ICLEI No Longer Welcome in Passaic County

Good news for Agenda 21 fighters: The Wayne Township Council passed a resolution condemning Agenda 21 and calling for the Passaic County Freeholders to withdraw from ICLEI. At the Passaic County Freeholder’s meeting on March 27th, the freeholders formally withdrew from ICLEI.

Members of the North Jersey Regional TEA Party Agenda 21 Review group and other citizens had made multiple presentations at recent Freeholder meetings, urging the County to end its membership in an unnecessary organization whose mission is to implement the U.N.’s Agenda 21.

While we commend the common sense actions of these public officials, it’s not time to ring the Liberty Bell just yet. Being out of ICELI does not mean that any town, county or state is safe from Agenda 21’s radical mission. ICLEI will continue to press forward as Agenda 21’s implementation arm.

Already, they’ve reinvented their community organizing name from Smart Growth to Business Investment Development (BID), taking advantage of struggling small business owners to transform towns into cities. Palisades Park is planning a twin, 47-tower apartment complex that will dwarf that small city and overwhelm its resources.

Any town that wants to increase its business district would do better to dispense with parking meters. It was environmentalists who urged the installation of these money-eating, business-killing contraptions. The suburbanites who moved here to escape crowds, crime, and congestion in the city were all too happy to patronize the shopping malls that opened up here with their spacious, free parking.

We sympathize with the small business owners. But they’re forgetting a basic principle – the customer is always right. If customers want to visit shops in town, then accommodate them. In Pompton Lakes, there happens to be free parking behind the stores. Make access from the parking lots to the stores easier, sell products and services the customers want, and they will come. The A&P shopping mall, right around the bend on Wanaque Avenue, is always packed and the business district is nearby, hardly a far walk for customers, especially on a nice day.

Finally, lower the taxes on the businesses (and the other property owners). Business owners tell me that’s what’s killing them. Business owners who line up with Smart Growth/Business Investment Development are being sold a bill of goods.

Wayne fought back successfully.  Pompton Lakes and other area towns are under siege as well – West Milford, Kinnelon, Bloomingdale.  We must all organize to stop this insidious attempt by the United Nations and its sub-organizations to transform the United States into the United Socialist States of America.  Talk to your neighbors about forming Property Rights Councils and coordinating your strategies.

You can do this, Northern New Jersey.  You must.
 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 11:44 am  Comments (2)  

A New Hope

Leia: We have no time for our sorrows, Commander.

 

 

Obi-Wan Kenobi: They [the droids] must be delivered safely or other star systems will suffer the same fate as Alderaan. Your destiny lies along a different path than mine.

Today was my last day at my old company. I am now officially among the unemployed. This was not one of those quickie, by-the-way-today’s-your-last-day kind of lay-offs. Our department had a good 18 months’ notice to prepare for the inevitable. I began preparing myself right away to go back to school for my graduate degree.

To speak the truth, I’d been chafing at the routine of my job for awhile. I loved my job. I don’t believe there ever be another job where someone could have as much fun for as long as I did, between writing stories and taking photographs. But when you see America falling to pieces, when I read every day the new outrages the Progressives were committing against our freedom, when I was going to lose my own job precisely because the outrageous taxing and spending and entitlement programs were driving my company out of the state, I felt almost guilty having so much fun. I wanted to be part of the fight.

Oh, that we could have all stayed there for the rest of careers. Our business center has the most beautiful pond. Leaving in the Spring was heart-breaking. God is good, though, and in His mercy, he brought Spring on a full three weeks before it was due. We couldn’t believe our good luck. My worries from last Fall that I would not get to see the trees bloom around Mazda Pond were unfounded; I spent every lunchtime last week saying good-bye to my favorite trees and views of the pond, its bridges, its pathway, its birds and little critters.

The weather turned cold again this week. Like Princess Leia, I had no more time for saying goodbye to nature; it was time to pack up and move on out, which I did in orderly fashion. We said good-bye to all the people we know (six of us were “impacted”) that we’ve worked with during the week and this morning we bid farewell to our supervisor and the other remaining supervisor and to one another.

If we were leaving the full office building we once knew, filled with laughter and phone conversations, and copy machines running, we might have been sadder. But the building is 4/5ths empty. Practically everyone is already gone, either retired, transferred, or “impacted”.  All you hear now are crickets chirping.

It was just our office’s time. That is the way of business. Some businesses last longer than others, but eventually they fade away. Our first emotional investment should be in our families, then our neighbors and community friends. People come and go so quickly in the business world. Not that you shouldn’t make friends; just that you should be aware that you or they or all of you may find yourselves pushed out of the beehive someday.

Still, all the memories I left behind as I waved one last good-bye to J.D. and left the parking lot for the last time are all good. We’re all on Facebook of course, and the ladies of our department all live near one another, so that they’re neighbors as well as former co-workers and, of course, friends.

The last time I walked the halls, the echoes of all those good times rang in the empty spaces. They won’t be empty for long; a new tenant is already measuring up for space in the building, and good times and busy-ness will fill it up again. Hearing the silence was sad and frankly I was glad the end had finally come. Watching an office close up, I suspect, is somewhat akin to a friend or family member having a terminal illness; even though you were sad, you’re relieved when their suffering is finally over.

So it’s farewell to the good times of my former company. Thank you for 13 wonderful years!

And now, it’s hello to my adversaries, to the enemies of freedom and liberty. Now that I’m free, you Progressives and Liberals, I have all the time in the world to help thwart your plans. Watch out, because I’m on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and on your case, full-time.

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Packing It In

Having been notified at least a year in advance that we would undergo a company “transition”, with no hope of a job in our locality, I began preparing early. I packed up the photo studio at the end of 2011. I threw out all my story files. Sometime in January, I took home my father’s grammar books.

This week was the final pack-up. Tomorrow is our last day. I trundled the last of my personal office belongings out to my SUV this afternoon. I removed all files from computers. There’s nothing left on them but my screen savers. There was no time at all to find out what’s been going on in the world. I’ll have plenty of time for all that after tomorrow.

My one co-worker, who’s been with the company for 24 years, filled up eight wastebaskets with debris. Two of my female co-workers, web designers, had very little to do, as they’re just naturally neat.

But then there’s the other writer and videographer. He said his farewell on Tuesday, saying that he would only be in briefly to hand in his badge. His cubicle is a disaster, though. We don’t know whether he’s in lay-off denial or whether it’s his message to the company.

I’m not a naturally neat person. All the same, I brought in my cleaning supplies and scrubbed my desktop, file drawers and overhead cabinet till they all shone like new. I may be a slob but I don’t believe in leaving others to clean up the mess.

The one thing I had forgotten was the department Christmas tree. I volunteered to put it up. Then completely forgot to take it down. It sat there in our conference room, where our ladies all take their lunch, and every day they wondered when I would take the tree down. Only today, when I went in for our farewell lunch did I notice the thing sitting there. Oops. Nobody wanted to take home their personalized mini-stockings, so I took them and will hang them on my own tree in remembrance of former co-workers.

At noon, Mr. Wastebasket decided to notify his many office contacts that this was it. We had a steady stream of visitors coming to bid us good-bye – at least those who are still left in our office. I’ve been telling them since December that comes the end of March, there’ll be no more photography. I even went to the cafeteria for one last, expensive lunch and went about telling the various groups that I’d be leaving on Friday.

Tomorrow, I’ll walk the corridors one last time.  All that’s left of our once happy office is the echo of the employees’ laughter, especially in the cafeteria. There are a lot of memories and few regrets. We will have one last laugh tomorrow and then it’s on to the future, one way or the other.

The first task I face is incorporating the accumulation of 13 years into my home. A monumental challenge sure to drive away all sorrow.

Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Boycott the Boycott

When the editor of Berlin’s largest newspaper printed, in 1932 or so, that Hitler intended to exterminate the Jews, the Brown Shirts came to his house in the middle of the night, dragged the editor and his wife into the street and beat them to death.  This was the penalty for telling the truth in German of 1932.  Even though Hitler had said so himself in secret meetings, he didn’t want the German populace to know it – not yet.

At that same time, many German Jews left the country forever, including Albert Einstein.  The refugees came to America.

Where will those who speak the truth flee should America fall?  When you hear that Media Matters, under the guise of Stop Rush@stoprush, are organizing a blackmail campaign against radio host Rush Limbaugh, you must know that the Brown Shirts can’t be far behind.  In fact, in the case of Trayvon Martin, the thugs were standing right behind their leaders, vowing vengeance for a crime that has yet to be solved.  They’ve warned that the crime had better be solved in favor of Martin or blood will be spilt.

Media Matters is urging companies big and small (big, as in Coca Cola, for instance) to remove their advertising from Rush’s program.  Rush brushes it off, saying that it’s no problem.  No sense in giving Media Matters even more publicity.  That’s one way of looking at it.  They use a most unscientific, but very effective approach in targeting these advertisers.  ‘Just listen to what he says,’ they urge the companies.  They want the companies to listen to Rush with biased ears, with no facts, no perspective (other than that of liberal Media Matters), and no tolerance.

What do you do with a baby throwing a temper tantrum?  In the old days, you’d haul the kid out of the store (and make his bottom sore).  Today, parents don’t dare discipline their children.  In fact, they negotiate with them.  With a country polarized, companies fear for half their advertising dollars, figuring the silent half are too polite to boycott.

If MM can target Rush – they’ve already pushed Glenn Beck into his own realm, where happily, he’s thriving – they can target anyone.  Most companies had already established a no-advertising on (right-wing) political programs.  They’ll happily advertise on CNN, but not Fox.  They’ll tout their wares on Comedy Central, but not GBTV.

Contact your favorite companies and let them know you have no problem with Rush Limbaugh.  By the way, MM had begun targeting Rush (and Glenn) long before Sandra Fluke became active.  Let them know that you support the company’s right to do business and that the company should support Rush’s right to do business and to speak the truth.  Ask them if they know the last time Rush Limbaugh – or any other Conservative pundit – ever called for a boycott on their company.

Published in: on March 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The ACA Laughtrack

Starting today and for the next two days, we will witness the legal showdown of our times over the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

According Fox News, the 90-minute argument today has nothing to do with the government’s in regulating how health care is administered.  Today, the justices will decide whether an obscure, Reconstruction-Era tax law – the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act – prohibits challenges to the ACA.

 

“That statute says now lawsuit can be filed challenging a tax provision – in this case, the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance – until after it’s been implemented.  All parties in the cases before the Court agree the act isn’t applicable to health care law.  Still, at least one lower appellate court ruled that current lawsuits against the controversial law must wait until someone has actually been forced to pay a penalty for non-compliance, which can’t happen until 2015.”

 

What is at issue right now is whether ACA is constitutional.  Nothing in the Constitution requires individuals to purchase especially at exorbitant rates.  The only remedy for the potential costs is to enroll in a government wellness program, at which point the government will basically rule your life.

 

The text of the Affordable Care Act is available online in PDF form:

 

 http://housedocs.house.gov/energycommerce/ppacacon.pdf

 

The document has been pared down from its original, nearly 2,000 page heft to the length of a really long novel at 874 pages.  Be prepared for a good deal of boring legalese and bureaucratese with some crucial threats to your freedom sandwich into the morass.

 

In regard to sex education:

 

YOUTH.—The term ‘youth’ means an individual who has attained age 10 but has not attained age 20.  The definition of childhood used to be as high as 12.The government considers your 10 year-old old enough to comprehend such things as condoms.  The ostensible object is to prevent teenage pregnancies.  The result of sexual education since the 1960s has been that teenagers were impregnated with ideas they hadn’t yet thought of. 

