Sunday, February 28, 2010


An 8.8% earthquake hit Chile and within minutes President Obama offered American aid and relief to to the victims and to the country.

Fortunately for the Chileans:

* the 35,000,000 Americans who lived below the poverty line last week all inherited fortunes or won lotteries

* the 10% of our workforce who were unemployed last week all found jobs

* the over 3,000,000 Americans, 40% of whom were under the age of 18, who were reported homeless last year have all been given permanent complimentary rooms at Las Vegas hotels

* medical breakthroughs last week cured all those who had cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, Parkinson's, mental disorder or any other disease, illness, ailment, affliction, disorder, infirmity, sickness, allergy and malady...and banished all health problems forever from our shores

* the 46,000,000 Americans who had no health insurance last week now don't need it

* the number of American children under the age of 18 who are reported missing each week in our country...2,000...has been reduced to -0-, and the 800,000 reported missing last year have all been found alive and well

* the expensive wars in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have ended victoriously and our troops are all safely back home with their loved ones

*our $15,000,000,000,000 national debt has been turned into a $15,000,000,000,000 surplus!

Fortunately for the Chileans, America is a fortunate country.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


When I was a child, it was somewhat jocularly said that the three hardest words for a man to say were "I love you". Today, it is unquestionably true that the three hardest words for anyone to say are "I was wrong".

Excuses...the spin...on why what we once said turned out not to be right, are legendary:

"Perhaps I didn't make my position fully clear"
"You don't get the full meaning of what I said" (aka "You are wrong")
"The world is different now"
"How could I know people would act so stupidly" (aka "They are wrong")
"I was just kidding"

But "I was wrong"? NEVER.

Now I suppose that somewhere deep within the dark hidden dungeons of our minds we all know that we are neither omniscient nor clairvoyant. That is inherent in the nature of our species. Our brains have not been programmed to only recognize and believe truth. We are born without knowledge...all of which must be acquired by us through a process of education. That process is not immune from error. And our nature gives us the free will to believe what we will, truth or falsity. Education is a demanding endeavor. And if knowledge of today is subject to error, clairvoyant knowledge of tomorrow even more so.

There is no need to itemize all of the numerous reasons for avoiding the "I was wrong" confession at all costs...including fear of embarrassment, loss of self esteem, loss other people's admiration, losing future elections. They are well known. They all stem out of a mistaken belief that truths are subjective rather than objective, and that what we hold in our brain to be true, what we want to be true, should guide our actions rather than what is in fact true.

So here are two positive spins to help correct that error:

Alexander Pope: "A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday."

William C. Magee: "The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything."

It is not demeaning in any way to have made an error. It is demeaning to know you have made an error and fail to correct it.

Am I wrong about that?

Friday, February 26, 2010


Much has been made of that luger's withdrawal from the Olympic competition because of his fear of the course and his lack of confidence in his ability to steer the 4-man bobsled through some of its dangerous turns. That was the same course on which the Georgian luger crashed and died in a practice run, and on which there have been a number of other smashups. :It is interesting that after the fatal crash, the Olympic Committee saw fit to modify the course and add certain safety features. Why? Was it not safe before the crash?

Criticizing comments of the withdrawing luger included:

"He owes it to his his the the spirit and tradition of the stay in the competition."

Horsefeathers. He doesn't owe anything to anyone, except to be true to live his life as he chooses to live it...and perhaps to do his best to care for the children he brought into the world, until they are old enough to care for themselves. The notion that one's life is owed to others, at the heart of some popular philosophies and all political tyranny, is an abomination.

I heard no one saying the course was safe and his fears groundless...just that he had to get past his fears. One of the ads run on the tv broadcasts of the Olympics included a reference to FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"...and, to some, that no doubt gives support for the luger's chastisement. Problem is, FDR's famous and inspiring message went on to define what fear it was we had to be fearful of: "nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror". Not one word has been offered to show that that was the nature of the luger's fear. Quite the contrary. All the expert commentary was that this course pushed its limits to the edge, if not over the edge, of safety.

Russell Baker said "In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses". And we know what opiates do to one's senses and judgments.

The luger's courage in adhering to his own rational judgment and standards, in the face of what must have been overwhelming pressure, earns him, in my view, a gold medal.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have written before as to why public schools ought teach religion, in a post I entitled, "Knowledge, Too, is Power". I wrote, in part:

"The function of schools ought be the teaching of facts for the purpose of aiding students live their lives happily and successfully. It is a fact that a majority of the people almost anyone will meet and with whom they will have relations believe to some degree in God and religion. It is decidedly advantageous to understand the belief system...the psychology and philosophy...of people you come in contact with, and one way of doing so is to study the source of those beliefs."

I want to add another important reason why public schools ought teach religion and it centers on that word "philosophy". Religious teachings are, in essence, philosophies... encompassing guiding principles about how one should live one's life (ethics), how transgressors ought be dealt with (politics), and perhaps most importantly, offering adherents an overall perspective on the meaning and purpose of life.

