The Gross National Debt

Friday, December 11, 2015

Saying yes to more gun control

Not kidding.

I say yes to more gun control, if we get to restrict OTHER things in the same direct proportions. This is what I call daffodils.

Anyone willing to accept this proposal?

If you say yes, will you put that in writing, signed, sealed, notarized and duly sworn so severely that if you violate the agreement you are subject to the maximum penalty allowed by law? I'm so serious about this that I will so agree.

But you may not completely understand what I'm talking about. I'll give you an example.

Say guns kill 10,000 people a year. Could be higher, could be lower. The number has to be measurable. We look at historical figures and get the number.

Then, you say guns need to be restricted. All right.

But, anything else that kills 10,000 people a year must be subject to the same amount, kind, type of restrictions. We're after parity, equitable treatment, fairness, etc. We're after daffodils, which is the ultimate bulldozer for leveling a playing field.

With this in mind, anything that kills 100,000 people a year must have 10 times the amount of restriction put on guns and anything else that kills 10K people a year. Anything that kills 1,000 people a year has to have 10 times FEWER restrictions.

And so forth.

I'm not capable of doing any more complex math. No worries. We can get a math wiz to crunch numbers.

In this proposal, it does not matter what does the killing. Apply daffodils. Everything is on the table, including tables (and chairs and ottomans, etc). Everything HAS to be on the table.

If you can accept that, then I will absolutely accept any form of gun control you propose, up to and including a ban.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

And the ones who are really hurt are

I come to you today mad. Mad at myself. Mad at so many other people.

Mad, furious in fact, because kids are being affected. Children, who have no idea what's going on, are suffering. Making matters worse, these kids often don't know they are suffering.

Y'can't miss what you never had. Y'can't miss what you don't know about.

"Quit being vague, Baker," you say.

Right, right, right, right. Examples.

Divorced parents using their kids as a way to get revenge on the ex. This is beyond despicable. I'm leaving it there lest I get any more upset.

I've worked in groups where person A gets mad at person B. Person A decides to stop being involved. I have seen this happen so many times.

The group is there to help kids. Help how? Doesn't matter. Just to help them. Help them be happier, more successful, etc. Just. Help. The. Kids.

But Person B did something. Person A gets his knickers in a twist and walks out.

The kids suffer. They suffer, whether they know it or not. They suffer because one adult put his pride ahead of helping children. The kids suffer because one adult is getting revenge on another adult. They become a political football.

"Well. I'll just show YOU! You can go do that without me because you're a complete jerk," says Person A.

But what about the kids? Why do you let someone dictate how, when, where and why you help kids?

You don't like the coach, so you don't let your kids play.

You don't like the director, so you don't volunteer to help.

You don't like the policies, so you pack your bags and leave.

Who suffers? The kids. Apparently, kids don't matter. Your pride matters more. Your feelings matter more. You matter more.

Really? You want to be that way? You are going to let someone else STOP you from helping children? Really?

If you get mad at an adult, fine, be mad at that person. Don't take it out on kids.

When I got to work this morning, I was one of the "you" people. I was seriously thinking about stepping back from a program in my community aimed directly at the kids, designed for the kids and ALL about the kids.

After writing this and talking MH in New Jersey, I've redirected. I'm going to be there. I'm going to help. I'm going to do what is right BY THE KIDS!
I. Am. Not. A. "You."

If you have problems with that, you have some options.

• Get out of my way or get crushed.

• Help me.

• Do your thing to help the kids. Don't have to be on my team or another team. Form your own team. It'd be better if we could work together, but help the kids no matter what you do.

I'm good no matter what you choose, but I truly hope you choose to do the right thing, no matter where you live or what you do. Set your pride aside. Vent if you gotta (I can't argue against that, can I?) Suck it up and get down in the trenches. Do the heavy lifting and QUIT WORRYING ABOUT WHO GETS THE CREDIT.

The kids deserve it.

Get with it.

If you feel this column applies to you, it probably does. If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A return to slavery? Not kidding.

This is a rarely discussed problem with a "single payer" system.

Docs who cannot make the kind of money they want to, will opt out of the system. 

Fewer doctors. We are already experiencing a shortage of family care physicians and other docs.

Some docs are already refusing to take Medicare and Medicaid"Only half of family doctors accepted Medicaid in 2013, down from 65 percent four years earlier, according to a 15-city survey by physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins. About half the providers listed by privately run Medicaid managed-care plans aren’t taking new patients, according to a report published..." says the Bloomberg report.

