Remember last year?

I distinctly remember this first day of February last year. It was in the middle of my “winter of discontent”. The temperature on the High Plains went below zero just before Christmas and when we got tired of that, it got colder.

January seemed to never end. It continued, day after miserable cold day, while our weathermen and women kept talking about the Polar Vortex. This was was the first time the furnace could not keep up. On many days I had roaring fire in the wood stove and the furnace on just to stay “room temperature”. I remember distinctly posting on Facebook, “Aren’t you glad there is no such thing as January thirty second?”

January last year set records for cold all over North America, Europe and the northern tier of Russia. There were natural gas shortages in Europe as well as propane shortages in the US Midwest. There were stories of Orange crop failure from ice as far south as central Florida.

Yes, we were all glad to see January of 2014 come to an end. There was an end to the misery on the horizon. Little did we know this Polar pattern would last four more long months into mid May.

Oh, wait a minute… Our President said in his speech that last year was the warmest on record. I must be wrong. I must have dreamed it. I must have imagined writing that check to my plumber for the repair of frozen pipes. How can this be? How can I be so wrong? My President wouldn’t lie to me. He, after all, is smarter than I am. I have to be mistaken. He must be right, He’s our President. He is the smartest president in decades.

I can only conclude that the proper scientific method is to ignore the highly accurate satellite temperature measuring data, then cherry pick ground sites with dubious reliability and jink those numbers to get a rise of .02 degrees (inside the margin of error of .1 degrees) and therefore conclude that the year that held “the winter of my discontent” and the summer that was too cool for swimming was, in fact, the warmest year on record.

If I did those kind of calculations with my bank account I’d be in jail.

Advertisements

So where do we military retirees go from here?

On this first day of 2015 I thought I would like to toss around an idea.

Once upon a time (when I was naive enough to believe a government agency could actually successfully perform its primary mission), I suggested to my Congresswoman that the retired military medical (along with the associated expenses and funding) should be moved to the VA and out of the DOD. That would free up the DOD to work on killing people and breaking things (their primary mission) and no longer have the drain of our medical care.

One of the VA’s primary functions is to provide medical care to Veterans. Since that is what they are set up to do, they would then get the dollars and the people to do the job.

To me, this looked like a win – win.

Like I said, that back when I was naive enough to believe the VA actually did their job. Then came the stories of VA Phoenix where people were dying waiting for an appointment. Stories about VA employees and administrators lying on records to hide their mismanagement. AND then those people getting bonuses and promotions even after the facts came out.

Now I am at a loss as to what to suggest. We who are retired military are the bastard step children of the DOD. Our medical expenses and pensions are a direct drain on their weapons building and people building ability. We are a pain in their butt, frankly. I can understand that. We need to get out from the DOD funding umbrella if we are to keep any of what little we have left of the broken promises.

VA isn’t the answer. What is? I would hate to see a new government agency start up to do this, at the same time I don’t see outsourcing as the answer.

What are your thoughts?

If we stay where we are, what we have will continue to erode as the DOD tries to comply with force needs in a climate of smaller budgets. If we go to the VA, we may not live to tell the tale.

By he way, I have nothing but good to say about the VA in South Dakota. I don’t deal with them often (annual physicals – eye tests, hearing tests and the like), but every experience has been a painless one.

Published in: on January 1, 2015 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The riots, Ebola, Squeaky Fromme, the click and the Hand of God

I know it is a strange title but I think they all connect. I’ll start by telling a short story about tipping points. The year was 1975. The first appointed (spelled unelected) President of the United States (Gerald Ford) had chosen the second (appointed and unelected) Vice President (Nelson Rockefeller) the previous year.
For some, it was somewhat disconcerting to have the brother of David Rockefeller, arguably the man holding the world’s purse strings, sitting in the co-pilot seat of the most powerful man in the free world.

Along comes Squeaky Fromme and her Colt M1911 handgun. She pointed it at Ford and – click. Nothing happened. It turned out later that though she had rounds in the magazine, the chamber was empty. Click – Nelson Rockefeller never became President and thereby could not bring forth what ever diabolical plot the conspiracy theorists thought was afoot. Click – Ford continued as President tripping down air stairs and beaning people with golf balls.
Was it simply a mistake on the part of Fromme? Was it, as she said, an intentional act to aim and not fire? Was it the Hand of God preventing this nation from going past the tipping point?

Fast forward to this year.

We have had an economic collapse (called a correction) in the stock market. Click – The economy didn’t follow the lead and business went on as usual.

We have had an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, yet we don’t secure ourselves from the danger. In fact, we even bring the virus into the country and let it roam around unheeded and unchecked for days. Click – Despite the ease it is transmitted, the disease didn’t spread.

When the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri came back with a decision in favor of Mr. Wilson. People gathered in that town and started a violent demonstration. It was an outburst of anger that destroyed several buildings but, thankfully didn’t kill anyone. At the same time there were people organizing demonstrations in several major cities around the county. The goal, some say, was to have them spin out of control and cause national unrest. This kind of unrest would result in Marshal Law and bring our nation fully into a police state. Well, the other demonstrations were few and never really amounted to much. Those that were held, were peaceful. Click – No nationwide rioting.

We again are very close to a tipping point. The United Sates of America is teetering on the edge of extinction (at least as we know it). There are powers on both sides of this debate that want to see the tip and want to see it fall in their direction.

Click – Something is stopping it. Believe what you will and say what you will. For me, I will continue to pray for my country.

IS IT TIME WE START TALKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED?

The news this week is all abuzz over a man jumping the White House fence, running across the lawn and getting into the East Room before being stopped.

