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Lessons for children


Richard’s World
Fixing This Mess We’re In

They’ll never put me in charge. I know this. But humor me.

We have a mess in America right now. A REAL mess. We have a POTUS that has never held a job. Surprised at his leadership skills? I’m not. We have congressional leaders who don’t understand the meaning of Statesmanship. And they seem to have lost the concept of civil service and don’t understand the meaning of a citizen government. Our founding fathers wanted a citizen government – that would mean all citizens could run for office. Problem today is the average citizen can’t afford to run for office – especially against an entrenched incumbent who is beholden to special intereest groups and can raise big bucks to beat the little citizen with little financing.

We had a POTUS once name Roosevelt – FDR. A lot like the present one … he loved to redistribute the wealth, too. He was so popular with his giveaway programs, he got elected to four (4) terms as POTUS – poor guy died in his 4th term … guess it was too much for him. Some time after he died, some smart folks said, “Whoa, nobody should be POTUS for 4 terms. Let’s change that.”  Good idea, IMHO. They term limited the POTUS.

I think it is time to limit congressional terms, too. Too many of these folks are just too damn comfortable in their cushy positions. I say if term limits are good enough for the POTUS and America (It works), then so be it for Congress members.

That’s step #1. Now here’s Step #2.

I don’t advocate in Richard’s World more laws. I think we have enough laws. Plus, Congress should only be in session about 4 months of the year. Hell, Texas only meets every other year. The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days. Do you see Texas falling apart? I didn’t think so.

But I will propose one more law. Ban political parties.

Just run if you want to run. If you lean right, left or center, if people want to get to know you, they’ll figure it out. So when election time comes, you see all of these names on the ballot. No party affiliation. You had better do your homework. Oh damn, problem here, I’m asking the dumb masses to think. But yep, that’s what I’m saying. If you’re going to vote, find out what the person stands for and not what their party stands for.

There is one slight problem with this “no party” idea and putting everyone on the ballot. Maybe you can help me figure out a solutions.

I’m afraid if the names are listed in alphabetical order, we’ll have a lot of members of Congress with last names that start with an “A” or “B”. I apologize to all of the people with names starting with letters low in the alphabet … you’ll probably never get elected. But hey, maybe one of you will come up with a solution.

Until next time,

Richard


Choosing a college or university need not be a life changing decision for most individuals. Naturally some students pride themselves in attending a specific school due to family ties, sports activities or if all else fails because of the academic standing enjoyed by certain institutions. In my humble opinion, high school and college counselors should spend a little more time analyzing some of the local institutions such as community colleges and smaller four year state institutions.

Why would I choose a small institution over a large research institution? Usually this would depend upon my average high school grades, my financial status or my transportation options. More and more students returning to school after long absences find the small local institutions offer more flexibility in their scheduling of classes. Often the staff and faculty are more empathetic toward working adults in smaller local institutions due to the large population of students falling into this category.

The main point to any of this is to look in your own back yard before you spend a lot of effort and money applying to and attending large colleges and universities that may be a long distance from your home. A great percentage of first year students arrive on campus full of vigor and wanting to immerse themselves in the entire college experience. More often than not the first quarter or semester removes all optimism regarding passing grades while spending most evening hours chasing after love interests and drinking oneself into oblivion. Living at home for at least the first year and attending a local Jr. College or 4 year institution could establish a base line for grades and behavior that would follow students to the next level. Once bad habits are established they are difficult to change even when the desire is present.

Like a lot of individuals I spent a many hours bending my elbow and being amazed at the transformation process that takes place with young females after midnight. Had I spent a little more time with the books and in class I might have found myself a little less stressed in midlife trying to make a living and supporting a family. The real world experience is best explained by one who has been through the same experience. In my case I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college and consequently my family had no idea as to the temptations to which I would be exposed.

When my children were deciding upon college one of them chose to go attend a college away from home. I made this promise to her. If you make less than a C in any subject you will come home and attend the local JR. College for 2 quarters. Her second quarter in college found her with 2 D’s and a C. True to our word her mother and I drove to her apartment, loaded up her belongings and took her home to a Jr. College as promised. She make A’s for 2 quarters and was allowed to go back to her previous life. Why do I relate this story? Because it is true and it worked for my family. Smaller institutions offer a lot of opportunity and one should hasten to take advantage of these before grades get totally out of hand.

By the way, my younger child decided to attend a local Jr. College for two years and afterward received a scholarship to a private Regional University. Normally, the tuition for the private school would have run me well over $20,000 a year (this was in the mid 90’s) but with her scholarship we only paid $3000 per quarter. Why am I a firm believer in local institutions? The previous two personal examples say it all for me.

Presently, I am fortunate to be employed as an instructor at a local 4 year state college. The majority of my students live within 20 miles of the college and are receiving a quality education at a reasonable cost. A majority of the professors and instructors in our business school have years of practical business experience and the class sizes are small enough for a lot of personal attention.

