Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barack and Teddy; Men in the Arena

Each day I read more and more criticism of President Barack Obama. One day its the health care bill, the next day its the budget, then unemployment, and on and on it goes. What most of these critics never mention is that President Obama entered office with 2 unfunded wars, an economic crisis (meltdown), and terribly high unemployment. He's now been in office for almost 20 months...and believe it or not....the wars have been scaled back and troop withdrawal begun, the economy is stabilized, and unemployment is the right direction - unlike it was in the last administration. Yes, the deficit is up - what do you expect with the high unemployment and unfunded wars? Really...what did you expect???

Here's what Teddy Roosevelt had to say about cynics who have nothing but criticism for even the most valiant of efforts.

It is not critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of good deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust an sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without and error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt April 23, 1910

So while a confederacy of dunces continue to rise up against the leadership of President Obama, a few experts, folks knowledgable in finance and economics realize that without the stimulus - we would be in a global recession right now.

My view of our President is that we have a brilliant, hard-working individual who has saved this country from complete economic disaster. God Bless President Obama

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Priorities of my Congressman

My Congressman is James Sensenbrenner (Republican Wisconsin). Turns out Jim was born into a very wealthy family (Kimberly-Clark), grew up in an affluent neighborhood of Milwaukee (Shorewood), and graduated from an elite "private day care school". He later went on to Stanford University where he received a BA in Political Science. Kind of reminds me of my background growing up.......NOT!!! I doubt James and I have anything in common, other than we both live in Wisconsin, and unfortunately he is my representative in the U.S. House. Make me proud Jimbo!!!

Today I received Sensenbrenner's "Weekly Newsletter" dated April 28, 2011, his subject: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a time that our nation is engaged in 3 wars, tornadoes have just killed 283 in the south, there is a nuclear meltdown in Japan, a major Tsunami recovery effort going on....Jim decides it's a great time to demonstrate his bigotry, by once again bashing the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transexual community. Don't you think he could have picked a more meaningful or timely topic like say uh......"Obama's Birth Certificate" or "The Royal Wedding" or even "How bout that Donald Trump's Hair?".

Now let me see if I can bring myself to discuss DOMA. First off I have substantial experience in DOMA!!! I have been married to somebody, or somebody else for virtually all of my adult life. In defending my first marriage, I found myself trying to defend against adultery, drug addictions, money problems, alcoholism, and bad jokes. Yep, you guessed right, I was responsible for the bad jokes, the rest of them were her issues. Not once in that 22 year struggle did any gay men attempt to lead me astray. Nor did any Lesbians appear and ask us about three-some. As far as the Bisexuals go, I have always admired them since it seemed to me they had twice as good of chance of getting a date as I did. Finally, on the transexual front, my buddy Pete and I ran into a pair of them in New Orleans. We'd been drinking hurricanes and as I recall they had long legs and very short skirts. When one of them said "hello boys", with a voice deeper than Bill Golden's....we sobered up quick and headed back home.... swerving down the sidewalk as fast as we could ....and on the double too. That's about as close as any GLBT person ever threaten me or my marriage.....however...the bad jokes....that's the straw that broke the Camel's Back.

Now we come to my second marriage. For 15 years, I have been married to the lovely Nancy Jeane Roberts a Chicago gal with a weird since of humor who doesn't mind that I am a slob and can tell some really bad jokes. Today, I find myself defending this marriage against old age, health problems, and the irresponsible behavior of our two wild miniature schnauzers. Maybe I am missing something, but somehow, the GLBT community seems to be ignoring me. Maybe it is just because I have a skinny little booty or maybe it is because I tell bad jokes. In any case, I still feel pretty safe, from attack by folks who have a different sexual preference than me.

Now let's get back to my Congressman James Sensenbrenner. Here's my suggestion to help Old Jim out.... Jimbo why don't you correct the name of your weekly publication - that is to say; give it a more appropriate name something like The Crown Prince of Kotex's WEAKLY Newletter??? I hope this helps.

All the best!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Let Go and Torch Your Inbox!!!

Caution: if you have less than a 1000 emails in your inbox, this is probably of little interest. However: With over 5500 emails in my inbox this week, some 1900 of them unread, coupled with the fact I can't find a thing for all the clutter. I went on the attack. Honestly, if all of those had been pieces of paper, I'd have dumped them in a ditch somewhere, used a little gasoline, and flicked a match into the whole big messy pile. Here's a picture that gives a pretty good understanding of my situation, looked like before I began to try and figure out how to deal with it. Hopefully, none of you ever get into this situation. But if you do, I learned some things that may be helpful if you decide to "torch your inbox". My first concern was the unread emails. Were any of them important, why were they unread, and how can I sort them out....without deleting something that's going to cost me. Here's how I approached the 1900 unread emails. Go to your inbox and come to your first week old unread email, why is it unread?

  • Is it an advertisement? I had 100's of emails from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Grocery Stores, etc. Why, because I like to get cheap airline tickets and buy stuff o n sale. So all you have to do, is type in EddieBauer.com and hit search. What comes up is a list of all of these adevertisements I never had the time or interest to read. Worse yet, I found one from Pajamagram.com, from when I bought Mom a Christmas present two years ago. I have been receiving these every couple of weeks now for years. I deleted most of these suckers first since the sales from last August are more than likely to be over and honestly, I don't buy a whole lot of women's pjs.

  • Is it an "Autoreply"? These are things that say "Autoreply. Jim is out of the office and won't return until the 4th of July." These are aggravating, because it means your message isn't going to be seen until some future date and secondly you get the "stupid autoreply". A search of "autoreply" enabled me to kill several hundred unreads in one shot.

  • Is it a Newspaper update ?- I subscribe to several different newspapers online. Honestly, I don't have time to read all of them most of the time. But I always tell myself, I'll read that when I get around to it. Problem is, I never get a "round toit". So long, Dallas Morning News! These things come daily and somertimes more often, they add up fast.

  • Is it some Political Stuff ?- I figured out, if the email said "from the Whitehouse" or "from Senator So and So", that it probably was not an invitation to dinner, but more than likely a request for cash.

  • Does it say "Accepted / Rejected"? - if you are in business or use your email and calendar to schedule meetings and events, you get an email everytime someone accepts or rejects your invitation. One thing for sure, you don't need to keep these if the meeting has been over for a week or more. Give em the eighty-six.

  • Unopened Email from your Boss or Coworkers - Yikes! How can this happen? Well, about half the time or better, I have already found whatever the email says before I get the email. This being the case, why bother to open it? If it is something you already know. Is it because I am clairvoyant, Hell No! It's because they call me first and tell it to me and then the dummies feel the moral obligation to remind me in an email. Kill 'em.

Using these techniques, I whittled down the "unread to just 12 unread emails". These were important, so I saved them in a folder called "important". Now what about the other 3600 emails in my inbox that had been read, but never deleted? Here's how I approached this monster batch of emails;

  • Is it from a friend? A lot of my friends send me jokes, which is great, but I always kind of felt obligated to keep them since they came from my friends. Further, my friends and family share important stuff either in person or on the phone. I deleted all of these. So now, you can email me an old joke and I'll probably laugh again. But this time I'm deleting it after I read it.

  • Is it from a business associate? OK, now some of these can be important. What to do? Tag all of the ones that are older than 90 days, and store them under a file name or label on your email. "Archiving" works also.
Using these and several other "home-made" efforts, I was able to go from 5500 emails in my inbox to only about 150. However, as in many things "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". What you read above took me about 8 hours; and it was the pound of cure...that I had to do. Here are some ideas for preventing the problem in the first place:

  • Unsubscribe - to emails and newsletters that are no longer of interest to you.

  • Practice the 4 D method - when you check your email: 1. "Delete" any obvious junk. 2. "Do" any tasks that will take less that 5 minutes. 3. "Delegate" the task if you can. 4. "Defer" more lengthy tasks, until after you have cleared your inbox. Obviously, I didn't think this one up; it is very unlike my usual habit of using #4 exclusively.

  • Create a "read later" folder, for things you may be interested in but don't have time to read now.

I hope this was helpful and I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this effort. However, I am kind of amazed that I got through the mess.

All the best,


Monday, February 14, 2011

What is an Entitlement........

The term "entitlement" is being bandied about a lot lately and my feeling is that in most cases it is used in the perjorative sense. The actual definition is quite a bit different than what many people seem to choose to believe. I hope this will add a bit of clarity.

According to Wikipedia an Entitlement "is a guarantee of rights or benefits based on established rights or legislation." Loosely put, this means it is a legal obligation. The Defintion goes further...

"A right itself, is an entitlement associated with a social or moral principal, such that an entitlement is a provision made in accordance with the legal framework of a society."

While this may seem complicated, I had to read it 5 times myself to understand it.....it means essentially that in a legal sense, an "entitlement" is a legally and socially binding obligation. The picture on the left is that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who pushed to get our Social Security implemented, at time when 75% of the nation's elderly lived in poverty. These, my friends are not opinions....just well documented historical facts.

Merriam Webster defines "entitlement" so similarly that I will not trouble you with restating essentially what Wikipedia says. But if you doubt me, look it up yourself. My difficulty comes with the perjorative use of the term, which suggests that an "undeserving person" feels "entitled to something" that they did little or nothing to deserve.

Let's do a little reality check, and set the partisan politics aside for a second. I, like most of you that will ever read this, have worked most of my entire life since I was 12 years old. That puts me now at 44 years of employment. All of those years, Social Security, Unemployment, and Medicare was withheld from my every paycheck. Further, now that I am once again self employed - I am hit with the full 15% self employment tax. I feel that I have been blessed from an income standpoint, and during the majority of my working career, I have exceeded the maximum amount of taxable income for these programs and therefore have made probably paid in about the same amout of money as Bill Gates of Microsoft, and very likely more than Warren Buffet.

So when you start to use the word "government entitlement", I hope that you will realize that I and my employers have paid an enormous amount of money into these systems (minimally in my case over $200,000. Plus accrued interest, I would estimate the US Government got into me for well over $500,000 over all these years. Further, Social Security, is not the cause of the Federal Deficit, the cause of the Federal Deficit is unfunded government spending. Much of it for wars....and the resulting debt of wars, and finally Veterans Benefits. Combined Pentagon spending is very near 50% of the budget. They keep in different buckets so....in some cases you can say its only 35% or so....but this does not include VA Benefits, Pensions, and the Debt spent to fight wars.

Social Security is not now, nor ever was it unfunded. Was the the Social Security money withheld from all of our paychecks misused? misappropriated? you bet it was by the very type of folks who want to cut "entitlements".

As far as I am concerned, our contributions to these government programs are just as binding of debt and obligation as any Treasury Bill that the Government may have issued to China or anywhere else. Stealing from working folks by calling their hard earned tax dollars "entitlements" is the biggest crock of shit anyone ever tried to perpetrate on the American People. I hope you will join me in getting Mad As Hell - about Politicians using the word Entitlement as a perjorative. Social Security for the people that have supported it for all of these years is a "moral obligation and legal debt", owed by the United States Goverment. The people who say otherwise are thieves and liars.