So we're seeing a drop in the number of docs. We're also seeing more and more in med school choosing high-dollar specialities. "What the researchers discovered, however, was that over the course of their training, almost half the young doctors who began wanting to become primary care doctors changed their minds, most deciding to pursue a subspecialty career instead," says the NYT blog.

We also have a real-world indicator of what docs think of the current system, AKA Obamacare. "The New York Post recently reported on a very troubling survey from the New York State Medical Society, which found that 44 percent of New York doctors are not participating in Obamacare. Worse yet, three-fourths of those who are participating are being forced to because of existing insurance contracts. Only one-fourth of those participating volunteered to do so," says a NYT blog.


This then begs the question, what will happen when doctors refuse to participate in "single payer" system?

I have heard some (usually liarberals and socialices) said doctors should be forced to accept such a system. Throw in the occasional fascist as well.

Come again?

And here's a "Carrot and Beat-You-To-Death-Stick Otherwise" approach. "States could also play a role in forced participation.  States license physicians and oversee insurance contracts.  Many Democratically controlled states are just as invested in the success of Obamacare as the president.  Thus a blue-state governor and state legislature could mandate all of the state’s doctors accept Obamacare as a condition of practicing in the state..." says the Forbes piece. Yeah, I realize this piece is 2 years old and it speaks of Obamacare and forcing docs into that, but do you really believe there is a difference between Obamacare and the two Medis?

Force a doctor to accept a payment plan? Force a doctor to work for a set amount of money? Force a doctor to work?

True, this is not quite slavery. The docs could opt out of medicine or go into a field that is not covered by mandated insurance. California is Ground Zero for cosmetic surgeons, most of whom do procedures not covered by insurance.

This is not fantasy land either. It's happening. Right now. "The researchers looked at three financial indicators — profitability, uncompensated care and Medicaid shortfalls — to arrive at their findings," this article states.
Yeah, Obamacare promised to hike Medi payments. SCOTUS ruled states can't be forced to participate the way Abominablcare demanded. Lotta people don't like this decision, but the Supremes have yet to make a decision that everyone can agree with.

Reality remains, hospitals are closing, wannabe docs are choosing specialties and we're looking at a shortage.


You can point to the dubious successes of socialized medicine in other countries.

I point you to the fact that the US leads the world in medical research.

We can all argue the whys of this, but as a reporter in Shanghai (yes really) once told me, "I keep looking until I find the money." So I give you this quote, [T]he researchers found U.S. decline was driven almost entirely by reduced investment from industry, not the public sector. This includes support for clinical trials testing potential new therapies."

So yeah. Single payer with fewer docs already in the queue. Single payer to further limit what doctors can expect to earn. Single payer to expose docs to the same torts with no more protection, but a legal requirement that they offer services?

There is, of course, a solution. Most people will not like it. A lotta people will get quite vehement about their objections. But as I tell the people who currently live under the roof I provide, "I gotta solution and it won't make anybody happy but me."

Before the solution, one more Bakerism - If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

So my solution to this? If you are one of those demanding a single-payer system, then

Become a doctor.

If you do that, I'm going to be a lot more inclined to listen to your opinion about Abominablcare and a single-payer system. If you are not willing to become a doc and work for whatever government decides to pay you, then how do you have the right to dictate that to someone else?

Healthcare is a basic human right, you say? I repeat - Become a doctor (or a healthcare provider) or else wear your hypocrite label with pride.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slice & dice

As the national day of overeating rapidly approaches, some people are panicking.

They do not know how to carve a turkey.

No problem. I will tell you how. This is very simple.

Get a sharp knife.

Get a turkey. I recommend a fully cooked bird, but hey, whatever floats your gravy boat.

Carve off chunks in whatever size you want.

That's all there is to it. If you hit a bone, either keep cutting through the bone or stop cutting and pull away the meat you cut.

As I write this, I have a quartered deer and a sliced hog (just needs wrapping) in the barn fridge. Tomorrow I will pick up a quartered and boned deer.

I will process these tomorrow with knives I sharpen with a plain file.

Purists are now recoiling in horror. Use a FILE on a good knife? You'll ruin it, they whine.

Cut cabbage from the stalk in a for 8 hours a day and come back to talk with me about ruining a knife by using a file to sharpen it.

