Pompton Lakes Pride Day

Tomorrow, Sept. 1, is Pompton Lakes Pride Day.  Pride Days have been popping up in small towns all over northern New Jersey since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  On this day, neighbors walk up and down Lakeside Avenue, visiting the vendor booths, some from Pompton Lakes businesses, as well as others.

As suburban towns go, Pompton Lakes is fairly clean, though not so clean as it was before the 1960s.  Home and business owners take pride in the appearance of their properties, even as they struggle with competition from the big, highway stores on Route 23.  The businesses on Wanaque Avenue (the main street through town) are within walking distance of homes in the northern part of town.  The businesses are struggling.  The metered parking along Wanaque Avenue didn’t help the town’s commerce but there are back parking lots for the stores.

The rental apartment complexes have helped the businesses.  But the residents, who don’t pay taxes, have brought with them a plague of filth and garbage.  I’ve tried to help by taking a daily walk around the business district, as well as other parts of town, to keep the garbage from becoming a mountain. 

However, there’s more debris and filth than meets the eye.  What seems like a very clean town once I’ve passed through is an illusion.  In the woods, the brush, along the streams and railroad tracks, I’ve carried away bags and bags of unsuspected garbage:  particularly soda and beer cans, and liquor bottles big and small.  The police should pay attention to these particular hideouts, like the woods behind the New Bridge building on the corner of the Hamburg Turnpike and Ringwood Avenue.  Since clearing it out, the bottom-dwellers no longer leave their cans and fast food wrappers along the railroads tracks but wedge it into the brush. 

They toss it over the side of the overpass bridges along the Hamburg Turnpike, in the wetlands areas of the Pequannock and Wanaque rivers, into the hedges of homes, businesses, and library on the Hamburg Turnpike and Wanaque Avenue, and along Cannonball Road, particularly at the Post Office.  Anywhere they think no one will look.  I carried away so many garbage bags of this detritus that I think I shorted out Pompton Lakes’ recycling center this past week.

It’s not a fun job.  It’s exhausting.  People ask me why I do it – there are several reasons, which I’ll get to in a moment.  To get through it, I pretend I’m my father, 1st Lt. John Rafferty of the U.S. Army’s First Cavalry Division.  He drove trucks, mainly, but he also did many patrols and saw combat.  I pretend my garbage picker is his rifle and my little cart is his truck.  The hedges of Pompton Lakes become the hedges of Normandy, the churches the village church of St. Mere-Eglise (which no longer exists).  

I treat the bottles and cans in the gutters and the sidewalks as mines.  I carefully poke my “rifle” into the hedges looking for enemy devices.  I follow their trail of garbage as my father might have followed tank tracks.  Lt. John C. Rafferty will not allow the enemy to intimidate the villagers of Lacs du Pompton.  He will not permit them to befoul her pleasant streams and rivers, desecrate her village churches, or ruin the prospect of commerce for her business owners.

The job is tiring and lonely.  Most of the villagers are grateful for his assistance.  Some think he is out of his mind, but they are ignorant of the danger lurking in their quiet woodland village.  He knows, as they do not, of the enemy’s plans.  When they ask him, he tries to explain but they don’t understand or fear being engaged in a political conversation.

Why does he do it?  It must be to protect the environment, oui?  The answer is yes, with a caveat.  If he thought the residents, the good, tax-paying residents had caused this damage, he wouldn’t do it.  They do leave or ignore some of the debris.  They believe picking it up is beneath them, which is a mistake.  That their woods, rivers, and properties are garbage-strewn is no accident.  The enemy plans to transform Lacs du Pompton into an area of urban blight.  They intend to take over the town.  But the Lieutenant is only one man.  After his long march, he takes a rest at the Ice Cream Station and treats himself to a much-needed milkshake.

Already, the town has too many rental apartment complexes.  I believe the number is eight.  More had been planned for the business district, but the town’s mayor has been fighting back against it.  If the Environmental Protection Agency finds all that garbage along the Wanaque River on the Hamburg Turnpike and along the northern side of Wanaque Avenue from the apartment complex to the beginning of the business district, and in the abandoned lot across from the Pompton Town Center where a gas station used to be; if they find the A&P shopping cart still sitting in the Wanaque River; and if they still discover roadside trash along northern Ringwood Avenue to the Haskell border, they will have the ammunition they need to declare Pompton Lakes an urban blight zone.

Ironically, that means they can send HUD in to build more Smart Growth/Affordable Housing as they have in Wanaque, Bloomingdale, and Butler.  The businesses who believe they’ll profit by this bargain need only to look to Paterson to see their future.  Already, there are empty businesses along Wanaque Avenue.  Judging by the amount of liquor bottles retrieved at this point, meaning that drunken people wander the streets of Pompton Lakes at night, and worse, drive, judging by the barrage of bottles along the back parking lot of the liquor store in the southern part of town, a new influx of such residents will make the town unsafe for decent people. 

Someone must fight them.  Some of the garbage is of illegal alien origination; some of it is teenage alien filth.  We can’t fight them through violence.  We can’t fight them through the vote, because they already outnumber us, unless Conservatives begin campaigning, and the littering problem is a handy cause.  No need to worry that our proof is already gone.  After cleaning up the bank of the Ramapo River, all the garbage reappeared two weeks later.  Mount Filth on northern Ringwood Avenue is rebuilding again, like a smoldering volcano.

The Boy Scouts do what they can, but this kind of campaign takes a daily commitment.  For the time being, unemployed as I am, I can do it.  But it would help if home and business owners followed Mayor Cole’s lead in keeping properties clean on a daily business. 

The reasons I do this are:

  1. The garbage is disgusting.  When I take my daily walk, I don’t like having to find whiskey bottles, acid packets, pot butts, beer cans, and fast food wrappers in my path, especially along the cemetery behind the Pompton Reformed Church.
  2. Even though I’m a “Conservative,” I’m actually pro-Conservation.  Hard to believe, isn’t it, Liberals?  But it’s true.  I love animals, trees, flowers, streams, lakes, rivers, and brooklets.  I don’t enjoy seeing them defiled.
  3. I believe in God.  Actually, this should have been the first thing.  Well, it was sort of.  The last place that we should be finding whiskey bottles is on the properties of churches.  Why their groundskeepers don’t do something about it is beyond me.  Cleaning up may seem a Sysifusian task (the Greek who was sentenced to rolling a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down again).  But I have faith,  just like the song says:  “The wrong shall fail; the right prevail.”  The PRCs bell is a reminder to not fail in that faith, “And in despair, I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on Earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.”
  4. Hate is strong, just as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem.  The minorities have been stirred up to hate those who work hard and prosper.  Those who’ve done well do have nice homes, reliable cars, and take vacations.  No one gave it to them; they worked hard for it.  The lower classes talk about the greed of the rich, but the Bible also condemns envy as one of the seven deadly sins.  It’s no accident that garbage winds up on suburban lawns; those who commit these acts know exactly what they’re doing.  It’s not even that they just don’t care.  They can’t throw bombs because they’d be arrested, so they throw garbage, instead, to show their malice towards us, their frustration, jealousy, and anger.
  5. Not only is this act of defilement deliberate but we have to ask ourselves whether they’re actually encouraged to do so by “community” activists from the cities. Communists who hate the rich and will do anything to divide Americans, redistribute our wealth, and destroy suburbia have an agenda.  Obama is the leader of that agenda.  Stanley Kurtz wrote a book about it called “Spreading the Wealth:  How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Big Cities.”  Back in 1992, the United Nations held an “environmental” summit in Rio de Janeiro.  The Rio Summit had a lot more on its agenda than just saving the Earth.  Agenda 21 is about redistributing wealth and property and rebuilding towns like Pompton Lakes, Bloomingdale and Butler into Affordable Housing cities.  HUB’s neighborhood plan would force every community in the United States to accept its “fair share” of minority, poverty-level individuals and families.  We, the taxpayers, would not only have to pay for the housing, but their health care, schooling, housing, and retirement.  Already Jersey Central Power and Light has invoked a Social Benefits regulation on users’ bills to pay for the deadbeats who can’t pay their electric bills.  We already pay for the rates of bad drivers in the urban centers, a fee insurance companies have been forbidden by law to tell us about.  We pay similar fees on our cable and internet bills.  These are the politics that suburbanites don’t want to hear or get involved with.  They’d sooner just walk over the garbage than complain.  We’re expected to bear the entire burden of people who hate us.  That’s just not right.  Supporting them isn’t going to make them “like” us any better.  To them, it’s amusing.  It’s their idea of “social justice”; that we should have to clean up the streets after them.
  6. Pompton Lakes is a nice town.  I’d kind of like to keep it that way.  Chances are, I’ll be spending the rest of my life here.  I hate to think that when I’m old, some 20 years from now, I’ll have to fear for my life that some thugs will beat me, or take a hammer to me, the way they did the woman in Pittsburgh, for being born white, even if I have very little in the way of money or possessions.  More of these kind of people will mean increasing the police force, which will mean even higher taxes that will drive out the decent people living here right now.
  7. I dislike hypocrisy as much as I dislike litter.  Every time I clean up some teen hideout, I think of how the little darlings recite the mantra of the Green Movement.  Their teachers assign them art projects, to make posters decrying big corporations, like DuPont, which used to have a factory in Pompton Lakes during World War II.  Save the planet and all that.  If only people knew how much garbage they leave in their wake, even the younger kids who scatter candy wrappers and lollipop sticks around the town.  I’ve also found half-eaten fruit, banana skins, bagels, and of course, endless cigarette butts.  Look at all that garbage below the Wanaque River bridge…  Save the Earth!  Look at all this filth along the railroad tracks, wedged into the bushes and all…  Save the Earth!  Look at all the garbage on the other side of the railing on Wanaque Avenue…  Save the Earth!  Look at the party bottles between the road and Lower Twin Lake…  Save the Earth!  Save the Earth?  Give me a break, you disgusting, hypocritical swine.
  8. There’s a lot of money to be made out of declaring Pompton Lakes an urban blight zone.  Construction companies, developers, real estate companies, and let’s never forget the federal bureaucracy have plenty to gain by dumping garbage on us.  The town has already turned Democrat.  Another infusion of poor people, who inevitably vote Democrat for the money and government services they can suckle on, will guarantee the end of the two-party system.  George Washington never approved of the two-party system, but then Communism hadn’t yet arisen as a political threat.  With opposition pretty much out of the way, America (not to mention Pompton Lakes) will become a tyranny, a dictatorship.  The voice of the people will never be heard from again.  The EPA won’t give a darn how dirty our rivers and wetlands are, how filthy our streets are.  They don’t care now.  In fact, they’re counting on it.  They only care about how they can use pollution to dominate us politically and use that transgression to transform our society and our quiet little town into a violent, drunken, ignorant cesspool of humanity.
  9. People have commented that the town should pay me for my hard work.  That will never happen, especially with a Democrat town council and planning board.  Even if they agreed to pay me, they would simply raise your taxes to do so, and that’s hardly the point, is it?  We’re Taxed Enough Already.  The TEA Party will have a booth at tomorrow’s Pride Day event.  I’ll be there at some point.  In any case, if I had the cheek to demand money from the town, they would simply (and rightly) respond that I volunteered to do the job; they never asked me or made a contract with me to do so.  The Ramapo River is a beautiful, beautiful spot marred by the squalor of the enemy.  I happen to love it there, though it’s a long hike from home.  I’ll clamber up and down the rocks and boulders (carefully) as many times as it takes so that people can enjoy the view and not be disturbed by garbage.
  10. Finally, the simplest answer to why I clean up the town:  because it’s the right thing to do.

Hope to see you tomorrow at Pompton Lakes Pride Day.  Let’s make it our business to make Pompton Lakes a place to be proud of every day of the year, and not just on the first Sunday in September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on August 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fast Food Track to Nowhere

Over 50 fast-food restaurants, mainly McDonald’s, are on strike today in favor of raising workers’ wages to $15 per hour.  The workers complain that they can’t make a living wage at $7.25 per hour.  Some have made a career of working as burger flippers.

I remember eating at McDonald’s on Rt. 46 in the early 1960’s.  We hadn’t even moved to Bloomingdale yet; we were living in a garden apartment in Lodi.  My father worked at a minimum wage job as a security guard.  Yet, through skimping and saving, my parents were able to purchase the house in Bloomingdale for $17,000 (1961).

My college-educated father’s health (he’d suffered two heart attacks in his forties before my brothers and I were even born) didn’t allow him to work at any kind of stressful career.  My maternal grandfather was furious.  But Mom was loyal and she did what she had to so we could survive.

Our meals were strictly of the hot dogs and beans and spaghetti and meatballs variety.  Mom clipped coupons, shopped all the sales, and saved her Green Stamps.  We had one car that she and my father shared.  Dad worked at night so Mom could have the car during the day.

We kids wore hand-me down clothes and watched a black-and-white television.  My Barbie doll had one suit of clothing, the dress she was bought in and that was it.  A friend had to loan my Barbie doll clothes in order to play.  Vacations were a once-a-year summer trip to the Adirondack Mountains.  We went to the Long Beach section of Seaside Heights because we couldn’t afford to go on the rides or play the arcade games.

My parents bought successive cars from my grandfather, who’d been a mechanic at the Cadillac plant.  When one car wore out, we’d buy his old car and he’d buy another.  My brother and I fondly remember the Purple Car, a relic from the 1930s that my grandfather had bought from a friend.  The car had no suspension and was always breaking down, but we loved it.  Union Avenue was an absolute joyride; in those days, the road still had all its bumps and when we hit the bumps my older brother and I would bounce up to the roof of the car.  We laughed and giggled.  Being poor had its joys.

In those days, a job at a fast-food restaurant – this was before they became huge national franchises – was for teenagers, a part-time job, not a career.  The kids were earning spending money and saving money for college.  The minimum wage made buying the hamburgers affordable for poor, minimum-wage people like us.

Once we were all in school, Mom tried various part-time jobs so she’d be there for us when we got home from school.  My older brother took on a paper route, and later worked in the local pub as a pin gatherer in the pub’s bowling alley.  As we got older, she became a school bus driver and went on to drive the big charter buses, which paid more money, and did the infamous Atlantic City runs.  The work was tough for a woman, but Mom is a tough lady.  The extra income greatly improved our circumstances.  We were finally able to get a color television and even Cablevision when it came out.

The strikers are punishing the wrong people in striking against the executives and managers at McDonald’s and Burger King.  If you want to make more money, learn to do something that pays more money.  Unfortunately, the manufacturing jobs that average people would have gone to have long since fled not only New Jersey, but the United States, thanks to the excessive taxes and regulations.  If you want a job, don’t elect anti-business, anti-Capitalist legislators, governors and Presidents.

The manufacturing jobs also disappeared when the unions made too many demands on the car companies.  The strikers may get their high wages for awhile; but the diminishing returns will eventually spell the demise of McDonald’s and Burger King.  Don’t think that will trouble the President.  The First Lady will be absolutely delighted.  Detroit is a blighted ghost town thanks to union excesses.

