I Have a Gripe

January 28, 2010

My State of the Union Review

Filed under: government,Healthcare,Laws,Politics,Security,United States government — alvb1227 @ 11:11 pm

Last night was the first State of the Union by President Obama. Now that close to 24 hours have past the the twitch in my eye has settled down, I can put some thoughts together about my opinion of the speech.

First off, I will say he is an excellent (teleprompter reader) orator. He delivers a speech very well. Like many State of the Union addresses, the President spoke of lofty goals that on the surface make lots of sense. Who wouldn’t want to see lower tuition, better paying jobs, development of green technology and all our troops home? I would love to see all those things…and more. But the harsh reality is that we don’t live the int he dreamworld of Washington D.C.; we live in the cities and suburbs of the United States of America.

We are living in a world today where extremist lunatics want to kill us simply because we believe in a free society. While I am not a Constitutional expert, I believe these people should be considered enemy combatants and enemies of the state. I don’t believe that they should be tried in civilian court, but in military tribunals. This is a different warfare we are waging today. Not one of countries, but of ideologies. We have a pretty solid idea where these terrorists (and they are terrorists) come from, however, because they are not “officially” associated with a country’s military, we need to redefine how to handle these people. They are not common thugs and as a result, shouldn’t be treated as such. I don’t believe we should have the 9-11 trials in the shadow of where those great buildings once stood, but in Gitmo where they won’t have a soapbox to spew their hatred. They are already pleading guilty. So, just make it official and hang them and be done with it.

The Administration needs to understand that we Americans are not happy with what is going on in Washington D.C. today. Yes, he is right; there is partisan bickering and we can be far apart on issues. However, our elected Representatives (including the President) all need to understand they represent “we the people” and we are now watching them like a hawk. If they make backroom deals like with the recent health care debacle, we will hold them to task. At the same time, I do not believe it is the place of the President to lecture the Senate, the House or (especially) the Supreme Court like a mother lecturing a four-year-old. In my opinion, he is as bad as many of them currently in office. My opinion is that he delegates off a lot of what he should be doing so when it falls apart, it can’t stick to him.

He said he wants to meet regularly with both sides of the aisle. I hope that’s true. I respectfully disagree that the GOP is the “party of no.” They just haven’t been taken seriously when it comes to how they feel issues should be handled (like health care). This goes beyond a party being obstinate, to a party not being considered. Why? Because the liberal wing of the Democratic party felt they didn’t have to listen to them because they had a super-majority. As a result, they tried to push an agenda a majority of the country didn’t believe was the right way to proceed. Just like over 200 years ago, a shot was heard around the world. As shot in the form of the election of a little-known Republican by the name of Scott Brown in one of the most liberal states in the Union. It looks like it got their attention and hopefully they will keep this in mind moving forward.

One thing I have been saying for as long as I can remember is the role of government as it relates to job creation. It is not the job of the government to create jobs, even though they seem to be the only ones hiring these days. It is the job of the government to create conditions that are conducive for businesses to create jobs. This takes place by offering sensible tax cuts and hot holding business owners feet to the fire every time the government needs to institute some ridiculous policy.

What do I really want? As I have said for ages…stay out of the way and let the market correct itself. It is not the place of the government to levy fees on banks (that will ultimately trickle down to the consumer), bailout private industry, regulate health care or decide how much college should cost. The framers of this ever-evolving society understood the ramifications of a government too involved in one’s private life. That’s why they developed specific limitations as to what the government can and should control. And the President? That was designed as the least powerful office. Washington also warned against the two-party system. People should’ve listened.

Ultimately, I would like to see all politicians, federal or local, to read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, their state’s governing documents and really understand what it means to serve the people. The ones who voted them in and the ones who can vote them out. Because at the end of the day, the living document of the Constitution defines a government that is, as I quote from Lincoln, “of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Banned Words and Phrases

Filed under: General Annoyances,government,Politics — alvb1227 @ 2:11 am

In light of this evening’s State of the Union, I have decided the following words and phrases should be banned from all politician’s vocabulary:

  • Transparency
  • Yes we can
  • Let me be clear
  • The people have asked for change
  • Bailout (wall street, AIG and the like)
  • Too big to fail
  • We inherited…(enter excuse here)
  • Teachable moment
  • Stimulus (package)
  • Beer summit
  • Shovel ready
  • Politics of change
  • I feel your pain (one of the most annoying by far)

I’m sure I’m missing many, but this is definitely a good start. Please feel free to add your own!

January 19, 2010

Medical Marijuana Now Legal in New Jersey

Filed under: government,Healthcare,Laws,New Jersey,Politics — alvb1227 @ 1:58 am
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As of noon tomorrow, Jon Corzine will officially be history in New Jersey and Chris Christie will become our new Governor. While I have never been a fan of Gov. Corzine, he actually did one thing today that I agree should be law. He signed into state law the legal use of medical marijuana.

Now, I know many of you will be thinking I have lost my mind, but I do think the use of marijuana should be legalized. First, if someone is in serious pain and there is nothing else available to them, or they are terminally ill, I see no reason why anything that could be done to make them comfortable should be done.

Many also argue that marijuana is a “jump off” drug to other, harder illegal drugs. I disagree. I have known many that only smoke marijuana and have never moved on to a harder drug. If an individual has an addictive personality, it doesn’t matter what the vice is…drugs, smoking, alcohol, whatever.

I hate to quote a movie on this subject, but it makes sense. As in “The Godfather,” it should be “controlled like a business. It shouldn’t be sold to children and it shouldn’t be in schools.” If marijuana was legal, it could be controlled by the FDA, taxed and so on. It would ultimately greatly reduce the power of the Mexican drug cartels and save lives of our own ATF officers. Call me crazy, and yes, I know many conservatives will disagree with me, but I think this is a smart way to generate taxes, save lives and bring comfort to those who are seriously ill.

January 17, 2010

The United States to the Rescue as Always

Filed under: government,United States government — alvb1227 @ 9:58 pm

We were all horrified by the images coming out of Haiti this week. And as always, both the people and the government of the United States were quick to offer their prayers, their dollars and military support to those in need. This is just one of the things that makes me proud to be an American.

Then you have countries like China have donated one million to relief efforts. The three million dollar donation from golf pro Tiger Woods is a larger donation than China and India combined. However, I haven’t seen much of that reported in the news. Considering the size and GDP of these countries, their small donations are inexcusable. Some may say that China’s small donation is due to Haiti’s issue with acknowledging the current Chinese government, however, the U.S. was quick to offer aid when Iran suffered a serious earthquake a few year ago. As Bush 41 said, this is not an issue that should be politicized.

However, after all the United States has done around the world, a majority of the world can’t stand us. Many on the left will say it is due to the last eight years of the Bush administration, however, I disagree. This anti-American sentiment has been going on for quite some time. In my personal opinion, you will not find a more caring and compassionate people than those of the United States. Even now, in the midst of an economic downturn, people are digging deep and donating what they have. A large majority of nations around the world look at us as the ugly empire, however, when disaster strikes, those same countries look to us to lead the charge…and we do, without hesitation.

In the last five years, the U.S. has given Haiti approximately one billion dollars, most of which has been more than likely lost to the wide-spread fraud and a corrupt government. I wonder if down the road Haiti will go the way of American Somoa and become an unincorporated territory. In the long run, it may make more fiscal sense, especially now, given the shambles the nation is in due to the earthquake.

If you are considering a donation, I hope you donate to a well-vetted organization. Personally, I do not donate to any organizations run by the United Nations. In my opinion, they are one of the most inept organizations and should have been disbanded decades ago. I also do not donate to the Red Cross ever since their 9-11 debacle.  I recommend organizations like Doctors Without Borders, which has a four star grade from Charity Navigator and the newly created Clinton-Bush Haitian relief organization. These groups work hard to ensure that the funds donated are not wasted and get the most out of every dollar. For more information on different charities, check out Charity Navigator.

January 15, 2010

Another Liberal Comment

Filed under: General Annoyances,Politics — alvb1227 @ 2:33 pm
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So, I belong to a blogging group on the professional social network, LinkedIn. Someone started a discussion thread asking everyone in the group to post their blogs. I posted my two blogs (this one and http://thefiberforum.com) and that was it. No commentary, no promotional language. Nothing.

Well the person who posted next had the following to say:
“This isn’t a place for your political issues. Why don’t you submit this to Fox (Faux) News?”

I responded by saying I felt her comment was harsh and all I did was simply list my blogs as the discussion thread directed.

Now, this is where I get steamed. I would like to know why the majority of those who lean right are attacked to the point of becoming timid when those on the left discover their viewpoints? I have had (so-called) friends, as well as colleagues, verbally attack and ridicule my personal and political beliefs. Yet many on the left have no problem regularly expressing their views.

Now before I get commentary…yes, I know, I am generalizing. There are what I refer to as “fringe idiots” on both sides of the coin. I try very hard not to engage in name-calling and stoop to the level of others, regardless of how tempting it might be. One time I did, however, when I wrote in an email to an internet show I listen to regularly. I clearly and without emotion stated my opinion and gave facts to support it. What did one of the panelists do? They referred to me as a “right-wing tea bagger.” Well, I was furious! I emailed in again and told them I was offended and asked how would he like it if I referred to him as a “left-wing nut job?” He understood my point and apologized. But why does it need to get to that point?

As usual, it just doesn’t make sense.

January 12, 2010

Ramifications of Being an Illegal Alien Around the World

Filed under: General Annoyances,government,Politics — alvb1227 @ 6:26 pm
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Another friend sent me this via email and, again, I felt the need to share. It is both sad, but true…

Ramifications of Being an Illegal Alien Around the World

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot.

If you cross the United States border illegally you get:
A job,
A driver’s license,
A social security card,
Food stamps,
Credit cards,
Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house,
Free education,
Free health care,
A lobbyist in Washington
Billions of dollars worth of public documents printed in your language
The right to carry your country’s flag while you protest that you don’t get enough respect

I just wanted to make sure I had a firm grasp on the situation…

January 9, 2010

The Ant and The Grasshopper

Filed under: government,Manipulation,Politics — alvb1227 @ 6:43 pm
Tags: ,

A friend sent me this modern-day variation of the ant and the grasshopper. I thought it conveys a valuable lesson so I wanted to post it here.

This one is a little different…Two Different Versions, Two Different Morals

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.  The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.  CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.  How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green.’  Meanwhile,  ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, “We shall overcome.” Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s  sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight. Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  Be careful how you vote in 2010!

January 5, 2010

Airport Security Needs to Get on the Offense

Filed under: government,Security — alvb1227 @ 1:05 am

Unless you have been living under a rock since Christmas, you have heard all about the attempted terrorist bombing on an inbound overseas flight. Since then, the TSA and all those involved with airport security have been scrambling to improve the screening process for all travelers.

Each night the news reports on the day’s changes and the spin from different security “experts.” Again, in my opinion, we as a country are going about this the completely wrong way.

We need to get off the defense and get on the offense. We need to be proactive and figure out what these animals are planning instead of being reactive to whatever happens.

The latest plan is to do extra screening on overseas flights from specific countries considered “government-sponsored terrorist countries.” Um, have we learned nothing from 9-11? Those hijacked flights were not going overseas, but across the country. I also find it interesting that Newark Airport, where one of the 9-11 originated, doesn’t have any advanced security screening measures, like full-body scanners.

This brings me to another point. First, while I am fully aware and in support of the first amendment, but we should not report on every attempt to prevent terrorist attacks. If something is a threat to national security, it shouldn’t be reported. Period.

Also, the concept of profiling exists for a reason. It is not racial, but behavioral. Agencies like the FBI have agents that specialize in developing profiles for a reason…a certain set of behavioral responses will result in a particular outcome. The plan is not to discriminate against a particular race or ethic group, as the ACLU would like to claim, but to identify potentially damaging and terrorist-like behavior.

Additionally, if everyone is so upset with the full-body scans, what about bomb-sniffing dogs? Travelers should still have to follow the standard security measures, but have bomb-sniffing dogs at different points around the terminal. I also remember many years ago when Glenn and I were flying to Las Vegas. We had our fly rods with us. The agent didn’t feel comfortable with the rod tubes, even after we opened them and were  inspected. So, he did a bomb residue test on us and our carry on luggage.  Now if the Christmas day bomber had been tested, that may have made a difference.

And speaking of TSA agents, what will we gain by unionizing them? One of the things sadly a union does is protect poor-performing employees. This is one area where that is dangerous.

I think this is a big issue that requires a cross-departmental approach. Again, the TSA, FBI, CIA, White House Intelligence and so on all need to work together, not mark their territory regarding who is the top dog.

January 1, 2010

An Open Letter to Chris Christie

Filed under: New Jersey,Politics — alvb1227 @ 12:31 am

As 2009 comes to an end (thankfully!), the great state of New Jersey will be getting a new Governor (again, thankfully!) very soon.

The day after the election, I sent Governor-Elect Chris Christie an email outlining my thoughts for his upcoming tenure as Governor. I have re-printed it below. I never heard from him or his office, but I hope someone read it and has taken it to heart.

Dear Mr. Christie and Ms. Guadagno,
First, I would like to congratulate you on a hard fought win. Our great state needs some common sense thinking and a new approach in an effort to move New Jersey forward to a more prosperous future.

I did want to share some thoughts I have as part of your constituency that I hope you will consider as you make plans for our state.

First, I hope you don’t use the “well, we inherited a mess” excuse each time you or someone on your team is asked a tough question. As I also wrote our President, you ran knowing what was ahead. You won and I congratulate you and wish you the best moving forward. Please don’t make excuses when asked tough questions about the past. Look to the future.

I know you did not support public question one. I did vote in favor of it and hope those funds will be distributed with common sense. While I do not feel bad for those who knowingly purchased homes in a flood zone, I do believe we need to preserve our heritage as The Garden State and keep the beautiful open spaces available to all our residents and those who visit it. It is the diversity of our state that makes me proud to be a true “Jersey Girl” and defend our state to those who make fun of it.

I know I don’t have to tell you what an embarrassment the corruption in our state is. I ask that you work to clean up this mess, as I am sure it is a fiscal waste and we don’t have a penny to spare. Also on the subject of fiscal responsibility, you know how expensive this state is. I completely disagree that those who are the most successful be expected to shoulder the load and be taxed beyond reality. If those who are successful, like small business owners, are taxed as high as our federal government would like for example, they will simply leave the state and take the jobs they create with them. Where would the want to succeed go? We will do nothing but foster a sea of mediocrity and that is not what we need. At the same time, taxes are killing us. I ask that you consider a second look at Mr. Longegan’s flat tax ideas. I think that is really the best way to provide tax relief and help our state, and mainly its politicians, learn how to live on a budget like we all do in our own households.

I also hope you will consider supporting art and music in our schools. If we teach our children only “core” subjects, they will not be a well-rounded, educated individual and not foster creativity which coupled with critical thinking is what will help ensure our state’s, and our country’s, success moving forward. It would also be nice to learn about our state’s, and our country’s, history and focus a little less on standardized tests that do nothing bug pigeonhole a child’s ability.

I consider myself a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. I hope you use the common sense God gave you as you make the important decisions for us moving forward and I will pray for your success. Our state depends on it.

Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten

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