I've cut up more animals from small enough to hold in one hand and almost hide it to nearly a ton than most people in the world. I've dressed enough fish to ... damfino. I have worn out a few knives and lost a lot more.

I have yet to ruin a knife by putting an edge on it with a file.

Files work. They work faster than a whetstone, sharpening sticks or anything else I have ever used. That is why I use 'em.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Your rights make a wrong

They just don't get it. Don't want it. Will throw it down and stomp on it if you try to give it to them

I refer you to some, not all, college students today. This asinine crap proves my point, but doesn't at the same time

Here is why it doesn't. The kids blocking media access to the protesting students have the right to do that. S'called freedom of assembly. The same people who bitch about these kids blocking access to the protestors glad line the streets to block Westboro Baptist Church's efforts to protest funerals.

Here's why it proves my point. These same students blocking access to protestors will cry "FOUL!" when Westboro Baptist Church is blocked off.

At least that's my short, round jaded newspaper editor's cynical (and accurate summation of human nature) guess.

What's the difference? Ain't none, except what side of the protest you happen to be on.

I say here that I like the way the Mizzou protestors handled their grievances. Rather than petition government to increase the size of the nanny state, they took matters into their own hands. This is the way things should be done. More importantly, it is MORE proof that this kind of social activism works. We do not need more f'dangin' laws when we have people who will put themselves out in order to get something done.

That said. I am not supporting the goal of these students. I am not supporting the reason for their protest. I am not supporting the protesting students. I support their action.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Evelyn Beatrice Hall

In fact, I object to what I think is the overall aim of the protesting students. As I see it, they want to shut down free speech.

One of the protestors was called "nigger." This is a quote; it is not my word.

It is a word. Using it is called free speech. If it is used with affection, it is free speech. If it is used with hatred, it is free speech.

I do not use that word and do not approve of it. However, many people do use this word and do approve of it. Well, they approve when certain people use it. Should someone else use it, verboten!

Free speech means you get to use that word however you wish. You don't like it? Neither do I. Free speech means you may be offended. Free speech means the right to use offending language.

These protestors don't like that.

These are the same people who are demanding equal treatment. Except they probably want parity. I suspect quite a few of 'em could not define parity. They definitely do not want certain words used.

That's blocking free speech.

I wonder how many of these protestors freely use that word within the protest group.

Apply daffodils. This is exactly what they DO NOT want.

Pick one. You get to do X, so do I. That means if you use that word above, I get to use it too.

If I don't get to use the word, neither do you. Period. End of sentence. Full stop.

I've written on this subject before and gotten heated replies from people who tell me how wrong I am. To paraphrase me bud Maggie, yeah, I can tell forced justification when I hear it. Gonna hear more justification I suspect.

Here's the bottom line reality.

We are all human. We need to act that way. No more division.

As long as some people insist they get preferential use of anything, words included, then divisions will exist. Parity cannot exist. Daffodils sure as hell can't exist.

If you get to call someone by that word, regardless of the connotation, then I get to do the same. If you tell me I can't use that word, then you are actually saying one of two things:

You are better than me.

I am better than you.

If you are saying you can do it, but I can't, then you are telling me that I'm better than you.

You're wrong, but if that's the way you want to see things, I'll live with it.

If you truly believe that as humans we are equal, you'll say I can use the word or neither of us can use the word.

Anything else is you trying to justify your fractured belief system.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Another modest proposal

According to a story in The York Times, suicide rates among "middle-aged white Americans" is rising and rising higher than in any other demographic group.

National Public Radio also just reported it, but I can't find the link.

Frankly, this is intolerable. It is unacceptable. This cannot be allowed to continue. People must step up and do something. I write as a middle-aged American, but not a white one. I'm rather spotted with brown freckles on a lighter brown skin. Comes from being outside and riding a motorcycle.

Anyway, this state of affairs has to be remedied. To bring about rectification, I have this modest proposal.

All the groups who continually demand equality with these so-called "middle-aged white Americans" need to put their money where their mouths are. Or more accurately, a pistol where their mouth is.

Yes indeed. If this nation truly insists on complete equality among however many genders there are now, among however many ethnic groups there are now, among however many racial groups there are now, we must have more effort on behalf of the under-represented groups. Step out on a limb and do your best.

Get busy folks.

