Many who served during the time I did, didn’t come home. Bless each of you. And thank you to all who have served or are serving. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness comes with a price. Bless the USA.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
To say that it is early in the next presidential election year would be a mis-statement of some size, yet there is a flurry of excitement within the mongrel press organizations that feed on politicians. One of the items up for discussion by those that have never written a legitimate news story is whether or not a candidate has an obligation to make him or her self available to these wolves. Reporters can be intrusive to a fault, often showing no regard to the personal nature of their questions, often showing no thoughts to the feelings of those being questioned.
As a retired reporter and editor, I think it’s safe to say that I am writing from a position of knowledge and understanding. I have interviewed some who wished to be president, Mr. Reagan, Mr. Carter, Mr. Ford among the group. I interviewed Mr. Reagan one on one, the others at specific press conferences. At no time was it considered an obligation for the candidate to hold such interviews and conferences.
A reporter has an obligation to get a story. This is the job. Does a candidate have an obligation to make him or her self available to a reporter? No. The job is to make him or her self known and wanted by the electorate. That is the quest.
A candidate makes personal appearances before the public, a candidate releases information to the public through the press and advertising, a candidate has no obligation what-so-ever to be available to members of the press. For the first two centuries of our existence, American politicians rarely, if ever, spoke directly with reporters. Press conferences were rare, and for a politician to speak to reporters at a public function in which the politician spoke to the public, was unheard of.
My work in newsrooms began in 1958. I’ve worked through hot lead and iron heads all the way to editing an on-line news journal, and watched as reporting has grown more and more insensitive, from those being interviewed to those listening to or reading the reports. Passion is an important part of reporting, but so should courtesy.
With the advent of almost instant information by way of electronic devices that most could never have conceived of less than a decade ago, there are many that feel it is important to know every single detail of a candidate’s life. With some of the questions I’ve heard asked recently, I know for a fact that many so called reporters today would not work in most of my past editorial departments.
Some of those in the news business today feel they have the right to an answer, regardless of the question. Too many of our politicians are under the belief that they have to answer. A good friend of mine, John Oakes, a criminal defense attorney, has the proper answer right on his business card. “Just say NO.” It simply isn’t an obligation on the part of the candidate to answer every question thrown at him or her, or to make him or her self available to any and every reporter.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
My satirical short story, Good Times on Rios Two, set far in the future but reeking with today’s mega corporation problems, will be published in the quarterly literary magazine, The Storyteller. Set for the October issue.
The mag is edited by Regina Williams and is high on many shelves. Take a look at www.thestorytellermagazine.com.
My friend Dave P. Fisher has had many fine stories published here. His current offerings from Bottom of the Hill Publishing are doing well.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I got a little note asking about my book, "Out of the West ... Tales of the American Frontier," and thought this would be a good time to talk a little about it. It's a collection of 13 short stories dealing with the west, then and now. Here's a brief excerpt from a story dealing with a chili cook off in the late 1800s.
When the time came for the fires to be lit, and there was no sign of the Nevada Kid, old Jake Thompson was about to throw in the wild rag, when the wildest, meanest, mustang stud, right off the range, came buckin’ and snortin’ into camp, scattering cowboys, horses, cattle, workin’ girls, and card sharks in every direction, and sitting on top of that caballo loco was the Nevada Kid, dressed in his finest buckaroo Saturday night duds. Ya just don’t see entrances like that at chili cook offs today. It was grand in every respect, and he bailed off that wild Cayuse at the top of a four legged buck, took one turn in the air, and landed on his feet, right square in front of his own fire. “What a show,” howled Thompson, and the Flying F boys sent up three mighty cheers for their Kid.
Those old time buckaroos knew how to have fun. Some of my stories are humorous, some are down right sad. Most are as historically accurate as I could make them. Hope you enjoy.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Chopping off the head of the snake does not stop the head from still being able to bite. More than one hiker has learned this the hard way when dealing with rattle snakes. That said, the head of the filthy snake known as al Quaida is dead and gone, but what he started is still very much alive. Whether or not he made plans to continue the Saudi Royal Family’s financial support is another question.
Al Quaida has been financed by bin Laden from the start, his money coming from the oil the Saudi Royal Family allows the U.S.A. to buy. If that money doesn’t continue to flow, the terrorist organization is likely to splinter into many factions, and watch closely for the Muslim Brotherhood to step into the void. This extremist group is just as dangerous as bin Laden’s ever was.
The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to portray themselves as a political party in Egypt right now, but their plans include creating shia law in every government in the Middle East, and to destroy any attempt at democracy. Their means are right out of every terrorist handbook that has ever been written. This group is probably already bringing al Quaida supporters on board.
One has to believe that members of various government agencies in Pakistan were very aware of where bin Laden was at all times during the past decade, and there must be many middle and upper level management types that are supporters of dead man. Pakistan isn’t like Egypt or Syria or Bahrain. Pakistan has atomic warfare capabilities, and if radical elements of al Quaida or the Muslim Brotherhood get into leadership positions in the Pakistani government, the entire Middle East will be under nuclear threat.
The snake’s head is cut off, but that snake is still very dangerous.
If this comes out right, you'll see a photo of the '76 Ford F250 flatbed ranch truck Patty and I picked up yesterday on a trip to Portola, Calif. Needs some electrical work, but sound otherwise. Four wheel drive, four speed, and high and low transfer case. We'll move some hay with this critter.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Here are some rambling thoughts on the next presidential race. Mr. Obama has not come close to being the president so many thought he would be. He, like so many far on the left side of the program, believes the answer to all questions comes from government, either more government, larger government, or simply, government. The problem with more, larger, or just, is that it has to be paid for, and that part of the equation is often not included in the program.
When Social Security began, and that was back in the 1930s, there really was a separate trust fund that wasn’t supposed to be messed with. It survived WW II, but it couldn’t survive the combination of Vietnam and the War of Poverty. LBJ and company wiped it out, and all of the funds that had been collecting interest were used up. Now, Social Security funds come out of the general fund. Medicare is a separate issue, and those funds come from the insurance payments made by recipients and from the general fund.
As long as the insurance companies and the drug companies write the laws, and don’t think for a minute that they don’t, Social Security and Medicare will be at their mercy. There are some that insist on saying that Social Security and Medicare are entitlements, but unlike true entitlements, these are paid into by those collecting. One pays into Social Security from the first paycheck to the last, and one pays Medicare Insurance every month once one becomes eligible.
Back to that election rant. Mr. Obama is not the president he could be, and as long as he continues his current ways, won’t be for much longer. Many people seem to be just about fed up with the concept of spending far beyond what can be paid for, and that will all but eliminate Mr. Obama from keeping his position.
From the standpoint of fiscal responsibility, that leaves just a few possibilities. I am personally eliminating anyone running for the office based on some kind of religious blah-blah. Donald Trump is nothing more than a spoiled brat who has always gotten his own way. He’s a school yard bully, selfish beyond doubt, a racist in my mind, and a hypocrite. I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.
In 2010, Ron Paul should have carried the GOP banner, but the Repub Gray Beards didn’t like the idea of someone not conforming to their ideologies. He still has clout with the Tea Baggers, and they still have lots of clout with the general public. Gray Beards are still afraid of the Tea Baggers. A forty year old sounding a lot like Ron Paul would brighten up the next several months.
And, that just about leaves Mitt Romney. So far, at least publicly, he hasn’t brought his religion into the campaign. Mormons, too much like evangelicals, put their religion ahead of everything else, and I don’t believe that would work in the White House. That was one of the big questions during the Kennedy campaign back in the 1960s. Questions of whether he would be more of a Catholic than an American. Would he answer to Rome before answering to the American public or government? If Romney doesn’t bring his religion to the plate, he has a chance.
We need a real leader from the younger ranks of the party to bring some freshness to the campaign. Somewhere in the midst of our three hundred million Americans is a young, fiscally responsible, eloquent, leader. Please stand up now.