 

 

TITLE III—IMPROVING THE QUALITY

AND EFFICIENCY OF HEALTH CARE

 

Subtitle A—Transforming the Health Care

Delivery System

REQUIREMENT OF CAMPAIGN.—The campaign implemented

under paragraph (1)—

(A) shall be designed to address proper nutrition, regular exercise, smoking cessation, obesity reduction, the 5 leading disease killers in the United States, and secondary prevention through disease screening promotion;

(B) shall be carried out through competitively bid contracts awarded to entities providing for the professional production and design of such campaign;

(C) may include the use of television, radio, Internet, and other commercial marketing venues and may be targeted to specific age groups based on peer-reviewed social research;

(D) shall not be duplicative of any other Federal efforts relating to health promotion and disease prevention; and

(E) may include the use of humor and nationally recognized positive role models.

 

This last item is truly risible.  The government has given itself permission to be funny and will give certain nationally-recognized “positive role models” that same license.  If we are to take this legislation seriously, you now must have a license, government approval, to be funny.

Thou must not joke.  What will happen to those who are not government jokers?  Will they be sent to the Funny Farm?  What will happen to those who laugh at an unapproved joke?  Will they be sent to re-education centers to learn what is deemed to be funny and what isn’t?  Will kids be taught what to laugh at and when?  Will youthful offenders be ordered to run 20 laps around the laugh track?

 We’d heard that there were some unbelievable regulations in the Affordable Care Act (what happened to the word “Health”?).  The ACA is a serious threat to our freedom.  This ridiculous presumption of power to regulate humor notwithstanding, the ACA is no joke.

 

 

Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 10:56 am  Comments (3)  

Nu-Nu Agers

Earlier this week, I received an order of books from Amazon.com. The subject of all the books was climate change; global warming, wind farm scams, and so forth. Also inside the box was a nu-nu – a baby’s pacifier, teething ring. I couldn’t imagine what this thing was doing in my order. There was no mistake on my part. I don’t have kids, of any age.

I scanned the invoice; nope, no RazBbaby silicone teething ring. Given that the books were all about climate change and nearly all countering the environmental consensus, I gathered this was a message from whoever packed the order; some college student, no doubt, or perhaps a union worker (or both).

The first chance I got, which was yesterday, I walked over to the post office to return the item. It was well worth the two dollars to tell Amazon that their puerile employee needed the nu-nu more than I did.

The letter was addressed to the Amazon.com Returns Center in Lexington, Ky.

“To Whom It May Concern:

“I received, with my order of books on climate change, the enclosed RazBaby Raz-Berry silicone teether. This item was not part of my order and as I do not keep things for which I did order or pay, I am hereby returning it to you.

“I don’t know whether the item was placed in my shipment accidentally or deliberately, as the books I ordered are considered politically controversial. Heretofore, I’ve always been satisfied with Amazon’s selections, prices, and service. I will assume this was a personal error on the part of the employee and not company policy. Therefore, I will not hold it against Amazon.com

“However, I suggest you give this pacifier to the individual who packed my shipment; clearly, they need it more than I do.

Sincerely, etc., etc.”

The packer would have been welcome to crack open any one of the books I ordered if would have helped educate them on the false science which they have imbibed like Kool-Aid. For instance, Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths: How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death.

Published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and edited by Ronald Bailey, it’s a compendium of facts a myth-busting on climate change. Bailey is a science correspondent for Reason magazine and writes a weekly online column dealing with science and technology policy for their online publication. He’s produced several weekly national public television series including Think Tank. He was a staff writer for Forbes and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, National Review, Forbes, and Reader’s Digest. He’s a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the American Society for Bioetics and Humanities.

He gathered a group of notable experts to contribute their knowledge on various topics, including Dr. Norman E. Borlaugh who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for launching the “Green Revolution” that dramatically raised agricultural productivity and saved millions from famine. Borlaugh has been at work much longer than the eco-activists; he was awarded his doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1942.

Bailey opens the introduction of the book by quoting Christopher Flavin, now head of the Worldwatch Institute when he spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Flavin noted that “with socialism in disrepute, environmentalism is now the ‘most powerful ideal today.”

