Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Slippery Left Slope

President Barack Obama is a likable man. In fact, with his charisma and charm in one-on-one interviews, if he were more centrist, there is no telling how popular he would be.
His approval ratings, according to, are 60 percent while over 32 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing.
Congress’ numbers remain in the toilet. The Congressional job approval rating is 35 percent while 54 percent of Americans disapprove of their job.
It’s no wonder. Led by Nancy Pelosi, who, in a perfect world, would be ousted by her peers as Speaker, the House is suffering an identity crises.
It seems to me, although tired of Pelosi’s inability to tell the truth, House Democrats fear rocking their own boat. I actually think someone is missing out by not coming out against Pelosi, but I digress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has become very proficient at revising history and can be seen pandering to the left at every turn. I would be shocked if the two-headed monster that is Pelosi-Reid ever got Congress’ numbers in positive territory concerning the approval rating.
Which brings me back to Obama. With the majority of Americans convinced the country is heading in the wrong direction - 54 percent - it’s curious how Obama’s numbers have remained so strong. Especially since he, Pelosi and Reid are together on many contentious issues while the majority of Americans have a difference of opinion.
It’s too bad Obama continues to cater to the left. While his heart doesn’t seem to bleed at the same pace as his liberal contemporaries, it does indeed bleed.
As was predicted, the U.S. Government has been busy moving us further away from our Capitalistic roots and closer to that of Europe’s current state. It’s not good either.
We’ve got serious problems and the only solutions I’ve seen yet are either to throw cash on it or grow government to take care of it.
Gone are the days of responsibility. In their place are the days of dependency.
Those of us in the center and right are left to scratch our heads wondering when our guns will be collected or how much we’ll be punished for driving a truck.
Republicans had better find their voice before 2010, or we’ll be so much like Europe it will be hard to tell the difference.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like Europe.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You’ll Blow Up Nothing!

How about our FBI and New York’s finest?
In case you didn’t know, the two worked in tandem to foil a plot to blow up Jewish centers and military targets In New York.
Raids by the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorist Task Force in the Bronx captured the suspected ringleader and three followers in what is being called a homegrown terrorist plot.
According to reports, the men are Islamic and you guessed it, hate the United States and Israel.
FBI agents and police watched Wednesday night as the suspects planted what they thought were bombs outside two Jewish community centers in Riverdale, a Bronx, New York neighborhood. In one case, the suspects planted a bomb inside a parked car.
In reality, they were actually using fake explosives given to them in an earlier sting operation. The fake bombs were made by FBI technicians.
The four suspects were identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, of Newburgh in upstate New York, where authorities were conducting raids at their homes, sources said.
“Hatred of the West. The leader of the group, James Cromitie was concerned about deaths at the hands of the U.S. military in Afghanistan,” said Joseph Demarest, head of the New York FBI.
According to the criminal complaint, Cromitie bragged that it would be a “piece of cake” to bomb a Jewish Center in Riverdale, according to the complaint.
Have fun in prison dirt bag! That is, if he even gets there. Authorities said Cromitie had 27 past arrests.
How in the world is someone still walking the streets if they’ve been arrested 27 times?
Either Cromitie has the greatest lawyer in the world, or he’s a benefit of terrible prosecution. Regardless, I hope this one sticks and justice is done.
According to authorities, the four men would meet in a safe house in Newburgh, New York, which authorities said they had bugged with audio and video equipment.
The suspects said they wanted to get their hands on stinger missiles to shoot down planes at a nearby Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport, according to a criminal complaint unsealed late Wednesday. The suspects also received what they believed were two stinger missiles which they intended to use to shoot down military planes, the complaint said. They also bought cell phones to allegedly use in the plot.
Don’t you know these people are sitting in their cells scratching their heads. I hope it makes them wonder what went wrong forever ... until they are executed.
Oh! I forgot. We live in a peaceful time now where all life is precious and everyone deserves 27 chances. We shouldn’t speak ill of those poor little terrorists. It’s our own fault that brain-washed crazy people hate us.
Well, kudos to the FBI and NYPD for a job well done. At least these people are off the streets ... for now.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Cyberspace Invaders

Have you been cyberbullied? Perhaps your children have and you don’t know it.
Maybe they are too proud to tell Mom and Dad someone is messing with them online. They may not even know it is happening to them.
According to, “Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.
Parents - it is so important you keep up with where your children are. Cyberspace is no different.
It is the job of a parent to know if your child is on MySpace or Facebook. Those sites, while useful, are also misused by teens. Know what your children are saying and what is being said to them online.
Also check out their text messages on their cell phones from time to time. It’s amazing how quickly things can get out of hand when texting is involved. Fights, sex, drug parties, etc... texting and instant messaging are how the word gets out. It takes vigilant Moms and Dads to take on these issues.
Not too many years ago, students would pass notes in class and harass each other by phone when they got home. Not any more. These tech-savvy teens can message in the blink of an eye and MySpace, Facebook and email are at their fingertips.
You may feel like you are invading the privacy of your children by checking their online habits .... DON’T! If you don’t, who will? We’re not talking about adults. We’re talking about your children.
Did you know the entire Columbine massacre could have been avoided had the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold known about their online activity. Their plan to kill their classmates was there to see right on their computers.
Technology and the exposure heaped on our children have made parenting more difficult. It seems like we’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to what our children are exposed to so the prudent thing to do is stay on top of the changes and learn their habits.
In other words, get to know your child. Talk to them. Be nosey and let them know what is right and wrong. In addition, network with other caring parents so that you can monitor cyber-conduct more closely.
All of these gizmos and technology do have their place. But like most good things, they can be used for bad. It’s our job as responsible parents to make sure our children are protected and behaving as they should whether that be in the real world or the cyber one.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

CISD Is Impressive!

Childress Rotary Club, like so many other local organizations, gives a scholarship to a graduating senior each year. This year, the response has been impressive.
With the Morris Higley Rotary Scholarship, students are asked to write a short essay. Most years, we get just a couple of entries. Sometimes even five or six. This year, 14 seniors applied for the scholarship.
Why should this interest you?
I think it’s a sign local students are interested in taking advantage of scholarships and bettering themselves through continuing education.
It is my opinion that our school district is on the move. Not because of scholarship applications, but because of what I’ve seen in the various students I come in contact with.
The kids I see are upbeat about school ... even in the middle of May. Most are pretty eager to learn and can apply what they’ve learned to the real word. This is huge for their future.
The Childress Independent School District has changed rapidly. Technology has led to a completely different environment at school.
Childress administration and faculty have used impressive tools to their advantage and their cutting-edge system is now the example districts all over the state are seeking to duplicate.
It’s a brave new world and it takes open-minded teachers and students to succeed at levels which put our little old school system on equal or better footing than districts with more money and resources.
What CISD is doing is really incredible when considering the amount of funds we operate on.
My hat is off to local students, teachers and administrators for seeing a window of opportunity and flying through it. I know the future is bright in Childress schools and I’m glad my children will be a part of that.
I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a grave mistake Thursday saying the CIA lied about briefing Congress on enhanced interrogation techniques.
Pelosi has now changed her story three times on what she knew and when.
The bottom line is Pelosi knew what was going on and signed off on it. She is lying and I’m enjoying the meltdown as she squirms during her weekly revision of the truth.
Democrat leaders need to focus on the here and now. They need to end their witch hunt of Bush Administration officials because they look silly and unprofessional. Is is completely counter productive.
It’s fine If President Obama wants to treat terrorists with a gentle hand. That’s his prerogative and maybe he’s right. But not too long ago, there was a different attitude on both sides of the isle.
These enhanced techniques, namely water-boarding, saved thousands of of American lives. I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with the stance of the current administration as long as they get the information needed to keep us safe.
But to continue to change your story so you can wage war on the former administration is childish and will hopefully cost Pelosi her position as Speaker.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Born To Be An Idiot

