Monday, December 27, 2010

Crazy Weather

Today I woke up in Florida and found it was the same temperature (21 F) as it was in Chicago.  Now 21 in Chicago during December might not be a big deal, but it's like 10 degrees below zero in the Sunshine State.  About now is when all the Gore haters will say "Global Warming my ass".  Of course, this is a perfect example of weather extremes caused by the warming of the planet.  However, to understand Climate Change, aka Global Warming, you have to understand some complicated concepts, such as Average and Global.  But, then I realize that a lot of these people also believe the earth is only 10,000 years old, and  at one time men use to ride dinosaurs like horses (sorry women, no Title 9 back then).  In other words, most people are just too stupid to get it. For now, The King needs a heater for his (electric with solar panel on top) golf cart.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Gift

My passion is golf.  I just flat out love playing the game.  It's so challenging.  You have to do every facet of the game.  You can't pass the ball to someone else when you're having a bad day.  No calling for a specialist from the bull pen to finished what you started.  It's you and only you.  That's why I love the game so much.

I was able to teach the game to my wife and daughter.  We were all able to get together to play a couple rounds before Christmas.  To me, that's the best Christmas gift.  Since I taught them both, every shot has a piece of me in it (good or bad).  I especially love watching my daughter play, because I don't see her very often any more, since she's several thousand miles away attending grad school.  

Playing golf with my daughter will always be my favorite gift.  I hope we'll have lots of rounds together in the future.  I also hope she realizes that after I am gone, she'll always have a piece of me with her every swings she takes.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Harry Potter

My daughter started reading Harry Potter books when she was a young girl. She would make sure she would get the newest edition the minute it was released.  Then it was off to the bedroom to read until completion.  She wasn't going to let little things like food or sleep keep her from devouring the latest novel.  Well it turns out there's a lot more just like her.

Yesterday my wife,  daughter and I visited the new Harry Potter theme park in Orlando.  I was amazed at the sheer number of people dressed for the occasion, sporting graduation gowns, Harry Potter type scarfs and waving magic wands.  Plus, these kids were super knowledgeable.  It's obvious that they actually read the books.  I am told by my daughter that every shop and building was accurate to the smallest detail.  I'll have to take her word for it, since I am as ignorant about Harry Potter as she is brilliant. However, I must say the Honey Duke candy store and the Dervish & Banges wand shop were really cool, except for the hour we stood in  line to get in.

I have to confess that The King did not go on The Dragon Challenge or Hulk ride on the way out - my daughter did.  The older I get, the bigger chicken shit I become - or smarter.  All in all, we had a great time.  Mostly, The Queen and I watched  The Princess have a good time.  But that was a real joy.

After this visit, I am especially thankful to J. K. Rowling for turning millions of kids (and adults) into prolific readers.  If you're one of her fans, find a way someday to give Orlando a visit. Happy Holidays everyone.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

About Time

The Senate finally repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".  Hopefully this is a step toward ending discrimination in our country.  Those who are willing to defend our liberty deserve to be treated with dignity and equality.  This is a great day for America.  We're one step closer to walking the talk.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wanted: Wizard of Oz

The Republicans are now happy - for awhile.   President Obama has caved to the GOP by extending the Bush tax rates for another two years.  What ever happened to not "kicking the can down the road"?  True, unemployment benefits got extended and the Social Security tax was lowered by 2% for one year, but at what price?  The rich got a big piece of cake, while everyone else got crumbs.

So much for the debt commission.  They recommended a combination of tax raises and spending cuts to get our debt crisis solved.  For the near future, I see neither happening. What we need now is the Wizard of Oz to give congress a heart, a brain, and above all else, some courage. Or maybe, we just need a King who already has those qualities.  Know anyone????

Thursday, December 9, 2010


When I was growing up, I can remember my teachers talking proudly about the accomplishments of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  I learned how he managed the challenge of the Great Depression and directed our troupes to victory in World War II.  I wonder if my teacher was alive today, she would be allowed to teach the same material.  You see, FDR had a problem  -- he was a LIBERAL. 

Some where a long the line, liberal has become a dirty word.  That's because the Republicans have done a great job of spreading propaganda about liberals.  Every time they get a chance they bash all of the ills of society as  by products of liberals.

Well I say it's time to turn the tables.  We need to make the word Conservative a dirty word.  It shouldn't be that hard -- especially if you are able to read history.  It was the Conservatives who prolonged slavery, denied women the right to vote, created sweat shops, promoted Jim Crow laws, fought against Social Security, and so on, and so on.  The list is endless.  Conservatives care about money and nothing else.  Bottom line, they're a bunch of haters.  When I am King, I'll put people first.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Start Treaty

Can someone explain to me why the Republicans are against the Start Treaty. I know that the GOP doesn't want to do anything that might help Obama get something done.  But really, who doesn't want to see fewer nuclear bombs. Is it so important that Obama must fail, that you risk the future of civilization?  Maybe we should promise every Republican a bribe for every bomb taken out of circulation -- seems like money is their only motivator. When I am King, I'll pardon Jack Abramoff  and let him handle the bribes -- he knows how to talk their language.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

One of my first bosses told me a little story that I'd like to share.  He said "Mike, if everyone put their troubles on a big shelf, and they took time to look at other peoples problems, they would probably go and take back their own troubles."  That boss was a very wise man. 

