Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Here's My Latest Letter ...

A letter Wednesday, 'Criminals Will Get Guns Anyway,' reports that "only between 3 percent and 11 percent of criminals who used guns purchased them legally," claiming that making it harder to buy guns legally won't make a difference.  But this ignores the obvious problem with the equation.  Nothing ever happens to the 'illegal' seller.  Suppose there were strong penalties for selling firearms in any manner except one prescribed by law.  And the penalty for violations were to be commensurate with the crime committed with the firearm in question.  So the seller might wind up being charged with being complicit in mass murder.  Might that make a difference?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taking A Knee

My latest letter to the editor ...

As has become common, a 'controversy' has arisen inviting us all to 'pick a side' and insist that the 'other side' is (choose one) unpatriotic, bigoted, just plain stupid.  One adjective that seems out of place though is 'disrespectful.'  How is quietly going to one knee instead of standing 'disrespecting the flag'?  It may be 'nontraditional' but traditions change.  Already, prior to this, more than one posture has been accepted, mostly regarding what one does with one's hands.  So here's a new posture.  While honoring the flag, and the Republic for which it stands, the kneeler is reminding us that some of our fellow citizens are still not able to fully realize 'the blessings of liberty' mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution. 

When Tim Tebow assumed the same posture he was never accused of 'disrespecting' anything ...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Here's A New ...

... Letter To The Editor

I thank Jeff Bust for writing and the Wisconsin State Journal for running Sunday's column, 'I'm Still Glad I Voted For Trump.'  Very illuminating. 

His views on most issues, he declares, are "not attractive ... "  And he's tired of being "guilted" for "having a job, etc."  He has decided that any 'guilting' isn't about his unattractive (and unstated) views, which would be about him, but rather about his "finding a way to live comfortably."  So it's really about them and their unreasonableness.  

He feels "this country does not have the right to spend future taxpayers’ money."  But candidate Trump didn't campaign on fiscal responsibility and President Trump has not made it a priority.  His priorities have been a 'Muslim ban' and a border wall; features of his campaign.

Finally, "I don't like Trump either."  But, "I voted for Trump because we can't afford another president we simply like.  We need one who does something."  And "I am happier with my vote every day." 

So either doing 'something,' is all this Trump voter needs (doubtful) or, fiscal protestations aside, what he really wanted all along was what candidate Trump proposed.  So why, then, doesn't he like him?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Struggle For Power

I'm reading Theodore Draper's A Struggle For Power: The American Revolution.  Somebody recommended it to me.

A Struggle For Power is a 'startlingly original and magisterial account of the causes and nature of the American Revolution.'

Chapter One is the Seven Years War and what the implications were for 'the Colonies.'  After an unpromising beginning it began to become evident in 1760 that Great Britain would 'win' the American version of the Seven Years War.  A 'pamphlet war' then began as various pamphleteers attempted to make a case for what the spoils should be.  The French would cede Canada OR Guadalupe, their largest 'sugar island' in the West Indies.  Economically Guadalupe was probably worth more but Canada had economic benefits too and immense territory.  And was contiguous. 

Much of the debate revolved around which would keep the colonies 'in line.'  Leave the French in Canada to keep the colonies dependent on 'the mother country' for defense?  Franklin, living in England at the time, was among those arguing that there was no need to worry about the loyalties of the colonists.

Chapter Two looks back to the origins of the colonies, starting with Jamestown, and the fact that they were corporate, for-profit, expeditions.  Their charters granted them a great deal of autonomy and the fact that they were left to raise and spend revenues as needed and as they were able created self-sufficient political entities.

I'll begin Chapter Three tonight ...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Books I Read In 2016

The Boo, Pat Conroy

From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia
Pinkaj Mishra

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,
Kevin M. Kruse

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,
H. W. Brands

Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson

Once In A Great City: A Detroit Story,David Maraniss

Being Nixon: A Man Divided, Evan Thomas

Set Point, Mark Porter

John Lennon: The Life, Philip Norman

Duel On The Cinders, Mark Porter

FDR, Jean Edward Smith

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Grays 45's 2016 Season

The Grays began the 2016 MABL season with high expectations. Champions in 2014 they felt that one bad day against the eventual champion Bears had cost them the prize in 2015.

A 10-6 win in the season-opener against the defending regular season champion Crawfords showed them to be clicking on all cylinders. In game two however they encountered a new hurdle: the expansion Sand Crabs, who humbled the short-handed Grays, 13-2.

This would be an unfortunate theme to the Grays' season as they moved out to a 6-2 first half, both losses coming against the new powerhouse. Then injuries began to take a toll. Offensive MVP Tom Hopkins missed the entire second half with an oblique injury and Pitcher/Shortstop Greg Gaber played as well as he could with a painful groin pull. Left-handed Pitcher/Catcher and big hitter Dave Keene missed eight games with a back injury which eventually required surgery.

Still the remaining players soldiered on, augmented by the return of Kevin Mack who missed the first half due to work obligations. As the tournament began they appeared to be hitting their stride again and they knocked off the Bears (now called the Brewers) in a rematch of last season's semi-final game, 11-6. But waiting for them in the championship round was their new nemesis, the Sand Crabs, who had nearly run the table in the regular season, going 15-1. On that final Sunday the Sand Crabs showed why they were undisputed 2016 champions, scoring five runs in the first two innings and holding the Grays to just two hits in a 7-0 whitewashing.

High points of the season were their 5-1 stretch from May 8th through July 10th and some stellar individual performances, including:

Bob Schwalb's 31 hits and 18 stolen bases in 17 games
Glenn Griffin's 18 hits and 22 steals in 16 games
Greg Gaber's 16 RBI in 16 games
Dave Keene and Andy Sutherland, brothers-in-law who each hit over .400, and finally
Milt Friend who completed his 73rd season of playing baseball, and finally called it a career at age 80

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Republicans: Not Automatically Better Than Democrats (I Mean, Come On, Seriously?)

Maybe read this first.  Mine is rebuttal to it.

In Thursday's guest Column, The case for John Kasich is strong in Wisconsin, the author's 'important point' is nominating a candidate who can " ... bring a Republican into the White House after eight long years of disappointment in Barack Obama."  I suppose this makes sense to someone who takes it as a given that a Republican is always better than a Democrat for president.

I was born at the end of the Eisenhower administration, the last of a certain type of Republican president.  Since then we've had eight years of Democrats, JFK and LBJ, who set us on the path to the moon and back and kicked off a technological revolution the benefits of which still redound to us today, and The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  And some questionable decisions involving Vietnam.

Following that we got eight years of one Republican who initially doubled down on Vietnam, despite having sensed the mood of the electorate and campaigned as the peace candidate, and his hand-picked successor, whose principal 'accomplishment' was to pardon his predecessor, who had resigned under threat of impeachment, for any and all crimes committed during his time as president.

Four years of a Democrat who at least tried to get us pointed in the right direction again, energy-wise and in world affairs.  Twelve years of Republicans who assured us that we had been on the right path all along and pulled out the credit card so we could have low taxes and high spending, and got too much credit for 'winning the Cold War.'  Eight years of a Democrat who, personal peccadilloes aside, oversaw a nicely growing economy and pursued a fairly non-interventionist foreign policy.  And eight years of a Republican on whose watch the economy crashed and who started an ill-defined and horribly executed global war that to this point has accomplished a lot more bad then good.

And now 'eight long years (actually still closer to seven) of disappointment' in the Democrat who has overseen a steadily improving economy and whose big 'failure' is that he hasn't single-handedly turned the world into a peaceful utopia. 

And yet still I should vote Republican, no matter what?