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Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Psalm

Bear, Daisy and Tom crash after a Christmas Dinner that can't be beat....

Christmas Psalm
By Tom King © 2009

Christmas is my touchstone
It makes me smile at strangers.
It pushes me to reach out to family.
It fills my head with music.
It tells me I should at least try to be pleasant to the harried clerk at Wal-Mart.
Even though I am over-worked and aching down to my very bones,
I pull it all together one more time; one more year.
And I am lifted up and taught to be a better man than I had thought to be,
     because it’s Christmas


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho, Ho, Humbug - It's Scrooge for the New Millenium!

What is it about Christmas that makes so many people mad? I was tweaked today over a Christmas poem I wrote and planned to publish here tomorrow. It's theme was that Christmas is good for you because it encourages you to reach out to others. My critic asked what is the good of "reaching out" at Christmas if you didn't do it the rest of the year. Then, with a snear that was palpable, he dismissed what I wrote as "cute" and said it would appeal to the 'overly sentimental'.  Okay, so what's wrong with that?  Furthermore, what is wrong with dragging yourself up once a year, taking out your 'goodwill toward men', running it around the block and giving it a little exercise anyway?

Because we hunger and thirst, we are creatures that eat and drink. We do not eat and drink all the time, only when we are thirsty and hungry. So, in deference to this human need, we schedule meals so that we make sure to take in that necessary nourishment regularly to maintain our physical health.

Holidays and sabbaths are another scheduled indulgence of human need, like meals and snacks. We need to hang with our friends and family. We apparently need to party. Such celebrations feed, not just our bodies, but also our souls. I don't think it's an accident that most holidays are associated with some kind of food or feasting.  Our souls need to be fed in the same way our  bodies do.

So, what is so wrong with scheduling regular times to feed the soul? What's wrong with occasionally partaking of a little good cheer, peace on Earth, goodwill toward men. I cannot think of a better reason to make a little effort to reach out to your fellow man than because its Christmas. There ought to be a holiday that celebrates giving!

Cynics clame it's about greed and "what you get".  That's a lie straight up, except maybe for little kids who are, after all, unprincipled selfish barbarians by nature. For most of us who have matured a bit, Christmas is all about giving.  Don't believe me?  Try this experiment. Don't give any Christmas presents to anyone this year. Go empty-handed to every holiday gathering and watch what happens. Don't apologize or make excuses. Just don't bring anything.

You will not be turned away from a single party I guarantee. You will likely receive lots of gifts as well. It's also likely, someone will shove a little something extra under the tree for you, thinking you must have fallen on hard times. Nothing inspires generosity, especially at Christmas like someone in trouble. We need to exercise our giving bones once in a while. It's an instinct that is built into us, like breathing.  We want to give. We need to give. Christmas allows us to do it all out.

One of the best Christmases of my life was the first one where I had a job (a paper route) and was able to buy things for my family for Christmas.  I'll never forget it.  To this day, Christmas is like sticking my giving batteries into the socket for a bit. The recharge I get from this season carries me through the rest of the year.

In the same way, my weekly sabbath rest renews my spirit and recharges my relationship with God every 7 days. That doesn't mean I don't have a relationship with God the rest of the time. It just means I take a little special time for that relationship once a week. 

It's like having sex for a married couple.  Periodically coming together like that recharges a relationship.  People also need to come together in groups to celebrate. It recharges families and communities.  Without holidays, families die; communities wither. 

I agree with you that if you don't maintain an attitude of goodwill toward men all year it's pretty much meaningless to fake it just for Christmas.  But if you truly do try to keep it up all year (as I do), what's the harm in celebrating goodness, joy, generosity and peace on Earth good will toward men?

And what the heck is wrong with being sentimental? Sentiment leads us to perform acts of kindness toward our fellow man. The nicest people I know are the kind that get teary over movies and children dressed as squash singing about the food pyramid. I've been known to shed tears over a McDonald's commercial myself - ooh, their advertising guys are good....

At the same time I've given more hours to the cause of helping people with disabilities, seniors, low income families and abused and disturbed kids than I can begin to count. Don't tell me sentiment is phony or only gets dragged out at Christmas time like an Easter bonnet or those snow skis we keep threatening to use "someday".  Are we become so cynical that a bunch of fat old soft-hearted schmucks sitting around singing carols and giving gifts to people somehow threatens the new world order?

Do we so badly need to be hip that a little holly, hot chocolate and sentiment becomes a preposterous (and somehow dangerous) thing that must be sneared at lest sentimentality break out like an epidemic of the mumps? If that's the case, I'm glad I'm getting old.  I really don't want to watch this sad old world turn into that bitter cynical place it seems headed toward.  When I see my fellow man dismiss as sweet and warm and wonderful a celebration as Christmas, when they call it an "illusion of harmony", I despair for this current crop of human beings. 

Harmony is what we make of it. I may disagree with my fellow man over politics or religion (and frequently do as readers of this weblog know). That's inevitable when you have creatures as diverse and creative as human beings.  That doesn't mean it's not nice for one little bit of the year to stop and allow ourselves to get a little overly sentimental about the ideal of peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

So Merry Christmas to all of you tonight in the hope that each and every one, who is of a mind to, finds something to get a little misty-eyed over........and at the risk of offending those of Uncle Ebenezer's party who may be reading this with their noses wrinkled up and a scowl on their lips.....

God bless us every one.

Tom King - Flint, TX

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Response to Pro Health Care Folks Who Think I'm Stupid

Health-Care-O-Matic: And don't ya wanna know how it works?

I gave a rather long-winded response to someone who challenged my opinion on health care by insinuating that I was an ignorant troglodyte basically.   Here's my answer:
It always comes down to name-calling and talking points with the health care true-believers. You assume that the free market is what caused the astronomical rise of health care costs. It's not! The government has been diddling with health care for 50 years and in that time has burdened the system with ridiculous regulations, burdensome paperwork and a heavy bureaucracy that it can ill support. Bureaucracies are like big dirty snowballs. They roll along collecting more bureaucrats who create more useless paperwork for each other. In segments of our economy where the feds haven't tried to meddle, things get done quicker, more efficiently and usually better. If my physician could make decisions strictly based on what was wrong with me and not on what someone in Washington thought ought to be wrong with me, if she didn't have to fill out 20 forms in triplicate and answer to a team of risk management people and lawyers, I could have affordable health care.

20 years ago my wife suddenly developed a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor. We'd just started a new business and invested everything we had in it. We had no idea what we would do. Her gynecologist told her not to worry. He did the operation for free, the hospital dipped into a local emergency fund to take care of the brief hospital stay. We were very grateful and did our best to give back to our community, providing free emergency day care at our center to people in need.

Under this health care plan, my wife's doctor will not be able to do such things for free. The law prohibits doctors from charging anyone less than what they charge the government. This well-meant law kills any sort of pro-bono work because if a doctor does treat a patient for free, he has to treat all the government insured patients for free and there goes his practice. If the doc goes ahead and does it and doesn't tell, and gets caught, he goes to jail.

This is what happens when you have government designed health care. It's like upholstering a chair with a sledge hammer when a staple gun is called for. You cannot sit in Washington and design a system that works effectively at the local level in all situations.

When I was a kid, I grew up without health care insurance. Our local docs charged people what they could best afford. Docs didn't get wildly rich until the government came along and started fiddling with the system to make it 'fair'.

I've seen how the system works with and without government interference and let me tell you folks, you can trust the doctors to be a lot more fair and compassionate than you can trust government bureaucrats. The most heart-breaking stories of medical neglect and misery that I have heard have come at the hands of government run medical programs and government/corporate medical protection rackets such as are common today.

You cannot solve the problem by giving the very thugs and bullies, who are responsible for the problem in the first place, even more power. I have been doing social advocacy work for seniors and people with disabilities and emotionally disturbed and disabled kids for 25 years. Ordinary people left to their own devices, in my experience are almost unfailingly generous and will do the right thing in their own communities.

Those who will not, those who are bullies and exploiters are a problem, but they aren't in charge, unless we elect them to office or put them in charge. That's what socialized health care does. It puts the foxes in charge of the hen house. When you have the kind of money concentrated in one place that a universal health care program represents, you WILL draw the greedy bloodsuckers you are complaining about like so many sharks to nibble off the edges till there is nothing left.

The only way to prevent that is to take away their power and put the health care system in the hands of those who have sworn an oath to care for the sick and turn the government to the task of beating off the sharks.

But the left won't consider that because they haven't the imagination to see how a decentralized system can work, even though such systems are more flexible, resilient and efficient than any centralized system known to man.

And, by the way, "Oh, yeah, well you're stupid!" isn't much of an argument, especially when I doubt a one of you started out in poverty like I did and worked for practically nothing all your working life to help people as I did (they don't call 'em nonprofits for nothing).

I own no home, have no savings, no medical insurance and work for myself when I can get the work. I'm the guy you guys keep trying to save and I'm here to tell you I don't want you to save me, especially if it means creating a gigantic bureaucracy to control every facet of our lives, stifle individual creativity, punish excellence and turn our nation into frickin' Detroit - the American poster child city for central planning and government funded development.

You look at history, at the dismal record of centralized government planning and you see what ought to be according to your ideology, and not what actually is. We are selling our children's futures for something that feels good and makes us feel less guilty because we're so well off.

And before you start telling me as a Christian that I don't really practice my faith (remember the old Golden Rule - I really do practice that and so do a majority of Christians), let's see you do what I've done, help the people I've helped, spent the unpaid hours I've spent doing real things to help real people and given back what I give back from my meager income (at least 4 times the percentage Barak Obama gives from his huge income).

It must be lovely to simply say I support global climate change laws and universal health care and save the whales and I don't use animal tested cosmetics and be able to sleep at night as though you've actually done something for your fellow man.

Let me see you out on the front lines and we'll talk about it. Let me see you collecting money and organizing your fellow church members to build a ramp for a disabled person in a wheel chair instead of saying, "Isn't there a government program for that?" and then going on your way as though that helped. Then I might be impressed. Maybe you do those kinds of things, but if you'll look at the stats, it's us "Christians" you talk so bad about that donate more money to third world development than the entire US government's foreign aid programs put together. Not only that, but when we send medical aid or build a well in a village, we drag our butts onto a boat and go over there with it to make sure it gets done.

I am well and truly sick of people who haven't a clue making sweeping statements about Christians who haven't bothered to find out whether they were true or not. I'm sorry if as a child you were frightened by a cranky Sunday School teacher. That happens! We're not all like it and it is every bit as wrong to stereotype the Christian community based on some anti-Christian propaganda you heard at some Students for Democratic Society Meeting when you were in college.

There, I've done it - I've gone off on a rant. I'm over my alloted blog length of 400 words.

I'm sorry, we were talking about health care.

My final word:  Good stuff if you can get it in its pure and unadulterated form!

Tom King - Flint, TX

Monday, December 21, 2009

Light One Candle

Light a Candle in Your Window

December 21, 2009
On this day in 1981, the candle of liberty was being snuffed out in Poland. Church watchers were sitting outside churches and synagogues watching to see who entered and were taking names. The secret police raided Lech Walesa's solidarity union offices. The leaders of the Polish freedom movement were being imprisoned as the Soviet Union threatened military intervention. In the midst of this, the Polish ambassador escaped to America where he met with President Ronald Reagan. Ron and Nancy fought back tears as the ambassador told the story. Vice President Bush comforted the ambassador's wife who had begun to weep. Then the ambassador turned to Presiden Reagan and made an unusual request.

"Would you light a candle in the window of the White House for the Polish people?" he asked.

In typical Reagan fashion, he rose from his chair, went straight up to the second floor and placed a candle in it. As the ambassador watched, he lit the candle with his own hands. Then, Reagan did the ambassador one better. He called a press conference and went on the air before the nation and gave a speech. In it, Reagan appealed to all Americans to put candles in their own windows that Christmas to show their support for the Polish people in their hour of peril.

I remember that Christmas. A candle went up in our window too and in millions of windows across the nation in solidarity with the freedom-loving people of Poland. It was an incredible display and the people of Poland still talk about it to this day.

In Iran, the people are stirring. The secret police take the leaders of the unrest off the street and throw them in prison or shoot them. The mullah's are watching. In Iran the common people yearn for freedom, yet America's new president is silent.

The reason is becoming increasingly clear. In the United States, Homeland Security compiles lists of Americans - gun-owners and preachers, radio personalities and community organizers (the real kind that don't get paid by Acorn). The Congress plans to meet on Christmas Eve to take one more giant step toward taking our liberty from us and our President waits anxiously in the wings to sign into law a scheme to further compass us about with the chains of federal control. Maybe our ambassador should defect to Poland and ask the president of Poland to put a candle in his window for us tonight.

When we are without leaders, it falls upon the American people to become their own leaders.
Let all freedom-loving Americans light a candle in their windows tonight as a symbol that we will not allow the light of freedom to die; a symbol that our prayers go up to our brothers and sisters in Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea who live under the thumb of despots and criminals and who long for freedom.

More than 2000 years ago a babe was born in a manger and angels proclaimed "Peace on Earth!" The prophet Isaiah said that He would "Proclaim liberty to the captives" and on the night of his birth that light of liberty was kindled and grew into the greatest free nation this Earth has ever seen. False kings and proud emperors have been cast by the wayside in building this powerful force for good. This nation has not only fought against tyranny, but has freed countless peoples from their own chains by direct or by indirect action - often by the mere fact of our existence.

We stand now at the end of the world faced with the greatest threat mankind has ever known. Our president once again bows to kings and potentates. Our representatives sell our liberties for 30 pieces of silver. The light of liberty is threatened.  

Until the author of our liberty returns, I would call upon all men of peace, all believers in freedom, justice and righteousness to rekindle the flame of liberty everywhere. 

Let's start with a single candle in our windows this Christmas.

I'm going to go light mine right now.

Tom King - Flint, TX
(c) 2009 - permission to reprint with credits is granted to all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What to Do With The Tea Party?

I read several articles and listened to a radio rant yesterday about the future of the Tea Parties. How much of each piece was passion and how much was "audience carving" by radio hosts and pundits that are running a distinct 4th or 5th place, I'm not sure.  The thing boils down to two basic arguments.  

1.  We have a two party system - pick one! A third party is a waste of your vote.

2.  Both parties are corrupt and have failed us.  It may be time for something new. A third party can win!

So, let me muddy up the waters a bit with a third suggestion for what to do about the very powerful conservative forces that have martialed behind the Tea Party banner.  Admittedly this is a hybrid approach and would call for leadership that isn't in this thing to accumulate power.  My strategy would call for the Tea Party to lend its power to others without holding direct power itself. The leadership for this new "Party" would not take down the two party system, but would radically transform it without participating in the actual governance of the country.  Here's how it would work.

The Tea Party Movement should formally organize itself right down to the local level. It should elect local chairmen or women. It should hold state and national conventions. It should raise money to support itself. The one thing it should not do is run candidates for office.

So what would the Tea Party do?  Simple. It would formalize the power of the independent voter. It would pull together conservative Democrats and Republicans and independent voters into one body. It would seek out Republican or Democrat or, I suppose, even Libertarian candidates where that makes sense.  It would actively endorse those candidates whose integrity, ability and political philosophy matches what we value and could bring a solid body of voters down on the side of good candidates.
So how does that help?

1. It formalizes the conservative block under a single banner and gives Tea Party members the power to influence elections in a very real way.  The Tea Party vote would be courted by politicians who want to win the election.
2. It allows Tea Party members to stay with the party they already belong to and to work within that party for reform and yet maintain their connection to a solid body of conservative American allies outside the party that cannot be bullied by Democrat or Republican party leaders.
3. It lets us influence the entire field of candidates without the need to "throw away" votes on candidates that can't win. The Independence Party in New York does something similar. I think we need a national version of that.
4. By not running candidates ourselves, we help avoid the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" problem. The mission of the Tea Party then becomes, not securing and holding power, but holding politicians accountable, no matter what party they belong to.  You want a Tea Party endorsement and contributions? Do the right thing.
5. It formalizes strategic planning for conservatives. It gives us a mechanism for applying "behavioral conditioning" to politicians.  Naughty men and women in Congress are remembered at election time. Tea Party endorsements allow real conservatives who have Tea Party support to take a run at their party primary with a real chance of winning.  I see Tea Party endorsement as a balancing force standing in opposition to the party leadership's manipulative ability - both parties!

Though Teddy Roosevelt had an unfortunate flirtation with Progressivism, he did have one thing right.  "Speak softly and carry a big stick!"  We need a big, big political stick.  A formal Tea Party that doesn't run candidates could do that. The party leaders will weep and wail and gnash teeth, but they will pay attention.

The question is, can we find enough citizen leaders to pull the party together who have no ambitions to hold power, take bribes and graft or wear the trappings of power.  The Tea Party could act as "sergeant-at-arms" for the American political system. If our politicians are naughty, we rap their knuckles and fire them.
I think it could work.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Flint, TX

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Officials Search for Taliban Recruiter - Hey, Where Do I Apply?

According to the Sunday paper headlines officials are searching for a Taliban recruiter.  As a good card-carrying conservative, I decided rather than actually reading the article, I'd just go ahead and go off on a rant if that's okay with you.

The economy sucks.  Nearly one in five of us is out of work if you count the guys that flat gave it up and are hibernating for the winter. I saw that headline about them needing a Taliban recruiter and I thought, "You know, I could do that."

I could send those boys some real prizes to trick out as suicide bombers.  America is such a fertile ground for finding candidates for a job as a one way mystery shopper.  Besides, I've got the hat! I can imagine the interviews with the fellers I'd send old Achmacrankypants the Terrorist Human Resources Director.

SCENE: A Cave in Afghanistan
(Achmacrankypants the Terrorist Human Resources Director enters and seats himself behind a dead water buffalo that is serving as a desk.)

Achmacrankypants:  Miss Farouch, send in first Amerikan jihadist applicant!  And bring me coffee – extra goat milk.  My stomach is making noise like camel.

Miss Farouch:  Infidel number 1. Approach!

Cletus: “Howdy there.”

Achmacrankypants: You are Mr. Cletus Hogwallow

Cletus: Yup!

Achmacrankypants: You wish to join the Taliban and kill imperialist Yankee dogs?

Cletus: Jest point me toward them rascals.

Achmacrankypants: You will wage jihad!

Cletus: Yeeha!

Achmacrankypants: It is called Jihad!

Cletus: Yeeha!

Achmacrankypants: No, it is Jihad!

Cletus: That's what I said. Yeeha!

Achmacrankypants: I am admiring your spirits.  Let's try on special vest.
(Hands vest with dynamite and detonators to Cletus)

Cletus: Hey, I like this outfit there Mr. :Poopypants.  Hoo, boy, that there's some big old shotgun shells on this thang.

Achmacrankypants: Now, we just plug this wire in here like this.  Now you hold this little box like this.....

Cletus: I gotcha. This is one o' them radio thangs or somethin' ain't it?

Achmacrankypants:    Yes, Mr. Cletus. You must go and stand in the Yankee Imperialist Swine Market and push this button when I say to push it.

Cletus: Like this?

Achmacrankypants: No, no, no.  You must wait until I say “Push” on the radio.

Cletus: Push?

Achmacrankypants: Push

Cletus: Push?

Achmacrankypants: Yes, Push!

Cletus: Okay................


I bet I can find a bunch of really exciting new Taliban recruits for 'em.

Tom King – Flint, TX

Friday, December 11, 2009

Our Own Sarah Palin? Debra Medina IS a viable candidate - here's why.

Texas has an opportunity to lead the way next year in throwing the bums out. Is anybody as tired of the country club Republican Party as I am? I've been listening intently to the debate over whether we should run Perry or Hutchinson for governor next year. Well I don't know about anyone else, but I've got problems with both.  It looks like the Republican Party is once again giving us conservative lite vs. conservative lite.  Either way we've got a wheeler dealer and I'm not sure that's good for us at a time when Texas may need a leader who isn't afraid to offend the guys back at the club house.

Okay, I know you have to compromise your principles some to get anything done in politics. In many ways Rick and Kay Bailey have done journeyman service for the state of Texas and I do appreciate it. But I think it's about time for term limits to kick in here. No one owns the right to political office, nor should they. Rick and Kay will do quite well in the private sector. It's time for new citizen leaders.

Debra reminds me of Sarah Palin. She's already given the Republican leadership hell for illegal shenanigans at the Republican convention. She's a mom and a professional nurse and businesswoman. I would love to see someone like her in the governor's office. We have a weak governor form of government in Texas anyway, so it's not like she could do a lot of harm because of her "inexperience". The legislature is the real power in Texas. The Texas governor can, however, do a lot of harm if we get a dishonest one.

What about throwing away your vote?

No such thing. A Republican conservative WILL win in Texas. The Democrats keep running circus clowns and con men. A vote for Debra in the primary won't risk losing the race to the Dems. I don't think she'll run as an independent (nor should she if she doesn't win the Primary). If she loses, we can always vote for one of the other ones in the general election if they win the primary. Let's face it, Kay and Rick are pretty much two sides of the same coin. It's worth the risk to send a message nationwide by putting a virtual unknown into the Texas governor's mansion, especially when we may have to secede from the Union in the next couple of years just to save ourselves.

I want someone new.  Besides there are more of us who AREN'T in the Republican Country Clubhouse than there are in it.  If we really are sick of being led around by the nose by elitists, we're going to have to revolt and take back the party from the ground up.  We have a priceless opportunity to do that without risk of handing the whole thing to the Democrats.

This Primary we can make a statement and reject the business as usual politics that got us all into this mess.

Besides, I think Debra Medina rocks!

Just one man's opinion

Tom King
Flint, TX

Monday, December 07, 2009


Please don't think I'm writing a manifesto here. I'm not............yet!

But, I wonder how many red state Americans are still able to watch television anymore? We sit out here in the heartland and watch in horror as a government we didn't elect (or wish we hadn't voted for) turns our country into something we do not recognize. It looks to me like our President and his henchmen in Congress are gathered round the US economy and are beating it to death with sticks. It's like one of those appalling Youtube videos where a bunch of high school thugs knock a did down and kick him to death. We can do nothing about it, so we turn out heads away and cannot look anymore.

I always knew the world would end and that at its ending bad things would happen that we would not be able to prevent - only endure. Though I've long believed the world would end, I did not think to see its ending darkness in my lifetime. A prophet once observed that the last movements in the great drama being played out on the world's stage would be rapid ones.  She apparently knew whereof she spoke.

Jesus said that the meek would inherit the Earth. That will only happen if He comes to our rescue. What is happening now has been long planned. The machinations of the dark lord of this world are coming to fruition. There is a frantic quality to what is being done by the increasingly small group of people who are trying to turn the world into their own personal fiefdom. They know that time is short and that if they attract the attention of the great mass of people, they will not secure  or the opportunity is lost. power. What they do they must do quickly or it will collapse round their ears.

Health care must get done. Cap and Trade must get done. The great financial bailouts had to be done because it is only for another year that we will have a Democrat majority in Congress and the economy must collapse before that election happens. A crisis must be created as a pretext to expand government control. If people cannot be made to be so afraid that they willingly vote for their pretended saviors. If we won't surrender our liberties of our own free will, then the economy must be totally collapsed. The riches of the working wealthy must be taken away so that the only financial power left will be in the hands of government and their corporate allies (who will undoubtedly be protected).

Unless they continue the current relentless assault on the foundations of our country, all will be lost. If they delay too long the good people of this country will finally look up from their fields and workshops, notice what's going on and then it's out with the torches, frying pans and pitchforks. It may come to that anyway before the end of time.

I'll see you guys when the revolution comes. Should be lots of fun.

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Put Your Fingers in the Dike People

Why I'm not worried about coastal flooding.
by Tom King
(c) 2009 - Some rights reserved

The government of Australia really has bought into the whole global climate change thing. They recently released a warning to Aussies that the ocean will rise 1.1 meters over the next 90 years endangering everything within 500 meters of the coast.

Okay, so somebody explain this to me.  1.1 meter is about 3 1/2 feet. You mean people built buildings along the coasts that are less than 3 1/2 feet above sea level.  What idiot did that? I've seen that surfing movie where they went to Australia to surf.  I know some of those waves are more than 3 1/2 feet tall.  So how come everybody's basement isn't full of water every time the surf gets a little gnarly?

And are you telling me that some guy with a 50 million dollar building in the flood zone is going to sit there while the ocean fills up the mezzanine?  You're telling me, he's NOT going to spend 50 or 60 grand to help build a 5 foot dike along the shore line to prevent flooding?  I mean it worked for the Dutch for crying out loud.  Why not for Australia?  Shoot, while we're at it, why not move the new dikes a bit farther out and add a little more expensive real estate to the coastline?

Are you telling me that in 90 years we can't move a little dirt down to the beach and raise the sand 3 and a half feet?  Plant a little grass?  Human beings are a bit more resourceful than the doom and gloomers think we are.  I think we can handle 3 and a half feet in 90 years.  We do have a lot of dump trucks and bull dozers.  Think of it as lots of new "green" jobs.  

Besides, apparently the leading global climate change scientists have been making data up all this time because - let me get this straight - they were afraid that if they couldn't get the data to prove global warming was happening in time, it might be too late by the time they did get it to stop it so in order to save us all from ourselves they lied about the data in order to frighten everyone into going along with a gigantic effort to stop global warming which they actually don't have any real proof for and then when the annual temperatures started to drop they renamed it global climate change hoping no one would notice it was getting cooler and so they kept on with the whole thing because, hey, even if the climate doesn't change, a massive socialist world government and redistribution of wealth will be good for everybody anyway.

Man, the 60's must have been really good to these guys......

Monday, November 23, 2009

Doing It To Ourselves - Misdirection and Road to the Apocalypse

The massive political upheaval that is taking place in America these days reminds me of a David Copperfield magic show. Our eyes are drawn from one illusion to another - a flash here, a flourish there while all the real action happens behind false walls and below trap doors. The news media trumpets the triumphs of the Obama administration. The leftists wail that it's not enough while the fringe right yammers on about conspiracies.  Now the fringies are saying Ronald Reagan was a big conspirator and Abraham Lincoln, a socialist and a bad man.

Apparently, since pundits like Glenn Beck have finally convinced people that the president and the Congress are up to something underhanded, the kook fringe feels the need to attack traditional conservative icons too. What is it with these people?  Whatever it is they think they are doing, they really only aid the real deception by drawing our attention eleswhere.  The irony is that both tree-huggers and gun nuts are helping disguise the real threat taking place in broad daylight in front of their noses.

The progressives have told us plainly that they want to turn the U.S. into a communist worker's paradise complete with massive government and an elite cadre of privileged "leaders" we all look up to and adore.  (Obama - mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmmm!)

Confusion has always been Satan's most powerful tool and even more so as the Apocalypse.  The battle lines are drawn, but the lines may not be where you think they are. They aren't between lassez-faire capitalism and progressive socialism as some would have us believe, nor between Christian and Muslim, Jew and Gentile or Catholic and Protestant.  They are drawn between good and evil; between those who seek the light and those who cherish darkness; between those for whom lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath and pride are a way of life and those who embrace chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.

Quick, which list made you to smile?  Which list caused you to curl up your lip in a sneer of derision?  If one of those lists of character attributes either appeals to you or disgusts you, you may have already chosen sides.  If you are like most of us, you probably halt between two opinions.  It's amazing, though, how often the great philosophical debates of the times have been between two evil choices rather than between good and evil - between sloth and greed rather than between sloth and diligence.  The devil likes to conduct those kinds of battles; the ones that, whichever side you choose, you lose!

But as for me and my house.......

Friday, November 20, 2009

Clinging To The Nearest Chunk of Solid Earth

By Tom King © 2009 – All Rights Reserved

Have you ever felt like the Earth was shifting underfoot and there was nothing you could do but cling to the nearest chunk of ground and hang on for dear life. This weekend the Earth has moved for me. In the larger world, decisions are being made that could turn our world upside down. In the smaller world, our family has decided to move from the house that has been our home for the past decade – the place where my son died.

This will be a welcome relief for Sheila from the constant reminders that torment her. He died here and there are times she feels like she cannot bear it. Moving will help in her recovery from the PTSD that has plagued her for almost 4 years. I am certain of that.

I actually love the place we’re going. I’ll have a dock, fishing boat, our own beach and a spectacular view of the night sky. Not only that, but the place is cheaper and better built than where we’re living now. It’s a good thing. I know that. So why don’t I feel better about it?

I know when I walk out of this place, a piece of my heart stays here. Our beagle, Suzy, my old sailing partner, is buried in the back yard. It seems silly to even think about that. Our last Christmas with Micah was here. I can still see him joking with his sister; playing music with his brother. I walk past his bedroom door and for an instant it feels like he might still be there. His pickup’s been sold for months, but I still half expect to see it in the driveway when I pull up. I grasp at little straws of fading memories of my boy that slip away from me in time’s relentless slipstream.

I should be happy we’re moving. It’s a good thing. So, thank you God for whatever you’re doing to me. Like Scrooge once said, “Since I know that it is for my good, I will go with You.”

For now that means clinging to the nearest solid chunk of ground and hanging on for dear life.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Get Your Bowing Obama Doll - Today!

 Woo Hoo kids!  Don't you want one these!

Be the first on your block to get the new "Bowin' Barak" doll.

Waaaaaaay more obsequious than the Apologizin' Bobblehead Barak doll. Perfect for playing with your Emperor of Japan Doll or Your Saudi King doll or any Eastern monarch or African dictator action figure*.  Squeeze his head and he says "I'm sorry."

*Not for use with Queen of England or Prime Minister of Israel dolls.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Schrodinger's Lawn

An Acrostic by Tom King

Will I with courage face the closing of the day?
 In wrapping up my life will I be done?
 No, I expect to leave unfinished business here
 Don't grieve for I have fought my war and won.

My wife and I do not have the same set of values where yard work is concerned. I have been called "afraid of manual labor" because of that lawnological difference between us. I know better than to retort. Let her take her shot. She will go inside soon and leave me out here with the fresh cut grass and forever falling leaves.

The problem is, I think, one of basic gender values. Men tend to take the longer view; pursue more distant goals than do our women. We are, after all, the hunters in the hunter-gatherer partnership. In the poem, I express a very male idea. It's not accidental that women don't really get what I'm talking about here, but men do. Men seldom really finish our work. There's always more to do than we can get done in a day or in this lifetime for that matter.That's why we tinker and tweak cars, boats, sound systems, whatever! We plan on making them perfect eventually, but we never quite get there. Next time a guy shows you something he's proud of, see if doesn’t tell you not only how cool and powerful whatever it is, but he'll also tell you what's still wrong with it and what he plans to do to make it better.

Women on the other hand approach tasks as a series of nest buildings. They work very hard to pull everything into a nice nest-like enclosure and kill themselves trying to tie it all up in a bow. It's an exercise in futility though. There is always something undone left outside the bow and the basket. I think it's why so many women are unhappy. It's the way my wife does the lawn.

She'll kill herself to bring the lawn to the peak of perfection, not a leaf anywhere, the lines in the dirt perfectly parallel. Every blade of grass subdued; every flower standing erect. Then she stands on the porch, looks at it with satisfaction for a moment and then goes inside before the next autumn breeze can shower a ton of dead leaves down on her nice tidy lawn. She needs to see that moment of perfect in order to content herself that all is right with the lawn till next Sunday. Next Sunday, she'll start all over trying to subdue mother nature.

Me, I figure the grass is an on-going project. I know I'm not going to beat the leaves. I can be satisfied with the yard looking only generally better. While my Sweet Baboo is inside taking a bath and fixing her hair, I sit out on the porch, play the guitar and watch the wind swirl down the dry leaves and make them dance on the new mown lawn. I am content.

My wife is also content in the house where she doesn't have to watch the depredations of autumn leaves upon her perfect lawn. For her, it's like Schrodinger's cat, the physics exercise where you seal a cat in a box with cyanide and a radioactive trigger. The idea is that if you don’t open the box, the cat isn’t dead in there because you don’t really know till you open it. If Schrodinger wasn't a woman, he was certainly in touch with his feminine side.

So, for my wife, so long as she just doesn't look at the lawn, in her mind it's still perfect. 

Men don't much get that.......

© 2009 by Tom King

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

You Too Might be a “Real” Princess

by Tom King c)2009

Part of the recent political struggle in the United states has been a return of the notion that "rank has its privileges" to an America that was not built that way in the first place. The U.S. was created in that "one brief shining moment" when the increasingly preposterous excesses of the nobility spawned philosophers like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin and the idea that “all men are created equal”. The idea was even written into the new American constitution.

The nobility did not take kindly to losing their privileges. Raised on fairy tales and children's stories that promote the belief that there are certain special people out there who ought to be above the rest of us mere mortals simply because of who they are. Generations of girls have fantasized about finding out they were a “real” princess. Walt Disney made billions telling that story dozens of different ways.

In the mid 1800s’ help came to the noble and would-be noble class from Charles Darwin. He famously proposed that talent and brains and, by inference, success, was, in fact, inherited and improved by natural selection. Those who had believed all along that some people (mostly themselves) were, in fact, better than the rest of us, seized on this idea and ran with it. The result was the flowering of progressivism, eugenics, socialism, communism, nazism and finally, the Democrat party - all predicated on the idea that this better breed of people should run things (and, incidentally have extra privileges to go with that responsibility).

Oh, at first the notion took a quasi-Democratic form. If by chance or dint of hard work, you did manage to "make it", it is considered self-evident that you are one of the elite. You (and your genes) are welcomed into the privileged gene pool and protected from the consequences of actions that would get ordinary mortals thrown into jail. The 16th and 17th century kings, dukes, earls and barons have been replaced by actors and actresses, politicians and corporate titans.

When are we going to give up the Hollywood-fueled notion that there ought to be such a thing as a privileged class? Well, Halloween came and went and once again this year the number one costume for girl children in the United States was - you guessed it - the "Princess" costume.

It may already be too late.

Tom King
Flint, TX

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

We've Only Got One Globe

The Problem With Globalization

The folks that moon after a one world government see it as the next logical step towards universal peace.  Quite rightly they lay the blame for war, violence and exploitation at the door of tribalism, nationalism, greed and corruption. The globalists have looked around for a villain and believe they have found one in capitalism.

Let's face it, capitalism is tough on the face of it. If you work hard, you reap the rewards. If you don’t – tough luck. No guarantees. Progressivism/socialism says you should take from those who are well off and spread it around to those who are not. It's sold as a more humane form of government. It sounds like progressivism would be a better way of creating a peaceful world than the apparently dog eat dog capitalist system.  That good feeling about progressive socialism lasts until you actually sit down with an honest history book.

The flaw in the progressive ideology is that it assumes a black and white world; one in which all capitalist leaders are greedy, self-interested, evil and exploitative and that socialist leaders are altruistic, unselfish and good.  It further assumes that if we only have one government, war will end. After all, who will we go to war against?  Right?

The truth is, we can't trust any of our leaders, whether they be socialist or capitalist. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Sort of. That old proverb is is flawed. There are sometimes good leaders. Power doesn't corrupt everybody. What actually happens is that "Power attracts the corruptible."  You may get lucky and get one or two incorruptible leaders, but if you surround them with all that power, you can bet there's a whole bunch of folks out there who would dearly love to get their hands on all that power and usually do.

But isn't all those separate nations out there, governing in the name of their own self-interest a very bad thing. Turns out, not so much. The United States is 50 separate government banded together, but each governing according to the self-interest of their own people. Like states, if there are many nations and one nation rises up to harm its neighbors, the community of nation states can (and does) tend to band together against that rogue nation. If there is just one world “nation” and it goes bad, then we’re all pretty much screwed. That's the trouble with breaking all your eggs into one basket. You're really vulnerable to having rotten eggs swirling around poisoning the whole basket.

 Even God does not build a one-world church.  When an oppressive one world church organization threatened to overwhelm Christendom and establish a one world theocracy, God raised up a thousand communities of faith to resist. In ancient Israel, God warned the Israelites that centralizing power in one man - in a king, no matter how charismatic or well-meaning that king might be - was a mistake. God’s system trusts no leader with massive power.  If there were civilizations on other planets nearby stars with whom we had commerce, we might have a need for a global government to represent us. We would also have other worlds to which we could appeal to for help should one planet move against us, or even if our own government become oppressive and went bad.

In the meantime, till we start building the United Federation of Planets, this world is all we've got and we have very good reasons to fear a global government. The other old saw about not putting all your eggs into one basket is excellent advice. Too much of a risk of rotten eggs to make that a safe policy.

(c) 2009 by Tom King - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Charity Golf Workshop

If you'd like to host a one day workshop on "How to Make Money with Your Charity Golf Tournament" AND make a little money for your organization while you're at it, contact Tom by clicking on the golfer above or at this address:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Outrage Christian Style - HBO Braces for the Storm

Why Christians Won't Blow Up HBO
     (c) 2009 by Tom King

Last night "Curb Your Enthusiam's" Larry David did a bit where he accidently urinated on a picture of Jesus in a Catholic family's bathroom.  He left the urine on Christ's face and the women of the household thought the fluid was tears and fell on their knees in prayer, proclaiming it a miracle.

The piece not only tries to make light of urinating on a picture of Christ, but also makes fun of what it sees as Catholic gullibility regarding miracles.

Okay, we get it, Larry.  Christians are stupid. Ha, ha!

I'm sure you see this as courageous comedy. It's not. Christians really do believe in the golden rule. The worst they will do is cancel their subscriptions to HBO and express a lot of outrage on conservative blogs. No true Christian will drive a car bomb into the HBO home office. No Christian terrorist will kidnap David and behead him.

Naw, Larry, this gets no points for courage. It's like picking on the class nerd. It's safe to do, gets general laughter and makes you feel smarter than somebody who's very probably smarter than you.  You want points for guts, pee on a picture of Mohammed. Shoot, just make a picture of Mohammed and laugh somewhere in the same room with it. You don't even have to laugh at it. You don't have to make fun of it. Just hang a picture with the prophet's name on it. Put a turban on a stick figure. That'll about do it.

Maybe Salman Rushdie needs a roomie.

Do that and I'll acknowledge your bravery. What you did last night is what a bully would do on the playground to a nerdy little kid like you probably were in elementary school.

Like I said, shame on you David.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fetch Me the Duct Tape Woman!

One nice quality of duct tape is that you can use it to tape your own mouth shut and it will not only hold your lips securely together, but when you are done, it comes off without causing permanent damage to your face. For a man with a beard, this is an important feature.

