Monday, October 31, 2011

This is what I think is a sad story, Jessica

Jessica told me that she had caught up with stories on my blog and was unhappy that my stories appear to end happily at first but then turn sad..  She gave an example of the mule we sold who found its way back home giving a child joy, only to be saddened when the mule had to be returned to the buyer. 

I said that I decided long ago that if I ever wrote my biography I would ignore the really unhappy times. For example, I explained, I could relate things that happened in the second half of the first grade when I had a teacher that hated me.  Once we had a childish assignment, drawing lines connecting words with pictures.  (At the time I had read books like "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Don Quixote.)  When we were done she told us to erase all lines and do it again.  My pencil eraser was no good and it tore the paper.  I gave up and drew lines all across the paper.  She ridiculed and  punished me.  She got in the final blow when we turned in our readers; I had to pay the cost to buy a new book when the one I had been issued didn't have a back, was torn, and was written in. My parents learned that teachers did this to supplement their salary.

Yes, we can supply all our energy needs

It is foolish now for anyone to argue that the United States does not have enough energy to meet all its needs. In addition to enormous amounts of natural gas, oil exists in shale and other formations and already the percent of our petroleum being imported has declined. 

Until oil production is sufficiently  increased in the coming decade, we will continue to import oil.  However, we can pay for that oil by exporting liquified petroleum gas.  A facility in South Louisiana once used for importing liquified gas can be converted for exporting.  At present much natural gas is being wasted.

While  national unemployment remains above nine per cent Louisiana has a much lower rate of 6.9.  Much of our success is owed to the oil and gas industry.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Homer Municiapal Improvements 1968

As promised I will try to remember some of the municipal improvements that led to being named Mayor of the Year.  Obviously, some projects that culminated in 1968 were begun months and sometimes years earlier and required much effort and determination to complete. Here goes, relying on my memory:

Improvements to water system including miles of 12-inch water line; 500,000 gallons of elevated storage; 500,000 gallons of ground level storage; automation of entire system, resulting in lowering of fire insurance rates.

Added generating capacity to  light plant and modernized  the  distribution system.

Airport built to FAA standards.  First to be built in Louisiana with matching FAA and state funds.

Adoption of new hospital plan that included town paying for all employees with  workers given opportunity to cover their families.

Located new industry employing 100 workers.

Saved an industry that employed more than 200.  This was done by extending large water line to plant and providing fire protection.

Researched all ordinances adopted since 1850; eliminated conflicts and duplications; printed ordinances and   included in a loose leaf book where any new ordinances would be added.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Obama gets taxpayers to influence votes for him

Obama has campaigned and  fund raised across the country at the expense of taxpayers so it is no surprise that he is committing tax payer money in an attempt to buy votes.  First,  he  announced a financial benefit for those who borrowed more money than they could afford and are now stuck with a home that is worth less than they paid for it. How many millions will that cost tax payers?

Next, in an effort to woo the youth vote, he proposes extra benefits in the student loan program.  Already liberalized, the program now would reduce to l0 per cent of earnings that would be required  for the student to pay annually, and after 20 years the loan would be forgiven.  It is possible under this plan for a student to borrow $200,000 and pay back only l0 per cent of that with taxpayers being stuck with the remainder.

Many students borrow only the minimum they need and make every effort to repay the  loan after graduation. Many people are familiar with so-called students borrowing an excessive amount, living it up in college, and never graduating and never intending to re-pay the loan.  This program is ripe for changes, but not like Obama is planning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More about my political service in Homer

I had friends who worked for the Town of Homer and I knew the previous officials instituted a pay policy that was a financial hardship.  Employees who were paid once a month were not paid until the fifth day of the next month.  This meant they worked a month and  five days before getting paid for the previous month. 

I moved to pay them on the last day of  the month. I wanted to change pay periods to twice a month but the clerk said that could not be done because the town's revenue came from the light and water department, and those bills went out once a month.  I don't remember if we ever converted to twice a month pay periods.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On seeing my plaque for mayor of year

A few days ago I ran across a plaque that commemorated me being named Mayor of the Year for 1968.  I don't know where the plaque had been nor why it surfaced but it caused me to remember some of the many accomplishments for Homer that year.  In the future I will list those I remember.

There's another question I should answer first. Why the heck was I mayor in the first place?  After all, I was editor of the local newspaper, thus a member of the "Fourth Estate" and responsible to represent the people and keep government honest.  Six years before some Jaycees who had become interested in politics wanted to run for town council, but they would run only if I would.  I finally acceded and was the leading vote getter. One of the Jaycees was one of the five elected.  I served as finance chairman and deputy mayor. Two years later I had determined not to run for re-election but was pressured by businessmen and town leaders to run for mayor.  I won and two years later was unopposed for mayor for a four-year term.  I had attended council meetings for years as editor and had seen how inefficient two-year terms were so we left it to the voters and they approved a change to four years.  I'll have more to say later.

Yes, Donald, our leaders are stupid

I have to agree with Donald Trump -- how could this country's so-called leaders knuckle in to Iraq and bring all our troops home, leaving the second largest oil reserve in the world to the probable control of Iran and off limits to us?

Not only our economy but our national security is threatened.  Of course, if Obama and the Democrats would allow development of our domestic energy resources we could be self-sufficient in energy and create perhaps a million or more jobs.  I have been calling for this for longer than 18 months.  Now, more and more politicians are joining energy companies and businesses in pointing our that we have enormous reserves of energy, especially natural gas.  Obama would rather spend billions on alternate energy projects which create few if any permanent jobs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A couple of things I hate

I hate easy opening packages.  I don't mean I hate packages that open easily; I hate packages that say they are easy opening but I can't open.  Most of the time I give up and take a knife or scissors and start cutting and chopping.  They open but then they don't close very well. 

Another thing I hate is the stand-alone mirror in our bedroom.   Some years ago a neighbor having an estate sale gave that mirror to my daughter, then a teenager.  Of course, there was no suitable place for it so it wound up standing awkwardly in our bedroom.  It faces the door so there's no way I can avoid coming face to face with it and being reminded how I an getting older day by day.  Sure, there is a mirror over the dresser and one in the bathroom, but I can avoid them most of the time and they only reveal part of me.

I am given copy of King James bible.

Today at church I was gifted with a beautiful King James bible in large print.  This entire year is being observed as the 400th anniversary of this most famous and endeared English translation of the bible Many versions have been published since then and it seems that more translations are coming almost weekly, but the King James, or the Revised Standard Version, are the ones most familiar to me and other elderly people.

I have spent only moments reading in my new bible but it is so familiar to me that it is comforting.  I have no problem with new and, in come cases, more accurate,  translations, but I think it is silly to make changes in such familiar passages as, for example, John 3:16 and the 23rd psalm that we recited in our childhood/

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My experience with chewing tobacco

While spending this nation into bankruptcy, Congress ( actually four  Democrat senators)  found time to push professional baseball to ban use of tobacco products by players.  The idea is that thousands of kids will take up chewing tobacco because a player is seen using it.  Tobacco is still legal, is it not?

I coached and managed many boys in American Legion baseball and to my knowledge not one was tempted to use tobacco.  I agree that chewing tobacco and dipping snuff are disgusting but one of my fond baseball memories is of Nellie Fox standing in the batter's box, shifting a big wad  from jaw to jaw while he wiggled his behind and his bat.

I chewed tobacco once, and by once I mean one time.  I was six years old, riding the school bus, when I was given a piece cut from a plug.  I put it in my mouth and out it came; I spit right on a grown girl's nice white skirt.  She slapped me so hard  I fell over.  I've never had chewing tobacco in my mouth since.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can a vampire quit sucking blood?

Can the government stop spending more than it takes in?  What happened to all this talk about austerity?
The US Treasury reports that the Obama administration was responsible for spending 3.6 trillion dollars in fiscal year 2011. During  the same period the government took in 2.3 trillion, resulting in a deficit of  1.3 trillion.  Government officials talk and talk about spending cuts while spending more and more.  We had deficits before Obama but  they increased tremendously the past three years. Unless the government reduces spending, and drastically,  we are headed to a condition like that of Greece.

Monday, October 17, 2011

and He tells me I am His own

                                     And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
                                     And He tells me I am His own; 
                                     And the joy we share as we tarry there,
                                     None other has ever known.

 The church staff  appears to be following through on the request for members to recommend favorite hymns with that so loved "In the Garden" and the rousing "Standing on the Promises" being included yesterday morning. Jen had requested "In the Garden."

While people love the old hymns some church functionaries seem to want them forgotten.  Several years ago as the Methodist Hymnal was being updated, some committee members agitated to take out "In the Garden." They failed. The late famous Lewis Grizzard  wrote about attending a service at his Presbyterian Church at which none of his favorite old hymns were song.  Later he attended a Methodist Church where he knew none of the songs.  This column, he said, got more response than any other he had written, and he was supported by people who love the old hymns.

Pastor Tom Howe preached on getting re-aquainted with your first love; in other words regaining the excitement of your first experience of  allowing Jesus Christ into your heart.  Old hymns are popular because they make us feel closer to Christ.  The song "In the Garden"  is so loved that it has been listened to millions of times on You Tube and has been recorded by a number of famous artists.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Attended my first quarterly conference Thursday night

I have been a Methodist all my life but never attended a quarterly conference before and probably will not find it necessary to do so again.  However, daughter Jessica was present to ask the congregation to approve her as she starts on the long road to becoming ordained.  She was approved  unanimously by written ballot, as expected because members have known her since she was a baby.  Laying on hands while the district superintendent said a prayer was impressive.  She must now appear before the district and address persons who do not know her.

The pastor of a  large Baptist church in Dallas has started a religious and political argument, something I hate. He has criticized Mormons and Roman Catholics.  Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics have carried on a bitter discussion on Tiger Droppings, which has grown to 337 comments.  So much of their disagreements are due to ignorance of both denominations and nothing good comes of this

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shame on you Mr. Obama

Shortly after  taking office Obama embarrassed the nation  by going around the world and apologizing for the United States.  Now, according to some linked cables, we learn that he wanted to apologize to Japan for the  Unites States using the  atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.   This is  an insult to World War II veterans whose lives were saved by dropping the bombs and forcing Japan to surrender.

My ship, the USS Pickens, was in San Francisco loading on troops and materiel in preparation for invading Japan  when the bombs were dropped.  We had been told to expect casualties to be very high, and having seen the effectiveness of suicide planes at Okinawa, we could understand.   Hundreds of thousands of American lives would have been lost and Japanese casualties would have been even greater had  the bombs  not been dropped. Even though Obama's attempted apology  took place in 2009, I am angry that this president thinks my life and that of others who would have invaded Japan should have been  sacrificed. I have opposed many of Obama's policies but it has never been personal.  I take this personally.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christie endorses Mitt Romney for president

This note should be attached to my remarks on the presidential debate.  Gov. Christie is not Ronald Reagan but he is the first Republican since Reagan to make matters clear in a few words and make you wonder why no one else has done so.

Christie said he is involved because the nation cannot survive four more years of Obama. He called out Obama for his campaign of dividing haves and have-nots.  Obama is preaching that the pie (economy) is limited and the only way persons in need can get what they want is to take it from the haves.  Republicans believe the pie is not limited and can grow, providing more for everyone.

Iran must pay and right away

Iran has committed war against the United States by planning to bomb the Isreali and Saudi embassies and assassinate the ambassadors in Washington D.C. How dare the Iranians top leadership dare such an attack! Had this attack been successful the United States would have been damaged at home and across the world.  Iran must be made to pay.  Action should be taken as soon as possible.

Moderators -- let's discuss the economy tonight

I hope the Republican debate tonight will be a serious discussion of what the candidates will do, if elected, to create jobs and restore our nation's economy.   In all previous debates, the moderators have preferred what  Gingrich called "gotcha questions," trying to stir up arguments between candidates about matters that are not important to most citizens.  I hope that  there will be no more about Romney's health plan in Massachusetts and Perry's college tuition for aliens.  Ask this question -- What should be done right now to put people to work? What will you do as president  and what will you do with Congress to rebuild our economy?  Let this debate be on the economy.  We will need a separate one later on foreign policy.

Green energy jobs cost too doggone much

Obama administration, stung by the Solyndra scandal, praised the green jobs program, boasting that 17.2 billion dollars spent on green energy has created 3545 jobs.  I take no responsibility for the math but some have answered by calculating that, using the government provided figures, each job cost $4,853,000.  Wow. You could employ several times that many and pay them to dig and fill holes and accomplish more.

I have written before that Obama's love affair with green energy and his stated opposition to coal and oil and gas is dangerous and could cost billions   of dollars and millions of jobs.  "The Hill," trying to make Obama's green goals look better, says 30 billion dollars have gone to green energy and 70,000 permanent jobs have been created.  My math is shaky but I come up with a cost of $428, 570 per job.  A few more programs with similar results and the country will be bankrupt with unemployment even worse than it is now.

The government is too involved in rewarding some actions and penalizing others.  One example, taking taxpayer money to bribe car buyers with 15 thousand dollars to buy the unpopular Volt.  I know that certain programs have a noble purpose, including encouraging home ownership, but I am more convinced that we would be better off if we let the market and the people act without being rewarded or punished for their decisions.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Some childhood memories

                    He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
                    O words with heav' nly comfort fraught!
                    What e'er I do, where 'er I be,
                    Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

As we sang the old and familiar hymn "He leadeth me" at church this morning,  for a moment I was a child again, transported to McIntire Methodist Church and Paul Cassells was leading this song.  Paul was the kind of person who made you feel good when he was around.

Now mentioning Paul I am reminded of when I was five or six Grandma Lowe put me up to asking him, "Paul, are you going to marry Molly?"  He answered, "Roy, I aim to do that very thing." I told Peggy that at our family reunion in August.

what's a parent to do about failing schools?

My five children are out of Caddo parish's failing schools, but I have grandkids attending schools in Bossier.  While Bossier parish school system gets a grade of C, not all schools are passing.  Schools my grandchildren are attending, Plantation Park and Rusheon, get a grade of D-minus.

I am not interested in finding blame but I charge the state and  parish school officials to find the problems and fix them.  We cannot go  on depriving our young people of a decent education,.

Just for the heck of it I checked the scores of schools my four sons and my daughter attended.  All attended Forest Hill, rate C-, and Ridgewood, which drew a D-.  Four attended Southwood, now D-, and the other attended Caddo Magnet, rated A-. Unless the school is a total failure, the dedicated student with helpful parents can overcome and acquire a passable education, but he or she will suffer in comparison to the student attending the better school. 

In my estimation the most important grades are kindergarten and first grade.  That it where the child learns to read and learns to enjoy reading.  Some teachers are not interested and some parents are unable to help their  child or refuse to take the time.

Friday, October 7, 2011

USS Pickens completes her service

After leaving Panama we crossed the gulf and proceeded up the east coast to Norfolk. There, we were in the Hampton Roads area, the world's largest naval base.  Most of the people still on board were, like me, young, single, and awaiting that notice of the place and time of our discharge.

We had few watches to stand but we had duties as we prepared the ship for decommissioning.  Our work during the day was highly unpleasant, chipping off rust and removing asbestos deep in the bowels of the ship. The masks we were issued helped very little to keep the dust out of noses and mouths, and we were covered in dust at the end of the day.

Decommissioning was completed April 12, and the Pickens was re-delivered to the United States Maritime Commission April 18.  On May 1 her name was struck from the Navy list.  In 1970 she was  with the National Defense Reserve Fleet, laid up at the  James River berthing area. Her fate after that, I do not know.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just some unpleasnt facts about this nations spending

Did you know that in the time Obama has been president, your household's share of the national debt has increased by $35,835?  And President Obama wants to spend billions more in his so-called jobs program that is nothing more than a political ploy.  He knows the Democrats cannot accept his plan but after it fails passage he wants to say he offered a program that would create millions of jobs but the Republicans refused to pass it and are responsible for the high joblessness.

Millions are  either inefficiently or fraudulently spent with companies supposedly developing alternate energy sources.  The Obama administration, not fazed by losing 535 million dollars to Solyndra, was prepared to invest or lend another 469 million.

Obama is now campaigning on a bus tour being financed by taxpayers.   Michelle is back from a vacation trip that set taxpayers back round a half billion dollars.  Meanwhile, more than one million persons lost their jobs in September while the president could have saved many of these jobs by eliminating some job-killing regulations of the EPA.

Education gets bad grade as expected

Yes, the grade of D earned by school systems in Northwest Louisiana was  no surprise; we've gotten accustomed to our schools failing miserably, but we keep hoping for improvement.  As usual, Bossier fared the best, getting a grade of C.  Schools are given numerical scores from 9 to 200, with in our area the lowest being 66 for Caddo and the highest Bossier's 102.  The state of Louisiana as a whole got a grade of C.

I am not attempting to fix blame, but this bad performance year after year is disheartening.  Some have offered their solution  --  quit testing and give everyone a passing grade.  The problem is we have to compete in the world, and students in most industrialized countries do much better than we do.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pickens leaves Colon and begins her final voyage

Did the USS Pickens have a feeling that this would be her last voyage as she steamed away from Colon toward New Port News and Norfolk that morning in March, 1945?  We members of the crew, who had done service only  in the South Pacific, were excited about entering the  Atlantic and visiting the east coast.  But we were most excited that this would be our last voyage before gaining enough points for discharge and re-entering civilian life.  The war officially ended September 2, 1945, so we had put in our "duration and six months."

As we steamed across the Gulf of Mexico and past Louisiana, I remember thinking that this was the nearest to home I had been since I enlisted in the navy.  I had not received  any leave time, not after boot camp or radar school or when we were in San Francisco.  As we sailed around Florida the voice of Eddy Arnold came over our radio, singing one of his country songs.  On we went, expecting nothing but good and happy things to come.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do cows appreciate Shakespeare?

Did they enjoy it when I quoted MacBeth --"Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand, Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still..."  Or would they have preferred a recital of Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard," or perhaps "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," or even Poe's "Annabel Lee?"  You've heard of contented cows and playing music to  them while they are being milked; yet it never occurred to me that when I  repeated "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its petty pace from day to day" that I might be influencing milk production.

No matter your age you remember having to memorize and then recite in class poems and soliloquies from plays, especially those written by Shakespeare.  If you are like me you still remember a few lines but that's it, a few lines, as from Hamlet about all I can recall is "Poor Yorick, I knew him well."  I can do a little better with MacBeth but despite having studied Henry V in the last 15 years, I can recite none of it.

It would be called multitasking now but it was just expected when I was in school.  I would have selections to learn and chores to do so I did them at the same time, mouthing Shakespeare out loud while milking the cows. I never gave a thought to what the cows thought about it.  Perhaps, it would be worth a federal grant to study whether reading poetry to cows increases their milk production.  Surely, the funds could come from those billions going to build solar panels and other alternative energy projects..