Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spanking a child

"To me, this almost third world country would be easy to contain. Easy to spank. But right now they fear us about as much as a case of hiccups."

I had a dream recently (not really, but it makes a good story), that Ronald Reagan was still President and this little man who runs North Korea was pulling some of the crap like he is pulling now. In the 8 years Reagan was President, he never had to nuke anyone, never had to invade a country and conquer their army - he just gave the impression that he would and could do it. Do you ever get the impression that the little man in North Korea has no fear whatsoever of us? I sure do.

Hello? In the past month, the little man from North Korea has threatened to nuke Manhattan, Washington, D.C., Japan, Alaska, Hawaii, and maybe even Santa Claus. And our response is...? Na-da. So he keeps it up. Because Clinton let him have the nuke due to crappy negotiations in the 1990's, we are stuck with an infant who carries a big stick. Well, guess what? Even though our current President has tried to unilaterally disarm us, we still have a bigger stick. It is time for someone in our Administration to tell this guy to sit down and shut up - or else.

And here is the lesson of the "or else". Reagan KNEW what deterrent meant. It meant winning without having to fire a shot. The fear of war was almost greater than war itself. But it worked. It worked with the Soviets. And it will work with the Norks if we had SOMEONE in the White House who they feared. To me, this almost third world country would be easy to contain. Easy to spank. But right now they fear us about as much as a case of hiccups.

So the threats will continue to come. The rockets will continue to be fired. The bombs will continue to be tested. And what it the UN says no? They will care about as much as if we said something. They will continue to be a huge destabilizing force in the region. They offer nothing except destruction. Whereas South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and yes, even China, offers something positive to the world.

Remember this when you vote in November. We cannot reanimate Ronald Reagan (as much as we would love to). So we need to elect someone who can put the genie back into the bottle. Left to their devices, I believe it is only a matter of time before the NORKS can hit us with an EMP that can put us back into the stone ages like they are. Think about that - this is not fiction. It can happen.  

Trumped by abortion

"Now I don't hate Donald Trump. On the contrary, I think he has done much for this country by being a jobs creator."

I watched the replay of the Chris Matthews interview with Donald Trump this morning. And it was painful. After earlier this week with Mr. Trump's answer on what the main functions of the federal government are, he sure did not need this grilling. The easiest answer for Trump to give seemed to be the hardest. He could have looked at Matthews in the eyes and said, "That is a state's rights issue - next question please." But he did not - and it hurt him deeply.

Now I don't hate Donald Trump. On the contrary, I think he has done much for this country by being a jobs creator. But there is a big difference between being a jobs creator and the Commander-in-Chief. Trump continually shows why he is not ready for the big chair. From saying that education is a core function of the federal government, to giving nukes to the Japanese, to saying a woman who has an abortion should be arrested (and the man responsible for her being pregnant should not), he stumbles.

Somebody asked me a few months ago what I thought about Trump. What motivated him to run for President in the first place. Truthfully, it is just the next deal for him. The next venture. Only this is a deal that he is ill equipped for. As tough as he is, when the DNC gets their claws into him (should he be the nominee), it will be brutal.

Some pundit this morning said Trump's knowledge of items of which a President should know, is only an inch deep. Another pundit said that Trump's campaign so far as been the best ever and the worst ever at the same time. With the FBI getting ready to sit down with Hillary, this race could go from crazy to totally out of control. Both the DNC and RNC could end up with brokered conventions and two nominees who are not even on the radar right now.

It is looking more and more likely that Trump is going to lose Wisconsin big time. So what happens after the votes are counted in Wisconsin? Who the heck knows. All I know is this - with the importance of this election, many of us have a knot in our collective stomachs. The one person that I think is qualified and support for President (Senator Ted Cruz), might get caught up in the backwash with all this defugalty. And that would be a shame.  

Being a cop

"And every cop knows that every day there is a chance he or she will be faced with that type of decision. And it sucks. No cop wants to die, nor cause someone else to die."

When I was young (like many boys), I thought being a policeman would be kind of neat. I liked the way they looked. I liked the respect they received. And I liked the fact they were heroes in many people's eyes. I was never afraid of the police - I always looked upon them as friends and protectors. That being said, I knew enough that should I ever get sideways with the law, I needed to be docile and cooperative with the police.

Today, I don't know if I would want to be a cop. First off, everyday when you leave your front door, there is no guarantee that you will return. There are really are some people in the community who view the police uniform as a target. And now to make matters worse, the Islamic Terrorists have published a "kill list" with the names of some our our Minnesota law enforcement officers.

Plus, even when there is an unfortunate incident where deadly force needs to be used, the police professional is put under a microscope for days, weeks, months or maybe even longer. And the evidence never seems to be seamless and clean. There is always some doubt because of the way evidence presents itself. We saw that on the recent Netflix show Making a Murderer. Was the evidence crisp? Absolutely not. But it was enough for a jury to sentence Steven Avery to life. 

I am sure there is no joy in the lives of the two policemen who were involved in the death of Jamar Clark. If they could erase that day from their lives, I am sure they would. But after hearing the District Attorney describe the incident as well as he knew it happened, it was a kill or be killed situation. And every cop knows that every day there is a chance he or she will be faced with that type of decision. And it sucks. No cop wants to die, nor cause someone else to die.

As I have grown older, my respect for the impossibly hard job that police do has only grown larger. They truly are the thin blue line that protects and defends us all. I have never been arrested, never spent a night in jail, never had handcuffs on. And I am proud of the fact that my family have good friends in different sheriff departments.