“The ideological environmentalism,” Bailey writes, “that Flavin talks about is far different from the pragmatic, everyday kind of environmentalism that most of us favor; for example, being thrifty with resources, lowering and air and water pollutants, and conserving wildlife. Ideological environmentalism embodies a sweeping agenda aimed at radically transforming how we live and work.

“But there is a hidden crisis growing in the heart of ideological environmentalism,” Bailey continues. “Key predictions made by environmentalist ideologues about the future state of the Earth and humanity are simply not coming true.”

Perhaps this would have been too much reading for our juvenilized, brainwashed packer. The inside jacket cover gives the reader some idea of what’s between the covers without having to strain the brain:

“Myth: Antarctica is melting due to global warming – threatening to raise ocean levels.

Fact: Antarctica has been cooling – and its glaciers thickening – for the past 30 years.”

Or how about this?

“Myth: The global population is growing faster than our ability to produce food.

Fact: Global fertility rates are falling dramatically, and with advanced technology, farmers are producing more food using fewer resources than ever before.”

There’s also this one, on the back cover jacket:

“Myth: Solar- and wind-powered generators are a renewable, efficient, and less intrusive alternative to gas-, oil-, and coal-burning generators.

Fact: Global fossil fuel supplies are in no near-term danger of being depleted, and a single 555-megawatt natural gas power plant produces more electricity than 13,000 windmills.”

Finally:

“Myth: Modern pesticides and federalizes are increasing the rates of cancer in humans.

Fact: No study has ever shown that anyone has developed cancer from the legal application of pesticides, and environmental pollution accounts for, at most, 2 percent of all cancer cases versus 30 percent associated with tobacco use.”

The eco-activists have already done their little spin on Myth No. 2. They acknowledge that populations are decreasing, much delight, and that we produce too much food and we should cease sending donations to farmers in Africa because they can’t compete with America’s free food.

There are concerns about pesticides leeching from golf courses into Chesapeake Bay, killing off all the oysters, or at least depleting their population. How much of this depletion is due to poisoning at how is due to over-harvesting of oysters is hard to say. But depend upon it; either way, humans are to blame. We’re evil dudes that should be locked into communes where our activities can be strictly controlled.

That’s what the eco-activist agenda is really all about – controlling us by controlling the planet. The Amazon packer would have all of us sucking our pacifiers to belittle us and pacify us as we are robbed of our freedom, as though we were simply babies having our nu-nus taken away from us.

Here’s a message for the Amazon.com packer: We’re going to fight you eco-activists right down to the last inch of land and we will prevail. We will live in freedom. If you don’t like it, take your pacifier back and suck it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gas Pains

Americans are becoming increasingly worried about the rising price of gasoline.  Normally, the price wouldn’t rise until Memorial Day, when the official summer holiday begins and people use their cars more often.  Demand drives a good deal of the pricing, but so does the government’s environmentalists who want to use taxes as a means of punishing automobile drivers and force them not to drive, buy alternative fuel vehicles, or bicycle.

In fact, they want to drive us, quite literally, into communes.  That is the object of Sustainable Development/Smart Growth and whatever new nom de guerre the Socialists can think up to hide their activities until it’s too late.

F.A. Hayek’s book, Road to Serfdom, had a prescient title.  We are on the road to serfdom.  The Progressives want to force us into high density communes, where automobiles will either be discouraged or banned outright, as they are in some experimental communities in Germany.  One way to do this is to make the cost of buying and running a petroleum-fueled vehicle too expensive for the average driver.  Hence, the higher price of oil.

Here is a breakdown of gasoline prices for the week of March 12, courtesy of energyalmanac@ca.gov

Distribution and Marketing Costs and Profits                        $0.25

Crude Oil Cost                                                                        $2.92

Refinery Cost and Profits                                                       $0.45

State Underground Storage Tank Fee                                                $0.02

State and Local Sales Tax                                                       $0.10

Retail Prices                                                                            $4.38

But according to Mark Perry’s blog on dailymarkets.com, the tax ratio is somewhat different.

The map from API shows gasoline taxes by state (combined local, state and federal), which range from a low of 26.4 cents per gallon in Alaska to a high of of 66.1 cents per gallon in California, averaging 48.1 cents per gallon across all states.  How does that compare to oil company industry profits per gallon?

According to this post on Exxon Mobil’s Perspective Blog , “For every gallon of gasoline, diesel or finished products we manufactured and sold in the United States in the last three months of 2010, we earned a little more than 2 cents per gallon. That’s not a typo. Two cents.”  

What’s more, according to Exxon-Mobil’s blog, the rise in gasoline as a commodity is relatively low compared to other global commodities such as cotton, which experience a 167.7 percent increase from March 2010 to March 2011.  Silver went up 109 percent, and corn 82.7 percent thanks to, you guessed, the failed experiment of ethanol.  Another interesting commodity whose price rose significantly was uranium (56.2 percent).

ExxonMobil is one of the largest taxpayers in the United States.  Last year, their total taxes and duties to the U.S. government topped $9.8 billion, which includes an income tax expense of $1.6 billion. Over the past five years, they incurred a total U.S. tax expense of almost $59 billion, which is $18 billion more than we earned in the United States during the same period. Critics often try to ignore these facts by saying the oil and gas industry receives “subsidies.” But what they really mean is that they want to increase our taxes by taking away long-standing deductions for our industry while leaving these same deductions in place for other sectors of the economy.

What’s more, the largest producers of oil are state-owned companies, not private sector companies like Exxon-Mobil or Sunoco.  Think Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (No. 1); National Iranian Oil Co. (No. 2); Iraq National Oil Co. (No.3); Kuwait Petroleum Corp. (No. 4); and Petroleos de Venezuela, SA .  Saudian Arabian Oil Company is far and away the biggest player, with over 19 percent of the world’s reserves.

Meanwhile, the United States is sitting on plenty of oil and natural gas.  But those fuel reserves would mean freedom for American citizens, and that’s something our government, governments like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, and China don’t want.  The Progressives talk about our dependency on oil.  But they’re the ones who created it by shutting down our refineries and our nuclear power plants.  They accuse us of being addicted to our cars.  What we’re addicted to is our freedom.

We will never see a solar-powered or electric vehicle capable of carrying us farther than the Progressives want us to go.  They intend to dictate to us what kind of company we’re going to work for, where we’re going to live, what kind of housing we’ll live in, and how we’ll get to that government-dictated job.  The Democrats here in New Jersey didn’t tax the businesses out of state for nothing.  New Jersey is the Smart Growth proving ground.  Communes have been set up in other cities in other states like Berkeley, Calif.  New Jersey will be the first test of an unwilling population.

The first phase is over:  the Democrats have driven all the private sector businesses out of the state with onerous regulations and burdensome taxes.  The residents who are still here are now at the mercy of a bureaucratic government.  Their houses are worthless.  Those who are out of work won’t be able to pay their taxes and their property will be seized.  Those who are employed will see their taxes increased to impossible rates.  Gov. Christie is doing his best, but as he said at the Monmouth County town hall meeting recently, “You need to send me a Republican legislature.”

Those who can be “greened out” of their homes are already besieged.  Lakefront properties are either being taxed excessively or regulated off their property through ridiculous wetlands rules to save the excess tax toad and the garden state turtle.  One of Sustainable Development’s goals is to give wild animals the same legal rights as human beings, with SD lawyers acting as court surrogates on their behalf.

According to Exxon-Mobil, the reality of gas prices is that for every two cents per gallon the company earns, a state, on averages, taxes the gasoline at 48.1 cents per gallon.  In New Jersey, we pay a relatively modest 32.9 cents per gallon in taxes.  In neighboring New York, the tax is 65.6 cents per gallon and in California, which has the highest gasoline taxes, motorists pay 66.6 cents per gallon in taxes.  That’s per gallon.

So we have information from Energy Cal on one hand, and Exxon-Mobil, by no means the world’s largest oil producer, on the other hand, telling us how much the government is robbing us at the gas pump, all the while pointing its oily finger at the Big Oil companies.  That’s not to mention all the taxes companies like Exxon-Mobil must pay the government.

We are on the road to serfdom, as F.A. Hayek predicted, forced just like the serfs of old to go no farther than our workplaces or our commune condos.  It’s time to tell our government bureaucrats to take a hike.

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

What a Sketch!

Hours after long-time Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN that the general election was like an Etch-A-Sketch toy that Romney can shake up and start all over again, Romney promised that he would not change his positions if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

 

That analogy pretty much sums of the Conservative definition of a RINO.  For that matter, the Etch-A-Sketch analogy pretty much sums up the Government’s attitude towards the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech and religion.  Romney is very much like George Bush when he was running for president.  We knew he was a moderate.  He said so.  “I’m a uniter not a divider,” was his mantra.  After 8 years of Bill Clinton, pretty much anyone to the right of Clinton looked like a Conservative.

 

That political consultants have that opinion of American voters is a sad commentary on the state of mind of Americans:  that the Government and the Media can scribble on our minds, then shake us up and erase everything we knew to be right, leaving no shred of memory behind.

 

Having played with the Etch-A-Sketch toy as a child, political pundits and consultants should know that the toy does leave traces of its former markings behind.  Maybe not for long, and the lines are feint, but still visible.  Rote memorization strengthens the white matter in our brains.  Since the organization of the Tea Parties, we’re not so apt to forget as we once were.  We read more.  We think more.  We talk more among ourselves.  We don’t just take anyone’s word for anything anymore.

 

Fehrnstrom can erase Romney’s past and sketch over it a fine recent speech.  He can’t erase Romney’s political record, though.  His health care plan was nothing like Obamacare, it seems.  Traces of other concerns remain, though; such as his stance on illegal immigration.

 

One thing Fehrnstrom cannot simply erase by shaking our television sets was his own blunder about the election being like an Etch-A-Sketch toy.  He revealed his own opinion about his candidate’s political tendencies, obviously trying to appeal to those “independent thinkers” who always watch CNN and never watch Fox News.

Thanks to Fehrnstrom, “etch-a-sketch” is likely to become the newest synonym for “spin.”

 

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

What a Sketch!

Hours after long-time Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN that the general election was like an Etch-A-Sketch toy that Romney can shake up and start all over again, Romney promised that he would not change his positions if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

 

That analogy pretty much sums of the Conservative definition of a RINO.  For that matter, the Etch-A-Sketch analogy pretty much sums up the Government’s attitude towards the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech and religion.  Romney is very much like George Bush when he was running for president.  We knew he was a moderate.  He said so.  “I’m a uniter not a divider,” was his mantra.  After 8 years of Bill Clinton, pretty much anyone to the right of Clinton looked like a Conservative.

 

That political consultants have that opinion of American voters is a sad commentary on the state of mind of Americans:  that the Government and the Media can scribble on our minds, then shake us up and erase everything we knew to be right, leaving no shred of memory behind.

 

Having played with the Etch-A-Sketch toy as a child, political pundits and consultants should know that the toy does leave traces of its former markings behind.  Maybe not for long, and the lines are feint, but still visible.  Rote memorization strengthens the white matter in our brains.  Since the organization of the Tea Parties, we’re not so apt to forget as we once were.  We read more.  We think more.  We talk more among ourselves.  We don’t just take anyone’s word for anything anymore.

 

Fehrnstrom can erase Romney’s past and sketch over it a fine recent speech.  He can’t erase Romney’s political record, though.  His health care plan was nothing like Obamacare, it seems.  Traces of other concerns remain, though; such as his stance on illegal immigration.

 

One thing Fehrnstrom cannot simply erase by shaking our television sets was his own blunder about the election being like an Etch-A-Sketch toy.  He revealed his own opinion about his candidate’s political tendencies, obviously trying to appeal to those “independent thinkers” who always watch CNN and never watch Fox News.

Thanks to Fehrnstrom, “etch-a-sketch” is likely to become the newest synonym for “spin.”

 

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

On the Road with Bruce and Charlie

Sorry for the gap in posts.  Generally, I try to be reliable and write every day.  However, duty called yesterday and I had to respond.  With one week left to go before my current job expires, the last thing I expected was to get to do one last ride-along interview.  I’d heard about the event about a month or so ago, but the boss didn’t think they’d want photographs.  However, they did it and I was happy to accommodate my company.

 

Most people express surprise that I’d so willingly accept an assignment from a company that is laying me off.  However, there’s no resentment on my part and it’s no sacrifice to do something I love doing:  interviewing people and taking photographs.  I’m just sorry I won’t be doing it anymore.

 

Due to proprietary concerns, I can’t disclose just what sort of drivers they are.  Let us just say that they’re tow truck drivers.  That covers the matter without disclosing their employer or my employer’s intentions.

 

My job was principally to take pictures of driver Bruce doing his job.  Our video team was along for the ride, as well.  They were the ones who were supposed to be interviewing the drivers but I just couldn’t help myself.

 

Bruce used to be a tractor-trailer driver before he took up his present occupation.  He said he loves what he does and considers it an honor to help stranded motorists.  They’re never quite sure how long their days are going to be.  Much depends on the weather and traffic conditions.  He’s seen cars and even tractor trailers go off the road and he’s been able to pull them out.

 

You’ll hear more about Bruce later.  The video producer had intended to ride in the follow-up truck but at the last minute, changed his mind and rode with us.

 

Since Charlie wasn’t the subject – he’s Bruce’s supervisor, I can tell more about what he had to say.  I rode alone with Charlie back to our originating point.  He, too, talked about the snowstorms and the varying weather in our state.  Normally, weather is a rather prosaic subject; but not when you’re a tow-truck driver.  Late one night, he came upon a stranded vehicle stopped on the shoulder.  The driver got out and wobbled along the shoulder, then collapsed.  Charlie told his partner to stay where he was while he got out to check on the guy.

 

The man had bullet holes in him.  Being near a run-down city, Charlie suspected it was a drug shooting.  He ran back to his truck and called for the police.  “Don’t get out!” he told his partner.  “Let the cops handle this one.”  Charlie kept an eye in his rear-view mirror, fearing the shooters were still in the vicinity.

 

Another time, he was sent to check a vehicle stalled on a bridge.  When Charlie went up to the driver, the man announced that he had a bomb in his car.  Charlie ran back to his truck and radioed to the police.  He said they used to pull up right behind a vehicle, but since  9/11, they’d been taught to stop at least 100 feet back from the disabled vehicle before getting ready to tow it.

 

Charlie ran that 100 feet or so back to his truck and radioed the police.  The state troopers talked to the man.  No bomb was in the car, but the man said his dog told him there was one.

 

Another time, he responded to an overturned ambulance.  As he approached the vehicle, it burst into flames.  Charlie ran up to the vehicle, and pulled at least one person out but was unable to rescue anyone else.  One other person died.

 

Charlie was a former volunteer fireman.  His brother was a fireman as well.  His brother and some other firefighters were responding to a fire in a subterranean tank.  The tank was overgrown with vegetation which fueled the fire.  The tank exploded, killing the first two firemen in line, and burning Charlie’s brother with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 90 percent of his body.  His brother recovered and Charlie’s wife insisted he give up his volunteer firefighting duties.

 

Because the weather was so foggy yesterday morning, the shoot was delayed.  As a result, we spent most of the day.  The sun didn’t really come out.  But it was warm and the trees are all in full bloom.  Being outside on a warm day is always better than being inside.  Bruce, Charlie and the video team agreed.

What a wonderful coda to 13 years of interviewing and photography.

 

Published in: on March 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment