come up with any credible program to create jobs since the Election (mandate) of 2010.
 
There’s no reason to reward bad results by sending them back and certainly no expectation that they will get it right if we do.
 
What I suggest is a true non-partisan message. I’m not attacking either party or their ideologies. This isn’t about ideology. It’s about sending a message to all current and future officials that the American people will no longer accept gridlock, roadblocks, or mugwumping (fence sitting).
 
Yes, there will probably be a few good apples thrown out with the barrel. I also realize that some institutional knowledge may be lost but these are small prices to pay for the real potential of finally FIXING WASHINGTON.
 
Besides, what do we have to lose? It might get better but it can’t get much worse.
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 




November 7, 2011
 
 
 
American Christmas 2011
Birth of a New Tradition
Thanx to Cousin Diane
 
 
 
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods – merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor and American jobs.
 
This year can be different.
 
This year, Americans should give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans.
 
There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be fund that is produced by American hands anymore.
 
YES THERE IS!!!
 
It’s time to think outside the box America. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box or be wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
 
Everyone, YES EVERYONE, gets their hair cut. How about a gift certificate from your local American-owned hair salon or barber shop?
 
How about a gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about improving their health.
 
Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
 
This Christmas, I’ll wager there are thousands of Americans who think nothing of spending mucho BEN FRANKLINS on that special Chinese made flat-screen TV!!!
 
Consider that perhaps, the grateful gift receiver might enjoy having their driveway sealed; lawn mowed for the summer season, driveway plowed for the winter season, or for those of us living in Florida, have a season pass at one of our local golf courses.
 
There must be a bazillion American-owned and American-run restaurants – all offering gift certificates.
 
And, if your intended doesn’t go for the fancy eateries, what about a half-dozen country breakfasts at a local breakfast joint?
 
Remember folks, this isn’t about the big National chains - this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line so they can keep their doors open. 
 
EXAMPLE: Jim’s Place in downtown Jupiter or Cheers & Beers in beautiful downtown Lakeport. They serve a country breakfast that will clog your arteries before you finish it.
 
How many people on your Christmas list could use an oil change for their car, truck, or motorcycle done at the local Jiffy Lube run by an American working guy?
 
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for Mom? What Mom wouldn’t love the services of a local house cleaner for a day?
 
My computer could use a tune-up and I KNOW I can find some young GEEK who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
 
OK, you might be looking for a more personal gift for someone special in your life. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make custom jewelry, pottery, and beautiful wooden boxes.
 
Plan your family outings at a local, American-owned restaurant and leave the server a nice tip.
 
And, how about going out to see a play or musical concert at your local hometown theater?
 
Musicians need love too. Find a showcase featuring local bands.
 
Honestly people, do we REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese Christmas lights for our homes? When we buy a five dollar string of lights, only about fifty cents stays in the community.
 
We have to wake up and smell the coffee. Christmas shouldn’t be about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city.
 
Christmas is about caring about Americans and the good ol’ USA. Buying American is about encouraging America’s small business owners to keep plugging away and following their dreams.
 
And when we care about and support American jobs and American business, we show that we care about our communities and our American Way of Life.
 
The benefits will come back to us in ways we can’t imagine.
 
THIS will be the new American Christmas tradition.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 





October 11, 2011
 
 
 
I’M FROM THE GOVERNMENT
And
I’M HERE TO HELP YOU
Thanx to the Colonel
 
 
 
A rancher named Buck was watching his herd in a remote flatland pasture near Lakeport, Florida when suddenly a brand new BMW drove up to him out of a cloud of dust.
 
The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie leaned out the window and shouted to the rancher...
 
“If I can tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”
 
Buck looked at the man, who was obviously a citified yuppie and calmly answered...
 
“Sure, why not?”

The young yuppie parked his car, whipped out his DELL NOTEBOOK COMPUTER, connected it to his CINGULAR RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfed to a NASA page on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then fed to another NASA satellite that scanned the area into a ultra-high-resolution photograph. 
 
The young man then opened the digital photo in ADOBE PHOTOSHOP and exported it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
 
Within seconds, he received an email on his PALM PILOT that the image had been processed and the data stored. He then accessed an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected EXCEL spreadsheet with email on his BLACKBERRY and, after a few minutes, received a response.
 
Finally, he printed out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LASERJET printer, turned to the rancher and said...
 
“Exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”
 
“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” said Buck.
 
He watched the young man select one of the animals and looked on with amusement as the young man tried to stuff the struggling beast into the trunk of his car.
 
Then Buck shouted to the young man...
 
“Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me my calf back?”
 
The young man thought about it for a second and then said...
 
“Okay, why not?”
 
“You’re a professional politician; a Republican member of the Florida Legislature and a supporter of the Tea Party movement,” said Buck.
 
“Wow! That’s correct,” said the yuppie, “But how did you guess that?”
 
“No guessing required,” answered the young rancher who now had a sly smile on his face. 
 
“You showed up here even though no one called you. You expect to be paid for an answer I already knew for a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of hi-tech equipment trying to convince me how smart you are but in reality, you don’t know a damn thing about how real working people make a living.”
 
“And you don’t know squat about Florida ranching or farm animals. These happen to be a herd of sheep.”
 
“Now, would you be so kind as to let my dog out of your trunk!”
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 

 






October 8, 2011
 
 
 
VALUES MY FATHER TAUGHT ME
 
This article was published in the September 28, 2011 edition of the CANDOR STATEMENT from Candor (Tioga County), New York. It is intended to wish my father a happy 87th birthday.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a boy, Terry Shoultes lived in the village of Catatonk during the 1950s. His family moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1959 and he has lived in the south ever since. He presently resides in Jupiter Farms, Florida with his wife of 40 years. Mr. Shoultes worked for IBM and other computer agencies for 21 years. After a layoff in 1992, he started his second career as an elementary school teacher of physical education, computer science, and creative writing. He is the father of four; grandfather of six and the mentor of many. He retired from teaching on January 3, 2011.
 
 
The Shoultes name goes deep into the history of America. Dad taught me to be proud of my name and my American heritage.
 
My father, Donald Paul Shoultes, was born at Owego (Tioga County), New York on October 16, 1924. He was the son of Jay E. (22Jul1899-30Oct1975) and Martha J. Brougham (20Feb1901-22Jan1988) Shoultes; the grandson of Erman F. (10Aug1872-3Mar1920) and Rhoda E. Henry (15Jul1876-15Jun1912) Shoultes; the great-grandson of Ira A. (12Oct1844-5Mar1922) and Nancy M. Schoolcraft (7Oct1841-10Jan1921) Shoultes; the GG grandson of Peter A. (1Feb1821-17Nov1856) and Sally A. Zimmer (4May1826-9Jul1855) Shoultes; the GGG grandson of Jacob I. (8Feb1798-25May1856) and Elizabeth I. Lippe (17Febn1798-17Apr1872) Shoultes; the GGGG grandson of Ensign Jacob (12May1761-1Feb1852) and Mariah Fischer (abt1761-1Jun1839) Scholtes; and the GGGG grandson of Capt. Matheis (7Oct1740-Jan1812) and Anna Eve Engle (1Jan1745-12Feb1809) Schultes, late of the 15th Regt. of Albany County volunteers – War of the Revolution.
 
Jacob I. Shoultes was the first of our family to settle East Newark Valley bringing his family from Knox (Albany County) in 1825.
 
Dad has lived a full and interesting life. He graduated from Owego Free Academy (Class of 1942) and was hired after graduation by IBM. As did most of the young men who lived during this time, he entered the military service to fight World War II. As an incentive, IBM paid Dad a week’s salary per month to return when the war was over.
 
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Memphis, Tennessee and Pensacola, Florida where he was a radar instructor and radio specialist. During his stay in Pensacola, he met my mother, Violet Valerie Liles (15Dec1923-1Nov1998) who was serving with the U.S. Navy W.A.V.E.S. (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from Houston, Texas.
 
They married when the war ended and returned to Owego to make their home. Dad resumed his job with IBM and I came along on October 8, 1946 (65 years ago). Eventually, the family enlarged with my brother Bruce (1948), sister Pat (1952) and sister Marilyn (1954). We lived in several locations, the last being the village of Catatonk. IBM transferred us to Charleston, South Carolina in 1959 and we moved away.
 
Roots are very important to me. Although I have lived in many places and experienced many things, I have always considered Tioga County to be my home. The Shoultes (Schuldt) family came from Germany to settle New York about 1734 so there are many generations of American family members underneath my feet.
 
Dad now lives in Miami and will celebrate his 87th birthday on October 16th. I am happy to say that we have been very close. The older I get, the better I understand my father because I find more and more of his personality in me. He taught me how to throw a ball, how to care about people, how to keep learning, and how to take pride in myself and my name. He taught me strong beliefs and how to live by them.
 
It took quite a while to realize what he gave me and I’ll always be grateful that he and I lived long enough for me to tell him so.
 
Dad taught me strong moral values, personal honesty and trust. He taught me to be compassionate and to respect my elders. He taught me the value of personal education and how to play and enjoy sports. He taught me how to make good decisions, how to have fun and laugh, and the meaning of hard work.
 
He taught me how to repair a car, wire an electric circuit, clean fish, and gut squirrels. He taught me how to plan a project, buy a car, and manage a household budget.
 
Some things he tried to teach me; patience and perfection to name two things; these didn’t TAKE as well as the other life attributes. In spite of my weaknesses, however, my life has been fun, productive, and successful.
 
He did these things by being a nurturing father, a strict disciplinarian, a dedicated provider and a respected member of the community who would do anything to support his family.
 
And when I came of age, he became my confident and my friend.
 
As I grew older, I realized that Dad was not perfect and he did have his faults, his struggles, and his weaknesses. In spite of these, he taught me how to face problems and challenges with a positive attitude and a strong will.
 
His example and the great memories I have shared with my father are everlasting. In many ways, he has positively influenced my life like no one else could ever have.
 
Dad retired from IBM in 1986 after 44 years of service. In a few days, Lord willing, he will celebrate 87 years of life on this earth.
 
Advanced age (Parkinson’s disease) has taken its toll on his mind and physical coordination but sometimes within his vast memories of life, some special past event stirs him. The special memories of the first bass I ever caught (at Weber’s Landing in Catatonk at age 5), the time when I filled his 1939 Plymouth gas tank with rocks, and seeing my grandfather’s blue Studebaker parked along the Catatonk Creek at my favorite fishing hole always brings a smile to his face.
 
Dad has a number of special sayings and I wish I could remember all of them. Here are a few examples:
 
-        “The fastest way to really get to know someone is to see them naked or take them fishing” (Interesting idea that I suppose is beyond explanation).
-        “If you put your finger in someone’s mouth, prepare to get bit” (This thought has kept me from falling victim to bites from time to time).
-        “Save some money for a rainy day” (Many in this “borrow and spend” generation should have heeded this saying. For those who did, my father would be impressed).
-        “You are a wonderful person” (Something he would always say when opening his fortune cookie after a dinner of Chinese).
-        “Salsa is the spice of life” (Not the dip but the dance).
-        “Home will always be home” (He taught me how to build a safe and secure family foundation for my kids and grandkids; to take a tough posture when teaching them the ways of the world but to always be ready to open my arms and wallet and lift them up should they fail).
-        “Real heroes don’t wear capes” (The real heroes in life look at themselves in the mirror every morning).
 
So as my Dad celebrates number 87, I write this passage to thank him for being resilient and for loving me so unconditionally for my whole life.
 
And Dad, something that I don’t say to you nearly enough.
 
I LOVE YOU!!!
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved










October 5, 2011
 
 
 
GEEZERHOOD REACHED
 
“Probably the happiest period in life is middle age, when the eager passions of youth have cooled and the infirmities of old age have not yet begun. During my youth, I lived for today with all its joys and sorrows. Now that I’m reaching 65, the coming of age has taught me to appreciate my life experiences and cherish the special memories for as long as I live.”
Musing for a book yet to be titled
 
 
Reaching the age of 65 is one of those special life passages. It’s kinda like college fraternity hazing or military basic training.
 
Most young men would rather not think about it.
 
For me, it’s been a little different. Reaching the age of 65 (October 8th) has meant enjoying retirement, spoiling my grandchildren and spending more and more time at the fishing compound with my bride of 40 years.
 
It was a year ago this week that I made the decision to retire from teaching (17 years in elementary school). Keep in mind that the rigors of the job were not the main reason. 
 
Teaching was my second career after spending 19 years in the computer industry.  I miss the kids greatly but don’t miss the constant politics and “evolution” of the new academic standards (No Child Left Behind).
 
As for reaching the age of 65, I feel both fortunate and blessed. My father, who celebrates his 87th birthday on October 16, retired from IBM in 1986. Unlike me, he has never looked back.
 
In some world societies, reaching the age of 65 means instant recognition for accumulated wisdom. As a “village elder,” it also embraces all things good and spiritual.
 
I once told my 86-year-old grandmother that with the coming of age, she could say things about any subject and speak her mind.  
 
“If people don’t agree with you, they’ll call you an old fool and dismiss your thinking. If they agree, they’ll marvel at your accumulation of knowledge and wisdom that comes with life experiences. Either way, you can’t lose.”
 
There’s an old saying that “We get old too soon and smart too late.” 
 
In my case, the passing of time is more like a quote from the movie FRIED GREEN TOMATOES when Evelyn Couch (played by Kathy Bates) tells Ninny Threadgood (played by Jessica Tandy), “I’m too young to be old and too old to be young.”
 
During this 65 year trip through life, there have been many lessons of life. 
 
This past weekend at the SANDTOWN REUNION held at Fairburn, Georgia, I met with many of my friends from the 1960s who were reaching the same station in life that I have reached.
 
Once we got over the changes that life had bestowed on our bodies, the years vanished like a time warp. I found that my dear friends had also ventured through life since we graduated from high school (1965) and have learned these lessons as well.
 
And, I also found that our youth friendships had passed the passage of time. When we shared various stories of those special times, it was like we’d been transported back.
 
There was some sadness as well. Some of our group was no longer with us and some were suffering from the various ailments that life challenges us with.
 
And they have a special place in my thoughts and prayers.
 
For me, I don’t fear dying as much as not living a full life.  It isn’t death that scares me for my faith has taught me what happens when it comes. It’s leaving that frightens me the most.
 
Reaching the age of 65 isn’t all that important to me other than reaching another life milestone. I now qualify for MEDICARE and the increased cost of pharmaceuticals that I now take by the handful to preserve my life.
 
Another stark reality is my worth. Suddenly, my value in the workplace has become $7.25 per hour as a bag boy at the grocery store or a hamburger flipper at McDonalds.
 
But perhaps, the most important new event coming my way was pointed out by my late literary mentor Cap’n Dee
 
I am looking forward to GEEZERHOOD and have celebrated it’s coming with a disability parking permit, senior citizen discounts, and (thanks to our reunion) the knowledge that all my girlfriends from the 1960s have become grandmothers.
 
Everything considered, however, I haven’t done badly. In spite of a heart flip (atrial fib), I am in relatively good health. I have a full head of hair, good muscle tone, and can still do most things that I set my mind to.
 
My greatest shock comes from looking in the mirror. 
 
“Who is this old guy looking back at me? Boy, did he let himself go. He ought to be ashamed.”
 
Doesn’t he realize that folks like him give “old coots” a bad name?
 
But I get over it quickly. I reflect back to the way that the late Cap’n Dee used to end his newspaper articles.
 
Think positive!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!!!
 
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 







September 20, 2011
 
 
 
 
MESSAGE TO THE TEA PARTY
 
 
To all these people, especially the government-hating Tea Partiests who complain about the evils of big government please take note of how HURRICANE IRENE and TROPICAL STORM LEE were handled.
 
Yes, I’ll be the first to admit there is an awesome waste in big government but consider the alternatives.
 
Our government provided airplanes and highly trained personnel who flew into the storm. 
 
FEMA was on the ground prior to these storms’s arrival.
 
FEMA and our government were ready to help EVERYONE, even the Tea Partiests.
 
If we had to wait for Boeing or General Dynamics to give information about these storms, we’d probably never know there was a hurricane or tropical storm weather system coming our way.
 
Can you imagine BIG BUSINESS policing themselves to make our food and water safe, not to pollute our planet, to keep us safe on airplanes, to build and maintain our roads, to keep our drugs safe, etc. etc. etc.?
 
Unless there is a bottom-line profit, they could care less.
 
My message to the TEA PARTIESTS is very clear. We can’t have it both ways.
 
So the next time your life and property are in need of protection, don’t look to General Motors of Pfizer.
 
Look to good ol’ Uncle Sam.

 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
  






September 9, 2011
 
 
DOESN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST
 

We all get inundated with the dreaded junk mail advertising that continues to fill our mailboxes.
 
We all wish it would end.
 
Yet, the postal service continues to placate postal marketing patrons with low prices and delivery services that invade our privacy (I’ll go off on telephone marketers at a later time).
 
Here’s a suggestion that isn’t necessarily mine alone but makes a great deal of sense in today’s depressed economy.
 
How about increasing rates for everything EXCEPT first-class postage?
 
It’s a winning proposition. With the upcoming proliferation of bank fees for debit accounts after financial America has sold us on the idea of “electronic transfer,” it might be an opportunity to win back some postal users.
 
Talk about a win/win. If advertisers reduce this type of junk mail, the people win. If they don’t, the postal revenue increases.
 
Come on, USPS, this isn’t rocket science!!!
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 




September 7, 2011
 
 
 
SOUTHERN YANKEE’S JOBS PLAN
 
“If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.”
Abraham Lincoln (12Feb1809-15Apr1865) - 16th President of the United States of America
 
 
 
 
I checked the agenda at the Capitol and network television this week and for some reason, there isn’t enough time or any inclination to allow me to present my ideas for job creation in America.
 
I suppose it’s OK. After all, there are lots of people smarter than I elected to public offices around the nation who seem to have all the answers.
 
In any event, I don’t have any aspirations for seeking high office. I think I’ll stay on the sidelines with Sarah Palin and watch everyone destroy each other.
 
So I published my thoughts in my weekly blog, IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® 
 
And here it goes…
 
 
There are some who say we might be slipping back into recession. 
 
My dear friends, this is hogwash.
 
We can’t slip back into something that we’ve never come out of. The Bush Recession of 2006 has been compounded by blunders committed by both parties who would rather blame each other than solve the business problems of the nation. We’ve been quagmired into the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
 
But I’m optimistic and I believe in America.
 
I believe that we will eventually recover but we won’t any time soon under the leadership of the current administration and a Congress where the same people keep getting voted back to office.
 
These people have to know and experience the term “layoff.”
 
I believe that America will once again achieve greatness only when we manufacture something unique. I don’t know what that “something” will be but I feel it will have something to do with energy, computer technology, or maybe food production; things that we do better than anyone in the world.
 
This “something” that we develop has to be a product that all people of the earth can benefit from.
 
This “something” has to be an item that America develops, America controls, America manufactures, and America derives profit and wealth from.
 
Since World War II, we’ve given our technology away to countries that have become our enemies. We became very wealthy selling out America and our people reached a point where they didn’t want to dirty their hands anymore.
 
So when the Industrial Age began to wane, we didn’t prepare ourselves for the future. Instead, for profit, we gave the future away.
 
America, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty once again.
 
We’ve learned hard lessons that being the world’s policeman and arms supplier has gone against us. As a result, the world hates us and despises our arrogance in telling them how to live their lives.
 
This has to stop.
 
The solution is developing “something” that is invented by Americans, built by American workers, sold by American companies, and maintained by American expertise.
 
We are a great people and I have every confidence that America will prevail. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on finding this “something” and using it to our full economical advantage.
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved








August 27, 2011
 
 
 
 
OUST THE INCUMBENTS
Thanx to Ray for sending me this simple explanation (Internet floater) defining what is wrong with our Congress. The Internet version is titled MANAGEMENT 101
 
 
 
You start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top. Next, place some stairs under the hanging banana.
 
Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water.
 
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result … all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
 
Now, put the cold water away.
 
Remove one monkey from the cage and replace him with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs.
 
To his shock, the other monkeys beat the crap out of him. He tries again with the same result and finally, he learns that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
 
Now, remove another of the original five monkeys from the cage and replace him with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment… with great enthusiasm.
 
Replace a third monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then a fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they’re not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they’re participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
 
Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. 
 
Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway to the banana.
 
Why, you ask?
 
Because in their minds… that’s that way it has always been!!!
 
This, my friends, is how Congress operates… and is why, from time to time, all the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.
 
How about let’s do this, starting in 2012!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 
 





August 25, 2011
 
 
 
 
BOOMER RETIREMENT PLANNING GUIDE
No Nursing home for me!!!
 
 
If the economy continues to tank and the retiring BOOMERS continue to be blamed for the stock market and housing collapse, I can offer a simple solution.
 
Do as I plan to do.
 
No nursing home for me!!! I’ll be checking into a Holiday Inn.
 
With the average cost of a Nursing Home projected to be over $250 per day, there is a better way to live when I get old and feeble.
 
I’ve already made the reservation. Considering the long-term stay discount and senior discounts available, our local Holiday Inn is offering me a large room with King-Size bed for $59.23 per night.
 
Breakfast is included with the room and there is a Happy Hour available during the weekday afternoons.
 
If you subtract the projected $250 per day for a Nursing Home that leaves me an extra $190.77 to spend however I want to.
 
I can eat lunch and dinner in any restaurant I choose. 
These savings can also be applied for room service, laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies.
 
Plus, the Holiday Inn provides a spa, swimming pool, workout room, lounge, Internet service and a washer/dryer as part of the daily room rate.
 
They also provide free toothpaste and razors along with free shampoo and soap.
 
$10 worth of tips per day will keep the entire staff scrambling at my every request. 
 
And most important, they’ll treat me like a customer, not a patient.
 
For my convenience, there is a city bus stop out in front of the Inn and seniors ride for free. When the time comes that I need it, there is also a handicap bus that will pick me up (if I’m able to fake a decent limp).
 
If I want to meet some nice people, I only have to call a local church. They’ll send a bus to pick me up on Sundays.
 
Should I desire a change in scenery, I can hop the airport shuttle bus for a free ride and dine at one of the nice restaurants there. 
 
And who knows!!! While I’m at the airport, I might decide to fly somewhere. Considering the money I save by not making mortgage payments, I’ll have plenty of cash to travel anywhere I want.
 
If I want to use the savings to fly to Hawaii, NO PROBLEM!!! They have a Holiday Inn there too.
 
If you think in a practical sense, staying at a Holiday Inn during the retirement years is a real no-brainer.
 
Consider the options.
 
In order to “reserve” a decent nursing home, it sometimes takes a large deposit and months or years on a waiting list.
 
Holiday Inn gladly takes my reservation immediately with a credit card and I’m not stuck in one place forever. I am free to move from Inn to Inn or even from city to city.
 
And as a customer of the Inn, there are no maintenance costs for me. If the TV stops working, a light bulb burns out or a mattress needs replacing, I only have to call housekeeping. They gladly fix everything and even apologize for my inconvenience.
 
The Holiday Inn also provides night security to make sure I’m safe. They provide a daily service to clean the room and change the sheets on the bed. 
 
The maid checks to make sure I’m OK. If they find me with a medical problem, they call an ambulance… or if needed, an undertaker.
 
Should I take a fall and break my hip, Medicare pays for the hip replacement and Holiday Inn upgrades my room to a luxury suite for the remainder of my life.
 
And there are no problems with visits from my family. Holiday Inn is always happy to find me and will welcome members of my family to check-in for a few days of vacation. My grandchildren can swim in the pool and use the facilities.
 
So now that I’ve reached that GOLDEN AGE, why struggle with a mortgage payment and outrageous homeowners insurance premiums that will bankrupt me?
 
Why struggle to mow the grass, paint the house, clean and vacuum?
 
I’ve secured my retirement and my future at the Holiday Inn. 
 
And I have lots of $$$ left over.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved

 
 





August 24, 2011
 
 
SURPLUS, LOCK-BOX, FUZZY MATH
“THE ERA OF SOLID SURPLUSES”
 
Many of my readers pine for the “good old days” when George W. Bush was president and the country was united. I must have been in a coma during that time as I don’t remember this being so. I believe that future historians will write about the failure of SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS, a phase this country has employed since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 and eventually, because of a severe LACK of leadership from the Congress and the White House, has led us into the greatest economic depression since 1929. 
 
 
Friday, August 24, 2001
 
The budget cookie jar is empty, and President Bush is being evasive. He claims that the jar isn’t empty at all, and besides, there are more cookies in the oven. He claims the Democrats want to steal all the cookies.
 
The spin cycle has started. Holding up the empty cookie jar, White House budget director Mitchell Daniels called it the second-largest budget surplus in history – that will be the main Republican talking point – and said the country is in an “ERA OF SOLID BUDGET SURPLUSES.”
 
He based his conclusion on a surplus that including Social Security, will be $158 billion for the year ending Sept. 30. The surplus, excluding Social Security, is $1 billion, which, in a $1.85 billion budget, could be a rounding error.
 
And Social Security shouldn’t count anyway because during the Clinton administration, the Republican Congress put Social Security in an imaginary “LOCK BOX” – off limits for anything but Social Security.
 
Democrats will say Mr. Bush is taking money from a trap door in the “LOCK-BOX.” They need not spin their (probably correct) suspicions. 
 
The known facts seem to be bad enough.
 
The hardly solid $1 billion surplus estimate comes from the Office of Management and Budget, where Rosy Scenario ran things during the Reagan years. The less rosily optimistic Congressional Budget Office, on which Mr. Clinton relied for the bipartisan estimates that ended the Reagan deficits, will issue its surplus forecast next week.
 
Knowing this year’s surplus had shrunk, Mr. Bush began blaming the Democrats in advance for the loss of next year’s surplus. New “Democrat spending” might unbalance the budget, he said last week. In the same speech, he urged the Senate to hurry up and pass his new spending for defense and education. 
 
He’s like the husband who blames the hole in the checkbook on his wife’s silly new drapes but claims his new pickup truck has nothing to do with it.
 
