Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hope, Change And A Lot Of $$$$$?

Has anybody looked beyond health care reform?
Should a health care reform bill pass - a bill close to what President Obama spoke about on Wednesday night - what will be next?
With cap and trade looming, the government's involvement in the banking industry and some segments of the insurance sector - then throw in the auto industry, where does the involvement end?
Is life as we know it destined to become an insolvent mess like the United States Post Office?
If health care reform is shoved through in partisan fashion, what will be next?
How about auto insurance for all Americans? Does every resident in this country have a RIGHT to automobile insurance?
How about the right to a free college education for all Americans. Is the government going to mandate that ALL high school graduates get money for college?
How about the right to food?
Air conditioning?
You may think this is an attempt at humor. Sadly, the concerns are legitimate.
Do we want this type of government interference?
More importantly, how in the world do we pay for this type of change?
Right now, every person in this country - ALL OF US - are on the hook for over $40,000 on our debt. That's the amount of money YOUR elected officials have spent OVER what they were authorized to spend. That's what you owe in addition to what you pay Uncle Sam annually.
The government does not run things efficiently. They never have. They operate in the realm of pork-filled policy which balloons the cost of everything they "improve."
The regulation and supervision of health care reform, bailout of large banks, GM and Chrysler - all of the things our government is now involved in takes a huge number of employees. Guess who pays for these employees? YOU AND I!
Like Obama, I also think we should make sure all Americans have health care. The difference is, I think the waste should be eliminated from both the public and private sector before taking on added expense.
Let's get those 30 million Americans covered using common sense and belt-tightening. Let's do it by streamlining what works in the current system and removing or improving what doesn't.
Let's get some measures of tort reform in the bill. If hospitals and doctors were not burdened by the billions it takes to protect them from frivolous lawsuits, there is probably enough money right there to insure millions.
I always thought America was a place to dream big and work your butt off to make those dreams come true. Where is the incentive to accomplish a dream when the government takes the ball out of your hands.
Like most of you, I was taught to work hard and try and accomplish goals.
Today, the only guarantee you have on this planet are air and sun. Everything else you'd better be prepared to work for.
Sadly, I would have like to have written a trusted parent or family member was also a guarantee, but that is no longer the case for many.
Look, unless you believe the government should care for you from the cradle to the grave, you'd better pay attention to what out Congress is working on and how it will be paid for.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Alinsky's Influence

Washington Democrats have a playbook and they are sticking to it.
The playbook: "Rules for Radicals," written by Saul D. Alinsky, is at the cornerstone of the pro-left movement in the U.S.
From Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to President Obama, Alinsky's influence can now be felt across the country. Is it the change we need?
Clinton wrote her thesis on Alinsky and was later offered a job from the man as he was looking for a community organizer to move to Chicago and establish grass-roots organizations to reform the city. Clinton declined and chose to attend law school.
Seventeen years later, another young honor student was offered a job as an organizer in Chicago. Barack Obama, a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate, was hired to organize black residents on the South Side.
Both Obama and Clinton, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, have used the Rules as guidelines to attempt to transform the country from what it is, or was, into what they think it should be.
Alinsky's book begins:

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

“The first step in community organization is community disorganization,” Alinsky, who died in 1972, said.
Alinsky writes that through hope and resentment, organizers can create an army which continues to recruit from churches, labor unions, gangs and other community organizations.
Here are Alinsky's rules:
RULE 1: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from 2 main sources - money and people. "Have-Nots" must build power from flesh and blood.
RULE 2: Never go outside the expertise of your people. It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
RULE 3: Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
RULE 4: Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
RULE 5: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
RULE 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. They'll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They're doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
RULE 7: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Don't become old news.
RULE 8: Keep the pressure on. Never let up. Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
RULE 9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
RULE 10: If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive. Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
RULE 11: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem.
RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

The rules are simple and are being followed by some Democratic leaders. Example: Rule 12 in relation to the health care debate.
"Mobs," "Right-wing extremists," "Nazis," "Un-American" - these are what you are called when you question health care reform. This is said by our leaders about hard-working Americans with questions. It was said of our elderly who are worried about Social Security and Medicare.
As Americans, it is incumbent on us to watch our political leaders and demand they hear our voices. It becomes even more important when the mainstream media fails to play watchdog for us.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Day Of School

My son Jackson hit the big time Monday. He is now a kindergartner.
I dreaded this day all summer. I really don't know why either. It's a big step in my son's life, but letting go was difficult for me.
Maybe it's a control issue. For the first time in his life, he's really in the hands of others. Perhaps that's the reason.
Then again, it may be the fact that he's taking a large step in his young life. It's not every day you start school for the first time.
Jack has been through a lot in his young life. Could it be that I feel helpless or powerless now? I guess that's another control issue.
As my wife and I were leaving his classroom this morning, I paused and looked back at Jackson. He sat their calmly, facing forward and not saying a word.
"Come on Jack, just give me one quick glance," I said to myself. "Please Jack, look over that left shoulder and give me a thumbs up!"
Nothing. He remained still. His little toe-head fixed on what was in front of him. "I know you're scared son ... just give me a look and I'll make you feel at ease."
Nothing still. "I finally joined my wife and younger son and we started the long walk out of the school. Jackson was on his own and I had to deal with it.
In retrospect, it was probably a good thing that he didn't look back. I'm not so sure I could have kept it together.
Sometimes I'm not so sure about our society. Part of me feels like taking the wife and kids and hiding out in the mountains for a couple of decades. That way I can keep them safe and sound and out of harms way. I can shelter them from the influences of others.
But that's neither wise nor practical. Job number one is preparing them for the challenges they will face in their lives. It's a job I take seriously and one I think I'm pretty good at.
It is comforting knowing I left my son in good hands today. The teachers in that school are incredible and we're fortunate to have such a place.
I told Jackson of my difficulty when I picked him up this afternoon. I told him it was hard on Daddy to let go.
"I know Dad, I was a little bit scared too," he told me as we walked to the car. "You don't need to worry though. No matter how many time I go to kindergarten, I'll always love you and I know you'll always love me too."
I guess the students do become the teachers on occasion. All-in-all, he handled his first day of school better than I did. And, he even earned some extra recess.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn


Something has disgusted me over the past several weeks.
It is hard to believe that the voices of so many were dismissed as "un-American" by elected officials, particularly the Speaker of the House.
What is more un-American, protesting a war you feel is the wrong decision or protesting a health care reform bill?
What is more patriotic, protesting a war you feel is the wrong decision or protesting a health care reform bill?
The reality is, you are not un-American nor patriotic in either instance. That is the beauty of our freedom of speech. It guarantees you the right to say and express how you feel about a given topic or situation.
Freedom os speech can be hard to swallow at times. If you feel strongly about a topic, then naturally, the opposite view will upset you. But elected officials should be above name-calling. It makes them look petty and sad.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and one of the biggest hypocrites walking the globe, called those protesting at recent town hall meetings "un-American," "Nazis" and "right-wing extremists."
Oh yes Madam Speaker, those grandmothers sure did look like "right-wing extremists." How terrifying!
Wouldn't it have sounded more professional if she would have said, "We welcome differences of opinion in this country. It leads to constructive dialogue which enables us to have the pulse of our respective constituents, thus, making us a better country."
Of course, if she were to say those words, would you believe them?
Here are some words Pelosi spoke following the presidential election:
“Last week, in a stunning display of democracy, the American people voted for change,” said Pelosi. “Today, House Democrats have elected the leaders who will help take our nation in a New Direction. We will work together to lead the House of Representatives with a commitment to integrity, to civility, and to fiscal responsibility. This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”
How wonderful it would have been had she really meant what she was saying back in November.
At times during the war formerly known as the war on terror, it pained me to see so much hate in the streets of our country. In fact, many of the things said during that time made me sick.
However, I can appreciate the fact that people can assemble and voice their opinions and that right should be, and is, protected.
I remember growing up and seeing and hearing both pro life and pro choice groups going at it in front of clinics around the country. Both groups had one thing in common: freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech is a human right. Without it, we are oppressed.
Read the words of others:
"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." - George Washington
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire
"The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions." - Adlai E. Stevenson
Speaker Pelosi can't have it both ways. Elected officials condemning Americans for exercising a basic right is both unprofessional and childish. I was going to say it was un-American, but we proved here that would be a mistake on my part.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn


Do you send text messages on your cellular phone? If not, surely you've been around people who are texting.
In the world of texting, abbreviations (a type of shorthand) are commonly used. So much so, it is almost like another language.
To be honest, I'm not very good at texting. I'm slow and I really don't enjoy it that much. However, it does come in handy at times. One of the most useful aspects of texting for me is the fact you can send the same message to several people at the same time. Example: "Baseball practice tonight is canceled."
As text-messaging shorthand becomes more and more widespread in emails, text messages and Tweets, people have a need to decode the ever-evolving shorthand.
Parents want to keep up with or police their teens. Bosses want to know what employees are saying on company equipment.
One reason for the growing number of texting abbreviations - now over 2,000 according to - is the boom in social-media sites like Twitter, where messages are limited to 140 characters. Text messages, too, are limited in length, so users have developed the shorthand abbreviations.
The trend will most likely continue. In 2008, over one trillion texts were sent in the U.S.
The confusion over the explosion of abbreviations is fueling a greater number of resources that provide English translations. They include independent Web sites like and and corporate ones like LG Mobile Phones’ Textapedia, a pocket guide to texting terms released last year, is now sold in over 4,000 stores nationwide. NetLingo reports a 391% increase in the number of unique visitors over the past five years, while UrbanDictionary says it saw a 40% jump in its unique visitors in the past year.
Both the AP Stylebook and Merriam-Webster Dictionary recognized texting shorthand for the first time in their 2009 editions. The AP Stylebook now includes IMO (“In my opinion”), ROFL (“Rolling on the floor laughing”) and BFF (“Best friends forever”), among others. Merriam-Webster defines LOL (“Laugh out loud”) and OMG (“Oh my God”).
Some parents have created their own cheat sheets in an effort to keep up with their teens. Rightfully so given these abbreviations: GNOC (“Get naked on camera”); POS (“Parent over shoulder”); LMIRL (“Let’s meet in real life”); and IWSN (“I want sex now”).
Here are some more examples of some common shorthand abbreviations:
* UG2BK - You got to be kidding
* GBTW - Get back to work
* NMP - Not my problem
* PIR - Parent in room
* GFTD - Gone for the day
* FYEO - For your eyes only
* BI5 - Back in five minutes
* DEGT - Don’t even go there
* BIL - Boss is listening
* PAW - Parents are watching
* 99 - Parents are no longer watching
* PCM - Please call me
* IMS - I am sorry
* TOY - Thinking of you
* KUTGW - Keep up the good work
* CID - Consider it done
* FWIW - For what it’s worth
* HAND - Have a nice day
* IAT - I am tired
* NRN - No response necessary
* 4COL - For crying out loud
* WRUD - What are you doing
* ^5 - High five
For what it's worth, I'll throw an original of mine in there: IHNIWAIS!
Know what it means. Hint: It's what I'm thinking when I get texts.
I Have No Idea What Anyone Is Saying. Of course, people are really not "saying" anything when they text, so I should probably change that to IHNIWAIT.
And you thought spelling and grammar suffered as a result of spellcheck...

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

Governing From The Center

I've noticed some things about presidents and the Americans they govern. Former President George W. Bush ran from the center, but governed from the right. For millions of Americans, it was too far to the right and cost the Republican Party the majority in both the House and the Senate.
Former President Bill Clinton began his first term governing from the left which led to the Republican Revolution as they took over Congress. Clinton then governed more from the center and was able to make more of a difference.
President Obama, who ran on the left, may be learning that he too needs to govern more from the center or his numbers will continue to drop as more and more Americans are turned off by an agenda they deem too liberal.
The United States is a center-right country. When you take the 330 million residents, what you get are 79 percent who do not consider themselves liberal. That is a telling number.
According to a June Gallup Poll, 40 percent of Americans interviewed describe their political views as conservative, 35 percent as moderate, and 21 percent as liberal. The numbers represent a slight increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008, returning it to a level last seen in 2004. The 21 percent calling themselves liberal is in line with findings throughout this decade, but is up from the 1990s.
Basically, that tells me the American people don't want a liberal agenda despite the fact we elected a liberal to the White House.
Now here's the question, will President Obama shift to the center in order to get things done, or will he continue to try and move the country left and run into a brick wall.
I been listening to pundits, from both the right and the left, predicting Obama's demise should health care reform fail. I don't believe that. Similar predictions were made about Clinton during his first term. He easily won re-election.
President Obama is, or should be learning that mainstream Americans, Democrat and Republican, are not liberal. Most Americans don't think like those in the liberal hotbeds of San Francisco, Seattle or Chicago. In other words, most Americans don't think government is the answer for everything. Far from it. Most are weary of big government and expensive government programs.
Obama must also realize that the quickest way to get your message lost is to burn yourself out. The president is on television more than Regis Philbin. After awhile, it all sounds the same. Overexposure is no way to get an agenda across. Bush learned that lesson in 2004 when his popularity vanished as a result of trying to get Social Security privatized.
Obama's popularity has plummeted in recent weeks as more and more Americans are coming out against a massive health care overhaul which would render us with few choices. Many are now paying attention to Cap and Trade and other issues which are rapidly losing ground.
As history has shown us, when a party gains too much power and gets out of line with the mainstream, like the GOP did in 2004 and 2005, it leads to a shift in the balance of power.
Democrats were feeling pretty good about their position in February. Now that they're home and hearing it loud and clear from their constituents (despite denial in some cases), they should realize they are in the fight for their political lives. What happened to the GOP in 2006 could sure happen to the Democrats in 2010.
Might happen anyhow. Most Americans would prefer to have both parties in power in some form or fashion.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn