Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I don't particularly hold with cock fighting. I have to admit that I have never even been to a cock fight. My Middle West upbringing didn't include such activities. We prized our farm animals too much to watch them kill each other. If we wanted to gamble on something there were always horse races, poker and pinochle. And Bingo. But that was the Middle West. Now I live in the South West and things are different here. Different strokes for different folks. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. But I did learn to smoke in my late teens. It came in handy when I joined the Navy and our ship sailed into potentially dangerous waters. Sort of kept you looking calmer and braver than you really were. After I was discharged from the service and attended college I quit smoking. Cold turkey. After all, flower children and Beatniks didn't need to prove how brave they were. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We went to non segregated schools and no one thought much about it. It was the way things were. And our idea of taking drugs was having a couple of No-Doze tablets so we could stay up all night. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Although most of us learned how to use guns, we only heard of a shooting on rare occasions. And they always seemed to involve the police. Oh, there were murders once in a while, but they were rare. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We learned about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, about Washington's problems with a poor Congress, Franklin's always being a step ahead of the British, what it meant to be an American and the debt we owed our forebears. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We felt sorry for the people who could not live in free America, but we knew there were legal methods for expatriates to enter our country and we were happy for them. We knew, too, that our government would try to help the most destitute countries. We didn't complain about it. Hell, we even contributed to foreign aid. Things were good for the Great Generation. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Homosexuals were a fact we didn't bother about. None of us knew any of them. They never came up in discussions because we didn't care. We didn't have to be pro or anti about it. They had their lives, we had ours. Teen age boys made jokes, but teeners always have. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Drunk drivers existed then, but there were no really specifically enforced laws. If a drunk got belligerent with a cop, he/she got arrested. A cop's word to the judge that a driver was loaded was always good enough to get a fine levied against the person. They didn't tow cars away then, either. I like the new rules against drunk driving. Now if only New Mexico would only enforce them. But no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Our children went to schools all over the city. If you wanted your kid transferred to another school, you talked to the principal about it. He took care of it. Some kids went to "tech" schools where they could learn a trade. Mostly, they were kids who had trouble with the standard curriculum. But they still had to study English and Mathematics and History. They graduated with an education that would last them throughout their lives and enable them to make a good living. More academically leaning students went to a "regular" high school. They still had "shop" courses available to them. But music, art, civics and so on were also available. It was a wonderful time for useful learning. And both kinds of schools had "gym" classes. Mandatory. Sure, there were kids who were not coordinated enough for many sports, but somehow the gym teachers always had some easier sports for them to play. Not segregation in a bad sense. Simply teaching to the child's ability to do the subject. And everybody passed gym. Without denigration or put-downs. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We didn't worry too much about inflation. Four Presidents in a row saw to it that inflation was kept under control. We complained if the price of bread went from 19 cents a loaf to 20 cents. But it wasn't really necessary for Mom to work. Dad brought home enough to raise the family. There were plenty of ladies who worked, though. That extra income would buy a new car or re-furnish the home. And we paid cash for what we bought. Or we bought it on "time". We paid the bill every week, on pay day. "Repossession" was a dirty word. Sometimes we'd get in financial trouble, but a chat with our friendly banker would get us a small loan to help out. Which we paid back in installments. Businesses also helped us. We could ask for a "counter check", which most merchants had on hand, and write a check against our accounts by putting the name of our bank on it and signing it. The merchants trusted us and we trusted them. If you accidentally overdrew your account, the bank would call and let you know. You hurried to your bank and put some money in the account. There was no charge for this service. Credit cards were available, but usually they were only used for emergencies, then paid off as quickly as possible. Pride was a key word. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should with our lives. We wanted better things for our children than we had. It was an incentive to work harder, get a better job, do whatever it took, legally, to get it. We cared about our families and their welfare. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. This rant was motivated by recent news articles informing New Mexicans that a bill banning cock fighting has been enacted and signed by our Governator. And a bill to ban cigarette smoking is heading to his desk. And a bill to legalize marijuana will be signed if it reaches his desk. And he's going out of town to raise money to become our President, while the state's contractor for behavioral health for our kids says he needs at least $2.3 million to continue to function. While five schools have been burglarized and nine portable classrooms have been broken into. Yes, "portable". Apparently we don't have enough money to build suitable schoolrooms. But the Governator feels we can give a $94 million dollar income tax credit to businesses and individuals. There's another in the hook in that bill: Next year, another $10 million tax cut in income taxes for the average user. Think of that. And this man wants to be President. Just imagine how much more we can be in debt with him at the helm. Tax cuts for the nation. Wow. More walking around money. Whoopie. I kind of liked it when no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Many, many years ago a President named Franklin Delano Roosevelt felt that the average person in the United States was in dire need of some kind of funding that would give them enough money to live on when they were too old to work. There were no widespread pensions in businesses. In fact, business gave the cold shoulder to suggestions of retirement pensions. Their views were likened to "I got mine, you get yours." Big families were the rule, but many people were not able to have children or they had children who could not support Mom and Dad and their own families. The United States was in the midst of the worst Depression ever. Now Franklin Roosevelt was a multimillionaire (would have been a billionaire by today's standards) who cared about the average man. So he twisted arms in the House and the Senate and got a new law passed to help the poor out of their dilemma. He called the new law Social Security and it was to be used to help the elderly when retirement time arrived. (Businesses