Only four months ago, Mr. Daniels projected a surplus of $281 billion for this year, $123 billion more of non-Social Security money that he is ending up with. 
 
Where did it go?
 
Well, $40 billion went for tax refunds, and $28 billion went to letting corporations pay taxes late.  Mr. Bush agreed to $9 billion extra for defense and farmers, and a shrinking economy got the rest.
 
But after taking its new look; Mr. Daniels Office of Management and Budget cut its 10-year surplus projection from $5.6 trillion to $3.1 trillion.
 
If Mr. Bush’s number guys have missed by $123 billion for one year and $2.5 trillion for 10 years in only four months, think of how far off they' ll be when the 10 years are up.
 
But remember, it was on the basis of that $5.6 trillion estimate that they got from Congress, including seven Senate Democrats, to pass the $1.35 trillion tax cut and all its fuzzy math. The big tax reductions haven’t even started to bite and already, those “solid surpluses” on which Mr. Bush based his top legislative priority are shaking like dandelions gone to seed.
 
This so-called “ERA OF SOLID SURPLUSES” was forecast on money that never existed. Budgeting isn’t even an inexact science. It’s an art – like the artful lying parents hear when the cookie jar is empty.
 
The new Congress should take another look and really give this tax cut a second look.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved





August 20, 2011
 
 
 
THE VALUE OF GOOD COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR SPOUSE AFTER RETIREMENT
 
 
After being married for over 40 years, I made the following observation while my wife and I were sitting on our back porch enjoying our morning coffee.
 
“Honey,” I said. “Forty years ago, we lived in a cheap apartment, drove an old car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch Panasonic black and white TV.
 
Forty years ago, I spend every night with a passionate woman who really knew how to please a man.
 
And now, after all these years, we’re both retired.
 
As a result of our labors, we live in a $300,000 home, own two new vehicles, sleep in a king-size bed and watch a 55-inch wide screen television.
 
But it seems to me that you haven’t kept up your side of things. Now, I spend every night with a grandmother.”
 
My sweet thoughtful wife offered a sly smile and said the following words.
 
“Honey, if you really want to go out and find a passionate young woman who knows how to please an older man, I’ll be happy to arrange that you’re once again living in a cheap apartment, driving an old car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.”
 
Ain’t communications great?
 
  
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 





August 14, 2011
 
 
AA+
The following political prose was written by CHAN LOWE, a political cartoonist for the Florida Sun Sentinel. It was published on July 29, 2011. 
 
 
 
 
So while everyone wrings their hands over the credit rating downgrade, I’m going to step up and admit I’m to blame. Twice I voted for George W. Bush who pushed through a massive tax cut while waging two wars with borrowed money. I really believed at the time, that this was no big deal. I guess I am just a slow learner.
 
It’s the financial stigma Republicans won’t talk about, and average Americans won’t remember because it happened before last week.
 
It was the golden son, George W. Bush, who inherited a humming economy and a surplus from his predecessor. Thanks to his bumbling and that of the two houses of Congress his party owned for six years, we squandered our wealth and undercut our revenue base to the point where yahoos elected in a reactionary wave to the appalling spending spree now threaten to ruin the reputation of the country we all love. The only silver lining to the crash having happened in late 2008 is that there is no way it can be blamed on his successor.
 
President Obama’s detractors have to content themselves with attacking him for cleaning up the mess too slowly, and (horrors!!!) for spending more money in the process.
 
Meanwhile, President Mission Accomplished slumbers on, enjoying the undisturbed, dreamless sleep of the benighted.






August 12, 2011
 
 
 
SO YOU WANT TO TEACH!!!
The following musing was published in the August 12, 2001 issue of IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®. It is dedicated to my Grandson Chris (just completed his first semester at Florida State University) and all those former students whom I inspired by example and have decided to major in education and become a public school teacher. I salute you and also warn you to enter this field with your eyes wide open. - SOUTHERN YANKEE ®
 
 
 
Once there was a young man named Chris. He wanted very much to be a teacher. So he went to seek the advice of the wisest, most highly respected mentor in the land.
 
“Wise mentor,” Chris began. “It has always been my dream to be a teacher. I want to stimulate the minds of the young people of our land. I want to lead them down the road of knowledge.”
 
“Please tell me the secret of becoming a teacher.”
 
“Your goal is a commendable one, Chris. However, it is also a very difficult one to achieve. First you must overcome three major obstacles.”
 
“I am ready to meet the challenge,” answered Chris bravely.
 
“First you must swim the Sea of Children,” directed the knowing mentor.
 
Chris started off to swim the Sea of Children. First, he had to learn all their 38 names. He sent the line cutters to the end of the line. He made the paper throwers stay after school and clean the room. He commanded the name callers, pushers, and punchers to apologize to their victims. He gave M&M’s to those who finished assignments and stars to those who were sitting in their seats quietly. Chris checked passes to see how many children were in the bathroom. And he tracked down students who were gone longer than it was necessary. He arranged the desks in alphabetical order, then boy-girl, boy-girl, and finally into small groups of four. He lined his children up for physical education, music, art, library and lunch. Then stifled a cry when the school secretary came into his classroom with student number 39.
 
Tired and shaken but still undefeated, Chris returned to the mentor for his second task.
 
“You must be a very determined lad,” said the mentor. “However, now you must climb the Mountain of Paperwork.”
 
Chris set out at once. He wrote objectives and drew up lesson plans. He made out report cards and graded papers. He filled out accident reports, attendance reports and withdrawal reports. He completed inventories, evaluations, surveys, and request forms. Finally, he made copies and more copies. He ran them off until he was covered in toxic toner.
 
But this courageous young man’s resolve never dwindled. He went to the wise mentor for his third task.
 
“You are indeed very strong, Chris. But the third task will take all the courage you can muster. You must now cross the Country of Duties and Committees.”
 
At first Chris was hesitant. But his convictions remained steadfast. He began his long journey across the Country of Duties and Committees. Chris took lunch duty, bus duty, and recess duty. He was on the social committee, safety patrol committee, and the faculty advisory committee. He was the adult supervisor of the student government and ran the United Way Fund and Easter Seals drives. He went to PTO meetings, SAC meetings, SST meetings, School Site meetings, and in-service workshops. He organized bi-centennial programs, talent shows, and book drives. Finally, he was elected the Building Representative for the teacher union.
 
At last Chris reached the outskirts of Duties and Committees. Exhausted but happy, he returned to the knowledgeable mentor. 
 
“I swam the Sea of Children. I climbed the Mountain of Paperwork. I crossed the Country of Duties and Committees,” Chris proclaimed.
 
“Am I not worthy of the title of Teacher?”
 
“Why, Chris,” began the mentor, “You’ve been a teacher all along.”
 
Chris protested.
 
“But I haven’t stimulated any minds. I haven’t guided anyone down the road to knowledge. I haven’t had time to teach.”
 
“Oh, you say that you want to TEACH! I thought you said you wanted to be a teacher.”
 
“That’s a completely different story!!!”
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 
 




August 10, 2011
 

 
 
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE
PRESIDENT
OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 

 
Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C.
 
 
Dear Mr. President,
 
 
 
 
I feel compelled once again to make this presumptuous plea. 
 
Mr. President; please do not seek re-election in 2012.
 
Sir, please give us an LBJ moment. Go on national TV; smile directly into the camera, thank us for honoring you with this moment of historical perspective and then declare that you will not seek, nor will you accept the nomination of your party in 2012.
 
There are those who will ask what this selfless gesture will accomplish?
 
First, in one brief declaration, you will be disarming the Tea Party and their puppets Mitch McConnell and John Boehner by assenting to their declared goal of making you a one-term president. 
 
Becoming a lame-duck will force the Republican and Tea Party opposition to work with you to avoid the voter perception they are entirely to blame for this crisis. For the next 15 months they must negotiate and solve our most urgent financial challenges: jobs, taxes, the deficit, the debt crisis, the environment, education, rebuilding our infrastructure, entitlement programs, health care, etc. etc. etc.
 
 
Second, instead of potentially sacrificing the next four years to the policies that got us into this mess; your abdication would open the door to more moderate candidates to take over leadership in 2012.
 
Lastly, it would provide you the opportunity to grow into the international super-statesman you have every potential of becoming based upon your intelligence and experiences.
 
Mr. President, I beg you to consider this proposition. Please give our nation a chance to remain on a progressive course, by not seeking re-election in 2012.
 
With best wishes, I am
 
 
Very truly yours,

 
 
SOUTHERN YANKEE
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 





August 9, 2011
 
 
LIBERALS & CONSERVATIVES
(And Tea Party)
LISTEN UP!!!
 
 
I hope that our enemies are not foolish enough to exploit our lack of leadership presently being demonstrated in the Congress and in the White House.
 
It’s been done before and, unfortunately, it will be done again.
 
But I digress…
 
We must come to a negotiated consensus about balancing our budget and living within our means. Those of us of the working middle class are doing it (or have learned to do it) and our country must do it as well.
 
Have you noticed that the term “lock box” that once referred to Social Security borrowing by the government is no longer used in presidential campaigns?
 
Any working middle class American with common sense will support giving up foolish tax loopholes like “carried interest” and tax deductions for Big Business executive expenses.
 
Any working middle class American with common sense will support giving up foolish subsidies to corn/ethanol producers, dairy farmers, and oil companies.
 
Any working middle class American with common sense will support giving up further tax cuts and tax rebates to wealthy Americans who don’t need them.
 
Any working middle class American with common sense will support giving up tax deductions to corporations who keep their money in foreign tax havens.
 
Any working middle class American with common sense will support giving up favorable tax treatment for non-equity “investments” like hedge funds and derivatives that don’t create American jobs.
 
Politicians with no concern for future generation Americans and no clue about what the future holds will give up Social Security and Medicare support for their parents and grandparents.
 
Politicians with no concern for future generation Americans and no clue about what the future holds will give up education support and student loans, and food stamps and Medicaid for the indigent.
 
The stark reality is that Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) gave us this 15+ Trillion in debt and the 115 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.
 
Some things you won’t hear from the Ultra-Right Radical Tea Partiests (URRTP) include the Medicare D program passed by Republicans and signed by President Bush. It’s already more in the red than Social Security despite being only a few years in existence.
 
Let’s face it!!! 
 
For the last 31 years, Congress has been a dismal failure conducting the business of our nation. Saying one party is better than the other is like comparing Stalin and Hitler on human rights issues.
 
The sooner American workers and American voters wake up to this fact and realize we have more in common that the politicians who represent us want us to believe, the better off we will be.
 
Yes, it’s time once again (2012) to throw these bastards out!!!
 
Government is the problem, regardless of who’s been running it during the last 31 years. The sooner we work to dismantle it and take away this awesome power they have taken upon themselves to control our lives, the sooner our economy and our American way of life will be restored.
 
Through our participation at the voter booth, we must peacefully restore citizen interaction and self regulation to the marketplace and restore our freedoms and our economy.
 
We must elect representatives who dare to say that spending cuts can balance the budget.
 
We must elect representatives who dare to say that increased revenue will balance the budget.
 
We must implement a budget that shows how a combination of spending cuts and increased revenue will balance the budget.
 
Our present Congress and our president don’t want a balanced budget. Neither the House, Senate, nor Executive branches are prepared for any of this.
 
Our representatives and our president are convinced that American workers must muddle through the debt crisis as we have for the last 31 years.
 
Meanwhile, a geography lesson for my readers who have read this far. 
 
Do you know where Greece is located? How about Ireland, Spain, Italy, Moldavia?
 

 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 





August 3, 2011
 
 
 
ONLY IN FLORIDA
DOCTOR: NEW FLA. EXECUTION DRUG RISKY TO INMATE
 
During these difficult times, here appears to be the CHAMPION of frivolous law suits from attorneys feeding at the public trough.
 
 
MIAMI - A doctor testifying for a death row inmate convicted of killing a police officer 33 years ago (for those not good in math, that was 1978) testified Tuesday that Florida’s planned use of a replacement drug for lethal injections could cause extreme pain in executions.
 
Dr. David Waisel, an anesthesiologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston, said the dry pentobarbital commonly sold as Nembutal, hasn’t been sufficiently tested to ensure an inmate is unconscious before two other deadly drugs are administered. States are using pentobarbital because the sole U.S. manufacturer stopped making the previous widely-used drug, sodium thiopental.
 
Waisel said use of pentobarbital “exposes the inmate to extraordinary risk” compared with the old drug. He said pentobarbital is most commonly used as a sedative and that its effectiveness in rendering a person unconscious is not well known.
 
“We’re taking a drug that we know everything about, replacing it with a drug we know almost nothing about in terms of inducing anesthesia in otherwise healthy people.” Waisel said. “If it did not work, they would feel the incredibly burning pain” of the lethal heart-stopping drug, potassium chloride.
 
Waisel testified on behalf of 61-year-old Manuel Valle, who was sentenced to death for the 1978 fatal shooting of Coral Gables Police Officer Louis Pena during a traffic stop. Valle’s execution had been set for Tuesday - it would have been Florida’s first using the replacement drug - but it was stayed until at least Sept. 1 to allow time for a judge to consider his challenge to the new lethal injection method.
 
Valle did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.
 
The state’s medical expert, Dr. Mark Dershwitz, said that the dosage level of pentobarbital to be used in Florida’s execution protocol was enough to kill by itself and would easily induce a coma. He also said the planned 5-gram dosage level would stop breathing, sharply reduce blood pressure and cut brain activity to near flat-line levels.
 
“This dosage is far in excess of any dosage that would be used in a human that I can think of,” said Dershwitz, an anesthesiologist at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center. Asked if it would be lethal, he replied: “Definitely.”
 
One of Valle’s attorneys, Neal Dupree, brought up past testimony and writing in which Dershwitz endorsed use of sodium thiopental over pentobarbital as an anesthetic. Dershwitz declined to answer if he still felt that way but added that “I stand by everything I said.”
 
The Supreme Court gave Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola until Friday afternoon to issue a ruling, which will then be reviewed by the high court.
 
Pentobarbital has been used in 18 executions around the country since Oklahoma first did so last year. Like sodium thiopental before it, the drug is intended to render the inmate unconscious so that no pain will be felt when two other drugs that cause death are administered.
 
Lawyers for Valle and other condemned prisoners have seized on the June execution in Georgia of Roy Willard Blankenship, who appeared to witnesses to grimace, jerk and mutter for several minutes after the pentobarbital was administered. Waisel said based on his interviews with witnesses at the Georgia execution, “Mr. Blankenship suffered an extremely painful execution.”
 
Last week, a Georgia corrections officer testified in the Florida challenge that nothing seemed particularly unusual about the Blankenship execution.
 
Attorneys for Valle failed in an attempt to introduce an affidavit about the Blankenship case by Associated Press reporter Greg Bluestein, who witnessed the execution. The affidavit affirms that stories Bluestein wrote about Blankenship’s movements during the execution accurately portrayed what he saw, but Scola ruled it inadmissible as evidence.
 
This story was written by Curt Anderson of The Associated Press and appeared in the August 2, 2011 edition of the PALM BEACH POST.
 
 
Some worthy comments offered by Palm Beach County readers:
 
Since he shot the policeman maybe shoting him would be fair. Are we nuts, go back to hanging, at least it might be a deturant. We think nothing of killing babies by chopping them up, scalding them to death or stabbing them in the back of the head. Give me a break.
 
EdNote: Unfortunately, not everyone in Palm Beach County can spell. Blame it on the teachers.
 
Are you serious? Why do we even care? On death row for 33 years? This is why our country is turning to dog doo. The more pain the better if you ask me. I think the cost of inmates convicted of murder after 3 years should be on the shoulders of lawmakers. Then you would see them going quick and save the taxpayers money. If there is no fear of the punishment, there is no fear to commit the crime.
 
It is BEYOND ABSURD that we are worried about this.

You would never think it would be so hard to figure out a good way of executing criminal scum. HOW long have we been doing it? Why did we ever get away from HANGING? Ok, fine, hanging is not good? Let's put them in a chamber and **** out all the oxygen. They'll die euphoric, so no bleeding hearts can complain that they suffered -- and the rest of us will be happy that they're no longer alive. Problem solved. But 33 years is INEXCUSABLE!!
 
a bullet is cheap and if the aim is good, painless.
 
Who cares? He obviously did not care for the pain that officer felt, and the pain his family was left with, why should he be spared? I'm sick of these criminals taking the lives of others and then crying for their rights. I'm sorry but as soon as you take someone's life you lose your rights. He's going to die anyway so let's hurry up and get rid of him. One less scumbag on the earth. And I think they should administer this drug via anal probe, for good measure. ;)
 
Are you kidding me? I can think of a handful of people who are in the least concerned with how painful it is for murderers to die. . . I am NOT one of them! Sweet dreams scumbags!
 
You know what still works, and is generally more effective? A guillotine. Sure it's messy, but he should have thought of that before he decided to go onto death row.
 
You people saying "who cares" about a criminal, are probably the same ones who cling to the constitution's 2nd amendment to bear arms... Well, dummies, there's also a constitutional amendment against "cruel and unusual" punishment.... Constitutionally, you can't administer the type of pain potassium chloride would cause without knocking the person unconscious so they won't feel it... If you care about the constitution, then you should care about this.
 
Replacement drugs! How about a replacement Governor!!!
 
Of course an execution drug is risky. Last I knew execution drugs were designed to kill.
 
It's ridiculous to suggest that a drug used for safely for surgery--cutting people wide open--many times each day across the country is somehow not capable of making them not feel the pain of another drug. Anyway, why not just keep giving them the anesthetic until they're dead?
 
And this one from a well-known writer that we all know well;
 
During the evening news programs, we are bombarded by lawyers and drug companies advertising their products. The drug companies have to state the side-effects of their drug. I'll bet anyone a dime to a dollar that this drug causes DEATH!!!

GEEZ!!!
SOUTHERN YANKEE
5:03 PM, 8/2/2011
 
 


July 28, 2011
 
 
“One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.”
Plato (424-348BC) - Greek philosopher, mathematician
 
 
 
Is it safe to say and does everyone agree that we have a real mess in Washington?
 
If the possibility of default offends you and you voted in the last election, read on. If you didn’t vote in the last election, stop reading and go away.
 
Because in many ways, you’re not taking the time to exercise your American right to vote has gotten us into one hell of a mess.
 
Unless you live under a rock, you know that Republicans, especially those representing the Radical-Right faction now known as the Tea Party, ran on a platform of bringing change and restoring order to Washington during the Election of 2010.
 
“Throw the bastards out!” was the war cry. Bring in some new blood to clean up Washington.
 
And friends; I shouted it as loud as anyone.
 
In November of 2010, working Americans jumped at this opportunity. 
 
Well, maybe not all working Americans but those who took the time to make their vote count and their voice heard registered their desire to make changes.
 
But did the winners, especially the Republican winners and GOP incumbents, clearly understand the message we sent to them?
 
Cowboy philosopher Will Rogers once said, “Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what’s going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
 
Chicken Little would say that the sky is falling. 
 
Financial soothsayers are saying that a downgraded credit rating for the USA will bring about inflation, higher interest rates, higher gas prices, increased fees, etc. etc. etc.
 
Did I miss something? I declared the start of the Bush Recession in 2007 and in my opinion; the same problems with the economy remain in 2011.
 
Our inept elected officials seem to be shrugging off any fear of financial crisis for the working people of 2012 and the workers in the younger generation. Jobs haven’t been and still aren’t important to them.
 
Yet!!!
 
The GOP’s greatest concern is the 2012 election and winning back the White House and control of the Senate. With this control, we can continue the economic policies of George W. Bush which they say Obama has squandered.
 
Happy times are (will be) here again (as we sang in 1984 and 1988 with Reagan and Bush I won re-election). 
 
The sitting Democrats are just as much to blame. 
 
The liberals (Radical Left) will do anything to keep the Republicans from gaining control of both the Senate and the House and so far, they have supported Obama’s policies (or maybe, Obama has supported their policies).
 
While working America suffers continued high unemployment, the feuding continues between the House and Senate splinter factions of both parties. 
 
House Republican radicals shrugged off an Obama veto threat and caused an internal outbreak of dissention within their own party as they attempted to build support for Speaker Boehner’s latest proposal.
 
Meanwhile, the threat of default on August 2nd looms big and Wall Street worries sent stocks plunging on fears that the political gridlock will continue.
 
Speaker Boehner bluntly called for his rank and file to support his proposal, even as it was hastily rewritten to show deeper spending cuts than were published 24 hours earlier.
 
“I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me,” he told the splintered GOP leadership trying to appease both mainstream conservatives and the Ultra-Radical Right Wing Tea Partiests (URRWTP).
 
Boehner is facing a major test of his leadership. He must unite the feuding factions in order to organize his party for the 2012 presidential election or the Tea Party may break away and nominate their own candidate.
 
If this happens, Obama wins in a cake walk.
 
The Democrats are holding out for an increase in the debt limit large enough to prevent a repeat of this congressional fiasco during the heat of the 2012 elections.
 
And as long as the Republicans continue feuding, Obama is able to raise money and say little about his future plans if he is re-elected.
 
Without the necessary legislation in place by August 2nd, financial “talking-heads” are saying the Treasury won’t be able to pay all the nation’s bills, possibly triggering a default that could be catastrophic for a “recovering” economy. 
 
However, for all the posturing between the politicians of both parities, a compromise might be near.
 
But will working America buy into any plan if the lack of jobs and high unemployment continue to “tax” the Middle Class.
 
Perhaps we need a proven team of negotiators with a recent publicized success to take over. After all, the average working American doesn’t understand national politics and finances. 
 
They do, however, understand professional football.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 


 


 


July 21, 2011
 
 
 
“I’m taking care of myself the best I can right now, even though some of the scenarios moving forward are pretty grim. Take care of your employees. If it is the last thing that I ever say to you; honor these professionals. Trust them. Facilitate their work. And if you say they have made you the highest-rated urban district in the state, pay them like it. Restore trust. Restore morale. Restore their pay. And let’s hope to restore my hair.”
Robert Dow (1944-18Jun2011) 
President  -  
Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association
Address to the members of the Palm Beach County School Board on January 20, 2010
 
 





July 20, 2011
 
 
 
“The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected to prove it.”
Patrick Jake “P.J.” O’Rourke (14Nov1947-    ) - American political satirist, journalist, writer
 
 
 
I know what you’re going to say. There goes the SOUTHERN YANKEE again; bashing the Republicans.
 
It seems like I do this a lot these days but after all, there is a reason.
 
This isn’t my father’s Republican Party.
 
The mainstream Republican “compassionate conservatives” that I once belonged to and identified with, have either retired; been voted out of office, or cower at the publicity and political wealth of the Ultra-Radical Right Wing TEA PARTIESTS (URRWTP).
 
After the election of 2010, the “Republicans” told the country they had a mandate. That was to straighten out the finances that President Obama had squandered since inheriting a sound economy when Bush left office in 2008.
 
Interesting there was little mention about their failure to control spending under former President George W. Bush.
 
Last fall, the Republicans, under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) fought to continue with, and make a law to guarantee, the Bush tax cut for those with incomes over half a million dollars.
 
It only takes simple math to realize this exclusion of revenue has cost the treasury over $700 billion (estimated) over the last 10 years which has significantly increased the national debt.
 
Last winter and spring, these same Republicans (under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) suddenly became very concerned that the economy was going down the dumper.
 
They blamed Obama and his stimulus package but many of them don’t remember that the stimulus started during the last year of the Bush presidency and many of these same politicians voted in favor of it.
 
And the sad fact is that many Americans believe them.
 
So far!!!
 
Yet even though Republicans (under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) agree that the economy is going down the dumper, they continue to support tax loophole elimination for companies, ending the tax cut to the wealthy, and reducing the defense budget which increased from about $350 billion in 2000 to about $750 billion today. 
 
So what are the items that Republicans (under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) are willing to negotiate?
 
Instead of raising revenues (which would be the equivalent of a pay raise for working Americans), they’re proposing cuts to social programs, Social Security and Medicare.
 
Working people who aren’t working and/or the retired living on fixed incomes are once again hit hard due to lost pensions and lost/decreased health care coverage.
 
Where are the jobs? Why isn’t the TRICKLE-DOWN economic system working?
 
Corporations are making record (some say obscene) profits. The theory in TRICKLE-DOWN is that when the change falls out of the pockets of the wealthy, new jobs are created.
 
Where are the jobs? Is it possible (he writes with a smirk on his face) that these jobs are still going overseas?
 
If one looks at the handwriting on the wall, it becomes evident that Republicans (under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) want to privatize EVERTHING!!!
 
Can you imagine our state of the economy had President Bush been able to privatize Social Security the way he wanted to?
 
If the Republicans (under the influence and direction of the URRWTP) are successful at privatization, what would be the cost to the environment and general population?
 
This article about Florida’s Governor Rick Scott’s plan to privatize may provide a glimpse:
 
 
The end result in the name of free market competition will be a concentration of ownership by fewer people. 
 
My fellow Americans; it is already happening as a result of 10 years of corporate mismanagement by our elected officials from both parties.
 
The end result will be a few people will have enormous economic and political influence. If this trend is allowed to continue, our democracy, as we once knew it, will be replaced by an Oligarchy and/or Plutocracy.
 
If you don’t know what these system are, LOOK THEM UP!!!
 
So sayeth I, the SOUTHERN YANKEE ®.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved 




July 16, 2011
 
 
 
AMAZING DISCOVERY!!!
Share with all your friends
Thanx to the other TWS from the Headland High School Class of 1965
 
 
 
 
 
I don’t know WHY I didn’t figure this out sooner.
 
I’m suffering through a diet and instead of gagging on this terrible tasting diet food; I could be eating “high on the hog” and losing weight.
 
The lesson learned is to always read the label, no matter what product we use.
 
In this case, it’s the shampoo that I use in the shower!!!
 
When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and (duh!) the label states very clearly that this product is “FOR EXTRA VOLUME AND BODY.”
 
NO wonder I’ve been gaining weight!!!
 
Needless to say, I’ve gotten rid of that shampoo and replaced it with DAWN DISH SOAP. Their label reads, “DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.”
 
Who knew???
 
Problem solved! For those who might be calling or emailing me in the future, don’t be offended if I don’t answer in a timely fashion.
 
I’ll probably be in the shower!!!
 
 
  IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 




July 15, 2011
 
 
 
WHAT HAS AMERICA BECOME?
 
EdNote: The following Letter to the Editor appeared in a recent edition of the IOSCO COUNTY NEWS-RECORD a few weeks ago. It was written by Mr. Ken Huber who resides in the tiny town of Tawas City, Michigan. It was sent to me by a retired military officer and veteran of DESERT STORM. We must be on the same wave length as I was composing something very similar for a future YANKEE musing. Since this article expresses some of my feelings about where this country may be heading, I take the liberty of transcribing it here. The political persuasion of the writer is obvious but if his commentary is taken and evaluated, there are some excellent points to best discuss in the backyard over a few beers.
 
 
 
Has America become the land of the special interest and home of the double standard?
 
Let’s see: 
 
If we lie to the Congress, it’s a felony but if the Congress lies to us, its just politics.
 
If we dislike a black person, we’re racist but if a black person dislikes whites, it’s their 1st Amendment right.
 
The government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals but they do almost nothing for the victims.
 
In public schools, you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process.
 
You can kill an unborn child but it’s wrong to execute a mass murderer.
 
We don’t burn books in America, we rewrite them.
 
We got rid of the communist and socialist threat by renaming them progressives.
 
We are unable to close our border with Mexico but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea.
 
If you protest against President Obama’s policies you’re a terrorist but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy, it was your 1st Amendment right.
 
You can have pornography on TV or the Internet but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas.
 
We have eliminated all criminals in America; they are now called sick people.
 
We can use a human fetus for medical research but it’s wrong to use an animal.
 
We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don’t want to work.
 
We all support the Constitution but only when it supports our political ideology.
 
We still have freedom of speech but only if we are being politically correct.
 
Parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games.
 
The land of opportunity is now the land of hand outs.
 
The similarity between Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill is that neither president did anything to help.
 
And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who’s at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes; tells us the problem is solved so they can bet back to their reelection campaigns.
 
What has happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?
 
 

Will we default? Perhaps a subject for another musing to come.
 
Remember, I never ask for your belief or approval. 
 
I only ask for your attention.
 
So sayeth the SOUTHERN YANKEE ®.
 
 

 

July 14, 2011
 
 
 
THE NEXT TIME YOU NEED TO BE RESCUED, PROTECTED OR EDUCATED, CALL A FLORIDA REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR
 
 
This bumper sticker (made it myself) is on the back of my truck. I’m often asked what it means and as a teacher, I’m always glad to educate.
 
I continue to be appalled at the attitude of the private sector working public, particularly those under the influence of the ULTRA-RADICAL RIGHT WING TEA PARTIESTS, who constantly bemoan the theory that our country is going broke solely because of corrupt public employee labor unions and bloated police, firemen, and teacher pensions.
 
Most don’t understand the scope and depth of these government employee benefits and salaries. Yet the URRWTPs “bitch” and complain that government workers are lazy, incompetent, and overpaid. They say that government workers have no concept about how things work in the private sector (alleged real world) and that they should be grateful to have a job during these so-called “bad” times.
 
Some URRWTPs support immediate public employee layoffs saying these “bloated” salaries and benefits would keep politicians from raising their taxes.
 
Then, they have the unmitigated gall to demand that public libraries remain open, public health be available to protect their wants and needs, fire/rescue be on notice 24/7 to rush to their aid if they’re involved in an accident, and law enforcement employees willingly risk their lives to protect them.
 
 
In Florida, newly elected and widely despised TEA PARTY supported Governor Rick Scott ran on a campaign promise to create 700,000 new jobs while trimming the “fat” from state and entitlement programs.
 
Now local governments, due to drastic state budget cuts, have found it necessary to cut positions. So far, most of the positions are what might be called “support” but the prognosticators for 2011-2012 are saying we will see major cuts in police, firefighters, and public school teachers next year when the stimulus money runs out.
 
These same public employees that the URRWTPs paint as shiftless, over-paid, do-nothing individuals are also taxpayers and provide support to the local community. Historically, these workers accept a lower salary on average with the future contractual promise of a reasonable pension and quality health care program when they retire.
 
I need to make the following statement for the record. Some complainers lump teachers into the fray along with firemen and policemen. Teachers, on average, only reclaim about 47% or their salary base and are eligible for retirement either after 30 years of service or at age 62. In some cases, firemen and policemen reclaim nearly 100% of their salary in retirement after 25 years of service. Management positions do much better and recent publicity of “double-dipping” abuses may have caused this misperception that all public employees have taken advantage of the system.
 
Instead of “bitching” and complaining, private sector employees should be DEMANDING these same types of benefits for retirement and health care instead of being treated like “third-world” workers by a greedy and unappreciative American plutocracy. If there was ever a time for union representation in the private sector, IT IS NOW.
 
If it weren’t so, the URRWTPs wouldn’t be pooling all their political and financial resources to destroy public employee collective bargaining.
 
If the private sector wants to accept substandard retirement benefits, no health insurance coverage, and limited vacation and sick-leave benefits, THAT IS YOUR CHOICE.
 
It was part of my employment compensation package some 36 years ago.
 
If the private sector wants to accept the fact that these private company CEOs and our elected officials receive an annual compensation and benefits far beyond other industrialized nations, THAT IS YOUR CHOICE.
 
It was part of my employment compensation package some 36 years ago.
 
If those who “bitch” and complain that tax breaks for the wealthy and tax cuts for corporations makes American economically strong, THAT IS YOUR CHOICE.
 
I never signed on for Plutocracy. I support everyone; EVERYONE, paying their fair share.
 
President Reagan sold our American working Middle Class on the idea of “trickle-down” economics in the 1980s. The theory was told if the rich got richer, enough pocket change would fall into the average American’s pockets to keep American workers and our American economy strong.”
 
Apparently, President Reagan didn’t take into account how corporate greed would cause this system to fail. 
 
The working class American jobs went overseas and American middle management jobs simply WENT AWAY FOREVER. 
 
Trickle-Down Economics lined the pockets of wealthy Americans and stopping the flow of pocket change to the working middle class.
                                                                       
And the beneficiaries of Trickle-Down Economics accumulated so much wealth that they were able to buy our politicians and pay them well to see to their needs.
 
The URRWTPs now want us, the average Americans, the Working Middle Class, to accept tax cuts for the wealthy as a way to keep America strong.
 
These same URRWTPs want us; the average retired American BOOMER to toughen up and accept bagging groceries or flipping burgers at age 65 for minimum wage (part-time as well) because their 401/K/IRA is gone or their spouse is ill and they can’t afford medical care.
 
The quickest way to fix Social Security is to have everyone in it (including those in Congress who control it). The quickest way to fix MEDICARE is to have everyone in it (including those in Congress who control it).
 
It is time for proposed AMENDMENT #28 to become the law of the land (file this idea into the “fat chance” file).
 
 
“Congress shall make no law that applies to any citizen of the United States that does not apply equally to all US Senators and Representatives. Congress shall make no law that applies to any US Senator or Representative that does not apply equally to all citizens of the United States. All existing laws and regulations that do not meet these criteria shall be declared null and void.”
 
 
I have more thoughts coming. Put this blog on your FAVORITES list and check in every couple of days.
 
Remember, I never ask for your belief or approval. 
 
I only ask for your attention.
 
So sayeth the SOUTHERN YANKEE ®.

 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


  
 
 
 
 


July 12, 2011
 
 
 
 
THE BIRD
Or, “Boid” for those from New York
 
 
 
Flicking the “bird” or what was commonly called an “obscene gesture” in my family during my youth, is becoming more and more commonplace and acceptable in today’s society.
 
It was used during the Casey Anthony trial by a 28-year-old spectator. Unfortunately for him, the court camera caught his gesture and brought it to the attention of presiding Judge Belvin Perry.
 
Matthew Bartlett received, perhaps, the most severe judicial penalty of the entire trial; a $400 fine and 6 days in the Orlando jail. I understand he will appeal.
 
Later on, photographers caught defense attorney Cheney Mason “flicking the bird” to a group of news media hovering outside a pricy Orlando restaurant during a victory celebration after the verdict had been read.
 
No contempt charges here (except for maybe some Americans who are getting sick of seeing his gesture on national television over and over and over again). No doubt this “obscene gesture” will bring Mason much notoriety and fortune.
 
A travesty of justice one might conclude about the Anthony trial but perhaps, these gestures speak for the emotion of the country and the outcome of the trial itself.
 
As a teacher and a student of history, I like to take advantage of historical perspective whenever possible. One of my IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® readers wrote to me asking if I knew the origin of the “bird?” After extensive research, this is the best explanation I could muster.
 
As you read, try to imagine the late Paul Harvey’s voice from his THE REST OF THE STORY prose:
 
 
The “gesture” is said to have originated in 1415 at the Battle of Agincourt between the French and the English. The English had the best archers in Europe and their use of the LONGBOW often gave them a military advantage in battle.
 
In order for the LONGBOW to be properly utilized, the user found it necessary to use the first two fingers of his hand.
 
The French threatened to cut off the fingers of captured English archers as a consequence. Apparently considering the passions of war, the English proudly displayed their middle finger to the French demonstrating they still had their fingers.
 
The reader should know there isn’t any real conclusive evidence of this ever happening (much like the Anthony trial forensic evidence). Although it is historically possible that the French may have threatened to cut off the fingers of the English at some point in history, one can reasonably assume the English may have given the finger to the French in return.
 
This infamous “gesture” has truly found its way into modern politics and modern society. Perhaps, it first gained political prominence from former Vice President and longtime New York governor Nelson B. Rockefeller. In 1976, during a political rally held at Binghamton, New York, Rockefeller was caught by photographers “flicking the bird (boid)” at a group of hecklers.
 
This quickly became known as the “Rockefeller Salute” and has evolved into a commonplace gesture used by politicians, pundents, American motorists and their children to this day.
 
AND NOW (as the late Paul Harvey used to say), YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!!
 
 
  IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 


 
July 11, 2011
 
 
JAMES McMASTER
Did You know?
 
Written for the CANDOR STATEMENT - Candor (TiogaCounty), New York
Special Edition - June 29, 2011
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a boy, Terry Shoultes lived in the village of Catatonk during the 1950s. His family moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1959 and he has lived in the south ever since. He presently resides in Jupiter Farms, Florida with his wife of 40 years. Mr. Shoultes worked for IBM and other computer agencies for 21 years. After a layoff in 1992, he started his second career as an elementary school teacher of physical education, computer science, and creative writing. He is the father of four, grandfather of six and the mentor of many. He retired from teaching on January 3, 2011.
 
 
As a boy growing up in Tioga County, I always had an interest in local history. I found the early history to be fascinating and often wondered what life must have been like during the original settling of the towns and villages.
 
There is still so much to be seen and learned and I spend much of my time in genealogy research, trying to fantasize what being a child must have been like during the “old days.” There is so much we take for granted in these modern times and even when I recall events from my childhood in the 1950s, there is still a sense of wonderment.
 
If you’ve lived in the area long enough, you may have seen the historical marker in Owego referring to one of the original settlers, James McMaster.
 
As a child, I often wondered who he was and how his coming to Owego made the town evolve into what I now refer to as my HOMETOWN.
 
James McMaster from Florida (Montgomery County), New York was one of the soldiers in General James Clinton’s army who participated in the burning of the Indian village at what is now Owego on the 17th day of August 1779.

According to old historical records, a letter was written by General James Sullivan to General James Sullivan afterward. In this letter, Gen. Clinton expressed astonishment at the advance the Iroquois had made in agriculture. He noted that the corn was “the finest he had ever seen.” Another officer observed there were ears of corn that measured “twenty-two inches in length.”
 
McMaster was also impressed with the appearance of the valley and the apparent advantages of the land for farming purposes. He returned some four years later on a prospecting visit. The only white man living in this area was Amos Draper, an Indian trafficker, who was living at Choconut. Thanks to Draper’s influence, McMaster became friendly with the Indians and as a result, he was able to return the next year unmolested.
 
In or about 1784, McMaster and Draper purchased what became known as a “HALF-TOWNSHIP” of about 12,000 acres of land where the present village now stands.  In April 1785, McMaster came again from Florida (NY) with his brother Robert, an indentured servant named William Taylor, John Neely and William Woods. They traveled down through Ostego Lake to the Susquehanna River and then down to the location where Owego is now located. They brought farming implements and cooking utensils by boat along with four horses by land.
 
When they arrived, they built a cabin of pitch-pine logs along what is now known as Canawana. They planted ten acres of corn and after it had been hoed, left the crop in the field and returned to Montgomery County. They returned to Owego in the fall and gathered their crop in the field which had not been molested by the Indians. In later years, they built a more substantial log house near what is now the lower end of Front Street.
 
Amos Draper moved to Owego in the spring of 1787 and with his family took residence in the house that McMaster and his party had built two years previous. According to old records, Draper “deceased on the 24th of May, 1808 at about 2 o’clock, in the town of Owego, in the county of Tioga, N.Y. with a cancer on the left cheek – after passing through the most excruciating pain for nearly one year – and was buried in the burial ground in the village of Owego. The stone at the head is marked A.D. The grave is to the north of his daughter, which deceased with small pox.”
 
As a child interested in local history, we were taught that Amos Draper was one of the original Owego founders and was buried in the old cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church on North Avenue. I don’t know if this is true or not.
 
James McMaster became the first sheriff of Tioga County, elected in 1791. In either 1794 or 1795, McMaster and a surveyor named Hudson laid out streets and lots. This would become the village of Owego; much as it appears today. The growing village would become a bustling center of commerce where goods could be shipped down the Susquehanna River via arks and barges to markets in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
 
James McMaster moved his family to Owego in the spring of 1788 and settled in a house near the river near the present location of Academy Street. In that same year, the family of John McQuigg came from New Hampshire and settled in a house near the present location of Park Street.  McQuigg was also a soldier of the Revolution. He died at Owego in 1813.
 
There is an interesting observation about early life in Owego taken from various historical collections by John W. Barber and Henry Howe written in 1841.  The following document in its original punctuation is transcribed here:
 
 
“Between Owego and Tioga Point there were a number of Indians lived on the river plain for a length of time after its settlement by the whites. They demanded a yearly rent of the settlers for their land, until a treaty wa(s) held with them at Tioga, 3 or 4 years after the first settlement. An Indian, called Captain John, was their chief, or passed as such. They were always pleased to have white people eat with them; and would appear offended if, when calling at their wigwams when they were eating, they refused to eat with them. In seeking their rent, which they expect(e)d to be paid in grain, or when they wished to borrow, or buy, or bag, they would never ask for wheat, but always for corn. It is said, that some of the squaws could make an excellent kind of cake, out of fine Indian meal, dried berries, and maple sugar. When they wished to beg something to eat, instead of expressing it in words, they would place their hand first on their stomach and then to their mouth. This mute language must have been powerful appeal to the hospitality and sympathies of their more fortunate brethren. When they had bad luck, it is said, they would eat some kind of root which made them very sick and vomit, that they might, as they said, have better luck in the future.”
 
EdNote: It has been a tradition in my family that the cake or bread referred to in this old writing was called INDIAN FRY BREAD. My Grandmother Shoultes knew how to fix it but unfortunately, I am not aware of any recipe.
 
 
Although James McMaster was the owner of a vast amount of land, he died poor. He eventually sold his land holdings piece by piece, much of it for a mere song. In his later days, he moved to the settlement of Candor where his daughter, Mrs. Caleb Sackett resided. He died from being thrown from a horse in 1818. The location of his burial place is not known by me.
 
It has been nearly 232 years since James McMaster marched with General Clinton up the Susquehanna River on a mission to destroy the Indian village where Owego now stands. I often wonder what went through his mind as he observed the beauty of this valley known to the Indians as Ah-wa-ga which according to the writings of Judge Charles P. Avery meant “Where the (river) valley widens.”
 
Perhaps, I will view it with different eyes when I visit my hometown in October.
 


 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 




 
 
 

July 8, 2011
 
 
 
“We don’t give our criminals much punishment, but we sure give ‘em plenty of publicity.”
Will Rogers (4Nov1879-15Aug1935) - American humorist
 
 
“We have a verdict!!! We have a verdict!!!” I was driving back from a visit to Ruskin, Florida (my daughter blessed me with a new grandchild on June 24) when I received a cell phone call that the jury had reached a verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial.
 
I have satellite radio in my truck so I tuned in to HEADLINE NEWS and started listening.  Nancy Grace, who has vehemently claimed for nearly three years that Casey Anthony was guilty of pre-meditated murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, kept ranting over and over and over again that “justice will finally be served.”
 
In viewing this case from the outside, we heard evidence and testimony that the jury wasn’t allowed to hear. From the outside, we heard the talking heads grade the attorneys. From the outside, we heard from so-called experts in forensics, and we heard from an endless number of trial lawyers and judges who weren’t involved in the case.
 
And, of course, there were fights in the audience line and a great display of emotion from the entire country.
 
I’ve served on three jury trials. In two of those trials, I was elected fore-person. The other trial was settled just after closing arguments were completed. Apparently, the defense didn’t think we would acquit their client (and they were probably right).
 
“I hope that this is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years,” defense attorney Cheney Mason said to the media cameras with a look of contempt and arrogance on his face. He went on to say that events outside the courtroom were filled with “bias and prejudice and incompetent talking heads.” He added he was “disgusted” at seeing colleagues “getting on television and talking about a case they didn’t know a damn thing about.”
 
I tried to follow this case as a juror would see it. The oath and charge from the presiding judge that each juror takes to the deliberation room after the closing statements are completed clearly states that evidence of guilt “must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” under law.
 
Emotion means nothing. Attorney performance and theatrics means nothing. Media coverage and talking heads prognosticating the outcome means nothing.
 
And it is my conclusion, based upon the evidence heard by the jury and all these extenuating factors that I have outlined THAT THEY GOT IT RIGHT!!!
 
That doesn’t mean she wasn’t guilty of killing her daughter, whether premeditated or accidental. A verdict of NOT GUILTY means there was no direct evidence linking her to the crime.
 
There was conflicting testimony linking the duct tape to the face of Caylee Anthony.
 
There was no DNA on the duct tape.
 
There was no conclusive evidence on how Caylee Anthony died.
 
There was no conclusive evidence concerning who placed her body in the woods.
 
There was no conclusive evidence linking Casey Anthony to the “chloroform” searches on the Internet.
 
There was no conclusive evidence that Casey Anthony killed her daughter, either intentionally or accidentally.
 
There was conclusive evidence that Casey Anthony is a slut and a liar and these charges were brought.
 
The judge gave Anthony the maximum sentence for her misdemeanor crimes. Considering time served and good jail behavior for the past three years, the newspapers predict she’ll be released next Wednesday.
 
The sad part about this case is there is no apparent justice for Caylee. We still don’t know how she actually died. We still don’t know who her real father is. We still don’t know who placed her body in the woods.
 
Until these questions are answered, Casey Anthony will probably spend the rest of her life dodging reporters, photographers, and talking heads until the truth is finally known. Her release from jail is certainly not the ending to this tragedy. 
 
Perhaps, it’s only the beginning.
 
But for most involved directly with this case, THERE IS A BIG PAYDAY COMING!!!
 
Casey Anthony will sell her story to the highest bidder. The defense lawyers will demand BIG BUCKS for telling their side of this story. The prosecuting attorneys will also enjoy PROFIT from books and interviews. Casey’s parents are waiting for the HIGHEST OFFER for telling their dysfunctional family account. The jurors will soon break their silence WHEN THE PRICE IS RIGHT!!!
 
Meanwhile, every “piss ant” lawyer in the country will be hounding the Anthony’s with frivolous lawsuits. I understand there is a “Zanny” who is already in line.
 
As for me, I’m considering a personal frivolous lawsuit against Nancy Grace. Listening to her ranting and raving these past three years about this case has caused me severe psychological damage.
 
The biggest loser in my eyes will probably be the meter reader who somehow wasn’t able to cash-in on the reward monies for finding Caylee’s body.
 
And then, of course, we have Caylee.
 
 
 
  IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 




 
 
 



June 16, 2011
 
 
 
 
A NEW SCHOOL YEAR IN AMERICA
A SPEECH EVERY AMERICAN PRINCIPAL SHOULD GIVE
 
 
 
Greetings to the students and faculty of our (high) school.
 
I am your principal and honored to be so. There is no greater calling in life than to teach young people.
 
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school this year. I am making these changes because I’m convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America are working against you; against your teachers and against our country.
 
First of all, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. 
 
The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity – your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school cares about is American.
 
This is an American public school and American public schools were created to make better Americans. If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial, or religious identity through school, you’ll have to go elsewhere. 
 
We will end all ethnicity, race, and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of three central values: e pluribus Unum (out of many, one). 
 
This school will be guided by America’s values. 
 
This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any individual identities. This includes race, language, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
 
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethic, or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism… an unhealthy preoccupation with the self… while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. 
 
We will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you don’t already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interested in are those based on ethnic, racial, or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
 
Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. 
 
The English language has united America’s citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here… it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than English, this is not your school.
 
Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning’s elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
 
Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school’s property, whether in class, in the hallways, or at athletic events. If you can’t speak without using the f-word, you can’t speak. 
 
By obscene language, I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as “Nigger,” even when used by one black student to address another black, or “bitch,” even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
 
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way… the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago, by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
 
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. 
 
There will be no more attempts to convince you that you’re a victim of society because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual, or not Christian. 
 
We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky… to be alive and be an American.
 
So now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. If you don’t know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.
 
 
 
 
Dennis Prager (born August 2, 1948) is an American syndicated radio talk show host, syndicated columnist, author, and public speaker. He is noted for his conservative political and social views emanating from conservative Judeo-Christian values. He believes there is an “American Trinity” of essential principles, which he lists as E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust, and Liberty. He is a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution of StanfordUniversity. He taught Jewish and Russian History at Brooklyn College, and is a Fellow at the Columbia University of International and Public Affairs, where he did his graduate work at the Harriman Institute and Middle East Institute from 1970-1972. He has lectured in 46 states and on six continents and traveled in 98 countries and all 50 U.S. states. He speaks French, Russian, and Hebrew and has lectured in Russian in Russia and Hebrew in Israel. He is also an avid classical music enthusiast and has conducted orchestras in Southern California.
 
 
 







June 13, 2011
 
 
 
THE PATIENT GRANDFATHER
Thanx to Judi
 
 
 
A woman in a supermarket is following a grandfather and his badly behaving 3-year-old grandson.
 
It is obvious to her he has his hands full with the child screaming for sweets in the sweet aisle, biscuits in the biscuit aisle; and for fruit, cereal and pop in the other aisles.
 
Meanwhile, Granddad is working his way around, saying in a controlled voice, “Easy William, we won’t be long… easy boy.”
 
Another outburst and she hears the granddad calmly say, “It’s OK William, just a couple more minutes and we’ll be out of here. Hang in there boy.”
 
At the checkout, the little terrorist is throwing items out of the cart and Granddad once again says in a controlled voice, “William, William, relax buddy, don’t get upset. We’ll be home in five minutes; stay cool William.”
 
Very impressed, the woman goes outside where the grandfather is loading his groceries and the boy into the car.
 
She said to the elderly gentleman, “It’s none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don’t know how you did it. That whole time, you kept your composure and no matter how loud and disruptive he got, you just calmly kept saying things would be OK. William is very lucky to have you as his grandpa.”
 
“Thanks,” said the grandfather, “but I’m William… this little bastard’s name is Kevin.”
 
 







June 9, 2011
 
 
 
 
“WHEN THE FISH ARE BITING,
I WON’T BE WRITING.”
Cap’n Dee (aka Darrell D. Haverley) - March 22, 1927 – June 9-2011
 
 
 
“Why do I spend my time writing for this website (Reflections)? To promote thought and comment, dialogue and discourse, to probe for answers and truth through communication and debate. To open closed minds, blindside bias and hatred with truth and common sense. Use irony and covert sarcasm to expose hypocrisy. ONLY through acceptance of truth and facts, and facing reality ‘face to face’, will the world ever reach true peace within itself.”
 
 
I was very saddened to learn today that my shirt-tail cousin, my literary mentor, and my CYBER-FRIEND whom I’ve never met personally, passed away peacefully at his rural home near Grantsburg, Wisconsin at the age of 84.
 
Dee and I first met while researching genealogy. Our respective families were early settlers (1700s) to the Helderburg region of AlbanyCounty in upstate New York. We later became cyber-friends and often debated current politics. I found Cap’n Dee to be a highly intelligent self-made man with a PhD in common sense and hard knocks. He wasn’t afraid to speak (or write) his mind and his views, often a little more to the RIGHT side of the bird than mine, but they were listened to and respected by me and a large audience of readers who enjoyed his newspaper columns and website musings.
 
Per my advice a few years ago, he started the REFLECTIONS online website which has been a passion for him for the last three years or so.
 
I have called him (with great respect) my literary mentor.  I am honored to call him FRIEND. Our email debates and conversations will always be treasured memories for me.
 
Perhaps, the best description of Cap’n Dee was written by himself in the book, VILLAGE LIVING - The Return to Small Town Values. With his permission (which I know he would grant), I offer my tribute to him here:
 
 
Darrell (Cap’n Dee) Haverley was born and raised in the small towns and villages of SW Wisconsin. Some years after retiring, he returned to his small town roots to live out his life in a rural area. Starting in 1986, he and his loved one built a sprawling summer home on 45 acres near Grantsburg in the NW area of Wisconsin.
 
He is a World War II vet, served four years in the US Navy after enlisting at age 16 which was soon followed by 18 months of duty in the South Pacific. Then came 14 years in the insurance field where he rose to the top levels of management, followed by 15 years as the owner-manager of two Northern Minnesota American Plan summer resorts. The resorts were sold and he retired at the age of 51.
 