My problem is that I never learned the ultimate truth about women that my grandfather tried to teach me all those years ago. Grandpa believed firmly that all men were henpecked. That is because my grandfather was absolutely raised to believe that no man should ever strike a woman. His father absolutely adored his mother and grieved away within a year after her death. Like his own dad, Grandpa was utterly devoted to my grandmother, who rode him like Seattle Slew all his life. My grandmother was still griping at Grandpa about the quality of his workmanship for two years after he died.

"That man!" she would puff. She did love him though and missed him terribly. I could tell, but she stayed mad at him.

My Grandpa was a quiet man for most of the years I knew him. I thought that was just his nature, till I started prospecting for family history. Turns out, as a young man, my grandpa was quite a talker. He was tough as nails, opinionated and played a mean piano. Near as I can figure, my grandmother was the one who silenced him.

If I got him out under the tree in the backyard and away from the house, Grandpa could tell stories till the cows came home - literally. I have a recording of him telling stories to my son and it is priceless to me. He was funny and witty. He’d pull out his harmonica and play scurrilous old songs to the grandkids, who for years bought him new harmonicas for Christmas and birthdays when his old ones wore out.

When my grandmother was in attendance, however, he was as silent and taciturn as Calvin Coolidge. He had learned a valuable lesson about getting along with women that I have been slow to pick up.

If you shut up, there are only a limited number of things they can argue with you about.

Good advice. I may, however, need a little duct tape to heed it.

I’m just sayin’

Tom King

Friday, October 16, 2009

Created Equal: Beck and King United!

Glenn Beck and I have similar views.  We both think something nasty is going on and that we shouldn't stand idly by and let it happen. The media wants to discredit Beck, but when so many people watch his television show despite its lousy time slot, it's hard to sell the idea that he's a crank.  How do you make the case that he's making things up, when you see video of a trusted presidential aid announcing that Chairman Mao's her favorite philosopher?  Then we watch side by side videos of the President saying "I support a single payer health care system." and "I never have supported a single payer health care system."  Stuff like that really causes folks to wonder, you know.

I like that Beck fights with facts not feelings, even though he sometimes weeps when he does it.  He lets his opponents keep talking till they bury themselves. He uses charts and chalk boards to make things easier to understand  The last guy to do that well was H. Ross Perot and we all remember what a heart attack he gave the liberals for a time.

There are dark forces on both the left and right that want large, intrusive government.  These people believe they are smart enough to tell all the rest of what to do.  They happily tax the bejeebers out us (or take the money through evil corporate exploitation of the masses - whichever suits them) and I'm really kind of hacked off with both Republicans and Democrats about that.

True liberals and conservatives can find common ground.  We want the same things, only we have different ideas about how to get them.  When you get diverse, honest men and women together to hammer out solutions you get things like the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and evening public transit for the disabled so they can work second shifts. 

What we have here is a struggle between those who believe all men are created equal and those who believe some are more equal than others.  Beck and I are on the “created equal” side.  The media seem to believe there’s some kind of genetically superior "nobility" that should be in charge.  Philanthropy is merely noblesse oblige and the elite must take care of the rest of us because, as Bill Mahr so aptly put it, we're too "stupid" to take care of ourselves.


Tom King

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great Dooka Mooka - Not Another One!

Okay, I admit it.  I'm a wee bit wordy.....

Sadly this isn't the 18th century and people won't sit and read a 10 page argument over the social, political and moral ramifications of deep-fried butter on a stick!  We want our news short, spicy and to the point.  Then we will move on to other things.  It is the age of short attention spans.

The prophet Habbakuk was advised to write his prophetic message large "that he who runs may read it".  Early marketing advice directly from the Almighty and pretty good advice 3500 years or so later.

I shall, therefore, make a belated New Year's Resolution.  I shall limit my blog posts to 400 words.  I'd be more generous if this were not the Internet.  A thousand words, as Reader's Digest profitably discovered, is roughly the limit of what a person can read during a good poop.  Unfortunately, people never poop at the computer (or at least not intentionally and, on second thought, perhaps fortunately) and I'm pretty sure most of us don't take our laptops on that particular little journey with us, although I'm not sure the same can be said about PDA's (which makes me a little reluctant now to borrow anyone's PDA or enhanced cell phone, know what I mean?).

I'm sure my resolution will come as a bit of a relief to my fans (there are at least two I know of - hence the plural "fans").

Just One Man's (Brief) Opinion

Tom King

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Problem With Ayn Rand

Recently, conservatives have rediscovered author Ayn Rand’s works “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugs”. Ayn is one of the few respected intellectuals that conservatives can quote who believes in total laissez-faire capitalism. I think I've discovered the reason why she, a rabid capitalist, was so respected by the media and the academic community.

She thinks Christians are evil.

For those of us who are Christian’s, Ayn presents a problem. Ayn Rand firmly believed religion to be, not only misguided, but evil. True, she was an equal opportunity critic of religion, including Islam, Judaism and Eastern religions in her club of anti-rational systems of thought, but she particularly disliked Christianity.

At the same time, she embraces capitalism as the only economic system that makes sense in a society that is free. She shares that opinion with the practitioners of most of the religions that share the protection of the American constitution. She even admits that she believes you have the right to believe whatever you want, no matter how irrational it is to do so. Strange bedfellows, the Christian Right and Ayn Rand!

Ayn Rand argued that religion was the antithesis of what she called “objectivism”, or the pursuit of pure reason. She embraced capitalism because as an economic system it best fit with her philosophy of enlightened self-interest.

She blamed the Christian ethic and all forms of altruism that emphasized man’s duty to be of service to his fellow man as a species of self-imposed slavery. Ayn Rand found the self-sacrifice practiced by Christians to be a kind of madness that, eliminated from society, would vastly improve things. Oh, she respected our right to be insane in the matter of religion, but she never respected Christians for believing as we do.

The progressives would actually agree with Ayn’s reasoninge on this one. If we believe in pure free market capitalism, they would argue, then, we should all be greedy and self-interested (and that's bad).  If we were to be intellectually honest, and if we truly believe in Christ’s “golden rule”, they would claim, then we would logically have to come down on the side of the socialist/collectivists' idea of legislated "goodness" in order to remain true to our beliefs.

Okay, here’s where I attempt to create a “harmony of the gospels” so to speak. Wish me luck:

  • I disagree with Ayn’s contention that the concept of God must be proved and that not being able to disprove his existence does not, therefore, allow for even the possibility of His existence. Well, I cannot disprove the existence of my great, great, great grandfather.  All records of him are gone. There are no documents, birth certificates, photographs, military records, etc. that any of us can find. Biologically, Great Great Great Gramps should exist, but I can't prove absolutely that he did.  I believe, based on my experience of human reproduction, that he did exist. But I cannot say, unequivocally that this is what happened.  I mean there were all those unexplained cattle mutilations and crop circles in Ohio around that time. Alien DNA might just look exactly like human DNA.  Who knows?  I cannot prove there wasn't some alternate way that my great great grandmother came about. Cloning? Alien probes?
  •  By Anyn's standard, like God, my great great great grandpa should not be believed in.  I can't prove he exists and even though I can't disprove grandpa's existent, I must by objectivist rules disbelieve in the existence of my great great great grandpa since I cannot prove he did.  Remember, Ayn Rand claims you must not be called on to disprove a thing in order to prove that thing doesn't exist.  Simply put, if you can't provide proof positive that is enought to disprove the idea.
  • Scientifically, she is all wet. To discount the experience of literally millions of people who have claimed both in print and in public to have witnessed direct evidence of God, is not objective.  It presupposes an idea - "God does not exist."  Okay, prove the theory that God does not exist!  You cannot do so conclusively. Neither can you disprove it, but by Rand's standard that doesn't matter.  You don't have to disprove a thing. You only have to prove it. 
  • If a preponderance of evidence from apparently otherwise reliable witnesses supports a theory that can be formed into a structured reasoned philosophical framework that is internally coherent, then that framework must have at least equal footing with any other rational philosophy that is supported by witnesses and evidence. You don’t have to like it, you just have to allow for it.
  • I disagree with Ms. Rand that religion is evil. While it is true that much in the way of evil has, in fact, been done in the name of religion, much more has been conducted under the flag of atheism. The death toll of all the Crusades and pogroms ever conducted by the coopted Christian Church fall far short of the death toll left behind by one solid atheist - Joe Stalin. The French Revolution saw the brutal murders of thousands presided over by a prostitute dressed as the Goddess of Reason. Evil is done by individuals who wish to have absolute power over others and will use any handy belief system, religion or policy or philosopy to obtain that power.  Evil cannot be successfully practice by true practitioners of the golden rule.
  • I disagree with Rand that capitalism and self-interest are the end-all, be-all of human life. While I agree that capitalism is the economic system that best supports liberty, I do not subscribe to unbridled selfishness as a very good way to live. I believe we pass through this world so that God can prepare us for eternity. I serve God and my fellow man. God, in return, provides me with a life experience that fits me to live forever without mucking up the universe again. I believe there is something about the experience of life on Earth that changes one forever and that it is essential if the safety of the universe from evil is truly to be guaranteed. In other words, “all things work together for good.”
  • I also disagree that the moral selfless life is a species of self-induced slavery. Rather, the principles that God gives us to guide our lives (the 10 commandments, the golden rule) are far and away the best way to insure the freedom of all in a universe where we are all immortal.  It works pretty well in a mortal world so long as everyone subscribes. If all are giving, all will be receiving as well in a kind of niceness competition.  It is the 100/100 rule of relationships.  In a marriage, of the "business" model Rand proposes, partners give 50/50 by contract.  In the Christian marriage contract, both partners pledge to give 100% to the relationship.  Allowing for human fallability, this insures that the business of the marriage gets done and both partners find themselves with some free time from time to time - more so than if they were trying to insure everybody in the relationship gave their fair share.  That's why socialists spend so much on secret police. You need them to insure nobody is doing less than their fair share.  In the Christian model, nobody worries about that because we don't expect others to always do their share. It's why, when disaster strikes and charity is called for, it's usually the Christians that are the first on the scene.  It's what we do.

To conclude, while I applaud Ms. Rand’s defense of capitalism, I also realize it’s limitation. Government’s job is, as Ms. Rand correctly points out, to protect our rights, not to diddle in our lives. A Christian recognizes that there are those who cannot defend themselves, take care of themselves or help themselves. We believe that to expect these folks (children, the aged, people with disabilities, physical and emotional disorders) to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is like asking someone to stand up and introduce himself when he’s been sitting in a wheelchair for 20 years.

It is not contradictory to believe in self-imposed charity (or God-imposed charity for that matter) and at the same time to believe you also have the duty to respect others rights to do as they wish, work where they will and sell what they want for whatever the market will bear. It is respecting the individual freedom of all, including yourself. It also recognices that although a society based on selflessness behavior is more likely to survive than one based on selfish behavior, you cannot have a free society without allowing for selfish behavior.  If you try to institutionalize selflessness, you must inevitably use fear and terror as an enforcement tool in a world where sin and greed exist naturally.  Christians, because of our long association with God, value free choice above all.  We are willing to pay the inevitable price for allowing evil to exist so that freedom can be nurtured and grown and taught by observation.  When all this is over, no surviving follower of Christ will ever be remotely tempted to sin again, not because we fear the fires of hell or some hideous punishment, but because we will have seen the consequences of sin and selfishness and we choose not to go down that path.

Ayn Rand has some good things to say, but at the same time, her Russian upbringing and experiences certainly gave her such a bad experience of religion and political ideology that I think she became emotionally unable to accept the existence of God. It’s the old, “If God exists, how could he let such bad things happen?” argument.

The truth is the bad things that happen to us may be like the titration of chemicals in a lab. It’s what you need to do in order to produce what it is you’re trying to produce. I don’t think Ayn could see beyond this life to anything else. If she could have, she might not have been so quick to dismiss religion. That notwithstanding, I do think her recognition that capitalism as a sure-fire economic system for a sinful selfish world is dead on. On religion, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Just one man’s opinion

Tom King

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Kirby Effect

The inimitable Kirby Vacuum Cleaner was designed either for or by a man.  It's steel,  heavy and you can do everything with it from vacuuming to spray painting your house. It has a power drive switch that applies graduated force to the wheels as you vacuum.  It's an ingenious feature that makes vacuuming faster and improves maneuverability over the old non-powered version.

I am not allowed to use the power drive switch!

The women in the house forbid it.  They claim the vacuum doesn't work as well when the switch is engaged.  They tell me it's not really a power drive, but some sort of parking brake to keep the vacuum from rolling if you park it on a hill when the motor is turned off.

I call this the Kirby Effect.  A useful feature of something is rejected because it doesn't "feel" right.  In the mind of the womenfolk in my house, if the vacuum doesn't feel like it's hugging the floor, it must not be working. They can push it too fast and make it skitter on the carpet, which reinforces the opinion that it doesn't work as well.  If you have the power drive on, you still have to push at the regular speed or it doesn't pick up as well - hence the skittering.

But it doesn't "feel" right, so the users reject the feature.

Researchers in the 60's came up with a "no suds" laundry detergent that was virtually pollution free. Users rejected it even though objective tests showed it worked as well as or better than the sudsy kind.  But users, particularly women felt like it didn't because it didn't make suds.  They rejected the feature in favor of less effective sudsy formulas because they felt like you have to have suds to clean clothes.  Simply adding inert fillers to the formula created suds and made the product acceptable and sold the users on the product.

To avoid the Kirby Effect as I conceive it, in order to sell anything expensive, whether it be a product or idea, it must meet the following criteria:

  1.  It must appear to be of value or to own it must confer prestige.
  2.  It must appear to work somewhat as the user (not necessarily the buyer) expects it to.
  3.  It must not require any extra work on the part of the buyer to use the object or idea that is for sale. 
  4.  Paying for the idea or object must not cause visible discomfort.

Progressives have learned how to pay attention to the Kirby Effect as it relates to political issues.  What they've learned is that, so long as it feels right, a sizable segment of the population will let you do almost anything you want and no amount of reasoning will substantially effect their perception about the issue once established, especially if a program you propose doesn't require any real effort on their part to move forward.

Kirby, like the progressives has a sales strategy.  Men tend to buy the Kirby for it's ruggedness and multiple use features and are more willing to shell out for expensive products if they can get it on payments. Women look at the price tag to determine quality, but care little about features beyond straightforward vacuuming and using the upholstery hose and attachment.  So Kirby first sells the husband. That's why their sales guys want to talk to the couple together. The fancy feature demo is for the guys. The women aren't much interested in painting the car with their vacuum.  Men like to know they could if they wanted to. For the ladies, the price tag sells the value and so long as the guys are willing to pay the bill, the ladies don't need a bargain.  The payment plan seems a cheap way for the guy to score "I care about you points" with the wife, so the sale is made.  After all, the car's got a couple of chips on the paint.

Simplistic and I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this, but stay with me.

Around here, I usually am in charge of switching from the beater bar to hose attachment. My neat freak wife doesn't like the extra steps it takes with the Kirby to hook up the upholstery hose even though it's more effective than the other hose attachment on her other vacuums.  She just wants to clean the upholstery.  Kirby does that well enough, so long as I change the attachment for her and she doesn't have to learn how.

Let's face it, nobody paints their car with a Kirby. No one ever uses half of the things a Kirby can do, but it's reliable so no one is really unhappy and the payments aren't too high as to be painful. Ergo, Kirby makes money.

To sell a political strategy, the most effective way is to utilize the Kirby strategy to make the sale. To avoid the Kirby effect whereby features are rejected because they don't pass the "feels right" test, first, you create a perceived need that invokes guilt. Then you come up with an expensive solution that makes everyone feel good that the problem will be solved by the expensive solution.  Promise that it will do lots and lots of things. Do enough of the things you promise to make people feel comfortable that you're handling it. Make the price tag feel easy to bear (soak the rich is one way).  Voila, everybody supports you and gives you the power in order to feel good that they are solving the perceived need.

Because the progressive agenda is being presented as a package, it is vulnerable.  Obama and the Democrats actually overplayed his hand with the public service demands he is making.  It violates the 3rd principle. The tax burden if it crashes the economy, it may violate rule 4.  If program elements like "cash for clunkers" don't work as promised, they may have a rule 2 violation.  If something major gets blown up by terrorists, rule 1 gets violated because they promised the world would love us and therefore we'd be more secure.  If that happens, the whole thing comes down like a house of cards.

I worked in human services.  It's amazing how many things people believe the government is "supposed" to handle. When someone tells a story of someone's trial or tribulation, "Isn't the government supposed to take care of that?" was one of the most common questions that followed. The other response I used to get was "What can we do?"

The two responses represent two disparate groups. 
  • One believes that for every social need there should be a government program to take care of it. After all, they pay their taxes.
  • It is almost as widely believed by the second group that we are personally responsible to help fix things like this.  They respond to the story as if it were a call to action.  These guys work with local nonprofits and donate to their church and other charities. They work soup kitchens and work bees, go on mission trips and volunteer at nursing homes.
The other group gets mad because the government is obviously NOT doing the job, so they do it themselves.  They are goal directed.  The problem needs to be solved, so they solve it.  Casting blame doesn't get the job done with this group.  There are hungry people to be fed, illness to be treated, children to be rescued.

Not everybody is like the first group, but enough are to potentially swing the vote toward progressive socialism. Conservative solutions have the disadvantage of not making you feel better, asking you to do things that may be hard, expecting you to solve problems for yourself and letting you pay for things out of your own pocket.  The only personal benefit the conservative agenda gives us is that we retain our liberty, but at the cost of some little discomforts.

So, the question becomes, "How much of your liberty are you willing to surrender for the promise that you'll feel good about losing it?"

I think Pelosi, Reid, Clinton, and Obama would make a great vacuum cleaner salesmen.

I'm just sayin'

© 2009 by Tom King

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Obama and The Bards

The collective guffaw over President Obama's Nobel Participation Prize may be just the beginning of a gigantic wave of laughter that sweeps the nation.  The media and the comedians won't be able to resist much longer, no matter how much they love his policies.  They have to make a living and laughter sells!  I notice that in the cartoons, his ears are getting bigger!

The tradition of making fun of the King is an ancient Celtic tradition. The bards were considered sacrosanct and having one set up in the castle gates and sing scurrilous songs about you could bring down your kingship in those days. The freedom of the press ideal is America's version of the ancient bardic system and if a president makes himself so at odds with us, that our "bards" succeed in making a fool of him, he fails and falls. The media and entertainment establishment tried with only partial success to bring down Bush with sarcasm in the same way. Unfortunately, enough folks approved of his war on terror, that they didn't find the jokes so very funny.

Obama may not be so lucky.

The Europeans think our contentious congress that can't get anything done is a bad thing. The Europeans are wrong. It's congress' wrangling and inability to do much of anything that has done more to protect our liberties than any other feature of our government. Every time they do get organized and meddle (except for a war or two), they wind up making a mess of things. Better they should do nothing. No man's liberty or wallet is safe while the Congress is in session.

By the way, I don't hate Obama personally because I make fun of his actions.  He's a nice man for a closet communist.  But, he actually believes big socialist government is better.  I believe governments can't be trusted with our liberties - the big ones even less so.

So, let me make this clear.  We conservatives will NEVER agree with him on that.  We CHERISH our liberties. We believe that what he is doing will cost us those liberties.  As Churchill said, we will fight him on the beaches, we will fight him in the streets, we will never surrender.  Nothing personal. We'd do it to anyone who wants to turn our homeland into the projects.  Humor is a weapon we use in that fight.

It has nothing to do with his race, party or personality.  We simply take him at his word based on his speeches and writing and he scares us. We will never give him a chance to try out his ideas.

Socialism has a very bad history of not going away once it's in place without outside aid.  Soviet Russia had Reagan's America working from the outside to bring down communism.

So who will help bring down the American socialist monster once we surrender our freedom? 

I'm just sayin'

Tom King

Friday, October 09, 2009

Two Four's and a Seventeen: Obama Wins the Peace Prize

Is it really going to be this simple to figure out?  About all that's left to make it any more obvious that we're being taken for a nasty ride is for the guys on the UN Security Council to put on those funny flat topped hats and grow toothbrush mustaches.  Maybe the guys on the Nobel Committee could speak with thick Germanic accents and award the Peace Prize to closet Marxists.


The world is rapidly turning into one of those little cartoon books about the end of the world that some fundamentalist churches hand out to frighten people into being baptized.  The overblown dialogue, the improbable situations, the harshly lined faces of "evil" world leaders being blindly worshipped as superheroes by the ignorant masses; the two dimensional villains lurking in the background.

And that's just the nightly newscasts.

"In today's news, Super Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for pulling down America's pants and forcing the once powerful international oppressor of innocent, peaceful people's republics to grab its collective ankles. The Enlightened U.S. Congress expects the Super President's gesture to fill the world with love, peace and flowery praises from all.  Americans are advised that, 'You're all going to feel a little burning sensation...."

"In a related story, Super Obama today dispatched Air Force One to fly over Jerusalem and Tehran to take pictures for the cover of his new book, "Doing it to the Jews One More Time".

Come on, people!  The Nobel Peace Prize?  This has got to be the first time the Nobel's been awarded for "Participation".  It took almost a whole decade before people like Watson, Crick and Wilkins were recognized for their transformative work on DNA.   And Rosalind Franklin was left out entirely, though she deserved as much recognition as the rest of the team.  Why?  Because they took so long that she died of cancer 4 years earlier and you can't get one after your dead.

Mahatma Ghandi never got a Nobel Peace Prize.  He got passed over 4 times and was assassinated before they could give him one.  Jonas Salk never won a Nobel.  Ronald Reagan was the architect of the end of the Cold War, the removal of the Berlin Wall, the destruction of thousands of nuclear missiles and the collapse of the Soviet Union and freeing of its vassal states.  He certainly never got a Nobel!

But two weeks after taking office as President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama is nominated for the Nobel.  And today, they announced that he won it.  The canned speeches have been pouring out all day as though they were spontaneous shouts of worldwide jubilation and not carefully choreographed elements of the propaganda campaign they really are.

There's a story about a couple of Aggies that decided to go into counterfeiting.  They were pretty good at it and came up with a whole stack of $25 bills.  When someone pointed out their mistake, they decided rather than waste the effort, to run up to Arkansas and see if they could pass them out up there in the hills where folks might not be as, shall we say, "observant".

They drive up to this little grocery store up north of Malvern and go in.  They handed the bogus $25 bill to the clerk with the two teeth and asked for change.

He said, "Sure, mister," and handed the Aggie two 4's and a 17.

I think the Marxist strategists have overplayed their hand this time.  I think they expected Obama to have passed health care and gun control and ended all war by this time and figured the Nobel would be a nice icing on the cake - like in movies like "Dave" and "The American President" where presidents just wave their magical policy wands and solve all the worlds problems.


Missing the timing like they have, is a huge mistake.  The folks who planned this colossal screwup managed to make the Nobel Peace Prize look like some bizarre international version of a second grade play about preventing tooth decay.  Obama is the one dressed up as the big toothbrush.

I've been worried that we were on the edge of the Apocolypse, but we may be getting some breathing room here.  Surely people can't be so easily lead by simple-minded propoganda as this.  Surely they see how artificial and false all of this is.  Surely, we won't be manipulated so easily.

Surely not......