Whenever I get the chance, I thank a police officer for what he or she does. Without the law to protect us, all we end up with is lawlessness.   

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

California Dreaming....

"And the state taxes in Texas? Forget about it! Heck, it even has an ocean!"

Sorry Mamas and Papas - not about your song. In fact, this is not even about dreaming - that is unless you consider a nightmare being a dream (I guess it is). As of late, I have been seeing quite a bit of negative press about our Golden State of California. How it ain't so golden anymore. How the state which at one time (in my lifetime) was a mecca, is now turning into a sinking ship. 

No, I am not going to talk about the drought. Nor the forest fires. Not even the endless earthquakes. No, I am going to talk about the Moon - as in "Moonbeam". You know, that idiot who is running (or ruining) the state. People and companies (with any capital) are leaving in droves. Why? I don't know - the confiscatory taxes? Is that why so many are moving to Texas?

Here is the bottom line. And you do not have to have an MBA from Harvard to figure this one out. Companies, as well as people, do not have to do business nor live in a state which is unfriendly to taxpayers. Texas has even more room in it that California. Lots and lots of room for people to move into. And the state taxes in Texas? Forget about it! Heck, it even has an ocean!

My question is this. Why would a state with hot, humid summers, tornados in the spring and fall, snow in the winter, have over four times the job creation than California has had in the past 20 years. Could it possibly be the business climate? Like taxes? Well, it has got to be something! And as "Moonbeam" wants more money for just about everything, those who can, have left.

Attention Minnesota's version of "Moonbeam". We are next. Wake up and smell the coffee. Good flipping grief. We will become the "Cold Omaha" that every panic merchant has talked about for years. Check out the exit ramps Governor Statist. There are a whole bunch of people leaving. And if you don't help fix things, I will be penning my blogs from Pensacola in the near future. That is an immutable fact sir - take it to the bank. 

Will it ever end?

"In my opinion this an extension of a war that is about as ancient as the Bible itself."

When I was a young boy, my parents subscribed to a book club for me called the We were there books. Those books, plus my Tom Swift books, were my most favorite. In the We were there collection, the reader had a chance to be up close and personal with famous people throughout world history. And one of my favorite books was about Richard the Lionhearted. It was all about King Richard and the Third Crusade.

When you read about the Crusades, you can quickly get drawn into the weeds. They were a series of military campaigns in what we know now as the Middle East lasting about 400 years or so (1096 - 1487). What were they about? In my opinion they were an extension of a war that is as ancient as the Bible itself. An extension of the family fued between Ishmael and Isaac. And it continues to this day. Blood that was once only spilled in the Middle Eastern deserts, is now being spilled world wide.

As mankind becomes more mired in the quicksand of counterfeit doctrines, the heinous nature of crimes committed in the name of religion becomes greater than ever before. Nothing appears to be off limits or out of bounds. Christians, teaching and serving at a location established by Mother Theresa, kidnapped and then murdered. Why? Why would anyone do such a thing? Because they were Christians - simple as that. And whether we, or our President wants to admit this, there is a holy war going on. And it has been going on for a long, long time.

I have been asked more than once when I thought this War on Terror will be over. Sadly, my answer is not the one many are looking for. Because my answer is either never or when Christ returns. Christians believe that when Christ returns the great final battle will ensue. And everything evil will be vanquished. Some Muslims believe otherwise. We are in the final battle. The final Caliphate. And at the end the world will be purged of infidels and the rest will all be worshippers of Allah. 

For those who think I am just blowing smoke, consider this. In the past month, there have been over 100 Islamic terror attacks worldwide. These attacks are now way beyond the Middle East and Northern Africa. At the same time, Christians are still being systematically eliminated in many areas of Iraq and Syria. Europe has a huge problem and it is only getting worse. Just ask people in Brussels. It is only a matter of time before the same will be said of the United States.

I may be all wet on this. This history is somewhat outside my wheelhouse. But I do know this. When innocent nuns are kidnapped and brutally killed, something is wrong. When an innocent priest is kidnapped and then crucified on Good Friday, something is wrong. When villages are raided and innocent Christians are segregated from Muslims and then executed, something is wrong. And nobody, not one beating heart, has the answer on how to stop or fix this.

Are we in the end times? At times it sure seems that way. Maybe these mysterious horn noises heard all over the world are truly Gabriel's Trumpet announcing a warning - a warning of the coming of the end. And the list of countries these strange trumpet noises are heard in seems to grow every month. These are brutal times. These are strange times. And these are trying times. These truly are the times that try men's (and women's) souls. 

Citizens United?

"The misguided minions who want Citizens United overturned never say a peep about the boatloads of money the unions cough up every election season."

By now, many of us have heard about the group Citizens United. It is a PAC that is dedicated to our constitutional liberties. Some call it a "right wing" PAC. That is fine if they do, but honoring our Constitution should be an everybody PAC. In any event, this group became famous from the Supreme Court ruling in 2010 when they won as important court case over the FEC. It had to do with the First Amendment rights of non-profits to spend whatever they wanted to on elections.

Did I mention the Loony Left hates this group as well as this ruling? Oh, with a passion they hate it. In fact this nut job (union postal worker) who buzzed the White House on a mini-helicopter did so to protest the Citizen United ruling. To that misguided union type let me just say this to paraphrase something from the Bible - you need to take the plank out of your eye first before you go after Citizens United.