Should you be wrestling with a family member regarding where they should attend an institution of higher learning please do not overlook any local Jr. College or 4 year institution as you will do yourself and your family member an injustice. For the most part those attending college will get out what they put in and you do not have to mortgage the house and go into overwhelming debt to accomplish the goal.

Terry


My wife and I are riding in the car, headed home today after visiting with my mom. We’re listening to the radio and an ad comes on for something called Uncrustables® Sandwiches by Smucker’s®. They were hyping the Uncrustables PB&J Sandwich. I usually don’t listen very closely to radio ads but this one caught my ear.

My brain just couldn’t compute what I was hearing. A frozen PB&J sandwich with no crust … FROZEN, mind you – FROZEN. The ad went on to say “just like fresh” and “so easy” and “without the crust”, ready in minutes.

This is a sure ’nuff Life Ain’t Brain Surgery moment folks. When did making a PB&J with fresh bread, peanut butter and jam become so difficult that we have to have them frozen and made into some cute little round pie thingy? Excuse me, but making a PB&J – from scratch – has never been a chore to me and it damn sure ain’t brain surgery!

Hey, more power to Smucker’s if they can find gullible consumers to buy ready-made frozen PB&J sandwiches and whatever else is in this line of convenience foods. But they will never get my money for this product. I’d be embarrassed to think I couldn’t make a PB&J sandwich. And I would be even more embarrassed to have my kid pull this thawing sandwich pie thingy out of his lunch pail. Maybe it’s just me. But this is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard seen. I guess I need to get out more often – I have learned today that these products have been out for awhile. I didn’t even know you could freeze Peanut Butter and Jam. I guess I did learn something today.

Lazy. That’s all it is. Downright lazy.

Take all their money Smuckers – I know you’re laughing all the way to the bank.

Richard 


Debt.

It is so simple, I really don’t know why we even need to talk about it, but we do.  Here’s a “LABS” moment (LABS is short for Life Ain’t Brain Surgery):

YOU WILL GO INTO DEBT IF YOU SPEND MORE THAN YOU BRING IN!

Sorry folks … but I have to say it: Life Ain’t Brain Surgery.

Look … I did it. Terry did it. We all have spent more than we took in. And we knew we were going in debt. That didn’t make it right then, and it doesn’t make it right now. Don’t spend more than you make. Pay as you go. Good advice.

Sure, the house is different. Although, some folks will advocate that even going in debt for a home is a bad decision. Another argument for another day.

Why do so many Americans go so in debt? For what? STUFF! Just stuff. Shopping appears to me to be a pasttime, not a necessity. Quit buying stuff. Most folks don’t need it. Buy what you need. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. It ain’t brain surgery.

I think that this buying binge is contagious. Look at our congressional folks. They spend money like there is no tomorrow. I guess it is easy when it isn’t your money. But they need to stop spending money they don’t have, too. It is  insane to me.

Why the hell is the richest country on the earth in debt up to its eyeballs? Just doesn’t make sense to me. And why are so many young Americans in debt? Maybe they see the American government in debt and think it is OK. If the government set a better example, maybe Americans would follow suit. Makes sense to me.

Start teaching some financial responsibilities in grade school if need be. But let’s start teaching our children to stay out of debt. Debt is only good for the lenders – not the ones borrowing the money. Eliminate the need. It ain’t brain surgery.

Richard


I have finally been convinced of what I consider to be fact and that is … There is very little difference between the two major political parties.  Now before you take issue with this statement let me elaborate just a little.  First, I know the statement is not original.  Untold numbers of pundits and analysts have been saying the same thing for years.  The primary problem, I believe, is not many people really care one way or another.  Those of us who do care were highly invigorated when the Republicans took back the house in 1994.  Since 1994 the Republican led congress has gone out of their way to conceal their so called conservative viewpoints.  Those of us who voted for a Republican controlled congress did so for a reason but those we put into office put their own interest above those they chose to serve.  Now we are stuck with 535 members of American royalty sucking the lifeblood out of American taxpayers.

Let’s not forget the executive branch either.  I voted twice for “W” and given the choice of Gore and Kerry, I would do it again but “W” gives the appearance of a closet liberal.  Look at our policies on education and immigration. No Child Left Behind is nothing more than Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society with another name.  Every attempt to legislate education rather than attack the core problem further complicates everyone’s life.  Our education problems in the United States are more of a cultural issue than a political issue.  Immigration on the other hand is a huge political issue.  Nothing has been done under the current administration to stem the rising tide of Hispanic immigrants into the United States.  This is an old song but one that needs to be sung by all citizens, natural born or otherwise.

Now we are reading about the document signed between the United States and Mexico in June of 2004.  In case you have not heard the document basically gives Mexicans illegal or otherwise access to Social Security once they have accumulated 18 months of documented working time in the Estados Unidos.  If you do not know how this translates you need to get used to it.  The treaty, or document as it were, has not been sent to congress for ratification.  Why not you ask? Well because Congress only has 60 days to ratify this “treaty” or it becomes a non issue.  Due to the current political climate in the USA, there might just be a little consternation if such a deal between the U.S. and Mexico becomes too widely known. The Bush administration for some reason does not want Congress to let this issue die nor do they want the American public to gain much knowledge about the issue. For more information go to this article on the subject (“Critics say Social Security deal would give billlions to Mexicans”) at the Houston Chronicle Newspaper online.  Interesting reading!

