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Today. 9/11

I am sitting in my living room.  The house is quiet, the kids have all gone to school.  A light breeze blows through the open window next to me, while the sun shines in a bright blue sky this morning.

I still feel it.  It never goes away, not after 11 years.  It was a morning like this, that tragedy, aggression, and, quite frankly, an act of war was perpetrated on this country.  The memories are haunting to me.  I remember with striking clarity the events of that day, and the days after.   I have never visited Ground Zero, or the memorial site, not that I don’t want to,  I have just never had the money to travel to see it.

It is incongruous, sitting here, it’s a bright sunny September day, and it feels out of place.  It’s like this day is completely locked in to those horrific scenes from New York.  Even more so, it happened on  Tuesday, my day off from my Computer Technician job that I had at the time.

The TV specials that will air tonight, and probably throughout the week, bring home every memory, which are still as vivid in my mind now, as it was on the day it happened.

America changed that day.  We all saw it, we all remember it.

Now, those changes have changed again.  This America that we have today, is not as united as we were in the aftermath of 9/11.  We are divided among party lines, among class lines, and among racial lines as well.   We are a country that is hurting in ways that will not heal overnight.   But, someone has to bring the healing in order for that to happen.   The agents of divisiveness are the ones that are out there now, claiming to be the “healers”.

We walk through the morass that this country has become on some levels, a growing dependency culture, millions unemployed, optimism at an all time low… and we have an Administration, that is trying to tell us that this excrement sandwich that they are trying to feed us, is roast beef, and we should pick it up and enjoy it.

On this 11th Anniversary of 9/11.  I sit and remember America.  My country. Our Country.  The nation of people that have adapted, and overcame throughout history.  We are the American People.

We don’t belong to Government.  They belong to us, and it’s high time they are reminded of that.

This our Country built by those who have come before, from every corner of this earth.

This is a country of people.  Of Free Citizens, of self determination, and a desire to not only succeed, but excel.

I am tired of those who wish to apologize for, or try to minimize our greatness.  Our greatness as a country was earned.  Not given.  It was earned through the blood, sweat, toil and sacrifice of 230 years  of people just wanting better for themselves  and for others as well.

This is America, in all it’s stunning imperfection.  I love my country, and it’s people.

I don’t get it.

The absolute gushing over Clinton that occurred last night during his speech.  I watched.  I wondered.  I laughed.

Not at the speech, as riddled as it was with inaccuracies, distortions, and not a few lies, because we have heard that all before.  It was the gushing that was on Facebook, my Twitter feed, and, visible among the audience.

And then, there was this little gem from ABC’s Rick Klein, posted on Twitter.

______________________________________________

What is with this garbage?  First of all, my fifth grade daughter can write better than that, and so can my sixth grade son, and he would have used more stirring imgery.   I don’t get the fawning, the absolute sycophancy (is that even a word?) from the media and others on the left.  After the speeches at the RNC, there was praise and similar reaction from the right, but I don’t recall reading anything like the above.  That’s not praise, that is starry-eyed-teenage-girl-infatuation-puppy love type reaction.  That’s the kind of thing a seventh grade girl writes about One Direction.   (note, the above tweet has been removed from Mr. Klein’s timeline….just sayin’)

Predictably, Chris Matthews, he of the “thrill” up his leg, gave us this semi-obscene, and strange little tidbit:
MSNBC's Chris Matthews
“I always figured that if Bill Clinton landed on Mars. He would know how to do it with them. He would know how to reproduce,” Matthews said. “He would know everything. He would just instinctively know how to talk to people. They would be laughing in about five minutes. The Martians.

What the hell is that about? Between the the thrill up his leg, and his vision of Bill Clinton reproducing with Martians, I think Chris Matthews has finally gone ’round the bend. I don’t even want to dissect, analyze, or even discuss that bit….I think we would be probing areas of his mind that are better left unprobed.

And then, there is the semi-orgasmic offerings from quite a few women around the Twitter verse as well, at the hashtag #veganfox. (Apparently Mr. Clinton has decided to be a Vegan…. okay… whatever) I came away from that hashtag feeling like a voyeur outside of someone’s bedroom.

Camera shots out to the audience, that were enraptured by his living organism of a speech, showed more than a few women with the bedroom eyes turned on.  All of those independent, strong, feminist, “I’ll-never-be-held-back-by-a-man”, women were looking like they were going to be leaving wet spots on their seats……

Nothing, however, will compare to tonight, when the Left’s very own “Messiah” takes the stage, and accepts the Democrat nomination for President.

The reaction to the speech, may require towels.

Friday will be full of more airy, pseudo-poetic, sycophantic ravings about Mr. Obama’s speech, as the left wing media will try and remind us, that President Teleprompter is indeed a great orator.

Like I said.

Get the towels.

H/T’s…

Twitchy Team for the Rick Klein Tweet

Washington Examiner for the Chris Matthews quote

“Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values.”

As I watched Condeleeza Rice last night, that line stuck in my mind.  In fact, I kept thinking about it while I was working last night, and then catching up on Twitter and my other news feeds.

