Saturday, July 31, 2010

A simple ditty

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Americans have hearts and minds too

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Americans come from all over
It’s a big world too

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Who rules our world
We do

Roses are red
Violets are blue
The USA is different
From the rest of the world too

Roses are red
Violets are blue
As bad as things seem in the USA
It can be worse too

Roses are red
Violets are blue
All people are not created equal
But equal opportunity is true

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Is this a A Simple Desultory Philippic
Not true

Friday, July 30, 2010

A student of history

We all have our hobbies. History is one of mine. And mostly it is local history about where I live today on the Upper Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.

Now just because it is a hobby does not make me an expert. I still am not sure if anyone is an expert, as opposed to thinking they are an expert. And certainly some humans are better historians than others.

Now what I pursue is the human aspect of history. I have always wondered what many people were thinking during the time of the American Revolution. My premise is that what humans did in their times can give me a hint as to what we humans may do in this time that I am living. Certainly, the technologies and communication means have changed, but we humans have been pretty much the same for a long time, I think.

I always wonder about when parents report how much smarter their kids are than they. If this were correct, then we should have a bunch of little Einsteins running around, and most know that is not correct. Better educated perhaps, but smarter, I don’t think so. And all the other human factors, like from the Ten Commandments, are pretty much the same, I think.

And then there is my experience, which is mostly as a US Marine. Mostly, for this post, it means don’t come up with a problem without offering solutions. I still buy that idea.

Now for a long time I have been wondering about the implications of the present situation in the USA. For example, is it like, from a human point of view, what our USA ancestors experienced during the time of the American Revolution? For now, I don’t think so. I keep in mind that many resorted to revolt, and I just don’t think we are there as an American culture today. For example, when I want to drive to shop at Wal-Mart 15 miles away, I don’t think I should pay a bribe for gas for my car, or carry a gun to make it through a road block, or be shot at. I have experienced such human things elsewhere, and it was not a fun human experience.

Yet I also wonder what we humans will do these days if some ruling class arises in the USA to tell us how to live and solve our human problems. The patterns of behavior are disturbing to some when things remind them of the Weimer Republic times in Germany (when citizens still voted), or King Louis the 16th in France. One recent news article tripped me off about circulating ideas about circumventing the legislature in regards the immigration debate in the USA. Now if some rulers want to take away our votes, then history suggests reaction in the USA. Said another way, voting is a big deal, and if you don’t like the outcome, vote later in time, but support the vote.

Now the historical problem question I have been trying to avoid comes up. What if we have a situation like the times of the American Revolution. And my experience says I must offer solutions.

So here it is. Vote vice revolt. If the vote is taken away (or stolen is how it might be done), then think about revolt. Even I might then take up arms and interrupt my Wal-Mart shopping trip. Even then I might selectively quit paying some taxes, and see what happens.

But that should not happen. Our USA culture, will correct things in our own rule of law way. No wonder so many humans in the rest of the world want to come here. The alternatives in the rest of the world are not so good as the USA.

Last, I don’t accept our USA culture has evolved to the point where our elected legislatures pass human laws, and the elected executive signs these laws to enact them, and then hired bureaucrats, all who take oaths to support the laws, can selectively decide which laws to enforce. Now it does happen, I believe, but as a way to govern, it should not happen. And if we need bigger bureaucracies to get the job done, then let we humans vote and pay for it.

It is fun being a student of history. What is not fun is thinking or imagining what we humans may do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Examples of change

In the USA people want change. Past elections reflect this, I think. What follows are examples presented in a kind of bullet format.

Academia reputation for performance and results declining.

NE (North East) Schools reputation declining. The perception of a NE schools clique is arising. There are now lots of smart Americans around, not all in the NE, and they have funding, too.

Appreciation for ethics, shame, oaths, public health, and religion is arising.

Voter turnout (participation) at the lower levels increasing. More appreciation for what our local governments should do at the basic level, like police, fire, clean water, waste water, and public schools.

More public education will focus on human history in the USA. And there will be standards. And some may fail. Public acceptance of failing and standards will increase.

Diversity idea fading back to melting pot idea, which is what is happening anyway.

More investigative reporters are arising. And the focus on our governments’ performance and results at all levels is arising.

Environmental ideas that hurt humans at the expense of humans is fading. The idea of a common sense balance is arising. Nobody wants a cholera epidemic, anywhere. Nor do we want to promote malaria and the practices that bring it.

Playing God using governmental policies is fading in appreciation. For humans it is often called social engineering, or even redistribution of wealth (these days). For the environment, it is often called “new or better” regulations.

Newspapers and the three public “news” organizations are declining. Would you like fries with that order?

Opportunity for the two national parties has faded based on results. A third party based on ideas will arise. The Tea Party is a start, and maybe more will come?

The economic problems in the USA these days are already being taken care of as best we can, including family support. Now let we humans assert ourselves, and we may be surprised.

Borderline idea. USA foreign endeavors will decline. Vital national interests will actually get discussed. America’s natural and cultural isolationalism will and is gaining influence. The oceans around the USA still count. The idea of the importance of other nation building as in our interests will decline. Respect for other human systems (cultures) will increase, as in be respected. But their problems are their problems, not ours, or so I guess.

Regional conflicts and wars are so human and usual. They will continue. Only if some larger power gets involved will some change occur, for the short period (like one or two centuries). Call it a wild card for many reasons. For example, some nations can expend their wealth (their citizens efforts) in some pursuit their leaders pick.

Change is always painful to most humans. Just how change happens will revert to more human influences than political influences of whatever political party is in charge. As always, no matter what our politicians try do, humans will do what they think they have to do. I call it autopilot.

Just look at our cars in the USA. Already change as to saving energy is happening. Most people just want to save money in order to support their lives and their families. And more evolution is coming just because of humans.

And I imagine many can think of other examples of what we humans will do, and come up with to invoke change. Anyone who thinks they can control a country or the world is silly. Humans will always assert themselves, mostly for selfish reasons, I think.

For example, how are humans able to handle the change caused by so many more humans gaining USA type energy uses, like cars, air conditioning, basic heat, or even such public health ideas as clean water and waste water treatment.

One answer to change is both obvious and lucky, too. It is called the USA.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Poky Little Puppy

It’s official, I’ve become like my father.

Anyway, I am going through the “trash” of a 15 year old daughter from Atlanta, Ga. My father used to do this to my chagrin. Now I have a hint as to why.

Now presently I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, USA. The house is over 100 years old, and pretty much like living in a museum, which is a pain these days. I too like some air conditioning in this warm and humid time of the summer at this area, but that is silly here. Of course AC electric fans work pretty good, too, which is what I use, kinda like when I lived in Okinawa the first time. And in the winter, like most in the Northeast or the Midwest, I just wear more clothes. What’s new?

What hacked me off is one thing. What this 15 year old girl did, using initiative and hard work during a short visit, was unacceptable to me. She chose to throw away the subject book. I choose to use my standards where I live. Why should she even be so dumb to impose her standards on me?

Now what prompted all this is two-fold. First is that my handyman, screwed my tractor by poor practices. In other words, he was bush hogging in the woods, which is dumb since the tractor does not have a skid plate, and got the hydraulic lines torn up in the process, and now they leak bad. Now I have to fix it, of course, and pay the bill. Second is that we parents need to teach our kids about life at home. No male is born knowing how to work a tractor, for example. His Mom and Dad just failed him, in my opinion. And now I get to pay. So much for charity and well intentioned ideas.

There is a third factor, too. The $85 tractor service manual is now missing. And all I want to do is find out where to put in new hydraulic fluid once the repair is made by me, I hope.

So in the meantime, at least I have rescued the Poky Little Puppy book. And I still have another trash bag to go through.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Urban versus rural

The friction is so obvious. So many in cities have their needs, and so do those in rural areas. The two priorities often clash.

For example in the USA, people need energy to have their life style. But for those in NYC to expect those in Montana to let their state get covered over by solar panels is a silly idea. Go figure. And this all assumes the “grid” will help all this.

Now move to China, which I think is still ¾ rural. How long will the rural people tolerate birth defects from all the ecological damage being done these days in this part of the earth. Everyone loves their country, to a point.

Now think 100 years into the future. Here in the USA we rural type fellows (formally from Atlanta) have other objectives. And all I want to do is grow grass in the front yard. And I am working on it, in my way, of course.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hope springs eternal

Assuming humans still influence the world, then you can hope.

Now most don’t believe 90% of what they hear (or read), and only 50% of what they see.

Now the way I was taught in the USA was that there is normally only one real reason, and many good reasons. That idea seems to work still. It is so human. And call it marketing, or propaganda, or anything else, most of us use a jaundiced eye in our own decisions about our future, and our family’s futures.

And we live under so many governments, and some are better than others. But even then there is a common bond, hope.

So this is, as always, an interesting time in human history. Mostly, the genies have been unleashed as to human evolution. The bad news is that we still have to live, as in stay warm and eat. I guess I should be pleased that the genies have been unleashed. The downside is what happens. After all, people still have to live, and be happy.

By the way, for some good news, I define happiness as good health and self respect. This idea accommodates the obvious friction between men and women, for example.

Along the way, this 62 year old male recognizes that the nation state idea is some western idea from the 19th century. Some humans have other opinions about how they will be ruled. And there are so many alternatives.

Anyway, hope springs eternal.
Where have all the cowboys gone

Oh you get me ready in your 56 chevy
Why don't we go sit down in the shade
Take shelter on my front porch
The dandy lion sun scorching,
Like a glass of cold lemonade
I will do the laundry if you pay all the bills


Where is my John Wayne
Where is my prairie son
Where is my happy ending
Where have all the cowboys gone

Why don't you stay the evening
Kick back and watch the TV
And I'll fix a little something to eat
Oh I know your back hurts from working on the tractor
How do you take your coffee my sweet
I will raise the children if you pay all the bills


I am wearing my new dress tonight
But you don't, but you don't even notice me
Say our goodbyes
Say our goodbyes
Say our goodbyes

We finally sold the chevy
When we had another baby
And you took the job in tennessee
You made friends at the farm
And you joined them at the bar
Almost every single day of the week
I will wash the dishes while you go have a beer


Where is my Marlboro man
Where is his shiny gun
Where is my lonely ranger
Where have all the cowboys gone
Where have all the cowboys gone
Where have all the cowboys gone

Yippee aw, yippee yea (6 times)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ethics is something taught

Nobody is born knowing ethics.

And every culture has its own ethics. And as some cultures are historically more successful than others, so are the ethical ideas that these cultures historically use. There are many examples obvious to those who travel around the world for extended periods of time.

For example, most western cultures don’t appreciate duplicity, but many eastern cultures do. And I believe the world’s longest lasting empire to date was the Byzantine Empire (about a 1,000 years) which in my mind used a good blend of western and eastern ideas, like buy out your enemy if you can. I believe the world’s longest lasting western empire was Roman, which in my mind lasted about 600 years.

Most cultures do not tolerate outright lying for many reasons. One obvious example is finding and going to a doctor. While picking a doctor usually involves sales pitches (like an election), once one picks a doctor one usually wants the truth, tactfully of course, but the brutal truth (like running a country). Nobody in any culture that I know of wants to be lied to too about their health, their habits, etc. Now the patient can do what they want to with what they hear, again, in most cultures. Yes we humans do have a lot in common, too.

Now here in the USA, I hear many expressions, I think, that are really about ethics. Such expressions are like: nanny state, personal responsibility, risk taking, rewards, and more recently outright lying and credibility (as in trust and faith).

Now I also think most ethical ideas and principles are taught at home. But for sure they are taught. And some do better than others. And, again, some cultural ethics are better than others.

Now many, often called ideologues in the USA, seem to be seeking some kind of even keel for all. That’s fine for them, I guess. But for them to ask me to compromise my ethics to seek some even keel is the preverbal straw that broke the camel’s back.

Said another way, we humans are different, and to try impose one’s way and ideas and ethics on the others just is not normal, not human, not reasonable.

There are alternatives. Like establishing ways (rules) to have all humans work for our common good, while respecting our own cultures and ethics. Or how about letting the “market” which reflects human greed and love of family and ego, also influence the outcome. Now that is just two ideas.

The key point is that there are alternatives to having one group try impose themselves on all the others. What an historically wasted effort, though typically human throughout times.

So what’s the point of this post. Here in the USA, ethics needs to be reinforced. Be it the vote, be it shame, be it pure human greed, be it ego, be it family, but reinforce it anyway you can. After all, it has to be taught.

The way my mother and her mother taught to me comes to mind. The idea “that that is just not right” still comes to mind.

And here in the USA I trust ethics ideas and teaching will be at all levels, but mostly local, as in state, county, city, and school boards.

Now I don’t dwell in the past, but I also don’t ignore the past.

Some of our ancestors were also smart and did OK in their time and in my mind. Part of that idea is our culture’s ethics, both past and future.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Urban and rural

I moved to where I now live (roughly 700 acres) on purpose back in circa 2002. I used to live in Atlanta, which I liked a lot. And I like where I live now, even when I have to check the hydraulic ram that pumps my spring water 24/7/365. Even my waste water treatment setup makes me happy. I guess I could call myself a post baby boomer hippy type fellow, except I am also a retired Marine and I guess a neo-fascist baby killer according to the image. My present age is 62.

Well I just got back from doing some ditch maintenance and wheel barrow work. My drive way is about ¼ of a mile through the woods, and about every five years the ditches by the drive way need to be cleaned in order to keep the water off the road, as in the driveway road. So bottom line, rake the ditch, and then put the leaves in a wheel barrow and dump all in the woods. This is both brainless work, and hard work.

Now it seems this kind of work is demeaning to most of my local fellows in Monterey, Tennessee. After all it is just ditch work.

So I guess I will have to do it. After all, it still has to be done.

In the meantime, locally I hear if you can get fired from any job (and document it), then you can make a “draw” from the government.

Go figure.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Can you imagine life without electricity?

Electricity is a modern invention that helps a lot of people. It is not something we mine, rather we make it. Public use of electricity was only figured out about 120 years ago. Even in the USA we had rural electrification efforts about 80 years ago, for example.

Now electricity has changed the world, for the better most would say. It helps run irrigation pumps to feed people, for example. Also, just to turn the switch to turn on artificial light to go to the bathroom at night sure seems to help. And nothing counts like counting on our refrigerators and freezers to keep the food presentable. Before then, for example, communities often shared meat before it went bad. Of course, there also takes some electricity to even keep our cars and other such widgets running, to include our telephones. After all, gasoline still takes electric powered pumps to get it in our cars.

I cannot imagine life without electricity. Just how we get from A to B is what I wonder about. Mostly I think it will take time, which so many politicians in the USA seem to lack. And by time I think of the ways to make public use electricity.

So the goal may be good…but the method may be stupid. How about giving things time for humans to figure things out? How about we birth less babies, for example.

Friday, July 02, 2010

This post got my attention

Opinion: It's Amateur Hour in the Nation's Capital

Special to AOL News (July 1) -- Last week's flap involving Gen. Stanley McChrystal was notable for many things, but what stands out most in my opinion was how it reflects the declining respect that so many Americans have for those in leadership positions.

While decorum can be imposed by fiat, it is genuine respect that prompts teams to achieve in all fields, and which must be earned. I'm not going to defend the general, who clearly overstepped his bounds and had to be dismissed to maintain civilian control over the military. But he was (and I am) clearly frustrated with micromanagement of the Afghan campaign by politicians lacking military experience and situated thousands of miles away.

In recent years, we have seen far too much of this situation, where those with little or no pertinent experience or knowledge impose their views upon the country and in the process undermine respect for major institutions with their ineptitude.

For example:

•We currently see a Supreme Court nominee with virtually no experience in the law, outside academia and the White House, and none as a judge.
•We have the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee considering the Elena Kagan nomination focusing ad nauseam on her handling of the gays in the military issue years ago at Harvard Law School, and largely disregarding issues that are of real significance to Americans today -- such as her views on the implications of the Constitution's Commerce Clause for the new health care law.
•In House hearings on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, we have noted experts in petroleum engineering -- Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey -- making determinations as to which well-drilling method was preferable.
•We have a treasury secretary with no private sector experience and who had trouble filing an accurate tax return.
•And last year we saw our president -- with no experience running a business -- deciding to oust the CEO of General Motors.
If our country is going to get back on track, we need to redevelop confidence in and respect for our leaders and institutions. This means first and foremost electing and appointing people who command this respect by virtue of their bona fide achievements and not simply their paper credentials.

In recent years, far too many people with prestigious degrees and titles have made far too many horrible decisions that have caused great harm to Americans everywhere. We need people who have shown through their actual performance in business, the military, government or academia (preferably in multiple areas that pertain to the problems we face) that they can and will handle pressure and act at all times with integrity and good judgment.

The time for on the job training in lofty positions is over.

No one knows everything, so we need people whose demonstrated good judgment extends to acknowledging what they don't know, and deferring to those who are more qualified.

Even people who are competent in one or more areas do damage when they turn into "know-it-alls" or "buttinskys," imposing their view everywhere. Even worse are mediocrities or inept people who have too much confidence in themselves and override those with real expertise. They may have the formal authority to do so, but do irreparable damage to the stature of the institutions they represent. Washington hot air jokes were funny 30 or 40 years ago, but that time has passed.

We can adopt all the technical fixes in the world for health care, the auto industry, the financial sector, the energy sector or elsewhere, but they will only succeed in getting people to spend, borrow, invest and function if they are accompanied by a belief that the country is in good hands and that their persons are secure.

This will only happen if we are led by those who genuinely command respect.

Marty Robins is a corporate attorney (J.D. Harvard Law School) and adjunct law professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and DePaul University College of Law. He has authored two books and been frequently published in legal journals on various financial and intellectual property topics. He writes frequently for The Huffington Post.

To submit an op-ed or letter to the editor, write to If you intend your letter to be published, please specify that and provide your name and location (city and state).

Filed under: Opinion
Tagged: Elena Kagan, Commerce Clause, Edward Markey, Washington
Related Searches: kagan, elana kagan, elena kagan lesbian
Follow AOL News on Facebook and Twitter.