My wife was forced to be in a teacher's union for 36 years. By far and away, teacher's unions in most states (as well as national), are the most corrupt and selfish of all unions. In any event, every year my wife had to pay union dues to this corrupt union. And every election cycle, the teacher's union would support some socialist or commie instead of a conservative my wife preferred. Her money was part of that "huge pool" the union used to advocate for Democrats. And she was helpless to do anything about it.

Yesterday was an historic ruling by the Supreme Court. And it was a harbinger of things to come without having Justice Scalia there anymore. Some teachers from California filed a suit not to have their union dues go to pay for union advocacy things (like elections). The suit went all the way to the Supreme Court. However before it got to that point, a lower court affirmed the union's right to advocate with with dues. When it hit the Supreme Court, it ended up in a 4-4 tie. When that happens, the lower court ruling stands. Sorry teachers - your rights don't mean spit.

The misguided minions who want Citizens United overturned never say a peep about the boatloads of money unions cough up every election season. They only protest nonprofits and companies who seem to side with the conservatives more so than progressives. 

Yesterday was a sad day for individual rights. It was even a sadder day for those who can see the writing on the wall. If a Democrat is the next inhabitant of the White House, expect more of the same (in spades) once up to three or four new justices are appointed. If Mr. Trump gets in, the future of the court is a big unknown. If Senator Cruz gets in, expect to see Judge Bork or Justice Scalia type nominees put forth.

The bottom line is this. And I will say it for the umpteenth time. Elections have consequences. None will be bigger than this next election. With the wrong President, our SCOTUS will tilt left so far we will be treated like the collective instead of the citizenry. And then we can start kissing our Constitutional and historic rights in this country, a sad farewell.   

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Worse than Trivia Crack

"Before I come across as one of the biggest hypocrites on the planet, I need to confess one of those cell phones was mine. And yes - I am addicted to mine."

Interesting experience on Easter Sunday. After Sunday dinner was over, some of us retired to the kitchen table. There was some tepid conversation, but the concentration was directed other places. Actually, towards the table itself. Now keep in mind, the total number of people invited to this dinner was 6. And there were 5 cell phones sitting on the kitchen table. People checking FB, e-mail, or whatever. That is when it hit me - these things (cell phones) are like crack. No - they are worse than Trivia Crack.

Before I come across as one of the biggest hypocrites on the planet, I need to confess one thing. One of those cell phones was mine. Yes - I am also addicted to mine. In fact, I am very fond of my new cell phone. I can get the latest news, watch a Youtube video, view some channels from my home TV, check my "invaluable" email, look at and respond to social media, play games, and whatever. Yes, in those rare occasions, I can even make or receive a phone call. 

That is when it hit me once again. These little things, less than the size of a pack of smokes, have changed our lives - forever. Not just by a little, but by a lot. I was going to make fun of my wife for how many times she checks her device every day. Then I realized I am worse - far worse. I am also addicted to the "crack" of cell phones. And I was never like this when I was in the "work a day" world. But I sure am now.

As I am penning this, my cell phone is "pinging" with point to point communications. I am not going to answer them as I am finishing this. But that is another thing our cell phones offer - IM (Instant Messaging). And I am a willing participant to that also.

Today I was waiting for my wife at her bi-annual eye doctor appointment. Was I sitting there reading War and Peace or something worthwhile? Nope - I was playing Trivia Crack with people I have never met. And why was I doing that? It is a time waster - and I kind of enjoy it. Okay - I am hooked into that game like Slotomania

I am will now say something very impolitic. The next time you feel yourself being pulled into the vortex of checking your cell phone, know this - there are many of us with the same addiction. At my age I should know better. However, as a later day nerd - I am enjoying the technology. 

As much as I would like to close this out as a typical old guy, my cell phone just "pinged" and I need to take care of this "point to point" conversation. Yes, I am addicted to this type of "crack". But that is just me.


The death of movie (theaters)

"Movies are now shown in multiplex environments in the 'burbs. They are cold and impersonal."

When I was a young lad, going to the movies was a huge deal. And back then, movies were mostly good. Plus (and this is a big one), most movies were acceptable for the entire family to watch. Movies that had some length to them had an intermission. That was a chance to visit a very clean and nice restroom and maybe get some more popcorn or Red Hots.

We would get dressed up, get in the car and head downtown. With my family I saw South Pacific, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, North by Northwest and Some Like it Hot (just to name a few). The movie theater lobbies were elegant - and they had that smell - that movie theater smell. It was always a fun and safe evening.

But that was then, and this is now. Only a few of the once elegant theaters have survived. And they have changed their venue to live performances showing any kind of talent or plays. Movies are now shown in multiplex environments in the 'burbs. The new theaters are cold and impersonal. And did I mention expensive? Plus to take the family to a movie - good luck on that one. That is unless, you don't mind exposing your kids to graphic violence, language of the worst kind, and yes of course, some sex.

Every now and again my wife and I will venture over to the local multiplex to see an afternoon movie. Often times there are only a few people in the theater. The theaters are trying to stay relevant, they really are. Remodeled and spacious atriums, improved kick back seating, and even an expanded snack collection. Many movies are filmed in digital formats and have ear splitting sound. But - (and this is a big one), they are for the most part garbage. Either remakes, sequels, prequels, or just plain bad.

Are movies then on their death spiral? Maybe not. People still need that escape. And as far as the quality of movies is concerned, hope always springs eternal. In other words, people are still hopeful when they see the previews of upcoming attractions that one or two just might be watchable.