The next 20 years were spent traveling and fishing the North American continent; the far North reaches of Alaska and South to Panama. During this time frame, he also became a successful real estate investor while maintaining homes in Florida, Belize, Canada, Northern Minnesota, and the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
 
Along the way, Cap’n Dee for several years was the Cub Scout Leader for the nation’s largest Cub Pack, after which he became Cub Scout Round Table Commissioner. He was a tourism advisor to three Governors; and, organized and served as the first President of “Minnesota Heartland” which represented 1,450 resorts and 33 Chambers of Commerce.
 
Starting in the 1960’s, he began writing weekly newspaper columns, and since then has written for four different papers under different bylines in 3 states. For the past two years, he has written solely for his own website.
 
 

There will be thoughts that I'll express at a later time but as I reflect now, the tears come to my eyes once again. I will truly miss the online debates and the “nonsense from the Northwoods” that Cap’n Dee and I shared for nearly 15 years.
 
Godspeed to you Dee. LIFE IS GOOD!!!

 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 




 
 
 



June 6, 2011
 
 
SCHOOLS ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE LAWMAKERS
Some things change and some things remain the same. This SOUTHERN YANKEE article was written for the December 12, 2001 issue of the JUPITER COURIER. It demonstrates that the sad state of affairs in Florida Public Education remains to this day. It is important to remember that in 2001, the governor of Florida was Republican Jeb Bush.
 
 
 
Florida’s teachers soon will be facing larger classes, more students with special needs, increasing insurance costs, and requirements for special training, safety issues, and certification enhancements without additional financial compensation.
 
Recently the Florida Legislature implemented the FCAT test (the dreaded F-Word among educators) holding teachers personally accountable for student performance. Each school has been assigned a grade.
 
In today’s classroom if a child misbehaves, the teacher is responsible. If a child gets a bad grade, the teacher is accountable. If a child can’t demonstrate the standardized FCAT competence, the district, school, and teachers are penalized financially.
 
The Palm Beach County School Board soon will be stating there is no money for teacher raises next year. Several important academic programs could be eliminated due to state-mandated budget cuts, which may result in layoffs.
 
Veteran teachers reluctantly continue teaching. Retirement is now within reach. Many promising young teachers seek more lucrative careers. Soon there will be a severe teacher shortage.
 
It’s time for legislators in Tallahassee who passed these new laws and dictated these new academic standards to be recognized. They are the elected officials who are accountable for the budget and resource allocations in public education.
 
Informed voters should carefully determine if our current legislators have done their job. If you need help, ask a principal. Ask your child’s teacher. Ask a professional educator. Ask a local personnel department. Ask your child.
 
Make your voice heard at the voting booth. The success of American public education depends on you.
 
Editor’s note: The writer is a public school teacher and member of the bargaining committee of the Classroom Teachers Association.
 
 
 
Some things change and some things remain the same. If you compare conditions in 2001 to conditions in 2011, they appear to remain the same.
 
We still have a Republican-dominated legislature. We still have former Governor Jeb Bush calling the shots for public education. We still have school district financial problems and we still have teachers who offer “a fair days work for a fair days wage.”
 
The old “THOSE WHO CAN” quote has now changed to:
 
“Those who can teach!!! Those who can’t pass laws about teaching.”
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 









May 30, 2011
 
 
 
MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
TO A FALLEN WARRIOR
 
This beautiful Memorial Day tribute was written by the Rev. James C. Lee of Raleigh, North Carolina. Jim is a graduate of Campbell College and Duke University. He is an ordained Methodist minister and served several churches in North Carolina until his retirement in 2009. He is married to the former Sharon Pittman of Bradenton, Florida; the father of three children and four grandchildren.
 
 
His name is James Howard Lee and on this Memorial Day 2011 had he survived World War II and the wayfaring days since, he would have been 91 years old. 
 
Howard, as he was called by his family, was my father and the father of my younger brother Ray. Howard and my mother Maxine, both residents of Harnett County, North Carolina, married in 1942, a year before I was born.
 
In 1944 Howard was drafted into the U.S. Army and eventually landed in Denmark before moving into Germany as a U.S. Infantry soldier in early 1945. 
 
He could have gotten a military deferment because his father was seriously ill at the time and Howard was needed to manage the family’s farm. 
 
Like many of his patriotic peers, though, he believed he had a duty to “defend” his country. And in his numerous letters home to his wife and “boys,” he never grumbled about that mission. I might add that he also never glorified war or his role in it. In fact, he wrote often of getting “the job done” and returning to his “precious” family.
 
In February 1945, he and his best Army buddy had just exited a camp kitchen tent after a warm cup of coffee and were on their way to their respective foxholes, when a German air bomb exploded at tree height and sent a deadly fusillade of shrapnel in their direction. His friend, Ernie, later reported the he heard Howard gasp and turned to look as his pal fell to the ground. Rushing to his side and lifting Howard in his arms, he saw that he was mortally wounded. 
 
Several days later, my 17-year-old mother collapsed in anguish and disbelief as an Army infantryman handed her a telegram in Benson, N.C. noting the death of her husband. Doubtless my brother Ray and I heard her sorrowful wail, but we were much too young to fathom its meaning.
 
For four years, Howard’s body lay in a grave in Germany until his remains were returned in 1949 for interment at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church near Coats, N.C. I remember very vividly that day, as the bugle played and the rifles cracked and Mama cried yet again in the loss of her beloved spouse. I recall that at six years of age, I was more curious than sad during the military/church funeral. 
 
Through the years, however, there would be occasions when my own tears would fall. I would hear stories (some of them no doubt glorified) about my Dad and I would long for the affirming words and tender touch of a father I had only “mementos” of.
 
Today, Memorial Day 2011 as I write this, I have to say that I continue to respect and appreciate the decision my father made in 1944 to “do his duty.” I will also briefly indulge “what might have been” had he not gone off to war or had he managed to go and return safely. Moreover, like my Dad, I will not wax eloquently about our “fallen heroes” and romanticize their sacrifices as I visit his grave site. 
 
I will, however, express my thanksgiving for their dutiful responses and be grateful that their deaths likely have provided this world a better chance for harmony and good will. And because I entrust to God above everything and everyone else, I will entrust God the millions of “warriors” who have died.
 
I hope you have some time today to enjoy the company of family and friends and will take time to give thanks for the “invisible” community of those who stood in harm’s way for the cause of “liberty and justice for all.”
 
In His Love and mine,
 
 
Jim
 
 







May 24, 2011
 
 
 
“KILOMETERS ARE SHORTER THAN MILES - SAVE GAS; TAKE YOUR NEXT TRIP IN KILOMETERS”
George Carlin (12May1937-22Jun2008)
 
Originally Published - IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® - May 15, 2011
 
 
 
It is said by many educators throughout the world that Americans, especially American students, lack the math skills to successfully compete in this modern global society.
 
Have you noticed the shrinking of America?
 
Is it our system of measurement or corporate trickery that makes us feel secure in our concept of modern mathematics?
 
Example: The shrinking of the dollar value due to inflation, the shrinking of a pound of coffee from 16 oz. to 13 oz., the shrinking of a jar of mayonnaise from 32 oz. to 30 oz., the shrinking of a ½ gallon of ice cream to 1.5 quarts.
 
And one of my favorites: Hebrew National Hot Dogs have shrunk from an 8-pack to a 7-pack.
 
There is much hatred for the oil companies in America. When the oil barrel price went up, the price of gas at the pump changed almost daily. Now, that the price is coming down ……
 
Maybe it’s the image of the oil industry as GREEDY BASTARDS. Even if they are, they might be able to use America’s math weaknesses to buy enough time to keep Congress off their backs.
 
The solution is simple: Sell American gasoline in liters rather than gallons. It’s done in foreign countries with great success and by the time the American math deficient public tries to convert liters to gallons in their heads; the $75 fill limit on the pump will click.
 
The math conversion is simple: A gallon of gas has 3.7854118 liters.
 
In my weekly IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®, I post a gas price chart. 

 
                                                           This            Last           Last          Last     Inauguration Day        Highest 
                                                         Week          Week        Month       Year       Jan. 20, 2009            Ever Seen
 
SUNOCO– PBG IBIS           x.xxx    x.xxx    x.xxx    2.999   2.089               4.279
SHELL– PRATT                   x.xxx    x.xxx    x.xxx    3.049   1.999               4.199
CHEVRON- Jupiter Farms   4.059   3.999   3.939   2.999   1.999               4.239
SUNOCO- Jupiter Farms     3.979   3.979   3.859   2.939   1.919               4.189
SUNOCO- Buckhead Rg     x.xxx    3.919   3.779   2.859   1.839               4.099
AVG NATIONAL PRICE     3.97     3.97     3.80     2.85     1.85                 4.10
 
 
 
If gas were sold in liters, it would appear like this:
 
                                                           This            Last           Last          Last     Inauguration Day        Highest 
                                                          Week          Week        Month       Year       Jan. 20, 2009            Ever Seen
 
SUNOCO– PBG IBIS           x.xxx    x.xxx    x.xxx     .792     .552               1.130
SHELL– PRATT                   x.xxx    x.xxx    x.xxx     .805    .528               1.109
CHEVRON- Jupiter Farms   1.072   1.056   1.041    .792    .528               1.120
SUNOCO- Jupiter Farms     1.051   1.051   1.019    .776    .507               1.107
SUNOCO- Buckhead Rg     x.xxx     .998   3.779    .755    .486               1.082
AVG NATIONAL PRICE     1.04     1.04     1.00       .752    .489               1.08
 
 
 
Aren’t the liter prices more refreshing? You’re still getting screwed but somehow, it doesn’t seem so bad.
 
If anyone in the oil industry needs a sales and promotions specialist, I have some time on my hands.
 
Democrats claim that the oil company is a utility, not part of the free market, and thusly, needs to be regulated by the government. This would stop the fear-mongering tactics against our “recovering” economy when prices go up and there is no crisis.
 
Exxon-Mobil’s 69% PROFITS last quarter, the highest ever, are insane considering the economic status of our country. Oil Executives, bank executives and politicians seem to forget what and who makes this economy run; the rapidly disappearing American working Middle Class. When the middle classes are gone and the economy crashes for REAL, the wealthy and our politicians may find out they can’t eat money.
 
The Ultra-Right Wing Radical conservatives claim that oil companies are part of the free market and thusly, there should be no regulations or government intervention.
 
Laissez-Faire is a wonderful concept for doing business and I believe in it. However, there have to be exceptions. Some Americans living in the Deep South are testing the Laissez-Faire concept now with the TORNADO disasters and the Mississippi River flooding.
 
Will they change their conservative beliefs if the government decides to do nothing to help them?
 
Is corporate greed ripping us off? 
 
If we truly believe in the conservative philosophies of free market trade and business without rules and regulations, shouldn’t the oil companies be allowed to charge whatever the market will bear?
 
If so, these companies will continue to maximize their profits as they’ve been doing since the “trickle-down” theory was introduced back in the 1980s.
 
Or maybe, those same conservatives will decide (especially with the 2012 election just around the corner) that oil is an exception that working people cannot do without. 
 
Maybe these same conservative will declare that oil companies have indeed, become monopolies as they were back in the early part of the 20th century.
 
After all, when was the last time you passed an “off brand” station which advertised a cheaper cost? Remember KAYO, DIRECT, THONI, SUPERTEST, COLONIAL, HIGHWAY OIL: Where did they go?
 
There should not be a single member of the GOP or TEA PARTY complaining about the high price of gas. In their eyes, this is a victory for corporate America.
 
LONG LIVE THE PLUTARCHY!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





May 23, 2011
 
 
YOGI
 
Written for the CANDOR STATEMENT - Candor (Tioga County), New York
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As a boy, Terry Shoultes lived in the village of Catatonk during the 1950s. His family moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1959 and he has lived in the south ever since. He presently resides in Jupiter Farms, Florida with his wife of 40 years. Mr. Shoultes worked for IBM and other computer agencies for 21 years. After a layoff in 1992, he started his second career as an elementary school teacher of physical education, computer science, and creative writing. He is the father of four, grandfather of five (with #6 due in July) and the mentor of many. He retired from teaching on January 3, 2011.
 
 
Any baseball fan that grew up in the upstate New York area known as the Southern Tier during the 1950s is probably familiar with the name YOGI.
 
The NE United States was home to baseball back in the 1950s.
 
The National League included the Philadelphia Phillies, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
 
The American League included the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Browns, and Philadelphia Athletics.
 
There were no major league teams in the south or west. For us, everything seemed to revolve around New York City.
 
During this era, baseball was truly the American pastime. Other professional sports were played but football, basketball, hockey, etc. really didn’t become as closely followed until television became an accepted and affordable household media.
 
From opening day until the World Series, radio provided our window into baseball. The upstate fans were fiercely loyal to their teams, especially the Yankees. In our house, the family was split between the Dodgers, Braves, and Yankees. My father and grandfather were not Yankee fans although they hardly ever missed the radio broadcast and the colorful play-by-play descriptions of Mel Allen.
 
Grandpa Shoultes called him Al Melon and said you could listen for about 30 seconds and determine by the tone of his voice if the Yankees were ahead or behind. Among Allen’s many catchphrases were, “Hello there, everybody!” which he started each game with. 
 
Others that I remember were the infamous, “How-a-bout that?!” or “Going, going, gone!” on home runs and “Three and two. What’ll he do?”
 
The Yankees were the team to beat in the 1950s. The American League pennant was never in question; the question was “Who would the Yankees play in the World Series?”
 
There were many great names associated with the Yankees during this period but perhaps, the one name that has perpetuated into these modern times is Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra.
 
Yogi Berra played almost his entire 19-year career (1946-1965) for the New York Yankees. He is one of only four players to be named the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER of the American League three times (1951, 1954 & 1955) and one of only six managers to lead both American League and National League teams to the World Series.
 
Yankee manager icon Casey Stengel once said of Berra, “I never play a game without my man.” His defensive records are not commonly known but he ranks among the games finest defensive catchers.
 
“One of the best BAD BALL hitters I’ve ever seen,” recalls my 86-year-old father. Berra could “golf” low pitches for deep home runs and hit pitches over his head for line drives. He had great bat control and only struck out 12 times in 597 at-bats during the 1950 season. When asked about swinging at “bad pitches” Berra answered, “If I can hit it, it’s a good pitch.”
 
The Yankees were dominating during the 1950s and played in seven World Series. They lost the pennant only twice (1954 to the Indians and 1959 to the White Sox) and lost the World Series twice (1955 to the Dodgers and 1957 to the Milwaukee Braves).
 
Yogi Berra was inducted into the HALL OF FAME in 1972. However, it may be his saying and quotes that are most remembered by this generation of baseball fans. One of the great television interviews with Yogi that I remember took place about five years ago with the late Tim Russert. Russert went over some of Yogi’s more memorable musings and it kept me in stitches.
 
“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Never answer an anonymous letter. I usually take a two hour hap from one to four. It’s déjà vu all over again. Overwhelming underdogs (Yogi describing the 69 Mets). The future ain’t what it used to be. If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be. If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them. That restaurant is always crowded; nobody goes there.”
 
And when asked about all his quotes and sayings at the end of the show, Yogi quipped, “I didn’t really say everything I said.”
 
By the time my family moved south in 1959, baseball was going through big changes. The owners were prosperous during the 50s but they saw new opportunities to make even more money. In a seemingly selfish act that ignored the loyal fans of the northeast, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to the west coast in 1958.
 
If you’re a child of the 50s and the name YOGI didn’t conjure up this short, stubby catcher who hit pitches over his head for home runs, you must have grown up under a rock.
 
Yogi celebrated his 86th birthday on May 12th. He is one of the few remaining Yankee icons from those great teams of the 50s. Let’s hope we get to enjoy him for many more years to come.
 
In one of our local restaurants, there is a picture of Yogi and Jackie Robinson taken during the 1955 World Series. Robinson is stealing home and Yogi is waiting for him with the tag.
 
Witnesses and photographs saw the call both ways. Robinson was called safe and Berra argued vehemently with the umpire.
 
To this day whenever Berra is asked, he says in that low deep voice, “I got him!”
 
It is said that Yogi’s wife Carmen once asked, “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?”
 
Yogi replied, “Surprise me!”
 



 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 










May 22, 2011
 
 
Couldn’t have said it better myself
 
LEGISLATIVE SESSION
WAS GOP BAIT-SWITCH
Written by - Nan Rich
South Florida Sun Sentinel - May 21, 2011
 
 
Call it the great Republican bait and switch of the 2011 legislative session.
 
What was supposed to be a call to action for lawmakers in response to the voters following the November elections, namely: “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” quickly morphed into indifference - at least as far as Florida’s battered economy was concerned.
 
But in almost every other crevice of our daily lives - from education to health care to controlling our own bodies to guns to religion - the Republicans outdid themselves.
 
In one masterful 60-day swoop, they managed to use more than 1 million unemployed Floridians as cover to ram through a hard right-wing agenda the ultra-conservative and billionaire Koch brothers have spent fortunes and decades to accomplish.
 
They protected loopholes for tax-dodging corporations, but cut funding for public school children by $1.35 billion, a whopping $542 per child.
 
They slashed money for hospitals by $510 million, but did everything in their power to block Floridians’ access to universal health care.
 
They forced women to pay for ultrasounds, but muzzled doctors from protecting children.
 
They lowered flags to half-staff for the fallen, while simultaneously slapping a special 3 percent tax on police officers and every other public servant.
 
And they told us we need to be responsible enough to change our addresses before we exercise our right to vote, but citizen groups like the League of Women Voters can’t be trusted to register new voters without draconian government oversight.
 
Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon deregulated, defunded and dismantled in the name of “economic growth,” ominously imposing their corporate masters as our own.
 
They did this despite Florida’s 2009 ranking as fifth best in the state for its low business-tax rate and number of “anti-business regulations” from none other than Arthur Laffer himself, the guru of the discredited trickle-down economic theory the Republicans has blindly followed for the past 13 years they have ruled Tallahassee.
 
As the 2012 election season begins, Floridians would do well to remember this session. The free-for-all playground they’ve created for Wall Street stands in stark contrast to the restrictions they’ve slapped on everyone else.
 
And while this hard-right turn might appeal to tea-partying supporters, it’s just another hammer coming down on a struggling middle class that’s overtaxed, overwhelmed and still looking forward to those promised jobs.
 
Senator Nan Rich of Weston, is the Senate Democratic leader for the 2010-2011 legislative session.

Copyright © 2011,
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
 
 

Our country and state has been and continues to be
governed by extreme factions … Mr. Gingrich may have made a fool of himself on national television this past Sunday with his fellow Republicans but he spoke the truth. 
 
The truth is that both Democrats and Republicans are engaged in their own brands of social engineering tailored to their special interest groups. 
 
The two party system has failed both Americans and Floridians.
 
And if the truth were really known and exposed, ALEC is responsible. 
 
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a Radical-Right Republican group that since 1973, has been influencing Congress, State, County, and city legislatures around the country with BILLIONS of dollars from their multinational constituents such as Exxon-Mobil, Conoco, Johnson & Johnson, The Koch Brothers, Coors, etc. etc. etc.
 
 
They have, want to, and eventually will, destroy the very fabric of our beloved country.
 
Once again, it’s time to THROW THE BASTARDS OUT!!!
 
This is a call for the working Middle Class to vote these Republicans/Ultra-Right Radicals/Teabaggers out of office in 2012 before they eradicate the working Middle Class, America’s Senior Citizens, and the poor!!!
 

 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 







May 21, 2011
 
 
WHAT ABOUT JEB?
 
 
 
When Jeb Bush left the Florida’s governor’s office, he hardly rode into the sunset as his brother did in 2009. 
 
Bush has developed a self-promoting national reputation as an education reformer powerhouse. He is the champion of vouchers and charter schools and his latest recognition, the Bradley Foundation, is a conservative group that claims it “shies away from lauding politicians.”
 
Jeb’s influence with the Republican-dominated Florida legislature remains strong and has gone far beyond Tallahassee. State capitols from New Jersey to Oregon have elected new lawmakers eager to embrace his education reforms.
 
But as a result, there are many within the compassionate conservative ranks of the Republican Party who are worried about the impact this radical educational philosophy may have on the working class Americans who are struggling and can’t afford a privatized education system.
 
Some would like to draft Jeb as the Republican presidential candidate of 2012.
 
And as Gingrich, Trump, Palin, Christie, Walker, Bachmann, etc. all continue to make fools of themselves, the TEA PARTY movement may actually split the GOP which would almost guarantee Obama a second term.
 
What about JEB? Is he a qualified Republican under the Ultra-Right classification?
 
So far, Jeb hasn’t been convicted of anything. 
 
So far, no “love children” have been revealed.
 
So far, he seems blessed with the intelligence of his father.
 
The question may be how far left he can stay from the TEA PARTY and still remain a force within the mainline GOP. This platform didn’t work for his father when the party split in 1992 and Bush #41 was ousted from the White House.
 
And there may still be a problem with image.
 
When Florida Governor Scott and Jeb visit schools, they are always either private or charter schools where the kids wear uniforms and politely raise their hands to ask questions.
 
But I challenge anyone who visits a private school; look at the curriculum and materials they use, and ask yourself this question.
 
Why aren’t the public schools doing this?
 
Speaking a public school elementary school teacher for the past 17 years (I retired in January 2011), this question is easy to answer.
 
If Governor Bush hadn’t worked so hard to under-fund the public schools, they would be as good as or better than the private schools he touts as outstanding in his publications.
 
Jeb Bush knows there is big money to be made by taking the “public” out of public education. He realized there’s even bigger money to be made in testing and he’s seen personal advantages with advocating the ULTRA-RIGHT WING Republican agenda by helping to destroy unions and the working middle class.
 
But this concept isn’t new!
 
The assault on working Americans and public education began with Reagan when more power was given to corporations and less to workers. Job security and income started to dwindle. 
 
In order for the working Middle Class to realize the American Dream, both parents went to work, sometimes holding 2 or 3 jobs (as I did). We worked longer hours for less pay (got no raises while prices for everything skyrocketed). Parents came home exhausted and the age of “latch key kids” entered the school systems.
 
Does any of this sound familiar?
 
Today’s teachers TEACH under the legislative directive of “pay for performance.” Emphasis is not on the innovation and quality of teaching; it lies primarily with student test performance.
 
And guess who controls the testing in Florida?
 
Jeb Bush claims that Florida schools have made remarkable gains but critics are wondering why the last two standardized tests their second graders took were nearly identical. 
 
Could it be that in order to make scores higher, the test questions have been “dummied” down?
 
Critics also claim that the gains seen in elementary school won’t be replicated at the high school level under the present testing philosophy. Bush says his critics are moving the goal posts. 
 
He first predicted “the world was going to come to an end” but when that didn’t happen, he now questions high school student performance and the high school teachers.
 
“It’s a long process and along the way, you learn and you try to advocate reforms that will continue the process.”
 
Meanwhile, he and his ultra-right wing consorts have dumped teachers into the “lazy and uncaring” categories. Thanks to his control of the press, teachers are seen by the public as “whiny, overpaid under-worked complainers who only want more money and less accountability.”
 
But consider this fact.
 
These lazy, worthless public school teachers are the ones buying supplies for your kids out of their own pockets because of the funding that Bush and now Scott have cut.
 
Perhaps this altered old saying might be appropriate for the Bush and upcoming Scott administrations in Florida.
 
“Those who can teach; those who cannot teach pass laws about teaching.”
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 
 
 



 
May 11, 2011
 
 
 
 
WHAT OUR GOP-DOMINATED LEGISLATURE
DID FOR FLORIDA
DURING THE 2011 SESSION
 
 
 
The Florida Legislature ended an unprecedented session early last Saturday morning, ramroding dozens of bizarre policy changes that will affect Florida citizens for years.
 
And (in my opinion), most of them are not for the good.
 
Several new laws target homeowners, families, students, and state workers with new costs and burdens while providing those special interest groups with tax subsidies and tax breaks.
 
I’ll be addressing the more critical issues in the days ahead, but here is a short list of the damage:
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers made it easier for private property insurance companies to raise homeowners’ rates 15%, supposedly to pay for increases in reinsurance costs (look it up). This endorses the practice that big companies play in selling inflated backup coverage to Florida affiliates, who then jack up the premiums.
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers tried to pass a measure that allowed Citizens Insurance (the homeowners insurance of last resort in Florida) to stick homeowners with 25% yearly rate hikes. This measure failed due to public outrage. HIDE AND WATCH to see if this measure shows up in new fees (what Republicans call increased taxes).
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers passed a measure that allows insurers to hold back full-replacement costs for repairs, making the insured homeowner responsible for up-front costs should a bad storm strike.
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers cut public school spending by $1.4 billion (Yes, BILLION with a “B”) while sending more taxpayer dollars into voucher programs that drain public school funding. They approved several changes that greatly benefit private, for-profit charter and virtual schools.
 
Palm Beach County Schools will be somewhat cushioned by previous prudent moves but the new reductions will undoubtedly have a negative impact on classrooms and teachers.
 
Florida parents will face rising university tuitions which may increase as much as 15%.
 
Florida parents will face cuts in Bright Futures scholarships.
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers effectively reversed 30 years of growth management meant to protect the environment and hold developers accountable for paying their fair share of road costs, schools, and infrastructure. This translates that these costs will be paid by local governments and local taxpayers in the form of higher impact fees and higher property taxes.
 
Our GOP-dominated lawmakers suppressed democracy at the polls by reducing the early voting period and imposing onerous possible illegal regulations on groups that hold voter-registration drives, such as the Florida League of Women Voters. The lawyers will be feeding at the public trough on this one for many years.
 
Under this same measure, anyone who has moved out of a county, such as college students and military members, must vote provisionally increasing the likelihood their vote won’t be counted. Everyone knows that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in Florida.
 
The GOP-dominated lawmakers eliminated 4,500 state positions while unemployment in the Sunshine State remains over 11%. At the same time, these GOP-dominated lawmakers reduced benefits for those who lost jobs while handing a tax cut to businesses.
 
The GOP-dominated lawmakers passed a law which forces women seeking an abortion to pay for and undergo an ultrasound test, even if the procedure is medically unnecessary.
 
The GOP-dominated lawmakers failed to pass a measure that would deregulate the oversight needed to prevent fraud by telemarketers, movers, car-mechanic shops and other service professions.
 
Overall, ordinary Floridian taxpayers took a beating from Tallahassee this year while special interests had a heyday. Governor Rick Scott proclaimed the legislative session very successful.
 
HIDE AND WATCH!!! The worst is yet to come.
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 







May 5, 2011
 
 
 
SHOW OF UNITY AT GROUND ZERO
Opportunity lost?
 
 
 
In thinking over the events of the last week and trying to understand where we go next, I wondered how a political demonstration of bipartisanship would be received by our allies and our enemies.
 
Wouldn’t it be great if our living presidents, Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama joined hands at Ground Zero in a show of unity by declaring the death of Osama bin Laden as justice served.
 
There would be no mention of who gets the credit. There would be no mention of who takes the blame. 
 
Because after all, it really doesn’t matter.
 
Our living presidents, all holding hands at Ground Zero as a gesture of united resolve would send a statement to the world that we are, indeed, the United States of America and in spite of our individual differences of philosophy and political belief, we will not tolerate terrorism against our people; in any form, at any place, at any time.
 
On this issue, Americans stand together; all for one and one for all.

But politics now rears it's ugly head.
 
“President (George W.) Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday,” said his spokesman, David Sherzer. “He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with Americans this important victory in the war on terror.”
 
“President Bush spent much of his presidency hunting for Bin Laden. A few days after the 9/11 attack, he made one of the most dramatic public appearances of his presidency, standing atop the smoldering ruins of the towers and speaking to rescue workers using a firefighter’s bullhorn.
 
It was, perhaps (in my opinion), the finest hour of his presidency.
 
He should be there.
 
The White House, according to press releases, has also extended an invitation to another political figure closely identified with the attacks, then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 
 
He should be there.
 
There is word at the time of this writing whether Giuliani will accept. It is rumored that President Clinton has also declined and at this point, I don’t know if Presidents Carter and Bush 41 were invited.
 
It would seem an excellent time to declare our strength and resolve to a Middle East in political turmoil. 
 
But now it appears that President Obama will stand alone at Ground Zero.
 
It is most unfortunate that this simple act of unity is giving the appearance of being viewed as political pandering and separation among the Democrats and Republicans.
 
And we will continue to bicker and complain about who really gets the credit for this monumental victory in the War of Terrorism.
 
Will our allies and enemies take notice?
 
 
  
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 






May 4, 2011
 
 
 
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
 
 
 
Who would have ever “thunk” it?
 
American intelligence finally found Osama bin Laden; not in a mountain cave along Afghanistan’s border as we were led to believe, but in a luxurious million-dollar compound located in the summer resort town of Abbottabad; about an hours drive from Pakistan’s capital.
 
His neighbors; apparently many retired members of Pakistan’s military.
 
So far, no one in Pakistan is willing to acknowledge they knew anything about this.
 
Yeah, right!!!
 
We haven’t learned the extent of the luxury yet but it sounds like something Donald Trump would be proud to claim as part of his real estate.
 
The compound, described as about eight times larger than other nearby houses, was built on a large plot of land that was relatively secluded in 2005 when it was built.
 
2005?
 
Who was president in 2005?
 
No, I’m not going to bash George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama.
 
They were all obviously outclassed and surpassed by an extremely intelligent opponent whose hatred for Americans goes beyond all understanding.
 
Bin Laden made fools of our CIA and presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama until last August when (allegedly) one of Bin Laden’s most trusted couriers made a mistake.
 
After four years of alleged interrogation from GITMO, U.S. forces were led to the fortress-like three story building after one of Bin Laden’s most trusted couriers made a telephone call that was monitored.
 
Elaborate security measures at the compound included 12 to 18 foot outer walls topped with barbed wire. Two security gates restricted access and residents burned their trash, rather than leaving it out for collection as did their neighbors.
 
Unsubstantiated stories also came out that the compound didn’t have electricity, telephones, and Internet. This seems strange because I recall that computer hard drives and other such devices were removed by the “invaders.”
 
It all added up. After monitoring the compound since last August (according to news sources), a decision was made.
 
Political pundits call it a “gusty call.” 
 
Not so. 
 
Presidents Clinton and Bush were certainly up to the task and fully capable of making the decision to attack.
 
It was the right decision. True, the personal risk to highly trained Navy Seal personnel was high but a bomb would have been so impersonal. 
 
With a bomb, Osama wouldn’t have known what hit him. Shame on me for thinking this way but I find great joy in the fact that the last thing he saw on this earth was an American soldier pointing a gun at his face.
 
So what happens now?
 
Perhaps it is best portrayed by the 2001 film PEARL HARBOR. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is quoted as saying after the attack, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
 
Mr. Gaddafi, take notice. Bashar al-Assad, take notice. Your Majesty King Abdullah, better start listening to your people.
 
I am hopeful that the SLEEPING GIANT has indeed awakened and this act of cleansing can be, and will be repeated if necessary.
 
As for Mr. Obama; mission accomplished. As for Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton, thanks for your support. Stay with us; we may need you again.
 
And to those brave men wearing the title of NAVY SEALS, the gratitude of our nation will be attributed to you for many generations to come.
 
Job well done!!!
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 







April 30, 2011
 
 
 
FLORIDA SENATE BILL 502
PASSES 39-0
 
 
It is common knowledge that many of Florida’s citizens are losing their homes to foreclosure in record numbers. 
 
Taxes are going up (fees if you happen to be a Republican). 
 
Homeowner’s insurance premiums are rising at record rates. State services are being cut with record numbers of employees losing their jobs. 
 
Public education funding is at an all-time low and with the end of stimulus money availability, teachers and support staff is being slated for layoffs in the upcoming school year.
 
If you happen to be one of these unfortunates, you’ll be happy to know that your Florida legislators are looking out for your interests.
 
Steve Oelrich (R- Cross Creek) has sponsored a bill (Senate Bill 502) which makes the BARKING TREE FROG the official state amphibian. He even took the liberty of showing a picture of the frog and playing a recording of one barking.
 
Our elected senators were overjoyed. The bill passed today by a vote of 39-0.
 
Research indicates this amphibian is one of the largest frogs in the United States. Most live in Florida which makes this frog very deserving of this high honor.
 
But before you begin celebrating and wearing BARKING TREE FROG t-shirts and declaring this amphibian as school mascots, take note.
 
An identical bill (HB 645) is stalled in the House and it appears unlikely the designation will become law this session.
 
Rumors are flying that the Florida Barking Tree Frog is not actually a Florida native and therefore, cannot be declared the state amphibian.
 
I have contacted the Trump for President Exploratory Committee to look into this rumor. Preliminary research that I have undertaken indicates the Barking Tree Frog is actually a native of Cuba.
 
Mr. Trump is on a roll since making Hawaii give up the official birth certificate of President Obama. I figure the problem of an alleged Cuban Barking Tree Frog being named the state amphibian can be quickly cleared up.
 
Will Florida’s citizens’ sleep better tonight because of Senate Bill 502?
 
God help us all!!!
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 
 






April 24, 2011
 
 
 
THINGS I’VE LEARNED FROM THE EASTER BUNNY
Thanx to the other TWS from the infamous Headland High School Class of 1965
 
 
 
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
 
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears
 
There’s no such thing as too much candy
 
All work and no play can make you a basket case
 
Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day
 
Some body parts are supposed to be floppy
 
Keep your paws off other people’s jelly beans
 
Good things come in small, sugar coated packages
 
The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket
 
To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell
 
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey
 
May the joy of Easter fill your heart
 
 
 






April 15, 2011
 
 
 
 
THE LAST NICKEL
Dedicated to those who waited until the last minute to file your income tax return
 
 
 
A father walks into a restaurant with his young son. He gives the young boy 3 nickels to play with to keep him occupied. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father realizes the boy has swallowed the nickels and starts slapping him on the back. The boy coughs up 2 of the nickels, but keeps choking. Looking at his son, the father is panicking, shouting for help.
 
A well dressed, attractive and serious looking woman in a blue business suit is sitting at the coffee bar reading a newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the restaurant.
 
Reaching the boy, the woman carefully drops his pants, takes hold of the boy’s testicles and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly. After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the last nickel, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand. Releasing the boy’s testicles, the woman hands the nickel to the father and walks back to her seat at the coffee bar without saying a word.
 
As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, “I’ve never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic. Are you a doctor?”
 
“No,” the woman replied. “I’m with the IRS.”
 
 





April 9, 2011
 
 
 
KORAN BURNING
WHY IS THIS STORY NEWSWORTHY?
 
 
 
I often wonder what makes an event or person newsworthy within today’s concept of professional journalism.
 
If March 20th had been a slow news day, would this have been a viable justification for the media coverage of Pastor Terry Jones’ burning of the Koran?
 
Why was this story considered front-page news?
 
There are over 2 million Muslims in the USA who live here as citizens. These people listen to the media and stories like this one that promotes hatred and encourages hate crimes against them.
 
Jesus would not have condoned the burning of an important book of another religion. Of course, Jesus wouldn’t have condoned the Spanish Inquisition, the Anglican Church killing of priests, the Crusades, and all the wars that were fought in his name either.
 
“Another commandment I give unto you, that ye should love one another as I have loved you.”
 
Pastor Jones must be very proud of his handiwork. His hateful efforts to throw a match into the tinderbox of radical Muslims have worked like a charm.
 
By burning the holy book of another faith, Jones predictably incited unstable, violent individuals to murder and maim innocent people serving at a United Nations installation in Afghanistan.
 
And what is worse, Pastor Jones has misrepresented the right to freedom of speech doctrine that we cherish so much in this county.
 
So why does the media constantly give this crackpot free publicity complete with all the picture-taking and interviewing nonsense, without any consideration of the results?
 
This act of stupidity, bordering on aiding and abetting the enemy in Afghanistan, comes from a politically obscure Man of the Cloth; a previous unknown preacher of a small congregation located in Gainesville, Florida called the Dove World Outreach Center.
 
As a result of his action and the extensive media coverage he received, 22 people are dead (so far); murdered by Muslim radicals in apparent revenge for his burning the Koran.
 
Should the media have any culpability for this?
 
Let’s say, for example, if Pastor Jones had chosen March 11th, the day of the Japanese earthquake to make himself a media “star,” would he have gotten any press time?
 
Would those 22 people still be alive?
 
What has happened to modern journalism? The sensationalism media that we’re constantly bombarded with (i.e. reality TV) is truly appalling.
 
Isn’t it time for the media to exercise some professionalism in selecting newsworthy stories that shape the world we live in?
 
It’s also becoming more dangerous for those who wear our uniform and put their lives on the line each day to protect our freedoms.
 
Including, the freedom to act irresponsibly.
 
But under our Constitution, this man didn’t break any laws. His right to freedom of speech, no matter how hateful, is fully protected.
 
As is his freedom to act irresponsibly?
 
Pastor Jones knew in advance what could happen to our troops. He was personally asked by General Petreaus not to do it as it would make life difficult for and enhance the danger to our troops. Yet, he ignored the warnings and did it anyway.
 
Did he act irresponsibly?
 
Apparently, his quest for personal notoriety is more powerful that his sense of morality and decency.
 
So should he have acted responsibly?
 
I have members of my family serving in the Middle East. I think it is fair to say that should a member of my family be harmed or killed over this over-publicized event, I would probably want to pay a little visit to Gainesville.
 
Meanwhile, I certainly hope that Pastor Jones and his tiny Dove World Outreach Center congregation are living and existing within the laws of the land. Considering the actions taken and the results of his action, I trust that no taxpayer exemptions under the separation of church and state laws are being provided for this nutcase.
 
In my opinion, his actions not only insult Christianity but are unfaithful and unpatriotic to our country as well.
 
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 






April 7, 2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
SENATE BILL 736
FLORIDA’S NEW TEACHER MERIT PAY/TENURE LAW
 
 
 
Florida Governor Rick Scott has made his first-ever law signing a memorable experience, fulfilling a campaign promise he made on the election trail last fall.
 
Senate Bill 736 calls for the implementation of merit pay for Florida public school teachers and the elimination of tenure (multi-year contracts) for new teachers.
 
Proponents say the bill will produce better teachers, better schools, and better-educated children.
 
Opponents see something akin to doomsday for the American public school system.
 
Most good teachers and credible teacher unions have always been in favor of a merit pay system for outstanding teachers. It’s not a new idea. The problem has always been how to produce an objective measure of standards.
 
But talk is cheap and the debate in Florida is over. Senate Bill 736 is now the law of the land.
 
So, …  show me the money.
 
In order for “merit pay” to be attractive enough to entice new teachers in Florida, it’ll take (my opinion) a minimum bonus of at least $5000 for each and every year of “effective” ratings.
 
I spent the last ten years of my teaching career as a member of the Negotiations team for the Classroom Teachers of Palm Beach County, Florida. I represented nearly 12,000 teachers in formal labor contract collective bargaining with the Palm Beach County School District.
 
Based upon this experience with the School District, the State of Florida and the governor’s office, I make the following statement without any mental reservation.
 
I don’t see this kind of funding ever happening.
 
This current Republican-dominated legislature, like previous GOP-dominated legislatures, has placed another hook into the funding process. 
 
When called upon to define the bill’s funding appropriation, they state that the actual “merit pay” payments will only occur WHEN LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE THE AVAILABLE FUNDS.
 
Well, guess what!!! In Florida, the state (in particular, the legislature) controls funding.
 
During my ten year TENURE (whoops, a bad word) on the teacher union Negotiations team, they (the district) have never had “available funds” for teacher raises.
 
During the last two years of Dr. Art Johnson’s reign as superintendent in Palm Beach County, the district budget made no provision whatsoever for teacher raises.
 
Dr. Johnson, former Governor Bush, former Governor Crist, Governor Scott, and the media have cleverly painted teachers as the BAD GUYS.  The public thinks teachers and teacher unions are responsible for “bankrupting” the state.
 
Thanks to this highly successful marketing ploy, this perception has reduced teachers to whiny, money-grubbing state employees; ungrateful for paid summer vacations, paid holidays; and continuous paid breaks such as Christmas and Spring.
 
“Teachers should only be concerned with teaching our children,” the media says.
 
“Teachers should be grateful to have a job in this current economic environment,” the working community says.
 
Business leaders and elected officials suggest that teachers should “hang on” for a few more years to see if Senate Bill 736 works out.
 
Meanwhile, no projected raises for at least three years and by the way, teachers will now contribute 5% of their gross pay toward their individual retirement pensions.
 
A “free” retirement contribution used to be part of a teachers’ compensation package. Simple math says this contribution is essentially a pay cut.
 
Lawmakers who are convinced that the “CREAM” of the teaching profession will “hang on” and stay are only fooling themselves. 
 
The first wave of BOOMERS is retiring in large numbers. 
 
Veteran teachers have decided to take their money and run. 
 
Some BOOMER teachers who made good investments are finding they make more money in retirement.
 
But most important, most BOOMER generation teachers were truly dedicated professionals who worked “for the good of the children.”
 
And once they leave the system, they’re gone forever. Who will step up and replace them?
 
My advice to young people considering a career in education is to enter the teaching field with your eyes wide open.
 
When the economy improves, you’ll will find better work and pay opportunities in other fields where your skills and talents will be more appreciated.
 
And this is the point the governor, lawmakers, school administrators, and the media are missing!!!
 
The teaching profession has been taken over by a BUSINESS MENTALITY. They believe that by using a business approach to teaching, the “Y” generation will enter the profession simply “for the joy of working with children.”
 
They are wrong!!!
 
If this rant sounds bitter or misinformed, I would advise everyone with an interest in American public education to get a copy of Florida’s SENATE BILL 736 and read ALL 43 pages. 
 
Within this bill, you will find language stating “No due process for hires after July 1, 2011; 50% of a teachers evaluation based on FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) or EOC (End of Course) exam, two consecutive unsatisfactory evaluations or 2 of 3 Needs Improvements will result in termination.
 
What is more; try and find any mention of legislative funding to pay for the “merit pay”.
 
Has the merit pay money issue been resolved in Wisconsin?   In New Jersey? In New York?
 
Will other states follow their lead?
 
I say, “HIDE AND WATCH!!!” The best is yet to come.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 





April 6, 2011
 
 

 
 
ELECTED OFFICIALS MERIT PAY
 
 
 
It is time for Florida voters to implement an “ELECTED OFFICIALS MERIT PAY” plan.
 
If our elected officials propose and/or vote for laws that don’t reduce unemployment; do not bring down the number of foreclosures nor lower the crime rate; do not ensure that insurance rates are reasonable nor balance the budget without raising fees (Republican for tax increases); and most important, do not improve the quality of life for all Floridians (not just business and corporations); then they lose their jobs at the end of the legislative session.
 
After all, aren’t elections in gerrymandered Florida similar to teacher tenure?
 
The elected officials who didn’t vote for these ineffective laws will get to keep their jobs, but their pay will be based on a complicated formula to be determined at a later time.
 
Sound laughable?
 
So is the teacher merit pay bill that Governor Scott signed into law.
 
 
  IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 







April 4, 2011
 
 
 
ALL FOR $7.26 WORTH OF GAS AND 15 MINUTES SAVED?
 
Authorities identify three children – ages 1, 11, 12 years - who died and others who were injured when the SUV they were in blew a tire and flipped ejecting many of its six occupants.
 
 
 

I felt like the guy trying to keep up with the race. After a wonderful weekend spent at Disney in
Orlando celebrating birthdays and life in general, we packed up our Suburban and headed south.
 
I’ve been driving since I was 14 (South Carolina allowed a learner’s permit at that age back in the early 1960s). I was taught by, perhaps, the best driver education teacher in the world; my father.
 
He taught me how to drive defensively and where to focus my eyes while the car was in motion. He taught me how to use my athletic reflexes and athletic anticipation to advantage.
 
Now, at age 86, Dad doesn’t drive anymore but he claims a clean driving record; no accidents and no tickets.
 
And I’m better than him.
 
We left Disney around 5PM. When we entered the Florida Turnpike, I set the speed control on 70MPH. At this speed, the Suburban delivers around 17MPG.
 
What I noticed at 70MPH was that I wasn't just being passed; I was being blown off the road.
 
If you’ve ever driven a trip on any major expressway, you have probably noticed this phenomenon. The “speeders” travel in herds. They exceed the posted speed limits by 15-20MPH and they continuously pass each other. If you dare to pull out to pass someone going slower, they immediately drive on your rear bumper; often blowing their horn or flashing their lights.
 
If you drive on the same highway all day, you’ll see these cars again and again. Sometimes they stop for meals, bathroom breaks, or especially FUEL. On a given day, they may pass you three or four times.
 
Sometimes, you will see them along the side of the road visiting with law enforcement. Does this slow them down?
 
NAH!!!
 
BASIC LAW OF PHYSICS: My 275 horsepower Suburban gives about 20MPG at a steady 60MPH. At 70MPH, it gives around 17MPG. At 80MPH (projected by math, I don’t drive it this fast), the mileage drops off to around 15MPG.
 
If you drive it like a NASCAR racer, the engine burns fuel like a NASCAR race car.
 
At 30MPH, it will stop in about 30 feet. At 60MPH, it takes about 180 feet. At 80MPH, ….
 
If you’ve read this far, I told you these facts to write this sad story.
 
Somewhere around a settlement called YEHAW JUNCTION along the Florida Turnpike (southbound), a Ford Explorer with six passengers must have passed us, probably at a high rate of speed.
 
At this point, we know there were six occupants. We don’t know where they came from. When they reached MILEMARKER 127 just south of Stuart around 6:45PM, the BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS took over.
 
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Ford Explorer SUV blew a right rear tire. The rate of speed isn’t mentioned but based upon my observation of the traffic, I’m confident they were exceeding the 70MPH speed limit.
 
I was taught in the case of a high speed tire failure, you increase your speed to stabilize your direction and KEEPING YOUR FOOT AWAY FROM THE BRAKES, let the car slow using momentum until you can pull off the road.
 
BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS. I’ve had it happen and managed to survive without incident (other than the usual soiling of the underwear).
 
I speculate that the driver stepped on the brakes which would cause the vehicle to swerve out of control. According to the FHP, the vehicle veered toward the median retaining wall. The impact caused the Ford Explorer SUV to roll over several times, spreading debris from the vehicle all over the road.
 
And here’s the NO-BRAINER. Passengers were ejected from the SUV indicating they may not have been wearing seat belts.
 
Killed were four people including three children; ages 1, 11, and 12. 
 
The accident closed the turnpike lanes in both directions for several hours.
 
BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS: At speeds about 60MPH, your chances of death in an auto accident are 1 of 2. Simple math may tell you what 80MPH does to the human body.
 
The trip from Disney to Jupiter takes about 2 hours driving the speed limit. Driving 80-90MPH, it saves about 15 minutes assuming you are able to maintain this speed.
 
The trip from Disney to Jupiter requires about 8 gallons of gas (presently selling for $3.63 per gallon) or about $29 for my Suburban. Driving 80-90MPH reduces the mileage to around 14MPG and would require 10 gallons or about $36.30.
 
Four people died last night for $7.26 worth of gas and 15 minutes saved in time.
 
BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS!!!
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 







April 1, 2011
 
 
 
APRIL FOOL QUOTES
 
April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its actual origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.
 
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year’s Day on, or around April 1st. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st) in medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25th, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
 
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian calendar) to replace the old Julian calendar. The new calendar called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated on January 1st. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or didn’t learn about it and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe and came to America with our ancestors.
 
Little wonder why I have a PhD in genealogy?
 
 

This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
 
Mark Twain
 
 
The March fool with another month added to his folly.
 
Ambrose Bierce
 
 
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
 
Chinese Proverb
 

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee,
And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.
 
Robert Frost
 
 
He who is born a fool is never cured.
 
Proverb
 
 
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
 
Mark Twain
 
 
We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
 
Japanese Proverb
 
 
You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
 
Abraham Lincoln
 
 
The problem with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.
 
Will Rogers
 
 
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
 
Douglas Adams
 

I have great faith in fools - self confidence, my friends call it.
 
Edgar Allan Poe
 

Men reach their sexual peak at eighteen. Women reach theirs at thirty-five. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?
 
Rita Rudner
 
 
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
 
Mark Twain
 
 
One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little grandson to Disneyworld, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. “Oh no,” I said. “Disneyworld burned down.” He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke.  I started to drive over to the real Disneyworld, but it was getting pretty late.
 
Jack Handey
 
 
 
** FOOTNOTE - We are headed for Disneyworld tomorrow.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 







March 31, 2011
 
 
 
MOVE OVER OLD POLITICS AND OLD DICTATORS AROUND THE WORLD!!!
A NEW GENERATION IS ARISING!!!
 
 
 
Sounds like an echo from 1965 when my generation, the charter class of the BOOMERS, graduated from high school.
 
And now, after 10 years of war in Afghanistan and 8 years of war in Iraq, it’s time to try a different approach.
 
For almost the entire eight years he was president, I bashed George W. Bush. 
 
But no matter how poor Bush’s decisions may have been, he’s is long gone. It’s not about him anymore. 
 
I will give him some credit however. Unlike his predecessor (Clinton), Bush is keeping quiet (so far) stating only that he will state nothing negative about Obama because he knows how difficult the Presidency is, and how gut wrenching tough decisions are.
 
Mark Twain once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
 
Even though it appears that we’re not taking the lead in this action against Libya’s leadership, the President has shown we can make use of all resources available to this country through our military arsenal and show our leadership through quiet, stealth like diplomacy bringing in all the countries that will benefit from the changes of governance now occurring in Libya.
 
Obama has clearly demonstrated he understands the power at his disposal. He used this power not to bully but to clearly demonstrate that the United States of America is always vigilant and prepared to use a form of power that is appropriate, effective, and efficient when human rights are violated.
 
Perhaps, the Radical-Right TEA PARTY supporters should better understand that we don’t need to use the “WE’LL HOLD YOUR COAT” mentality that our European allies have suckered us with since the end of World War II.
 
A modern day war strategy that shares in the effort, costs, and strategies will illustrate that our mutual effectiveness is awesome enough. The leaders of an aggressive country will feel the Stealth Sting of our diplomacy and our military might without our ground troops invading a foreign land to do the actual fighting while our allies watch and prosper.
 
Why haven’t the Radical-Right TEA PARTY supporters not considered the fact that perhaps Europe now understands that the United States has made great sacrifices on their behalf; both personal and financial, to lead the fight against International Terrorism.
 
Have those on the Radical-Right TEA PARTY supporters; blinded by fear mongering, paranoia and bullying tactics not considered that our President’s Stealth tactics of inclusion and not exclusion and leveraging our position around the world has convinced our allies that now is the time for all who would benefit from PEACE in the Middle East take an active role in bringing down the Libyan Leader?
 
THIS IS THE TIME!!!
 
THIS IS THE MOMENT!!!
 
The head of the long awaited PEACE in the Middle East has begun to emerge from the deep dark depths of past failures.
 
The YOUTH of the Middle East are taking hold of their lives and their thirst and hunger for freedom.
 
The establishment of Democracy is taking hold in the Middle East and we dare not ignore it.
 
The establishment of Democracy is taking hold in the Middle East and we dare not act alone to nurture it.
 
The establishment of Democracy is taking hold in the Middle East and we must act together with our allies to make it happen.
 
We can’t allow the Middle East dictators that we’ve supported in the name of OIL to slaughter their own people in order to remain in power.
 
President Obama understands what the CHANGE in thought and practice means to the YOUTH of the Middle East and how these new governments will evolve.
 
Those dictators of today, that we’ve supported for in some cases for the last forty years, are losing their power and hence, THE PEOPLE are taking control of their destinies.
 
It’s all Obama now, and no one else.
 
Move over old politics and old dictators around the world TAKE NOTICE!!!
 
A new generation of freedom-loving citizens is arising!!!
 
The United States and its European allies need to be there to “encourage” them.
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 






March 30, 2011
 
 
 
GOD DOES NOT DEDUCT FROM MAN’S ALLOTTED SPAN THE HOURS SPENT IN FISHING
 


For my own purposes, we’ll call this a LAKEPORT PROVERB. This saying is certainly not based on fact but wouldn’t it be nice if it were true; especially now that I’m retired.
 
Since retirement, my beloved and I have spent an increasing amount of time at our fishing shack on the northern part of Lake Okeechobee. This has been our retirement dream after 35+ years of teaching and fortunately, it is a dream that our children and grandchildren have willingly signed into.
 
When my sister told our 86-year-old father that I was spending a lot more time at the lake since retirement, he commented: “Maybe he likes it better over there.” 
 
As usual, Dad is very perceptive in his old age. For those who know what this statement means, “It’s like Catatonk without the mountains.”
 
This past week, the family spent time fishing, eating, communing with nature, and enjoying life. It was refreshing to see our children and grandchildren involved in the daily operation of the “fishing compound” as my father likes to call it.
 
The “cabin” first came into the family in 1963. I met my future bride’s parents there during a Christmas break from college in 1969. When my wife and I moved to Palm Beach County in 1975, we became partners in the operation. 
 
This past week; with three grand dogs, three grandchildren all under the age of 5, two daughters, two sons-in-law and my beloved staying under the same roof, it was noisy, confusing, somewhat crowded, but never dull.
 
It was wonderful watching our children and grandchildren pitch into tasks (dishes, sweeping, cooking, etc.). The benefits of watching Mother Nature at her finest and savoring the beauty of the backwaters were (as they say in the commercial) PRICELESS!!!
 
Our granddaughters had a chance to watch Grandma prepare meals and they learned that food doesn’t grow in cellophane bags or cans.
 
The past week was truly a blessed family event. Yes, the world continues to turn and when we returned to civilization, we learned more about Libya, Japan, the Middle East, traffic lights, guns, noise, etc.
 
Gas prices went up another 13 cents.
 
But somewhere out there in the great beyond, we could feel the FOUNDING FATHERS AND MOTHERS (what we call Emily’s late parents and family members who built the house) smile their approval.
 
We are, indeed, truly blessed.
 
LIFE IS GOOD!!!
 
 
  IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 




March 23, 2011
 
 
 
MA BELL & THE HOUSE PHONE   
TIME TO GO
 
 
We have lived in our present home for nearly 30 years. Over this time, we have had the same telephone number with Southern Bell, Ma Bell, AT&T, and now AT&T Florida.
 
Most of the family knows this number by heart. Most of our business dealings and business associates have this number recorded in their files.
 
But abuse by businesses and even the most trusted people, our employers have made this one-time most important appliance in the house obsolete.
 
Today, we all carry personal cell phones. These phones have become so sophisticated that using them for mere telephone-like communication is a secondary (or even longer away) use.
 
And as a result, our house phone has become a personal liability and an extra expense. 
 
I retired some 77 days 4 hours 28 minutes and 22 seconds ago. During the past few days while I’ve been home, I’ve kept track of who is calling on the house phone.
 
Today, for example, the phone started ringing with a bill collector at 8:15AM. This same bill collector called at least 8 times during the day with the last call coming around 8:30PM.
 
This is most interesting because except for my mortgage and financing of my truck (all of which is and has been paid on time), we don’t owe anyone money.
 
There were also calls for sales solicitations, political groups, and three surveys.
 
During the past two days, we have received ONE (1) human-being call. A friend of my wife, trying to reach her on her cell (which she was using at the time) called her on the house phone.
 
It is important to remember that businesses that we deal with, our employers and even the Internet have prostituted our privacy by selling our telephone number to solicitors and political parties.
 
And it’s not against the law and we can’t stop it.
 
Collection agencies, currently the scum of the earth in my opinion, do an Internet search attempting to find debtors. When, on rare occasions that I do answer a bill collector (out of curiosity), the name they are searching for is unknown to me.
 
And all of this comes on a communications device that I pay a monthly charge to use in the privacy of my home.
 
Back some years ago, we bought an “answering machine” to screen the calls. It was the only way we were able to eat dinner in peace without jumping up to answer the phone.
 
But the calls continued and increased dramatically in volume.
 
We’ve subscribed to the NO CALL registry. We’ve complained to the Florida Attorney General’s office about harassment. I’ve even taken a few solicitors and bill collectors to task over mistaken identity. 
 
And the solicitations and bill collector calls continue. 
 
“Hello, this call is for (name, usually mispronounced). If you are (name) please stay on the line for this very important message. If you are not (name), please hang up.”
 
So far, our cell phones have remained personal and private. Once in a great while a solicitor manages to “slip by” but I chalk this up to random dialing.
 
It’s a gross violation of personal privacy. If a solicitor comes to my front door, they are first greeted to a NO SOLICITORS sign. If they don’t get the message from that, whoever answers the door gives them explicit directions to the street. If they are observed going from house to house, the neighborhood watch group calls the sheriff.
 
It is imperative that cell phone users demand that their companies keep their telephone numbers private. If you fill out an application for some business item, don’t ever include your cell number.
 
My 30-year-old AT&T number will be history this week. It’s time to take it out.
 
But today, there is a news item that AT&T and T-Mobile are merging. I see our cell phone privacy coming to an end very soon.
 
Cell phone users UNITE!!!
 
If we aren’t careful, the powerful lobby groups will implement legislation allowing solicitors to access and buy cell numbers as well.
 
And there goes another element of personal freedom and privacy. 
 
Remember, once you lose a freedom, it doesn’t come back.
 
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 

 




March 22, 2011
 
 
 
TEACHER PAY-TENURE BILL
FLORIDA SENATE BILL 736
 
 
 
Dear Governor Scott:
 
 
As you prepare to sign Senate Bill 736 into law, please consider that by enacting this legislation, your signature and endorsement confirms your belief that the TEACHER MERIT PAY-TENURE LAW will result in higher pay for effective teachers and a dramatic improvement in Florida’s public school rankings.
 
Your signature also confirms there will be no imposition of further education cuts and/or an increase in property taxes (you promised a 19% reduction during your campaign as I recall).
 
I fully understand that the perils of funding were brought to your attention by many of your constituents but also keep in mind that your margin of victory was miniscule at best among those citizens who took the time to vote.
 
Your election as Florida governor was in no way a voter mandate. Yet still, you seem poised to sign this un-amended and unfunded bill without formally consulting those in the trenches who actually DO THE WORK!!!
 
What we in the trenches don’t understand yet is how this bill provides FUNDING for the merit pay raises that our super-star “highly effective” teachers so richly deserve.
 
What we in the trenches don’t understand yet is how this bill will define the qualities of a super-star “highly effective” teacher.
 
There are critics who say you got the support of a super-majority legislature hell bent on punishing the teacher unions and teachers who didn’t support you during the campaign.
 
There are critics who say you are following the lead of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin by busting the public service unions. It would seem if you’re going to promise something, you’d better be ready to deliver.
 
You made a campaign promise to create 700,000 jobs and “restore” Florida’s robust "tourist-based"economy.
 
Meanwhile within the classrooms of Florida’s public schools, my colleagues continue to diligently and conscientiously do the work that catapulted our state into the fifth spot in the nation (academic achievement) and Palm Beach County Schools into a number one position state ranking for the sixth year in a row.
 
Your slogan “Let’s get to work” has always been a war-cry here in Palm Beach County Schools. We went to work long before you considered running for governor.
 
And as a result, we will hold you personally accountable for your campaign promises; higher pay for ALL effective teachers without imposing any further hardships on public education and the taxpayers.
 
Meanwhile, we’ll be waiting, watching, and listening.
 
Of course, I have to stand back and be a little cynical about what I have just written. I suppose this attitude comes from the 10 years I served on the union negotiations team. We’ve seen pay plans come and pay plans go. This one doesn’t seem to be any different from the others.
 
And while I support the concept of merit pay for high performance, I have my doubts that Senate Bill 736 will succeed even if it becomes the law of the land.
 
How can the governor’s office and our legislature justify how much I get paid based upon what some brain-damaged 17-year-old high school student; a product of the Y-Generation drug culture, scores on a standardized test?
 
You claim the best way to run public education system is to take a business approach. At least in the business world, a boss can fire his employees if they fail to perform. 
 
Teachers can’t fire their students.
 
 
 
p.s. 
 
Many of my readers are asking if I plan to seek “HIGH OFFICE” in 2012. At the present time, I am not actively seeking nomination from any of the credible political parties headed for Iowa for the Feb. 6, 2012 caucus.
 
In the words of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, “If nominated I will not run: If elected, I will not serve.”
 
So sayeth I.
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 







March 21, 2011
 
 
 
WHAT DO YOU MEAN “WE”?
IS EUROPE READY TO POLICE THEIR OWN BACKYARD OR WILL THEY OFFER TO HOLD OUR COAT AGAIN?
 
 
 
 
To coin a phrase from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie;
 
I’M BACK!!!
 
The United States of America is no stranger to Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Gadhafi. Back in 1986 after a terrorist bombing at a Berlin disco - former President Ronald Reagan launched air strikes against Gadhafi. The air strikes killed about 100 people in Libya, including Gadhafi’s young adopted daughter at his Tripoli compound.
 
To coin a phrase from Yogi Berra;
 
IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN.
 
Saturday, eight years to the day after invading Iraq, U.S. armed forces in the Middle East went on military alert. Nearly a decade after ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, America is more deeply involved in policing the world as ever.
 
However, there may be a different deployment than the one President Bush orchestrated in 2003. Our European allies, mainly the French, British, and Italians appear to be leading the charge this time. Our technology and ability to clear the airways rides foremost in this new adventure but allegedly in a supporting role.
 
There is talk of a “handoff” within a short time.
 
Does this mean that the USA won’t be leading the fight? Have we finally overcome this “We’ll hold your coat” mentality that Europe has suckered us into for nearly 100 years?
 
Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the allied assault has been dubbed, followed an emergency summit in Paris during which leaders and top officials agreed to do everything necessary to make Gadhafi respect a United Nations ultimatum calling for a NO-FLY ZONE and demanding a cease-fire.
 
The pentagon reported that U.S. ships and a British submarine had launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses.
 
At the time of this writing, the mission appears to have been successful.
 
So far.
 
But what are the long-term ramifications. 
 
Gadhafi has vowed to fight to the end. “We promise you a long war.” He called the international assault “simply a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war.”
 
Thank goodness former President George W. Bush convinced Gadhafi to give up his nuclear program back in 2005. If this is so, President Bush gets full credit for this crafty political achievement. If Gadhafi lied …
 
Well, it may be the Armageddon mentioned in Revelations.
 
If we play our cards right, this war will not involve direct American participation. The Iraq War as a USA-UK invasion and occupation of an Arab country on its own initiative and was strongly opposed by the Middle East community as well as the American public at home.
 
Our “intervention” in Libya, at least so far, has been supported and requested by the Arab League, by popular opinion in the Middle East and around the world.
 
While the former fanned the flames of anti-Americanism, the latter may stifle the criticism that the USA is run by Corporate American business interests that side with dictators who suppress and exploit their people.
 
The crucial difference in dealing with ruthless dictators is that the Iraq War was a preemptive strike against a perceived threat based on false or misleading evidence. 
 
The “intervention” in Libya is said to be a response to an ongoing humanitarian crisis that’s been unfolding before our eyes and exploited by a murderous dictator who has taken advantage of the disaster in Japan to further his hold on the Libyan people.
 
President Obama has publicly stated that Gadhafi must go. Should Gadhafi win, America’s standing as the “moral voice” of the world becomes undermined once again.
 
But if he goes, what becomes of Libya and its people? Who will oversea their transition to democracy? Who stands to benefit financially?
 
This situation could send a dangerous signal to future dictators that while the world cannot tolerate lesser dictators, it can still do business with butchers for the right price. Gadhafi has quoted Tiananmen Square as his inspiration. A future dictator might add Libya as another model to emulate.
 
It has been very amusing during the past two weeks to watch the Radical-Right FOX NEWS trying to figure out which position to take against Obama. Now that the attack has begun, they are asking the question:
 
Did Obama wait too long to act?
 
At the height of the euphoria two weeks ago, everyone thought Gadhafi would be gone in a few days. He gave some bizarre speeches about the rebels being supported by Al Queda and the United States together. 
 
Most people considered his rants to be those of a desperate man. However, if we fail to support the rebels now, we may help in effect to turn Libya into another Somalia and/or Afghanistan
 
Hopefully, we have acted in a way that "hands off" the enforcement policies to our allies in Europe. Our decision to provide technology and support are based on our short-term objectives, to remove Gadhafi from power.
 
If this “intervention” fails, it may well become another costly American war necessity in the long run.
 
And President Obama, like his predecessors, becomes another pawn for European financial interests.
 
Europe may well offer to hold our coat again and sucker us into fighting their fight to protect their financial interests at the expense of our own.
 
We have a marvelous opportunity to “grow up” in the world community. Let’s hope we take advantage of it.



IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 



March 20, 2011
 
 
 
 
DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
TIME TO CHOOSE
 
 
 
Is this a defining moment in history for the United States of America and its freedom loving people?
 
The USA has a chance to show support for democracy.
 
As the protests by people in North Africa and the Middle East continue to rise, the United States has a golden opportunity to stand up clearly and without qualification to support democratic governments.
 
Our government, through several administrations, has supported autocratic governments in the Middle East that suppressed their people.
 
Once and for all, we can declare to the world what we believe.  Regardless of what serves U.S. interests best, we truly believe in democracy AT ANY COST!!!
 
We can succeed and prosper extraordinarily by supporting democratic governments wherever it is taking root with the people in any country.
 
Especially, in the Islam countries of the Middle East.
 
Or we can declare to the world, as previous administrations have done, that our real interest in democracy only exists for those who help the financial interests of the United States and Corporate America.
 
It is time to choose.
 
We have demonstrated support for Iranian protesters, the people of Afghanistan, and the people of Iraq
 
Can the people of Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, etc. etc. expect the same support from us?
 
Will we; can we, and will it prove financially feasible, to support every non-democratic regime, wherever it is?



IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 




March 19, 2011
 
 
 
WHERE ARE THE JOBS AND WHEN ARE THEY RETURNING?
UNION MOVEMENT OF 2012
 
 
 
Ah, the concept of Teacher Merit Pay. Pay the best teachers the highest salaries based on student scores, student improvement, learning gains, FCAT scores, etc. etc. etc.
 
The concept is not a new one. During the ten years I’ve served on the Classroom Teachers of Palm Beach County (Florida) Negotiations team (union), we’ve seen several versions of this idea.
 
So far, none of them were worthy of consideration.
 
How can this Republican-dominated Florida Legislature with most politicians only educational experience being graduation from high school (and maybe college) justify and determine how much I get paid and what I can afford to put on my kitchen table to feed my family.
 
All of this based on what some brain-damaged child product of the Y-Generation’s drug culture scores on the FCAT?
 
I am disappointed and appalled at the general public’s view of actions taken by citizens in Wisconsin. Some here in Florida also see the unions as the “bad guys” because they’ve been able to show the nation what the Wisconsin governor and many of his TEA PARTY cohorts are focused on.
 
It isn’t balancing the budget; it’s ending union power.
 
When did the voting public in Florida get fooled into thinking that teachers, policemen, firemen, and state workers that seek better pay, more time off, and more benefits are evil?
 
Businesses are not evil -- they want to make more profits.
 
Unions are not evil -- they exist to assure the average worker gets a foothold on the middle class and stays there. 
 
Florida is a RIGHT TO WORK state. Under the law, public employees (teachers, policemen, firemen) are not allowed to strike or walk off the job. To do so could result in arrest, jail time, and loss of pension and retirement benefits.
 
Public employees are, however, allowed to engage in collective bargaining (in good faith) over salaries, working conditions, and some of the benefits I previously mentioned.
 
Florida unions have to be strong and tactful. Without these traits, public workers are exposed to long-term abuses that history has already recorded from the past.
 
And thanks to Governor Rick Scott and his TEA PARTY cohorts, these public service unions have become evil agencies, responsible for the alleged financial ruination of the state.
 
The big elephant (pardon the pun) in most American conversations and homes these days is, “Where are the jobs and when are they returning?”
 
One of newly elected Florida Governor Scott’s campaign promises was the establishment of 700,000 new jobs.
 
Boys and girls; I have bad news for you. Most of the jobs we’ve lost during the BUSH RECESSION OF 2008 are not coming back.
 
Those that do will be paying lower wages. I am a walking, talking example of this having survived the first BUSH RECESSION OF 1991.  I reluctantly entered the teaching profession at 60% of my former wage after 17 months of job searching within the computer field.

I have no regrets.  It turned out to be my "calling."
 
Up until this time (1991), I had no use for unions.  I served at the pleasure of a CEO and was paid according to my skills and abilities. When I fell out of pleasure due to hard times, my position was eliminated without any consideration of these skills and abilities.
 
When I became a teacher, I saw the union movement in a different perspective. Unions made the American middle class, but now the middle class is vanishing and unfortunately, so are the unions.
 
American jobs are firmly entrenched in China and India now and they’re not coming back. Corporate America couldn’t resist the cheap labor, absent pension and health care expenses, lax environmental laws, and TAX BREAKS.
 
Remember this in 2012. The U.S. Government didn’t stand up and go to bat for the American worker. They took corporate money and donations by the millions (maybe billions now) and kept silent.
 
Look at us now!!!
 
Remember this when you vote.
 
And if you didn’t take the trouble to vote last time …
 
SHAME ON YOU!!!
 
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 




March 18, 2011
 
 
 
FLORIDA MERIT PAY TEACHER BILL PASSES
Governor Scott vows to sign it
 
 

In the early 1980s, William Bennett wrote a book called A NATION AT RISK, which focused on the problems in American public education.
 
Then came Ronald Reagan, promising to fix public schools. Ketchup became a vegetable.
 
Next up to bat in the education “I can fix it” arena was the self-appointed education president George H.W. Bush.
 
Clinton came next, and then came DUBYA with his NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND legislation. 
 
Now, this is being scrapped for President Obama’s RACE TO THE TOP, or should we say Race to the Bottom.
 
Now comes TEACHER MERIT PAY and Michelle Rhee riding on a white horse to save the day for Florida’s Governor Rick Scott.
 
The Palm Beach County School District recently chased off their superintendent after ten years of fear and incompetence. The interim superintendent, a non-educator, signed on for six months. The newly elected school board who forced Dr. Johnson to resign has asked Mr. Malone to stay on for at least a year.
 
He has accepted.
 
I have been an educator, serving in several capacities, for most of my 36 year career which ended with my retirement on January 3rd.
 
I’ve seen the BS so many times. If it weren’t so sad, it would make me LOL.
 
I’ve seen so many programs come and go. I’ve taught college (15 years) and elementary school (17 years) and they’re still having the same academic problems as they were 25 years ago.
 
I’ve experienced several different versions of “standardized testing,” remedial reading, new math, and on and on.
 
You can put all the programs, laws, mandates and anything else you can think of into our American public schools and you will wind up with the same results.
 
Until we shift our priorities and get back to kids who are nurtured and yes, that dirty word disciplined, we will never see progress.
 
Until curriculum is stream-lined and not about testing, we’ll see no results. It’s just another knee-jerk reaction to the much larger problem.
 
This newly passed TEACHER MERIT PAY bill was meant to reward the best teachers and rid schools of ineffective ones according to the Florida House Republicans of the Class of 2011.
 
Teachers committed to their job will make the most (money), they argue.
 
“This is pro-teacher legislation,” says Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity.
 
The Florida Legislature has been dominated by Republicans since 1992. This particular session has a super-majority (veto proof). 
 
Aren’t these the same morons that are trying to figure out how they have the money to pay for this?
 
Past record; Class Size Amendment, Physical Education bill, etc. would indicate this to be true.
 
If the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature is the measure of America, I guess education in this country isn’t all that great.
 
We pass a bill, and then try to figure out how to pay for it.
 
Teachers take notice, HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
 
 
 IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 







March 17, 2011
 
 
 
 
IMAGINE
 


When I was a child, my friends and I managed to get along. We had our fun, our disagreements, even fought once in a while but when someone got into trouble, we were one for all and all for one.
 
Isn’t it too bad these childhood traits are lost in adulthood. 
 
Imagine what would happen if our childhood traits were applied toward the people of Japan who need our help in these desperate hours.
 
Wouldn’t it be a better world if someone yelled,
 
TIME OUT!!!
 
The fighting in the Middle East stopped. The fighting in Iraq stopped. The war in Afghanistan came to a halt. Christians, Islam, Buddhists, Hindus’ and all peoples of different faith raised their heads and focused on the death and destruction plaguing the Japanese people.
 
I’m a Christian. Isn’t this the Christian thing to do?
 
The late John Lennon wrote these haunting words in the song, IMAGINE. Perhaps in these anxious hours, they have a meaning worth considering.
 
 
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
 
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
 
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
 
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed and hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
 
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope that someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
 
 
 
 



March 9, 2011
 
 
TAKING AMERICA BACK???
 
 
 
The TEA BAGGERS and their Radical-Right allies say they want to take America back.
 
Unfortunately, they want to take America back to the 19th century while the rest of the world, like China, is looking forward to taking our jobs and stealing our ideas.
 
Big business in the U.S. is making tons of money and has Congress in their pockets. Our jobs are being exported and we are suffering.
 
President Obama; TAKE NOTICE!!!
 
It’s time to support the U.S.A. and stop coming up with excuses to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who don’t share their wealth but export it.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®

© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 






March 6, 2011
 
 
TEA PARTY
Watch the (Real) Republicans Run
 


The newly elected Republicans who ran with the endorsement of the TEA PARTY are clearly demonstrating they have no interest in the health, education and welfare of working middle-class Americans.
 
“Throw the bastards out!!!” was their war cry. A lot of people from both sides of the aisle took up the cause. I was one of them. 
 
When the smoke cleared, many incumbents were voted out of office. The victory was clear.
 
Or was it?
 
Unfortunately, the real POWER base of the Republican Party, what I like to call the “Radical Right” or “Lunatic Right” that was thrown out in 2008 quietly returned with a vengeance.
 
And, it’s scaring the hell out of the middle of the bird “compassionate conservatives” who make up the majority of the party.
 
Take Wisconsin Governor Mitch Walker as an example. His TEA PARTY supporters have caused a national spectacle which may just mark the beginning of things to come. 
 
Closely following and closer to home, with his tea bags hardly immersed into the cup, is Florida Governor Rick Scott.
 
Yesterday, the House of Representatives (Washington, DC … remember them?) voted to continue subsidies to the big oil companies that are making billions (yes, BILLIONS WITH A “B”) in profits on the back of the Middle East crisis.
 
Every Republican representative voted YES!!! It is obvious, even to the casual middle class worker who is presently paying $3.49 (national average today) per gallon to fill his/her tank, that the GOP has once again sold out to Corporate America.
 
Is this what the GOP meant when they campaigned on restoring financial order and taking control of the deficit allegedly created by Obama?
 
Following the lead of Wisconsin’s Mitch Walker, several newly elected TEA PARTY endorsed Republican governors are attempting to repeal collective-bargaining rights that unions negotiated and are guaranteed by law in their contracts.
 
Question: Will these TEA PARTY governors ignore the law or work to change the law? Governor Scott has already shown his colors.
 
“Let’s get to work.”
 
Policemen, firemen, and teachers are in the crosshairs (apologies to Sarah Palin) of these slash-and-burn TEA PARTY politicians. Totally unnoticed over the past few years is that many of these public-sector unions (including the teacher union that I belonged to in Palm Beach County, Florida) have already made wage-and-benefit concessions to avoid layoffs and preserve their collective bargaining rights.
 
According to several polls, even those endorsed by the FOX NEWS NETWORK,  a majority of Americans believe that Governor Walker will win his battle. 

A follow up to these polls also states that Americans believe that he will clearly lose the war.
 
And a growing number of “compassionate conservatives” are becoming more and more concerned by this uncivilized and misdirected attack of workers rights … and they are quickly distancing themselves from the TEA PARTY.
 
Don’t believe the rhetoric that these TEA PARTY candidates spin. Don’t believe their spiel that the public-sector unions are responsible for the crisis that was perpetrated by financial institutions. In the case of Florida, don’t believe the Republican-dominated legislature, who has held a majority in the Florida House and Florida Senate SINCE 1992 that the blame for Florida's financial woes lies clearly with the public-sector unions (state workers) and the Democrats. 
 
There is no mention of reckless spending, tax breaks for the wealthy, and the shrinking support of public education appropriations. However, it is noted that these same financial institutions continue to turn record profits.
 
TEA PARTY conservatives, trying to apply a business approach, are saying that policemen, firemen, and teachers do not create jobs.
 
But think about it.
 
Policemen fight crime; firemen put out fires (especially brush fires within the drought plagued area of Central Florida), and educators teach your children while you are working.
 
They may not create jobs and yes, they do feed at the “public trough” but try to imagine life without their contributions.
 
Good show, Governor Walker!!! Thanks a lot!!!

You are on your way to winning the battle in
Wisconsin, perhaps by the end of this weekend.
 
But I, as most Americans polled by FOX NEWS, believe that in the end, you will lose the war.
 
You may be the best single factor in guaranteeing a Democrat in the country's Governor’s Mansions for many years to come.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 







March 5, 2011
 
 
 
TRIBUTE TO THE STUPID VOTERS OF FLORIDA
 
 
 
Yes, you read the title correctly. 
 
If it offends you and you voted in the last election, read on. If you didn’t vote in the last election, go away.
 
Unless you live under a rock, you know that Republicans, especially those representing the Radical-Right faction now known as the Tea Party, ran on a platform of bringing change and restoring order to Florida.
 
“Throw the bastards out!” was the war cry and friends; I shouted it as loud as anyone.
 
In November of 2010, the voters jumped at this opportunity.
 
Well, maybe not all voters but those who took the time to make their vote count and their voice heard registered their desire to make changes.
 
Speaking as an informed INDEPENDENT voter, I had hoped these “informed” voters were aware that Republicans have controlled both the Florida governorship and the Florida Congress for the last decade.
 
Those informed in the elementary principles of economics may have also noticed that these same Republicans have run the State of Florida into the ground, financially speaking, during the last decade.
 
I will give them credit. The Republicans and their Tea Party allies are excellent campaigners. With money being no object, their ads and speeches convinced Florida voters that the Republicans in Tallahassee were not to blame for the monetary woes of Florida.
 
Blame the Democrats in Washington.
 
And the stupid voters of Florida totally lost focus on who actually screwed up THIS STATE and sent many of these same Republicans and Tea Party candidates to Washington.
 
Republicans count on the stupidity of Florida voters and once again, they didn’t let them down.
 
But now we have Rick Scott as governor; a man who owes nothing to anyone. His reign of terror is only beginning. 
 
HIDE AND WATCH!!!
 
How long will it take for conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans to distance themselves from him.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 





March 3, 2011
 
 
FLORIDA RETIREMENT SYSTEM MEMBERS - TAKE HEED!!!
 
 
 
State and county employees, teachers, policemen, firemen, and other current and retired members of the Florida Retirement System should follow the lead of those in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, California, and New Jersey by protesting in Tallahassee during the current legislative session.
 
Governor Rick Scott needs to hear a loud and clear voice from the workers that his proposals will decimate state government, public education, and all other types of state services.
 
Scott needs to know his proposals are not necessary in Florida. Write, call, or email your elected state legislators and tell them you don’t agree with Governor Scott’s proposals. Tell them you want state government to care for its citizens and stop placing the burden to resolve the state’s budget deficit on the backs of hard-working public employees.
 
Remind Governor Scott that he was elected by half of the electorate. There is another half that didn’t vote for him, and that half needs to be heard in Tallahassee.
 
And to those teachers and public employees who didn’t bother to vote …
 
THANKS A LOT!!!


IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 





March 2, 2011
 
 
 
HOW ABOUT SOME APOLOGIES FROM THE POLITICIANS WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS!!!
 
 

I’m waiting for leadership by example from elected leadership that will get us out of this mess.
 
It should start at the top. Apologies from our elected officials should begin immediately.
 
I’m waiting for an apology from the Bush administration for the cost of two wars and tax cuts for the wealthy.
 
I’m waiting for an apology from the banking industry for the housing meltdown, and the massive bonuses paid from those accepting taxpayer money for bailouts.
 
I’m waiting for an apology from the Political Action Committees (PACs) who lied during the campaign season to advance their individual agendas. After all, America is defined as “government of the people.” Not, government of business interests.
 
I’m waiting for apologies from Governors Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), Mitch Daniels (R-Indiana), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Chris Christie (R- New Jersey) and other members of the National Brotherhood of Republican Governors Who Want to Take Advantage of Bad Economic Conditions to Destroy Labor Unions. We’ll remember you in 2012 when we “look for the ‘Anti-Union’ Union Label" on the ballots.
 
In reality, those public retirement plans that they’ve deemed “far richer than the private sector” were actually tools used in the 1970s to attract some of the “best and brightest” into public service.
 
Let’s see; which political party had the White House during these times? How many recessions have we had? 
 
Public pensions were intended to enhance social security and private 401(k) plans so poorly paid public government workers could retire with a decent income. Some areas of government (post office, federal, congress, etc.) bypassed the social security system altogether and, of course; their retirement systems are much more attractive.
 
Many, like those politicians who are advocating either a 5% contribution to, or elimination of all, make no mention of this taxpayer supported pension compensation system.  After all, they belong to it AND IT'S FREE!!!
 
When times were good, no one seemed to notice. In fact, most private sector employees supported enhancing the lowly salaries of policemen, firemen, teachers, etc. with so-called free retirement and health benefits.
 
Unfortunately when the economy went south, the private sector decided it would be cheaper to fund only the 401(k)s for their workers. 
 
When the market crashed at the end of the Bush regime and those “privatized” 401(k) accounts evaporated, all hell was turned loose against policemen, firemen, teachers and other public servants because their retirement systems remained sound.
 
Now, these state endorsed public pensions are richer than the private sector and the dedicated BOOMER workers who have labored faithfully are ready to start collecting the benefit.
 
And as a result of financial woes and misunderstanding about who the money actually belongs to, many states such as Wisconsin, Indiana, Florida, and New Jersey are abandoning their faithful workers. 
 
They advocate cutting programs and lowering taxes. They fail to answer the question about how presents provided services such as law enforcement, fire safety, and education will be held harmless to these cuts.
 
Instead, they condemn those who have spent a lifetime protecting us, assisting us in time of emergency, and preparing our children for entrance into this global economy.
 
They want the government to educate those few workers they need, to provide roads for transporting the goods they no longer make in the USA, to reduce taxes on the large bonuses and profits they earn by shipping our manufacturing jobs overseas, and then to reduce or eliminate the pensions and benefits for their employees.
 
This act is despicable and public sector employees are preparing for demonstrations not seen in this country since the Vietnam War.
 
Shouldn’t we all get an apology from our elected officials for this?
 
I’m waiting!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 
 
 





February 19, 2011
 
 
 
ENOUGH ALREADY!!!
FIRE DR. JOHNSON IMMEDIATELY
 


For the past two years, this blogger has respectfully requested that Dr. Art Johnson, Superintendent of Schools in
Palm Beach County, Florida resign. Now, on the brink of investigation for lawful wrong-doing, a resignation would still provide an honorable way to step aside and allow history to write about the good things that have happened during the last 10 years.
 
Unfortunately, it sounds too simple. 
 
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have enough brains to be honest.”
 
At Wednesday’s school board meeting in front of a packed house of teachers, principals and community leaders, Art Johnson expressed his desire to stay on. He said if the board denied this desire, he would resign for $320,000 severance benefits payable within two weeks and other compensation benefits to be paid later. He also asked for a 90 day grace period that would allow him to back out of the severance deal if he changed his mind.
 
We saw the tricks!!! We observed the treachery!!! There was a collective apparent practice of fools and regretfully, exposure of some individuals without enough brains to be honest.
 
According to the local news media, School Board members fear that Dr. Johnson’s ego and desire to remain on the job might result in a lawsuit against the district.
 
And it’s a real fear!!! After all, he’s done it before.
 
Dr. Johnson, this School Board in my opinion, has bent over backwards trying to placate you with an offer that allows you to walk away.
 
It’s time to stop playing games.
 
I don’t’ always believe everything I read in the newspapers but once again, I sense the application of Sun Tzu’s THE ART OF WAR:
 
 
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
 
 
The principals have spoken. The teachers had their say. The school board, after a session of chaotic disarray, made their final offer. The media, in their inept way, is trying to scoop the story.
 
Due process has been served. Enough already!!!
 
Message to the members of the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida:
 
FIRE DR. ART JOHNSON IMMEDIATELY!!!
 
LET HIM SUE!!!
 
If nothing else comes from this, it will bring out the true colors.
 
  
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 

 

 







February 18, 2011
 
 
OFFER YOUR RESIGNATION
TAKE THE MONEY
 AND RUN!!!
 

Scroll down to February 10th and you’ll see what should have been done nearly one year ago.
 
Then come back and read my words.
 

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
Sun Tzu, the Art of War
 
“It ain’t over until it’s over.”
Yogi Berra
 
Last night, the “new” school board appeared to be in a state of chaos. It was similar to a teacher calling for homework and some enterprising student giving a lengthy bluff on why it hadn’t been done on time.
 
It was a seemingly unending debate between principals, teachers, elected officials, board members and lawyers. 
 
Fire me or I’ll quit. No wait, I’ll stay if you can’t make up your mind. No wait, I’ll stay. No wait; hold on show me the money. Hold on, wait, no, ….
 
In a somewhat surprising but predictable move, Dr. Johnson expressed his desire to stay on. If this was not acceptable to the board, he said he’ll resign if the district pays him $320,000 within two weeks with other severance compensation to be named later. He also asked for a 90 day period to back out of the deal if he changes his mind.
 
Supporters (mostly principals) and those condemning Johnson (mostly teachers) gathered to voice their respective opinions; at times showing a great deal of hostility toward each other. 
 
The board discussion, seemingly powerless due to pointless conversation between members, lawyers, even Dr. Johnson on occasion in addition to the chair’s lack of knowledge and enforcement of Roberts Rules of Order made it appear that Dr. Johnson was in control.
 
Then all of a sudden, it happened.
 
In a 6-1 vote with Dr. Monroe Benaim (a long-time Johnson supporter) casting the lone negative vote, the board made a “take it or leave it” offer. Dr. Johnson, by the end of the day on Monday, must agree to accept $428,000 severance benefits and agree never to return to district employment. He must promise not to take any legal action against the board or district. His decision is irreversible.
 
If he refuses to accept this offer, he’ll be fired.
 
In my opinion, leadership or the lack of it continues to be the question. There are BIG changes coming to Florida public education during the next four years. Palm Beach County needs a strong leader; someone who is free from ethics violations (alleged at this time) and investigations.
 
Almost as suddenly as this event unfolded, the board (with Johnson still sitting in the room waiting to conduct school board business) revealed they had been in contact with former Chief Operating Officer Bill Malone who served three years with the district and is presently retired and living in High Springs (near Gainesville), Florida. 
 
This negotiation gave the appearance of being secret and carefully orchestrated for this meeting. 
 
Mr. Malone just happened to be in the audience and agreed to appear before the board at their request.  Several board members said they’d talked to him within the last week.
 
It was all so carefully acted out that I’m wondering if the school board may have violated the Florida Sunshine Law. Perhaps, the media will check the dates of telephone calls to High Springs and examine the details of their offer.
 
Mr. Malone stated, “No human alive can succeed with what you’re (asking me) to do if the teachers and the principals and the other stakeholders don’t come together and agree. For the sake of the children of this county, we’ve got to work together and make it work.”
 
Before the attendees and cameras, the board negotiated his salary to be the equivalent of $180,000 a year; far less than the alleged $350,000 that Johnson was making.
 
He stated he was willing to accept an interim-superintendent position for a maximum term of six months.
 
I am also wondering how many teachers, principals, and stakeholders were involved in this “secret” negotiation. Mr. Malone told the press that he nearly walked away from the meeting after hearing and observing the bad feeling, rudeness and obvious disrespect between principals and teachers.
 
The real “acid” test within the next few weeks will be the number of Johnson supporters who jump ship. 
 
Another “acid” test will be if there is any movement in negotiations between the CTA (union) and the district. A negotiations meeting was scheduled for today (Feb. 17).
 
There are two factors that make me smile.
 
-        Thank God I’m retired. My timing is looking better and better.
-        Won’t this be fun to watch from the outside
 

So far, no one has asked me to serve on any committees. It’s not likely they will. After all, Governor Scott hasn’t called me yet and I volunteered over two months ago.
 
I have been, once again, emailed about becoming a candidate for Dr. Benaim’s school board seat in the upcoming 2012 election.
 
If this becomes another “who cares what they think” attitude toward teachers, Mr. Malone will find his task to be extremely difficult. After all, teacher harmony will have the most impact on Malone’s success or failure.
 
I was pleased to see Mr. Malone sit down with CTA President Robert Dow during the meeting. I hope they had a meaningful conversation about futures.
 
If I were Bill Malone, I would take the approach that former Superintendent Tom Mills took several years ago when his “inner” circle was crumbling due to corruption charges. 
 
He settled with the teacher union for a three-year contract promising raises of 5%, 8%, and 11%. 
 
The teachers got the 5% before a financial emergency was declared which cancelled out the contract. Mills was out and left a broken system for the next superintendent.
 
Then came Dr. Monica Ulhorn and Dr. Joan Kowal. Each were removed from the district after two years with large severance settlements.
 
Will history repeat itself?
 
Had Dr. Johnson taken better care of his employees instead of throwing money at programs and unpopular academic concepts (Jeffrey Hernandez), he might still have a job.
 
“Happy morons?” “70 percent ineffective teachers?”
 
Somewhere along the way, he forgot that the district needs its 12,000 teachers more than it needs programs, administrators, AND SUPERINTENDENTS.
 
Dr. Johnson: Offer your resignation, take the money,
AND RUN!!!
 
And, God bless Mr. Malone.
 
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 




February 13, 2011
 
 
Webmaster Note - Some things change and some things remain the same. There are some within the public sector who think the Golden Age for teacher raises and blanket educational spending was during the BOOM of the early 2000s. This musing, written nearly 11 years ago, doesn’t seem to support this theory.
 
 
TRUE EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Originally Published:
Jupiter Courier - April 3, 2003
Palm Beach Post - April 6, 2003
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® - April 27, 2003
JUPITER FARMER - May, 2003
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terry Shoultes has been a resident of Palm Beach County for the past 28 years. He is currently engaged in his second career as a Fine Arts teacher at H. L. Johnson Elementary School in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. He was previously employed as a data processing professional with IBM, the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, and Palm Beach Community College. He was recently a recipient of the I MAKE A DIFFERENCE - TEACHERS OF EXCELLENCE award from the Palm Beach Post, WPEC TV Channel 12, and the law firm of Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley. This article was originally written for the Palm Beach Post on April 13, 2000. It has recently been revised and published in several local newspapers, trade journals, and online educational websites.
 
 
In the age of educational accountability, isn’t there a portion of academic responsibility that pertains to elected officials?
 
Teachers have previously been required to teach larger classes, include students with special needs, sacrifice the ever increasing cost of health insurance, attend special training sessions, deal with school safety issues, and enhance their certification standards without any financial compensation from the state. 
 
THE TEACHERS DID SO.
 
When the Florida Legislature implemented the FCAT test (the dreaded F-Word among educators) holding teachers personally accountable for student performance and assigned a grade of A-B-C-D-F to each school;
 
THE TEACHERS CONTINUED TEACHING.
 
In today’s classroom, if a child misbehaves, the teacher is blamed. If a child gets a bad grade, the teacher is held accountable. If a child does not demonstrate the prescribed FCAT knowledge, the school and the teacher are penalized financially.
 
The Palm Beach County School Board has announced there is no money for teacher raises this year. In addition, they announced funding cuts for Magnet Schools, the 7-Period Day, Full-Time Kindergarten classes, Teacher Aides, and High School Sports. They will also be announcing cuts in facilities, and personnel within the instructional ranks.
 
Many veteran teachers are carefully assessing their retirement options. After all, retirement is now within reach for many of our finest educators. Unfortunately, retiring teachers will have to be replaced and the district is finding a severe shortage of qualified candidates willing to undertake the teaching challenge. Many promising young teachers are leaving the profession. 
 
The legislature is favoring a concept to “dummy down” the public education system.
 
The recent passing of the Class Size Amendment only exposed previous problems created by elected officials who carelessly passed laws, regulations, and dictated new academic standards. It is time for these elected officials to step forward and be judged by the voters. After all, these are the elected politicians who are directly responsible for determining budget and resource allocations for public education.
 
Voters should carefully determine if our current legislators are doing their job. The best way to determine a proper judgment might be to ask a professional educator. Ask a principal. Ask your child’s teacher. Ask a local personnel department within the community. 
 
ASK YOUR CHILD!!!
 
Once accountability has been determined and evaluated, make your voice heard at the voting booth. The American public education system depends on your involvement. The arrogance of this present legislature must be addressed immediately before the public education system that was once the marvel of the free world suffers a total collapse.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 






February 11, 2011
 
 
 
CORN SHORTAGE???
Commodity Prices Going Up
 
 

American corn reserves have hit their lowest level in 15 years according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a result, tighter supplies will eventually lead to higher food prices in 2011.
 
You see, the price of corn affects most food products in the United States. Corn is used as feed for meat stocks and is the main ingredient for such culinary favorites as Cap’n Crunch cereal and Doritos.
 
It is also a key environmental ingredient in gasoline.
 
Add to this a major drought in China (remember when we joked about “what does this have to do with the price of eggs in China?”) and we have a major inflationary problem according to the “experts”.
 
Smuckers, Folgers, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Tyson, Smithfield, Pilgrim’s, Publix, Winn Dixie, Krogers, Piggly Wiggly, etc. etc. etc. have been quietly raising prices for the past two years.
 
Kellogg announced last week it plans to raise cereal prices by 10% and more. Sara Lee said it will continue price increases as it tries to cope with increased commodity costs. Folgers claims the cost of coffee beans is up 60% over last year.
 
And, no doubt, the price of gasoline will continue to rise at an alarming rate.
 
Much of these price increases are transparent to the regular American shopper who doesn’t know how to apply mathematics to household economics. It comes in the form of smaller packages, creative pricing (two for one) and a declaration at checkout (Publix) that you “saved” a specific amount by shopping at their store.
 
And the American public buys into it.
 
To help throw gasoline on the fire (pardon the pun), a decision was made by the previous administration that all gas must contain ethanol, a corn-based product designed to make gasoline more efficient and environmentally friendly.
 
But in reality, the common American automobile gets less mileage using the ethanol mix as opposed to the non-ethanol gas (now called recreational gas).
 
Anyone with a boat outboard motor, lawn mower, hurricane generator, etc. knows that ethanol screws up small engines big-time and destroys older fiberglass tanks.
 
Even Al Gore admits ethanol gasoline was a huge mistake. Remember when it became the law of the land, how the oil industry justified this refining problem with higher prices and we all bought into that concept.
 
Perhaps as a cost-cutting measure, the newly elected Republican majority in Washington will look into this farce. After all, a starving world needs to free American farmers from government subsidies so they can grow more crops.
 
Don’t hold your breath!!!
 
Farm subsidies are a favorite earmark of the GOP and the agribusiness lobby. 
 
And according to reports, Tea Party spokesperson Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) received up to $50,000 income from a dairy farm in Wisconsin last year but she claims she doesn’t benefit from more than $259,000 in USDA payments her dairy farm has received since 1995.
 
In other words, don’t count on the GOP to get rid of farm subsidies any time soon.
 
So perhaps the solution is much simpler than we realize.
 
Perhaps, Americans should drive the posted speed limit and everyone should go on a diet.
 
Just a thought!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 





February 10, 2011
 
 
DR. “J” - TAKE THE MONEY
AND RUN!!!
ONE YEAR AGO REVISTED
---
It was one year ago on February 17th that I attended a massive protest meeting at the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida headquarters. The purpose of the meeting was to protest the infamous JOHNSON-HERNANDEZ FRAMEWORKS program orchestrated by Dr. Art Johnson and Mr. Jeffrey Hernandez. At the time of this writing, Mr. Hernandez has departed from his job and Dr. Johnson faces a newly elected school board that has introduced a resolution to remove him from employment.
...
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® - February 21, 2010
 
For those who follow this blog on a regular basis, you know that teachers and parents staged another protest at the monthly meeting of the School Board of Palm Beach County (Florida) on Wednesday night.
 
I was there.
 
These protest meetings have been a monthly occurrence since August 2009 when the district tried to misrepresent and force an inferior health insurance program down the throats of their employees.
 
Then came the Johnson-Hernandez Frameworks curriculum. 
 
Then came the negotiations of financial issues (including compensation) and a belated offer by the district.
 
But the real issues aren’t insurance, curriculum, or paychecks.
 
THE REAL ISSUE IS RESPECT!!!
 
Last night may have been a historical turning point which will eventually end the regime of Dr. Art Johnson, Superintendent of Schools for the past 10 years. Last night, the issue was respect or more precisely, the lack of it.
 
There was anger. There was heckling. There was arrogance. 
 
And lots of empty promises.
 
Once again, teachers spoke directly to Dr. Johnson and the sitting school board members about corruption, cronyism, wasteful spending, and retaliation against those who oppose the present regime.
 
One teacher, who attempted to make a point after the 3 minute presentation time had expired, tried to conclude and was physically removed by a group of school police goons under the direction of board chairman Dr. Monroe Benaim.
 
And it got ugly.
 
Teaching elementary school has been my second career. I spent 19 years in the computer field before suffering a layoff during the first Bush Recession. I was one of those classic BOOMERS who went back to work for substantially less $$$.
 
But I have the greatest job in the world and have no regrets. Teaching elementary school is a tough job. I’ve been doing it now for 17 years. I accepted the low salary while watching others get rich in the corporate world.
 
And for a long time, I was bitter.
 
And now, times are tough again. I’ve seen others from the corporate world try this job thinking that “anyone can do it.” Some can’t do it. Some have left the profession because they can’t handle it.
 
But once again, we’ve seen the privileged few getting richer and richer and more arrogant toward those who are charged with enriching them.
 
In America, money is the measure of career success and in the case of our Palm Beach County Schools administration; they are very successful when measured against this standard.
 
On Wednesday night, we discussed money. Money wasted on frivolous expenditures and money not set aside to compensate those who implement the product. 
 
To all who supported teacher pay raises last night, I thank you!!!
 
For those who opposed teacher raises thinking, “Those who can do … Those who can’t teach,” SHAME ON YOU!!! You wouldn’t last one day in my shoes.
 
For in these modern times, we are more than teachers. We are the parents of those children who have lost their way (for whatever reason). We tend to those children who are sick; have bathroom accidents; and bumps and bruises; and are angry at the world and everyone in it. We are mediators to those children who argue and fight each day.
 
Wednesday night, by raising our voices, we made it clear to the superintendent and the school board that morale is low and we are burning out fast. 
 
But after all the speeches were made; over three hours of pleas and threats, the board adjourned without comment.
 
So what happens now?
 
Dr. Johnson said he’s aware of the teacher’s concerns and these concerns will be addressed.
 
When?
 
Johnson cited an upcoming Negotiations meeting between the union and the district (scheduled for Feb. 26) where he will open up the district’s financial books.
 
Yeah, right!!!
 
Another (Negotiations) meeting is scheduled for March 8th. Will this result in IMPASSE? I’ve been serving on the Negotiations team for 10 years. I think I can make an “educated” guess.
 
Once again speaking from his hospital room where he is being treated for an aggressive form of leukemia, union president Robert Dow implored union members to continue attending board meetings every month until the districts “severe” morale problem is corrected. “Come back every month until you see solutions to this terrible problem and until you get what you need to succeed,” Dow said.
 
John Tracy Kidder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer observes that “Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice or texts or special placements of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. 
 
To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the instructional pyramid.
 
And this autonomy along with classroom accountability is what makes great teachers. It is important to remember that teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.
 
It isn’t about money. It’s about respect.
 
This superintendent has failed to inspire those at the bottom of the institutional pyramid and certain members of the Palm Beach County School Board have supported him.
 
Remember this date February 17th (2010). In my humble opinion, it was the night that defined the present state of the Johnson regime.
 
NO CONFIDENCE!!!
 
And it is now my humble opinion it is time for him to go.
 
 
February 10, 2010 entry
THOUGHTS OF A SOUTHERN YANKEE
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 



February 9, 2011
 
 
 
GETTING HARDER TO KEEP TRACK OF WHAT’S LEFT, WHAT’S RIGHT
 
 

Mark Twain once said, “The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”
 
Radical Right, Lunatic Right, Yellow Dog Democrat, Red States, Blue States, compassionate conservative, move toward the middle, etc. etc. etc.
 
It’s much like “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I dunno. Third base!!!”
 
The world has been turned upside down. What were once conservatives are becoming revolutionaries (i.e. Tea Party). 

The liberals are fast becoming conservatives.
 
And it seems so strange for those of us raised during the BOOMER years. 
 
We learned in civics (now called history) that Republicans cause depressions (i.e. Herbert Hoover) and Democrats fight wars (i.e. FDR).
 
What a reversal of fortunes we have seen in the last 30 years. 
 
Nowadays, the Republicans seem determined to overthrow the current government and the Democrats want to conserve a government in which promotion of the general welfare is the guiding principle.
 
Definitely a world turned on its head.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 







February 5, 2011
 
 
SUPER BOWL
 

A man had 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl.
 
As he sat down, he noticed that the seat next to him was empty.
 
He asked the man on the other side of the empty seat whether anyone was sitting there.
 
“No,” the man replied. “The seat is empty.”
 
“This is incredible,” said the first man.
 
“Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world and not use it?”
 
The second man replied, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away.”
 
This will be the first Super Bowl we haven’t seen together since we got married in 1967.”
 
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s terrible. But couldn’t you find anyone else – a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?”
 
The man shook his head.
 
“No, they’re all at the funeral.”
 

ENJOY THE GAME!!!








February 4, 2011
 
 
 
IS IT WORTH IT BEING A TEACHER IN FLORIDA
The following question was posed in the February 2, 2011 edition of the Florida Sun-Sentinel. I published the following response.
 
 
 
The question: Is it worth it being a teacher in Florida.
 
Financially and realistically speaking, the answer for today is a resounding NO!!!
 
When I graduated from the University of West Florida many years ago, I wanted to be a teacher and coach. Unfortunately, times were bad in 1971 and I couldn’t find a job. I ended up selling life insurance. I learned how to get in front of people and sell but went broke trying to establish a home.
 
In 1972, I landed a job with IBM. They sent me back to school and I established myself as an expert in surface transportation and database technology. In 1975, IBM (short for I’ll Be Moving) sent me to Nashville, Tennessee. After 9 months, I left IBM and moved the family back to Florida.
 
I took a computer job with the School Board of Palm Beach County in 1975 as a systems analyst. I developed their student database and telecommunications systems. When mini-micro computers came out, I used my surface transportation expertise to adapt these devices into a classroom environment.
 
In 1982, I was elected state president of the Florida Association of Educational Data Systems. In 1983, I took a job at Palm Beach Junior College as the District Coordinator of Academic Computing Systems.
 
The money was good and I had a chance to develop college academic systems. PBJC became well-known in the country for academic computing leadership. This lasted until the proliferation of personal computers started around 1990.
 
Thanks to the Florida Education Crisis of 1991, my position was eliminated. After 17 months of job searching, I was offered a teaching position in the Palm Beach County School System. In spite of my life experience, they started me at STEP 1 (60% of my former salary). I had to support my family so not having much choice, I accepted the job.
 
I HAVE NO REGRETS. I call this experience MY SECOND CAREER. For the last 17 years, I’ve been a very dedicated elementary school teacher. I am proud of my accomplishments and truly believe that I MADE A DIFFERENCE in many young lives. The pay sucks but the personal benefits of a job well done and truly making a difference in some young person’s life are very satisfying.
 
Unfortunately, the dark clouds of change are swirling in Florida. There are too many theories and too much politics. Passion for teaching has been replaced by pay-for-performance and standardized tests. 
 
After some 36 years accumulated in the Florida Retirement System and considering the proceeds accumulated in the DROP program, I decided to retire on January 3rd.
 
Teaching today is completely different than when I started. You must adapt to change and you must grit your teeth to those who claim expertise because they graduated from high school. The pay still sucks but if you can get past this, the rewards are many.

I miss the kids and those who share the same passion for teaching that I had. As for the rest of you, ….
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 





February 2, 2011
 
 
 
THE “ART” OF SURRENDER
 
 
For nearly two years now, Palm Beach County (Florida) School District Superintendent Dr. Art Johnson has battled teachers, parents, and school board members over the hiring of Jeffrey Hernandez and the debacle over what has become known as the JOHNSON-HERNANDEZ CURRICULUM.
 
There are accusations of impropriety associated with Mr. Hernandez and his sudden departure last year. These accusations have not gone away and they’ve tainted the daily operation of the district’s leadership.
 
Thankfully, Jeffery Hernandez has gone away. Why he came to Palm Beach County or why and how he left is really a moot point at this juncture in time.
 
The real issue is leadership, or quite frankly, the lack of it.
 
And if any of these accusations prove true to the point of breaking the law or betraying the public trust, someone will have to pay.
 
And that someone will be Dr. Art Johnson.
 
Dr. Johnson claims that his leadership has brought Palm Beach County to the forefront of academic achievement. However, much of the credit to be an “A” rated public school system for the last five years should rightly be awarded to the individual schools, teachers, and students.
 
And in 2011, their reward will be (among other issues):
 
 
- No additional money for salary increases and bonuses
 
- A longer work day (without additional salary compensation) for elementary schools
 
- Changes to teacher schedules which allows the district to impose more classes during the working day
 
- Rejection of the salary STEP LADDER for annual pay increases for longevity and experience
 
- Modification of the CLASS SIZE AMENDMENT which would allow larger classes and the hiring of part-time (adjunct) teachers to teach those classes
 
 
I have attended most school board meetings, either in person or on television, and have watched the constant pounding of Dr. Johnson from teachers, parents, elected officials and community professionals.
 
I commend his ability to TAKE IT, but the pounding doesn’t seem to be going away.
 
In fact, the pounding is getting louder and louder.
 
So far, the “investigation” into improprieties is on-going and no wrong-doing has been proven or formally addressed.
 
YET!!!
 
Tonight, Dr. Johnson may learn his fate as the school board has called an emergency meeting to discuss his contract.
 
The new school board members who were elected over those previous incumbents who “rubber stamped” Dr. Johnson’s agenda since he became superintendent back in 2002 have a chance to step up to the plate.
 
And it could get nasty!!!
 
But don’t feel too sorry for Dr. Johnson. His contract goes through June 2014 and one of his past agenda items was to pass a rule that takes a super majority (5-2) vote to remove him.
 
Given this vote, the board can fire him at any time, without giving a reason, by giving him a 90-day notice.
 
And he stands to walk away with a $#%&load of taxpayer money.
 
His salary, deferred bonuses, deferred payments, retirement etc. etc. etc. will be enough to shock even Governor Rick Scott; that same Governor Scott who wants to lower our pensions and salaries.
 
Yes, that same Governor Scott who advocates “pay for performance.”
 
Dr. Johnson’s favorite book (allegedly) is the Art of War written by SUN TZU. If you take the time to study the quotes, much of Dr. Johnson’s strategy to preserve his job during the past two years can be seen and understood.
 
But the time for arrogance and grandstanding has passed.
 
Robin Wagner-Pacifici writes in the ART OF SURRENDER; “How do we know when a war ends? For many, the resolution of conflict comes not with the last traces of smoke left on the battlefield, but with the formal ceremonies of surrender; possession and repossession, the signing of treaties, and the pomp and circumstance that mark them.”
 
Tonight will be a defining moment for Chuck Shaw, Karen Brill, Jennifer Prior Brown, and Marcia Andrews, the newly elected school board members.
 
Tonight may very well be a final defining moment for Dr. Monroe Benaim and Dr. Debra Robinson, holdovers and historically, long-time Johnson supporters.
 
Tonight will be a chance for board chairman Frank Barbieri to step away from his apparent lack of ROBERTS RULES knowledge and “take the bull by the horns.”
 
My dear Dr. Johnson: I implore you to set aside your arrogance and do the right thing tonight.
 
There have been too many battles.  There have been too many war fronts.  There have been too many negatives.
 
There may be revelations coming that would make our system look bad.
 
And your ability to lead this district continues to be in question.
 
Dr. Johnson, for the good of the service, the community, the children, and yourself, it is time to capitulate.
 
Offer your resignation; take the money, and RUN.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 






February 1, 2011
 
 
Teachers: You Are Working in the Profession You Chose!!!
When Things Improve, You’ll Get Raises Like Everyone Else!!!
 
Florida Sun-Sentinel Commentary - Sorry teachers, but you are working in the profession you chose. The economy is in terrible shape right now and people in other professions are being required to make tough sacrifices as well. Get over yourselves and start TRYING to educate our children. When things improve, over all, you can get raises just like everyone else. Until then, just be happy you have a job!!!
 
Now get back to work!!!
 
 
Just for the record, I was in the “real world” for 21 years as a computer professional with IBM and other such computer operations. After a layoff in 1992, I became an elementary school teacher for about half of my former salary and just recently retired within the last 27 days. 
 
I won’t be collecting any “lofty civil service pension.” All I want is some respect and enough money to pay the bills.
 
Except for Florida and a few other southern states, teachers who have been in the position for over thirty years may indeed be fairly compensated in retirement but they, in my humble opinion, are not the issue.
 
The Boomer generation teachers are retiring.
 
And as a result, American public education needs new aggressive blood, enthusiasm, innovation, etc. to teach America’s new breed of TIGER KIDS.
 
But taxpayers (and especially those living in Palm Beach County, Florida); you won’t find these dynamic new teachers for a starting salary of $36,822 per year for the first five years.
 
At the present time, America has not seen record unemployment. The Bush Depression of 2008 hasn’t been like the Great Depression of 1929, at least so far. 
 
A few weeks ago, I attended a strategy session at the Classroom Teachers Association (our teacher union) headquarters to brainstorm about possible issues for this year’s labor contract negotiations. As a ten-year veteran of these negotiations, I was invited to provide whatever suggestions or “wisdom” I could offer.
 
Last Tuesday, the union Negotiation team met with the Palm Beach County School District to present contract issues for the 2010-2011 school year. According to a newspaper article written by Mark Freeman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel, these are a few of the issues presented:
 
 
1)     The district is not offering any additional money, salary increases, and/or bonuses.
2)     The district is seeking the flexibility to change teacher scheduling at middle and high schools. The contract would be changed to assign each teacher six periods per day instead of five and have one planning period instead of two.
3)     To compensate teachers for teaching this “extra” class, the district is proposing a daily supplement of $23.50 for the extra period. 
4)     The district wants to increase the elementary school teacher work day by 30 minutes without any additional compensation.
5)     The union is proposing a return to annual pay increases via the longevity STEP LADDER which was eliminated (during IMPASSE) during the 2007-2008 school year. The average salary increase via STEP usually averages about 2%.
6)     The district wants to modify the current contract in order to meet the CLASS SIZE AMENDMENT requirements.
7)     The district wants to create a new teaching position called “adjunct” and pay these instructors $18 per hour without benefits. These instructors DO NOT have to be certificated teachers and could be attracted from the business and public sectors.
 
 
If either side declares IMPASSE, the final impositions, under Florida law, can be made by the School Board of Palm Beach County.
 
And their decisions are without challenge, and FINAL!!!
 
So much for real collective bargaining in Florida.
 
It is quite evident that the Palm Beach County School District is taking advantage of it's teachers by using Florida’s RIGHT TO WORK law.
 
If the district tried these strategies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or New York etc., the union would organize a STRIKE immediately.
 
Isn’t it interesting that according to NCLB statistics, these states FAR EXCEED Florida in academic performance and are still able to pay their teachers a decent wage and give them the raises they agreed to under collective bargaining contracts.
 
But thanks to the Florida media, the teacher bashing continues. I am appalled at the attitude against public employees; in particular teachers, firemen, police, and state workers. Perhaps, Governor Scott will attempt to use these positions to finance his campaign promise of creating 700,000 new jobs. 
 
I wonder if he uses this “fuzzy math” to justify his business decision. His track record in business created substantial personal wealth for …….
 
Oh well, HIDE AND WATCH!!!
 
This story will come out at the appropriate time.
 
My personal conclusion: I believe my decision to retire this year will prove to be excellent timing.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 






January 27, 2011
 
 
WHAT IS “IT” ALL ABOUT?
Originally Published in:
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ® - January 3, 2003
JUPITER COURIER - January 13, 2004
 
The original publication from THOUGHTS OF A SOUTHERN YANKEE was written when my granddaughter, Sarah Katherine Shoultes, was born on December 27, 2002. Since that time, I’ve written a similar version for each grandchild. This version has been updated and modified for the newest addition to the family.
 
 
For the first time since the birth of my last grandchild on February 11, 2009, the Lord has allowed me to hold NEW LIFE in my arms once again. Jacob Ryan Fallon, my fifth grandchild, arrived safely this morning, January 27, 2011, at 11:28 AM (see picture).
 
He came into the world, unlike the others, rather quietly and thoughtful. He weighed in at eight pounds, 8 ounces, and a length of 20 ½ inches. He and his mother are doing fine.
 
The feeling inside me, once again, is difficult to describe. There is a great deal of awe that this tiny, helpless being was conceived in love, and will be loved (and spoiled) beyond all expectations.
 
There is a great deal of pride that another generation in our family will be represented in this world.
 
There is a great deal of fear for his safety and welfare and he attempts to take his rightful place on this very troubled planet.
 
There is a great deal of hope that if, he is given every opportunity to be educated and nurtured about the ways of this world, he will be a vital part of the solutions.
 
The first time I held this new life gave me a chance to reflect once again. As a student of our family genealogy, I realized that for a brief moment, I was sharing the joy and love that my ancestors experienced. It also gave me a chance to thank God for allowing me the necessary years of life required to witness and enjoy this wonderful moment once again.
 
As I entered his name into the family tree computer record, my thoughts went back 200 years ago, to 1811 when a new baby was presented to the SCHULTES family living in the mountainous area of Albany County, New York. The winter weather, much like today, must have presented many natural obstacles to life and many hardships. Yet, the Schultes family prevailed in 1811 and the Fallon family will prevail in 2011 as well.
 
I also reflect as to what it might be like in 2075 when (at my present age); Jacob Ryan Fallon might be greeting his new grandchild. As he looks forward and backward from this vantage point in time, will he be concerned with the same world problems that we now encounter?
 
Will he look back and say, “Grandpa’s generation were the bravest Americans?” They saw the problems clearly and their action saved the world and made it a better place to live. They really MADE A DIFFERENCE.
 
Tomorrow morning, I, as a new retiree, will rise early; get my coffee, and take a seat on the back porch to watch another beautiful Florida sunrise.
 
And probably once again, I will ask:
 
Why am I here? Why am I doing this? What is “IT” all about?
 
If I listen carefully, “IT” is revealed to me. I only have to look at the morning breezes swaying the tops of the trees, hear the chirps of the beautiful cardinals that inhabit our homestead as they fly to the birdfeeder for breakfast, or marvel in the beautiful sunrise slowly lighting the morning sky.
 
If I listen and watch very carefully, the message of “IT” is revealed. I often offer this little prayer:
 
“OK, what do you want me to do today?”
 
Sometimes, I feel a little gust of wind or hear some special noise that is unfamiliar. 
 
And sometimes, I can hear the life traveler’s muffled whisper of a passage that was written long ago.
 
“I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
 
God bless you Jacob. In the words of Star Treks Mr. Spock, “May you live long, and prosper.”
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 


GYM SHOWERS
 
Published in the CANDOR STATEMENT  
Candor (Tioga County), New York
January 26, 2011
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  As a boy, Terry Shoultes lived in the village of Catatonk during the 1950s.  His family moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1959 and he has lived in the south ever since.  He presently resides in Jupiter Farms, Florida with his wife of 39 years.  Mr. Shoultes worked for IBM and other computer agencies for 21 years. After a layoff in 1992, he started his second career as an elementary school teacher of physical education, computer science, and creative writing. He is the father of four, grandfather of four (with two on the way; one any day now) and the mentor of many.  He retired from teaching on January 3, 2011.
 
 
 
It was 1957 when I entered the 7th grade at Candor Central School. I was delighted that physical education (used to be called gym) would be a daily part of my schedule (7th period as I recall).
 
I was considered to be a good athlete. Academics weren’t my main purpose at that time in my life; the idea of excelling in sports was foremost in my mind.
 
During the first class meeting, the teacher (coach) informed us that we would be required to dress out for each class. The prospect of playing dodge ball, football, volleyball, gymnastics, and other games associated with gym class sounded like lots of fun.
 
Even the square dancing sounded good although we were informed that we might be dancing with the girls. Since I had a pre-adolescent “crush” on a young lady already, that idea offered some new possibilities.
 
Then, he gave us a tour of the locker room; complete with basket lockers …
 
And the showers.
 
Coach informed us that we were required to take a shower after every class. This meant removing our gym uniform, taking a towel, and marching butt (or buck if you prefer, both are politically correct) naked into the gang shower area with the rest of the class.
 
This idea conjured up some disturbing thoughts among many of my classmates. At this awkward age, many of us were at various stages of puberty and this event could make some boys subject to ridicule. The girls had the same problem.
 
So when did this idea of taking a shower during gym class at school start? 
 
According to physical education experts, this tradition began decades ago when many homes didn’t have running water. “It was in place because it was important for hygienic reasons,” says Dianne Wilson-Graham, a physical education consultant with the California Department of Education.
 
The ultimate benefit intended for children may have been cleaner bodies but unfortunately, mandatory shower policies spawned lasting negative memories about gym class participation for future generations of teenagers.
 
Many of us have forgotten the benefits of regular exercise and participate in sports that we received from daily gym class. What we most recall is the humiliation of disrobing and bathing naked in front of our peers at the end of class.
 
It didn’t matter if you were a star athlete, bookworm, or head of the cheerleaders. When gym class ended, the shower was the one place where everything came off. No one could hide from their insecurities and lack of self-confidence and there was always the fear that the teacher (coach) would make a sudden personal appearance at the shower entrance to make sure everyone was complying with the rule.
 
My first experience with pre-adolescent showering wasn’t a big deal (pardon the bad pun). There were a few friends that I swam in the creek with (an occasional skinny dip) so we got together, stripped to our birthday suits, and marched by the coach into the shower room. Once we rinsed off in that cold water, we marched back out and got dressed.
 
We used to joke that coach got to see our smile from both sides.
 
There were a lot of things we didn’t know about or understand and considering some of the bad sides of life, we were quite naïve. We were just a bunch of naked kids obeying an adult rule. Nothing was assumed otherwise.
 
In later years, when I became a physical education teacher, I started to better understand the unfortunate association that many adults had about mandatory gym classes and gym showers.
 
And it has hurt the concept of an active physical education program in our modern day schools. Program funding has been cut and as a result, our children are far more sedentary than we were at that age.
 
And now I find that many parents, who have their own horror stories and bad memories about showering in front of their peers and undergoing shower inspections by gym teachers, actively support cuts in physical education programs.
 
Whether fortunate or unfortunate; necessary or unnecessary due to health considerations, most school districts have chosen to avoid the lawsuits.
 
And our children are suffering.
 
Today’s students aren’t shocked by much. They don’t blink an eye when they see someone selling drugs, guys and girls wearing their pants at half-mast, or someone who has body piercing jewelry.
 
But their eyes bulge at the mere mention of showering naked with their fellow students.
 
For the record, my elementary school students in Florida were not required to take showers at school after PE class. From what I understand in a recent PALM BEACH POST article titled Shower Stalls Stay Dry At Most South Florida Public Schools, middle and high school students have the option of stripping down and using the school gym shower to wash off the sweat and grime after workouts and playing in the hot Florida sun.
 
Most of the time, they don’t.
 
And considering that today, we live in a society of cell phone cameras and a much earlier understanding of what kids call “weirdness” in adults, this much remembered (and sometimes hated) requirement from the 1950s gym class is virtually a thing of the past.
 
As a PE teacher, I can’t force a kid to go take a shower after PE class. They prefer, quite honestly, to take one when they get home and I trust that they do.
 
Some things change, and some things remain the same and I’m OK with it.
 
But much like the 1950s, our children still exhibit trust and hope with adults, especially their teachers. 
 
It’s an awesome responsibility that educators must cling to, appreciate, and nurture.
 
And I’m happy to say that the vast majority of my colleagues do.
 
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 






January 26, 2011
 
 
 
GOVERNMENT BY PLUTARCHY
 
 
 
PLUTOCRACY is defined in political science circles as rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. 
 
OLIGARCHY is defined as a form of power effectively resting with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, corporate, or military control.
 
The term PLUTARCHY is generally used to describe these two distinct concepts: one of a historical nature and one of a modern political nature. The former indicates the political control of the state by an oligarchy of the wealthy.
 
In a future message to my descendants published on January 1, 1990, I wrote the following observation about our economic situation and where we might be headed. Unfortunately, in 2011, we haven’t resolved this problem (yet):
 
 
“Unfortunately, as the decade dawns, we are waking up to a hangover brought on by the self-indulgent revelry of the 1980s. For the past 10 years, Americans were reminded over and over of their greatness and their country’s superiority. The image became habit-forming.
 
Yet, during the 1980s, the United States lost its position as the world’s most powerful capitalist nation. Our federal government alternated between scandal and legislative paralysis. The privileged became more privileged, the poor became poorer; middle class Americans grew resentful that they had less chance to joining the former and were being asked to pay a greater share of the help for the latter. Worst of all, there seemed an absence of any leadership that would challenge the conventional wisdom. We tried to solve contemporary problems with antiquated thinking.
 
We wanted to believe the problem lay with anyone but ourselves.”
 
 
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof wrote two columns for the New York Times last November, “Our Banana Republic” and “A Hedge Fund Republic.”
 
Those articles revealed some interesting topics concerning the utilization and failure of “Supply-Side Economics” or “Trickle-Down Economics” which has been the conceptual basis of economics in the United States since the Election of 1980.
 
At the end of Ronald Reagan’s tenure as president, the richest 1 percent of the United States citizenry took home 9 percent of the total income.
 
At the end of George W. Bush’s tenure, the richest 1 percent took home 24 percent.
 
In 1980, the CEOs of the largest companies earned 42 times as much as the average worker. In 2001, they earned 531 times as much.
 
The CEO pay rate among American public companies is outrageous. Corporate CEOs, many working with companies involved in the government bailouts of 2010, received astronomical amounts of money compared to the average American worker.
 
Statistics from the Department of Labor show that the average full-time worker over the age of 25 in 2010, struggled to get by on a mere $683 per week, an increase of less than 1 percent over 2009.
 
Compared to the pay rate of an average CEO, the average full-time worker would have to work in the upwards of 385 years to make what a CEO receives in one year.
 
Kristof cites the Economic Policy Institute in Washington which states the top 1 percent of Americans owns 34 percent of America’s private net worth; the bottom 90 percent owns just 20 percent.
 
With the recent Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case which the Supreme Court decided last year, that corporations have the same rights as individuals and can contribute millions to political campaigns.
 
Little wonder that one might include the United States is no longer a democracy but has evolved into a plutarchy.
 
Other than the lopsided distribution of wealth, I haven’t yet determined if this is healthy or not.
 
However, if the economic situation should change within the United States economy, could history repeat itself?
 
Try to imagine:
 
-        Shortages of food and high inflation
-        An ever increasing difference between the “rich” and “poor” (no middle class)
-        Poor economic policy and general lack of leadership
 
These items, my dear readers, provide an executive summary into the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917.
 
We all know what eventually evolved and how long it took the United States to deal with it.
 

IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 







January 25, 2011
 
 
 
GEORGE W. BUSH
GREATEST PRESIDENT EVER???
 
 
 
It was my intent to approach this book as an impartial reader rather than what some folks call “a bleeding heart liberal” who never thought much of DUBYA or the Bush family anyway.
 
To achieve this goal, I tried to read the book in an unbiased way and not become annoyed with his arrogance and political philosophies.
 
When I saw him promoting the book on TV, I thought I could do this. My curiosity was aroused and perhaps, I thought, there is some aspect to his presidency that I failed to understand.
 
It took nearly a whole week to get through the first 50 pages before I started speed reading the parts I was interested in.
 
This book is much like DUBYA himself when he went off script during press conferences. It is much the train wreck that I surmise from his presidency.
 
I see this much is fact. He was the president when 9/11 happened. No, I don’t necessarily hold him responsible for the attack but it happened on his watch.
 
He was president during two wars and whether he actually believed in them or not, men and women lost their lives during these wars.
 
Nothing that I read in the book provided any new information, different understanding, or different opinion about the Bush presidency. I found most of the book very boring.
 
Much like the surplus, any attempt that this book offered to provide a side of DUBYA that perhaps, I didn’t see or understand completely, evaporated in the face of today’s economic mess.
 
He regrets nothing.
 
“For years, I listened to politicians from both sides of the aisle allege I had squandered the massive surplus I inherited. That never made sense,” DUBYA writes. 
 
“Much of the surplus was an illusion, based on the mistaken assumption that the 1990s boom would continue. Once the recession and 9/11 hit, there was little surplus left.”
 
This illusory surplus was what DUBYA based his economic policy upon. “You see, the growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government is charging more than it needs,” Bush said in February 2001.
 
If this is true, why has the U.S. economy sunk into depths not seen since the Great Depression?
 
If this is true, how will present day Republicans, many of them former Bush supporters, return to Congress and solve our economic woes by making the same mistakes that got us into this mess to start with?
 
Far from sounding cautionary notes, the Bush administration asserted its surplus estimates were, if anything, conservative.
 
“If there’s going to be a mistake, the likelihood is a mistake will be made on the other side of the scale, that more revenue will come in,” Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said in March 2001.
 
We all know how that worked out.
 
“I took my responsibility to be a good fiscal steward seriously,” DUBYA writes.
 
Bush chose to go to war but, unlike any other wartime president, opted to pay the cost entirely with borrowed funds while pressing for more tax cuts.
 
As a result, the Chinese own us in 2010.
 
“It is true that tax cuts increase the deficit in the short term,” Bush acknowledges in his book. “But I believed the tax cuts, especially those on capital gains and dividends would stimulate economic growth. The tax revenues from that growth, combined with spending restraint, would help lower the deficit.”
 
But Bush didn’t understand the GREED factor. He stood by as Corporate America downsized their workforces and outsourced labor overseas.
 
Under Bush, Corporate America never had it so good.
 
How clever to use supply-side philosophy. Bush’s own chief economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, has estimated that over the long run, cuts on investment taxes only generates enough economic growth to make up about half of the lost revenue.
 
So meanwhile, the deficit runs like a train wreck looking for a place to happen. The Bush presidency nearly outlasted the crash. 
 
In 2008, enter Barack Obama, John McCain, and Sarah Palin.
 
In the book, DUBYA gives himself credit for the 2001 surplus. At the other end, he takes no responsibility for the 2009 deficit. He subtracts bailout and stimulus spending on the theory that much of the former will be repaid by the latter.
 
And the latter happened on President Obama’s watch and so far, the Radical-Right has made people believe the blame lies with the present administration.
 
Most important, perhaps to the writing of future history, is the fact that Bush inherited a budget in healthy shape when he took office in 2001. His predecessor had overseen three years of surpluses. After 2001, Bush presided over seven straight years of deficits.
 
Is the country safer? Bush supporters say that because of his leadership, America has not been attacked since 9/11.
 
I don’t believe this to be true and this is the reason why.
 
Not counting terrorism within our people, there is no need for our enemies to come to our shores. American soldiers are located throughout the world; especially in Iraq, South Korea, and Afghanistan. They are easy targets for those who wish to kill Americans and everyone thinks their murders are part of freedom’s necessary sacrifices.
 
Why get America pissed off. 
 
There are lessons to be learned from World War II that our enemies are counting on. The way to defeat America is economically, not militarily.
 
I believe that history will conclude that DUBYA inherited a budget in healthy condition when he took office. He left it in tatters. 
 
His tax cuts, his wars, his prescription drug bill, etc. etc. etc. If not for these, the economy would have been running surpluses during his tenure as president.
 
Eventually, the wars will wind down, but unless those Bush supporters who were recently returned to power during the Election of 2010 listen to the will of the people, the overwhelming price of tax cuts and runaway spending will overcome us once again unless jobs return to America.
 
Perhaps the Election of 2012 will cure the problem if a real leader emerges. Perhaps the Election of 2012 will buy us more time to reestablish ourselves as the world’s economic leader.
 
Or perhaps the Election of 2012 will see history repeat itself with a stock market crash similar to that of 1929.
 
HIDE AND WATCH!!!
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 


 
 
 





January 23, 2011
 
 
WHY ROME FELL
 
 
It is not my intent to ruin the ROAD TO SUPER BOWL XLV for my readers.. I’m as much a sports lover as anyone.  However, I remember when the first Super Bowl was played. IT WAS JUST A GAME!!! Today, with all the hype over commercials, wardrobe malfunctions, half-time concerts, tweeters, texting, etc., the actual playing of the game is somewhat anti-climatic.
 
Someone sent me this Letter to the Editor from some obscure newspaper. Perhaps, there is a message that we need to be concerned with.
 
 
 
Man doesn’t seem to learn from history!!!
 
Here’s a sobering lesion that never made it to the mainstream media about the Fall of Rome:
 
1)      The rapid increase of divorce, with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.
2)      Higher and higher taxes; the spending of money for bread and celebrations.
3)      The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year, more exciting and more brutal.
4)      The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
5)      The decay of religion; faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming more impotent to guide it.
 
 
 
IS THERE INTELLIGENT LIFE ON PLANET JUPITER? ®
© 1997 -  All rights reserved
 






January 21, 2011
 
 
 
THE TRUE STORY
OF HOW THE
INTERNET CAME TO BE
Thanx to the Other TWS from the Headland High School Class of 1965
 
 
 
 
In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader called Abraham of Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. 
 
And Dot of Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg.