With my ingrained altruist and “Follower of Jesus” worldview I am naturally drawn to and inspired by Sojourners magazine.  This month’s issue is centered about making sure those in impoverished neighborhoods have access to quality education.  I hope some of you will consider subscribing.  No, I am not being paid anything for this endorsement.

Why Aren’t They Thanking Him???

I can’t understand why Ohio is supposedly one of the swing States in this election.  They have gone from 48th in Job creations in 2008 to 4th in 2012.  That is the most dramatic change of any State in the Union.  Of course this is the result of President Obama giving loans to the auto industry which is a large employer in Ohio. I could really say the same thing about my home State of Indiana. It has gained much from those same loans but of course it is usually a solidly “red” State so sadly to say it is not on the fence.

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A Monopoly On Good Things….

You know no Nation has a monopoly on good things, each one has something that the others could well afford to adopt. – November 30, 1930   Will Rogers

I seem to be locked into the political mode lately with my posts! But there is just so much material available to make it that way.  But as a result I have been forgetting another major part of what this blog is about and that is to learn lessons of those who have come before us and that certainly includes Will Rogers. I will try to strike a better balance in the future.

I just recently came across this quote from my hero Will Rogers. I was pleasantly surprised by it but I guess I shouldn’t have been. I know I am an avowed pragmatist but I really never knew for sure if Will was one before me.

Many of my posts on this blog are about taking things that work well in other countries and implementing them here. We in the U.S. seem to have a paranoid belief in the “not-invented-here” syndrome. If we didn’t come up with it then it is not worth our consideration.

Thanks Will for re-enforcing my beliefs in your great wisdom.

About That Debt….

I know there is a lot of fury going on now about how President Obama has increased the national debt. So, when I came across this graph it got my attention. I have had several ranters here lately who proclaim that “that idiot Obama is bankrupting the country”. They go on and on about the increased deficit and how it is their sole reason to drive that “idiot” out of office. I am going to try and give you some insight into this situation but as President Clinton said recently you are going to have to pay attention…

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Military Spending Cuts…….

Here is another poll that shows when it comes to making cuts in Medicare or Social Security a big percentage of people think we should cut our bloated defense spending instead.  If we could somehow manage to get our war machine budgets in line with the rest of the world, yes I mean the other 95% of the world, then most of our budget and deficit problems would be almost immediately solved.

Why don’t the politicians listen to us? I’m sure the answer like always is mainly politics and power struggles. God didn’t rule that somehow we are supposed to be the policemen of the world. When we get that into our heads we will be on their way to prosperity again. Let’s give some of that responsibility back to the rest of the world. We just can’t afford it anymore if we ever really could in the first place.

But what do I know……

Do Members of Congress and candidates know what you think???

Source: Recent email from FCNL (Friends Conference on National Legislation – Quaker)

Do your members of Congress and candidates know what you think about Pentagon spending cuts? What they hear from you now could influence their decisions this December and into next year. Urge them to support Pentagon cuts of $1 trillion over the next 10 years, as recommended by experts from across the political spectrum.1 39 cents out of every one of your federal income tax dollars is going to feed the Pentagon and its contractors, and the Pentagon budget has nearly doubled in the past decade. This is a bad investment for our country, no matter what angle you look at it from.

I always welcome information from my Quaker friends. They are about the only ones who have shown a centuries old commitment to peace.  As shown above we spend 39 cents of every dollar of the taxes we send to Washington on our war machine. No other country in the world spends more than 5 cents and most spend less than 2 cents!  If you wonder how we got so far into debt just look at the off-books wars we spent the first decade fighting.

Let’s stop being the super-cop of the world and let others take back some of their responsibilities in that area.  It makes no sense for us to have thousands of our young men stationed in almost every country in the world. It not only put their lives at risk it costs us a fortune that no other country is burdened with. Do we eventually go down in flaming ashes or do we sensibly get out of this suicidal spiral of spending?

Is It Right????


Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right. ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

I spent a good part of my life not being concerned with much of anyone except myself and later my wife. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any empathy but I just didn’t give it much of a priority. I suspect I am pretty much like most people in that regard. I saw the need but just didn’t feel enough compassion to do anything about it.

Martin Luther King Jr. was definitely one who did something about it. His words rang into my heart more than a few time in the 1960s but not enough to rattle me out of my complacency. I was a country boy and really didn’t see anyone of color until my college years. I didn’t understand why so many seemed to hate people who were a different from themselves.  I was often fed the small rural town Indiana rhetoric of the 1960s that all those negroes (I use the “polite” word here; they did not) were just lazy welfare takers. Since I had no exposure to them I just assumed that was true.

Then I went to college and found out otherwise. The first two African-Americans about my age that I got to know lived in the dorm room across the hall. They were both diligent students, at least they seemed to study just as hard as I did. They didn’t seem lazy at all!  As I came to know them they became good friends and thoroughly destroyed the myths I had grown up with.

Since that time over forty years ago I have always treated stereotypes of people whatever they are with great skepticism. As I grew older I became totally intolerant of people who put others in their pre-conceived boxes without so much as trying to determine if they might be wrong.  In other words I started questioning “Is it right?”

I don’t know when I turned into such a radical altruist that I am today? It wasn’t a drastic change but instead increased in intensity as I aged and became wiser. When I went deaf at forty years of age and started seeing some prejudice up close and personal my feelings for others who had it much worse than I do came to the front.

Since those years I have often asked “unsafe questions” whether it was expedient or not and I have become somewhat unpopular with some groups when I bring matters of their prejudice to the forefront.  I am telling you this so that you might understand some of my previous posts. When political candidates start writing off whole groups of people as lazy welfare takers I get angry indeed.  Thank you Martin for showing me that the final question  for all of us must be

“Is it right?”

Vicious Retribution…..

Source: Pizza Man Bear Hugs Obama, Starts ‘Yelp’ Troll War – Yahoo! News.

When Big Apple Pizza owner Scott Van Nuzer bear-hugged and hoisted President Obama off the ground during their brief meeting in Fort Pierce, Fla., Sunday, it wasn’t only the (startled) press corps that took notice.

Earlier today, users flooded the rate and review website Yelp, sending Big Apple Pizza’s overall rating in a tailspin. “Talk about committing business suicide. After picking up Obama, your (sic) books are gonna be in the red pretty soon. Not too smart,” wrote one commenter, who delivered his one star (out of five) rating from Cottonwood, Ariz., about 2,200 miles away.

Twenty two hundred one star ratings from people thousands of mile away! Another example of the hate that has enveloped our political process. If someone shows enthusiasm toward your political “enemy” then they are deemed a heretic and it is your goal to destroy them as quickly as you can.

How sad our society has become when we attack someone’s business because he is passionate about a political candidate. I’m sure most of these attacks are from those who call themselves Republicans and are supposedly pro-business. Joe the Plumber should be very grateful that the Democrats are not as vicious.

Lake Winnebago…

I just returned from a trip to northern Wisconsin. The picture above is from a large orchard adjacent to Lake Winnebago (shown in the background). We were there for a wedding but managed to get some touring in. Like so many others the apple orchard is suffering from the worst conditions in 30 years. The majority of their crop was lost.