The fast food restaurants will shutter their doors.  What will the burger flippers do for work, then?  Why, they might have to get a real job, if they can.  The headset-set needs to get the message:  McDonald’s is neither a career nor a charity; it’s a business with a particular model for success.  Drive up the prices and you’ll drive away the customers from the drive-in window.

 

 

Published in: on August 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

King’s Dream, Fifty Years Later

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

At issue were several problems, including Jim Crow laws that prevent black people from using the same public facilities as white people (i.e., water fountains, rest rooms, seating in restaurants, doorways to clubs and theaters), discrimination in employment that prevented blacks from improving their financial lots in life, enslaving them to a grinding poverty and dependence on public welfare (that did no one any good), and other forms of segregation and discrimination.

“I have a dream,” he said, “that my four little children I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

“I have a dream today.

“I have a dream that one day down in Alabama…one day, right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

So how much of King’s dream has come true?  At my former company, black people worked right alongside white counterparts.  His dream didn’t come completely true there, because there was still a cultural divide, although some people crossed over it.  To those of us who crossed over that invisible line between black and white and remembered the Jim Crow laws, we remembered what a nuisance the hatred of discrimination was.  We weren’t sorry to see them go.

The workplace has been an ideal proving ground for King’s dream.  Living proof that dreams can come true.  Other dreams have yet to be realized.  The unemployment rate among black youth is still staggeringly high.  Their chances of graduating high school are dismal and the chances of young black males attending Prison U. are grimly high.  Seventy-four percent of black women are single mothers who are either working through the welfare to work program or went back on public assistance again after Obama was elected.

As for the little black children holding hands with the little white children, apparently a group of black children in Minneapolis were not taught the Rev. Dr. King’s philosophy of racial harmony.  They teased and taunted a three year-old white girl on a plastic tricycle.  The two five year-old black girls told the toddler that she was “ugly” and slapped and hit her.  Amazingly, the toddler, trying to make “amends,” made a peace offering of some snack that she had.  At the urging of some black boys who were with them, one girl took the snack and threw it into the grass.  They laughed and pranced before the video camera taping them as the little girl wailed.

What would Dr. King think of their behavior?  What would he think of the two black boys who robbed and beat to death an elderly World War II veteran and then claimed that he had been trying to sell them crack?  Seriously?  Or the gang of four black teen girls who beat up a Pittsburgh woman after they threw a soda can at her car and when she confronted them, hurled racist epithets at her before beating her up and tearing her shoulder?  Or the four black teens who, in the name of “justice” for Trayvon Martin, beat a 50 year-old Florida man 13 times in the head with a hammer?  What about the senseless shooting of Australian Chris Lane in Duncan, Okla.?  Then there was the case of the young Knoxville, Tenn., couple whose horrific murder was reported last night by Glenn Beck.  Although Beck and his guests, the parents of the murdered couple, denied any racism was involved, the leader of the gang that carjacked the couple was an admitted racist who hated white people.

The police reported that they thought the couple was in an unsavory part of town to buy drugs.  The parents all denied that their young adult children were drug users, and the mother of the young woman insisted that they had not been in a bad part of Knoxville, although the young man’s mother admitted it was a bad part of the city.  You have to actually watch and listen to the interview from Glenn Beck’s program; the parents’ description of Knoxville differs.  But even if they’d been in bad part of town for a bad reason, they didn’t deserve what happened to them.

They had stopped the car and evidently one of them was getting out when the gang forced them back into the car, blindfolding the pair and driving off.  The details of what happened next are so horrific that it’s better if you just read the account from Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/27/parents-of-tenn-couple-horrifically-raped-tortured-and-murdered-share-their-story-of-unthinkable-agony-and-injustice-with-glenn-beck/

Because of the police report’s affirmation that the couple had been in that neighborhood to buy drugs, the jury found the killers guilty (four men and one female accomplice) but the judge greatly reduced their sentences.

You don’t hear about many beatings of black people.  We certainly haven’t heard about them and we certainly would have if such murders had occurred.  If the Black community rose up in arms over a case of self-defense, which they vigorously deny in the face of hard evidence to the contrary, if a real murder had happened, there would be riots in the streets.  Remember Los Angeles, the Rodney King incident?  The police had been trying to arrest him as he drove through the streets of L.A. at high speed, high on speed or some other drug.  The chase ended with King’s death.  When a jury acquitted the police officers, the black community burned down the neighborhood and dragged a hapless truck driver from his vehicle, beating him viciously.

New York City is considering banning its stop-and-frisk law, thanks to the complaints of the black community.  New York has been one of the safest big cities in America since the stop-and-frisk law went into effect.  With this ban, New York will join Chicago, Spokane, Minneapolis, and other metropolises in black gang violence.  What’s more, HUD is planning to sprinkle the suburbs with their “fair share” of thuggery and druggery.

Some argue that Dr. King, in his last years, was turning towards social justice; that legislative action wasn’t enough.  But in his “I Have a Dream” speech, he spoke about racial justice, as in the end of discriminatory Jim Crow laws, not social justice and the redistribution of wealth.  In an earlier part of the speech, he does talk about the government writing the black community a “check” for justice and tolerance.  He was speaking euphemistically about a justice that money can’t buy.

To most white people, even the most skeptical, the days of segregation and discrimination are part of a dimming history.  This year is also the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.  Fifty years.  Most marriages and even some bridges don’t last that long anymore.  Dr. King was murdered five years later, in 1968.

Dr. King’s tempering voice is sorely-needed in this age of increasing violence.  Even during his lifetime, race riots were breaking out in Newark (1967), Los Angeles (Watts – 1965), San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury – a street corner in the city – 1965-1967), and other cities.  At the time, his critics claimed that King himself was stirring up the unrest.  In his “I Have a Dream” speech, he talks about an unstoppable revolution but then cautions his audience not to express their frustration in anger and violence.

The Newark riots, at least, had nothing to do with King.  The city was about to tear down its poorest ward to make way for a university hospital, leaving the residents homeless.  A group of neighborhood citizens went to the local police station to protest, the media of the time showed up to exploit the unrest, and the rest was history.  Even white people who were not in particularly sympathy with blacks thought this was a terrible move on the part of the city of Newark.

A popular phrase in the Sixties was “police brutality.”  The phrase has been resurrected.  But it seems that the charge of brutality lies on the shoulders of black youth, not law enforcement.  The police in those days might have been overzealous in their pursuit of criminals.  Or maybe they were not.  Today, blacks are overzealous in their pursuit of “social justice.”

What would Martin Luther King Jr. think of these brutal killings if he were alive today?  Would he consider the cold-blooded murder of white people a justified part of his legacy?  Is this any way for Blacks to celebrate his legacy?

Published in: on August 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Disney Girls De-Generation

During MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Sunday evening, any resemblance between Disney girl Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus self-destructed.  The theme appeared to be some sort of spoof on sports events with the lead male singer as a raunchy referee and Miley Cyrus as the head “cheerleader.”

Her performance defies description in a family blog.  She strips down from her quasi-mascot/cheerleader costume, leaving only the ubiquitous “fan finger” which she uses in the most provocative and disgusting manner.

The song she sings is entitled, “We Can’t Stop.”  “It’s our house and we can say what we want; it’s our house and we can do what we want.”  And she, the referee, and the chorus line proceed to do exactly what they want to the cheers of girls in the audience and the silence of the men.  Not all the men looked amused.

But we aren’t supposed to be judgmental.  The performance was aired on cable channel MTV, not exactly known for its wholesome entertainment.  Beyonce is notorious for such lurid dancing.  Jamie Lee Curtis’ bedpole dance was much worse than what Miley did on the MTV performance.  Lady Gaga is certainly no lady and supposedly has put on performances just as lurid.  The difference is YouTube.  No self-respecting parent would watch MTV and no self-respecting teen would allow it.  The cat is out of the bag, however, as to just how pornographic rock music and music videos have become.

Yes, your young, impressionable teenagers are watching this stuff and if you scold or lecture them about it, they’ll “unfriend” you.

Mom saw a clip of the video on the news, possibly the full clip and called me up in outrage.  When she was a young woman in the Thirties and Forties, a lady didn’t go out without her hat and gloves.  Her father came to pick her up one day to go on a trip.  She was wearing a fashionable hair net (which was considered an acceptable substitute for a hat in those days).

“Where’s your hat?” he asked.  “We’re not going anywhere until you put on a hat.”

Then there was the time when Mom bought a pair of red shoes.  She was living with her maternal grandmother.  Her grandmother said, “Only women of ill-repute wear red shoes and dresses.”  Mom wasn’t allowed to go out in public in the red shoes.

Madonna was no lady in her heyday and that was at least 30 years ago.  Maybe people are shocked because Cyrus was a former Disney girl.  Hannah Montana, no less.  So were her predecessors Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Vanessa Hudgens (who rates No. 1 on the ex-Disney Girl website), Anne Hathaway (yeah, she’s got a pin-up picture, in an undone leather corset), Hilary Duff, and probably the biggest disappointment, Britney Spears.

As Disney girls, they were the kind of young women fathers wanted their little girls to grow up to be like.  What a disappointment when they all turned 21 and some chose the road to degeneration.  Some stopped at the pin-up stage, like Ann Hathaway, and went on to good acting roles.  Others, like Lindsay Lohan, went to rehab.

No one expects these young women to don 1950s hats and gloves (unless it’s for a period film).  But couldn’t they at least keep a few clothes on and keep their hands to themselves?

 

 

 

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Delbert Belton’s Death: Where Eagles Fly and Vultures Stalk

Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub reported that authorities believe they have arrested everyone involved in the robbery and beating death of an 88-year-old World War II veteran last week.  A second teen suspect was arrested without incident early Monday morning in a Spokane home. The first suspect turned himself in last week.  Both suspects are 16-years-old.

According WCBS News affiliate KREM in Spoke, Spoke, Wash., police in initially arrested a juvenile male in connection with the Wednesday beating death of an 88-year-old WWII veteran outside The Fraternal Order of Eagles Ice-A-Rena

Police say two teens are suspected in the beating death of Delbert Belton, who was shot in the leg during the Battle of Okinawa, where thousands of American soldiers died. Images of the two teen suspects were captured on surveillance video, police said. Authorities say the two young men approached Delbert Belton in his car Wednesday night outside the Ice-A-Rena as he was waiting for a friend.

The victim’s daughter-in-law said Belton was hit with “big heavy flashlights” and doctors told her he was bleeding from all parts of his face

“The way he died, you expect older people to die. But not that way,” the daughter-in-law, Bobbie Belton, told the station. “They shouldn’t have beaten him up. That was a bad thing. You don’t do those kinds of things.”

Belton had reportedly gone to the lodge to play pool with a friend when he was attacked.

The Ice-A-Rena is reportedly owned by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The Eagles pushed for the founding of Mother’s Day, provided the impetus for Social Security and advocated ending job discrimination based on age. The Eagles have provided support for medical centers across the country to build and provide research for medical conditions — we raise millions of dollars every year to combat heart disease and cancer, help handicapped kids, uplift the aged and make life a little brighter for everyone.

A makeshift memorial was placed there in Benton’s honor, reports the station.

The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryuku Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II.  The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 miles away from mainland Japan, as a base of air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland (code-named Operation Downfall). Four divisions of the U.S. 10th Army (the 7th, 27th, 77th, and 96th) and two Marine Divisions (the 1st and 6th) fought on the island while the 2nd Marine remained as an amphibious reserve and was never brought ashore. The invasion was supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.

The battle has been referred to as the “typhoon of steel’ in English, and tetsu no ame (“rain of steel”) or tetsu no bōfū (“violent wind of steel”) in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of kamikaze attacks from the Japanese defenders, and to the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle resulted in the highest number of casualties in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Japan lost over 100,000 soldiers, who were either killed, captured or committed suicide, and the Allies suffered more than 65,000 casualties of all kinds. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of local civilians were killed, wounded, or committed suicide.  Two months after the end of the fighting at Okinawa, Japan surrendered after the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The Battle of Okinawa was renowned for several facts:  it was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War, with 62,500 casualties overall, with over 12,500 soldiers killed or missing in action; Lt. Gen. Buckner was the highest-ranking U.S. Officer to be killed by enemy fire during the war.  Buckner’s decision to attack the Japanese defenses head-on, although extremely costly in U.S. lives, was ultimately successful.  Just four days before the closing of the campaign while inspecting his troops at the front line, Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire, which blew lethal slivers of coral into his body.  The day after, Brig. Gen. Claudius Miller, his replacement was killed by machine gun fire; it was the battle where noted World War II journalist Ernie Pyle was killed; and it was the battle where, urged by Japanese propagandists that the Americans would rape and torture them, Okinawan residents committed suicide, some of them plunging off the steep cliffs of the island.

The land battle took place over about 81 days beginning on 1 April 1945.  The first Americans ashore were soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division, who landed in the Kerama Islands, 15 miles west of Okinawa on March 26, 1945. Subsidiary landings followed, and the Kerama group was secured over the next five days. In these preliminary operations, the 77th Infantry Division suffered 27 dead and 81 wounded, while Japanese dead and captured numbered over 650. The operation provided a protected anchorage for the fleet and eliminated the threat from suicide boats.

With the impending victory of American troops, civilians often committed mass suicide, urged on by the Japanese soldiers who told locals that victorious American soldiers would go on a rampage of killing and raping.  Ryukyu Shimpo, one of the two major Okinawan newspapers, wrote in 2007:  “There are many Okinawans who have testified that the Japanese Army directed them to commit suicide. There are also people who have testified that they were handed grenades by Japanese soldiers” to blow themselves up.  Some of the civilians, having been induced by Japanese propaganda to believe that U.S. soldiers were barbarians committing horrible atrocities, killed their families and themselves to avoid capture. Some of them threw themselves and their family members from the cliffs where the Peace Museum now resides.

Some islands that saw major battles, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or previously evacuated. Okinawa, by contrast, had a large indigenous civilian population; U.S. Army records from the planning phase of the operation make the assumption that Okinawa was home to about 300,000 civilians. According to various estimates, between one tenth and one third of them died during the battle, or between 42,000 and 150,000 dead.  Okinawa Prefecture’s estimate is over 100,000 losses), while the official U.S. Army count for the 82-day campaign is a total of 142,058 civilian casualties, including those killed by artillery fire, air attacks and those who were pressed into service by the Imperial Japanese Army.  Since many Okinawan residents fled to caves where they subsequently were entombed, the precise number of civilian casualties will probably never be known. At the conclusion of hostilities, around 196,000 civilians remained.

During the battle, U.S. soldiers found it difficult to distinguish civilians from soldiers. It became routine for U.S. soldiers to shoot at Okinawan houses, as one infantryman wrote, “There was some return fire from a few of the houses, but the others were probably occupied by civilians – and we didn’t care.  It was a terrible thing not to distinguish between the enemy and women and children. Americans always had great compassion, especially for children. Now we fired indiscriminately.” When the American forces occupied the island, many Japanese soldiers put on Okinawan clothing to avoid capture and the Okinawans would come to the Americans’ aid by offering a simple way to detect Japanese in hiding. The Okinawan language differs greatly from Japanese; with Americans at their sides, Okinawans would give directions to people in the local language, and those who did not understand were considered the mainland Japanese in hiding who were then captured.

In its history of the war, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum presents Okinawa as being caught in the fighting between America and Japan. During the 1945 battle, the Japanese Army showed indifference to Okinawa’s defense and safety, and the Japanese soldiers used civilians as human shields against the Americans. Japanese military confiscated food from the Okinawans and executed those who hid it, leading to a mass starvation among the population, and forced civilians out of their shelters. Japanese soldiers also killed about 1,000 people who spoke in the Okinawan language in order to suppress spying. The museum writes that “some were blown apart by shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while others fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops.”

However, having being told by the Japanese military that they would suffer terribly at the hands of the arriving Americans if they allowed themselves to be taken alive, Okinawans “were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy.” Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by Mark Selden, notes that the Americans “did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned.”  Military Intelligence combat translator Teruto Tsoba —a U.S. Marine born in Hawaii — convinced hundreds of civilians not to kill themselves and thus saved their lives.

The 88 year-old Belton was one of thousands of surviving casualties of the horrors of Okinawa.  The veteran was lucky to live to be an old man – an old man, who instead of dying peacefully in his bed,  fell a defenseless victim of two vicious teenage thugs bent on robbery (or should we use the more politically correct phrase, “redistributing wealth”?) and murder.

Having served his country honorably, this soldier of the Greatest Generation deserved a better, more honorable and dignified death.  To think, Belton and those thousands of other soldiers fought bravely so that the hoodlums who killed him could run the streets in freedom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bored to Death: The Senseless Murder of Chris Lane

Chris Lane, a 22 year-old student and baseball star from Melbourne, Australia attending East Central University, was shot in the back on Country Club Road in Duncan, Okla., by a trio of thugs who said they were bored and when he jogged by the home of one of the killers, they got into their vehicle to follow him and shoot him in the back.

James Francis Edwards, Jr. is charged in the murder of Lane who was shot once in the back Friday as he was jogging near his girlfriend’s family’s home in Duncan,. Prosecutors say the 15-year-old Edwards was in the passenger seat of a car driven by Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, when Chancey Allen Luna, 16, shot and killed Lane from the backseat.

“They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’ Police Chief Dan Ford reported. “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’”

Lane was a student at East Central University in Oklahoma. A native of Melbourne, he hoped to go into real estate when he graduated next May.  “He achieved a lot for a 22-year-old,” his father, Peter Lane, told reporters in Melbourne. “He gave up a lot to follow his dream.”

Lane and his girlfriend, Sarah Harper, had recently returned from a trip to Australia, and Lane was visiting Harper and her parents in Duncan, a south-central Oklahoma city of about 24,000, at the time he was shot.

Witnesses said Lane fell into a ditch panting with blood on his back before emergency personnel arrived.  Three good Samaritans who were nearby tried to keep him alive until the police arrived.  But the handsome college student died before help could arrive, never knowing what hit him or why he was dying.

After murdering Lane – some say as part of an initiation rite into the Crips gang – the trio drove to the house of a teenager who had refused to join their gang.  Their plan was to kill him.  However, the teen’s father stood outside the house after his son warned him that the killers were on their way.

Meanwhile, one of the good Samaritans was able to furnish police with an accurate description of the car he had seen race around the corner, and its direction.

Within minutes of Lane’s murder, the police followed them to the Don Jose restaurant a few blocks away, where police obtained security camera footage of the car speeding through its parking lot.  In turn, a police officer viewing the footage recognised the car and identified the owner.  The police arrived at their next victim’ house and arrested them.  Ammunition and a disassembled shotgun were found in the vehicle.

The teen’s father says the boys had threatened his son’s life before they arrived at his house and believes they murdered Lane as part of a gang initiation and targeted his son because he had refused to join.

Edwards and Luna face life in prison without the possibility of parole if they’re convicted. The teens will be tried as adults. Jones, who is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court, faces anywhere from two years to life in prison.

In a court hearing Tuesday, prosecutor Jason Hicks called the boys “thugs.” “I’m appalled,” Hicks said after the hearing. “This is not supposed to happen in this community.”

Edwards has had prior run-ins with the law and came to court Friday – apparently after the shooting – to sign documents related to his juvenile probation.

Duncan, Okla., is really not a small town, not with a population of 24,000.  Ninety percent of its population is said to be “urban”.  According to the 2010 census, which was three years ago, 3.4 percent of its population is Black, 9.7 percent Hispanic, and 3.3 percent of mixed race.

Duncan is a 90-minute drive from Oklahoma City.  The city of Lawton is closer.  Between 2005 and 2006, the highest number of relocations to Duncan were from nearby Commanche (Lawton) and Cleveland and Oklahoma Counties (Oklahoma City and its southeast suburb).  Duncan’s housing values (already low) took a nosedive in 2012.  The city has a 14.6 percent poverty rate (as of 2011).  The majority of workers in Duncan work in Duncan, mostly in manufacturing (metal and plastic workers), mining, and oil production.

The number of rapes since the last census in 2000 has doubled.  Robberies and assaults have declined, but burglaries and auto thefts have risen.  The unemployment rate was high in 2008, but has almost come back down to its normal level.  It’s the dramatic plunge of home prices, from the high $90Ks in the second quarter of 2012 to $30,000 in the third quarter of 2012.

What happened in Duncan to cause the price of housing to drop so precipitously in one quarter?

Duncan once adopted the slogan, “The Buckle on the Oil Belt.”  Its main claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Halliburton Corporation.  Erle P. Halliburton perfected a new method of cementing wells, making oil production much easier and more profitable, and established the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company in 1919.  He died in 1957, at which time the company had 201 offices in 22 states and 20 foreign countries.  Halliburton maintains seven different complexes in Duncan plus an employee recreational park, but the corporate offices relocated first to Dallas and later to Houston.  The town even features a memorial statue of Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company founder Erie P. Hamilton in its Memorial Park.

Halliburton operates the Halliburton Technology Center in Duncan. In 2010 Halliburton announced that 150 jobs in the center will move to Houston over the following two years.  That would explain the steep drop in housing prices.  When the major employer leaves the town, the workers follow and property values decline.  Urban residents looking for cheap housing move in.

Duncan is the county seat for Stephens County and is the birthplace of several notable celebrities including actor/director Ron Howard, country music singer Hoyt Axton, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, former United Nations ambassador.

Norman (pop. 111,000) and Moore (55,000) are cities that annexed their suburbs, evidently panicking the populations that lived there and would have to support the cities’ taxes. Only 25 percent of Norman’s households have children and a greater number of its households are unaffiliated.  Likewise, in Duncan, only 28 percent of households have young children.  Moore, of course, was the site of this spring’s devastating tornado.

Chris Lane wasn’t doing anything to anyone.  He wasn’t dealing drugs, smoking dope (as far as we know), beating up bus drivers, or tweeting thuggish boasts on Twitter.  Interestingly, the newspapers haven’t noted whether the shotgun was legal or not (it was probably illegal), which negates Australia’s understandable but baseless claims that America’s gun laws are responsible for Lane’s death.

Lane’s death is frightening and horrifying for the fact that his killers came out of nowhere and killed him for no very good reason – a gang initiation rite.  Agenda 21 advocates decry suburban sprawl.  However, it seems that it is urban sprawl that is spreading the threat of gangs into the suburbs and even the rural countryside.  The Stephens County prosecutor can’t understand what has happened to his small, quiet community.  What’s happened is that it’s no longer small by any measure, quiet, or safe.  Just ask the Stephens County Sheriff.

It’s what’s in store for small cities like Duncan, small towns like Bloomingdale, Wanaque, and Pompton Lakes, and even rural communities if HUD is allowed to carry out its Neighborhood Targeting Plan, planting the cancer of poverty, crime, and violence into every suburban town in America.  Some Great Society.

Duncan is a Republican town.  It won’t stay that way for long if this trend continues and HUD and Obama get their way.  If this kind of crime can happen in the middle of America’s heartland, it can happen anywhere.  From coast to coast, America will be one blood-soaked, garbage swept, crime-infested ghetto, where you will never know if and when some thug is going to come up from behind and shoot you in the back because you’re prosperous, or well-dressed, or better educated.

Or just because they’re bored and have nothing better to do.

Just an added note:  many thanks to the good guys who picked up the Wanaque River Bridge mattress on the Hamburg Turnpike.  There’s still much work to be done, but we’re one step closer to preserving Pompton Lakes.

Published in: on August 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Innocents of Syria

On the one side, you have Syrian President Bashar Assad whose army is amply supplied with Cold War-era stockpiles of chemical weapons to fight the anti-government rebels, who are increasingly being led by al-Qaeda terrorists.  Assad has links to Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah.

In the middle, you have the women and children of the Damascus suburbs, dead.  Experts can’t confirm whether they died of exposure to sarin gas or to its antidote, atropine, a potentially poisonous compound.  Assad’s regime claims the casualties were in the hundreds only and targeted at small areas.  The rebels insist the casualties are in the thousands and that they have realistic-looking videos of children vomiting as a result of the poison gas.

Still, the Bergen Record took the conservative estimate by the activists at 130 dead.  On the front page is a picture of dead children lined up below a sidewalk in a Damascus suburb, their faces exposed so that their relatives can identify them.

Is this enough of a “red line” for Obama?  The temptation is to say we shouldn’t get involved; let them kill one another, as both sides are terrorists.  Ideally, the children (and their mothers) should be granted asylum in a more peaceful area of the Middle East.  Then, if the men of Syria want to wage war, let them.  But first let the children and their mothers go free.

That’s what Great Britain did in World War II; parents shipped their children out to the countryside, away from the bombings and the killing.  To their credit, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth kept their daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret with them in London.

All we can do is pray for the little ones of Syria.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Pompton Lakes: Fight the Blight!

Avalon Bay in Bloomingdale is open for business.  It’s ugly, it’s massive and with plans to sell the Meer Tract (Federal Hill) to the quarry company Tilcon, adding at least another 500 units, we will no longer recognize the town we grew up in.

Mom’s mad.  This wasn’t what she bargained for when she and Dad bought our house in August of 1961, 52 years ago.  Bloomingdale was a reasonably wholesome place to raise children, with quiet streets and virtually no crime.

As we pondered how the town council, the planning board, and the regional development goons could possibly have declared the property an “urban blight zone” when it had never been built on, when the last time the area was occupied, an encampment of Revolutionary War soldiers were pondering mutiny.

Brother A offered this explanation.  In a word, he said the problem was junk.  “People have been using it for a dumping site for years,” he explained.

Pompton Lakes, Bloomingdale’s neighbor, has seen what the redevelopment plan has done for the towns of Wanaque and Ringwood, especially the Haskell section of town.  In a word, it’s a filthy, garbage-strewn mess.  Ringwood is in the process of widening the sidewalks, per the Smart Growth plan, making the road narrower and more hazardous for cars.

Consequently, Pompton Lakes is starting to back off on its commitment to Smart Growth.  Only one side of Wanaque Avenue is now slated for “urban renewal” and its location next to the ever-flooding Wanaque River makes it in an inhospitable area for large-scale building.  The town already has rental apartment complexes within its borders.  Each of those six must conform to Affordable Housing standards.  Since the 2000 census, Pompton Lakes’ minority population has doubled – and so has its garbage.

In addition, the town has one major shopping mall with the A&P as the anchor store, five small strip malls, its main business district, and several fast-food franchises (Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks).  While no one wants to see Prohibition return, the empty bottles and cans end up in the underbrush, on homeowners’ and business properties, and sometimes right in the street.  Every morning finds a new flock of fast-food wrappers floating across the A &P parking lot.   But you have to get up pretty early in the morning to see it, because we’re fighting it.  If only some strong guys with a pick-up truck would remove that mattress from the bridge on the Hamburg Turnpike over the Wanaque River…

Blight is what the environmentalists, the EPA and Agenda 21ers want:  blight, garbage, filth.  Anything to tag the town as being an urban blight site.  Once the town has this label pinned on them – also for vacant properties and illegal dumping, like the mattress, and as happened in Bloomingdale – the Federal government can move on in and with a few Federal bucks bribes, take over the town and make it over in their utopian, one-party image.

They don’t want to see a pristine, well-kept suburban town.  The reason teens are part of the problem is they want to identify with hip urban street culture they hear about on their iPods and see on MTV.  They want to be urban cool.  The dirtier and grittier the streets, the better.  What teen wants to live in a town that looks like it popped right out of the 1950s, a white-breaded, wholesome, progressive, rock n’roll nightmare?

If someone didn’t pick up the pint bottles of Jack Daniels off of people’s front lawns and businesses, the pizza boxes, the ubiquitous water bottles, beer cans, fast-food trash, cigarette cartons and wrappers, bubble gum and candy, and the unusual items such as cast off wool hats, gloves, sneakers, syringes, a lost credit card, and even one dirty diaper (yuck), the town would be that Twilight Zone urban nightmare the teens and Agenda 21 wish to create.

The town encompasses all of 2 square miles, which makes the job of Cleaning Lady fairly easy.  Some people curse, others roll their others.  Some look like their ready to call the men in the white coats.  But mostly people honk, cheer, and express their gratitude.

It takes courage to do a socially unacceptable job.  But this is war.  We’re fighting for our town’s existence.  We don’t want to become Paterson, Wanaque, or Bloomingdale.  Most people don’t understand what’s really going on and what’s at stake.  Most have never even heard of Agenda 21 and don’t realize its goal is to destroy the right to own private property and force residence into high density housing, the kind that spawns crime, misery, and filth.  Some of the trash comes from automobile passengers.  But more of it comes from pedestrian traffic, the kind of traffic Agenda 21 advocates.  No cars stopped over Post Brook to drive cans and bottles into the thickets of the brush surrounding the brush at the Post Brook bridge on Ringwood Avenue.  It took a lot of effort to stuff that garbage in there.

Pompton Lakes has discovered that it really likes its town neat, clean and tidy.  They didn’t realize it, of course, until it was cleaned up.  There’s still Ringwood Avenue north of Willard Street to tackle, and the southern section of the Hamburg Turnpike.  Weather and prolonged unemployment have favored the clean-up activities.  Sept. 1st is Pompton Pride Day.  No doubt the litter bugs will go on one last binge to try to ruin it.  But the Cleaning Lady is indefatigable and determined.

If only someone or two with strong arms and a big truck would please help out and remove that awful mattress from the Wanaque River Bridge on the Hamburg Turnpike…. 

Fight the blight, Pompton Lakes.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Million Muslim March Against Truth

The American Political Action Committee is planning to hold a Million Muslim March in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2013.  The purpose is to demand “social justice” of the U.S. Government.  The Million Muslim March is planned for September 11, but the event has since been renamed.  The Million Muslim March’s organizer indicates that the event will now be called the “Million American March Against Fear,” and Isa Hodge says that the continued use of the original name is an attempt to rally people to oppose the demonstration.

Hodge claims, “They’re focusing on what it was [called] before February to continue the misinformation and fear that we’re trying to stop… It’s more sensational if they can put out there that it’s just Muslims going to dance on the graves of the 3,000 souls that were lost that day. That’s not what we’re doing.”

According to Hodge, the march isn’t about Islam in America — it’s more of a focus on civil liberties:

“I expect the numbers to be astronomical… I expect many anti-protesters, but they’re going to be pleasantly surprised, I think. We’re not going to be up there whining about civil rights violations of Muslims. There’s going to be a presentation on rights and events that affect the liberties of all Americans.”

If the intent in using the “Million Muslim March” name is to create party divides, it’s not completely working. Pennsylvania’s Williamsport Tea Party is involved with the march, and Nick Defonte of the group says any American who is pro-Constitution is on the right side in his book, according to the Inquistr.

AMPAC, is demanding “that laws be enacted protecting our 1st amendment. We are asking President Obama to fulfill his promise from his first campaign for Presidency of a transparent government. Lastly, we are asking for the release of the 9/11 commission report to the American people,” the event posting states on their website.

Hodge, AMPAC’s Chief of Operations, writes that Muslims and non-Muslims alike were traumatized by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, “but we as Muslims continue 12 years later to be victimized by being made the villains.

“Yet our Government either sits idly by and does nothing to protect our freedoms or it exacerbates the problem with its constant war on terrorism in Islamic countries, Congressional hearings on Islam in America, and its changes to the NDAA law.”

“These lies told to the American population has made it impossible for us to do true Dawa,” Ms. Hodge continues, referring to the practice of proselytizing or preaching Islam.

“It is time for us as Muslims in America to stop being defensive and start being proactive by using our right to vote and our freedom of assemble and let our voices be heard by our country and the world.  Stand with us; help us fight the injustices being committed against us.”

Mr. DeFonte may feel he’s being a good  American by defending American Muslims’ Constitutional, First Amendment right to practice their religion.  The trouble is, history isn’t exactly on their side.  Their judgment in choosing 9/11, the 12th Anniversary of the attacks of 2001 was poorly considered.  If this group is proselytizing in the name of Islam, their salesmanship leaves something to be desired.

Then, there is the violence in Egypt working against them.  The country is in turmoil because the secularist military/police state is battling the Muslim Brotherhood, who are rioting because the Muslim Brotherhood’s “democratically-elected” president was overthrown July 3 in a military coup.  The military declared that Egypt was a secular country and that they were honor-bound to protect the non-Muslim residents of the nation, particularly the Coptic Christians.  Hundreds of Christian churches have been destroyed and hundreds of Christians murdered or driven out of their country.

National Review Online’s Rich Lowry writes:

“For the first time in 1,600 years, they didn’t pray this past Sunday at the Virgin Mary and Anba Abraam monastery in a village in southern Egypt.

“Islamists firebombed and looted the monastery, which dates back to the fifth century. For good measure, they destroyed a church inside. They then announced that they would be converting the monastery into a mosque.

“Egypt is in the midst of an anti-Christian pogrom. Supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi are lashing out at the country’s Copts for the offense of being Christian in Egypt.  The militants have the same nihilistic spirit as the Taliban destroyers of the ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001, the same poisonous arguments as anti-Semitic propagandists in every time and every place, and the same sectarian intent as Slobodan Milosevic on the cusp of his ethnic-cleansing campaigns of the 1990s.”

With the 12th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks coming up next month, Americans need to ask themselves just what it means to practice Islam?  Prosletyzers of that faith certainly want to persuade us that Islam is a religion of peace and not believe the “lies” – unspecified – that we’re being told.

Aren’t hundreds of Christian churches in Egypt being burned down, their worshippers murdered?  Hasn’t Al-Qaeda threatened to target Jewish and Israeli interests and synagogues around the world?  Did the Taliban not blow up the Buddhist statues?  Have Muslims not committed honor killings right here in the United States?  Is Maj. Hassan not on trial in Texas for murdering 13 “infidels” at Fort Hood?  Do they really expect us to believe the nonsense that the Twin Towers were imploded from within (the ‘explosions’ witnesses claimed to hear was the air pressure exploding outward as the building ground its way down)?   Do the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda really believe it’s their mission to cleanse the Middle East of Jews and other infidels?  If so – and the prosletyzers say it is so, that it is America’s fault for “interfering” in Middle Eastern affairs – then why should we expect anything different from them?  Isn’t all they’re really telling us is that if we would just allow them to convert us peacefully, that they wouldn’t “have” to kill us? 

The First Amendment guarantees Muslims the right to practice their religion here in America.  It doesn’t guarantee them the right to force non-Muslims to do so.

 

 

Published in: on August 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Steve Jobs: The Lone Wolf for the Job

Just saw the movie, Jobs, about Apple Computer co-founder Steven Jobs.

Watching the film was a nostalgic trip through time back past the beginnings of personal computers.  I remember the days of code writing, when computers were still in the mainframe stage.  Engineers, scientists, and students were still using slide rules.  Monitors were still far in the future.   Work was done by typed-in code and printed out on a dot matrix printer.

IBM began making advances with its microprocessor, enabling faster calculations.  You could see the code you were typing on the monitor.  But you still had to type in code and you couldn’t see the finished product on the monitor.  Still, we secretaries in particular appreciated the technological product.

Then along came Jobs’ idea for the interface, which led to the creation of the Apple Lisa and, one year later, the Macintosh. He also played a role in introducing the LaserWriter, one of the first widely-available laser printers, to the market.

In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Though it was initially treated, he reported a hormone imbalance, underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and appeared progressively thinner as his health declined.  On medical leave for most of 2011, Jobs resigned in August that year, and was elected Chairman of the Board.  He died of respiratory arrest related to his tumor on Oct. 5, 2011.

Jobs’ birth parents met at the University of Wisconsin, where Jobs’ Syrian-born biological father, Abdulfattah “John” Jandali was a student, and later taught, and where his biological mother, Swiss-American Catholic Joanne Carole Schieble, was also a student. They were the same age because Jandali had received his PhD at an early age.  Jandali, who was teaching in Wisconsin when Jobs was born, said he had no choice but to put the baby up for adoption because his girlfriend’s family objected to their relationship.

Jobs was adopted at birth by Paul Reinhold Jobs and Clara Jobs an Armenia-American whose maiden name was Hagopian.  According to Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford, Schieble wanted Jobs to be adopted only by a college-graduate couple. Schieble learned that Clara Jobs hadn’t graduated from college and Paul Jobs had only attended high school, but signed final adoption papers after they promised her that the child would definitely be encouraged and supported to attend college. Later, when asked about his “adoptive parents,” Jobs replied emphatically that Paul and Clara Jobs “were my parents.”  He stated in his authorized biography that they “were my parents 1,0000 percent.”

The Jobs family moved from San Francisco to Mountain View, Calif., when Jobs was five years old.  The parents later adopted a daughter, Patty.  Paul worked as a mechanic and a carpenter, and taught his son rudimentary electronics and how to work with his hands.  Paul showed Steve how to work on electronics in the family garage, demonstrating to his son how to take apart and rebuild electronics such as radios and televisions. As a result, he became interested in and developed a hobby of technical tinkering.

Jobs then attended Cupertino Junior High and Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif.  At Homestead, Jobs became friends with Bill Fernandez, a neighbor who shared the same interests in electronics. Fernandez introduced Jobs to another, older computer whiz kid, Steve Wozniak, also known as “Woz.”  In 1969, Wozniak started building a little computer board with Fernandez that they named “The Cream Soda Computer”, which they showed to Jobs; he seemed really interested.  Wozniak has stated that they called it the Cream Soda Computer because he and Fernandez drank cream soda all the time whilst they worked on it and that he and Jobs had gone to the same high school, although they did not know each other there.

In late 1973, Jobs took a job as a technician at Atari, Inc.  Atari’s co-founder, Nolan Bushnell, described Jobs as “difficult but valuable,” pointing out that “he was very often the smartest guy in the room, and he would let people know that.”  Jobs travelled to India in mid-1974 to visit Neem Karoli Baba at his Kainchi Ashram with a Reed College friend (and, later, an early Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of spiritual enlightenment. When they got to the Neem Karoli ashram, it was almost deserted as Neem Karoli Baba had died in September 1973. Then they made a long trek up a dry riverbed to an ashram of Hariakhan Baba. In India, they spent a lot of time on bus rides from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh and back, then up to Himalchal Pradesh and back.

Jobs began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Wozniak in 1975.  He greatly admired Edwin H. Land, the inventor of instant photography and founder of Polaroid Corporation, and would explicitly model his own career after that of Land’s.

In 1976, Wozniak single-handedly invented the Apple I computer. After Wozniak showed it to Jobs, who suggested that they sell it, they and Ronald Wayne formed Apple Computer in the garage of Jobs’ parents’ home. Wayne stayed only a short time, leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the primary co-founders of the company. They received funding from a then-semi-retired Intel product-marketing manager and engineer Mike Markkula.

While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic director for Apple, some of his employees from that time described him as an erratic and temperamental manager. Disappointing sales caused a deterioration in Jobs’ working relationship with Sculley, whom he had wooed away from Pepsi to serve as Apple’s CEO, which devolved into a power struggle between the two.  Jobs kept meetings running past midnight, sent out lengthy faxes, then called new meetings at 7 a.m.

Sculley learned that Jobs—who believed Sculley to be “bad for Apple” and the wrong person to lead the company—had been attempting to organize a boardroom coup, and on May 24, 1985, called a board meeting to resolve the matter.  Apple’s board of directors sided with Sculley and removed Jobs from his managerial duties as head of the Macintosh division.  With no duties and exiled from the rest of the company to an otherwise-empty building, Jobs stopped coming to work. After unsuccessfully applying to fly on the Space Shuttle as a civilian astronaut, and briefly considering starting a computer company in the Soviet Union, he resigned from Apple five months later.

Ashton Kutcher stars as a wolfish, arrogant, ruthless but brilliant Jobs.  Actor Josh Gad plays high schoolish friend Wozniak, the computer genius who had been fiddling with a computer that could be hooked up to a monitor.

Kutchner doesn’t walk so much as lope through the film with a calculating gleam in his eye,  his vision for a computer the average person – rather the average computer geek – can use.  Jobs was famous for his very bad temper and Kutchner holds nothing back, which may come as a shock to the generations of Macintosh lovers who revere Jobs for his vision and his user-friendly computer.  There are many debates over which is better:  the IBM computer and its many offshoots (Dell, Hewlett Packard, etc.), many of which, like Wang, fell by the wayside.

Jobs’ impersonal, callous manner alienated associates, friends, and employees and sadly, he didn’t seem to care.  In the film, when his girlfriend, Chris-Ann, discovers she’s pregnant, he denies paternity, even in the face of absolute evidence.  The child, Lisa, writes him when she’s six or seven to ask if she can come to see him.  He names one of his new computer systems after her, the Lisa.  But like his relationship with her (or non-relationship, in this case), the computer fails to please, particularly its business users (I used the Lisa system at a company I worked at; we were not happy with it, finding it confusing).

No matter how difficult he is, no matter how cold, oblivious, or angry he was, there was no denying that his products, the Apple and Macintosh, were wildly successful computers.  When Bill Gates steals Jobs’ idea for the interface to use in his Microsoft products, Jobs threatens him with lawsuits and ruination.  The Microsoft products were popular with business end-users.  But the IBM-style computers simply couldn’t match the Apple’s power or storage capacity.  For designers and video game fans, Apple was the last word in graphics-based computers.  Apple was faster and in the video world is everything.

Today’s IBM style computers can handle the graphics.  But their accelerator cards are enormous and the CPU towers are gigantic.  Jobs came back to Apple in 1998, after a series of CEOs practically ran the company into the ground through mismanagement, particularly in trying to market to the Microsoft-dominated corporate world.  The scenes of his maneuver to get his company back is worth the price of admission alone.

Although Jobs earned only $1 a year as CEO of Apple, Jobs held 5.426 million Apple shares worth $2.1 billion, as well as 138 million shares in Disney (which he received in exchange for Disney’s acquisition of Pixar) worth $4.4 billion. Jobs quipped that the $1 per annum he was paid by Apple was based on attending one meeting for 50 cents while the other 50 cents was based on his performance. Forbes estimated his net wealth at $8.3 billion in 2010, making him the 42nd-wealthiest American.  Did we mention that Jobs was very, very smart?  In the film, you can practically see the gears turning in Jobs’ head as he lopes along one of the hallways in his building.

In 2001, Jobs was granted stock options in the amount of 7.5 million shares of Apple with an exercise price of $18.30.  It was alleged that the options had been backdate, and that the exercise price should have been $21.10. It was further alleged that Jobs had thereby incurred taxable income of $20 million that he did not report, and that Apple overstated its earnings by that same amount. As a result, Jobs potentially faced a number of criminal charges and civil penalties. The case was the subject of active criminal and civil government investigations, though an independent internal Apple investigation completed on Dec. 29, 2006, found that Jobs was unaware of these issues and that the options granted to him were returned without being exercised in 2003.

In 1996, Apple announced that it would buy Jobs’ company, NeXT (which he formed after leaving Apple in 1985) for $427 million. The deal was finalized in late 1996, bringing Jobs back to the company he co-founded. Jobs became de facto chief after then-CEO Gil Amelio was ousted in July 1997. He was formally named interim chief executive in September.  In March 1998, to concentrate Apple’s efforts on returning to profitability, Jobs terminated a number of projects, such as Newton (a good move), Cyberdog, and OpenDoc.  In the coming months, many employees developed a fear of encountering Jobs while riding in the elevator, “afraid that they might not have a job when the doors opened.”  The reality was that Jobs’ summary executions were rare, but a handful of victims was enough to terrorize a whole company.” Jobs also changed the licensing program for Macintosh clones, making it too costly for the manufacturers to continue making machines.

The movie begins – and ends – with Jobs introducing the next innovation – the iPod – in 2001.  The iPad  would follow.

Kutchner is a scary figure as the temperamental, egotistical, perfectionist terror of Apple Computers.  In an economy where jobs (small letter “j”) are teetering on the brink, audiences might not feel comfortable with Jobs’ notion of quality and perfectionism.  So demanding is he, that at a party for one of Apple’s many successes, he walks right through the celebrating throng of employees and without shaking a hand or thanking a single one of them, tells them to get back to work and heads for his office.

Working at Apple was not for everyone, not even its co-founder Wozniak, who feels Jobs has lost his touch for the common people for whom he said he was making his computer.  Seeing the film Jobs may not be for everyone, either.  It’s said not to be doing well at the box office, which would be ironic given the popularity of his computer and his contributions as an innovator.

Creative, innovative people often are not team players. Jobs’ social skills are nil, although after Wozniak leaves, he gets back in touch with Chris-Ann and his daughter Lisa.  He has another child, a son.  Jobs may not have been a social butterfly, but he had an appreciation for innovative, creative employees.  Those who had a vision for Apple had no fear of getting on the elevator with Jobs.

Modern audiences may not feel comfortable trying to face up to Jobs’ work ethic.  His people skills may have needed some tweaking.  But he and Wozniak built one heck of a computer.

Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment