Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bahumbug! Take your "War on Christmas" and kiss my mistletoe

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I have to admit I loathe this time of year. No, not because of family traveling from afar or all day football or even Thanksgiving itself, nope I loathe the day after.

Ha, you probably thought I was talking about “Black Friday,” but that has little to do with it.

Nope, I loathe this time of year because it begins the “War on Christmas” brouhaha in the Media.

"Don't say Happy Holidays it’s Merry Christmas” is the mantra spread in memes on social media in never ending posts. TV Journalists thump their desks against guests that oppose saying anything "Christmas" in message while throwing hi-fives and gulping down eggnog with those that shout repeated Amens.

It’s an all about "me" society and all must conform to whether or not what I say. Did you catch that, I said "whether or not" because not only is this so-called "War" about keeping the word "Christmas" in the fold but it's also a "War" to keep it away. But the major issue is that many of us have been programmed with something called mannerism and feel obliged to always give greetings and salutations to whomever we speak to.

Damn you grandparents!

But there are a few ways to end this "War," it's very obvious and easy to begin; name tags and religious segregation.

Maybe people should start wearing name tags during the month of December that states their religious preference. “Hello I’m Jewish” or “Yes I’m Atheist” should become the norm so no one gets offended because then everyone knows the correct greeting!

Or maybe Wal-Mart should segregate checkout lines. Aisles 1-10 for Christians, 11-21 for Jews, 22-30 for Muslims, and what's left for everyone else. Of course we already know the obvious flaw with this. No, not the division of segregated checkouts lines but that it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, Wal-Mart only has 6 out of 30 checkout aisles open at one time!

This all leads to another issue that pops up during the "25 Day War on Christmas" ratings grab in Media; Religion in Public schools.

I don’t have any issue with kids getting together during their free/study halls or lunch to discuss their religious belief among themselves, as long as it stays there. Too me, they are not bothering anyone or causing a disturbance.

However, if you want your child to learn or participate in religious rituals or education, then send them to the proper religious educational setting as a public school setting is not appropriate. But many cannot afford the expense of religious schools, so off to public schools they go and the parents try to transform that school towards their way, because who cares what other religions of children there are, it’s about my child and that’s what matters.

I’ve always believed that during the month of December, in Civics or History class, it would be interesting to educate students on the different types of religion and what/if they celebrate a holiday around this time. Well as I’ve grown older I realize what a crazy idea that was because the word “INDOCTRINATION” screams from the rafters.

Which leads me to the state of Maryland where a story of the Maryland father who is currently banned from his daughter's high school because he objected the teaching of Islam in her World History class.

Mr. Kevin Wood was upset about an essay assignment on Mohammed, Mecca and the 5 Pillars that was assigned to his daughter. Mr. Woods stated that "our kids can't study Christianity in public schools but we can force feed our kids Islam" and requested his daughter be removed from the La Plata High School class while Islam was topic. The school administration denied the request because it is a requirement towards graduation.

Complete the course or fail.

Mr. Wood was then served with a "No Trespass" notification for language that constituted a want to disrupt school activities. Yet most of the Media ended the story with the "No Trespass" as dramatic pause and with the La Plata HS kids being forced to learn (and possible sympathetic towards) Islam. If one actually researched a little further they might have found out that in this World History course not only touched on Islam when learning about the Middle East, but also Hinduism & Buddhism when the subject changes to India and China as well as Christianity during the Renaissance Era.

Not to also mentioned is that Mr. Wood's daughter would spend the rest of the World History course in the Library while the topic of the Middle East is taught and still fulfilling her requirement of writing the essay.

Now there must be something in the Maryland drinking water as another school district made the news concerning religion and the public school system that had Social Media posts exploding with rage.

The other week, the Muslim community requested that the Montgomery County school district recognize their religious observance on the school calendar along with the current religious observance of other religions. They weren’t asking for a day/week off, just recognition on the calendar. So instead of recognizing their religion, the school board instead decided to lump everyone together into one big “Winter Break and Spring Break.” Yes all Jewish, Christian, and Atheists will now be joined on “Winter Break and Spring Break” with the Muslim student population.

Of course outrage ensued, because everyone knows Christmas break is for Christians only! Right?

Let me get this correct, no one lost any days off for the “break” but the outrage is over sharing the holiday break with Muslims and a name change from “Christmas” to “Winter” and "Easter" to "Spring?" Holy Bejesus, where’s the nearest protest/boycott of the Montgomery County school district?! What there wasn’t one?

Well that fell like a big Yule log thud.

What's funny is that this past summer, parents and students in the Montgomery County school district did lead a protest against the School Board's decision. But that was a decision to change the start of the school day from 7:25am to 8:15am.

But let’s look where the real “War on Christmas” should be laid, Capitalism.

Why not blame Coca-Cola for pushing Santa Claus in advertising back in 1931 along with Macy's?

