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CNN, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves!

There was a time that CNN lived up to its name as a “Cable News Network”.  These days, it seems it’s anything but the news.  It’s opinion and even then, poorly formed and ignorant opinion.  (I’ll discuss the pit bull, Chris Cuomo, another time!)

As I often do during the day, I’m reading through CNN.com/US and there’s an article about gun control.  The author, Jeff Yang, suggests that an answer to the “epidemic” of gun violence is to make owners of guns get insurance.  The article is stupid enough on its own but simply the fact that CNN would publish it is amazing!

Let’s walk through a few counter-thoughts for a moment:

  1. Requiring doctors to have insurance doesn’t stop malpractice from happening.  It only provides a means for the survivors or victims’ families to carry on, at least financially.  The patient is still injured, suffering, or dead.
  2. Requiring drivers to have insurance hasn’t stopped car accidents from happening.  It only provides a means for financial recovering in the wake of a crash.  The damage is still done, injuries still happened, and in some cases, the dead are still dead.

There is no case I can think of where requiring insurance has prevented a potentially negative event from occurring.  In fact, “requiring” insurance is not always enforced even in cases (such as driving) until or unless an event occurs that brings it to light.  The fallacy of those who think like Mr Yang is the thought process that believes a law will prevent something from happening.  Obviously Not!  Even with all of the thousands of laws on the books today–if not millions–crimes and law violations occur on a regular basis.

Insurance may cause a law-abiding citizen to reconsider gun ownership if the cost of that insurance is too great.  For the criminal, die hard, or mentally ill?  Not necessarily.  And even if a person has insurance for a legally obtained firearm, there is no guarantee that in the heat of the moment, someone will not end up dead.

CNN’s Andre Spicer has an equally ineffective idea:  Let’s convince retailers that selling guns isn’t in their best commercial interest!  Great!  So that takes care of Walmart and introduces more shops that are “gun free” like Starbucks.  It doesn’t get guns off of the streets.  It also does nothing to stop a destructive person from walking into an elementary school with a gun and killing people.  How much more gun-free can you get than an elementary school???

Well, those signs in the windows or at the curbs that says “Gun-Free Zone” were REALLY effective, weren’t they!?!?!?!!!

The only answer to gun violence in this country–or anywhere in the world–is a complete revocation of any rights regarding gun ownership with full surrender, then confiscation, and then extreme punishment for anyone found to own a gun.  At that point, there would almost have to be immediate incarceration on a felony charge with the possibility of life in prison or the death penalty before things would change significantly.

I don’t advocate any of this, by the way!  I don’t advocate anything mentioned up to this point!!!

HOWEVER, I do agree that doing nothing is not the right answer, but there needs to be an unemotional, logical, reasoned out approach, hammered out by liberals and conservatives, and then simply implemented.  Doing SOMETHING and doing the RIGHT THING are not one and the same though.  A change may mean that the Constitution is amended–it has been before and likely will be again.  Not an easy path or a likely one at that.  But if and when it does occur, be prepared to either live by the new rules or to move into the criminal class when you don’t.

And be prepared in that day to live with a lot of other changes that will leave the United States of America less great, less free, and less united!

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In my day job, I’m an IT project manager.  It’s unheard of in the professional circles I’m in to launch any application without extensive testing.  You test the components individually, you test them together, and then you test it from end to end.  An example would be:

1.  The manufacturer of an aluminum wheel tests it for all applicable specifications

2.  The tire manufacturer tests the rubber and steel used in making tires.  Then they make the tires and test them

3.  SOMEONE puts the tire on the wheel and tests them together

4.  SOMEONE puts the tires and wheels on a vehicle and tests them together

glitchYou don’t want to buy untested wheels or tires.  So why would anyone want a Healthcare System that hasn’t been properly tested?  Shame on Kathleen Sebelius for letting HHS go forward with the system as they did.

Worse still, for this to be the President’s key initiative, how could HE not have been monitoring the launch?  It’s difficult to fathom that after the fracas with the House, he would simply let Oct 1st come and go without once asking for a status update!  Yet Secretary Sebelius says, and wants us to believe, that Obama didn’t know about the issues for days.

It is incompetent that she would let her boss, the President, be blindsided on this program!

It is incompetent that no-one in the White House said “Mr President, there’s an issue”.  Even in the TV shows, the President (actor) is portrayed getting news from CNN or similar new sources throughout the day.  Is the President that shielded?

If so, we no longer have a president—we have an emperor!  And he has no clothes!

But he has many loyal fools in his court who dare not tell him!

Incompetence!