To each of us, the philosophy we consciously or otherwise live our life by is vital to our long term happiness. To a religious person, therefore, the particular religion that he or she follows, is crucial. And yet, for almost all of us, that religion is not chosen by us...but is thrust upon us by happenstance: the religion of our parents. Born to Catholic parents? You are a Catholic. Parents Buddhist? You're a Buddhist. Born to parents of different religions? Generally, you are considered to belong to the religion of your mother. It is quite natural, and understandable, that from early childhood it is that religion you will be taught, exposed to, and with which you will identify. That unchosen birth religion.

And therein lies my additional reason for public schools to offer courses in religion. Not for the purpose of promoting one over the other, but for the purpose of providing you with information to help you choose the religion and the philosophy most in harmony with, most compatible with, your individual sense of life.

Celebrities and others who choose another religion other than their birth religion are often mocked and viewed as having done something bizarre. And yet, the conversion to another religion (philosophy) may well be the most beneficial and intelligent decision of their lives.

Years ago, I was sitting in a park when two ladies approached each other, one of them pushing an infant in a baby carriage. Staring admiringly at the baby, the other woman exclaimed, "Look at that beautiful Jewish boy." I smiled. If Judaism is a tribe, then yes, indeed, we can say the baby is a Jew. But if Judaism is a philosophy...sorry, he is much too young to have made that critical choice in his life.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


America has a love affair with the middle of the road...moderation. Stay in the middle of the road and you are normal, healthy, one of the gang. But do whatever you are doing to a greater degree than what others generally do, be more intense, more passionate, and you will be chastised as being compulsive, obsessive, fanatic, eccentric, neurotic.

Throughout history, ironically, we have admired the iconoclasts who set their own standards. Religious figures, 0lympic athletes, inventors and explorers, are often said to devote 110% of their focus, time and energy to their chosen careers...and are honored, revered and admired. It is disheartening to me to see that middle of the road mediocrity, rather than total commitment and dedication, is being promoted as the ideal for the rest of us, and accepted by so many. The word "excessive" has become a dirty word. The bar has been socially lowered...nay, destroyed.

I do not know why the majority put down the ambitious and committed. I do not understand where words like overactive, overambitious, overenthusiastic, come from...other than from a mind that lacks self confidence, is envious of others people's efforts, and jealous of their success.

I do know this: the setting of any limits to man's capacities, his potentials, his dreams, whether in the name of normalcy or otherwise, is a diminution and denigration of life and the boundless promises of tomorrow. It should be seen as the obscene crime against humanity that it is...and those who commit it should be dealt with, excessively.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Joe Stack, the Texas engineer who seemingly intentionally flew his airplane into the IRS building in Austen and killed one person, was, of course, inexcusably wrong to do so...and had he survived the crash, he would likely and deservedly have been charged with murder. No question there.

But other questions remain.

Stack apparently had an ongoing dispute with the IRS. There are reports that he had failed to pay certain income taxes. In a note he allegedly left, he attributes that failure to his accountant and says he tried but was unable to peacefully settle his tax problems. He railed against a government that he claimed was run by and for the rich at the expense of the middle class. He deplores the "unthinkable atrocities" committed by big business and the government bailouts given to them with his money. He had come to the conclusion that violence was the only solution. To the IRS he wrote, "here is my pound of flesh, take it and sleep well". He chided Americans for their gullibility in naively believing we are a nation of freedom, justice and equality.

There is nothing in that note, nor in the comments of his friends...psychiatric expert that I am noy, to suggest that Stark was psychopathic, or otherwise out of control. He certainly had anger at things happening in our country, and thw his government treated him. He seemed to me to be quietly thoughtful and responsible, someone who loved the country America was meant to be. That's what is so frightening.

I have written before about the injustice of income taxes. I believe all taxes deny our property rights. But I want to deal with other matters here.

The amount of taxes, for one. Im 1913, when the federal income tax laws were passed, the tax rate was 1% (that is one penny on the dollar) for income up to $20,000...which was pretty high in those days. The rate increased slowly to a max of 7% on income over $500,000 (who earned that?). In 5 short years, the max rate was 77%, rising to 94% in 1944. (Was it George McGovern who proposed in his Presidential campaign in 1972 to raise it to 100%?)

Today, the max income tax rate is 35%. Then add to that: state and city income taxes, corporate income taxes (which are a form of double taxation), sales taxes, capital gains taxes, real estate and school taxes, gift and estate taxes...and coming soon, energy use and green taxes. We seem to be working not for ourselves but to satisfy the whims, vagaries and predilections of corrupt power-riddled politicians. It is insanity.

Political leaders have the misguided notion that OUR money is for THEM to spend. No limits! A trillion more in bailouts to often corrupt and/or inefficient enterprises. Aid and never to be repaid loans to countries we could not find on a map. Fifteen trillion dollars (that is $50,000 for every man, woman and child in America) in federal debt...and counting. I, for one, am tired of politicians putting their hands in my pocket. soon What will the federal income tax rates be in 5, 10 or 20 years?

Mr. Obama and every other political figure now and in the future had best learn soon that theirs is not an "anything goes" domain...the wheeling and dealing behind closed doors and under the table, the wasting billions in giveaways and benchmark handouts (buyouts?), the unrestrained spending of our money, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

One thing further. The government may think it is Big Brother, but it isn't acting like one. Before the government despoiled that title, Big Brother was synonymous with camaraderie and fellowship and appreciation and benevolence and protection and support. Treating citizens and taxpayers like Joe Stark with hostility and enmity and rancor takes America off course and will surely and shortly bring our country down, building by building.

