Month: August 2015

NOLA Thoughts

I was just reading a story about New Orleans on the tenth anniversary of Katrina that was one guys perspective of what happened then and since then.

I was glancing a some pictures my step-daughter posted from her visit 10 years ago.

I have watched the interviews and reports on CNN, MSNBC and other news outlets.

Lives were lost.

Lives were uprooted.

Lives were changed.

The term NOLA wasn’t common until recently according to a couple of accounts I have read or heard.

We like to wrap things up into convenient packages with #Hashtags and create a movement, volunteer for a cause or even donate $$ in 3 and 5 dollar increments and believe we are doing something.

Yes, we are doing something.  Don’t discount it, but also be cautious about believing the true impact of what you are doing.

Also be cautious of what the government can do.

The government isn’t some impersonal machine that takes care of us, although some believe it is.

It is made up of people.  People like me, like you, like your parents.

People who want to do good and others who want that good for themselves.

People in government are like little gods.  Depending on the level of power that they have and if they are elected, appointed, or just a hired hand, they may be influenced to look out for themselves first, or for others first.

One of the big complaints about the rebuilding of NOLA is how it created a different New Orleans than before Katrina.  Neighborhoods were not rebuilt.  They were replaced.  Public Housing for low income residents disappeared as the waters receded and were replaced with unaffordable dwellings. At least unaffordable by the folks who used to live on that land.

Besides the horror from the screw-ups by government officials that left people stranded and dying during the storm, there have been years of government involvement that has caused what is there now.

All of this could have been prevented.

There was money and plans to build protection against storms like Katrina.  But those programs were either reduced, or never acted on and that was the first problem with trusting the government.

Then during the actual storm, again the government failed on multiple levels.  In the years following, again it is the government that has either helped or hindered, depending on your perspective.

What I find amazing is that those who have been most hurt by those in charge in government, still look to the government to fix things.

It’s almost like trusting an abusive spouse to stop the beatings and magically give them a wonderful life.

I don’t know the answers.   As I get older and see the state of reliance even middle class people have on government it is scary.

I work in a profession that allows me to get rewarded financially proportionately by the work I do. While it is not physically demanding, it is demanding in other ways.  Twice in the past ten years I took positions where I was paid according to what I was able to initially negotiate and that was my income without any opportunity to increase it due to my own efforts.

Those that depend on the government are even less in control of their futures.  Talk about feeling trapped.

Back to the topic of NOLA.

My step-daughter found some pictures from when she was 17 and spent a week with other volunteers helping with clean-up efforts.  This event and others will have an impact on each of us and it is up to each of us to determine how that impact will transform us.





Undocumented or Illegal?

Many of us have noticed a switch in the language used to describe certain people in the United States. The certain people are immigrants who have not gone through the legal process to obtain permission to be here.

Undocumented or Illegal? 

There are multiple ways to legally enter the United States and the most common is with a passport.

There are also visa programs and numerous ways to live here on a temporary basis legally.  Sometimes these people overstay their legal length of visiting and we don’t have a very good way of ensuring that they comply with the law.

They came here legally and because they did that, we trust them to honor their word to reapply or leave.

But those that came here legally as I just described are not the ones that are making the headlines in this Presidential political season that Donald Trump has made a part of his platform.

He (and others) are talking about those who cross the border (mostly our southern/Mexico border) without any legal authority to do so.

It hasn’t been politically correct to all these people illegal immigrants for the last few years.  It sounds bad.  It sounds like they are criminals.

That’s why the switch to undocumented immigrants came about.  Not so harsh.  Not mean.

After all, we are a nation of immigrants unless you are a Native American Indian.

However here we are in 2015. Our government has had laws on the books since 1790 regarding this topic and yet we have been lax to enforce our laws, especially compared to other countries.

We, the American people have good hearts.  We want the best for everyone. The United States has been a land of opportunity for centuries, before the United States were formed, Europeans came here to start new lives.

Estimates say we have between 10 and 20 million “Undocumented” immigrants living in the United States right now and that to kick them out is not only heartless, but would disrupt our economy.

I do not know the answer to all of this.  But one thing I do know:

We need to return to the term Illegal Immigrant and stop the watered down Undocumented Immigrant language.

Then we can address the problem in a systematic fashion, one that reflects the compassionate hearts that Americans have while also recognizing the importance of law and order for our civilization.

Do the laws need to be changed? I say yes because our government is ignoring the current laws now due to public pressure. We change laws all the time as our country strives to make improvements.  But please, confront the problem head on instead of this downward path we have been on.  Then we can make positive progress.

The Children Are Missing


The medical procedure designed to end the life of an unborn child by removing it from the mother’s womb prematurely and forcefully.

While there are many abortion providers in the United States, the one that gets the most attention is Planned Parenthood.

The number of abortions in the United States is staggering.  You can Google the numbers and you’ll see:

  • In 2011, approximately 1.06 million abortions took place in the U.S
  • Blacks comprise only 13% of the population of America but account for 37% of all abortions.• Black women are five times more likely to abort than white women.• 69% of pregnancies among Blacks are unintended, while that number is 54% among Hispanics and 40% of pregnancies among Whites.

    • Planned Parenthood, the largest seller of abortions in the United States, has located 80% of its abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods, disproportionally targeting minorities for abortion.

I heard recently and did research on what was mentioned above, that is the number of abortions that were being performed on black women.  The soundbite I heard mentioned New York City as an example and here’s what I found from the CDC:

You can take the time like I did and dig up these numbers, or look at the links I included.

The Black Lives Matter movement needs to look at this and show some outrage.  So does the Hispanic community.

Heck, everyone does.   Not just those who picketed Planned Parenthood this weekend.

A quote from the Yahoo News article linked above,

Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Eric Ferrero said in a statement that the rallies were meant “to intimidate and harass” the organization’s patients.

“Unlike these protesters, compassion is at the center of what we do, and we will continue to provide care, and a safe, welcoming environment for our patients, no matter what,” he said.

Locally this is what my friends reported as they were part of the protest and prayer in Fort Wayne,

Every ‪#‎ProtestPP‬ opponent either dropped the F bomb or gave us the finger. I think that’s them invoking the name of their god.

As a Dad and now grandfather, my heart grieves for the millions of missing children that never got a chance.


Why Should I Vote For You?

While the 2016 Presidential Election cycle is in full swing, I have another election coming up to cast my vote in first.

Fort Wayne, Indiana has their city elections the year before the Presidential Elections and I urge folks to pay attention to local politics.  Your voice and vote matters in all elections but with smaller turn outs in local elections, your vote actually has more power.

But I am writing this today because of a couple of things that annoy me both locally and nationally.

I want to know, “Why Should I Vote For You?” but the candidates are not giving me the answers.

I signed up to receive updates from local and national candidates and have been getting emails asking me to join them for $1000 a plate dinners to hear them speak.  Wrong, wrong and stupid way to talk to me.

I will never give money to a political candidate or campaign.  I will support candidates who I believe are worthy of consideration.

I actively look at all sides of issues and don’t fit in a Republican or Democrat Box.  I even look for and research the political leanings of the media so I have a handle on the leanings of what I am reading or listening to.

I appreciate when local candidates knock on my door at home and want to engage in conversation.  A few years ago Karen Goldner came by and just the other day Mike Conley did the same.  I knew Karen before she visited and have known Mike for years too.

Both Karen and Mike were surprised to see me when they stopped by because they didn’t know where I lived, but I appreciate the efforts they made it their quest to represent me in City Council.  The year Karen stopped by and I later voted for her (again) was the year she lost and I plan on casting my vote for Mike this year. Hopefully my streak of voting for losing candidates (3/4 of those I voted for in the May primary lost), will end.

On the Presidential side, I signed up for info from Democrats and Republicans not so I could be solicited for funds the way Vistaprint nearly spams me with offers.  I want to know each candidates position on issues that matter to me.  I find it incredible that several candidates have not made this information public.  It raises a lot of questions about how prepared they are to do the job if they haven’t even laid out their plans or positions.  Instead they are all about raising money to campaign on _______ hot air?  What?  Sound Bites?

Stop treating me and others as a source of money to help you get in office and stay in office.  You are here to serve us not the other way around.

End of rant.  But please Mr/Ms Candidate, give me some substance before you ask for money that I’m not going to give you.

The Aftermath of the 1st GOP Debate(s)

Thursday was the day we looked forward to.

Not in a normal way we look forward to something fun and exciting.

For me it was more like the feeling when you are stuck in traffic because there is a bottleneck up ahead and you are not sure what is causing it.  It could be a horrendous accident with blood and guts all over the road or it could be the highway crew closing down a lane to fill in some old pot holes.

I was planning on catching the also rans at 5pm but I got home after 6 and only saw the last few minutes.

When the big boy debate ramped up I realized why I don’t watch Fox News.  This wasn’t a serious debate, it was a joke.

I almost sound like Trump as I type those words but I won’t be as rude.

In years past a debate was where there were topics and questions and everyone got their turn at answering the question from the moderator.

This was more like a vetting operation.  The 3 host/moderators took turns asking questions crafted to each persons flaws and weaknesses and asked them to defend themselves.

Substance? Nope.  Real Answers to Real Important Questions? You had to ask a Real Important Question and that never happened.

Okay, so they didn’t ask softball questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” but this was a waste of time.

Even with the lack of substance, I was able to narrow the field of 17 to my favorite 5 possibilities.  So here we go:

I say, Gilmore, Pataki and you say who?  Two old guys who used to be Governors that no one knows or cares about.  They had their shot at fame at 5pm Thursday.

Perry, Santorum, Huckabee and we both have flash backs to the last couple of Republican Presidential Campaigns.  Sorry Rick,  Rick and Mike but your lights are growing dim.  And it’s not because of the Donald.  You just don’t have it this time around to make it.

Also in that kiddy table debate at 5 a few others that need to rest up and find something else to do.  I’m sure they are good folks but this is not their year. I expect Jindall, and Graham to just stay put as they say in their current government jobs.

7 down, 10 to go…

Despite his Christian values and excellent back story, Ben Carson won’t make it.  If you are supporting him or any of those I already mentioned, please stop and look at those that have a chance to not just win the primaries, and the presidency but can also lead and represent the country for 4 or 8 years.

With that last statement, I have to remove a couple more names. Christie, Cruz.  Christie has lost his luster and Cruz was the outrageous one before Trump came along.

On to the Final 7 and I can narrow it down to 5 possibilities. I have to give props to Kasich the Ohio governor that we just started learning about.  He is one I will investigate further.  Same with Fiorina. She is also worth checking out.

Walker, Rubio and Paul.  They also make my top 5 but we will see.  Bush and Trump are not on my list but they are both dangerous.  Jeb needed to shine and his answer to an education question on Common Core was not inline with his public position.  But he has lots of money to hang around awhile.  Trump is an opportunist and can’t be trusted which was what the first question in the debate was all about when the candidates were asked to pledge loyalty to the party candidate when the primary season was over and the Donald refused to rule out an independent run.

In 11 months only one will be the Republican Presidential Candidate and I sincerely hope it is one from this list of five:

  • John Kasich
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Scott Walker
  • Marco Rubio
  • Rand Paul

And as a side note, on the Dem side of the fence,  I hope Bernie Sanders continues his climb as Mrs. Clinton falters and the others running continue to be obscure.

More to come in the months ahead.