Movie theaters though, might be another story. And forward thinking companies like Netflix are ready to speed up their demise. I like many others, have an excellent place to watch movies. It is comfortable and very affordable. Plus, like many others, I have Netflix. So I can sit in my very comfortable chair, watch my big screen TV with surround sound, and see streaming movies to my heart's content.

This morning I read an article about how Netflix is stepping up their game. They are buying movies right off the cutting room floor. No movie theater run, no waiting. From movie maker to Netflix, to viewers. I believe that is just the start of this trend. And it will be yet another nail in the coffin of the movie theaters. 

If I am still around when the last movie multiplex closes its doors, I will have my fond memories of movie watching as a boy. Those were good times, golden times. Now they are only cherished memories of an Americana long past. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

As evil continues to flourish

"You handle terror the same way some police handle 'broken window' policing. If you let terrorists get away with the small stuff, the large stuff is soon to follow."

What kind of satanic, twisted evil is this? It continues to haunt our land and destroy innocent lives. And just when you think you have seen the worst of it, along comes the carnage which happened on Good Friday. An innocent Catholic priest. Kidnapped while serving others, many of those the lease of us. Kidnapped and then crucified, crucified on Good Friday. In 2016 some person was crucified! All this done by Islamic Terrorists!

The human part of me is crying out for vengeance. I, along with many others have had way more than enough. Kill them all, and let God sort them out! But then I think of yesterday. The teachings. About how vengance is only the Lord's. However, there is justice. We need to bring these terrorists to justice. And justice may be standing trial at the Hague. Or it may be fighting to the death. In any event, this has got to stop. Not tomorrow. Not today. Like yesterday.

Here is the problem as I see it. The bad guys are becoming ever more embolden. It seems that there is no red line that will stop them. Crucifying a priest on Good Friday? That was a "catch me if you can" moment. And they knew they could get away with it. So now they will kick the can down the street just a bit more. What is next? A bomb in a church in Des Moines on a Sunday morning? Beheading some family in their living room in Boise? Frag grenades on a crowded shopping day at the MOA?

Or will they go for the big score. A truck bomb loaded with spent radioactive material going down Michigan Avenue in Chicago? A suitcase nuke in Lower Manhattan? And then what? Any response? My opinion is quite simple. You handle terror the same way some cops handle "broken window" policing. If you let terrorists get away with the small stuff, the large stuff is soon to follow.

So welcome to the "War on Terror, 2.0". Under this version we have a new strategy. Just ignore it and it will go away. In the past 30 days, there have been over 100 terror attacks by Islamists worldwide. And very little response. It is not a matter of if, but when the next one will hit Europe or on our shores.

But dance on Mr. President. Or go see a ball game. I am sure everything will be just fine. Or not.

The thud after the message

"We have to take this battle to ISIS, ISIL or whatever they want to call themselves. We have to beat them until they don't wiggle anymore."

Just recently our Secretary of State (that be John "Windboarding" Kerry) finally issued a very harsh proclamation. Truthfully - I did not think he had it in him. Nor his boss. But he did it. He called out the situation in Iraq and Syria for what it is. Genocide. Total and complete genocide by the Islamic Terrorists against innocent Christians. So first came the message.

And then came the thud. The action to follow that message seems to be missing in action. And to make matters worse, this Caliphate seems to be spreading. It is not only in Africa and the Middle East, it is now in Pakistan. Over Easter weekend in the city of Lahore, a Islamic Terrorist suicide bomber targeted where Christians were gathered. The bomber did hit his mark (to a degree). Of the 70 killed, about 15 were Christians. The others were Muslims.

As some already know, we have seen this movie before. And it stunk. It was the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It was during the last Caliphate. It was the near extinction of an entire group of people. And because of "The Great War" going on at the same time, the Islamists had perfect cover to murder Christians. And murder they did. By the time it was done in 1923, an astonishing 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered.

Now we are in a new Caliphate. And the blood of the innocents continues to run in the street. On Saturday, one of the news shows had retired General Jack Keane on discussing the carnage over in the Middle East. His viewpoint has not changed one iota. And retired Lt.Col Ollie North feels the same way. We need tough men on the ground to back up the air strikes. We have to take this battle to ISIS, ISIL or whatever they want to call themselves. We have to beat them until they don't wiggle anymore.

Students of history can read about the Nazi Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide and wonder how these could have happened in the 20th century. How they could have happened with nobody coming to help. Well, the same thing is now happening in the 21st century. While our Commander-in-Chief is telling graduates at our military academies the greatest threat the world faces is manmade global warming, innocents worldwide are dying just because of their faith.

So if you are wondering what that noise is you are hearing today, it is the thud after the message. Nice job Secretary Kerry - that is except for one thing. Talk is cheap. About as cheap as Christian lives have become in many Muslim countries.    

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is civility dead?

"Boy, oh boy - do we need a national 99 days of generosity. If nothing else, letting an unkind word go unsaid."

It is late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday. Early this morning I listened to our home church's Easter message on the internet. Then we went to a new church with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. Both the Easter message on the internet and the one we heard live at the new church were very good. And very similar. They were about hope, forgiveness, and love. Heavy on love.

As I was listening on the internet, and as I was listening in church later on, my mind was racing. I get it. I understand the message. Every year I learn more and more about this love thing. And yet, I don't get it at all. Our society has become uncivil. It has become unlikable. It has also become unloving and unlovable. People my age (sometimes a bit older) act like junior high school kids. Name calling. Coarse language. Treating women like garbage. It really does make me sick.

My Father has been gone now for over 10 years. I have said this many times - he was my hero. Not a perfect man, but a very good man indeed. When I was growing up, he constantly talked to me about being a gentleman. About being nice to people. Getting along with people. And my Dad was very good at it. It was critically important to him that I grew up knowing how to treat other people - especially women. 

As we sat in church today, one of the leaders talked about a program they were doing right after Easter. It was called 99 days of generosity. And the generosity could range from money, to service, to saying a kind word. Letting an unkind word go unsaid. As I listened, I thought about our civility today. Especially in politics. Boy, oh boy - do we need a national 99 days of generosity. If nothing else, just letting an unkind word go unsaid.

Earlier today as I was waiting for the family to get up, I watched a news show. On that show was a woman who had was clinically dead for 10 minutes. In that clinical death, see saw Heaven. An in Heaven, she saw God. She understood that God did not only teach love, He is love. And when we show love to another, we are showing God. 

As I thought about that more and more, I know I have some work to do. As my Father was one of my heroes, so was Ronald Reagan. He knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. He, like my Father, understood civility.

We need to get back to that standard. Because our new standard stinks. We are better than that. We need to listen to that Easter message and step up our game.  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Our crazy calendar

"Whether you are a believer, agnostic or atheist, we all live under the same calendar."

Today is March 26, 2016. Most of us will not even give that a thought. But - did you ever wonder what is in a date? Where in the world did it come from? For starters, we know why there are 365 days in a year (sort of). It is because it takes that long for this blue marble to circle our sun. And how was it determined how many days go in each month? I have no clue.

And the name "March". Where does that come from? From Mars, the god of war. Yes, it goes back that far. In fact, January, March, May and June are all named after Roman gods or goddesses. July and August are named after Caesar's. And the last four months are named after months decending from March. For example, I was born in December. December means "decem" - the 10th month following March.

Now comes the big one. We are in the year 2016 AD. Most all of us know where that comes from. Whether you are a believer, agnostic or atheist, we all live under the same calendar. And this calendar (called the Gregorian Calendar) is based on the life and death of Jesus Christ.  The "A.D." stands for Anno Domini which means "year of our Lord (Christ's birth)".

Our calendar is the one that a good portion of the world uses. It is the standard bearer in the world. It is by far and away the most popular and most used. And we have Pope Gregory to thank for it. Not the start date - that is due to Jesus. But the Pope put structure into this calendar in the year 1582. Thus, our calendar is named after that Pope - Gregorian. 

So the next time you see a date on the calendar, try not to take it for granted. There might be a story behind it. For example, in about a week it will be April. And April is named after "aperire", which means "open", as when the leaves open. I can't wait.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Maundy Commandment

"It is indeed possible to like, respect, honor and serve even the most unlovable and unloved people."

Yesterday was Maundy Thursday. It is a holy day that goes back many, many years in the Christian Church. Some of the newer, non-denominational mega-churches do not celebrate Maundy Thursday. Other, more traditional churches still do. Regardless if you church does or does not celebrate this day, it is very, very important.

It is important for many reasons, but there are two which really stand out even today. First, it was the start of the Lord's Supper. When the words of institution were first spoken. Celebrating the Lord's Supper is something Christian continue to do to this date. The second is the issuance of the final commandment. This was given to all by Jesus during the last supper. Unfortunately, this commandment frequently goes unheeded.

The final commandment is that we are all to love each other with the same fierce love that Jesus loves us with. This type of love is called Agape Love. And Agape Love is a love so deep, it is hard for many of us to understand. It is hard for me to understand. It is not sexual love. It is not brotherly love. It is a total love. 

But there is a problem. For many a huge problem. There are some people we just don't like, no matter how hard we try. Our former pastor understood that. He acknowledged there are going to be people in this life that just plain rub us the wrong way. However (and this is a big however), we must still love that person. Love that person with Agape Love. It is indeed possible to like, respect, honor and serve even the most unlovable and unloved people. 

A good friend of mine from many years back once gave me some sage council. I was lamenting on how some person at work really got under my skin. I could not work with that person. In fact, I could not stand that person. My much older and wiser friend told me something that I have accepted as a credo today (even though I often fall short). He told me to look within people. Look past the bad and into the good. SInce none of us are perfect, if we focus only on the bad, none of us would get along.

Bingo. My resolve is to love. I want to love more people. Love them more fiercely every day. And I want to like more people. To look past things which at one time precluded me from loving or liking. It is something I need to recommit myself to every day. Why? Because my humanness will take over. And our human instincts are incompatible with Agape Love

Yes, it all started on that Maundy Thursday many, many years ago. We were told about a love which is so deep, it is hard for us to understand. That is until the next day. Then we saw that love for all of mankind to see. It truly is a love like no other.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The UFO myth - or fact?

"Prior to seeing my UFO, I had always been a UFO agnostic. I knew they could exist, but without ever seeing one, I also had my doubts."

I was out in the backyard listening to my afternoon sports station on the radio. The regular host was off today, and somehow the fill-in host got on the subject of UFOs. Especially ones seen in the Twin Cities. I found it interesting to listen to the stories. A caller had seen a UFO while driving in the metro area. He said he hesitates to tell people, as it is usually is a fast road to being called a nut.

A bit of disclosure. I have written about this a couple times before. Somewhere between 8 and 10 years ago, my son-in-law and I saw a UFO by Anoka. In was Thanksgiving night right after dusk. It spooked me out - I had never seen one before. Truthfully, if I had been by myself, I would not have said a thing to anyone. But since we both saw it and had similar recollections, we reported it to MUFON. They deemed it to be a valid sighting and opened a case file.

Prior to seeing my UFO, I had always been a UFO agnostic. I knew they could exist, but without ever seeing one, I also had my doubts. That is until in the 1980's when I was on military leave, stationed in Pensacola, Florida. Myself and another man from my reserve unit were quartered in a trailer on Mustin Beach, at the nearby Naval Air Station. In a trailer next to ours was an E-6 admin sailor who was also on a two week assignment from Adelphi, MD. Also a cryptologist, she carried a high level security clearance. Being single, she decided to bring her mother down with her to see the Gulf Coast.

On evening she and her mother invited us over to their trailer for drinks and some hors d'oeuvres. It was pitch black outside. After some chit chat, I decided to crack a funny. I said, "This would be a perfect night to see a UFO because it is so dark." The sailor and her mother became suddenly very quiet. Her mother looked at me and said, "We both saw one, up close. We live out in a rural area and one night when locking up the house, we saw something over our neighbor's house. We called our neighbor to alert him. He came outside to see what it was. He ran to our house and called the sheriff. Soon there were about 20 people in our yard looking up at this unknown thing. After an hour or so, it took off very fast and was gone. It never came back."   

After my military leave was over, I thought about that conversation many times. It seemed so far fetched and yet this sailor carried one of the Navy's highest security clearances. In other words, to get a clearance such as that, your character and honesty must be very high. And her mother looked to be close to 60. Why would they lie? I have met quite a few BS artists in my day, but I detected none of that when they were telling their story.

Back to the MUFON agent my son-in-law and I talked with. His words - "What you saw was real. You did not imagine it. I talk to people all the time in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin who have tales that send chills up my spine. No, UFOs are as real and real can get."

With all that being said, and even after seeing one, I still am plagued by the question which plagues so many - are UFOs a myth? Or are they for real. Stay tuned - that question is still on my radar. 

Now Hiring!!

"Soon they had to get two managers to open and staff two more lines to handle the people. Why managers? They did not have enough employees."

When my wife and I are out and about doing errands, we are simply amazed by the number of establishments who are now hiring. It is not just a few - it is everywhere. In fact we noticed something very interesting when we were at Target yesterday. It was somewhat busy, as folks were buying Easter stuff on sale. And come checkout time, there were only three lanes open with long lines behind them. Soon they had to get two managers to open and staff two more lines to handle the people. Why managers? They did not have enough employees. The help wanted signs were all over the store.

Cheerleaders for the Obama Administration would look that all these help wanted signs and signal victory over the "Bush Recession". But this story is like an onion. We need to peel it back at bit. Here are some interesting facts concerning this "robust economy":

  • Somebody had posted an interesting survey online last week which showed the average assistance payout per state. And then how that amount related to having a hourly job. My first shock was that Minnesota was not in the top five. We were number fourteen. And if you are on assistance in Minnesota, it is equivalent to making almost $15/hour. So who in their right mind would work for Target at $10/hour, when you can do nothing and make $5/hour more?
  • Today in the paper was an article about Millennials making the same wages (adjusted for inflation) as were paid in 1984. When I first saw that, I thought so what? I was working in 1984. We made enough to survive on. Then the punch line came. Unlike me and my peers in 1984, today's college educated Millennials are burdened with staggering student loans. Many so big they preclude young Johnny or Sally from buying a house (even at near record low interest rates). The article concluded by saying the one thing Millennials want more than any other is - a raise. 
  • However if you are not a college graduate, real wages (adjusted for inflation) continue to fall. Even though there are a plethora of open jobs right now in the $10-$15/hour range, there are still plenty closer to the minimum wage. And with today's hidden inflation, working a minimum wage as a livable job just doesn't cut it.
Our next President is going to have to face this issue head on. Our economy is way out of balance. We have tens of thousands of lower paying jobs that go unfilled. And yet we have some higher technology jobs where there are not enough qualified people to fill them. Many times we need to go offshore to bring people in on a I-9 Visa to fill them.

One final comment. There was another article in the paper today about the 7 county metro area hitting 3 million people for a population. One would think with those kinds of numbers, there should not be one job unfilled. Maybe it is time to adjust our assistance programs downward. That would kill more than one bird with one stone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The cancer within

"If they have such a deep penetration in Europe, can we be far behind? Or are they already here?" 

Two stories have broken in the past week that can chills up anyone's back. The first one I heard quoted more than once, but I did not get the source so I will not discuss it much. The story said that the Islamic State now has 6,000 trained assets in Europe and many others in countries in Northern Africa. The other one is from a recent AP story. This story claims that the Islamic State has 400 trained assets in Europe, poised to cause a "wave of bloodshed".

Some of our military leaders both active and retired, believe most of the assets deployed have been trained in Raqqa, Iraq. And we have known that for months, maybe years. If that truly is the head of the snake, why have we not gone in and cut it off? Use the Powell Doctrine. In fact, we have just the opposite. We have reduced on our air campaign in the region. Cut down on our sorties. Would it not have made more sense to (as Ted Cruz put it), to go in and "carpet bomb them"?

The bottom line is this. It is obvious that the Islamic State wants to infiltrate countries where they can operate cells - some with impunity. And according to our intelligence experts, the operatives are not only getting more numerous, they are also getting smarter. And stealthier. They are harder to track. If they have such a deep penetration in Europe, can we be far behind? Or are they already here?

People who care, have talked about our open southern border until they are blue in the face. And yet as of today, our southern border is still porous. And once trained Islamic assets get across our border, we have real trouble. The number of soft target opportunities in our country is staggering. Churches, restaurants, sporting events, movie theaters, schools, the list goes on and on. And keep one thing in mind. These terrorists have no soul. They don't care who they kill and how they kill them. If you don't believe it, go on the internet and see the grotesque manner how the Islamic State kills Christians in Iraq and Syria. 

Right now our country is like a house in a high crime neighborhood which leaves its doors unlocked at night. It is not a matter of if, but when trouble strikes. If we don't do something quickly, Brussels and Paris will soone be replaced with Chicago, Denver, Minot or anywhere, USA. The danger is near folks. We might already have the cancer within.  

The mess in St. Paul

 "If I had ever laid a hand on a teacher, I would have been gone forever."

I just asked my retired school teacher wife this morning if she would like to go back to work and teach in the St. Paul School District. She declined. The once proud St. Paul School District is now going the way of the Minneapolis School District - downhill fast.

The district is out of control. Violence, protests, arguments, you name it. Everything except learning. And who are the big losers? First off the kids who either don't graduate or graduate with a dumbed down curriculum which is not worth the paper it is printed on. And the teachers? It is a war zone. Assaults, fights, mayhem. One ended up with a TBI after an assault by a student. All because the superintendent wanted to try some social engineering by making discipline obsolete.

Now everyone is involved in the confusion of what used to pass as a school district. Even our friends at BLM. If parents really wanted to protest what is going on in St. Paul, they should protest the School Board for hiring someone who does not seem interested in teacher safety. Or if the kids are REALLY learning. And money is not the problem. St. Paul gets a boatload of money from the taxpayers to continue this injustice to the kids. 

What would I do if were king? First off, I would fire the Superintendent. Like yesterday. Next, I would replace the school board. Then I would establish strict standards of behavior while on school property. Kind of like when I was a kid. If I had ever laid a hand on a teacher, I would have been gone forever. Plus, my folks would have probably disowned me.

Finally, here is the big one. At the start of the school year I would have a meeting with all students and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Here are the rules, here are the expectations, here are the academic standards. If you want to learn and excel, you are in the right place. If not, there is the door. Go enroll someplace else. And bad behavior has zero tolerance. There are severe consequences, up to and including expulsion.

That is my plan. Every day in the paper we see how the current plan is working - or not working at all.   

Our former walleye factory

"Our "Walleye Factory" as it was known for years, is now becoming the "Dead Sea" for our most prized fish."

Listen up anglers. The season has not even started yet, and already there is a dark cloud forming over Lake Mille Lacs. It is not as dark as the cloud was last year, but close. Our "Walleye Factory" as it was known for years, is now becoming the "Dead Sea" for our most prized fish. And how in the world did we get to this place? What happened?

Starting this year, there will not be one walleye taken from Lake Mille Lacs. Not one. You can still fish for walleye, but it is totally catch and release. And no live bait will be allowed. With that, the resort owners and the local bait shops are preparing for a dismal year.

First a bit of history. This lake and the land which surrounds it was owned by the Mille Lacs Band of the Ojibwe Indians. In 1837 before Minnesota became a state, the Band sold this land to the United Stated Government in exchange for hunting and fishing rights. The land was then ceded to the tribe. This treaty has been to court many times and has been affirmed all the way up to the U. S. Supreme Court. 

Why do I bring that up? Some anglers are blaming the Band for allowing the larger, egg producing female walleyes to become depleted. Some in the Band use a form of fishing that was used generations ago - spearing. This has been shown to be a false accusation as even tribe members who chose to spear must get a license to do so from tribal authorities. 

That being said, many anglers are still fearful that Mille Lacs might be going the way of Red Lake. In 1998, Red Lake was almost totally ruined as a walleye lake. Big in size like Mille Lacs, at one time Red Lake was as good if not better than Mille Lacs in producing eating size and trophy size walleyes. Then, between native overfishing and non-native overfishing, the golden goose was killed. Gill netting almost totally wiped out every walleye in the lake. 

Anyhow, that is the way it is going to be on Mille Lacs this year. The blame game will continue. The "Greenies" are blaming climate change for the water becoming warmer. Some anglers are still blaming the tribe's fishing practice. Most angles are blaming the DNR for not setting the limits and slots the right way. Still others say there are too many Northern Pike eating the young Walleyes. In any event, the lake is almost spent right now, and needs time for regeneration.

I have fishing this lake many times. The glory days of old might just end up being memories. Our great inland sea, our "Walleye Factory", might end up just being a darn good lake to water ski and cruise on - without the fishing poles.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Frank Solution

"All of a sudden, President Underwood (a hard core Democrat) took a stance on the War on Terror which was three times more right wing than anything Donald Trump has mentioned."

It is hard not to hate his guts - this mythical President on the Netflix show House of Cards. Kevin Spacey plays this role to a tee. He is really that good. And even though I have been warned by my former boss not to be a spoiler on this show, I am now going to have to issue a minor spoiler alert.

At the conclusion of Season 4, all heck is breaking loose in his Administration. And then, a miracle. A "Wag the Dog" moment. There was some kind of a terror event on our shores. All of a sudden, President Underwood (a hard core Democrat) took a stance on the War on Terror which was three times more right wing than anything Donald Trump has mentioned. And I loved it. I almost got out of my chair and cheered.

President Underwood laid out his plan to defeat ICO (the show's term for Islamic Caliphate Organization). And it was total. All out war. Hit them with everything we have. His final words before the last episode ended were as follows - "We don't fight terror - we create terror".

I have to admit, after being mostly on defense since before 9/11, to hear this mythical President say we were going in and pound the crap out of the enemy was somewhat cathartic. Some (including me) might say, "Why not? What do we have to lose?" Others will respond by saying, "That is not us. Besides, we might have done something to deserve it."

I say crap, crap, and more crap. Humanity is trying to move forward. Into possibly another Golden Age of Man. Diseases cured. Space travel. Longevity. Scientific advances. Maybe even free and unlimited energy. Instead we have 7th century morons trying to blow everything up. What do I say? Screw them! Bring on the Frank solution! I am sick and tired of this carnage with Mr. Bystander being afraid even to call them by name. 

"We don't fight terror, we create terror." Ricky Nelson from Ozzie and Harriet fame was a pretty boy who knew quite a bit about the martial arts. He once said, "I am a nice guy that can be tough." Maybe we should also adopt that motto. It is about time.

Transportation woes

"If the Democrats ran the House in 2016, we would now be paying California type prices for our gasoline."

I almost named this article "You can't cure stupid", but then I caught myself. I did not want any one person to be pointed out as stupid. No, this is a collective stupidity, done by - you guessed it - the collective. They did it when they voted for a gargantuan tax increase in 2006. Yes, that tax increase. The one which was suppose to cure all our transportation ills. In fact, there was going to be so much money, we not only could fix all our roads and bridges, but we could also share 40% of it with the buses and trains people.

The only thing good that came out of this was it outed a few Democrats who were masquerading as Republicans. Other than that, I have not seen any new mass transit coming up to where I live. The roads in the Twin Cities still suck every spring. And (wait for it), the statists in St. Paul are still crying for more money. How much more? Last year our spendy Governor and his merry bunch of DFL henchmen thought that raising the gas tax by 16 cents as well as the sales tax in the metro would be a great idea to help fix our roads. Thank goodness, the Republicans blocked it. If the Democrats ran the House in 2016, we would now be paying California type prices for our gasoline.

One of the chief architects in trying to get more money out of the taxpayers for transportation is Senator Scott Dibble. Of course he is from the metro area. Of course his color is deep blue. Of course he is one our DFL types who believes in money trees. Well Senator Dibble, you may have fooled some of us in 2006, but that ain't happening again in 2016. You got a boat load of money from the 2006 tax increase. Go back and figure out how to make it work.

As soon as our folks in the House start to defund the LRT, that is when we are going to start getting places. We get plenty of money in this state for transportation. And I mean plenty. We have a ton of bike trails (none by where I live) and a ton of bus and train service (none by where I live). So enough already. Most of us drive and need decent roads.

Now that we got rid of most of the charlatan Republicans from the 2006 debacle (somehow one survived), we are ready to tackle this canard head on. NOT ONE MORE PENNY FOR ANYTHING BUT ROADS AND BRIDGES!!! That is our message, sent loud and clear!

Terrible terror, once again

"But you can't keep a city or a country on lockdown forever."

Another month, another terror attack. This time Brussels. This time a coordinated attack of an airport and subway stations. And the perps? Anyone care to take three guesses? Hint: it was not Norwegian Lutherans. Already some are blaming what is happening in Europe on their "open border" policies. Just like in the Paris massacre, bad guys can come in hidden, riding on a wave of refugees.

I always equate a terrorist attack to sucker punching someone. Or kicking a guy in the groin when he is not expecting it. Anyone can do it, and the results are most always the same. Hitting an unsuspecting soft target loaded with innocent men, women and children is the most vile of acts. Yet, they keep happening. Most often, by the same type of people. And because many of us in the United States and Europe are all wrapped up in PC knots, we are powerless to stop these attacks. 

Terrorist have a saying - "You in the West may have a watch, but we have the time." And that is exactly what I suspect happened here. Right after the November Paris attacks, Brussels anti-terror experts must have picked up some valid "G2" that an attack in Brussels was imminent. So the entire area went on "lock down" for days. But you can't keep a city or a country on lockdown forever. Life must go on. And it did. Then this morning, the coordinated attacks came.

What did we learn from the horrific attack in Paris last November? Not much. The attacks just keep on coming. Practitioners of asymmetrical warfare know one thing for certain - using conventional warfare, they do not stand a chance against any country in the West. However, using the "suckerpunch" method of terrorism, it works just about every time. Why? Like I just said, life must go on. Staying in a lockdown mode your entire life is not life at all.

What should we do? Surrender to the Caliphate? Give up our faith? Our way of life? Or will that be enough? Just like the alien said in the movie Independence Day, maybe they just want us all to die.

One more thing about this never ending War on Terror. The reaction to the lack of action by Obama is someone like Donald Trump. He does not want to understand the enemy. He does not want to play nice. He does not want a "COEXIST" bumper sticker on his cars. Nope. His words - "I will bomb the s..t out of ISIS". And, "I will go after the families of terrorists." 

Our solution to terror must be somewhere between a Barack Obama and Donald Trump. To continue with the Obama doctrine would mean a continuance to the terror status quo. To accept the Trump doctrine would make us something less than what we are.