I’m an idiot.
I thought about stopping my column right there as the statement may need no explanation.
Some days I’m more of an idiot than others. At least a half-dozen times this past week I’ve been a major league idiot.
The other day I spent ten minutes looking for my sunglasses (I need my sunglasses because my eyes are fairly sensitive to the sun). I searched high and low ... looked in my truck twice for them and checked all of the usual places in my office.
You have to understand I park a pretty good distance from my office so the trips back and forth take awhile.
As I decided I’d misplaced them for the time being, I finally headed out the door. I got in the truck and looked in the rearview mirror and BAM! There they sat right on top of my head.
Need more proof?
After solving the case of the missing sunglasses, I drove to Allsup’s to get some mints. I walk in to buy the mints ... low and behold, I don’t have any money.
“Where in the world did I leave my wallet?”
I excused myself from the store to check my truck. No wallet there either. It took me a couple of minutes to find and count the change I had located throughout my vehicle before I could afford the mints which were waiting on the counter for me.
As I sucked on a couple of mints, it donned on me where my wallet was so I went home to get it.
With my newly found wallet secured and my sunglasses affixed to my head, I decided to take the trash out on my way back to the office. As I rose up with the trash bag in hand, I hit my head on our pantry door jam. Nearly knocked myself smooth out.
By this time, I’m starting to wonder why in the world I even bothered getting out of bed.
Thinking I had all the bugs worked out, I went on to have a productive afternoon. However, my idiocy once again reared its ugly head.
Later that evening I went back to Allsup’s - this time for some milk and a bag of ice. I had my wallet on me so I paid for the items and headed out the door. As I got in my truck to leave, I noticed I was lacking my bag of ice. I nearly drove off to go to another store for the ice, but I braved my embarrassment and went back in to claim my purchase. I’m sure Tammy at Allsup’s must have thought I was losing my mind.
I use a lot of brainpower during the course of a week and get about five or six hours of sleep a night. As the weekend nears, I’m pretty much mush.
So, if you see me wondering around looking for my car keys when they’re in my hand, think nothing of it. It’s just me being an idiot.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Election Season

I need to address a few issues concerning elections and advertising.
If a written piece, regardless of it’s basis on fact, has opinion or conjecture regarding a measure or issue concerning a taxing entity, it is a political ad.
Being that there are at least two sides to most issues - this newspaper makes space available for all sides of an issue or election. It is up to the individual or group to either express their side or not. It is against this newspaper’s policy to run political ads for free nor can we discount them.
Newspapers can endorse one side of an issue or even an individual candidate. Some newspapers do so frequently, some do not.
In all of my years in journalism, my publications have only endorsed two candidates and that was for statewide office.
Elections are emotional. When you do something for one side, you had best be ready to do the same thing for the other or you’re not playing by the rules.
Candidates, those on one side of a contentious issue, etc... you have a choice whether to advertise or not. But rest assured, opposition to your stance has the same right as you.
Producing newspapers is expensive. The cost of newsprint, ink, mail, etc... have climbed steadily over the past two decades.
It is nearly impossible for Mom and Pop to make a decent living at a newspaper in smaller towns which is why you see so many closing.
When you have a situation where you can offer small businesses a terrific rate to advertise their merchandise or services in several area newspapers, you’d be a fool not to. It’s a winner for the businesses.
I have marketing consultants which are contacting area businesses so that we can do our best to fulfill your needs and get you traffic. If you have not been contacted, you soon will be. And if you wish to get before 15,000-30,000 readers at a greatly reduced rate, give us a call.
Meantime, please consider that your newspaper is an evolution in progress. I am not happy with it and I won’t be until it is exactly how I want it.
Just know that we are working very hard and we’ll continue to strive to improve your newspaper.
Pakistan has between 60 and 100 nuclear weapons.
Why should you care? The Taliban may be getting close to taking over that country and with it, it’s nuclear arsenal.
Can you imagine the Taliban - and Al Qaeda having nuclear weapons at their fingertips?
According to news sources, U.S. officials are worried militants could take possession of the arms during transport or by infiltrating atomic laboratories or fuel-production plants.
The Taliban has recently occupied Buner, a key region 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad. That news increased global fears as to the whereabouts of all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites is unknown.
Something must be done now, even if that means U.S. intervention. I would think the entire world would be interested in getting this situation rectified before it’s too late.
Obviously, the Pakistan government is in jeopardy and judging by how porous their border is, their military are either very weak or simply have not been ordered to do much about it.
You have to think Israel, India, Russia ... just about everyone in the region is watching the situation real carefully.
For the record, Pakistan dropped the ball when they insisted on using negotiations when tackling violent extremism within its borders.
Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters already have strongholds along Pakistan’s border regions from which to plan attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Of all of the potential threats to U.S. and world security, this one should now be at the top of the list.
The world cannot afford to let these terrorists get their hands on even one of these weapons. Because if they do, they’ll use it on us or Israel and World War III will most assuredly be underway
Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009