As of this last week we are blessed with a Democrat controlled congress.  I cannot tell you how much better I sleep knowing this bunch of clowns is in charge.  I seriously doubt we will see much difference with the exception of additional taxation.  “W” has almost two years left in office and nothing to lose so I would really appreciate him using his veto powers to try and hold back the tidal wave of entitlements and tax increases we are bound to see.  Minimum wage is just the beginning.  No, I am not against the working man earning a decent wage.  Minimum wage is nothing more than another political football.  The statistics of those earning the minimum wage are very revealing considering that the majority of individuals in this category are young, work part time, are not the sole breadwinner for a family and live above the poverty line.  Why then is such a furor being created about less than 1.5 % of the working population?  The answer is simple; it makes good press and sounds good.  Will raising the minimum wage help those living in poverty?  Probably not, because they will be the first ones laid off and their goods and services will now cost more.  The price of increasing wages is not going to be absorbed by business or by any business owner.  The increase will be absorbed by you and me and any one else who purchases goods and services and this is how it should be.  Can we wipe out poverty?  Can we make someone go to school or strive to be the best they can be?  Can we make laws outlawing ignorance and poverty?  The answers are evident and the answer in all cases is NO.  We can attempt to educate and assist those in need and we can try and instill the desire to succeed in our employees, friends and family but we will never be successful 100% of the time.  Our elected officials would rather make all citizens suffer at the expense of a few.  This is not the prudent way to run a country, business or family.  There comes a time when facts must be faced and the needs of the many may exceed the needs of the few.  Will any politician have the courage to tell the truth and stand behind their belief?  Time will tell, Time will tell!

Terry


Call me names if you want to. Hate me, I don’t care. Here’s another copy of an email that says what I want to say. So … instead of me saying it, I’ll let this author say it. Who is the author? I don’t know (see update in next paragraph). If I knew, I’d give him or her credit. But I like it and here it is for your enjoyment. Just let me say … I’m glad I’m an AMERICAN!

(Update since I first made this blog post: The author is Craig Smith. He first published this article on Nov. 2oth, 2006. You can read Craig’s original article here on the World Net Daily website. Craig R. Smith is an author, commentator and popular media guest because he instantly engages audiences with his common-sense analyses of local, national and global trends. For media interviews iwth Craig please call Holly at 800-950-2428.)

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe.  It must be true given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president.  In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain’t happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ”What we are so unhappy about?” Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?  Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?  Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?  Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year. Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?  Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?  I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.  Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved.  Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.  You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.  Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bulletproof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.  This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents.  Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?  Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy. The fact is we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen.  No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens.  They see us for what we are.  The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don’t have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know.  What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out?  The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating?  Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11?  Is this the president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession?  Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks?  Is he the same Commander-in-Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Make no mistake about it.  The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom.  There is currently no draft in this country.  They didn’t have to go.  They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ”general” discharge, an ”other than honorable” discharge or, worst case scenario, a ”dishonorable” discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?  Say what you want but I blame it on the media.  Their philosophy is “If it bleeds it leads” and they specialize in bad news.  Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts.  How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner?  The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations.  They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by “justifying” them in one way or another.  Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J.  Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn’t kill his wife, but if he did… It’s Just Insane!

Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media.  Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your birdcage.  Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There really is exponentially more good than bad.

WE ARE THE MOST BLESSED PEOPLE ON EARTH; WE SHOULD THANK GOD SEVERAL TIMES PER DAY

By Craig Smith. He first published this article on Nov. 2oth, 2006.

Have a great weekend,

Richard


As most of us who keep up with current events know, the middle of the country, especially cattle country, has been hit several times already this winter with huge snow storms.  Some are even calling these storms “Weather Events of Biblical Proportions” – with a historic blizzard of up to 44″ inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10’s of thousands.

To me, it is very similar to what happened along the Gulf Coast with Katrina. The difference is how the people living there have responded. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

Someone sent the following to me in an email. I don’t know who wrote it so I can’t give credit to them – I wish I could. It puts things in prospective.

George Bush did not come. FEMA did nothing. No one howled for the government. No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV. Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit. Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else. Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit – or report on this category 5 snowstorm.  Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards. No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House. No one looted. Nobody – I mean Nobody demanded the government do something. Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.

No Larry King, No Shepard Smith, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews. No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water. Sent out caravans of SUV’s to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn’t ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people – total strangers.

Even though a Category “5” blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

Maybe SOME people will get the message.  The world does Not owe you a living.

Whoever wrote this has it right. Life ain’t brain surgery. You do whatever you have to do. You prepare. You react. You do the right thing. But you damn sure shouldn’t wait around for someone to do for you. Thank God this country ain’t made up by a majority of folks like we saw on TV during Katrina.

Richard