How many people, regardless of religion, take part in all those awesome Christmas sales throughout the month? Because last time I checked, Joseph wasn’t working at the Bethlehem Manger Donkey Emporium pushing low mileage/low interest rates with balloons and a hot dog machine that faithful night in December!

No the "War on Christmas" is fought in the Mall corridors. It doesn't matter ones religious belief while rummaging through sales racks at Victoria Secret for pre-teen Tiffany or for naughty mom herself. That is until someone sales clerk excitedly and accidently mutters the wrong greeting of "Happy Holiday" to have the Christmas cheer drop and the cry of "It's Christmas" screamed at to the talk show radio host.

That's it, slap the tap on some Nutcracker Ale and watch out for that pale of coal, you might get a visit from the EPA.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Return of the Keystone Pipeline debate- Beware of politicians shaking babies and kissing hands

So the return of the argument over the Keystone pipeline has begun. Isn’t rather strange how the fight was the rage throughout the summer of 2012 but turned into a whisper after the 2012 election season and then return with a roar 4-6 weeks prior to the 2014 Mid-term election? Yet with all the information and misinformation it’s purely more political than economical reasoning, well temporarily reasoning that is.

We've been told that the oil in them there pipes coming from Canada to the Texas/Louisiana refineries will be sold in the US and bring down oil prices by many politicians and partisan talking heads alike, yet Keystone has never stated this.

It has been stated by those same politicians and talking heads that the oil, if not routed thru the US, would be routed across Canada to the Pacific Coast and be shipped to Asia. So where's the destination for the oil if it runs thru the US?

Answer: Europe and Latin America.

Not to mention oil prices have been dropping steadily as of late and there’s no guarantee over saturation in the market would drop the value any faster. Remember, it’s the Speculators on Wall Street and other investment areas that determine the price, because that current price is set on futures.

We've also been informed that anywhere between1k-100k jobs will be created "over" two years in the US due to the Keystone pipeline. As of today, the US State Dept states that the number is estimated around 42k jobs "for" two years, with those jobs heading towards construction positions alone. After completion of the pipeline, it will only need between 50-100 employees to secure and maintain once the oil begins to flow.

There's a difference between the words "over" and "for" because many determine "over" as permanent, yet "for" means temporary. So the 42K jobs are “for” temporary sporadic jobs, again which is good for those in the 6 States able to receive the employment opportunities due to the pipeline. But when those jobs leave, how will the politicians and media handle the job loss numbers? Who will they blame for the loss in employment when pointing fingers begins in time for the 2016 election?

Now those 42K temporary sporadic jobs are "guesstimated" to generate anywhere between $3B-3.5B over the two year timeframe to the economy. That's great for those 6 States involved in the pipeline, however remember its temporary money and those politicians will need to "bank" that money for future, not spend if they have not done so already.

Of that $3B-$3.5B in economic generation, we're told not only will that money go back into the local communities in consumption from food to gas to other needs, but also in materials needed on the pipeline construction itself. However what is forgotten is that many materials have already been bought and have been sitting idle while politicians in those States and the Federal government fought/kicked/cried while shaking babies and kissing hands. Of those materials previously bought, the majority were not bought in the US yet shipped from China and other countries. Why?

Simply because it was cost effective to buy foreign materials then to buy domestic, which has been an argument for loss in manufacturing since the mid-70’s.

In the time I begin this rant (roughly 20 minutes ago), the US House has voted to move forward with the current legislation on the Keystone pipeline. It’s purely political and the best example is that of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu trying to save her Senate seat.

Ms. Landrieu suffers from reverse John Kerry Syndrome. You know this decease as once being for something before being against it. Well Ms Landrieu’s symptoms are reversed; being against something before being for it. She’s hoping the people of the great state of Louisiana will have forgotten her past and only remember her words today. We’ll have to wait for the results of the election run-off against challenger Bill Cassidy to see if the memories of Louisianans is long or short term.

The Keystone pipeline economics truly only favor that of 6 States: Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. Public opinion by one and all shall either be decided on the temporary injection of cash or the future notion of "wait and see" for the next political campaign ad?

That's it, slap your political tab and be careful of politicians shaking babies, kissing hands and pinching asses.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Lesser Of Two Evils Enjoys The Spoils In Election Day Victory

The day after Election Day is always somber as voters and candidates alike either lick their wounds or toasting the sunrise to a new day. But many are happy about the end of the wave of political ads that have consumed us these past few months.

But the tsunami of a GOP victory came with less force and was more splash then crash.

The dramatic shock and awe by Media outlets was absurd considering for the past 6 weeks we've been told time and time again that the GOP would extend their majority in the House and win the Senate majority by at least 5. So why all the gloating and tears by punditry? This was not a David slaying a political Goliath but more like the 3 Little Pigs as the Democratic Wolf tried to blow everything and couldn't.

And no that's not a mistype, I mean "blow everything" in pornographic term.

Somewhere this post election day, I can vision Karl Rove prancing around in his boxers at his mansion blaring at the highest levels LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"

“Don't call it a comeback
I been here for years
Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear
Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon”

Once again, I say you can't call it a tsunami, monsoon or avalanche afterwards when this Midterm wasn't about President Obama, nor do I believe "O's" policies either. No the results were clear this was more about gridlock and lesser of two evils in resulted victory.

Still there are many who believe the elections is about liberty, bibles and guns over big brother, Islamic sympathy and gun bans. Oh that's so 2008 or was that 1996? Anyway, that mantra is dusty and needs to be shredded.

For too long now, we've seen Congressional gridlock, more so in the Senate then in House. So knowing the GOP only needed 5 to win in the Senate and a few more for added ease to stop the gridlock, it's easy math to see that having one Party control Congress as a whole only leaves "O" to fail, compromise or win with Executive Order.

Sour grapes by me? Nope. Inevitable course of action by voters? Yes

Applaud the GOP for their victory, but only for a short time as the post election day money shot being had by the GOP, partisan pundits, and constituency combined ends quickly as the focus now shifts to Presidential hopefuls,wanna-be and a whole lot less has-been candidates as we saw in 2012. And there's great reason why the 2016 Presidential Campaign leans heavily in the GOP favor. They built a great farm system.

Years past and to paraphrase a borrowed line from Syndicated radio show host Jerry Doyle, the GOP has always been "Too Right, Too White and Too Uptight." No, I’m not knocking the GOP’s victory, it was expected as they learned their lessons over the last for elections. They took the 2006 Congressional lose and became the minority and built a youthful & diligent (but sometimes stiff) political farm system that is showing time and patience pays dividends on Election Day. While the farm system was building, the old guard took the punches and laid the ground work for a piece by piece, election cycle by election cycle win.

OK they had some help from their Tea Party counterparts. Even though some of them were retreads of the GOP vying to get back into the political game.

Paul, Ryan, Christie, Kasich, and I’ll throw in a Halley are all viable and a few of those names, mainly Sen Randall Paul really need to think about their next move. In Sen Paul’s case, he has to choose; run for Senate or run for Pres because Kentucky law only permits one campaign.

Choose wisely Senator Paul, choose wisely.

Yes, politics is all about gamesmanship and little about pawns on the board. Those pawns being the voting populace. It's easy to watch your opponent trip and stumble as they refuse to repair a crumbling foundation.

While the GOP took time to recast, the Democrats faltered with an aging cast of characters that not even botox injections could hide the cracking on the fa├žade.

Today is the time for the Democrats to begin their rebuild, but I fear they will stick to their game day roster and lose more then gain.

Congressional Democrats are fearful of change, especially in leadership. If they "Hope & Change" motto ever needed more dedication, it's now. But no, not with "O" and his current administration. He's there for another two years and watch the Congressional Democrats shy away with political lepercy.

I'm talking about removing the Pelosi, Clyburn, Hoyer and Reid leadership for younger names. Youth is needed, yet the broken old warhorses refuse to take a seat and see if youth can be king again somewhere in the US. Yes, put the old to pasture and let the kids begin anew.

But the Democratic farm system is of far too small population with little known names. You can't rebuild like that. Names like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz should be stricken from Media guides and replaced with those of Corey Booker and Julian Castro, not because of the racial demographics but because it's their time. As I stated earlier, the GOP learned this in 2006 when they finally loosened the political reigns on Rep Paul Ryan and he ran with it. Ran strong enough to become the 2012 VP nomination and possible 2016 Presidential contender.

Even though Pelosi and Reid are the party meal tickets when it comes to gathering donations, it is however time for them to relinquish their thrones for younger talented energentic politicians. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Gay Latino with a shy bladder, as long as they work the entire base and not a demographic. Yet this is the downfall for the Dems as they only truly work the individual demographic and not the whole thing

What I really want too know is, what happened to the "anti-establishment" crowd that have taken to Social Media and the interweb over the past few years?

Obviously that was all talk with little walk as many incumbents took to the victory podium on election night. For example, how did Kentucky's Sen. Mitch McConnell keep his seat when he had many adversaries on both sides of the aisle within his state? Check mark that win as the lesser of two evils by all accounts.

Yes, as the song goes “I been here for years” is true and the GOP seems to do best in Midterm elections and they’ve only got a year to make this work for them come 2016 if they want a punch-gut victory in Nov 2016.

So within the next year, a Majority held GOP Congress has much on its plate; Immigration reform, Tax reform, Welfare reform, reform of any program really except Obamacare. I do not see the GOP going after Obamacare for the 50th, 51st, or whatever time as many lost count.

But they have to choose their fights wisely, even though they have the Majority, they do not want to come off as drunk with power and still create gridlock within their party, which has been known to happen. Their Congressional actions can make/break a 2016 Presidential victory. It's theirs to lose, as there truly is no one within the Democrat stable worth putting a saddle on.

That's it, Slap your favorite politically brewed tap and remember just because the Media is peeing on your leg doesn't you shouldn't carry an umbrella, sometimes their aim is off.