During the perusal of my RSS last night, that line echoed in my head as I came across a photo of a “Code Pink” protester dressed as a female body part, and holding a sign that said “Abortion on demand”.  The juxtaposition of that image, and Ms. Rice’s speech showed just how stark the contrast is between those who believe in this country, and those who don’t.

I saw some more photos this morning, all taken at the convention.  Ann Romney, Janna Ryan, Condi Rice, Mia Love, as well as a few others.   These women are proof of the line from Ms. Rice’s speech, and again, I contrasted these photos, showing strong, intelligent, graceful, and even beautiful women with the photo of the protester dressed as a, well, you know……

One group of photos showed accomplishment, achievement, intelligence, generosity, and purpose.

The other photo showed “gimme, gimme, gimme”.

There is no other way, in this country to get anywhere.  You go as far as you allow yourself. You go as far as the effort you put into your life takes you. But, that is something that is falling on deaf ears with many in this country. We have gotten to a point where success, any kind of success, is vilified, demonized, and even, if some had their way, criminalized.

I saw another picture. It was of one of the Occupy Movement protesters, holding a sign that said “What about me?” And then, I looked at my wall, and there was a photo of my dad.  Dad worked hard. Dad demanded that we work hard.  Dad guided us, and filled us with the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, decency, faith in God, and faith in our abilities.  Dad was a manager, a firefighter, and then Fire Chief, he was also a small business owner.  Dad could burn the midnight oil like nobody else, get up the next day, and do it all again.  I remember the times when I was a petulant teenage know-it-all challenging any value he held, and remember being shown, not told, how I was wrong in my self-righteous and self absorbed beliefs.  I was shown  the example Dad showed and lived.  See, he didn’t tell me, or my brothers and sister, he showed us.

So, with that image in my mind, I see this clean cut college student, smart phone in hand, back pack on his back, with the logo of a popular computer manufacturer on it, doing his best to look like he is down and out, holding a sign that said “What about me?”

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

You have to.

I need.

Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Entitlement abounds.  People, especially young people, not only want, but demand that things be given to them at the expense of others.  And when someone dares to speak about how that isn’t going to be, the speech is met with viciousness.  Not disagreement, no. Viciousness. Verbal attacks calling for the destruction, death, or injury of the speaker. If that speaker just happens to be a “person of color”, the attacks are even worse.  It’s not fringe lunatics doing this either.  It’s the mainstream.  Actors, Actresses, “news” anchors, commentators on national networks. This isn’t disagreement, this is hatred.  It is “You either agree with me, or face the consequences”.

This is where we are at.

We live in a society that is more than ever before, lazy, self indulgent, demanding, and amoral.  We are at the precipice.

We are at the cusp of a future that can either lead us back, or take us out.

It’s not just about the President we elect either.  It starts, or ends, with the decision that is made in November.  It is going to take more than a Presidential election, or even gubernatorial, Congress, or Senatorial.  Those are all starting points.  The changes, the real changes have to come from the people.  We have to start pushing back against the tide of corruption, ignorance, immorality, decay, debauchery, and destruction that this society has become. We, as a people, have to pick up the standard of values, and start carrying them.

We have to be like my Dad.  We have to show, not tell.  Dad did things for people without any other consideration, beyond the fact that they were a person who needed something. We don’t have to do big productions, we don’t have to call attention to calling for a moral shift.  We just have to act. When we act in the small ways, eventually, it changes the big things. We start, by teaching these things to our kids.

This is the future of the United States of America. Romney and Ryan can set the course, we must steer the ship. It’s not enough to have jobs and prosperity.  We have to show what this country has always been about, we have to live the values, not just talk about them.  It may seem impossible, but,  we must make it inevitable.

Jesus told us to “be the light of the world” and a “city on the hill”.  That we must do.  Whatever your faith, it is what we must do.  We must bring this country back, not only in the economic, and leadership sense, but as a society of values.

It can’t be any other way.

“Gaffe”  A word heard quite often, especially during a Presidential campaign. Sometimes, after long days and weeks on the road, candidates say something silly.  Other times, their true colors are revealed, and then sometimes, they speak, and say something that manages to make people angry, and make headlines.

Example: Todd Akin.

Todd Akin was asked, during an interview with KTVI-TV,  about “abortion in the case of rape or incest” and he said:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

“legitimate rape” are the two words that will go down as the words that potentially doomed, but definitely derailed, a campaign.  I have no idea where he got the whole “has a way to shut that down” idiocy from.  I can understand a gaffe, but, this wasn’t a gaffe. Akin’s remarks smack as uninformed, and uneducated.  Precisely how the left views most pro-life conservatives, and his remark played right into their hands.

Now, we are dealing with a totally derailed GOP message.  We have gone from “Jobs, Economy, Energy” to “Abortion and rape”.  This fits in the Left’s “War on Women” meme (I hate that word) that they have been pushing for the last few months.  Even Sandra Fluke is getting mileage out of this, and is coordinating with Barack Obama on an email that will continue to lump all of us Conservatives, and Republicans into the same box, under the “War on Women” meme (again, I hate that word)

Right now, we have lost the message.  The Romney campaign dodged this whole mess by condemning Akin’s remarks. If they hadn’t, or had remained silent for more than 10 minutes on it, the media would be spinning Romney into this.  Not that they haven’t tried, but, had Romney’s campaign remained silent, the media spin would have been more damaging. By condemning the remarks, Romney did put some distance between his campaign and Todd Akin’s stupidity.

However, that isn’t going to last very long. The longer Akin is in the race, the more likely it is that it will do damage (how much, remains to be seen) to the Romney campaign. Right now, the focus is off of the real issues, and on to this stupid sideshow.  It’s where the Obama campaign wants the focus, and actually needs the focus to be. They need it off of Medicare, Obamacare, jobs, unemployment, gas prices, energy in general, national security, and any other actual issue that he has a poor record on.  Right now, Romney and Ryan are still out there spreading their message, in an effort to keep the focus where it needs to be.  That can’t last if this Akin business persists. Eventually they are going to have to answer to it as well, even though their condemnation of his remarks have pretty much made it clear.  The Left is trying to tie this into Paul Ryan as well, and the more it stays out there, the more likely it is.

The other part of this is the usual “If a Democrat had said this he would have gotten a pass”.  Yes, a Democrat would have.  Get over it.  We need to stop complaining about the “unfairness” in media reporting.  it’s deliberate.  We know that.  Now stop.   We are never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to get a fair shot from the media. Ever.  Stop complaining.  Right now, we have a problem.  We have a candidate who failed us. Something needs to be done. Right now, this idiot, and his remarks are taking up news cycle after news cycle, and drowning out the real message that Romney/Ryan are trying to get out there.

I am not saying that our chances of winning in November are ruined.  What I am saying, is the longer this plays, the more the focus is taken off of the real issues.  We can’t have that.  This country cannot afford it.  We can not have the terms “legitimate rape” be the defining terms of this presidential election, not when so much is at stake. We need to define the terms of this election, we cannot let the Left define them for us.  However, when a remark such as Akin’s is made, we have lost the battle for definition, and are on the defensive….Again.

Todd Akin has to go.

From everything I have read, he doesn’t want to.  A PPP Poll released yesterday shows him up over Claire McCaskill by 1 point.  It was a poll that had a Republican sample that was 9% larger, and thereby seems to have skewed the results, in an effort, it would seem, to convince Akin he still has a chance.  He ruined his chances with a remark that was woefully uninformed and, ignorant.

Todd Akin needs to be convinced that the best thing for him to do is to get out of the race.  However, the public spectacle that would ensue if he doesn’t get out, and the GOP, or someone, sues to have him removed, would also serve to damage our efforts.  Trying to run a 3rd candidate would only guarantee MacCaskill gets another term.  It’s not a good situation, and the best thing for him to do, is to decide to get out, and let the damage get repaired.  His selfish intrasigence will only serve to make matters worse.

“Watch your mouth”

Words that my father and mother always used to speak (or shout) when one of us kids’ vocabulary wandered into “off color” territory.

Those words should also apply to political candidates.

Todd Akin should have, this past weekend, at least ordered his thoughts before speaking.  His remarks were out of line, and completely ill-informed.  When one wishes to speak on a subject, one should had least have some knowledge of that subject.

Unfortunately, knowledge escaped Mr. Akin.

Once remarks like his hit the airwaves, no explanation, no matter how reasonable, or, truthful, is going to bring those words back, nor change the interpreted meaning.  Note that I said “interpreted meaning”. In many cases, especially things said during a political campaign, people hear what they want, as opposed to what is being said.  Akin’s remarks just fed into the “war on women” narrative, being waged by Left. However, in his case, his remarks needed little interpretation.

What Mr. Akin should have said, in response to that reporter’s question was: “I am pro-life. Next question please”, or, “That’s a decision between a woman and her doctor, abortion in the case of rape, incest should be on a case by case basis”  The first response would have put the the Left in to it’s usual response mode, decrying all Republicans as “anti-woman” and etc.  But, at least the answer would have been un-ambiguous, and pretty much benign, and therefore, of limited value to the pro abortion crowd.  The second response would have gotten a negative reaction from many pro-lifers, but, since it is such a touchy issue, the response would have been muddled at best, and not approaching “outrage” levels.

Unfortunately, Mr. Akin did neither.  He said something, that in his mind probably sounded reasonable and well thought out. After he spoke, it sounded so off key, and out of line, it couldn’t help but garner the reaction that it did.

So, now, amid calls for Mr. Akin to step down, this campaign has now become about abortion, and women’s rights. Mr. Akin has just handed the Democrats something to run with, something they will use to overshadow the economic issues that are the most important thing going on right now.

“See, Republicans HATE women.”

I can hear it now. There is nothing like using a moral/social issue to trump the economic ones that Romney has been beating up Barack Obama with over the last week. Especially one that inflames passions on both sides.  The Romney campaign, in a move that absolutely reeked of wisdom, condemned Mr. Akin’s remarks, and moved on, thereby distancing themselves from the problem.  For if Romeny were to embroil his campaign in this Missouri Mis-step(right into it) it would have completely taken the focus off of the major issues, and focused it completely on a sideshow.  The Obama campaign, however, would love the focus to stay right there, because it plays into their hands, and they can get a ton of mileage out of this and the “war on women”.  They can use it to steer the narrative, and keep it, (and voter’s minds) off the economic, energy, and employment issues that are really the central issues.  Not only that, it gives every floundering Democrat a lifeline to grab on to.

Mr. Akin, please step down.

Seriously. It’s time to go.  We need the focus off of you, and on the economy.  You are not showing “courage and determination” by staying in the race, you are showing that you don’t get what you said, and how much damage it has done.

In a sane world, explaining what you really meant, along with an apology probably would have cleared things up for some people However, this is not a sane world. This is politics.

A presidential election year, no less.

Something like this has consequences, especially when the stakes are this high.

Sorry, Mr. Akin, but, really, it’s time to go.

Gun Control.

When you get right down to it, it is an argument that is probably never going to end.

Before I get into it. I am pro gun, and I am pro 2nd Amendment.  If I had the money, I would probably own some firearms. A good friend of mine has a pair of M1 Garands that I covet…(The WWII historian in me….)

Whenever there is a mass shooting, such as the Aurora, CO. theatre, or the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the folks  on both sides of the debate, step into the spotlight.  I keep hearing both sides, and in listening to their arguments, it is truly an “all or nothing” fight.  Pro gun Advocates will not budge from “shall not be infringed” and the Anti-Gun zealots will not budge from “ban all guns everywhere”.

I often wonder, and I have debated with friends, and family, if there could ever be such a thing as “reasonable restrictions” on gun purchases, etc.  (I shudder to even use the word “restriction” here) When that subject comes up, one must begin to think:  “What constitutes reasonable”?

Is there even such a thing?

Both sides of the argument say “No” in the loudest voices possible.

So, I set out to explore, theorize, think about, whatever, would constitute a “reasonable” restriction.  Here in Illinois, one is required to register with the State Police, and obtain a Firearm owner’s Identification Card (or FOID) before purchasing a firearm.  Most other states do not require such.  In Illinois, one is also subject to a criminal background check before being allowed to purchase a weapon.  I have heard that these restrictions, if you want to call them that, are considered “reasonable” because it doesn’t “infringe” on ownership, it just forces you to wait a few days. (Which, when you think about it is an infringement). The logic behind that line of thinking goes something like this: If we force would-be gun owners to wait a few days, someone who is purchasing a gun to commit a crime, might change their mind, while waiting for their gun.  First of all, most criminals obtain guns illegally in the first place. So, the “reasonable” criteria went out the window on that one.

The more I thought about what constitutes “reasonable” would be considered “restrictive” by the pro-gun crowd, and “not restrictive enough” by the anti-gun crowd.

My friend, the M1 Garand owner is very much in favor of Concealed Carry. Something most gun-hating liberals froth at the mouth over when they hear those words.  I am in favor of CC as well.  I simply think it’s a good idea. So, when thinking about what constitutes “reasonable”, I began to trip over the same thing: What one would consider reasonable, both sides of the argument are not going to agree to, because it either restricts, or isn’t restrictive enough.

There seems to be no compromise on this issue, and even, in my own mind, I struggle to compromise.  A “common sense” approach? Who is going to define what is “common sense” when it comes to gun ownership. I have thought that, perhaps a mandatory training class on the use, and storage of the weapon, perhaps held by one’s local police department.  I mean, “common sense” would tell one, that if one buys a firearm, then one should be trained in its use, storage and cleaning,  A mandatory shooting class, perhaps?  Perhaps one that would teach the new gun owner how to load, sight, and fire. But, then, anyone that I know that has bought a gun, the first thing they do is learn how to use it, and take courses on how to use it in defense of their home and family.  So, making such a thing mandatory might be seen as “too restrictive”, in addition to redundant. And, the anti-gun folks would think something like that would be beyond crazy, because if you teach someone to use a weapon…they might use it. Or, they would want the class to focus on making  its use as difficult as possible. Also, according my friend, most, if not all gun shops offer beginners courses on firearm ownership, safety, firing, cleaning, etc. It would be up to the gun purchaser to sign up for those classes.

The gun argument, if anything, is more emotional, than it is logical, especially from the anti-gun crowd.  Both sides use statistics, numbers, and other arguments to persuade, and trot out emotional charged anecdotes to make their cases.  Unfortunately the anti-gun crowd fails miserably in this realm, because they trot out the same tired old stories.  In my mind, an armed person, who knows what they are doing, can be a deterrent to a criminal, or other individual who wishes to do harm.  Criminals like to live as well, and most of them are not going to take unnecessary chances, none of them want to face down their would be victim, or victims if they are armed.  The anti-gun crowd doesn’t think so.  They think one more armed person is going to add to the problem.  Or, even worse, that the criminal will take, and use the gun against the person trying to defend themselves.

So, as I think about things further, I begin to realize, that in all honesty, there is no solution. And, there probably shouldn’t be. The main problem in this society, is not the guns. It’s the people. It’s the lack of respect for life.  The lack of morality. The lack of respect for right and wrong. And, the need, for whatever reason, to meet any slight, either real, or perceived, with deadly force.  The real problem, lies within us.  I know, from my long experience as a 9-1-1 Operator and fire fighter, there are always going to be violent, hateful, destructive people, who are going to prey on society as a whole, or those they perceive as weaker, or more vulnerable than the rest, and because of that, having the right, and ability to defend oneself is a necessity.

The other thing I also realize, that the anti-gun crowd is not interested in protecting rights, or anything like that.  They just want to disarm us, because, in their convoluted logic, that makes for a safer society.  However, real logic would dictate that our society would be anything but.

The conclusion I have come to is that there really isn’t a reasonable solution to this argument, or, maybe  the way things are, is perfectly reasonable.  Some people in our society can’t live with that.

 

Chicken, and Free Speech

The whole “Chick-Fil-A” thing this past twenty four hours was not about gay marriage, contrary to what some want to believe, or some would want you to believe.

It was about Freedom of Speech.

In it’s simplest form, that’s what it was about. It was about showing support for the one right we have that probably matters the most.  The right to express an opinion without fear of prosecution, persecution, censure, or any other kind of binding restriction.

Why were the people there?  They can’t all be intolerant-Christian-anti-gay-bigots, can they? Because, as we all (are supposed to) know, Chick-Fil-A is run by a bunch of intolerant, hateful people…….. you know the drill.  Anyone who comes out in disagreement with anything the Left says, is a hateful, intolerant bigot.

Well, the Left, those people who are full of love, and charity and kindness, and most of all “tolerance” would like you to believe that.  The twitterverse was alive with tweets from those tolerant people, wishing death, disease and diarrhea on those “Christian bigots’ who were enjoying their chicken sandwiches, and waffle fries. I find the use of “Christian” and “bigot” in the same phrase by people whose very lives are defined by bigotry of the worst kind, quite ironic.

Anyway.  The issue at hand was not gay marriage, or gay rights, or what have you.  In fact, let me go on record as saying, I really don’t care who you sleep with. It really doesn’t matter to me.  However, the militant, gay activist left seems to want to make it my business, and make it matter to me.

The real issue at hand was freedom of speech, and the reason for the huge turnout at these restaurants, was not a repudiation of gays and their desire to be married, it was about people being fed up with a bunch of bullies trying to silence someone who voices their opinion, an opinion that they are entitled to.  There were people from all walks of life at the restaurants, eating chicken to show support for the freedoms that matter to all of us.

Sorry, progfail lefties. Your attempt to silence a person, and demonize their business failed miserably, because by and large, Americans, despite the disparity of our beliefs,  like to be able to speak our mind without being punished by those who think they know better than the rest of us.

The statement that was made today showed that Americans simply are not going to tolerate this kind of infringement on our freedoms.  The statement was not made by conservatives, or Christians, or bigots, or racists… it was made by Americans.  People sick and tired of groups of people, as well as a government that think they can dictate what we should be thinking.

The environment.

A subject sure to inflame passions just as much as politics or religion these days. In some ways, however, it is intertwined with both, because, for some, the Environment is a religion…

The left wants to rid us of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and any other form of energy that they don’t deem as being “green”.  The right wants oil independence, developing energy sources within this country, because that will create jobs, grow the economy, and reduce costs of everything.  It will bring prosperity to more people, and more prosperity is a good thing.

So, the left cries “No! We must think of the environment” Oil is bad, it spills, in contaminates, it fouls the air we breathe.  Spent nuclear fuel can poison a large area for generations. Coal poisons the air we breathe…. and it goes on, and on.

The right cries “Yes!” We must think of future generations, and our own independence, we must provide a stable, secure nation for our children to grow up in”. Oil is good, we have invented many things that use oil, and the derivatives we gain from refining it, it is efficient, and readily available.  Coal is abundant, it is also efficient at producing electricity, and we need cheap electricity.  Spent nuclear fuel can be safely stored for generations, where, if properly done is poses little or no risk……

And the argument goes on.

Both sides, in their own minds, are right about this.  Both sides deem their desires rational, by the standards they set for themselves.

Let’s take another look at things…. from a “common sense” standpoint.  From the view of a regular American guy, with a family, who is smart enough to understand a few things.

The Left wants solar, wind, and bio fuels.  The Right wants oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.  The left wants fuel efficient hybrid cars, perhaps, mandated by the government.  The Right also wants fuel efficient cars, and they also want to leave the choice of what we drive up to us.

Reduce, Recylce, Reuse… make “Gaia” happy.  Please Mother Earth.

In the Bible, God gave man dominion over the earth, and all of its creatures, plants, and birds of the air. (See Genesis 1) But he also commanded man to be a “good steward” of the earth, and to take care of it.

So, in all of this rancor surrounding the “environment” I decided I would ask some questions, and try and find the answers, and see what kind of energy makes sense for the planet.

On a recent road trip to go photograph trains with my kids, we were driving west on I-88 on our way to a town called Rochelle, IL. Along the way, I happened to notice a wind turbine farm had sprouted up, since I was last out that way (about 4 years ago). I had never seen a wind turbine outside of photos, so I was impressed with the size. The wind farm itself, had a surreal look about it. It was odd to see so many huge three-bladed propellers (or would they be “impellers” since the wind drives them, and not the other way around?) so high above the ground.  The wind farm stretched as far as the eye could see. My kids (10 and 11) began to ask questiosn about how they work, how much electrcity they produce, and etc.  Which got me to thinking.  How much do they produce, and how efficient is it?  In addition to that, I couldn’t help but notice that the wind farm took an awful lot of farm land out of commission.  I could see the old barns and silos, on what had obviously been a farm, prior to becoming what it is now.  That got me wondering about land use, and the effect large numbers of these wind farms could have on farm productivity…. So, I when I got home I cracked open the laptop, and began looking.

After reading various web pages, and blogs, as well as forums and such.  I came away from the whole thing, thinking that there isn’t much in the way of rational thinking when it comes to the energy debate, especially from the Left.

As a “regular guy” who, like millions of others, works, and raises a family, I want, and need energy prices to be affordable. What are we supposed to do? Operate like Pakistan where they practice “Load shedding”? “Load Shedding” is a practice where power is turned off to large portions of various cities, to insure enough electricity for is available for “vital” functions. This is usually done for 8-12 hours a day, and its “rolling” so the same place isn’t affected every day.  If this nation goes down the path of relying solely on “renewable” energy, and continues the shuttering of coal fired power plants, that is where we will be.  Of course, I am sure the Washington, and Hollywood “elites” wouldn’t have to suffer through such a thing, should that come to pass.

The simple truth is: What we have now, works.  You want your renewable energy?  Fine.  From a common sense standpoint, it would assist in making our current resources last longer. But, don’t try and force it on the rest of us as a “solution” for something that isn’t broken.    If an individual feels the need to go “all solar” for their home, then, more power to them, so long as they foot the bill.  (Currently, a solar panel large enough to generate enough power to run everything in an average home runs about 16,000.00 for a 285 square foot panel)

So far, all I have seen from the left, and from the President, are hugely expensive, fantasy-type solutions, that are simply going to cost the average citizen more money. It’s not a “solution” at least, not from a common sense, practical, and economical standpoint.

Cross Posted to Red State.

Everyone is reflecting on 9/11 this day.  It would be cliche for me to write about where I was and what I was doing on that day.  Since I do not like being cliche, I won’t.   That day did affect me profoundly, on levels I cannot even describe.

What did affect me was the way today, ten years after the most vicious attack on this country since Pearl Harbor, dawned.  It was the same as it was 10 years ago, maybe a bit cooler, who knows?  I went about my morning, getting ready for church, and going to the Pancake Breakfast at the fire house.  My mind kept going back to that morning.  I cannot explain how it affected, at least, I cannot explain completely.

As the years have gone by, I have never completely forgotten the images I saw that morning, they were too horrific, too frightening, and even, too surreal to forget.  Part of my heart was in those towers on that day, it was there with the firefighters of the FDNY.  As I watched the towers burn, in my mind, I could see the firefighting activity going on.  I could only imagine how crowded the radio channels were, and the chaos that must have been taking place at the 9-1-1 Center, and in the “radio room”  (regardless of it’s size, and number of occupants, where ever the fire dispatchers are located, it is always called the “radio room”)  My mind was in several different places at once.  I never in my life fought a fire of any type approaching that level of intensity, and I certainly do not put myself on the same level as a firefighter in a big city.  That being said, we share the same bond, in many ways.  I also know the fire service from the dispatch side of things. I know how hectic it can get in a given dispatch center during a “regular” incident (Large auto accident, big fire, etc)  I could only imagine the stress and the strain the dispatchers were going through, and through it all, each one maintained their professionalism and communicated clearly and effectively.

So, that was one level… and then there is the other one.  My mind is still haunted by those images, especially of the people jumping, and the footage of the people trapped above the fire in both towers.  The images were heart-rending, and to this day, are difficult to watch.  Watching video is one thing, but seeing the still photos, is something else.  Even though you can’t see individual expressions, the fear is palpable nonetheless.   It’s hard at this point, not to lapse into meaningless cliche about who those people were, their dreams, desires, what they did, who they loved. It’s all been done, and I cannot do it any more justice, but, I do feel that aspect, and it makes things all the more unforgettable.  All of those faceless people in those grainy photos and video of the upper floors, were someone to somebody, and they all left this world in a way none of them expected.   I often find myself wondering what that day must have been like, especially for the person who looked out the window just as the aircraft approached.  I cannot fathom that feeling, and I cannot fathom what it must have been like.  Even worse, the people on the plane, who knew, like that flight attendant who was on the first aircraft to hit the towers, she was talking to someone from her airline’s headquarters, and she knew what was going on, she knew it.  I cannot comprehend what that must be like, the overpowering helplessness that must have overcome all of them.   Still photos abound of the people who watched the attack, and its aftermath, unfold.  They were on the street surrounding the Twin Towers, they were in buildings throughout the area, and they were in Times Square watching it happen on the “Jumbotron” TV’s on some of the buildings.  The photos of the people nearest the attack site are the ones that are the most unsettling.  Each one shows a person, or group of people, their expressions showing a mixture of horror, and disbelief at what happened.

Then there is the other level, the one that kicks in involuntarily when I see something happening, it’s the analyst in me.  I can’t help it sometimes.  I can be reacting emotionally to something, but a detached part of my brain is recording sounds, words, and things that are going on around me, for later analysis when I my emotional outburst is over.  It is an extremely rational part of me, and something that doesn’t go away.   I remember that morning.  I was getting my boys ready for school, and it was a typical morning with them  Channel 11 is on the TV, and some kid show is keeping Andrew entertained, while the radio is tuned to Don and Roma on WLS, I am scarcely paying attention to the radio as I rush about getting breakfast, the volume isn’t that loud, and I will have time for it later.  It was my day off from my job at Gateway Country Store, and I was going to enjoy it.   As I pass through the kitchen, I hear the words “air traffic controller” and “New York” from the radio, and pay no mind to it.  Just then, the phone rings, it’s my mom.  “Tim do you have the TV on, watch the news, an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center.” …

That’s when it started, the analyst kicked in.  I thought, how in the heck does an airplane crash into the World Trade Center.  My first thought, before turning on the TV is to grab my Road Atlas.  I quickly flip to New York City, wanting to know where JFK and LaGuardia were in relation to the World Trade Center, I found the proper page, still talking to my mom, and turned on the TV.   I didn’t expect to see what I saw.   A huge amount of  smoke was pouring from the 1st tower that had been hit.  I remember saying.  “That had to be a huge plane that did that mom, that’s got to be 8 or 10 floors on fire, the only plane that’s going to do that is an airliner.”   and she replied.  “Well the news is saying they don’t know what kind of plane it was.”   I hung up and sat to watch.  My mind was seeing the images on the screen, and listening to Diane Sawyer, but the other part of my mind was thinking.

What kind of plane was it?

How did it hit the tower?

How fast was it going?

How many people on board?

and the most chilling of all.  “It had to be deliberate”.   To me, at that moment, nothing else made sense.  I have spent my life, literally, studying World War II, and that also lead to study, and reading about military history in general, as well as terrorism.  That also led to learning about military strategy, military thought, and other things I cannot list.  My analytical mind was coming to only one conclusion.  Terrorists did it.   At that moment, it was the only thing that made sense to me.  Airplanes just don’t take off from an airport, and crash into skyscrapers.   The term “accident” was dismissed completely from my mind.  I knew an attempt was made in 1993 to destroy the WTC by Islamic Terrorists.  Somehow, I knew I was watching their second attempt at it.    As if to underscore that line of thought, the second aircraft hit the other tower.   Then I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt it was deliberate.  Immediately, my mind was in overdrive.    A deep sense of foreboding told me it wasn’t over, that there would be more.   My mind was racing, listing potential targets, and dismissing them.  I then began to look outside for the signs that a plane was heading for the Sears Tower.   By now, one had hit the Pentagon, and the news was reporting that another aircraft was missing, and presumed to be heading for Washington.

I couldn’t contain myself anymore.  I was on the computer, trying to do my own amateur analysis of who the culprits were, and before his name was even spoken on the news, I knew it was Osama Bin Laden.  I pulled an old copy of  the Naval Institute’s magazine, called “Proceedings” from my bookshelf.  In it, was an analysis piece about Osama Bin Laden written in 1999 I think.  I could think of no other person, and no other group other than Al Qaeda.   I had the radio, computer, and television going all at once, I was on the phone with my friend Peggy from Ohio, talking about the situation in New York.   Just then, I heard the high pitched roar of what could only be fighter planes flying overhead.  I leapt to my front window, and grabbed the binoculars I always kept nearby.  I caught them out of the corner of my eye, and turned the binoculars to the movement, after a momentary wobble, I settled the binoculars on the aircraft.   4 F16’s were clearly visible, flying in two pairs, and what really struck me was the fact that they were armed.  “Sidewinder” missles were clearly visible on the wing tips.   As fast they appeared, they were gone, rocketing northeast.   I continued my conversation with Peggy, as we both watched the coverage on ABC at our respective homes.

I will never forget how I felt that day, and I will never forget how this has affected me.  To watch the documentaries, as I did yesterday, it is almost haunting.  What was scary, or, perhaps, just weird, or whatever, is how some of the documentaries echoed some of my initial thoughts on the day’s events, some of the people involved, in both Public Safety, and the Federal Government were thinking the same things I was thinking in the initial stages of the day’s events.

9/11 haunts me, in ways that I can’t even describe.   On one level, it’s the memories of what I saw, and then on other, deeper levels, it’s an almost frightening understanding of the machinations that brought us to that point.

Like others before them, those who wish to inflict a given political, or belief system on a society, through terror, are not “madmen” or “out of there minds” they are not “twisted” or irrational.  They are rational, by their own standards, and, like many before them, people like  Hitler, Stalin, Mao, just to name a few, the aforementioned labels do not fit, and are not even appropriate.

A “madman” may be frightening, but a madman is not rational, he is not calculating, he doesn’t think systematically, he acts on impulse, and destroys things without rhyme, reason, or a greater, if you will, purpose.  Hitler, Stalin, and the Islamists were not, and are not madmen either.  They are cold, calculating, political creatures, who would willingly waste human life in pursuit of their political goals. That is what makes them more frightening than a madman.  They believe, and because they believe, they will act.   And they did just that.  That is where the understanding has to start, and the understanding is necessary so we can protect ourselves in the future, and strike them down if necessary.

Customer service… Perhaps you’ve heard of it.  You know, that silly concept where someone who spends money to acquire  a product or service from an individual, or a company, is entitled to fair treatment, a guarantee, and a place to have a grievance against the company, or product redressed.  Yeah, that concept.

I have done customer service in various incarnations throughout a good chunk of my adult life.  Consider this an open letter to those individuals in any given company, that, through their actions, or inactions,  generate calls to that black phone with the pretty red lights that sits on the desk of customer service agents all over the country

Dear Sir/Madam/Person/Slacker/Cretin/Soon-to-be-former-employee

I have a question.  Why are you here?  I really want to know.  Seriously I do, I need to ask this question, because it burns in my mind in the night, keeping me up, writing missives like this one.   Please, a detailed explanation would be most useful at this point.  I need to understand your motivations, your desires, and what your expect to get out of this job, provided that you actually do your job.  See, you work in the store, right there, with the customer, you are in the best position possible to prevent a bad experience that would make that customer go home, and pick up their phone.. or, in this modern age whip out their smart phone and start dialing the 1-800 number before they are even 10 steps from you.   Instead of preventing a bad experience, or even better, providing a good one, you decided, for whatever reason, to create a bad experience for the customer.    What were you thinking?  I know, it’s the end of your shift,  or it’s close to break time, or your lunch is arriving, and you can smell it’s enticing aroma all the way over in the Whatchamacallit department.  I don’t care what was going on, it is because of your petulance, intransigence, ignorance, or some other -ance that you were feeling at the time that has now placed that customer on my phone, in my ear, and complaining about your behavior, actions, or inactions,  which forces me to apologize for you, and  for whatever irrational thought process seized you at that particular moment.  I don’t care if the hot cashier from up front, or the buff attendant from the Thingamajig department was going to be in the breakroom the same time you were, it’s not an excuse.  Hey, I would love to have lunch with the hottie from the web design department, and ignore my job as well, but, unlike you, I have a work ethic.   What bugs the heck out of me, is that I have to apologize for you, and do it sincerely, and soothe the ruffled feathers by offering a discount, free widget, or a some other bauble to get the angry customer,  your angry customer to hang up the phone happy. Sometimes, I so wish that I could give that customer your home phone  number so they can call you, and not me.

See, I don’t mind taking care of my mistakes, or owning up to what I do, and I do my best to make sure that I don’t unnecessarily burden my fellow employees, however, you on the other hand seem not to have such qualms.

It is a job that I do, because I love it.  I am a problem solver, a fixer, someone who is not happy unless I am assisting, fixing, attending, encouraging, or otherwise doing something positive to make a change, however minor, in someone’s day, week, or even, life.   So, while you are sitting there, munching on that triple-cheese-what-have-you with onions, and ogling the hotness from the other departments, I am dealing with and cleaning up your mess.

Do me a favor, after you wipe your face, belch, and head out back to the sales floor followed by the faint scent of your lunch to go back and do that job you do so well, take a moment and think about what you are doing.    When that customer arrives, and I don’t care when it is, take care of them. If they need help in the Technical Things I Don’t Understand department, and you know nothing about that stuff, assist the poor soul by actually, physically going and finding the technical expert that works in that department, and referring that individual to the customer in distress.  Don’t say “I’ll go find someone” and then head over to the Odd Things No One Else Sells  department to hide out,  without finding someone to help that individual.  Also, next time you order something from the online catalog for a customer, and it’s on back order, don’t tell the customer to expect their shipment in ” a few days” when you know darn well, it’s not due to arrive in inventory for three weeks.  Invariably, such shennanigans leads that phone on my desk to ring, and there I am, again, apologizing for your, I don’t know,  oversight? Laziness? Inability to read?  Whatever it was, I am there again, offering coupons, widgets, discounts and smoothies to make up for whatever it is that causes you to be this way.

So really, can you do me and all of the other fine call center folks I work with a favor?  If you hate your job, and don’t like dealing with people, do us a favor please?.. Quit, walk away, give up, go find a job where your talents would be more appreciated, perhaps the federal government could use another slacker.  Where ever you go, go quickly,  and try not to let the door hit you on the way out…

Sincerely,

The Call Center Staff.