I bring you more information from the NYT story which says that some demographics are making progress to level out overall death rates. "Middle-aged blacks still have a higher mortality rate than whites — 581 per 100,000, compared with 415 for whites — but the gap is closing, and the rate for middle-aged Hispanics is far lower than for middle-aged whites at 262 per 100,000."

Part of this is excellent. It shows true progress toward equality. This should serve as a shining example, that if we all try, we can truly live the motto of Samuel Colt, who "made all men [and women] equal."

This report also shows room for improvement. Hispanics seriously need to step up to the bucket, especially if they want true equality with the European-recent-ancestry Americans.

Taking this to the global stage, an Alternet story states very clearly the inequality that exists across the globe. "Hungary for example, where attempted suicide carries a prison sentence of five years, or Japan where it is illegal to commit suicide." Talk about an injustice. A person whacks himself in the Land of the Rising Sun and he gets arrested. There's more in the story about how various countries treat this permanent solution to a temporary condition.

Alternet also says men are far more likely to exit stage dirt nap by their own hand than women. I demand feminists around the world rise up and literally take matters into their own hands. Now is the time to seize equality in a death grip. 

No doubt this modest proposal will receive tremendous resistance, most especially from those who continually and constantly demand equality, yet will not sacrifice themselves to level this evergreen field. I urge you who read this, do not hold this apparent hypocrisy against them. They just need to see the light of reason, logic and the very application of equality applied in a truly leveling manner. 

To demand in equality every other field of human endeavor and yet leave one so glaringly out of balance is a travesty.

Educate them, my friends. Take them gently by the hand and explain, true equality means being equal in everything.

Some people will accuse me of being "white." In this case I shall not argue, but shall instead apologize on behalf of middle-aged "white Americans" for throwing this much-demanded equality out of balance. I shall do my bit to bring things back into balance by remaining alive, much to the chagrin of many people who read this modest proposal.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What, you egg! Young fry of treachery!

Me bud Paul had an interesting post today on FB. I share it here without his permission, but expecting he will not mind, especially since I link to some of his clan's products for sale.

Ennyhoo, the subject du jour is insults. Here's Paul's take:

Humans are really stupid about insults. Have you noticed how often those that are not scatological are based on sex? Specifically, on feminizing the recipient in an attempt to belittle them.
Screw you! You Suck!
While crude and crass and not very creative, the entire point is that one is implying the other is weaker, to be subjugated, somehow broken and inferior because this is possible, even if willing. This is not cool anymore.
Notice that we have culturally adopted these offensive platitudes so habitually that we now use them against women, implying either threat or that the woman is morally inferior because she might be willing to do these things.
Again, archaic and foolish. Even today in a world where almost no one really expects their spouses to be macho-manly or obedient and virginal, I see both men and women use these terms in the same paragraph with comments that imply attraction and flirting.
It's colloquial, informal, even humorous...but seriously?
On the other hand, I mentioned my wife's soap in a post, and friends were conversing about it. One told the other "her soap is the tits".
Now THAT I understand. That's a compliment I can support - no pun intended.

He's right in part. That correct part is the origins of such insults. He's not right in that it is not cool any more. It may not be cool in his world, but Paul's world is not all of reality. 
For the record, I'm with Paul's implied opinion. Using female-based insults to attack someone is wrong because it degrades the distaff. Come on. Get creative.
However, the bigger reality says it is cool, it is normal and it is the way it should. Our entertainment industry objectifies women in a way hard core porn rarely manages. Need proof? Here's a totally safe for work videoIn much of hardcore porn, women are in control, at least according to women in the industry who are interviewed
The same could be argued about this beard video, music videos et al. I won't dispute that.
Just saying our entertainment industry and even our elected leaders relegate women to being a bit less than men.
Furthermore, women are actively participating in their own reduction to being considered less than a man.
Maybe it's not a majority of our society. But the most vocal segments of our society do say it is entirely fine to consider women a bit less than men. This makes it cool, whether we like it or not. Paul even comes close to saying as much. "...see both men and women use these terms in the same paragraph with comments that imply attraction and flirting."
I appreciate a well-chosen insult. I particularly like G-rated insults that deliver with serious gravitas. Recently had a gent insult me on FB. I was amused so I fired back and called him a "suppurating feces-crusted boil on an elephant's anus." Yeah, it has the scat reference as Paul will point out. Nonetheless I think it's rather clever. It also doesn't denigrate women.
(I also appreciate properly timed profanity, which SCIENCE! says is good for us.)
If you are interested in getting some classic, witty, intelligent and, well, simply amazing insults for personal use, Have at thee!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Right this way to see the great egress!

Dunno how true it is, but a famous sideshow barker once encouraged crowds to leave his tent by telling them to go see the great egress.

If you don't know what the egress is, I shan't tell you.

Side shows are famous for giving the customer a lot less than what he paid for. I remember going to one many years ago and a carny was sitting in a box with a few red-knee tarantulas. Yeah.

Today's side show is online, especially with "reviews."

Amazon is suing people who write fake reviews through a freelancer site called Fiverr. Fiverr, reportedly, is cooperating.

Full disclaimer: I have a Fiverr account where I sell work and buy press release distribution. I do write reviews; posted one this morning to Ebay for a Lem Meat cuber I bought. Have a few up on Yelp as well for places I have visited.

Here's the problem.

The First Amendment. This protects free speech. So, you can write any kind of review you want to about any place, product or service. You can post it.

It doesn't matter if you actually used the service, visited the place or bought the product. The First Amendment gives you the right to sound off.

But. In this case, people are buying "faked" reviews on Fiverr. Commercial speech, advertising, does not have the same First Amendment protections as non-commercial speech.

The question is: Are these Fiverr reviews advertising or non-commercial speech?

You say, "Well, they got paid to write it. It has to be commercial speech."

I get paid to write stories for the newspaper I run. This is clearly not commercial speech. I also write press releases announcing all kinds of things. I get paid for this. This is also clearly not commercial speech.

Is writing a review commercial speech? No. Is writing a faked review and getting paid for it commercial speech? I say no.

In the past when people have gone after commercial speech and won, they went after the company making false or misleading claims.

These Fiverr writers are hired to write. Free speech. They hand over ALL rights of the work to the company purchasing the work. They have no control over how the work is used.

Add to this, Amazon will have to prove, review by review, that each of these writers actually wrote a fake review. How will Amazon prove these people never used the things reviewed?

And, if they are going after faked reviews, then what about the Unicorn Meat reviews?

You could say that is libel, but libel standards do not apply to groups of more than 25 people.

The courts have already ruled that review websites are free speech. Places like Yelp don't have to follow the same rules of commercial speech, an appellate court ruled.

Amazon has a serious fight ahead, one I think it will lose.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Discrimination YES! but only on your terms

Simple enough question-

Should businesses be allowed to discriminate? In other words, should a business owner be allowed to pick and choose customers? Should a business be allowed to say "Nope, not doing business with you."?

Liarberals scream "NO!" at the top of their lungs. At least until it's discrimination they support.

Cantservatives scream "YES!" at least until they are the ones being discriminated against.

The truth is, both of these idiotological camps fully and completely support letting business pick and choose their customers. In fact, they absolutely demand it. They take their belief so far it's law.

Don't believe me? Of course you don't. So, let's take a look at the reality.

1) Journalism. I start here because this is what I know best. The press absolutely can discriminate. That's in the First Amendment. The media under no obligation to publish anything. A lot of media outlets strive to be fair, but many throw parity in a fire and celebrate as it burns.

Newspapers are free to publish, or not publish, same-gender wedding announcements. Don't like it? Start your own newspaper.

2) Firearms. Another area I know something about because I have a federal firearms license (FFL). According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (which should be a convenience store), an FFL holder can refuse to sell a gun or ammo to anyone. No explanation needed.  Don't like it? Get yer own FFL.

3) Want to buy a house by taking out a loan? Better have credit good enough to qualify. That is absolutely discrimination. The Federal government even sets a minimum score. For that matter, your credit has to be good enough to qualify for any kind of legal loan. Don't like it? Open a loan company.

4) Wanna buy a beer at the juke joint down the road? Better be 21. Never mind the fact you can sign up to defend this country and die in a foreign land, vote, smoke, buy a house (with good credit), etc etc etc. Don't like it? Wait until you're 21.

5) Wanna run for president? Be at least 35 and be a natural US citizen. One of your parents can be a US citizen and you can be born anywhere on the planet and that's OK. (Yanno, the Obama birthers suddenly shut up when Ted Cruz announced his run for POTUS). Don't like it? Run for POTUS.

6) Wanna buy gasoline? Some states require a licensed driver be at the pump when gas is dispensed. Some states also allow people under 16 years old to drive golf carts on public roads. No license needed, but topping the tank, better have someone with a license. Some gasoline companies also have this as policy. Don't like it? Open your own gas station.

7) Wanna buy a pouch of Levi Garrett (my preferred chew when I partook)? Be at least 18. Don't like it? Grow yer own.

8) Need vehicle insurance? The older you get and the better the driver you are, the lower your rate will be. Don't like it? Open your own insurance company.

9) Wanna rent a place to live? Weeeeelllllll, depending on what and where you wanna rent, you MUST have an income no more than pre-set amount. Make more? Tough. You can't live there. Some places you must be at least 55 or older to rent an apartment. Don't like it? Become a landlord.

10) Wanna rent a car? Better have a credit card. Better be 25. No card, no wheels. Don't like it? Open yer own car rental agency.

11) Wanna drive a self-propelled mode of transportation down a public road. Go ahead. But in some cases you must have a state-approved license. In other cases, anyone can do it, even someone 7 years old. Discrimination. If a 7 YOA can drive something worth $25K down a public road and it's OK, why can't he drive something worth $6K down the same road? Don't like it? Stay off the road.

12) Visit your local probate court, or whoever handles wills when someone in your community dies. Once a person dies, a will is probated. This means the will becomes de facto law. Wills are the most common law in this nation. Wills also discriminate. Don't like it? Well, make sure your will doesn't discriminate. Don't know what you will do about the millions and millions of other wills out there.

13) Some cities have policies that require a certain percentage of all public contracts go to minorities. So does the federal gubmint. Don't like it? Become a minority or stop being a minority.

14) Wanna go to college? Better meet the admissions requirements. If your grades aren't good enough, maybe you can get in because of who your parents are. Maybe if you are poor enough. Don't like it? Open your own college.

I could go on, but if you ain't got the idea by now, I can't help you.

Some people will say "but these laws are to protect people." Really? Protect who and protect them from what? You tell me you are willing to let an 18 YOA with the ink not dry on his diploma pick up a true assault rifle and kill people, but you won't let him have a beer?

You tell me an 23 YOA making $30K a year can't rent an apartment but a person 60 YOA make $55K a year can?

I could go on, but see 2 paragraphs above.

My point is you not only support discrimination, you demand it. You demand it so stridently that you insist it be turned into law.

You want discrimination, but on your terms. That is, according to you, the way it should be. It's right and necessary. Someone else wants discrimination, well now. Does it fit what you believe? Then it is OK. If it doesn't fit your preconceived notions of justice et al, then it is wrong. Don't like it? Then quit trying to force your prejudices and beliefs on other people.

One final thought, what makes you right and that other person wrong?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Buggin' out

Part of the joy of deer hunting is just sitting and watching nature.

Over the years I've watched red tail hawks sit in the tree above me. Wild turkeys have flown in just a bit before dusk, sounding like the whole forest was crashing down. Lizards have leapt across the blind to nab a spider descending on a thread. And OH! the spiders. Catch 'em by the thread and let 'em go outside. Frogs climb around looking for lunch and trying to avoid being lunch.

Coons, bobcats and foxes have all walked past and under me.  Cardinals have toted off my corn, assisted by rats, mice, dove and various other birds. Mostly cardinals. Plenty of deer too.

Armadillos have come out and met doom. (Yes, we hates them we does my precious, we hates them. Kill all the dammits!)

I'm certain a lot of these critters have looked into the stand wondering what was making such an awful racket. Falling asleep in a deer stand is not a problem. It's a privilege.

Today, a first.

Today, a tiny wasp (well, wasp-shaped) zoomed in one window of the blind and out another. Repeatedly. Dozens of times.

It regularly flew up to me, then zoomed up and down, checking me out. I am not kidding. In one window. Up to me and a zoom from shoulder to foot.

"Hey! Ya big lummox, yer in my chair. Get outta here. I'm giving you to the count of buzz  to leave," he said.

(Me anthropomorphisizing? Were you there listening to this wasp? Didn't think so.)

Then he zoomed out. A few minutes later, he was back. In & out. Finally, he perched on the one of the blind windows.

Using his best Georgia State Trooper voice, he cocked a couple of hundred eyes back and me and said "Aaight. I'm lettin' you go this time, boy. But you better not let me catch you back in my chair." And he disappeared.

I outweighed this tiny insect about a squintillion to one. And this thing was threatening me because I was in his chair.

This is one reason why I so enjoy deer hunting.

Here's another reason. About 5:45 a yearling walked out and accepted my 50 cal. 295 grain invitation to come home with me. Took longer to clean my smokepole than it did to clean the deer.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Derailing runaway trains

Sunday night at prison, the men got an apology from me. I got in the way of the message and that's wrong. They come to hear messages that will help them do better when they get out of jail.

Instead, I tore into them for being failures. I was wrong for some of what I said. Some of it was spot on. Regardless, I apologized immediately.

My anger was aimed at the fathers who let their own illegal habits tear them away from their children. The children deserve better.

I apologized again at the end of my sermon.

Monday morning, I found myself in a similar position. I was ready to take out my burning anger on people who did not deserve it.


I was (and am as I write this) quite pissed off at an adult. The particulars don't matter.

What does matter is this adult is also very involved with children in my community.

Lemme make this clear - this is not about my two biological children. This is about the children at large in my community.

For a short while, I thought about taking my anger and frustration out on the kids this person is trying to help. That's not what I thought at the time, but that's exactly what I had planned. My thought at the time was "Hah! I'll just show YOU what I think of you."

Annnnnnd, the kids would be hurt.

Talk about wrong. egad.

I realized what I was doing and did an about face. I derailed that runaway train.

I'm ashamed that I even considered such actions.

It is beyond wrong to let the actions of an adult dictate how you will react to children.

Arg. Complicated. Lemme see if I can simplify.

Never, ever use children as a political football. Never, ever use children as a pry bar against an adult. Never, ever use children as a way to get revenge on someone.

I almost did it. I've seen lots of people do it. It makes me as mad as anything you can imagine.

We've all got to do better.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coming to the stage, Living Colour!

If you are about my age or older you may remember the song recording by Living Colour, "Cult of Personality."

This song rolls through my head on a regular basis when religion and religious leaders come up.

The Pope's recent visit to the US underscores this to a tremendous degree. Mel tells me parts of New Jersey are shut down for his visit. Millions are expected to try and see him.

This morning on NPR one lady said she saw him roll past in the small car he was in. She was giddy.

Certainly people like the message this Pope brings. But too many people see the message and make that equal to the man.

It's not.

It's a problem people have. The person and the opinions & positions become the same.

Years ago Lamar Lee opened a sermon with a shot of Michael Jackson in concert in Hungary. It was the closing bit. MJ was scooting out with a jet pack on his back (in the vid anyway).

The crowd was ballistic.

"You are made to worship," Lamar told us.

And we are. Humans are not logical, rational beings. Emotion rules us, sways us and leads us.

For all their insistence on evidence and the scientific method, Bill Nye and Neil Tyson are also ruled by their emotions. You can see it in their interviews. They warm topics they believe in. They register negative emotions when confronted with topics they do not like.

Too many churches are led by charismatic leaders who inspire because of the force of their personality.

This creates problems. When that leader dies or moves on, the church can split, collapse, fail or so forth. I've seen it happen. When Lamar left, some people left. Some who left when he arrived came back.

The cult of personality.

That's not the way it should be. We should believe in ideas and follow people who can help us to implement them. Believing in the person and then implementing his ideas is a recipe for disaster.

And I don't know how to change it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It is to laugh

Not gonna say whom but one of my FB buds used to refer to the current POTUS as "Kid from Kenya" on every single reference.

Then, a miracle happened. Reboobican Ted Cruz announced he was running for president.

Lo Anna hold a bee, all of a sudden it's CONSTITUTIONAL for a man to be born outside the 50 US states to run for president, so long as one of his parents is in fact a native born American.

No one has ever questioned the birthplace of the POTUS's mom. For the record, cassette, 8-track, CD, MP3, whatever comes next, Stanley Ann Dunham entered this mortal world as an independently living entity in Witcha, Kansas in 1942. That's the POTUS's mom.

Cruz was born (hatched, expelled, spontaneously created, whatever) in Canada to one Canadian parent and one American parent. Good enough to qualify him as an American citizen and qualify him to run for POTUS.

My FB bud has dropped all references to "Kid from Kenya." So have nearly all the other birthers.

Now, they have resurrected fossils of a prehistoric equine and are vigorously applying all manner of blunt instruments and whips to the remains. They insist the POTUS is a muslim.

Never mind we have definitive records of his attending a Christian church. Anyone remember Jeremiah Wright and the lynch mob that formed around THAT debacle? When the POTUS finally disowned the Not Very Rev. Wright, the conspiracy crowd had to shift gears.

What about the beer summit? Dining habits overseas?

Oy vey.

Time, space and your attention span do not allow me to go into the immense number of conspiracy theories that say the POTUS was going to create death panels, martial law, take our guns, establish a caliphate, never leave office and etc. Suffice it to say that each of these predictions has spectacularly failed to come true.

The Conspiracy Nuts will say this is because they exposed the plot, short circuiting the plans. Yeah.

Didja know that I single-handedly defeated an alien invasion last week? I did. You have to believe me because I'm telling you and no, I can't give you any proof because I destroyed everything to protect ... well to protect things that needed protecting.

Believe what you want to believe. The world will continue to turn, facts will be facts and reptilian overlords will continue to rule in secret no matter what you believe. Two of those statements in the previous sentence are true. You get to pick.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Blue lines, numbers, percentages, war and funerals

Full disclaimer: I am terrible at math. As a junior in high school, I tested out with a 6th grader's math ability. Dad, a Georgia Tech grad, was mortified. Mom, who made it through calculus and developed an ulcer from it, was nonplussed.

So. I am presenting you with some numbers. I'm going to do my best to make sure they are correct. Well, correct based on the source of the information. I am including the sources so you can check my figures.

Ready? Let's rock.


According to the information I dug out of several websites, the men and women of law enforcement show incredible restraint where lethal force is concerned.

You have heard the chant "Black Lives Matter." (Disclaimer: I detest using the words "black," "white," "Hispanic" and etc when referring to people. We're people. Humans. Stop attempting to define each other by recent ancestry. If you call this "white privilege" then so be it.  "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.")

I tell you, Lives Matter.

Here's the numbers.

According to Killed By Police, here's the number of police-caused deaths so far this year.

Sept. 54
Aug. 106
July 126
June 82
May 85
April 103
March 115
Feb. 86
Jan. 92


However, other sources say this information is suspect"It's ridiculous that I can't tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year," FBI DIrector James Comey said in February.

The numbers may be off, but that's what we've go to work with.


So let's take a different look at the numbers. Mother Jones offers this insight. Mother Jones is a somewhat suspect journalism outlet. It has an agenda and believes in pushing that agenda, but this is also data. Interpret how you will. There's a chart a short way down the page. Here's a snapshot.

"African American" deaths a 3.66 per million. "Hispanic" 1.2 per million. "Non-Hispanic white" .9 per million. Does show "African Americans" are killed a lot more often by law enforcement.

I can't find any report to show the information I want next. How much of law enforcement's time is spent responding to calls in "African American" neighborhoods v. "white" neighborhoods? I did study this a few years ago in my community. I split my town into quadrants, which worked very well as an ethnic breakdown as well, according to the US census and my own observations in the community.

More than 75 percent of the calls for law enforcement were in the southwest quadrant. The rest of the calls were in the northwest and southeast (my neighborhood) quadrants. During the 6 months I examined, the northeast section of town had precisely 2 calls, both were for fights at the alternate school.



Now how about law enforcement deaths? These numbers should be more accurate than the ones above.

The Skeptical Libertarian took at look at this. The author uses some strong language in his article, so you are now warned. His info is current as of 2012.

He found 2009 had the fewest LE deaths in the years he examined. 12.9 per 100,000 cops were killed. The worst was 19.8 per 100,000 in 2007.

Let's compare that to the per millions as figured by Ma Jones.

129 per million in 2009.

198 per million in 2007.

Call it an average of 150 per million.

Contrast that to Ma Jone's report that shows less than 10 people per million were killed by police on average.


Lives matter. You can crunch numbers however you wish, but the bottom line is each "1" in any column represents a human life.

These numbers show me that cops are killed in far higher numbers than the people they are here to protect and serve. Some bad cops do exist. Most are dedicated and good people who are sometimes forced to make instant decisions. 

My opinion, based on these numbers, is cops make the wrong decision more often than the right decision when it comes to lethal force. They have the physical wounds to prove it. Too often, there's a funeral to prove it.

Your mileage may vary.