NRA and Iran

The only thing that can stop the bad guy with nuclear weapons (Iran) is a good guy with a nuclear weapon” The Arab League.

Gun control
Daily wisdom
bad guys with nukes.
Bad guys with guns

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Wayne LaPierre, the N.R.A. vice president

The only thing that can stop the bad guy with nuclear weapons (Iran) is a good guy with a nuclear weapon” The Arab League.

But for some reason America and Europe do not understand this simple fact and want to disarm Iran. Where is Wayne LaPierre when you need him?


Arabs nuclear race
Good guys with guns

The National Debt and the Fall Guy – You!

“Financial crisis, recession cost U.S. $12.8 trillion”, report says.”The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a toll on the U.S. Now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost: to be at least $12.8 trillion.

We are in danger.  Our country, our economy, our way of life is in danger.  We need to reduce the National Debt.

We, as a country, need drastic spending cuts.

Big Government is a problem.

Question:  Who are the people that are insisting on these drastic cuts?  And what exactly do they want to cut?

Step one:  Let’s see how “Big Government” managed to run up this huge debt.


Cost of wars
Killed by Bush – Cheney

Illegal and criminal Iraq war:   $1 Trillion.

Veterans’ care:  A study estimates that the cost of Iraq veterans’ healthcare and disability will run between $422 billion and $717 billion.

Bush tax cuts:  Cost to the U.S. Treasury from Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Five Percent:

First decade of Bush tax cuts (2001 – 2010):  $955 billion.

Obama extension (2011 – 2012):  $229 billion.

Proposed extension (2013 – 2021):  $2.02 trillion.

Total cost (2001 – 2021):  $3.2 trillion.

Huge defense spending:  Spending in 2012 will total $612 billion, according to the Pentagon.

The core Pentagon budget – with the cost of the wars excluded – is now $531 billion.  As things stand, defense takes up around 20 percent of the entire federal budget, roughly the same as Social Security and massively outstripping federal spending on transportation, education and science. 

Question :  Who is responsible?

Answer:  Congress.

Big banks CEO too big to jail
Too big to jail

“Financial crisis, recession cost U.S. $12.8 trillion,” a report says.  “The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a toll on the U.S.  Now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost to be at least $12.8 trillion.  The estimate from Better Markets, a public interest group that supports tougher financial regulations, came in a 72-page report released just days before the four-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros.”

Question:  Who is responsible?  Too big to jail?

Answer:  Global corporations and financial institutions seemingly not accountable to any Government.  They hold governments and economies hostage because a collapse of any of these criminal enterprises could cause a chain reaction resulting in economic disaster.


The super rich
Just surviving…

Sequester – The culprit:  GOP protecting the super rich.  Below is a short example of suffering of the super rich who are falling on hard times:  The Chicago Tribune recently reported on family hardship.  A family is forced to demolish a super luxury home due to the lack of space.  Forced to make a choice between living in cramped quarters of just 13,000 square feet or demolishing a decrepit 20 year old mansion, the family decides to demolish the old house.  I was almost in tears reading this sad story.

Mega mansion frenzy:  Buyer snaps up Pat Riley’s $16M home to level it, rebuild.”

“Ultra-luxury homes in Miami are hitting record prices as the super-rich look for bigger and better homes with de rigueur waterfront views.”  Read more here:


Social Darwinism
Death panel CEO

Question:  Which Big Government programs do these “Patriots”, these real Americans, want to take an axe to?

Answer:  “Entitlements like Medicaid and Medicare.

A just-released 30-page investigative report in Time magazine on the Medical- Industrial complex states:

“The healthcare-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.”

The whole Sickness Management Industrial complex is a parasite sucking the life out of our society.  It is a  growing cancer that threatens to swallow the country.  Thousands of nonprofit institutions have morphed into high-profit, high-profile businesses that have the best of both worlds.  They have become entities akin to low-risk, must-have public utilities that nonetheless pay their operators as if they were high-risk entrepreneurs.”  Read more:

Instead of cutting help to those who need it most, perhaps we can control the obscene profits of the “not for profit” sickness management industry.  Maybe we can force the drug manufacturers to reduce their outrageous prices and improve the health of our economy. 

An outrageous thought:  Since Medicare pays much less than insurance companies for the same medical services, how about MEDICARE FOR ALL!?

And maybe the super rich could pay just a little more in taxes, even if they will be forced to live in cramped thirteen thousand square feet shacks.  Is this too much to ask?

Simply put, it is my opinion that crooks who ruined our economy should be jailed and the money they stole recouped.

I realize war criminals like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will not be able to bring back the 4,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq or make whole the tens of thousands of terribly injured veterans.  Nor will they repay over a trillion dollars wasted on wars.  But as criminals, they should be tried and put in jail.  

My personal view:

US jails are full of petty criminals while the real criminals who are responsible for our national debt are doing great.  Some even work as political and economic advisers.  Isn’t this great?  How outrageous and offensive to most Americans!

The people who caused the debt do not want to pay a little more in taxes to reduce our nation’s mounting debt.  No, they would rather divert our attention from their misdeeds and lay the blame on “Big Government”. 

So Big Government, why don’t you prove your usefulness and go after the crooks who are responsible for our national debt?.

And media, why don’t you expose and confront the Republican Party which continues to exacerbate the problems we face by artificially creating crisis after crisis making the mess we are in even worse?.

GOP hypocrites.
Republicans and debt

And Republicans by their action or inaction are getting very close to joining the ever-widening ranks of criminals.

The plight of the super rich due to a growing tax burden.

“Mega mansion frenzy: Buyer snaps up Pat Riley’s $16M home to level it, and then rebuilds.
Ultra-luxury homes in Miami are hitting record prices as the super-rich look for bigger and better homes with de rigueur waterfront views.”

Struggle The super rich
Daily wisdom


Rich are fine.
How are we going to pay for all this with huge(3%) tax hike!!??

The Super Rich are Falling on Hard Times.

 A Chicago Tribune story describes gut wrenching family hardship. A family is forced to demolish a super luxury home due to the lack of space. They must make a choice between living in cramped quarters of a miniscule 13 thousand square feet or demolishing a decrepit 20 years old mansion. In tears, the family decides to demolish the old house. I was almost in tears myself reading this sad sad story. So I decided to investigate. Result: the news is appalling. It is happening all over America.

Due to lack of living space, the  super rich are snapping up old decrepit mansions and then, out of need, must demolish them in order to build new ones suitable for decent living. Really how can a family live in less than 13 thousand square feet?

The super rich
Just surviving…


Will you let us in your servants house?
Will you let us in your servants house?

“Mega mansion frenzy: Buyer snaps up Pat Riley’s $16M home to level it,  and then rebuilds. 

Ultra-luxury homes in Miami are hitting record prices as the super-rich look for bigger and better homes with de rigueur waterfront views.”

Read more here:

Our poor overtaxed 1%, I feel your pain . And so do your and my Republican friends.  Together we will not disappoint you. This is America… this suffering must and will end!

PS 134’s Protector Speaks

Let’s teach our children that so much danger exists that their sweet kindergarten teacher must be packing a 9 mm while passing out the cookies and milk.

Fifty-eight years ago I proudly pinned upon my scrawny chest an AAA Safety Patrol Lieutenant’s badge.  P.S. 134’s students were mine to protect.  No running in the halls, no going up the “down” staircase, no pushing and no shoving.  Cross 18th Avenue only when Officer Potts tells you to.  Report kids to the principal for smuggling in gum.  After all, the school’s floors and desks needed protection, too.  It was my job, my duty. I would do it well.

We Proudly Protect
We Proudly Protect

Decades later I would find myself attending those mandatory teacher in-services at the beginning of each school year. Sitting in the school library, my fellow teachers and I would do our best to avoid nodding off as some overpaid pedagogical consultant drew Venn diagrams illustrating the latest educational technique enabling us to succeed with every student. Unequivocal research virtually guaranteed that test scores would rise, children would thrive and parents would laud us with praise. Of course, having heard this stuff before, we veteran teachers just feigned interest while surreptitiously setting up our grade books or jotting down bulletin board ideas.  Rarely did we learn anything new from these gurgling gurus. Most of us left with increased empathy for pupils compelled to sit at desks while being bombarded by tedium.

Blah, Blah Blah
Blah, Blah Blah

 Post Sandy Hook, every teacher I know yearns for a return to those waste-of-time in-services. The obsession for implementing educational magic bullets has been tragically replaced with a concern for real bullets. Now teachers plan for visitors packing guns rather than packing lunches. In 2013 it appears that the NRA and the ATF may have more impact in schools than the NEA and the AFT.  How I yearn to return to the day we worried about gum, not guns.




It is horrible that the naïve, innocent, secure world of the classroom has been turned into one of suspicion and fear.  In this old teacher’s bum eyes, that fear has resulted in overreaction coupled with well-intentioned dumb ideas.

Though incredibly tragic, school shootings are and will continue to be very rare events that predictably receive a tremendous amount of publicity. The slaughter of innocents causes deserved revulsion in all of us. Events incomprehensible, unpredictable, and possibly uncontrollable cause fear . . . excessive fear.

I know this is more an issue of the heart than the brain, but in order to evaluate risks, sometimes we have to utilize that less feeling part of our body.  In the last dozen years there have been slightly over 60 shootings in our nation’s 140,000 schools. Less than one school in 2,000 had a shooting in a 12-year span.  About 134 student and teachers have been slaughtered.  Three massacres alone accounted for 45 percent of those deaths. (Red Lake High School – 10, Virginia Tech – 33, Sandy Hook – 27).

According to the U.S. Census there are over 77 million students enrolled in schools (preschool through college) in the U.S.  Doing the math, on average over the last dozen years about 11 students and teachers have been killed each year in their school. The odds of a student being slain in his or her place of learning during a school year are less than 1 in 7 million. Of course, no one rightly gives a damn about odds if someone you love is slaughtered, and all rightly-functioning people want the odds to be zero. However, emotion most often trumps math.  Math says that it is wacko to purchase lottery tickets, but many of us do, and we look forward to being gazillionaires. Gratefully, lottery emotion causes most of us little harm.

Fear Hurts
Fear Hurts

But school shooting emotion has led some of us to propose ridiculous and often dangerous ideas, schemes that will do little to protect our kids while exposing them to more danger while inculcating fear and distrust.  The most ridiculous and dangerous idea of all is to arm teachers and principals and the posting of armed guards to stop deeply disturbed,  heavily armed people bent on slaughter.

Note: Clearly, there is a need for police to be stationed at schools where there is a known risk of student-on-student violence. Many high schools already take that precaution. It goes without saying that protective actions must be immediately taken in response to known threats.

However, arming teachers or posting an armed security guard in every school is simply nuts. I can’t fathom why anyone would rationally consider these tactics. Ergo, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre is nuts!


But for Wayne and others who may think these are reasonable ideas, a few questions to ponder:

1. What are the odds that day after day when nothing is happening that your gun-toting sentry becomes unobservant and spends much of his/her day chatting with staff, or nibbling cookies in the teacher lounge?

2. What is the likelihood of a teacher getting into a tussle with a student only to have that gun turned on that teacher or innocents?  Hopefully, teachers aren’t going to shoot some kid who grabs them or is in a brawl with another kid. Consider the risk of an armed teacher intervening.

According to the FBI, “56 police officers were killed in the line of duty (in 2010). 38 were wearing body armor at the time of their deaths. Sixteen of the victim officers fired their own weapons, and seven officers attempted to use their own weapons. Seven victim officers had their weapons stolen; seven officers were killed with their own weapons.

3. How likely is it that an inexperienced weapon holder will react quickly and properly when confronted by instant terror?  Last week, rightfully frightened police officers in Torrance, CA, injured two innocent people when they mistook two trucks for the vehicle of  Chris Dorner, the ex-cop who was on the hunt for police officers and their families.  Not only did these trained officers fire on innocents, riddling the vehicles with bullet holes, but their fire was incredibly ineffectual (thank goodness).

When Terrified Shoot
When Terrified – Shoot

4. Does anyone out there truly believe that a disturbed person intent on killing six-year-olds will be deterred by the idea that a teacher may be armed?

5. How do we protect kids during recess, at after-school activities and on the way to school?  Do we pick them up in armored personnel carriers and have guard towers in the schoolyard?

6.  Guns are not too useful unless they are at the ready. How does one keep a weapon at the ready while teaching class? Does one tote it in a holster around one’s waist, or keep it in a purse, or store it in the desk drawer cocked with bullet chambered?  “Johnny, would you mind getting my Glock? It’s in the top drawer.”

We have been busy terrifying our children for years; we put faces on milk cartons, instructed them in “stranger danger” awareness (of course, most kids are hurt and molested by non-strangers) and now the ultimate:  Let’s teach our children that so much danger exists that their sweet kindergarten teacher must be packing a 9 mm while passing out the cookies and milk.  Must we endanger and terrify our children to protect them from a virtually nonexistent threat?

 Oh, for the days of kids getting in trouble for going up the “down” staircase!



My Advise to Republicans: Make Yourselves Useful.

What the Republican Party is offering – a “free economy”, one free of regulations and free of taxes. We are an economic society already controlled and owned by Big Corporations; our middle class is shrinking while the big money class becomes more powerful than ever. The last four years of the recession put more people into poverty, and big money just got bigger.


The State of the Union

As I listened  to the State Of The Union Address by the President of United States, I had these thoughts:

State of the Union

President Obama presented a reasonable approach to our problems and concerns.  Considering where we were 4 years ago and where we are now,  it certainly appears that some things worked:  we have a better economy, a better housing market and a better stock market.  Yes, it took us four long years, and it will take even more to allow us to feel comfortable again.  I look forward to that day, and this is why I support most government programs suggested by the President.  I especially  support those on education, immigration, clean air, levying higher taxes on those making $250,000.00 or more and infrastructure rebuilding.  I would also like to see more programs to reduce gun violence.  And yes, I would like to see more programs designed to enable people to move away from the Government-subsidized programs towards self-support.  Then I listened to a Republican response by Marco Rubio.

I could not help but wonder if the Republicans have any plan, except for programs that benefit the rich and powerful.  Rubio – “For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top and no one else even had a chance.”

Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio

Yet this is exactly what the Republican Party is offering – a “free economy”, one free of regulations and free of taxes.  We are an economic society already controlled and owned by Big Corporations; our middle class is shrinking while the big money class becomes more powerful than ever.  The last four years of the recession put more people into poverty and big money just got bigger.

And Rubio spoke of immigration.  Fifty percent of our immigrants come from Mexico –a “free economy” country.  Yet Marco Rubio said, “ They’re immigrants who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.”  In Mexico government does not dominate; the rich and powerful do.  Do we want to become another Mexico?

Rubio – “It (strong middle class) comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business.  And when they succeed, they hire more people who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.”

 Well Mr. Rubio, How do you grow business without infrastructure?  Our roads and bridges need repair, our electrical grid needs modernization, and our communication grid  is antiquated.  The private sector never finances these projects.  How many jobs would be created by doing all this work?  How much money would the Government get in taxes from all these jobs?  How many small businesses would benefit from all this work?  Come on, Republicans – this is simply a no-brainier.

And, yes, we need regulations.  We do not want to repeat of the 2008 market crash.  We want clean air and water.  We want safe roads.  We want safe schools, parks and streets. 

Dirty coal
Blessed with coal.

Rubio – “But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas.  And let’s reform our energy regulations so that they’re reasonable and based on common sense.”  We have sun and wind too!  Why would Republicans not want to encourage the further development of renewable energy programs?

Rubio – “Helping the middle class grow will also require an education system that gives people the skills today’s jobs entail and the knowledge that tomorrow’s world will require.”  When I heard that, I was happy.  Finally something in common between the two parties.  Come on, Rubio, continue.  What is your plan?

Rubio – “Republicans have offered a detailed and credible plan that helps save Medicare without hurting today’s retirees. Instead of playing politics with Medicare, when is the President going to offer his plan to save it?”   You forgot to add, Senator, the Republican solution is to privatize Medicare.  Let me remind you, Medicare is financed by the Government because private insurance companies did not want to finance the care of the sick and the old. 

Violence and guns
Killings in Chicago

And here come the guns.  Rubio – “But unconstitutionally undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it.”  Are we a modern society?  Or are we the Wild West?  And who is proposing to undermine the Second Amendment?  Can you buy a grenade launcher because of the Second Amendment?  Why not?  How about some common sense?  I do not want teachers to carry guns in schools.  I do not want to think about some lunatic getting into a school, a theater, a club or a shopping mall because the Second Amendment allows him to do it.

And then a beautiful closing by the Senator:  “This dream – of a better life for their children – it’s the hope of parents everywhere.  Politicians here and throughout the world have long promised that more government can make those dreams come true.”  Dear Rubio, there is nothing wrong for the Government to create a safety-net for those who want to live a dream, who yearn to have a good life for their children.  Not everybody is able to make a lot of money; not everybody has the ability to take a risk; not everybody is brave.  Some people are just trying to make it through the day.  Many start-up businesses fail.  Many  people fall on hard times by no fault of their own.  As a society, we can, and we should help.

Politics ahead of policies.
Please get to work.

Certainly, we should cut waste; we should remove programs that are not working and fix those in need of repair.  Obamacare is not perfect, and probably never will be.  Nothing of this complexity can be perfect.  Just like all programs, it can and will certainly be adjusted as we go along.  That is why the Congress is here.  Its job is to make government work for the people.

So, Congress, please do what you are elected to do:  get to work.  And you, Republicans, when you finish bickering among yourselves, why don’t you decide to make this a better country for our citizens?  Make yourselves useful.  Maybe that will give you a chance to get reelected. 

Freedom to kill

A regular patron and unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grillhas died of an apparent heart attack, the restaurant’s owner said on Monday

Dress code
Daily wisdom

The Heart Attack Grill
Harakiri America way
Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies of apparent heart attack
A regular patron and unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill has died of an apparent heart attack, the restaurant's owner said on Monday.”
That is what I call FREEDOM.
Nobody can dictate us how to kill ourselves – with guns or with hamburgers.
This is the American way, man. Let Japanese do harakiri! We are too fat for this anyway!
"Alleman is the second unofficial Heart Attack Grill spokesman to die in as many years.
In March 2011, Blair River, the restaurant's 575-pound representative, died from complications stemming from
Crazy hamburgers
Let freedom ring!
pneumonia. He was 29.”

Violence, Gun Control…What Are We Teaching Our Children?

I will add now that it is quite possible to make your child neurotic and this stems from the parent-child relationship. When a parent routinely intrudes into a toddler’s world, not to protect the child in some way, but more to allay their own anxiety and worry in the role as parent. In fact, whenever a parent responds out of their own anxiety, anger, impatience, frustration, etc, it is here we are more likely to err, and where the toddler may feel confused or temporarily unloved.


The other day I was asked the question, “Do you think cartoons like Bugs Bunny can have a negative effect on  young children?”  My initial response as a lay person was to say, “I really don’t see any harm in pre-school children watching cartoons.  I certainly watched them as a kid and I turned out OK.”  Then I stopped to consider what I had learned about children (from birth to age 5) when I attended the Erikson Institute for Early Development some 35 years ago.  I wish now I had responded to the question with some thought and not “off the cuff”.  So now I’ll share what I really think.

Are violent cartoons ok?
Supervision needed

There are several variables to consider when it comes to young children:  1) are the parents thoughtful about what they want their children to experience; 2) is it understood that young children cannot separate reality from fantasy; 3) is it also understood that for young children, life events are reversible, (e.g.) someone dies – they come back to life.  Think of Wile E. Coyote who is always in pursuit of the Road Runner…Wile E. invariably falls off  a cliff when in pursuit of R.R., but not to worry, Wile E. will be alive and well in the next scene. 4) is the television being used as a makeshift “babysitter” to give the parents a “break”; or 5) do the parents sit with their pre-schooler while watching the cartoon, commenting on what happens when someone gets hit on the head (it hurts) or that shooting at someone with any weapon can seriously injure or even kill someone.

Some people have said to me, “Oh, come on…you’re thinking too much!  Just sit back and enjoy.”  When my daughter was a toddler and even older, I felt it was important to supervise her well-being almost constantly, stepping in when I thought it was necessary to say something or limit or distract her in some way.  As any parent will admit, a toddler can get into some kind of trouble in just a few seconds.  My younger sister (who had eight children of her own) commented to me years later, “With you fussing over your daughter so much, I thought she would grow up and be neurotic (crazy).  But she has become a very thoughtful and loving child; so, good for you.”

I will add now that it is quite possible to make your child neurotic and this stems from the parent-child relationship.  When a parent routinely intrudes into a toddler’s world, not to protect the child in some way, but more to allay their own anxiety and worry in the role as parent.  In fact, whenever a parent responds out of their own anxiety, anger, impatience, frustration, etc, it is here we are more likely to err, and where the toddler may feel confused or temporarily unloved.  Now I encourage all of us who worry too much about “hurting the child” to remember that, as parents, we ALL make mistakes.  It is only when we consistently respond or act on our feelings, that way fail to think about the needs of the child in any situation.

Now back to the discussion about pre-school children watching cartoons.  At Bowling Green State University in Ohio, the department of Human Development has done research on this very subject.  One professor there, Stevie Hossler has written about the mental and psychological effects of children’s cartoons:


TV effect on young children
Scary and dangerous?

"Children have become much more interested in cartoons over many years and it has become a primary action to some lives. Typically, children begin watching cartoons on television at an early age of six months, and by the age two or three children become enthusiastic viewers. This has become a problem because too many children are watching too much television and the shows that they are watching (even if they are cartoons) have become violent and addictive. The marketing of cartoons has become overpowering in the United States and so has the subliminal messaging. The marketing is targeted toward the children to cause them to want to view the cartoons on a regular basis, but the subliminal messaging is for the adults’ to target them into enjoying the “cartoons”. This is unfortunate because children watch the cartoons on the television and they see material that is not appropriate for their age group. The Children who watch too much cartoons on television are more likely to have mental and emotional problems, along with brain and eye injuries and unexpectedly the risk of a physical problem increases."

From the time that children start school to the time they graduate, they average spending about 13,000 hours in school.  Does that seem like an awful amount of hours?  Compare this to the average amount of television watched, nearly 18,000 hours (from the time they start school till they graduate).  This is a major concern because this excessive amount of violence in television will have an effect on their brain, their emotions and their sense of pain.  In a 2000 report on adolescent violence, the U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher, MD, stated the following:

“More aggressive behavior in a young child’s life is caused by frequently watched entertainment that incorporates violence in it. This has become a public health issue and because of the research findings, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution in February of 1985,informing broadcasters and the public about the dangers violence on the television has on children. Three major effects have been proven by psychological research caused by children seeing violence on television are, that the child may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others; children who watch violence do not fear violence nor are they bothered by violence in general and the children are more likely to become aggressive or use harmful actions towards others."

Watching TV with mom.
Adult supervision

So, to make a long story shorter, the take-away from this is that excessive exposure to violence does have a deleterious effect on young children.  But the key word here is “excessive”…perhaps hours vs. minutes.  So, would you ever allow your young ones to watch cartoons?  Yes, I would, with the following understanding:  infrequently and always supervised.  The child needs to hear about reality from the parents; the ability to fantasize they’ve already got down…cold.

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