Stark's anger may have been justified, his handling of it was not. We ought throw out of office those who abuse the privilege to serve that has been bestowed on them. Our vote should be our preferred weapon of choice.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

JULY 2, 2012, NOCO DAY!

I have a complaint to make. A recent survey I conducted revealed that 52.7% of the day to day conversations that Americans over the age of 25 have, revolve around complaints. Work, relationships, prices, everything. What's wrong with us? What's wrong with our lives that we complain about it so often? Run into someone on the street, and what was once a smiling, kinda nice to see you chat, turns to something negative. And not only do many of us harbor a festering griping attitude, but we have, not surprisingly, the intense desire to spread it around. All around. I, for one, have heard enough of it.

I was thinking that when I grew up, we didn't have much and there were fewer things to complain about. For reasons I still do not know, we didn't seem to worry about money the pervasive way we generally do now. Sure, maybe the toaster or the oven or the refrigerator or the radio wasn't working right, and we could complain about that. But we didn't own a phone or a car and our complaint list was small and manageable. We seemed more focused on the positives in our lives (a new muffler, a new pen, a new friend).

But modern technology and "progress" have greatly expanded the products we own, and don't yet own, and "need" to own, including hidef tv, desk top and lap top computers, cell phones and IPods and ITouches and Blackberrys, and so on. The potential complaints list is overflowing... and expanding at an accelerating pace.

Time to take action, to reverse course. I am suggesting that we have a national NOCOmplaint Day. It will be one day on which no one complains about anything. 24 hours of noncomplaining. Talk about positive things in your life, talk about plans and dreams and hopes and wishes...or don't talk. NOCO.

Now, I appreciate that 24 noncomplaining hours is a marathon of sorts, and many of us do not have the stamina to endure it. But remember. During our average 8 hour sleep per day, we do not complain. We must add only 16 additional consecutive hours of not complaining to complete a full NOCO day.

Here is my plan. Each of us begins by not complaining for 1 minute tomorrow. That's it. One minute, 60 seconds. Can you do it? The rest of the day, complain away. Spew as much negativity as you wish to as many people as you wish. Each day thereafter, we extend the noncomplaining time by 1 that at the end of the week, we will not be complaining for 7 consecutive minutes. At that rate, the nation's first full NOCO day will be July 2, 2012. Think about it. What a glorious, life oriented, uplifting, happy, day it will be...perfect way to bring in the celebrated Independence Day weekend! Freedom from negativity!

It is my hope that the first NOCO Day, together with the serenity and contentment it engenders, will, of its own momentum, extend itself to NOCO Week, NOCO Month, NOCO Life.

(I am also thinking about a NOWO Day!)


General Steven McCrystal, no doubt voicing the policy of his Commander in Chief, is that the purpose of our having our military in Afghanistan is not to defeat the Taliban but to protect the civilian population there.

Former Specialist 2nd class Newman, dutifully, but not respectfully, directs those two servants of the people to that silly little, outmoded, outdated, thing called the U. S. Constitution, which clearly and unequivocally sets the boundaries of their authority.

PREAMBLE: "We, the order to,,,insure DOMESTIC tranquility, provide for the COMMON DEFENCE...and to secure the blessings of liberty to OURSELVES and OUR posterity...establish this Constitution..."

ARTICLE I, SECTION 8: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect provide for the COMMON provide for calling forth the militia to,,,SUPPRESS INSURRECTIONS and REPEL INVASIONS..."

ARTICLE II, SECTION 1: "Before he enter on the execution of his office, he (the President) shall take the following oath...'I do solemnly swear...that I will FAITHFULLY execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND the constitution of the United States.'"

The U. S. Government has ZERO authority to risk the lives of our militia, to use our tax monies, to protect the civilian population of Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia or any other country where our enemies may be found. Its sole authority is to protect AMERICANS.
If we are fighting in Afghanistan, it can only be TO DEFEND AMERICA BY DESTROYING OUR ENEMY. Nation building: OUT. Protecting Afghanistanians: OUT. You would like to do those things? Fine, go to Afghanistan and do them!

It is time, Commander and General, for some reading...or resigning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


There are a thousand things that confuse me about the subject of Nudity and its alter ego, Sexuality. When I was a youngster and thought about nudity, I imagined I was immature and oversexed. Now that I am older and still think about nudity, I imagine I am mature and oversexed.

Let me begin by talking about talking about it, just to get that out of the way and remove any hesitation you might have about reading this post. Having lived in the U. S. all my life, it is the attitudes and culture and habits in the U. S. that I am writing about and most confused about. Sex, although it is not far from the minds of most people most of the time, is, together with religion and politics, "not to be discussed at the dining room table" (because it will give you heartburn or private parts burn, I guess). Violators of this social taboo are shunned. The taboo against sex talk, in the U. S., extends to just about everywhere (except, perhaps, to when a group of horney guys (gals?) get together for a few pints down at the pub. There, the taboo is reversed. If you are not talking about sex, you're the square, the prude, the outsider. ???

And that word "horny". Tsk, tsk. High on a list of forbidden to mouth words, mostly body parts, including clitoris, vagina, cunt, penis (or any of its k-word pseudonyms: cock, dick, prick), ass (not the donkey), nipples, tits, fuck (f'in is getting acceptable, can mf'in be far behind?) All of those words are listed in the prestigious Random House Dictionary, but we are not to configure our mouth and tongue in the way that produces the sounds that comprise those words within hearing of the opposite sex. They will, heaven forbid, conjure up unspeakable images of people doing what most want to be doing! ???

In some but not all parts of the world, breastfeeding in public is fine, family or communal bathing is approved some parts they are not. In the UK, toplessness in public is not illegal unless it is done with the intent to "harass, alarm or distress" others. Hard to prove and few convictions.

Those who have no problem with the myriad of variations in laws and attitudes toward nudity and sexuality claim they are a product of varying standards of modesty. True, but the problem is there is no objective natural standard. Each culture sets its own arbitrary standards...whimsically based on whatever (tradition, religion, fears). They presumably represent the predominant views of the particular culture, but to my knowledge that has never and could never be shown to be true. And even if it were, there is no legitimate basis for the mob to violate my unalienable right to freedom and to live my life as I choose.

Some would argue that God inflicted modesty upon Adam and Eve (us) as punishment for their disobedience. If that is true, so be it for believers...but that punishment may not socially be imposed on nonbelievers.

Patently, our country is inconsistently confused about nudity and sexuality. Extremely revealing low cut dresses for women are the rage, provided only that nipples are covered. Women who wear super mini skirts are ogled at and put on covers of girlie magazines that sell in the quadrillions, but Brittany Spears is condemned for not wearing underwear (is it ok to look?) and labelled a slut, a ho, an unfit Mom. And if you look at those mags, you must be some type of pervert. Michael Jackson grabs his crotch and is considered the coolest, a 10 year old boy is admonished for not having his zipper if God knows what will fall out and the Devil knows what will happen if it does fall out. Women's breast implants are intended to attract males, but males are scolded for staring at them and socially castrated for talking about them.

In the original Greek Olympics held in 500-900 BC, the athletes, mostly male, performed nude. The reason for the nudity was the Greeks considered the Games to be a celebration of the speed, the strength, the endurance, the beauty, of the human body...and that nudity enriched that celebration for the spectators. Our ancient hominid ancestors lived nude, unless climate dictated otherwise.

Time to get back to our beginnings, don't you think?

Monday, February 15, 2010


I want to spearhead a Receipt Revolution. We are nuts crazy about receipts.

We buy thousands of things each year, for almost all of which we get receipts and are advised to keep them on the possibility we might wish to return something and will invariably be confronted with the dreaded "Do you have a receipt?" How often do we return things? 1% of the time? So, 99% wasted receipts, wasted paper, wasted ink to print them, wasted time and effort to store them, wasted garbage bags to ultimately throw them all out, wasted money to pay garbage people to pick them up, to incinerate them.

Oh, yes. Running a business? Gotta keep those business related receipts to get tax deductions. Keep them for maybe 6 years in case of audits. Careful, receipts tend to self-destruct...the ink wears out and you wind up with a folder of blank paper. Don't forget to set up a separate folder for those business receipts, don't forget to keep the receipt for the folder in the folder. Doing some work on the computer? Don't forget the receipts for the cost of the computer, the printer and the paper and ink used with it, the electricity used to power those marvels of technology, the desk they sit on, the chair you sit on.

Drive your car for business? Receipts galore...for every gallon of gas, every 25 cent toll, every oil change, every brake light, every tire alignment.

Where did this this fetish, this mania, for receipts come from? An unwarranted malevolent view by tradespeople, by government, that we are all plagued by the deceit virus...that we will deceive you, lie to you, steal from you, every chance we get. All of us. What did Michael Jackson sing? "I'm bad, I'm bad." Presumably we are all bad, all deceiters. The prevalent accepted solution? To punish us and make us receipters.

If you want to join the Receipt Revolution, load up all the receipts you have and place them in a your window and yell at the top of your voice, "I am mad as hell and I am not going to keep them anymore"...and dump those receipts and that bucket out of the window and out of your life.

And smile.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


***********THE MOST IMPORTANT SURVEY EVER************

This survey should be taken only by those who are willing to acknowledge the straight truth about themselves. Although it contains only three questions, it may take days, weeks or months to complete. The value of taking the survey will last a lifetime.


Identify specifically what must happen in your life for you to characterize it as GREAT. What constitutes GREAT is determined by you. It can be defined in terms running from "reclusive serenity" to "rousing ecstasy". It can be measured by fame and/or fortune and/or any other standard you choose.





On a scale of 1 - 10, (1 being the lowest grade and 10 being the highest), to what extent would you characterize your life to date as GREAT?

1 ___ 2 ___ 3 ___ 4 ___ 5 ___ 6 ___ 7 ___ 8 ___ 9 ___ 10 ___

If your answer to Question 2 is 10, congratulations! You have completed the survey.

If your answer to Question 2 is other than 10, complete Question 3.


Complete below the specific plan you have that would warrant your grading your life a 10 the next time you take this survey, and (b) retake this survey when you feel bored or you are in the doldrums or life seems a tedium.








The Bible should be taught in public schools. That might seem surprising coming from an atheist.

The function of schools ought be the teaching of facts for the purpose of aiding students live their lives happily and successfully. It is a fact that a majority of the people almost anyone will meet and with whom they will have relations believe to some degree in God and religion. It is decidedly advantageous to understand the belief system...the psychology and philosophy...of people you come in contact with, and one way of doing so is to study the source of those beliefs.

This is not to suggest the writings of the Bible be taught as facts, since they clearly have not as yet been shown to be so. It is not to suggest that faith-based religion be taught as "the better way" in comparison to atheism, nor that one religion is better than another. It is not to suggest that students be taught to follow the Ten Commandments or that without religion there is no morality, no rights and wrongs. What should be taught is that there are various Bibles and Books of Scripture, what their major distinguishing teachings are, and that many people accept them as truth, and many do not. Them's facts.

What religions ought be discussed? All that time permits. Should Americans be teaching the teachings of Islamic fundamentalism? Of course. Know your enemies. How religious teachings may have influenced our ideals, our laws, our way of life, is valuable to know.

No, there is no Constitutional restriction on the teaching of the facts about religion. The separation of Church and State would, properly, preclude the indoctrination of religious beliefs, or the giving of preference to one religion over another.

Some people are concerned that teachers of religion who are themselves religious would have difficulty talking about religion in a totally secular way. Possibly true, and that must be monitored by school officials in the same way science teachers ought be monitored to be sure creationism is not taught as the way that only facts are taught as facts in every class. To minimize the risk of potential proselytizing, I would suggest that teaching of religion be done in high schools, where most students are intellectually mature enough to realize when objective teaching has drifted over into preaching.

What are we afraid of? A Tale of Two Cities is not fact, but is studied in school. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not fact but is read in school. As are all of Shakespeare's plays, etc., etc. Different philosophical positions, different scientific theories, are studied. School ought be an exciting place, an invigoratingly eye opening place to study all of the world, all of the peoples of the world, all ideas. It can never hurt us, and always rewards us, to learn more about the totality of the world we live in.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt advised Americans at the outbreak of WWII that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I would add..."and ignorance."

Saturday, February 13, 2010


DNA taken from a hair strand of that 4 million year old man reveals that he had brown eyes, darker than previously thought skin, and was prone to baldness. It made me wonder what more advanced DNA science will reveal about us, if one of our hair strands is discovered in the year 4,002,010.

"He had one brown eye and one blue eye, no doubt trying to be desired by as many child bearing women as possible. He tended to cut the hair on his head and on his face, no doubt to cool his body in light of global warming.

"Members of the human tribe of his time were fixated on acquiring toys, and did so by trading coins or sex for them, or stealing them. They also spent significant time looking at each other, either by staring at a small illuminated box, or by watching a few of their tribe throw or kick a small round object, or by sitting around a table eating pieces of fish that had been beheaded, or soured cow excretions.

"He developed an IQ test to measure intelligence, a test written with symbols that no other species could comprehend. Since his tribe scored highest on that test, he proclaimed his tribe superior to all other species, though the mouse would scare him, the sardine outswim him, the bluebird outfly him, the fox outsmart him, the tortoise outlive him...all without ever reading a book, attending college, seeing a physician, or doing yoga.

"He often wore a gold ring on the annulis finger of the left hand, occasionally in the nostril, and would frequently remove the finger ring before taking long trips alone. DNA doesn't reveal why."


I have never really understood the concept of Punishment...the infliction of pain and suffering.

When I see a parent punishing a child for "not doing what you're supposed to do or what you were told to do", it always seems animalistic, brutish, cruel, mindless, to me. It is not a question of whether a parent has a right to punish. No one has the right to inflict pain and suffering on another. Where conceivably does that so-called right come from? We are sovereign beings. We are not Gods and subjects. We are not unequal masters and slaves. We are sovereign beings.

And the same holds true for society. It, too, has no legitimate right to punish. It has a certain authority, as I shall mention in a moment, but not to inflict pain and suffering.

It is argued that a child learns from punishment, that a criminal learns from punishment. and that justifies its use. No. Aside from the extremely questionable hypothesis that pain and suffering are educators, even if they were, it would not sanction cruel punishment. It is neither wise nor appropriate to use the very same techniques that we rush to punish others for. What punishment "teaches", if anything at all, is that the infliction of pain and suffering is a valid way to achieve goals. The very reverse, I presume, of what ought to be taught.

It is argued that punishment deters future bad behavior. Not a shred of reliable evidence to support that cklaim. Quite the reverse. Punishment promotes fear, anger, separation...all of which spur bad behavior.

It is argued that justice legitimatizes punishment. No. Justice legitimatizes redress... having the transgressor make his victim whole again, and compensating the victim for irreplaceable losses. The Biblical rule "If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep" is on the track of justice. Perhaps the "extra" animals were meant to compensate the victim for the loss of use of his animal during the time it was taken.

Society does have the authority to protect its members from physical force. That authority emanates from our right to life...our right to live free from force. That societal authority sanctions imprisonment, not as punishment but as protection.

Voltaire said "Fear follows crime and is its punishment". That is what the parent ought teach the child: Doing bad things have their own built-in consequences. Identify for the child what are the specific inescapable negative consequences of lying, stealing, etc. Call them nature's punishment, if you must...I call it education. Those lessons may well serve the child for a lifetime.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Elizabeth Edwards may be suing Anthony Young, aide to her husband, John Edwards, and/or Rielle Hunter, her husband's admitted mistress, for compensation on the grounds of alienation of affection. Basically, she will contend that they conspired to estrange her husband from her, to her detriment. Only a handful of states permit such an absurd claim.

Unlike a lawnmower, affection is not something you own and for which you ought legally be permitted to seek redress from someone who steals it from you. It is not a piece of property. It is a piece of another person's state of mind, which is ownable only by that person...and it is not a state of affairs guaranteed to remain so, even with those contrived, protocolic promises at the wedding to love, honor, obey, serve and heaven knows what else 'till death makes it impossible to do so.

Sorry, Elizabeth, no 50 year warranties here. No guarantees as to how the future will unfold and what is in store for any of us. Affection must continually be enticed to be, and always voluntarily given. That is what makes it so meaningful and so precious.

John was free to fly the coop, as were you. Andrew and Rielle were free to induce and urge him to do so. Freedom includes the freedom to do bad, wrong, silly, stupid, as well as smart, things. We've all done a few of those. It is still and always will be the very best milieu in which to live...and to love.

My advice, which was not requested? Look to the future and leave the coop door never know who may be gliding by.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The Declaration declares that "all men are created equal". The Constitution (14th Amendment) prohibits State governments from denying anyone equal protection under the law. The 5th Amendment to the Constitution was interpreted to extend that prohibition to the Federal government.

And perhaps most poignantly, the spirit of America is founded in the idea of liberty, justice and equality for ALL It is ingrained in our heritage, and on our monuments.

So why then have we drifted so far from our philosophical roots and not only allow the following inequalities to exist, but promote them as the ideal?

1. Charities pay no real estate or income taxes...which means they get free police and fire and military protection and a host of other government services, free. But alas! they are not provided to the charities free, the rest of us have to pay for them.

2. Ministers and religious organizations are exempt from taxes, thus violating the idea of the separation of church and state by favoring religious activities.

3. Higher income earners pay higher rates of income tax.

4. Some states give nonprofit organizations, including schools, immunity from liability caused by their negligence.

5. Contributions to charities and medical expenses allow some to pay lower taxes than they otherwise would.

6. In some states, homosexuals are not granted the equal right to be married.

7. The present Administration would exempt union members from certain mandatory provisions of its proposed national health care program, thereby denying the rest of us equal protection under the law.

8. Seniors get special tax deductions and exemptions.

9. Adult citizens under specified ages and citizens born outside of the country cannot hold certain government offices.

10. People who are declared bankrupt, though they may have substantial protected assets and subsequently acquire a fortune, no longer have to pay their debts.

11. Punishment for the same offense can vary from court to court and even within the same court.

Attempted explanations of, and excuses for, these unConstitutional inequalites include: "But they are reasonable", "They serve a good end" (the old consequentialist fallacy), "They are needed".

Pulleeze!!!! The only reason these and other inequalities exist is because those who derive benefits from them vote for and keep in office those who bestow those benefits on them. The beneficiaries in bed with the bestowers, while the rest of us shrug and watch.

George Orwell warned "All animals are equal except some animals are more equal than others".

I guess human animals, too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The battle rages on, inflicting havoc on all whom it touches. And it touches virtually all. Two sworn enemies, wearing similar looking uniforms that confuse one with the other and make them virtually indistinguishable. In fact, in my research for this post, the description of each referred to the if they were one and the same and not deadly opponents.

The two warriors? EXPECT and ANTICIPATE.

"I expected I would be established in a career by married and have a family by financially secure by now." "Since I treated him fairly, I expect him to treat me fairly." "I did everything I was supposed to do. Am I not entitled to expect some happiness?"

No. When EXPECT involves other people, which it almost always does, it includes an element of obligation: "The reason why I expect something to happen is because the others involved are committed to doing certain things, they've promised to do those things, they are morally obliged to do them". "I EXPECT them to do it." Perhaps, but EXPECT deals with the future...the unknowable future...and there is simply no way to know exactly what that future will bring. There is no way to know for certain how others will behave (often difficult to know how we ourselves will behave). There are thousands of reasons why the expected never becomes what happens. EXPECT is dangerously built on "weak and shifting sands"...and fails to recognize that others have free choice.

And when the expectation does not come to be, whack!, we get hit with disappointment, disillusion, depression. The world becomes to us not such a great and marvelous place in which to live. A few doses of that and, whack!, a loss of self esteem, anger, violence.

Reject EXPECT, embrace ANTICIPATE, which is predicated on the likelihood, the probability, of what will happen in the future based on what I know know know of yesterday and today. Likelihood. That is a thoughtful, rational, way to approach the unknowable future...acknowledging the uncertainty of it, basing your projection not on nonexistent guarantees but on realistic patterns of human behavior, and recognizing that things may not turn out at all as anticipated. Perhaps a modicum of disappointment but nothing to equal the treachery one feels when what was expected does not realize.

Dennis Wholey: "Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian."

Minimize your expectations, nothing is guaranteed to happen the way you want, hope and wish it to happen. Is that not one of the beauties of life...its unknowingness?

Here is the scorecard: If what you EXPECT to happen does happen...nice. If what you expect to happen doesn't happen: severe disappointment, anger, rage...see above.

If what you ANTICIPATE happening does happen...wonderful, deep appreciation. Didn't have to happen, but it did. If what you ANTICIPATE to happen doesn't happen...minor setback, "Hey, I couldn't EXPECT it to happen, could I?"


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


We are coming in America to living under the rule of man, the very state of affairs the Founders abhorred and rebelled against.

Who are these men and women who seek to rule us?

1. THE PRESIDENT. He campaigned on the idea of reshaping America in accordance with his own personal view of what America should be. And together with other Democrats proclaims the Constitution is out of date and inapplicable to modern times and issues. "Nobody argues that anymore", I have heard them claim, as they sweep away the foundation of all our laws and its intended restraints on the rule of man.

2. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, PARTICULARLY HOUSE AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADERS. Simply put, with a majority in both houses of Congress, they believe they are free to pass any law they wish. Without the Constitution to restrain them, limiting them to specifically enumerated powers and protecting our individual freedom, they perceive no limit to what they can do.

3. CZARS. Appointed by the President, these hundreds of heads of government agencies implement rules and regulations on their own whim that govern almost all phases of our lives...stealing the authority to make laws from the legislative branch (Congress) and bringing it over to the executive branch, and destroying the protection against tyranny that the separation of powers doctrine gave us.

4. MEDIA. Media now tend to see themselves as influential promoters of particular ideologies, rather then reporters of news.

5. THE PUBLIC. Positions on current issues are often "supported" by polls that presume to show what the American public if our country is meant to be run by mob rule. Much of the public is buying into its new found power.

Schools grease the way for the disastrous movement we are witnessing away from the rule of law to the rule of man by teaching our youth that there are is no objective standard to determine ethical and political rights and wrongs. That leaves our country in the hands of, and at the mercy of, the Tyrannical 5 above.

The Founders knew better. They knew that our divine rights are to be found in our nature...and it is that fact which makes them unalienable by man. Every bit of governmental oppression in history has come about under the rule of man. The Founders gave us a treasured gift of a lifetime. Are we to let it be stolen from us?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The American calendar is in shambles.

For example: A month can have 28 days, or 29 or 30 or 31. So you can't properly use month as a basis for measurement. The fact that fewer murders were committed, or retail sales were lower, this month than last, means might simply be a reflection that this is a 28 day month, and last month had 31 days.

Also, our national holidays, om which most people don't work, are not spread equally across the months. Some, like March and August, have none, and some have one, some two. Labor Day, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday of September (who thought of that absurdity?) can come anywhere from the 2nd to the 8th of the month. The Spanish word for month is mes...and that would be a good word to describe our calendar.

There is no particular cosmic reason why a week must have 7 days or that there be exactly 4 weeks in a month (which, actually, except for a 28 day February, there isn't now. Substantial variations have occurred throughout history and throughout the world. So, to straighten the calendar out some, to organize our time a bit better, here is my proposal for the new 21st Centurion Calendar:

Each week would have 10 days...think of them as 3 days ON followed by 1 day OFF, followed by 4 days ON followed by 2 days OFF. The ON days could generally be school or work days, the OFF days are rest days. All national holidays would be set on OFF days.

There would be 3 weeks, or 30 days, in each month...12 months per year. That's 360 days. Every month would begin with the first day of the week (say, Sunday) , and end on the 10th day of a week (say, Victory...see below). At the end of the 12 months, there would be a 5 day countrywide Jubilee...parades, parties, musical extravaganzas, fanfare, spectacles, prayers, benedictions, blessings, etc. to celebrate the joy and wonder of life. Total: 365 days. (Every 4th year the Jubilee would be extended to 6 days).


*** 9 OFF days a month for sailing with the wind, dreaming and soul searching. Plus that year end Jubilee! That's an almost 20% increase in personal pleasure time over the 8 weekend days per month we now have.

***Symmetry in the months (as we now have only in weeks), beneficial for statistical comparisons, scheduling, calculating time intervals, etc. What's today's date? It's a's either the 3rd, 13th or 23rd of the month. Easy.

***A measure of order to that important element in our lives: Time.

I have thoughts about changing the names of the days to Beauty, Glory, Hope, Justice, Pride, Respect, Trust, Unity, Valor, Victory...but that's for another post.


At the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Sarah Palin said that "we ought not be afraid to return to our heritage as a God-fearing country, and to seek divine intervention to help make us safe, secure and prosperous". "(When I was younger and believed in God, I was forever bothered by the expression "God-fearing", since the debilitating feeling of fear was never an emotion I felt toward the God that I loved. Quite the contrary!)

So it's our God against their God, is it? That would be taking us way back in time, to the dark ages and beyond, when many believed that the Gods raged against each other for supremacy of the heavens and of mankind. Those who wage war against us, Ms. Palin, have sought intervention from their God and he is apparently directing them to destroy progress and civilization, to kill innocent people en masse, to fight to the end, and to die, in exchange for heavenly rewards.

That is where we are today, Ms. Palin, and we are not winning. You are right that we must return to something. But what sparked this nation into being was not a fear of God, or a love of God, but three fundamental and historically revolutionary ideas:

* That each of us is a sovereign independent individual.

** That what governs man's life is a knowable natural law...that is,the nature of the human species and the nature of the world he lives in...and it is immutable.

*** That to secure his life, man needs but a very limited government.

Those are the ideas we ought return to, we need return to, if we are to be "safe, secure and prosperous". Those ideas propelled our Revolution, propelled America to greatness, and they will propel us to do what must be done to attain victory over those whose God directs them to destroy us and our ideals.

And not only should we not be afraid to return to that past, but history should embolden us to do so.

Saturday, February 6, 2010





















Friday, February 5, 2010


There is no meaning to your life exterior to how you choose to live it. Shock!

There is no purpose to your life outside of what you choose to do with it. Shock!

There is no Grand Plan in which your life has a particular role. Shock!

Or if you think there is, prove it to me. (Don't ask me to prove the absence of something...he who asserts the positive carries the burden of proof because only the existence, the reality, of something can be shown to be true.)

You are alive. The elements of which life is composed came together and formed YOU. You are a state of existence. Rejoice in that fact, be pleased, delighted, thrilled, enraptured, by it...or not. Your life, your choice. Imagine the potential pain you would suffer if the meaning and purpose of your life were actually predetermined and conflicted with what would have been your choice. Regardless of toward what end you lived your life, you would likely feel a sense of dissatisfaction, incompleteness and uncertainty. Is that not where most people are today on this important issue?

We have been misguidedly taught for centuries to search outside ourselves for the meaning of life. Expressions like "I was born to be...", "It was intended that I...", "It was written in the stars that...", all feed the fallacy that the meaning of our life is to be found "out there". We have been told that we are a tool of a god's design, a vital link in a cosmically unfolding eternity...and that is in those areas that we must seek the answer as to what life is all about. Most of us never find it, even after a lifetime search and contemplation.

For good reason. The ultimate significance of our life resides within us. It is something we must design, shape, fashion, create, for ourselves, as we do our individual character and identity. We do not acquire it by default, but by choice and action. It is as petty or as grand as we dare to make it, and as we can make it. It is not cast in stone. It is our own, special and unique creation.

And it is a creation to be refined every moment of our lives.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Perhaps the most commonly referred to right is the right to life. It is also, perhaps, the most misconstrued and misunderstood.

The right to life, as is everything else in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, is a limitation on the power of government, which was the prime concern of the Founding Fathers. It was as if the Founders were each holding a hand up at the government saying "Whoa, this you, the government, cannot do because we have the right to life, the right to choose the course of our lives." The same holds true for all the other rights ("You, the government, cannot restrict what we say because we have the right to free speech", etc.). The same holds true for the enumerated powers: "These powers we the people give you, you may do nothing more".

The distortion of the right to life is occurring as more and more people are not putting their hands up saying "WHOA", but putting their hands out, palms up, saying "GIMME, I am entitled". For example, the argument for nationalized health insurance is now "I have a right to life, I need low cost medical treatments to live, don't I?...therefore I have a right to low cost medical treatments, gimme". Similarly, "I need affordable college education to live, therefore I have a right to affordable education, gimme". And on and, shelter, clothing, money, ????

Far from being seen as a restraint of government and for what it was gloriously intended to preserve: the sovereignty of the people, the right to life is now being employed to extend the force of the government beyond its enumerated powers and to mandate to us what we must do and how we must live our lives. There are rumblings in the graveyard.

Hand thrust out, palm up...or hand thrust up, palm out? We know what it was in the past. What shall it be in the future?

Monday, February 1, 2010


America's political system is a very good one, but it ain't perfect.

One of the main flaws of our present system is that the President, the chief executive of the country, remains an entrenched politician...he remains the head of a particular political party. So,as President he is meant to promote the interest of the entire country, while as head of a political party he is meant to be loyal to the agenda of a particular segment of the population...and the two may be in total conflict with each other. Hard to wear two hats at the same time.

Notice how President Obama will "chastise" Republicans, some of the people he is sworn to represent, for not supporting his Democratic health plan. Should he not at least calmly and seriously consider their views? Is he not trying to do the best for all Americans regardless of their political affiliations? Are Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians, etc. the President's enemies or his constituents? Ought those who attend Tea Party gatherings be listened to...or ignored, as they now are? Do they not all pay his salary?

And how does the President's holding down two jobs interfere with his learning process. Assume the President came to realize that his party's position on an issue--say, abortions--is wrong. How easy would it be for him to change his view during his Presidency and promote a law banning abortion? He would be viewed not as an enlightened President willing to learn and committed to doing the right thing...which presumably would be of benefit to the entire country...but as a traitor, someone devoid of loyalty to his party, someone hurting the party's chances in future elections. How often have you seen a sitting President of any party admit an error, a mistake? Fingers of one hand? One finger?

President Obama speaks about bipartisanship and cooperation. Hard to get when the President himself is firmly skewered toward one political party, and feels obliged to cater to the views of that party, regardless.

The President's role as Chief Executive should preempt any other position. Once elected, someone else should be designated head of the party. That won't necessarily eliminate all of these problems, but it may...may...make it easier for the President to do the right thing. Wouldn't that be best for everyone?

The flag hanging outside the White House, Mr. President, is not the flag of the Democratic is the American flag.