There is a national !GASP! in the collective media. Congress is holding hearings. One Congressman suggested issuing a ‘shoot to kill on site’ order. Investigations will follow. Heads will roll! (well, actually they won’t – bureaucrats are a protected species). There will be a lot of talk about “This never happening again!”.

Is it time to answer the question, “How did we get here?”

Here’s a bit of history: In the eighteen hundreds, even into the early nineteen hundreds, people in Washington DC would hold family picnics on the lawn of what was then called The Presidential Manor. There were no gates, no fences and no gun laws. Teddy Roosevelt (one of my least favorite Republican presidents) would even walk around the grounds and talk with the folks picnicking on the lawn.

Today to even lean on the tall wrought iron  fence surrounding that building will get you, at the very least, a stern warning.

What happened? Why is this so. Are we not the same people as our great – great grandfathers and grandmothers? The DNA hasn’t changed. So the environment had to.

In the eighteen hundreds people were self reliant those who weren’t were aided by private charities. They, for the most part, went to church. They worked hard and raised families. The children of those families were taught Judeo-Christian values, manners and respect for others. Mothers and fathers were in control of their children’s upbringing and education. They were taught the American culture. Violence was minimal and literacy was significantly higher than it is today.

Today we have a new culture. A culture where government is father and mother. Government is the teacher and the disciplinarian. Government gives and takes as it see fit. Government is the new king. People in this new culture are raised by television (public or government television during the formative years) and government schools. There is no mom at home to set a standard, because mom has to work to pay the taxes this new king demands. Thanks to the Progressives in the ACLU, there is no God in school to provide any guidance or moral compass. Thanks to moral relativism there is no right or wrong. People are not restrained by this new faulty upbringing and have little to no respect for other individuals. Video games teach it is okay to kill and the schools teach that behavior is neither right or wrong.

So, no wonder we need gates, guard dogs and even “Shoot to Kill” orders to protect the current elected leader of this semi totalitarian kingdom. The king himself made it that way.

To rid ourselves of the disease in our culture we need to look back one hundred years, before the Progressive era. We need to look at what worked then and try very hard to make it work again today. It will not be easy. The Progressives have been in control of government, education and much of entertainment warping and distorting our concept of right and wrong for most of the last one hundred years. It won’t correct in a day. But it won’t correct at all if we don’t start reminding people of a once civilized culture that held family picnics on the White House lawn.

South Dakota Legislative Leaders Try To Sneak Around The State’s Constitution

I saw a story on KELO last night that truly concerns me.  Before I talk about it, I want to remind my friends (and less than friends) that we live in the lowest tax and one of the freest states in the Union.  There is a reason for that.  It is called limited government.

Now, there are some in Pierre who think limited government is just too, well… limiting.  They want a year round legislature.  You know, like California, New York and New Jersey (we can all see how good they’re doing).

Certain legislators are trying to circumvent the South Dakota Constitution and establish a year round legislative body.  It can’t be called a legislature, of course, so they want to call it a “Committee”.  Lets have no doubt here, this “Committee” would become a fulltime legislative body with all the fraud, corruption and perks that go with it.

What we have in this state and what has worked very well for over one hundred years is a part time legislature with citizen representatives who sit in Pierre for 35 or 40 days making decisions then going home and having to justify those decisions for the other 340 or 335.  This is good.  They watch what they do because, in the back of their minds they know they might get stopped in the grocery store by a concerned citizen asking, “What the hell were you thinking?”  It keeps our representatives (spelled representatives) honest for the most part.

I see nothing but danger here with this “committee’ concept.  This is nothing more than a power grab.  It establishes an “ad hoc” legislature to rule for 340 days.  It will write the bills, it will tell the real legislature how to vote when the real session commences.  It also lets out legislators off the hook. “Look, that’s what the Committee said to do… I had no choice.”

Here’s another question:    Just who is this “Committee” accountable to?  Are they appointed?  By whom?  Can they be fired or recalled?  By whom?  Since they are not elected, the people will have no standing with them. The people will have no say in what this “Committee” does.

To see that the Democrats like this does not surprise me but to see that our Republican leadership is behind it is greatly alarming and appalling to me.

The scary part?  There is bipartisan support for this usurpation of the very Constitution these people have sworn to uphold and defend.  

I urge you to contact your representaves and tell them you will not tolerate this.  If they want a full time legislature let them put the change on the ballot and modify the Constitution. 

No sneaky end arounds here. Not while we can vote.

 

Here’s the link to the original story:

http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=126273

“Curiouser and Curiouser”, said Alice

So, I’m watching the 10 o’clock news on my local CBS affiliate last night and they come out with this story on how a local Hotel is in the process of being torn down.

http://www.keloland.com/news/NewsDetail6371.cfm?Id=105084

“So?”, you ask, “Old buildings are torn down all the time.”  No big deal – right?  Or is it?

From the story I find out that this nice looking fairly new structure was hit with “a six page letter” containing “health and property violations”.  So the city forced the business to close.

Over time it seems that the owner could not “comply” with the city and the property was subsequently condemned.  Now it is being demolished and the property will be left vacant.

Now, I was not born yesterday and I was not born in South Dakota.  Having been raised in New Jersey and not South Dakota it is not my nature to think the best of people (something the Midwest culture teaches here).  The culture I grew up in was corrupt.  So I look for the corruption when I see stories like this.  I immediately look for the story behind the story, The skullduggery if you will.

I did a little homework this morning and to my surprise (yeah right) it seems that this property is in the same neighborhood as the proposed location of the New Event Center.  Remember the New Event Center?  The one voted down by the residents of the city (twice)?

Now I am not accusing – I am curious.  I find it odd that the city of Sioux Falls chose to single out this individual and this property for so much attention when there are other parts of town and other blatant violations being ignored.

Could it be as they say in the Real Estate business … Location – Location – Location?