Saturday, June 30, 2012

My take on the court's ruling

People much more knowledgeable than I have analyzed the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare and have voiced their uncertainty on the effect it will have on the law and on the upcoming election.

We all should remember the corrption and bribery that were needed to gain passage of the law--without a single vote to spare.  Many of the most vocal supporters of Obamacare were  rewarded with waivers and other favors.  Since then waivers have been granted to every thing from certain states to AARP and strip clubs in Nancy Pelosi's district.  Congress enacted a law that will force some companies out of business while leave many of Obama's friends free of those costs and penalties associated with the act.

Before the court's ruling it was generally believed that the mandate, forcing individuals  to buy insurance or pay a fine, was unconstitutional because Congress claimed authority under the commerce clause .Under
 the Obama interpretation of the  clause, Americans could be forced to do anything, such as buying health insurance, or not allowed to do anything as harmless as planting turnip greens.

While the court allowed the mandate to buy insurance to remain as a tax, the court did rule that the commerce clause does not give absolute control of a  person's every activity to the administration.  That at least is a victory.. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

A tale of cockleburrs and a cow's tail

Cockleburrs (or burdock) with their loops and hooks inspired the Frenchman to invent velcro, and that's a good thing, but being swatted in he face by a cow's tail  full of cockleburrs is a bad thing. Take it from me, who had that experience often while milking.  Cockleburrs didn't grow in the pasture but they loved soybean fields and came into their own in the fall.  While foraging in the fields the cows would gather the burrs in their tails and bring them in when coming to be milked.

I can still remember as if it was last week that the cow I was milking had an especially heavey  load of cockleburrs in her tail, which she kept swinging at my face.  Finally I couldn;t take it any more; I separated the hairs of her tail and tied it to her right hind leg.  I milked her in safety for a few minutes but then whap--she had jerked her tail free and gave me the hardest blow I had ever received.  I recovered enough to finish milking despite a bruised and scratched face. At the time I had never seen or heard of velcro.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We say goodbye to Snip

After all crops were gathered we opened up the fields to the livestock, allowing connection to the pastures.  The cows we were milking would show up at the cow pen but other stock, cows and horses, might not come near the house for days at a time.  We had not seen Snip for two or three days and went to the farther side of the fields looking for him.

When we found Snip he was on  his side, unable to get to his feet.  He had tried so long trying to get up that he had made a ditch that circled him.  He was very weak but nickered  a greeting to us when we got to him.  To  end his suffering we had to end his life as much as it pained us.

Dad said that Grandma had purchased Snip to be a buggy horse, but she got accustomed to riding in a car and Snip became a plow horse.  He walked very fast and as a small kid plowing I had to run to keep up with him.  I remember joining with Snip in laying by corn for six days straight.  I plowed all day and all night in my dreams.  Snip was about 26 years old when he died.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yes, it is hot, hot, hot but could be worse

Unbearable is not adequate to describe the heat we are suffering through this June.  What will July and August bring?  I walked only from my car  to Brookshires and had difficulty breathing.  I feel for the people in Morgan City whose power plant caught fire and had to be shut down, leaving everyone to stand the heat without the aid of air conditioning or fan.

We can emphasize with them.  We returned from a vacation trip two summers ago to find our compressor was shot.  We were saved by friends who loaned us mobile air conditioners until we got a new one installed

Complaining about the weather is a given right, but on a more serious note let us pray for those who are being moved from their homes because of forest fires in the west or flooding in the southeast.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Surprise -- (Shreveport) Times supports Keystone

The Times in an editorial today supports permitting the construction of the Keystone Pipeline to go forward and  urges Obama to stop opposing it.  The Times lists the benefits the pipeline would bring and finds the reason for opposing its construction to be without any merit.  Obama is acting for political reasons alone.

Canada has this supply of oil and needs to sell it and the United States would benefit in improved national security as well as the creation of jobs.

Is this the first time the Times has been even mildly critical of Obama?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Compton won't be the last

Compton, Calif. is laying off employees in an effort to avoid going bankrupt, but whether this can save the city is yet to be determined.  More cities and other  political subdivisions have similar problems and  do not know how to solve them.

