Saturday, October 29, 2011


As I view the dusk fading to darkness, it has been a really great weekend.  Saw three great singing groups last night in Mansfield, OH and loved ever moment of it, had safe journey down there and back and slept well.  Today has been excellent with getting to attend a spiritually uplifting workshop with a young man and former student that God has drawn us together for His Will to be done.  The meteor I wrote about a few days ago is now a smoldering ash so life goes on and God continues to amaze me.  But there is one underscore to our life today in America that increasingly concerns me ... ANGER!

My reality check into the depths of this rage came this week with the degree of venomous rhetoric about a couple of articles I posted to Facebook.  Regardless of the topic, I watched the swords of anger clashing on my FB page in opposing views to the article.  That is great for I select the articles with one criteria; does that capture the most impactful issue in our world today as it implicates our future?  But the degree of angst splashed on comments about the article left me realizing the degree of real, verifiable fear, worry and anger that abounds in our world today. 

Americans are angry with the economics, the politics, the on-going global issues Americans now seem incapable or unwilling to weld presence and force of influence upon. Americans are angry with race, campaigning instead of leading. Americans are angry such as with all the things Congress has created and should be working on, banning tobacco from Major League Baseball seems more important. I had to just sigh when I watched that unfold. The list is long so I will cease the listing to make my point.

Those of you that really know me know a doomsday prophet is not one of my gifts.  But the seeds of anger can erupt into full scale revolt and that is what I see as I peer across the bow of this great ship.  In my lifetime I never would have thought I would see some of the things happening in our world as I do in our current time.  One, because I am so close to it every day, is student loan debt.  There is anger, justified anger, building on this as students begin to realize the anchor they are carrying around into their adult working lives with six digit debt burdens.  I literally hurt when I realize each semester the hundreds of thousands of dollars a single class is staring at for years to come.  What that causes me to do, however, is work even harder to insure that each student receives the very, very best of me for they certainly are deserving of it. I mean, after all, they are OUR future, right, so it is the return on investment that I look toward in the capital expenditure for each student until one proves they are not worthy. And yes, I do have an occasional one that proves unworthy.

In my closing, I wish to say once more that I am extremely encouraged by the students I get to see and work with.  They are a great generation tooled much more strongly than my generation at the same age in so many ways.  But one tremendous concern I feel heavily is the family model so many of my students have not been blessed to experience thus to emulate.  Single parent, blended, multi-partner relationships are the new norm and how that projects into this new generation is, well, frightening which I think of the potential implications.  THAT angers me!

This is a great nation, it has been greater, but realizing with all the noise of our world, the world's villagers still look to the United States of America to calm the fears, soothe the hurts, attack the bad guys and let's them sleep at night and have a meal when they wake up. THAT is the America I grew up in, workd for, served for, and long to have back.  America has chosen to step aside from our God and I absolutely believe that same God is letting us have a painful, acidic taste of just how bad it can be without Him.  As Bill Gaither so wonderfully wrote:

Without Him I could not nothing
Without Him I'd surely fail
Without Him life would be hopeless
Like a ship without a sail

Seems pretty descriptive of America 2011 doesn't it!  By the way, this is fixable for it, like life, is a choice.  Be blessed on Sunday.  Go to church, be part of a worship experience, love somebody you may not necessarily like.  As a great friend of mine likes to say, so correctly ... BE NICE, Mr Williams.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Solitude and Peace .... a Cocoon of Warmth!

No, not trying to go all poetic this morning but there is something special about this morning for some reason.  Have done my morning news scan and see all the exhilaration of the markets up and showing up for the day with the news of the EU deciding to "bail out" Greece (AGAIN) so today the world is inhaling the sweet savor of money making.  It is still dark and much cooler and I sit here alone thinking and reflecting on many things all of which, in the aggregate, leave me with this sense of, well, solitude and peace! That IS a good thing.  I guess you can say I am in a blessing counting mode this morning. You should try that some time, go ahead, try it today for regardless of the issues in your life, there are blessings abounding if we but look for them, right?

So just in the last twenty-four hours God has granted me, some of my blessings are health which is good since I have felt really bad with some heavy coughing and loss of voice all now gone.  Yesterday was very special in many ways but was capstoned by a phenomenal conversation with one of our warriors, scarred from protecting our country in his young life.  I was never more honored or impressed than that one hour investment with this young man.  And the bonus was I got to talk with him about his spiritual life and am being rewarded by he and his bride coming to my church Sunday and got to pray with this great Marine as we departed. Talk about a great morning!

Another blessing for me is the work I get to do which is the teaching that, again for me, is more like exploratory drilling for the riches of our tomorrow in these young minds I get to touch. Wow, what a phenomenal blessing that is for me and it energizes me, lifts me and makes me want to continually be better for them for they deserve it.

Our two children and their families are healthy, close and seeking God's Will in their lives and especially for their children. I love the values and work ethic I see in both of my children for that is a crown to me to see that ushered forth in so many ways. I love my family and am so humbled by that blessing when I see and hear of so much division, wrath and angst in far too many families.  Having grown up in a family environment rent with anger, alcohol and constant fear, it is such a blessing to realize that the family culture God has gifted us with is so far from that in our children and their children!

Another amazing element in my life is even when issues do arise with a student, the process that unfolds to correct the unsatisfactory behaviors and in seeing those behaviors turned to productive work is an absolute blessing.  It is at that apex I realize the nearly four decades of managing people and issues come to confluence in the methodology of my teaching to allow reaching into my quiver of experience to sooth, attack but always to correct bad behaviors.  When I think of the hundreds of people I have learned so much from in my life and to be able to utilize a word, a comment, a brush of brilliance I was exposed to in my working now with such great young minds; what a blessing!

Another element of life one must learn and usually the hard way is in choosing rightly those you will surround yourself with. As my students have heard me say many times, seek to surround yourself with people that will push you up and not pull you down.  Far too many prisoners have I met that will bring testament to that chalice of bad friends that drag you down.  Ridding oneself of those things and people that demean and impugn, as painful as it is, a right relationship with the God that gives us life is not an option but a mandate.  Maybe you have some house cleaning to do?  DO IT!