used to just fire you when you got too old.) It worked. Finally the elderly would not have to be cared for in run down, ratty old folks homes. It restored some pride in being an American and being among the middle class. America was living up to its promise. You weren't going to get rich on Social Security, but you weren't going to have to rummage through garbage cans, either. Is this the greatest country on earth, or what? America taught the rest of the world to care about their own seniors. For some years now, I've been hearing about Social Security being "in trouble". How, I wondered, can that be? It was designed so that each succeeding generation would fund itself through its own contributions. Yes, Franklin was a genius. So what's the deal? Why "in trouble?" Well, it seems that Social Security has decided, under other administrations and governments, to fund things other than retirement for the elderly. Money from this great well is used to support children going to college. It's being used to support single parent families, it's being used to create an outsized agency that has too many workers, too big a pay roll. It pays money to illegal immigrants who never put a dime in it. It picks up the tab when someone becomes too handicapped to work (even if that handicapped was extant at birth). So many other things than Franklin had envisioned. We're making him roll over in his tomb. Somehow I cannot help but feel, if he were alive today, he'd stop those "fundings" by brow beating our present Congress. He'd point out that all these other things would no longer be funded by Social Security. And he might just set up other funding (avoiding entangling alliances and the military/industrial complex, the too liberal Congess and the "let 'em eat cake" and we'll make a profit by supplying it groups) to handle those problems. But Franklin was a genius. Find one in charge of our country today? I don't think so. The last genius we had was a peanut farmer and you know what happened there. I don't find any of this class running actively for President today. Oh, there are some available, but they are not widely known by the vox populi. And with the dumbing of our schools, I kind of doubt they could be elected. We tend to fear, rather than esteem, these people. Yes, many people were afraid of Roosevelt in his time. Usually those with their fingers in the pie. He also had a wage/price board established when this country could not afford galloping inflation. Gasoline pricing was also controlled. A real leader wouldn't make us "dress up" to shop a Walmart.


A friend sent this to me. I don't know where it was published but I will give credit if I can find out. I'm not interested in having MoveOn dictate what I can hear and read. Nor am I particularly interested in either Reed nor Obama. I've already lost in interest in the Republicans and now it is getting to the point where I may lose interest in the Democrats. "LOS ANGELES (March 10) - Nevada Democratic Party officials said Friday they were canceling a presidential debate co-sponsored by the Fox News Channel, following a joke chairman Roger Ailes made about Democratic candidate Barack Obama. In a letter sent to Fox News, Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman Tom Collins and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Ailes "went too far" with comments made the night before. The letter makes no reference to a crusade by the liberal activist group to boycott Fox, which it calls a "right-wing mouthpiece." Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards dropped out of the debate Thursday, citing in part Fox's participation. The letter also does not specify which comments by Ailes lead to the decision, but a Democratic source told Reuters it was a joke Ailes made about Obama and President Bush during a speech Thursday night. "We cannot, as good Democrats, put our party in a position to defend such comments," Collins and Reid said in the letter. "We take no pleasure in this, but it the only course of action." Fox News Vice President David Rhodes responded with a written statement criticizing the Democrats for caving in to "News organizations will want to think twice before getting involved in the Nevada Democratic Caucus, which appears to be controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups, not the Democratic Party," David Rhodes said in the statement. the past, has said they 'own' the Democratic Party. While most Democrats don't agree with that, it's clearly the case in Nevada," he said. The joke by Ailes came during a speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation First Amendment Dinner on Thursday night and -- while playing on similarity between Obama's name and Osama Bin Laden -- appears to be directed more at Bush than the senator. "It's true that Barack Obama is on the move," Ailes said during the speech. "I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said 'Why can't we catch this guy?"'


No picture This time. Deliberately. It seems our local loco boxing champion, Johnny Tapia, has really done it this time. His checkered career includes arrests, convictions for alcohol and drug abuse and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He was a five time ring champion. He's in the hospital now, suffering from a massive drug overdose. I view this as a sad commentary on a man's life and the story as something that belongs on the sports pages. Not on the front page of the morning paper. But there it is. A four and half column picture of a man who is near death. And who was an athlete. On the jump page, the enormous tattoo (covering the entire front of his body) is displayed. They didn't show his back. Just as well. It's covered with tattooing also. He looks sad. Why a newspaper would run such coverage is beyond me. I thought for a minute I was seeing a supermarket tabloid on my porch. I guess the motto of the Albuquerque Journal is slightly different than that of the New York Times. It may be "All The News That Fits."