Several times, going back more than a year ago, I predicted this would happen, the principal cause of their predicament -- too generous retirement plans.  Compton is paying retired workers the money needed for the workers filling the necessary jobs.

I hate to say "I told you so," but in January of 2011  I headlined one post, "Have Unions and Cowardly Politicians Brought Us to Our Knees?"   The article  mentioned that   Detroit  was considering closing half its schools in order to give in to union demands for generous pensions and early retirement. Camden, N.J. was considering laying off half its policemen and firemen because it pays so much in pensions.

Elected officials must make tough choices.  Let's see how many have courage to do so.

Fresh Water a premium onboard ship

The USS Pickens most of the time could convert enough sea water to fresh to meet the needs of the crew. When loaded with troops, however, rationing was enforced. This usually meant  that fresh water was turned on in the showers for about 15 minutes every four hours.  We were to use just enough water to get wet, soap up, and use just enough water to get the soap off.  The result was that we usually showered in ocean water. If  an individual was caught using more water than allowed he could serve time in the brig. 

When we were serving as part of the "magic carpet" and were loaded with 1800 soldiers or Marines, the trip back home would begin with our passengers not using much water, but as we got nearer to San Francisco, their use of water increased leaving little for the crew.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fast, furious, deceptive and criminal

When Obama invoked executive privilege he elevated the Fast and Furious operation from an apparent screw-up to something sinister and its cover-up to possibly criminal wrong-doing by high officials, including the attorney general and the president himself;

For 18 months Congress has tried to find out how an operation of providing military weapons to Mexican cartels and other vicious criminals could have taken place. Attorney General Holder has stone walled, equivicated, pled ignorance and downright lied to keep Congress and the American people from knowledge of who initiated such an evil program which led to the murder of at least one border agent.

The president, by his declaration of executive privilege, has put the White House squarely on the side of  protecting those responsible and by implication involves the White House in criminal activity.  If the president and Holder were not only innocent but ignorant of  supplying weapons to gangsters why refuse to cooperate with Congress and bring the truth to light?  I find it impossible to believe  that top officials are not guilty of crime.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Turnip Greens vs. Mustard greens

I was craving greens several days ago and my wife responded by cooking three bunches of mustard greens. Since I am the only greens eater in the family now that was just a little over-reaching.  Mustard or turnip, most people call them all turnip greens, and you either like them a lot or can't stand them.

Tastes change.  When I was a youngster I hated them.  One Saturday as we were returning home after sawing wood all day, my dad said, "I'm so hungry tonight I could eat turnip greens."  I was surprised that I felt the same way, but sometime greens became one of my favorite vegetables

As I said, tastes change. One reason is that children have more sensitive taste buds; as we get older we require stronger flavors.  My youngest sister was a picky eater as a child.  If  she had a choice among three vegetables, she would pick one and that's all she would eat.  That's why my mother was shocked when her daughter came home from LSU, with a girl friend, and at the supper table asked "where are the turnip greens."   She had never eaten greens at home but had developed a taste for them while at school.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Battle for Okinawa ends

Today is the anniversary of the official ending of the battle for Okinawa, the bloodiest and the final battle of the war in the Pacific.  Losses to suicide planes and the fierce fighting on the ground had President Truman and military leaders giving second thought to the planned invasion of  the Japanese mainland. The decision was made to drop the atom bomb, which led to Japan's surrender.

Our ship, the USS Pickens, had done its job, including rescuing  survivors from three ships, and had returned to Saipan. In June we set sail for Noumea, New Caliedonia, a French possession in the South Pacific. I wrote  about my experience on the island on my blog two years ago, which in summary was that one  third of the crew operated the ship, one third went on liberty and one third  took care of the drunks, which was everyone on liberty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jessica recovering from operation

Jessica had cysts removed from her wrists in an operation Wednesday morning.  Jessica and River returned to Baton Rouge Tuesday night and Jen accompanied them to be with Jessica.  Jen expects to return Thursday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There's much to be angry about

An  early sometimes reader of my blog remarked that I seemed to sound angry all the time.  I was surprised because most of my early  posts had been about humorous happenings during my childhood and at school. When my daughter established the blog I intended to enjoy it and write my thoughts without worrying whether anyone else found them entertaining or worthwhile.

As time passed I began to talk about my time in the navy, mostly about experiences aboard the USS Pickens. This resulted in being contacted by sons of former shipmates.  Still later I began to comment on political affairs.  Now I feel that I have a responsibility to inform about the Great Depression and warn that similar failed government programs could have similar results, causing much hardship.  Students are not exposed to much history today.  How many know that the Roosevelt administration had six million pigs killed and destroyed while people went hungry and milk poured down the drain while children were deprived of milk?  Few people alive today remember that but I do, and I do get angry as I see this government advocate policies that are totally wrong.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pickens shipmate heard from

I've just heard from a family member of Rankin "Tip" Tippins, a former shipmate on the USS Pickens.  He was a signalman,  lives in Michigan, and is 88 years old.  I will send him a picture of the soon as I have his address.

WPA vs. PWA -- both failures

With predictions of a depressed economy, super-heated inflation, soaring unemployment, collapsing stock market, and riots in the streets, many people, including me, are recalling the programs the federal government tried during the so-called Great Depression.

A question I have long had but have only recently asked is what was the difference between the Works Projects Administration and the Project Works Administration.  Both were the Obama stimulus of that  era.

The PWA came in 1934  with 3.3 billion dollars and was to focus on large national projects including roads and bridges. All the money was spent by 1935 and many of the projects were not completed for many years.  The WPA was launched in 1935 and was supposed to help communities with local projects. It not only built roads and bridges but was to  support artistic and cultural activities.  Both agencies had the ultimate purpose of creating jobs.  Jobs  did happen  and some projects were helpful, but employment in the private sector, from which the federal government had to obtain financial support, continued to worsen.

The depression affected everyone, including children of that time who are the only people living today who remember it.  I will tell about some of my memories at times but today I am repeating a story I posted last July.
                                            DELLA COMES HOME

When the bank failed to open its doors that black Monday in 1932, the entire proceeds of the cotton crop were lost.  Daddy was forced to sell cows, pigs and everything we could spare, including our best  mule, Della.

Farm youngsters form attachments to horses and mules and even some cows, and Della was more than an acquaintance -- she was a friend.  When she was sold,  I, a six-year-old, couldn't understand, and I was broken-hearted.

It was several weeks later that a mule came running through our yard and to the lot gate.  Yes, it was Della.  She had run along shighways, across roads and woods and made her way ovser 15 miles to the place she had known as home. I screamed, "Della came home.  Della came home." My joy was soon smashed to bits as I learned she would have to be   returned to her buyer.

For some weeks I lived with the hope that Della would come home again, but, of course she did not and I mourned for her a long time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy birthday, Jessica

Today is Jessica's birthday.  Twenty-two years ago she entered this world as my Father's Day present, a present that continues to give everyday.  She will be home this weekend and will preach at Christ United Methodist Church Sunday.

I have a difficult time remembering birthdays unless they come on or near a holiday.  I know that my sister Ruth has a birthday this month but have forgotten the day.  If she is reading this, Happy birthday, Ruth!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Six with scarlet fever long ago

Scarlet fever.  Those two words  once caused terror in the minds of parents and children alike before the development of antibiotics. Picture this -- six boys and girls in one family afflicted with this dreadful disease.  That was us when I was in the sixth grade.  Eunice, being older, escaped the disease which struck the rest of us, me on down to JereLyn, the baby.

I don't know who diagnosed the disease because the only doctor we saw was from the health department posting a sign on the door which might have as well said  "Condemned."  Not only could we not have visitors, we could not go to school, church or the grocery store.  We scratched and suffered but the worst hurt was being treated as criminals and outcasts.

When I returned to school, my classmates crowded into a corner of the room as far from me as they could get.  The teacher asked if it was true that my little sister had had scarlet fever.I confessed, "I had it."  Students began to run and scream.  The teacher allowed me to make up my missed work, but Eunice probably missed being grammar school valedictorian.  A time I almost forgot and with I had.

June 14 is Flag Day

Just a reminder, fly your flag today, and remember we still have Americans risking their lives this country we love.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More than one way to get a new pastor

Methodists fill their pulpits by assigning pastors to the churches.  At the recent annual conference Tom Howe was re-assigned as pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, which was pleasing to both parties.

Southern Baptist churches act independently, acquiring their pastors by approval of the individual congregation.  When a church is without a pastor, the former pastor having left for some reason such as being called by a larger church, the vacant pulpit is filled by interviewing candidates and hearing them preach. An offer is then made and negotiations begin.

Sometimes a pastor wants to leave and sometimes a congregation grows weary  of their minister and decides to seek a replacement.  I remember when a church was having a prayer meeting, involving not only adults but children.  One boy voiced a prayer concluding with "and help Brother Brown find a new church."  Word was out all over town in a few hours.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Will Obama bring us zero net worth?

Net worth of Americans has declined about 40 per cent in three years, according to government sources.

The Federal Reserve says median  wealth declined from $126,000 in 2007 to $77,000 in 2010.  If Obama is re-elected, will median net worth decline to zero or below?

What's with these school principals?

We had barely time to be disgusted with the way a high school principal had treated Gerald Molen, producer of Schindler's List, when we read about the principal of a   kindergarten banning the singing of a patriotic song.
These are not the first times nor will they be the last that principals of schools rule against patriotism, religion and conservatism. 

Molen had been invited to address the graduating class of a high school in Montana and had traveled 90 miles to the school when the principal dis-invited him because Molen " is a right wing conservative."

A kindergarten in Coney Island  had been practicing songs for a graduation program when the principal forbade the singing of "God bless the USA"  She replaced it with a song by Justin Bieber.

Nothing unusual -- just the way things are going in our schools today, from kindergarten to college.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What is happening to me?

For the second time in my life I have become a hermit.  Maybe that is too strong a word  for my lack of activity, but while I get up early in the morning I do little more than sit all day and in the same chair.  If I could only garden or do any outside work I would be all right, but my heart and injuries limit me. 

When I was in the naval hospital at San Diego I had goals that when met were victories.  First, I wanted to hold the medicine on my stomach and avoid an IV every four hours. This accomplished I next moved from a room into the ward where I had company.  I considered it a huge victory when I first was able to leave the hospital for the grounds and the ship store.

But then I lost interest in leaving the ward.  I became so lazy I let someone bring me my food tray.  Then I came to my senses, recognizing that while I was not a recluse in that I enjoyed  other people, I had become satisfied with my inactive life and feared what lay ahead.  I changed abruptly and demanded that I be discharged immediately from the hospital.  I refused to listen to urgings that I wait a few more weeks.  Not knowing what faced me I left and a few days later I was on the way to join the crew of USS Pickens.

That's the type of resolve I need now.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Who won? I know it wasn't I

I don't remember what game Miss Shelby had the fifth grade playing during recess, but like most of ones she had us play it was boys against the girls.  Boys were lined on one side and girls opposite and a girl and I were in between battling over a rag on the ground.  The girl grabbed and I grabbed; she caught the rag and I caught the hem of her dress and jerked up. The teacher's face turned red and everyone laughed except me.

I wish some of these long ago forgotten memories would stay forgotten/

Many students wasting taxpayer money.

Pell grant money squandered; student loans never to be repaid; six years of riotous living; no diploma.  That is the story for colleges across America but for some the record is so miserable it is almost impossible to believe. An article listing the 11 schools with the poorest performing students reveals that any where from one-third to 60 per cent of the students received Pell grants. (By the way, the school with the worst performance is Southern University of New Orleans.  Only four per cent of those students earn a degree in six years.)  From college some will go on welfare, food stamps and medicaid.

The Pell grant program has been corrupt from the beginning.  Supposedly to make it possible for poor children to attend college, it bases its awards on some bewildering  formula.  A student with outstanding academic performance and from a poor family may not even be considered while a student with poor academic standing will get a grant.  In many cases that student will also get a student loan, spend lavishly and fail his studies miserably.

Under Louisiana's TOPS scholarship program, a student must have shown by the grades earned that he or she is capable of college work.  A single misstep can force the student off the program.

I can understand a student needing six years to complete a four-year program.  Many must work full or part-time while pursuing a degree.  Some even have a family to support while they seek to improve themselves and hopefully gain a higher standard of living.  Pell grant  students should be required to make passing grades and complete a minimum number of credit hours.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day Normandy 68 years ago

So many wars, so many battles, we can't remember to commemorate them all, but we don't forget to remember the invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944.  That invasion by the Allies, mostly Americans, led to victory over Germany and the liberation of Europe.

The invasion was no surprise to Nazi Germany.  Their military knew it was coming and had prepared but did not know where the landings were to take place.  Resistance was fierce and victory for the Allies was in doubt for a time.  Hard fought battles lay ahead before Germany would surrender.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We meet an old friend

Whether the annual conference of the Methodist Church is getting important things done or not, it gave the opportunity for Jen and I to visit with an old friend, Paula, along with her husband, Ralph Ford, who is a district superintendent.  Paula and Jen were two of four secretaries at the Louisiana Department of Commerce and Industry when I worked there.  It was a pleasure to renew our acquaintance and remember some of the other people we worked with.  That the women could be separated for about 39 years and still get a thrill at visiting each other proves how strong a friendship they enjoyed.  I was like a fifth wheel, but I managed to steal one of the girls away.

Left or right leg first

My left hip is weak and tends to collapse so I wondered if I supported my left side against the bed or chair and insereded my right leg in my pants first, I could then stand on the right leg and insert my left leg.  I tried only to find that not only was this awkward  but seemed unnatural. I attempted this several times but it felt so strange I gave it up.

Have I always put my pants on this way, left leg first?  I don't have an answer because I have never given it a thought before.  Do other people dress the same way every time?  Does my being right handed affect the way I dress?  What about you? 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I have no answers

I am sorry but I cannot solve the economic and unemployment woes afflicting  this nation.  Friday was one hell of a  day  -- official unemployment was announced as 8.2 per cent (it is really 15 per cent); job growth was almost non-existent, and the Dow Jones average dropped 275 points.  The market losses of the last several days wiped out all gains of the year.

There are actions that could be taken to create jobs; I have pointed out some  several times.  They include repealing all EPA regulations of the Obama administration; fully develop our fossil energy resources; do away with the energy czar; reduce the corporate tax rate from the present 35 down to 15.

The Obama administration is philosophically committed to government control of every facet of civilian life and thus is unable to allow the private sector to heal and begin hiring. Expect nothing but harm from government until and unless Obama and the Democrat senate are voted out.

But here is the really bad news. I am afraid that no matter who we put in office he or they will be unable to restore the nation to health.  We must cut spending and every reduction of entitlement programs will be fiercely opposed by those affected.  Yet, the bitter truth is that those programs must be cut and cut to the extent they are painful if this nation can avoid becoming another Greece.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How is your bank?

Financial troubles at some of our largest banks have been well publicized, but they are not the only ones that are struggling.  I get information, unsought, from sources that indicate that a number of banks could fail.  One  financial adviser gives a rating if D-plus or lower to 30 banks with assets of 25 billion dollars or more.

June offers no relief from heat, drouth

May has come and gone, leaving us with the feeling that a spring month has been stolen from us. The poem says April showers bring May flowers but this year the showers were few and our weather has been dry and hot.  In this area our two best months for comfortable climate are usually May and October.  The weather is neither too hot or too cool.

I have this memory of my childhood -- that May 3l is pleasant for working in the fields but June l is hot, hot. Of course school was out at the end of May and part time work became full time. June was an important month for the crops.  Dad used to say that one inch of rain every week during the month was perfect for the cotton and corn. This is starting out  to be our third dry, hot summer.  Last year I gave up on the lawn, letting the St. Augustine battle the drouth, fungus and crab grass.