So yes, it is going to snow, the wars continue, the famines rage, lives continue to be wrecked and families left distraught but this morning I am choosing to rely and reflect on the blessings showered on me by a loving God.  One of my songs I love is, the Doxology;

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures hear below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Can I get a witness!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let's talk about Wisdom!

I begin this morning from my devotional this morning out of Proverbs 24:13-14 which speaks to this thing called Wisdom as something sweet to the taste:

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Those that have spent much time around me have heard me speak about Data will lead you to Information. Information will open the door to Knowledge. Knowledge, if properly applied, will transport you to Wisdom.  I have further learned that Wisdom comes not from Knowledge injection but from applying Knowledge wrongly and the ensuing devastation of the wrong creates a richness of learning to not do that again. 

I believe that is where gray hair originates is in misapplying Knowledge and learning from that mistake thus Wisdom is ushered into the realm.  Yes, I have much gray hair and further yes, I believe it comes from a vast array of poor choices and misapplications of Knowledge. I bet I am not alone! So as verse 14 aptly states, if you find Wisdom, there is future hope for US and your hope that transcends fear will not be cut off; how powerful is that!

There are times when the events of the day, the sound bites from the media, the cacophony of worry become too overwhelming that you grow numb or you want to run naked through the snow. I have some friends in Alabama I grew up with that always long for the snow on that one day each decade just so they can perform that ritual .... oh will I get waxed with that jab! 

Just this week, and it is only Wednesday, I was hit by that meteor I wrote about earlier, the Catholic Church and the Pope are now publicly calling for a New World Order with a new economic system, a single currency and a single global bank, the Arab Spring is now into the Arab Fall for the remaining dictators in the oil rich sheikdoms, the announced troop withdrawal out of Iraq is being viewed as a political poll enhancer and thus strategically unsound, to which I concur., etc, etc.

In my class this morning we will examine and seek to ferret out management lessons from the classic book, ANIMAL FARM about the parallel with Farmer Jones' farm and the overthrow of the farm by the animals only to find there really is no difference after all.  It will be a stroll from the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 into the 2011 Revolution we are witnessing in hopes of seeing points on the compass to better manage in the years ahead for these young leaders.

Our world is, well, in revolution but then our world has always been in revolution so that is not new. The stakes seem greater to us living today. I have now and have had many combat veterans in my classes and I always seek to be especially sensitive to them and their needs due to the scarring of battle and blood they have seen, experienced and will never be the same as a result.  I seek to learn from them for at the core of Wisdom is the infusion of learning via education.

There is one thing and one thing only that transcends the trumpets of dooms, the bugles of battle, the chimes of death and destruction all around us and the drumbeat of defeatism that abounds and that is the knowledge that yes, there is a Sovereign God that is truly in control of it all and it is His Plan that is being unfurled whether we like it or understand it.  My greatest hope and my greatest challenge I find at this stage of my life is in providing the insight into the minds and the hearts of those God brings around me either in teaching, singing, talking or just living day to day.  We are in a failed world led by fallen Man; nothing new about that is there?

I close by saying to my readers, please be spiritually right with that same God that gave us His Son to die a horrible death on a cross to redeem us of our sins against each other and Him.  With the events of this week and seeing the architecture of His return becoming more clear in world events, I am reignited to want to help anyone and everyone that wants assistance on that pathway to a future in heaven get there.

Make this a great day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A One World Government and Global Bank with a Global Currency ....

I have pasted in a document from the Vatican espousing the establishment of a one world government, a new economic system, a global bank and a single currency.  For those of us that have spent much time in the Bible in trying to understand the process and implication of the "end times," I believe one would have to be pretty blind, stupid and deaf not to realize that Revelations speaks clearly to a one world government, a single currency called the mark of the beast and last but not least, an Antichrist that will rise up as the face of and leader of this new world order.  So here it is today in print from the head of the Catholic church proclaiming that is what must happen.

I am not attacking any religion nor denomination nor am I shooting at the messenger but the message is so clear and so blatant that it cannot simply be ignored.  The most sacred human on earth for a major world religion, the Pope, is exclaiming this complete restructuring.  It simply saps my breath when I think of seeing and reading and hearing something of this magnitude perfectly aligning with what the Scriptures and the Prophets have foretold centuries ago!

There will be much on this in the news mills in the days ahead and the nut cases will fall out in magnitude trying to get your last piece of currency into their coffers no doubt. There is but one question as I view it for there is but once choice that is captured in a great Bluegrass Southern Gospel song ... The World has many choices, eternity has two which translates to you are either ready to go spiritually or you are not!  BE READY!

Monday, October 24, 2011

What a difference a day makes!

This has been one of those days! You know those days when meteors fall out of the sky and hit you in the head and you find yourself getting up, looking up, scratching your head and shake your head in sheer amazement! Ever had one of those?   Describing the meteor is not the focus of this missive but in how a person placing everything in God's Hands can find respite, peace and rejoicing in the meteor's path to the point of contact to my head. 

The human being is truly amazing with that phenomenal brain and heart connection.  I am doubting a buffalo can experience a head shot and mentally go through stages of fear, wonder, anger, peace and love in a breath or two but I realized today, I am not a buffalo but a man that truly and wholly loves his God for that God has brought me peace, comfort, joy, tenderness and words of encouragement to others with questions and hurt. Simply amazing! But then, so is God's Love!!

My pastor preached on the subject of Encouragement last evening ... I heard he was going to preach on it but I was working on Christmas cantata music during the sermon but had a major coughing spell, left the choir room and caught Pastor Mike on the TV monitor talking about, "do you ever call or send someone of those that sing special music a card of encouragement and thanks ...?"  I was thrilled in that moment to be able to say, Yes Sir, many times for that is the culture of my church; loving, giving and serving!  So to connect a dot for you, when the meteor did the head shot, I realized in just a few moments that same culture had become the essence of me for what I wanted to do was be loving and caring!  I found myself many times this morning taking deep breaths in amazement in how strongly I felt God's Hand on my heart and in my life.  Only from That Touch could a head shot out of the blue be taken and turned into words of blessing and praise for healing for others left confused and angered! 

So, though still reeling from a case of the flu or something including fever, I found relief and release in that Hand I felt so clearly and cleanly. See, every event, every meeting, every interface is an educational experience if you look for it. Today, I looked deeply at my meteor to understand the why, the what and the when of the meteor via a soulful time of calm and peace; not frustration and anger!

Let me summarize my thoughts for it is my great hope that somebody who has had their own meteor shower today and got whacked around can glean calm and encouragement from my head shot and God's presence which is so very real.  Today, honestly in reflection,  I am glad I did not feel well, that I had no time commitments after the meteor hit thus I had time to think, reflect, pray, pray and pray. Prayer is an amazing elixir for pain, frustration and anger.  It causes E V A P O R A T I O N!!

So if not today, just wait for the meteors in your life are circling your air space!  So what will you do when the vector is set for entry to your unwitting head?  That is a pertinent question for Sun Tzu taught us thousands of years ago that when you know the enemy as well as you know yourself, the battle is won!  Your meteor is your enemy so prepare now for it is coming, oh yes, you can take that to the bank.  My family has additionally been such a wonderful cocoon of encouragement this day for me in ways none of them really realize ... a gift!

So like the lyric and chorus of a song I sung Saturday night:

We are so blessed by the gifts from Your Hand

I just can’t understand

Why you’ve loved us so much

We are so blessed

We just can’t find a way

Or the words that can say

Thank you Lord for your touch

When we’re empty you fill us till we overflow

When we’re hungry you feed us

And cause us to know

We are so blessed

Take what we have to bring

Take it all, everything

Lord we love you so much

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So angry I ate a salad ... The Story!

After church today, I took my bride out for lunch (now there is a real shocker I am sure) and that led me to one of those epiphanies moments. I have those a lot it seems!  One thing that has become very real to those around me in the last few years is just how serious I am about customer service. I teach it, I live it, I demand it and when I do not get it I am not bashful about confronting it.

Been a physically demanding weekend and my voice has taken the punishment so was really tired today (am I whining or what?) so was really hungry when church was out.  So we decided to go to a local steak house for a steak, which always ends up as a pork chop for me.  The Boy was hungry and  as my friends in Alabama would say, "hawngree" but you get the picture!  So in we go, nearly empty which is never a good sign, smelled all steaky, wood burning, yumm, it's gonna be good!  Sat down, waitress really nice and Dan, our waiter comes to the table. Excellent young man and even writes his name B A C K W A R D S with the crayon; D A N spelled backward; Wow ... I M P R E S S E D.

Now while am all excited thinking about that steak that will be a pork chop, my bride, who has already looked at the menu says, "a pork chop (not plural) is $14.99." to which I said, come on, we are going! I am not making this up!  Dan comes back for our order so in the mean time my bride convinces me we would both get a steak salad ... got to be cheaper, right?  Dan was an excellent server, really liked him, he complimented these two old people on how we looked, it's gonna be good, right?

Got the big old salad but with a not big old steak and my bride had not shared with me the price for I assumed I would walk out less frustrated than that fifteen buck pork chop had made me.  I assume she chose not to tell but then I did not ask, right?  Ate away, enjoyed the conversation, time to go, check please ....  $32.23! Yes, you know where this is going don't you!  Not really!

See, I am not a cheap person for I never minded paying when the good or service reflect value, we economists call it UTILITY.  So I was faced with a dichotomy; Dan the server Good, Food was good, Wait for the Food, too long, Price for food, RIDICULOUS!  Sooooooo, I paid the check with a six buck tip for Dan, wasn't his fault and he did a good job, out we went and told my bride we will never go back to that place and later told her I was going to write a letter to the manager. Why, she asked, for the manager will not get it to the right people! Yes, I thought, she was right sooooo, HELLO BLOG, I am venting.

There is a much deeper issue as I view it though therefore why I chose to drill this hole.  Food prices are a commodity issue driven by the forces of economics but influenced by the gamblers / traders looking into the future and making bets.  I get it!  But when I can go into grocery store, purchased the components of that same meal and prepare it for less than a third of restaurant price, somebody is kidding somebody.  There have been eight restaurants close in the Belden Village area in the last few months... the one I was in today will be in the loser column soon (sorry Dan) but you can always know the winners from the losers can't you?

People want to jump up and down with the "Occupy whatever" but my heart, tonight is fixed on attacking businesses that undeniably rip off the very people that keep them in business. When this place closes, and it will, I will then send that letter with this blog to the president of that business with the PS, I told you so!  Since there is now only one BELDEN VILLAGE steak house remaining you can figure it out as to who and where! So figure!!!

The General Manager of Chick-Fil-A, Doug Pugh, spoke to my class last Wednesday morning on this very topic. There will be more closures as their should be. Another one closed two weeks ago, the best one, and I told my wife then the remaining places would increase their prices immediately for that is what competition does; less competition, increase price.  Here is my final judgement ... ready? 

We are DONE WITH EATING OUT until the forces of the Free Market correct this rip off ... and it will. So you can join me at Occupy if you want to join me!  I wish I was smiling but am not!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead ...

So Gadhafi is dead! So Saddam is dead! So the Pharaoh in Egypt is, well, nearly dead! So all these uprisings, head toppling, millions of rounds fired into the air that, well, make their way back to earth due to gravity and kill people but I find myself simply asking, now, so what? 

If we have studied anything in the last five years it should be in how not to topple a regime using Iraq as the textbook.  Afghanistan will be, if it ever topples Karzai and Pakistan when the topple comes, Syria and, and and .... in the void of  leadership, chaos reigns!  There is still no real peace in Iraq by a long shot and I am sure after the fireworks and celebrations subside in couple of days, there will be a sinking of Libya into a period of chaos by rioting, looting, killing; you know, like New Orleans after Katrina!

My point is that toppling a dictator is a good thing IF there is an infrastructure and a democratic system and most importantly we have learned, a POLICE force that is not corrupt and has the training, weapons, and will to truly police a population.  I honestly never realized the vital nature of a police force to a citizenry until I watched the Iraq debacle unfold and now Egypt and the others. 

The Middle East is burning so who will either stoke the flames with more gasoline or quench the embers of dissent?  I cannot get overjoyed by any of this for there is Iran, there is Iran and Israel, there is over sixty percent of the world's oil supply in these countries where the toppling and uprising is underway and worst of all, to me, the US is too weakened politically to truly interject powerfully into the engine of this morass.  So I watch the BRICS and especially, ready, Mr. Putin's Russia and China.

Opportunity breeds control and the vast array of opportunity in the ME is unparalleled.  Think about all of this going on and Israel decides to take on Iran by bombing the nuclear sites!  Think about Turkey with a tremendous army, a global will and a solid political system and leader if they decide to exert their will onto the coals of this regional civil war! Go ahead, think about it!

How will we in the US see this play out?  I believe we will see higher fuel prices due to commodity prices of oil turn north as the US$ continue to weaken thus making the price of oil more expensive.  Should Russia and China take a path of colonization or proxy in this region, and they have the money to do just that, the geometry of global diplomacy changes in ways we cannot now fully grasp. The days ahead will be part of a shifting sand that could be quicksand that becomes treacherous to those who tread there unawares and unprepared.  America NEEDS to be strong for the world but instead, we have campaigning going on, debt skyrocketing and the world sort of smirks at the US now instead of snapping to and responding to what the giant Policeman walking the global beat has to say. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Angry! Look up at the trapeze artist and then look down at his safety net!

I am old enough to remember Woodstock but was in Alabama and all I recall is that a bunch of strange people called hippies were rolling around in the mud somewhere in New York or somewhere in Yankee land, were bra-less, in the throws of gross immorality, high on dope, dirty, wild music, etc, etc. I had not clue what it was about, did not care and figured they at the "stock" would end up in hell anyway for the sins they were committing openly in the mud. THAT is my remembrance of Woodstock.  Now at sixty-three, that echoes of that memory resounds with this "Occupy .." thingy and the participants in New York seem to be wanting the media to see Woodstock 2011.  But why Occupy? Why now?

I have no simple answer. I have not invested much mental time in it for my natural tendency is to move closer to the center of an issue or a problem therefore farther away from the ends of the Bell Curve or the fringe and I see the Occupy as fringe just as I do Rush and Glenn Beck and the others.  I do not like loud for loud, fringe for fringe's sake.  Tell me the facts, don't add sirens and bells and let me corroborate with other sources and then I will decide.  That is just me!

Do I believe there is value and viability to the Occupy thingy? Hum, I hope so but not quite sure yet. I keep watching to see who is climbing on the bandwagon and what I see, frankly, are the groups with the most to gain politically, spelled financially, from active participation.  Unions enmasse seem to be "Occupying" at a high rate which always makes me suspect!  The "movement" seems to be running out of gas as the cameras are moving on to other things.  I sense the Arab Spring uprisings gave model to the Movement and we all applauded the Yemenis, the Egyptians, the Libyans, etc, but the Occupy Movement in the US seems to be, well, rather tepid and hungering for media coverage more that articulating clearly the mission and the vision for their movement.  Here is what I know ... AMERICANS ARE RIGHTLY VERY ANGRY.

David Brooks has written an excellent piece in today's New York Times I posted to FB about the silver lining in all the morass, angst and growing resentment Americans are sensing for his thesis is that Americans, when faced with this same stuff before, "manned up" to the challenge and faced the headwinds finding a way individually out of the mess.  In today's Wall Street Journal is an editorial that the US government has spent an all time high in 2011 and grown the deficit more deeply that any previous government with a statement that is so true and for me sums up the whole issue:  GOVERNMENT AUSTERITY IS A MYTH.

Government will not and Government cannot fix this mess.  It is we the individual taking our individual skills and talents and drives and passions into a collective thrust to change our individual world for the better. Synergy must and will kick in at some point in spite of Washington and Columbus and Montgomery and, etc, etc.  We have grown to DEPEND on the Government safety nets of Entitlement.  Entitlement costs are what bring down empires; not foreign armies. The Roman Empire is a great example and history will probably record the European Union and the United States like other empires imploded under the weight of government safety nets. I HATE SAFETY NETS in any form at an individual or corporate level.  Show me a trapeze artist doing his thing with a safety net below him and I will show you a trapeze artist not giving me his best for the money I paid for the ticket. I expect the best but safety nets preclude Best!

Americans are angry! Anger is a motivational and inspirational part of the human existence. Properly channeled, anger can move mountains and we have quite a mountain to move.  It is we the people and not they the government that will fix this mess so as long as the culture is programmed to wait for the government to fix, the hole will only grow deeper, quicker.

I really want to see that trapeze dude do his best for me. Why, I deserve it and so do you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Good Saturday afternoon to you all and what a beautiful day God has given us.  Today I feel really good, we had three of our grand kids with us last night and today and I have just spent three hours rebuilding a completed syllabus for Spring Semester when the fresh, compelling opportunity / idea came to me focusing on a great, local company, the Timken Company.  That is a story for another day but for this afternoon I wish to focus the spotlight of my brain on this latest people uprising in America, the Occupy Somethingorothersomewheresomething!

I have been invited by some very good colleagues to attend the one here in Canton, have been asked many questions about my thoughts on the "movement" and have yet to give an opinion for, well, I have not formulated one; still haven't, really!  But here are some thoughts that sort of frame my sense of what is going on.  First, I am not against the movement ... entirely, until it becomes a media spectacle, which I think is the prime motivation to begin with, frankly.  Secondly,  there is a fine line between a crowd and a mob for I have had to deal with both in my life and I detest them both, frankly.  For mobs take on a mind and a will of its own most of the time veering away from the original good intent of the gathering.  That is my concern as this movement mushrooms before the camera lights and the police interaction is turning more volatile.  We all watched the Arab Spring all summer so perhaps we are on the threshold of an American Fall?

