There May Be Lots of Lemons, Little Lemon Aid in 2008 Presidential Elections

As I write this column late Tuesday evening, Barack Obama has been reported as having clinched the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. In my opinion, as it stands, we don’t have any real good choices come November. Who ever wins I’m not sure if the best man will have won. The Democrats have seized on Barack as their choice, and Hillary is trying to leverage her way into the #2 slot. She’s no dummy, if Barack loses in 2008, his machine will still be dead in the water in 2012. (Can you say Gore and Kerry?) McCain has his hand wrapped tight in the reins as he rides the elephant toward November. He’ll need it; the war, the stagnant economy and the price of petroleum will make a Republican repeat difficult. In the run-up, none of the big three, McCain, Clinton, or Obama paid much more than lip service to the real problems facing them and the nation. They were too busy cleaning up after friends and husbands. Obama talked of pulling out of Iraq, and he’s probably young and idealistic enough to believe he can do so without a problem. I’m betting his advisors, (hopefully no ministers or priests among them), will point out that getting out of this war safely and wisely will be much more difficult than getting into it. With Hussien gone, Iran has reared it’s cantankerous head and has been talking A-Bomb. We need a strong Iraq to help keep Iran contained…better not leave too soon Barack. Hillary said that Barack has no experience as president…neither does she, or McCain. The only people with experience have been men like Truman, L.B.J. and Theodore Roosevelt, the men who history chose to finish terms. Let’s face it, the president of the United States has got to be the scariest On-The Job-Training in the world. Hillary, as V.P., (if it’s offered and she accepts), has got to bring her party and president into the world of common sense. The U.S. needs to harvest it’s available natural resources, and we need atomic power plants. Our options are running out, solar is good wind is good, but we cannot fuel the economy we must have with panels and windmills. We need petroleum, nuclear and wind, solar and coal, or we will become the world’s largest third-world country. Because don’t look now, China ain’t gaining, she’s neck and neck and passing; India and Russia will be next. Around McCain’s neck they’ve hung a wreath that reads, four more years of Bush, ‘fraid not. Bush hasn’t physically gone after a reporter, McCain might. I’m not worried that McCain might die in office. That’s a tough job, any of them might; several have. My concern is who takes over if he does? Something Barack had better be considering as well. I hope that both men can pick as well as say McKinley, and F.D.R., or Harding, because, sometimes second best is best.

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May 28th, 2008

Ranks Thinned by Death Need Replacments

The roads were desolate and dusty.The winds were steady with speeds in the 30s and 40s and gusts near 50 mph, as the VFW Honor Guard went to eight different cemeteries on Sunday.

The wind drowned out the words of honor said over each dead veteran. But the honor guard stood, and staggered, against the harsh Panhandle wind and the ever present dust.

Of the nine, one was 35, two more were in their 60s, fast approaching 70, one more is probably in his mid 70s and the others are in their early or mid 80s, or nearly there, for the balance of them were WWII veterans.

They love what they do; but they need help. They need more vets willing to carry the colors, drill for the rifle squad…more men and women to honor their now deceased comrades-in-arms.

It isn’t just Memorial Day. They need members for funeral honor guards and flag presentations.

One vet remarked, “We can’t get anyone to help us. I guess we’ve worn out our welcome.”

Another added as he waved an arm over a flag-marked grave, “In thirty to forty years, this (the ceremonies) will all be forgotten. It won’t even be a memory.”

I hope he’s wrong, for if you want to know what’s wrong with America, go to a veteran’s funeral, or to a Memorial Day Observation. The crowds are getting smaller.

Then look into the faces of the honor guard. Most are old men, and they are afraid that one day, we’ll have forgotten what they and their dead buddies have done for us.

They won’t forget, and we shouldn’t.

Next week, the week after, (for who will carry the colors at Santa Fe Trail Daze?), our honor guard needs volunteers…they did…as a veteran you can.

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May 21st, 2008

The Reason For This

Season

Though the REAL Memorial Day is May 30, let none of us forget to honor our veterans, (if nothing else, give a smile, shake a hand, buy a poppy), this weekend, the observed holiday.

Most of our attention these days falls on our veterans of WWII, the aptly named “Greatest Generation”; our nation, very likely no nation, will ever birth such men and women again.

Born during or just after WWI and just before the Depression and Dust Bowl, they first had to fight to survive their childhood and then were asked to fight for the survival of freedom as we know it.

Not quite 18 million men and women served during WWII. Of those, 18 million 446,000 died, along with 1,700 civilians, (the citizens of two Amarillos, and one Boise City). A half-million more were wounded.

On average, each veteran served for 39 months in uniform with 16 months of that overseas.

Of that original 18 million, 3.5 million or less are still alive, and by some actuary tables they are dying at 1,000 per day.

Elsewhere in these pages is the account by Roy Clifton and his service in the Pacific Theater of War, specifically the Philippines.

I share with Roy the fact that our fathers were contemporaries and lifelong friends. They came to the Oklahoma Panhandle from the same part of Missouri, in 1906.

I have always known Roy as a farmer, a janitor. Never as a veteran.

If you meet him now for the first time you see a man weathered by life, shoulders stooped, hands bent by labor, war and age. He, like many WWII vets are pushing 90, and perhaps only in the last five years have they begun to appreciate their place in history.

They defeated, not one but two global powers in four years, and in the subsequent decades they rebuilt the economies of Europe and Japan and saw to it that the U.S. became the most powerful…and generous nation in history.

They did all that was asked of them and more…the least we can offer is thanks,. a handshake and a smile.

The word for the week is: veteran

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May 14, 2008

With Friends like these,

who needs enemies…or

husbands?

First it was Bill Clinton running his mouth and making problems for Hillary, (as if she hasn’t done that well enough on her own), then Reverend Wright made Obama look REALLLLY bad, and now John McCain has a supporter running his big mouth and perhaps shooting the anointed Republican nominee, in the foot or somewhere higher.

The Rev. John Hagee, the leader of Cornerstone, a large San Antonio, Texas Mega church-i.e- Send me ALL yo money!!! has come out in support of McCain and has had to begin backing off of inflammatory statements he made about the Catholic Church. (He basically blamed them for Adolph Hitler’s Anti-Semitism among other things.)

As with the Mr. Wright, this is anything but Christian and Christ-like. Mr. Hagee should kneel on his church’s plush carpet, and try to learn what he’s really supposed to be doing for the cause of Christ.

In the past, in order to raise money for a Senior class trip from his Church’s Cornerstone High School, Hagee announced that, “Slavery” was returning to Cornerstone Church. Every senior was to be auctioned off at a slave auction and be taken home by church members to do…slave work in their homes.

After critical coverage from local San Antonio newspapers, Hagee apologized, (he seems to do that a lot), and changed the name to a “Student Auction.”

It is my opinion that Misters Wright, and Hagee are getting their ideas from somewhere besides God.

In any case, once more in this strangest of presidential elections, one of the candidates has seen fit to align themselves with an “advisor” which in the end has led to an embarrassment.

Much like Obama, McCain needs to cut his ties to Hagee and convince the American voting public that he can think for, and speak for, himself.

Most of us have our own spiritual leader(s); we don’t need a presidential candidate to bring us one, especially one loaded down with racial and religious baggage.

The word for the week is gimcrack, courtesy of Dan Gilland

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Some Four Letter Words

Aren’t Epithets,

But They Should Be

I’m sure that there are some individuals living in the Oklahoma Panhandle, and even Cimarron County whose heart gets warm when they think of Al Gore, the Nobel Prize winner. I’m sure they sat and nodded when Al compared those of us who don’t agree with his wacky view of global warming as “…those who believe the earth is, (or was), flat,” and “…that there are very few who don’t believe.”

Well personally, I think Al and the proverbial Christmas Turkey share at least one attribute. Besides a single upraised digit, I have two four-letter words for Al…hype and Alar.I am sure everyone is familiar with hype…all we news types fall into its sweet smelling trap every now and then. But “T.V. Journalists” seem to stay there. (It makes no difference if they prattle for Fox or MSNBC.)
As for Alar, there should be quite a few that remember just under 20 years ago when hype and apples shared the same stage. In the early part of 1989, grocery store shoppers and television viewers were being warned of the “hazards” of Alar, a powdery substance that U.S. orchard growers sprayed onto their crop so Susie housewife could enjoy fresh, not rotten fruit down at the store. Then, some scientist decided that Alar could cause cancer in rats. In no time, “60 Minutes, and Phil Donahue got on the bandwagon, and Meryl Streep was testifying before Congress.
The EPA studied the studies and found them lacking…but the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, pressured the EPA and tests were done again…with part of the chemical composition removed, and gave the test mice doses that would exceed a pre-schoolers intake by 133 to 266 thousand times. Yeah that’s good science. Then “60 Minutes” ran their piece, one of Alar’s chemicals was labeled a pesticide and pictures were shown of children in a cancer ward…yeah that’s good journalism.
Phil Donahue said we were poisoning our kids…yeah that’s good talk show hype.
The NRDC, sold a book through a 900 number on Donahue. At least 90,000 copies….good hype=$$$.
By 1989, the British government had determined that Alar was harmless, and the British Parliament declared that they tended to be more cautious about science.
The hype, and lies about Alar, damaged the apple industry in the mid 1980s, only to rebound after the apple growers caved to…well extortion.
In 1989, a group called the Consumers Union preformed a test on Alar and found cancer five times out of a million. They told parents that their children were safer eating Alar coated apples than a candy bar; but Donahue, Streep and “60 Minutes” missed that call.

Now let’s fast forward to 2008, Al, the Nobel Prize, and Global Warming…is the earth getting warmer??? Who really knows? It depends on which scientist (not politician) you choose to believe. The British and Prince Charles aren’t nearly as cautious in 2008, as they were in 1989; they’ve all bought into the Global Warming hype. Do I think that man and his industrial engine affect the environment? We have to be affecting it. But what about nature itself? Volcanoes pump a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day. More than many industries…more than my three cars by a long shot. Do I think it, (global warming), will cause the ultimate destruction of the earth and humans with it? No, and even if it’s true, then so what? If it happens then it is just one more part of the cycle which is earth. If dinosaurs could have conjured up a connected thought, would they have believed that one day they’d be extinct? I doubt it. I believe 90 percent of global warming is hype, and while those of us who don’t believe are maligned, many of those who “do believe” are like the NRDC of 1989…trying to find a way to line their pockets. They are trying to do this with something called “carbon credits”. Carbon credits if you may remember are what Al Bore…I mean Gore, was supposedly buying to offset the enormous amount of damage his opulent home and life-style was doing to the atmosphere, yeah I didn’t even graduate from college, much less Yale and I can see how brilliant this isn’t. In the great scheme of things guys like Al who want to live better than the rest of us, (a home with 10 bathrooms), while we are forced to ride bicycles to Guymon for groceries, can buy Carbon Credits and then fly a chartered jet to Europe with a clear conscience. But…the Carbon Credit Trading scheme is going downhill faster than a burning tree in the Amazon…oops…that means Al destroyed just as much, and more of the atmosphere flying to pick up his Nobel Prize and $10,000 check than some housewife driving to Wal-Mart in a SUV. Well Al all I can say is…Hype You!

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by C.F.David

Sooner Legislature Should

 Probably Butt Out

There are at least a couple of bills moving their way through the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate that should probably be just allowed to die a slow and silent death; however being the way things are, these bills will very likely pass, no matter how foolish and  freedom infringing they might be.
First there is HB 1026, the so called “Divorce Bill”.

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This bill in the all-knowing wisdom of the Oklahoma State Government will mandate that engaged couples take a marriage counseling course and then agree that the marriage is a life long relationship.
I thought we all did the latter with the vows we took.
But never-the-less, the authors of the bill have no window into the future, and neither does a marriage counselor. Besides whom are we to trust to counsel us?? Ministers, registered counselors, psychologists? Each of these fields only have humans as examples and in each field we have seen those whose own lives have been shambles. They too have feet of clay. There are no perfect humans and none without sin that might be able to “cast a stone”. When will law makers ever learn that we cannot legislate morality?
The second is HB 2211. HB 2211 is a law that would “direct” school districts to adopt a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events along with a public policy regarding  voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints.
Among other things the law would:

  • Provide the forum in a manner that doesn’t discriminate against students who voluntarily express religious viewpoints on permissible subjects.
  • Provide a method for selection for selection of student speakers at school events and graduation ceremonies.
  • Ensure that a student doesn’t engage in obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent speech.
  • State in writing, or orally, that the speech doesn’t reflect the position of the school district.

I have problems with this; first of all, is the word LIMITED. Who is the all-knowing and all wise individual(s) who will  decide what is limited? Will they decide that the child can’t discuss his/her religious beliefs on contraception? Euthanasia? Abortion? Or, that the Sabbath should be celebrated on Saturday?
Then there is the word PERMISSIBLE. Again, who decides what is PERMISSIBLE? Who decides who gets to talk?
Then there is the decency or anti-obscenity clause…yeah yeah I know SOMEBODY can’t define obscene, but they’ll know it when they hear it.
Then lastly, let’s add the paragraph which will supposedly let the school off the hook, the disclaimer… “Well Johnny may believe that the Sabbath is on Saturday, and that contraception is a sin but offing poor sick uncle Harry is OK, but…that’s not really our stand on these issues, so please don’t sue us.”
Good grief, what good is an “Anti-discrimination Act” if you have to include a disclaimer?
Then I’ve been reading that some legislator wants to pass a law against loud and obscene music being played in public. What’s obscene? A  Hip-Hop CD, to a white man over 60? Or…Onward Christian Soldiers, to a Jewish Rabbi?
Ladies and gentleman of the combined Oklahoma Houses, you have schools to fund, highways to repair, a state budget to set…get off the ding-dong issues and do your jobs.
The word for the week is ennui

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