Friday, February 27, 2009

On My Mind

I think the stock market (Dow Jones Industrial Average) will bottom out at 6,200.
I predict oil will trend upward through summer and gas prices will again shoot up to the $3-$4 per gallon range.
I believe there will be talk of a Texas secession if things get worse on the border and the downturn escalates.
It is my opinion that if the government is hellbent on spending trillions, then let’s spend it going to the moon! What the heck?
If you can afford a car or a house, now is the time to buy.
I think if you are sitting around waiting for the for the government to give you money, you need to spend that time getting a job and before you know it, you won’t need or want government money.
I’m pretty sure I’m smarter than many in our Congress and I sure don’t think I’m smart enough to run for office. That thought scares me.
I believe it is important to know everything about your children. It’s easy to see change when you are that aware.
I like Childress and her residents - especially the ones who are reading this.
I hope we get adequate moisture this spring.
I hate to run, but I need to drop some weight.
Seeing my boys on the big slide at Fair Park scares me to death.
Sometimes I wonder why my wife likes me. Other times I wonder how she can tolerate me.
I wish everyone of us would take the effort to let our elected officials know what we think about giving a company like AIG $100 billion.
I love to hold and squeeze my boys every day because I know it won’t last forever.
Sean Penn is not smart ... at all. He can act however.
I tell you this because today I was asked what I was thinking. That’s about it for now.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Cruel Disease

My Dad is a mess. There is no other way to describe it.
Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2006. Actually, he has Early Onset Alzheimer’s also referred to as Familial Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dad is now 66 and has no recollection of the past 50 years or more. He doesn’t know anyone and every five minutes seems to be a new day.
I think the reason Dad’s health declined so much, so quickly is due to the fact that he rode bulls for years. He was big into rodeo and suffered head trauma on several occasions. You can imagine what being thrown from a bull (with no helmet and no pad on the neck and shoulders) over and over will do to you.
My sister and I certainly hope that is the case. It is a daily worry for us just as it is with those of you who have family members with the disease.
Dad is a shadow of his former self. His motor skills decline monthly. He’s weak and slender. He can still speak, but I imagine that too will be coming to an end.
Dad now lives in Memphis Convalescent Center. They have an Alzheimer’s Unit there and I cannot describe the peace-of-mind they allow us to have.
He was a resident at Childress Healthcare Center for a few months. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s patients require unique attention and a lot of it. They usually end up in a facility geared to handle them, hence the need to move him.
For those of you who feel like you or a loved one might be at risk of developing Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, doctors around the world recommend incorporating strategies which can delay the disease’s rapid progression. It’s nothing fancy - just using your mind more.
Here are some suggestions I found at
• Take up a new hobby.
• Read more and wider.
• Reminisce.
• Become part of a discussion group.
• Research things you’ve always wanted to know.
• Take up chess, crosswords and other thinking pastimes.
• Write about your life.
• Concentrate more on what is happening around you.
• Go on cultural outings (museums, art galleries, concerts, etc).
Beyond stimulating your brain in new ways, there are also ways to improve your memory. They include:
• Make a conscious effort to increase your concentration while trying to absorb new information.
• Where possible try to use all your senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) to form a memory.
• Keep a positive ‘I can do this’ attitude.
• Avoid distractions.
• Be patient. It’s okay to learn things bit by bit.
• Constantly go over what you have learned in your head or in conversation till it becomes automatic.
• Find a way to connect new memories to old ones, this works well with word/visual association.
Finally, I would suggest loving those around you as much as possible. I cannot possibly fathom a day when I cannot remember my sons, but there may indeed come such a day. Trust me, I’ll do all I can to keep it from being the case, but this disease is on the rise.
That being the case, I will hold my family until I can no longer lift them and I will do the necessary things to keep myself as sharp as possible. If you are worried, I suggest you do the same. The loving part is guaranteed to make your immediate life better if nothing else.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trouble On The Border

The Texas border is on high alert as civil unrest is on the rise. The Mexican Government and the massive drug cartels are going at it in the streets and the country could be near a civil war.
In may sound like a good novel, but it is the reality of today.
President Felipe Calderón has sent tens of thousands of troops to drug hot spots to contain spreading cartel violence and the move is having ramifications.
Much like Hurricane Ike, Texas is not waiting for the Federal Government. Gov. Rick Perry is being very proactive and has our side of the border ready, just in case violence crosses the border or a mass exodus takes place.
For all of Perry’s faults, he is assertive in crisis mode and his experience with Ike is undeniable. Afterall - Ike hit with nearly all of Galveston and Houston evacuated. Millions of people. Compare that to Katrina and it’s obvious Perry’s action saved thousands of lives.
Back to the subject of Mexico. For far too long the drug cartels were allowed to grow and become the governing force near the border. Finally, a president is elected and is now trying to keep his word on eliminating the cartels. The price is high.
Murders and kidnappings across the Texas border have increased to dramatic levels. There were 5,367 such crimes in 2008 alone.
Would you want to raise your family there?
Of course not. We are facing a challenge on our border and it’s tricky. Beyond the violence are the innocent civilians trying to live their lives. They are trapped in a terrible situation and their options are very limited. On of those options is heading north, which puts a strain on a state which is part of a terrible economy.
Fact is, if we were suddenly swamped by immigrants, it would change the dynamics of the Texas and U.S. economy even more.
We’re living in a time where no one can tell us what the root of the problem is concerning our economy, but we feel confident that a couple of trillion dollars is the answer.
On top of that, we have this growing problem with our neighbors and no one in Washington is paying attention. Well, Texas is paying attention and that’s a good thing for the rest of the country. I only hope our friends in New Mexico, Arizona and California are as prepared as Texas. Oh, I forgot, California is broke ... I don’t even know if the National Guard is allowed in that state...
President Obama needs to make Mexico a priority right now! It may take his intervention to calm the Mexican nationals. At the very least, he and Calderón must begin a public dialogue now and it would serve our best interest in the long run to show support of his decision to clean up his country.
Don’t make Texas do it all!

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulate Us!

There is a stimulus to the U.S. economy and it really doesn’t cost anyone a dime, but it could make U.S. companies billions.
If every American bought American-made products only, what impact would that have on the economy? It has been done before.
Believe it or not, there are thousands of items made right here in the states. Check out or and you will find a ton of companies making quality products, many of which can be found right here in town.
If the residents of this country made a conscious effort to support American-companies making and selling American products, our economy would thrive.
Such an effort would create more demand for U.S. products which would help create jobs, etc. At the same time, our trade deficit would shrink dramatically.
It might force U.S. retailers into replacing foreign goods with domestic goods in their stores, but that’s okay as well. Retailers know how supply and demand works.
It would also be nice if some of the stipulations from the government concerning the use of stimulus package funds included money for U.S. goods and services only. In other words - make sure the only people and companies benefitting from U.S. taxpayer money are from the U.S.
Consider this: Our deficit in goods and services trade was $677.1 billion in 2008 and $700.3 billion in 2007. Those figures are close to the new stimulus bill.
Don’t wait for the government to stimulate the economy when there are things we can do right here at home to improve jobs and help companies make ends meet. We all win when we support the home team first!

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Sunday, February 15, 2009

There's An Expensive Mouse In The House

While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi denies her favorite mouse is a direct beneficiary of the stimulus, the place the mouse lives in will benefit $30 million on the deal.
President Obama claims there are no "earmarks" in the package because Congress technically did not use the earmark process for lawmakers to request and drop in specific spending items. Well maybe there are not "earmarks" in the traditional manner, but there is pork none-the-less.
Back to the mouse - Pelosi is a U.S. Representative from San Francisco and the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse is a native of the place which will receive our $30 million.
I wonder how much tax money the government is receiving from mice these days?
How many people will this part of the package help?
Of course the public - who is paying for it - has not been told exactly what is in the bill. There are leaks however...
Here some more pork, or BS, or whatever you want to call it:
• $200 million for a clean-burning power plant in Mattoon, Ill.
• $750 million for the National Computer Center in Maryland.
• $500 million for the National Institutes of Health offices in Maryland.
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $650 million for the digital TV converter-box coupons.
• $1 billion for administrative costs and construction of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office building.
Get the picture? Who knows how much junk is in this thing? It's about as transparent as a piece of wood.
I know this, it's not popular. The markets hate it and the public has less and less confidence in Congress' ability to stimulate anything short of a depression.
A stimulus package should be geared to immediately stimulate the economy. This thing is far from it. How do the items listed create the number of jobs needed to truly stimulate anything?
Tell you what Madam Pelosi - give me and my pals $30 million and we'll relocate those mice to the nearest cat farm and use the remaining to make a difference.
I hope the final version of this bill has a positive effect on the economy. If not, the honeymoon is over.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Up A Creek!

Get ready for your $7,700 stimulus check!
That's what every household in the U.S. would get if the government wanted to give the taxpayers the $850 billion they plan on handcuffing us with.
Throw in the other $700-plus billion and it's around $14,000 per household.
I wonder what would have happened to the economy if this were the stimulus package?
Instead we have to see our $14,000 go to a bunch of pork spread out over years. It's pitiful.
I really wish someone would tell us exactly what will happen if they don't spend any money. All I've heard is the word "catastrophe." What catastrophe?
What kind of bizarro world do we live in when we give the people who are the worst at managing money - like Rep. Barney Frank - even more money to spend?
Why is anyone buying this hogwash? And speaking of hogs, there is so much pork in this bill, the Senate version now stands at 1,500 pages.
"We can't posture and bicker and resort to the same failed ideas that got us into this mess in the first place," President Obama said Monday.
Then why do we have another bailout package. Seems the one from the Bush Administration failed miserably, yet here we are getting ready to double-down on this loser hand.
President Obama speaks valiantly about fiscal responsibility, but won't call Congress out for packing it with pork.
And what happens if it fails? No one is answering this question.
What happens if this bill perpetuates - or worse - exacerbates the problem? What then? What guarantees do you and I have?
So far in this new administration, it is evident the Democrats have not learned one lesson from the poor job the Republicans did while controlling the White House and both houses of Congress.
Greed still rules the day and you and I will be left out in the cold.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not Very Stimulating

How much confidence do you have in the $819 billion stimulus package?
I’ll be honest, I have zero. I think it will fail because you can’t spend your way out of a recession.
In a nutshell, we are depending on the same people who got us into this mess to get us out. It won’t work.
You know what could work? A program dedicated to rebuilding the U.S. infrastructure.
How much difference would it make if they spent that cash on roads, bridges, sewage systems, etc.? Off the top of my head, the following would happen:
• Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created across the country.
• Demands for steel and other building materials would skyrocket.
• Both urban and rural economies across the country would receive a boost.
The ripple effect of such a massive project would be huge as well. If you divide the $819 billion on a per capita basis, Texas would receive around $62 billion. I would much rather see OUR hard-earned money be spent in such a manner.
I mentioned rural economies. How about using a large portion of the package for rural rejuvenation? Wouldn’t that be wonderful.
The fact is a bunch of non-fiscal greedy little pigs think they can put a fire out by smothering it with cash. They think we are morons and can’t think for ourselves so they are going to make everything better.
Since the first bailout package passed in the fall, look at the number of jobs lost. Look at how the markets have reacted. It has not worked and the new package won’t either.
Congress will have you believe corporate greed is to blame for this mess. I have news for you, 99 percent of all corporations are small and don’t have the chance to be greedy. Most CEOs are trying to keep current employee numbers at the same level because they know how important jobs are to workers. Massive bonus packages for CEOs of failing corporations are given out, but I bet the percentage of companies behaving in such a manner is less than one percent.
Over $1.5 trillion in the two bailout packages combined and we’re just getting started. That’s $5,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. How do you want your five grand invested?

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008