Monday, December 31, 2012

So Long, 2012!!!

It sucks getting old because the days, weeks, months, and years fly by. The more you accumulate the shorter each seems. Another year is about to come and gone. Holy crap, it's already almost 2013??!!??

Yep, it is. It was a good year for me. It usually is so long as I'm with my family and everyone is healthy. Our daughter was born in January so that made the year extra special.

So Happy New Year, everyone!!! May 2013 bring you love and joy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


To all those who celebrate Christmas, may you all have a Merry Blessed Christmas filled with love and joy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Tomorrow, December 21, will be one week since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, and 604,800 seconds would have passed and for me and the nation, it has remained in our minds for much of that time. They started to bury the victims this week, the children and the heroic teachers.

Many people ask why, but the answers are quite simple. It’s understanding them that are hard. A mentally disturbed 20 year old man was given full access to an arsenal of military style weapons by his mother, although law abiding in her gun-loving, was incredibly irresponsible in allowing such access and essentially training her son to be a killer. That is a toxic combination which leads to tragic results. Assault weapons are weapons of mass destruction. They’re not for hunting animals, they’re for hunting people.

How you get these WMDs out of mentally disturbed people’s hands is again quite easy, by simply banning their manufacture, sale and ownership. To get the guns out of circulation the government should offer no-questions asked buy back programs. There should also be a ban on high capacity magazines. Again, that’s for people hunting. The Second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms, it doesn’t give them the unfettered right to bear any time of weapons they want just like the First Amendment doesn’t give people the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, threaten to kill the president, or own child pornography.

Dealing with the mental health issue is a bit more complex. Many states have cut funding for services and facilities, and psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers are woefully underpaid and, thus, make it a more difficult career paths especially with the skyrocketing higher education costs. So what we have are services and psychiatric institutions that are underfunded and understaffed and the goal is to shepherd the mentally ill out of the programs as quickly as possible so more can come in. The general rule is that “throwing money at a problem” never works, but in this instance it might.

I’m speaking from experience here as someone who has personally experienced the tragic outcome of gun violence and whose wife works in the mental health field. Solutions are out there. Do we, as a nation, have the courage to find them?

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island. Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between
the United States and the Japanese empire.
--December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing the United States Congress.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

I continue my Christmastime tradition ...

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'

"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

--Unsigned editorial, September 21, 1897, New York Sun--