But the centerpiece of this whole movement is the poisoned partisanship we are all sick and tired of enhanced by this growing sense of desperation around the question, can America truly gain traction toward recovery?  I think it a valid question for, frankly, my belief in that traction is getting weaker by the day as I watch the dots in the global constellation connect in very interesting ways.  I have said to many and again here that with Putin rising to power again in Russia and the BRICS alliance strengthening led by Russia, now, and China, the geometry is changed for a generation at least.

We all long for the good old days I know but, first, there have not been any real good old days when you had to live through them but more importantly, the inhabitants of our global village are having now to dance a different rhythm, sing in multiple languages and try to grasp the theories of the music as never before.  The world has, well, changed. Whether that change will be for the good or the bad is yet to be made visible for the emulsion is still brewing. 

As I sit here on this Saturday afternoon and as I watched three of my grand kids eating breakfast this morning, ages 9, 8 and 7, I was taken by the fact that their lives are so much different than when I was 9, 8 or 7 and then when I think about their children when they are 9, 8 and 7 in about twenty years, what will their world really be and act like?

I will close by simply saying that in my humble opinion, the ONLY thing that needs to be "Occupied" is filling your mind and your heart and thus your soul with the love of a God that loves us when we do not deserve it and proved it by sending His Son to earth to live a short while only to be killed a terrible way to redeem my wrongs through that shed blood. Now, for me, THAT is something worth OCCUPYING!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Show me the money, Jerry, show me the Money!

Been a busy day but just in and checked CNN web site and there was our Fearless Leader with two NBA basketball players with the story of them going to Florida to fund raise with Mr. Obama.  Why I felt my blood boil is really interesting for me as I have tried to biologically figure that out.   Perhaps the issue is solely mine to deal with I realize.  But there is something just fundamentally WRONG when the country's economy is in tatters, Europe is creating a next tidal wave of despair that will soon crash on the shores of the US, the waning argument of China's manipulating the yuan is the primary reason for US uncompetitiveness, is shown to be a ruse,  the school systems are more dysfunctional than they were yesterday, Russia and China are about to monopolize the world's natural gas supply and transport, ahhh Israel is still too quiet in light of the Arab Spring, Summer and now Fall, ahhhhh an assassination plot to murder a Saudi ambassador in the US along with perhaps a hundred others, ahhhhhhh, do you get my point? Oh yes, and the stupid NBA is going to miss the first two weeks because of the players union demanding more money for some really tall, talented clowns. But we the people are paying for another multi million dollar FUND RAISER to Florida on Air Force One and the thirty five other Air Force planes, cars, Secret Service, etc, etc.. 

I guess I am simply not feeling the love today. I guess I am, well, sick of the whole mess that seems to smell more with each passing day.  I am sure Michelle and her entourage from the WNBA will go along to SHOW ME THE MONEY, Jerry.  When money is the measure of leadership, the leadership is fouled and soiled.  That is called prostitution to me and that is the best analogy I can come up with to capture what I see more and more in the process.   There are so many, diverse issues to be dealt with but seem to never be dealt with.  There are commissions established, czars wrongly appointed, proclamations that mean, well, nothing!  So like Cuba Gooding caused Jerry to shout, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"

Never have I been more sickened by the political disconnect from what I see as the core issues this country faces.  Now we have yet another "movement" with all the "occupy somewhere" which the unions are climbing all over which causes me to stop, drop and roll to understand why. Could it be to create more MONEY TO SHOW? Me thinks, YES, Jerry!

If I had the magic wand, there would be a complete and total ban on travel out of Washington.  There would be cots brought into Congress and work would go on 24/7 / 365. There would be no paychecks issued until there is proof positive results of some sort have been made and all benefits would be suspended indefinitely.  There would be no spousal / conjugal visits and there would be two meals each day with no coffee!  You think I am kidding but believe me, this is exactly the level of hover I would create in the largest prostitution house ever created. Oh, and K Street and its inhabitants would be chained to the fence on H and I Street or the fence in front of the White House along with Obama's Cabinet wearing Depends for obvious reasons and a nuclear small round would be fired level all K Street buildings, hard discs and jump drives.  The lobbyists Mecca on K Street is a den of iniquity and have not heard old Grover Nordstrom's name lately. Wait, it will and will have the odor of deceit and conceit when it appears in controlling OUR Congressional leaders. I do not like to use the word hate but I HATE LOBBYIST in any form. 

WHERE IS THE SERIOUS dialog. Oh, and let us not forget the Super Committee that is stagnated with automatic triggers to energized in a few weeks.  It just makes me sick. THIS COUNTRY IS BETTER THAN THISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Gog and Magog as the contenders in the last great battle!

Those that study the Bible and seek to understand the ultimate destiny of planet earth as addressed in several Old Testament prophets such as Daniel but especially in the New Testament book of Revelations, knows the word God gave to John on the Island of Patmos that was recorded as the Revelations.  There will be a one last great battle which is called Armageddon where the combatants will be massive, destructive armies of the North and the East.  The Bible calls those contender Gog and Magog.

A Bible prophecy expert I am not but a believer in the written word of the Bible is all the context I really need to believe.  Having said all of that let's bring it to real time events in our 2011 world.  As we see the BRICS emergence and the great world powers of the post WWII powers decline, the US and Western Europe after Reconstruction and being replaced by confederations of emerging markets, one must but wonder what does it all mean if the Bible is correct. Point number one, the Bible is correct!  I watch with great interest the evolving issues in Israel and Palestinea and ongoing hostilities  with Israel and Iran .. a tinder box!

With Russia's Putin retaking the leadership, which he really never relinquished, the world must now take great note of the historical and future implication of this change in Russia.  Russia has been and will be a great nuclear power.  She has rich natural resources, a power military and naval fleet and , again, nuclear capable.  Her oil and natural gas reserves are tremendous.  Who needs this oil and gas more than any other nation that is, rightly, hoarding raw materials and commodities including oil and gas and coal thus driving commodity prices higher; well that would be China, Two great ancient powers with centuries of distrust and corruptive relationship; a detonation cap on the global economy as I view it.

America and the European Union are now too embroiled in their own debt laden bickering and polarization of politics and a strained, stressed military presence stretched too thinly around the world with a President that  has not shown proactive resolve to exert military force in hot spots thus America is viewed globally as weak and tepid; a dangerous scenario undoubtedly.  Just yesterday the world learned of a trillion dollar plus China / Russia natural gas deal being pushed by the Russians thus empowering Russia over her ancient enemy.  Every cubic meter of natural gas and heating oil that flows to East and West Europe is brought from Russia to pipelines in the troubled Ukraine as transit point into Europe. Russia thus controls all oil gas flows into the European Union. So Russia has her right flanks China bound and her left flank European bound with Russia in the middle controlling economically both major regions.  Think about that!

It is my understanding from the Bible that when that last great battle of Armageddon is fought to the end that it will be by a beast from the East, China, and a beast from the North, Russia. I do not see the US in the equation of Revelation frankly thus the great powers of today will become pawn of the two great beasts in the lead up to this end times battle.  The same can be said of the EU that is imploding as we speak.  All the world needs, per the Bible, is a leader to step up, an Antichrist, that will be mutually respected by the world powers and will lead the charge into this ultimate battle. So I refer back to Mr. Putin. An evil, shrewd, cold man that many respect as the now powerful returning learning of the Might Russian Bear.

This world is in the midst of forces of change not ever witnessed at least since the Holy Roman Empire I believe.  These are my thoughts at a globally strategic view from the dots that seem t o connect more clearly each day.  My final words; BE READY!

Monday, October 10, 2011

You mean me, do that?

The New York Times is running an ongoing editorial section about immigrants and the impact on the U.S. unemployment number, economics and societal impact of and on immigration.  There is a select group of authors, academics, business leaders writing a few paragraphs on their opinion which I am finding interesting.  Having lived outside this nation twice in the richest nation in the world at a per capita level both times, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, I was able to see the immigrant reality from yet another angle so here are my thoughts.

Why is the unemployment number not going done?  Because Americans have grown soft, expectant of government protection and lazy to physical work.  Thus the threshold, as it has always been, to immigrant laborers is opened wide.  Americans, generally, are not going to do hard, physical labor nor does any nation when you can bring in cheaper workers from other nations to do it. In Luxembourg, the primary manual work was done by Portuguese.  In America, the ethnicity has shifted with economic wealth through the time of our existence.  It has been Germans, Italians, Irish, African Americans, Chinese but rarely since the 1800s, white Americans. So there has to be a demographic / economic link to this that surpasses geographic boundaries!

The title of today's blog is fitting I believe.  It is fitting for it captures the basic nature of America and the post industrialized world in which the post WWII economies find themselves struggling in every way today.  Americans, Germans, French, Canadians, etc, are not going to "lower" themselves to do manual agricultural, shovel-ready construction type work.  There are three primary reasons I believe: first is a physical unpreparedness today, second is a mental refusal to be seen doing that sort of work which translates to arrogance and thirdly, and most profoundly, is the "entitlement" safety net mentality in these same post WWII nations.  The sentiment is that I will not do that sort of work because I can draw unemployment so it is "my right" to choose not to work!

My students have heard me say many times that in Adam Smith's principles of the Free Enterprise, he was quite clear that labor must migrate to the work and not wait until the work migrates to the labor.  Voila, in the post WWII nations led by the US, labor is not going to go to the work but is waiting, to some degree, for the work to come to them and, oh yes, will be paid by we the taxpayers until that hallow confluence takes place. THAT is the societal mentality I see today.

There are millions of jobs available today, TODAY in this great nation that Americans will refuse to consider for they are too hard, too far away, not close to my family, etc, etc.  Think about that for a few minutes and really let it sink it!  Remaining next to one's roots, while noble, is really poor judgement when you can depart the home nest and secure employment, right?  To my recent blog, "think like an immigrant," all of our great grandparents were immigrants or children of immigrants "off the boat" is the term used often.  So if you were on "that boat" and had not job, no education, no language skills, no societal values in that new distant land of "Williams" that rests just across that horizon shrouded by clouds of unknown, how would you act?

Here is how we would all act; we could act like immigrants in a new land. We would seek out work to put food on the table for those we love and cherish and not wait for the check to arrive on the 15th 'cause the mail man ain't coming this month!  I think I make a reasonable point in all of this.  There are jobs  ..... GO FIND THEM!  If, today, you are waiting on we the taxpayers / the government to insure you have a future that is rosy and profitable, I do not see that for the new generation past the Baby Boomers for that future is mortgaged now all the way to my grandchildren. That is simply not only sad but criminal!

You mean me, pull that cotton, run that picker, dig what, shovel what, etc?  YEAH, that is exactly what I mean.  Listen to the principles of the Free Market upon which capitalism is built and hard work resides at the core.  See anybody digging a ditch lately?!!!! I haven't but have seen quite a number of Latina slinging dirt to raise their families. Go ahead, shout at me now!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Think like an immigrant ...

I realize well the "I" word triggers many thoughts in many peoples' minds in our current economic world.  But in reading a great book by Tom Friedman, he speaks to the students today as they prepare for a brutal, challenging, much different world than the one when I sat in classrooms.  Friedman makes what I believe to be an excellent, insightful point to the point that it has affected my whole approach to my teaching in the Spring semester.  He asked the simple question for students in classes today and seeking a prosperous career ... how do you act like an immigrant?

So for a few minutes let's blank out the terms that are venomous to many and concentrate of what makes an immigrant an immigrant as compared to an establish family structure?  Well, an immigrant has no idea what job they will get but come prepared to adapt to whatever pathway is presented.  That is quite different than a child from a working family, such as my family growing up, and it was understood I was going to work where my parents worked. SO an immigrant does not have what Friedman calls a "legacy" job.  Those of you born in Canton probably have Timken tattooed on your DNA somewhere for example.

Immigrants have no infrastructure. Immigrants have no root structure.  Immigrants are not educated like the inhabitants.  Immigrants standard of living is built on necessity versus the legacy of being owed or entitled.  Oh, by the way, we are ALL immigrants by birthright, right?  For me, when I really let the perspective of an immigrant roll around my head, it begins to blow away many things including stereotypes, expectations, beliefs and desires that lie dormant inside me.

Friedman, rightly I believe, is points us in one direct.  The days of having a position because you are born or even get a degree from a university are archaic.  The positions, the successful folks of the future that begin today will be the ones that adapt and adjust to the reality they walk into.  Doing what we have always done, which is comfortable, will yield what we have always gotten --- that is a real plum choice today isn't it? 

I am more convinced that the roll through of how we learn, how we educate, how we teach, how we exist together is in a tremendous and painful paradigm shift.  Those that adapt as immigrants must for survival, will succeed. Those that whine and complain and do not strive to be better and different from the competition will not be as successful.

Take a few minutes and objectively think about what I am saying and its implication on each of you.  It is 2011 and not 1966.  It will soon be 2031 and you will have families and responsibilities but even more profoundly, the competition will be mountainous from throughout the world.  The hyper-connectivity world accelerates everything and those choosing to not engage and prepare will be swept into the wake of a dismal future.

So the challenge ... how do you stretch yourself to a new level, a more challenging drive to beat the competition and how will you CREATE YOUR OWN IDEA for the position that will propel you economically?  That is right, successful people going forward will be not the secretary, tire builder, pipe fitter but those that will take an idea, develop it, collaborate with others to make it work, market the idea to a price point that derives a profit. Yes, it is certainly not 1966 when I finished high school and it is certainly not 2031 that is awaiting you!

So think like an immigrant, please!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sometimes you just need to hush ...!

I think this article framed around Ron Paul, whom I consider closer to the fringe of eccentricity than I do main stream, has managed to find his way to the headlines on a topic that captures the absurdity of our current state of life in this country.  I think I am especially primed for this as I am reading Friedman new book, "That Used To Be Us.   I highly recommend that book by the way.

But here we are in the midst of a decade War on Terrorism, we KNOW that the replacement for Bin Ladin happens to have been born in America, lucky him, American gets a good hit on the head of the snake and voila, the liberals and nutcases, Paul included, has flowed forth using now Gettysburg as their backdrop.  Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I am just simple. Perhaps I am whatever you wish to categorize me BUT this simply angers me. We should be celebrating at the Post Office with the elimination of each CRIMINAL such as this man I will not even attempt to spell his name ... but he is an American.  Thus the jurisprudence of the ACLU will now further bog down the march to victory this country has and is paying so much for in blood and treasure.

In watching the Presidential debate, two of them, each time I have found myself completely turned off by Paul.  And his son, a Tea Party dude, acts in front of the cameras like a certified hills of Kentucky red neck, and I am being nice in my selection of descriptors.  Every presidential election has the fringe crowd and appeals, well, to the fringe crowd. I tend to shy away or run from fringe anything for they, well, work on the wings of the Bell Curve; that 20% that creates noise but delivers no meat. Know any 20%ers?  Think about it!

Whomever dialed in the grids for the hit with the drone should be promoted and as well for the next hits until the enemy is gone.  As Friedman rightly points out, one of the great issues our country faces is the lack of an identifiable enemy.  When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991, we were vibrant for the wicked witch was dead but we need a wicked witch. Enemies make you better!  America has lost its way and I hope is a tempest in a tea pot will just blow away.  But in our United States today, this can catapult us into another whole realm of legal rhetoric that can further tie the hands of those guarding the fence every day we take so much for granted.

He is dead! Get over it!  Let's focus on who is looking for his chair and lock in the grids for this hit.  David took down Goliath lest we forget.  Let's be David for a while for it makes all the would be Goliaths less excited about calling us out.  As I have indicated many times, my greatest concern about our nation as citizens is that the world has ceased to fear the US military and thus this country's might and respect is built on fear! 

The Wall Street Journal

From Gettysburg to Anwar al-Awlaki

American citizens have never been considered immune from lethal force when they take up arms against their country.

The United States can cross Anwar al-Awlaki off the al Qaeda roster. The Yemeni-American cleric killed by a U.S. drone strike on Friday was linked to the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit in 2009, the shooting spree at Fort Hood in Texas that killed 13 that same year, and the near-miss car bombing of Times Square in 2010.

Yet, from the howls on the left, you would never know that President Barack Obama had won another victory in the war on terror. Even as details of the operation leaked out, critics claimed that our government had "assassinated" an American citizen without due process.

Showing that antiwar fervor is a bipartisan disease, Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) immediately went on the offensive. "Al-Awlaki was born here; he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes," declared the Republican presidential candidate. "If the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad."

Such fevered accusations echo weightier claims from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the United Nations. Representing Awlaki's father, the ACLU sued the Obama administration last year on the theory that the Constitution forbids the government from trying to kill an American citizen for allegedly joining the enemy. According to the ACLU, the United States must arrest Awlaki and bring him home for trial. U.N. officials also issued a report last year suggesting that U.S. drones violate the human rights of suspected terrorists because of the lack of due process.

Last December, however, a federal court in Washington dismissed the ACLU's case. It observed that judges had little ability to intervene in wartime targeting decisions and that Awlaki always had the option of returning home to prove his innocence.
Associated Press
Rep. Ron Paul
Today's critics wish to return the United States to the pre-9/11 world of fighting terrorism only with the criminal justice system. Worse yet, they get the rights of a nation at war terribly wrong. Awlaki's killing in no way violates the prohibition on assassination, first declared by executive order during the Ford administration. As American government officials have long concluded, assassination is an act of murder for political purposes. Killing Martin Luther King Jr. or John F. Kennedy is assassination. Shooting an enemy soldier in wartime is not. In World War II, the United States did not carry out an assassination when it sent long-range fighters to shoot down an air transport carrying the Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

American citizens who join the enemy do not enjoy a roving legal force-field that immunizes them from military reprisal. President Abraham Lincoln confronted this question at the outset of the Civil War.

Under the Ron Paul-ACLU worldview, Lincoln could not order Union troops to fire on Confederates without a trial and should have released them all from military prison because they remained citizens (a view shared, incidentally, by Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of Dred Scott v. Sandford). What if Union officers could have seized Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Johnston at the start of the war?

"Unquestionably, if we had seized and held them, the insurgent cause would be much weaker," Lincoln wrote. "But no one of them had then committed any crime defined in the law" and a court would order them released. Instead, Lincoln concluded, the laws of war must allow the United States to treat its own citizens as enemies when they take up arms in rebellion.

Supreme Court opinions have upheld Lincoln's principle. During World War II, the FBI caught eight German saboteurs trying to sneak into the U.S. and at least one of them was a citizen. On reviewing their military trial and death sentences, the Justices declared: "Citizenship in the United States of an enemy belligerent does not relieve him from the consequences" (Ex Parte Quirin, 1942). "Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents." A nation at war has the right to kill enemy belligerents in war.

The war on terror's unprecedented nature only makes Lincoln's rule even more critical. Al Qaeda has no territory, population or conventional armed forces. It draws its operatives from any country and trains them to covertly infiltrate peaceful societies to launch surprise attacks on civilian targets. If the U.S. were to reserve criminal justice rules for American terrorists, it would only encourage al Qaeda to recruit citizens and ease their path into this country. American al Qaeda operatives would be free from targeting, and efforts to stop them—here or abroad—would require the whole system of warrants, judges, Miranda warnings and lawyers.

Realizing this, the Supreme Court has made clear that the old rules would apply even in this new war. In 2004, it upheld the military detention of Yaser Hamdi, a Saudi Arabian captured during the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan who had been born in the U.S. "There is no bar to this Nation's holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant," the Court's plurality agreed. "A citizen, no less than an alien, can be part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners and engaged in an armed conflict against the United States."

Simply because the Obama administration has the legal right to use force to kill members of the enemy does not mean it must always pull the trigger. It should have good reasons to believe an American has joined al Qaeda. Intelligence reasons favor capturing al Qaeda leaders whenever possible to gain information. But as the Obama administration hastily rushes for the exits in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. will be losing the bases, infrastructure and practice that make possible the high tempo of drone and special-forces operations. The U.S. may be left with no opportunities for capture, and precious few chances to kill.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03, and is co-editor of the recently published "Confronting Terror" (Encounter Books).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

America the soft!

I am using an editorial from today's WSJ that is short in length but long in reality and deep in perspective.  I really try to remain center of the road on articles and blog commentary to not let myself flow toward the ends of the bell curve called the fringe.  There are simply some news channels I will not watch and some media I will not read.  But to average, I read the WSJ and the New York Times, competitors, in parallel to gain a perspective before deciding to use an article. 

This article today goes to the heart of my great concern about America 2011 forward ... everybody apparently sees America as, well, soft.  Our military is not feared as it once was.  Our political machine is not respected by anyone include the politicians.  Our posture in the world is demeaned and our currency, the US dollar, continues to weaken against other currencies for all the reasons listed in the previous sentence.  And yet, we watch the rise of emerging giants like the BRICS that, consolidatedly, will fill the geopolitical leadership vacuum opened with the withdrawal of the US from the head seat and yes, I believe more and more it is a choice to withdraw; that is really, really sad to me!

Respect is founded on a solid, undeniable flooring of fear I believe. Nobody will truly respect someone unless there is a perception of fear about that person, place or thing.  Fear moves mountains and the US mountain has lost and continues to lose its status of fear in seemingly every area.  I will say as so many say, I could never have imaged in my lifetime I would see such a negative pendulum swing of America as viewed from the populace and the global village inhabitants.  But alas, we are and we are paying the price for it. That prices grows heavier daily!

The Wall Street Journal

America the Soft

President Obama's national diagnosis.

On the matter of President Obama yesterday saying that Americans "had gotten a little soft," let us first say that it could not have been the President's intention to launch zillions of tweets referencing Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech.

By now, we've become accustomed to trying to discern the political strategy behind Mr. Obama's policies and statements. We still don't see the political logic in proposing that a country teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession should welcome a $1 trillion increase in taxes. Now the incumbent is telling the country it's become "a little soft."

On the morning of Mr. Obama's remarks, his admirers at the New York Times editorialized that it is the Republicans' plan to "wind down the government's longstanding guarantee of health care to the elderly and the poor and incinerate the Democrats' new promise to cover the uninsured." And "stop virtually all regulation" . . .

Permit us to volunteer as the voice of moderation in this discussion.
We take the President's point about some competitive softness. We'll even concede the Times's point that government really does mean well whenever it outputs one more law, such as Dodd-Frank. Is it not possible, though, that if America's competitive instincts have softened, this has something to do with its compulsively intrusive, protective national government?

We noted here recently that an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico required environmental sign-offs from the EPA, DOT, USDA, DOI, DOE and others. Might not this dull anyone's competitive edge?

Trade is the lifeblood of the competitive instinct, but the administration still won't finalize trade deals with those two economic giants, Colombia and Panama. What of the current competitive mindset of couples with taxable income over $250,000 whom the President describes as "millionaires"?
As the risk of being accused of wishing to incinerate the government, we suspect that if Mr. Obama backed off his ever-expanding embrace of the American economy—health-care, housing, energy—Americans would, as he put it, "get back on track."