MORE:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/23/politics/obamacare-sebelius-interview/

Not adequately tested…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/obamacare-website_n_4158117.html?1382638745

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Chick-fil-A has a corporate position that is politically unpopular these days.  If a company wants to be based on Christian principles, and if those principles are not in-line with the gay agenda of acceptance, that company is destined to be attacked for its stand.  Hooray for Chick-fil-A!

Christian principles are really not up for discussion or vote!  The culture of the day doesn’t really get to change where God stands on an issue.  If that were the case, then no religion would have a solid footing in anything other than change itself.  Religions would be worthless.

Spiritual or religious views are deeply seated in who and what we are.  If we truly believe what our faith system teaches us, then we are locked into those beliefs no matter who may press or push us to change our views.

As I type this, what comes to mind are the four young men in captivity in Babylon.  Daniel and the three best known by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not cave in when faced with lions and a fiery furnace.  Oh, for that strength of conviction today!

In the face of being banned from opening a chain in Boston—which I doubt the mayor will succeed in doing—one has to wonder if Chic-fil-A will back down.  I think not.  If I were the CEO, first, I’d fight in court and would expect to win.  But if I lost, so be it.  The profits gained in that city are not worth compromising on values.

The Jim Henson Company, notable for its gay-friendly positions, has severed its relationship with the restaurant.  Good for freedom to choose.  If Henson doesn’t want to do business with Chic-fil-A, maybe those of us who are tired of being confronted with the gay and lesbian agenda at every turn should shun Henson.  For that matter, where are the American evangelicals?  Hiding under their pews?

I’ll tell you where they should be:  They should be at their keyboards writing letters to the mayor of Boston saying that we will boycott the city!  Same with Mountain View, California.

We should be writing to Henson and vowing to never let another Muppet show into our homes.  We should be telling ABC that funny or not, Modern Family is NOT the modern family in a Christian nation!  And we should be writing to the news outlets to tell them that we really don’t care to know who came out of the closet, when, or why!

Anderson Cooper is a good news reporter.  I don’t want to know about his sex life!  Don Lemon, on the other hand, could use a refresher in journalism.

Ellen DeGeneres can be funny but I have to say that the only thing Whoopi Goldberg was good in was ST:TNG!  Her character rarely spoke!

And President Obama needs to be more concerned with the economy and jobs (including his!) rather than pushing the DoD to drop policies or to allow troops to participate in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade.  Remember, he is the Commander-in-Chief.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that his fingerprints were on that DoD reversal of policy.  And if they weren’t—that suggests DoD kept the Commander-in-Chief in the dark which is unlikely.

Back to the point at hand:  Chic-fil-A has a right to stand its ground as Henson and other companies have to stand theirs.  We need a light on a hill these days!

If you agree, then stand behind Chic-fil-A and go have a Spicy Chicken sandwich!  I suggest the pepper jack cheese!  And while you’re at it, let gay-friendly companies and businesses know that they’ve lost a customer.

If you don’t agree, then I have to ask you what principles you’re standing on?  Because it would seem that anyone who disagrees is standing on shifting sand.  Your principles are shallow and your beliefs are weak.

There’s an old saying:  If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything!

MORE:

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/07/muppets_boston_mayor_dump_chic.html

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/07/muppets_boston_mayor_dump_chic.html

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When the exercise of a Constitutional right is met with unopposed opposition, the right itself is in danger.  For instance, if in writing this post I have to fear a backlash from those who disagree, and if that backlash includes loss of my job, fines, or other institutional sanctions, my right regarding Freedom of the Press is being threatened.  That’s not to say that I should not be held accountable for what I “say”, but rather, the opposition to what I say should not be allowed to be institutionalized.  If my manager doesn’t like it, that’s his prerogative to disagree.  But for him to sanction me with fines, unpaid time off, etc., is wrong.  Those actions abridge my right to free speech and threaten the very fabric of our rights.

Fortunately, no such thing has happened to me.  Yet!

The story that brings this point to mind is that of Ozzie Guillen, Manager for the Florida Marlins baseball team, who said he loves and respects Fidel Castro.  From CNN.com:

The reaction by the team was swift — a five-game suspension. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig supported the move.  “Mr. Guillen’s remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game,” he said Tuesday.”

I have a problem with that.  Guillen is entitled to his opinion and others are entitled to disagree.  But for the Commissioner to support suspending him for the comments is inappropriate.  Nevermind the fact that Guillen later apologized—he has the right to realize he offended people and to apologize.  The suspension still stands.

What the Marlins and the Cuban-American protesters outside the stadium are saying is this:  “We believe in the Constitutional right to Free Speech as long as you say what pleases us to hear.”  I’m not alone in my view.  Also from CNN.com:

Frank Ramirez, a longtime fan, said that Miami “is the last place you want to say something like that.”  Still, he drew a distinction between the ball club suspending Guillen for what he said, rather than acting in response to fan outcries.  To suspend Guillen for the content of what he said — no matter how wrongheaded — comes across as a violation of his right to free speech, Ramirez said.”

What they are in fact saying is that they would choose to muzzle those who disagree with their view of Fidel Castro—just as Fidel Castro has done in Cuba since his rise to power over 50 years ago.  The only difference is that in Cuba, Fidel would have you killed—not merely suspended for a few games.

The consequence of Free Speech that is judged as in this case is the end to Free Speech.

MORE:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/10/us/florida-marlins-castro/index.html?hpt=us_c2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/white-sox-watch-as-former-manager-ozzie-guillen-apologizes-for-castro-comments/2012/04/10/gIQAGkG68S_story.html

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CNN Money echoed what most news outlets around the world are reporting today:  There was a net loss of 125,000 jobs in June.  It proves out what many were saying months ago—that the jobs figures Obama boasted about earlier in the year were hype and hope.  Several hundred thousand jobs that were being used to prop up a false recovery were Census-based jobs.  Many of those were part-time jobs.

So what did the $787 billion stimulus program get us as Americans besides deeper in debt?  For most of us, it gave us nothing.  And still the hype goes on.  We are in the “Summer of Recovery because more than 30,000 miles of highways are being improved, more than 2,800 water projects have been started, and 120,000 homes will be weatherized.”   (Source:  CNN Money)

But as I mentioned in my post, The Other Street, the flagging economy is not a problem Washington can fix by spending more money.  As we’ve seen in Afghanistan ($3 billion) and Iraq ($23 billion), when the US government throws out billions of dollars, billions of dollars go into the personal bank accounts of unscrupulous officials and business owners with few crumbs ever hitting the ground.

The missing piece is that new and sustainable jobs are not being created.  Businesses are not being convinced to ramp up production or to open new production facilities due to lack of confidence in consumer demand.  Therefore, existing facilities are idled or closed, resulting in the layoffs of thousands of workers (who are ultimately consumers).

Current Economic Cycle (c) Trebord

Consumer demand is down due to the uncertainty of the job market.  Workers are underemployed or unemployed—or facing the prospect of unemployment due to their company’s declining sales and revenue.  There is a cycle here that has to be broken in order to fix the problem and Washington either does not realize that or doesn’t know what to do to fix it.  Then again, maybe Washington doesn’t want to fix it.

It seems more and more that Congress and the President are more about what keeps their party in power than what fixes the problems we’re facing as a nation.  The Democrats are willing to mortgage our futures to give us something today that puts them in our good graces and keeps them in office.  The Republicans are willing to stand in the way of us getting those goodies provided it makes the Democrats look ineffective and causes Republicans to gain office.

It was a wise person, Harry Truman, who said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”  (Well, I respect him for that thought but cannot hold him up as any sort of hero given that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki rank on my list of “Worst Acts of Terrorism Ever” as number 2 and 3 respectively.)

Mr Obama clearly does not have a clue as to how to fix the American economy or perhaps he just doesn’t want to—yet.

Here’s a clue, Mr President:  You cannot go to the G8 and G20 and tell other governments to spend their way out of a recession, and then come home and tell America that we need to cut spending—and then go to Congress and ask for more money to spend.  Then again, I guess you can do that!

If someone really wants to fix our economy, here’s what I think:

Do something that puts spending power back into the hands of consumers.  This will drive demand and get the wheels of industry turning again.  Once those wheels pick up momentum, jobs will come back, incomes will level off, and creditors will be begging businesses and consumers for their money.  The fix starts with the workers of America.  That is our strength, and that is our lifeblood as a country.

MORE:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/jobs_june/index.htm

http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/economic_stimulus_impact/index.htm

http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/02/news/economy/economic_stimulus_impact/index.htm)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7444083.stm

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"Rare" Photo

Two slave boys, up for sale!  How much are they worth?

It depends on whether you’re talking about 1860 or 2010.

Centuries ago, Africans were brought to the Western Hemisphere by the boatload—literally.  They were sold as property and put to work on farms and plantations.  Owners hoped to recoup their initial investment and to profit through ownership of generations of slaves.  All these years later, most of the men, women, and children that were slaves for centuries across our country’s history are relegated to no more than faceless and nameless entries in books about the era.  Once in a while, a few nameless photos are found and they may make news.

A recent article speaks about two boys who were photographed on a barrel.  The photo is said to have come out of a North Carolina attic.  it caught my attention because I have ancestral ties to the era, the state, and to the trade.  These could be some of my ancestors.

Reading the article, I saw how someone named Keya Morgan is said to have paid $30,000 for the album which contained the photo and several others.  He also is supposed to have paid $20,000 for a “sale document” that allegedly ties to one of the boys in the photo.  OK—so I’ve been doing genealogical work for about 8 years now and cannot find reliable documentation or sources to tie to known family photos.  How does this guy reliably tie this sale document to a specific person in a specific photo after almost 140 years, and with no links to anyone in the family to provide identification?  (In case you’re wondering, I don’t believe this is reliable and would not give his story any credit.)

Back on point:  The story bothers me not because I question Mr Morgan’s honesty or integrity.  No.  And I really don’t care about his spending habits.  I don’t care that he has a way of staying in the news with “new” and “rare” photos.  In fact, if you check the ebay listing below, you can see for yourself just how rare the photo is.  But what I do find interesting is that in this day and age when slavery is no longer legal, someone is still finding a way to make money off of slaves.

You see, Mr Morgan runs a gallery in NYC.  It has been featured in Time, CNN, Fox News, and The New York Times.  In short, it’s a commercial enterprise.  Anyone who owns a gallery and is willing to spend $50,000 for photos and slave documents—in my opinion—is in it for the notoriety and ensuing profit opportunities.  There’s nothing noble about this story.  Mr Morgan stands to profit off of these slave boys just like the original owners did nearly a century and a half ago.  The difference is that Mr Morgan stands to make far more money off of the hardships these boys and their families endured.

It would be nice to be able to claim these boys and to add them to the rightful family tree.  Then again, if there were no profit to be made from such photos and documents, it is unlikely that some of them would still be in existance today.

MORE:

ebay Listing:  http://cgi.ebay.com/12-Antique-Stereo-View-Cards-Savannah-Ga-/110541170341?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item19bcc466a5

Note:  According to the ebay seller, “Offered for auction is a lot of 12 antique stereo view cards of Svannah, Georgia. All of the cards are by” J.N. Wilson, Photographer, 21 Bull Street, Svannah, Georgia”. Five of the cards are numbered 1-5 and have a printed description of “Bonaventure” a picturesque platation. The rest of the cards have hand written descriptions and are all higher numbered. There are four cards of plantation scenes of field hands and families working in the cotton fields. One of these cards shows two young boys sitting on a barrel and carries  the very politically incorrect title “Plantation Scene: Happy Little N**s. The other cards are of scenic views around Savannah. All of the cards are in good condition with just a bit of the common warping. Add these very interesting antique viewer cards to your collection.”

Not quite $30,000—the collection sold for $163.00 after 18 bids.

Please take a read of what Kate Marcus has to say on Before It’s News about the topic.  She has done far more research on this than I have and if not for her work, some of this article would not have been possible.

Maybe Mara Gay should have done her homework as well and verified her information first.

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/haunting-photo-of-slave-children-found-in-north-carolina-attic/19512443

http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/06/01/marilyn.monroe.birthday.photo/index.html

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Anderson Cooper grills LtCol Lakin in a recent interview.  In the video, you will hear Anderson assert that the accusation that Barack Obama was not born in Hawai’i is false.  He bases his argument on the Certificate of Live Birth produced by the Obama camp—the one printed in 2007, and on the birth announcements that come from Hawai’ian newspapers.

As much as I despise some lawyers, this one (Paul Jensen) representing the colonel seems to be pretty well informed.  Sadly, Anderson Cooper comes up short.  The document presented as proof of Obama’s birth in Hawai’i is not an original birth certificate and is only a certification of live birth produced no less than 46 years after the fact.  As the lawyer indicates, producing the true original would put the question to rest immediately—once its authenticity is verified.

Using faulty logic, Anderson furthers the case for his ignorance by suggesting that the Lt Col should also call into question any orders he receives from military officials if he doesn’t have proof that they were born in the US or that he should equally question the validity of birth documents for any military members from Hawai’i.  First of all, there is no Constitutional requirement for military officers or enlisted persons to be natural born citizens.  Citizenship is not a requirement to be in the military and if it were, CNN’s coverage just last week of military members being sworn in as citizens would not have been possible.

The next flaw is that not everyone who is in the military and from Hawai’i would necessarily have a Certificate of Live Birth as opposed to an original certificate.  I was born only a year earlier than Obama and served in the military from 1978 to 1994.  During that time, if questioned, I would have been able to produce an original from 1960—not a more recent certification.

As if to bait the Lt Col into a debate already predetermined to go the way Anderson wanted, the anchor resorts to taunts and badgering.  Here was a bully with his gun loaded and looking for a fight.  I have no respect for Anderson Cooper as a journalist thanks to his performance here.

MORE:

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2010/05/10/ac360.soldier.birth.certificate.cnn

http://www.safeguardourconstitution.com/

https://trebord.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/birthers/

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