Sometime when I am a little low and feeling sorry for myself, I reflect on those people suffering in hospitals, or being shot at in a foreign country, or just don't know how to feed their family tonight -- suddenly I realize how good I have it and would gladly take my troubles back.

I've lived a wonderful life.  I have a loving wife, three super kids, two fantastic grandchildren and a lot of dear friends.  Thanksgiving is truly a time to reflect on your blessings.  On this great day, have some turkey, watch some football, but best of all take time out to enjoy those you love.  If you can't be with them, give them a hug anyway, they'll know.  The King wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA Pat Downs

I am so sick of hearing about the TSA pat downs.  Do people really have that short of memories.  I know how to end this security problem.  Starting tomorrow everyone will fly naked.  That should speed up boarding times.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Girl Effect

Two of the best books I've ever read were "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time" and "Stones to School: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan."  If you haven't read them, put them on your Christmas wish list.  Or - just go out and buy them right now.

The books recount  the adventures of Greg Morrison in building schools, especially schools for girls, in the poorest and most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Why the special emphasis on girl schools?  Because Morrison realizes that adolescent girls are uniquely qualified to improve the standard of living in the developing world. For more information, The King orders you to follow this link. If you didn't follow my order, go back and do it.

I hope you're inspired, now that you have a better understanding of why girl schools are so important in poor countries.  If you are looking for that last minute tax deduction, please consider the Central Asia Institute. If nothing else, buy the books.  You'll be glad you did.  Not only will you have the pleasure of reading two great  books, but all the proceeds go to building new schools. You'll be promoting The Girl Effect.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hate Shopping

I really hate to go shopping.  Generally speaking, I really never go shopping.  I buy.  I know what I want, go to the store and find it.  Pay for it and go home.  My wife, on the other hand really likes to shop.  She goes to numerous stores, checks all the prices, and usually gets a great deal.  Me, I avoid the whole process when ever possible.

However, sometimes you just have to go shopping.  Case in point, we need a new dryer.  So on this rare occasion, my wife and I go shopping together.  It is amazing how many different ways a product can be marketed.  At one store, we're told the dryer we want will be on sale next week and we'll get free delivery.  Can't wait.  Next store has the dryer on sale, but wants $70 for delivery. The third store has a great price, but can't deliver until two weeks from now.  Finally, we found one for a reasonable price that could  be delivered in two days .  But what a pain in the ass waste of time.

When I am King, I'll stay home and have the Queen do all the shopping.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Automated Phone Service

I don't know about you, but I really hate automated phone service.  I am tired of having an automated voice say - "If you want English, please press 1, all other languages press 2.  If you would like to hear a list of products you could care less about, press 1.  If you are calling to sign up for shitty service, press 2.  If you would like like to sign up for our ultimate shitty service, press 3.  If you would simply like to tell the automated voice to go fuck himself, please hang up and try again when you have calmed down." If you do finally make a selection, you get put on hold and every now and then, an automated voice comes back to tell you he's sorry for the delay, but your call is very important, so please stay on the line for the next two hours.  If it's that damn important, answer the fucking phone.

When I am King, I am going to find out who invented this technology and have him or her beheaded.

Check out this link, Why I'd rather be punched in the testicles than call customer service., that was recommended by Jochem Atteveld. You'll get a good laugh.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fixing the Budget

It seems everyone has an idea on how to fix the federal budget.  Some want to cut spending -- others want to raise taxes -- and a few realize you have to do both.  Well, let's see how well you can solve this problem.  The New York Times has an interactive page that will allow you to try and balance the budget for the short term (2015) and long term (2030).

It can be done --  I did it -- but it's not easy.  When you're done, try to imagine that you have to sell your solution to the American public.  That could get ugly.  It's not so bad if your the King, because he doesn't have to explain anything.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bush is a Cheat.

President Bush has broken his silence.  It seems that our former president has written a book, Decision Points. This comes as a shock to most people because they didn't even know he could read. Well, as it turns out, President Bush is not all that into writing either.  It appears that a great deal of his book is plagiarized. But, what did you expect from a man who lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to justify going to war with a country that never attached us.  The man should be tried as a war criminal.  When I am King, I am going to put his sorry ass is jail.  Hey Dick, Condi, and Donald -- get ready, you're next.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Health Care

On Face the Nation today, Republican leaders started laying out their future legislative plans.  Basically they plan to defund the Health Care Law and then do everything in their power to make sure they win the 2012 election.  At that time they will bring out their own plan (wow, only four years late) and pass it. The only thing they hate more than ObamaCare, is Obama.

This caused a flash back for me.  About five years ago, I had to go help my mother file for bankruptcy.  My mom was raised during the depression and lived on ration stamps during WW II.  She hardly ever spent a dime on herself.  She raised four children and managed to put two through college. But, my step father died after a lengthy hospital stay.  He left her very little money and one huge hospital bill.  For over twenty years my mom tried to make payments.  But, eventually she was living in an assisted living home, on social security, and it became impossible to continue payments.

When we went in front of the judge, her lawyer (I paid his bill) had already told her the questions the judge would ask.  Basically all she had to do was say yes twice and no once.  I was holding her hand when the judge started asking the questions.  I noticed immediately she started to squeeze my hand harder.  I could see her lip start to tremble.  But mom was a proud woman and she was not about to break down and cry in front of the judge or total strangers. The whole ordeal was over in less than 10 minutes.  As soon as we left the court room she broke down in tears.  She was glad I was there to give her support, but she felt she was a failure.  She wasn't.  My mother passed away a few years later, and thanks to a government run health program, Medicare, she didn't leave a huge debt to her children

No one should have to declare bankruptcy in order to get health care. Not my mom, not anyone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dangerous Man

Well, the people have spoken.  A nation of frustrated unemployed workers think the Democrats haven't done enough to fix the economy that George Bush and his ilk broke.  Fair enough, but what will the new guys in town do to bring about a recovery.  Well, probably about what they did before the election --NOTHING.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, wants to put the United States in default. .  This would be accomplished by refusing to increase the nation's debt ceiling.  This would cause a global economic panic which could plunge our country into another recession or depression.  His goal is to black mail President Obama into defunding Health Care reform in exchange for increasing the nation's debt ceiling.

Of course, what do you expect from a man who said his primary goal is to make sure Obama is a one term president.  Shouldn't your primary goal be to help the American public?  The most frighting thing is the new guys are so far right of McConnell, we might think he's a liberal by this time next year.  Even a King can't make idiots into thoughtful leaders.  Hang on for a rough ride.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Great Day

November 2nd - what a great day.  First and foremost, it's my daughter's birthday. She's 23 today and far away.  But, I close my eyes and she's right next to me.  I am so proud of her.  I gave her a hug and kiss today - I hope she felt it. Love you baby.  Happy Birthday.

The second reason for being a great day is it's election day.  We still live in the greatest country ever and should be proud of the liberties we have.  We need talented people to represent us.  These people are charged with providing all laws necessary and proper to promote the general welfare (Hey Sarah - that's in the Constitution in case you didn't recognize it).  Your task is to pick the people.  Most people in the world don't get this opportunity.  We should take this right seriously.  It's a disgrace that only 30% of the people will vote today.  Please take time to vote and remember:
No Vote, No Bitching.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Best Job Ever

I am pretty happy with my job - I am retired.  If you can afford it, there's not much of a down side to being retired.  But, if I could have any job, it would be Ex-President.  Now keep in mind I would never want to be president.  That's the shittiest job in the world. Way too stressful.  That's why I would rather be part time King. But, if you some how manage to live through your presidency, the best job awaits you.

Want proof?  Check out the front roll of tonight's (Saturday) World Series game.  Who do you find -- you guested it, George W. Bush.  Now most of the people in the front row probably paid several thousand dollars for their tickets -- want to guest what Bush paid for his.  Nothing.  When you're an ex-president you can score the best tickets for any event - World Series, Super Bowl, Final 4, Broadway Plays, you name it, and I guarantee you some one will comp you.  Want to travel somewhere, no problem.  Corporations will send you their private jet.  You have the chance to live out your dreams for free.

To make things even better, they give you a small pension -- currently $191,300 and throw in $20,000 for your wife.  You also get a generous expense account.  Example, President Clinton's phone bill for 2008 was $79,000. When I am King, I am hoping my subjects will push through a plan for me.  Nothing big, just a chance to play golf at Augusta National.  I'll be happy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bully School Board Member

When I was a teacher, I had no use for school board members.  Most of them had a hidden agenda - i.e. get my kid more playing time on the basketball team -- get a certain teacher fired -- provide me a stepping stone in politics, etc.  But there's a moron school board member in Arkansas named Clint McCance that has created a new despicable low.  He posted on Facebook that he was happy when gay kids killed themselves.  Watch this report and judge for yourself

I can actually say I knew school board members who were this bigoted, but none this stupid.  In our country, you have free speech that gives you protection from an oppressive government.  But, the first amendment does not protect you form public scorn.  People can form judgements about your character, wisdom, integrity, and intelligence (or lack of).  There should be a popular up rising to get this bum off the school board.

In these troubled times, we need our schools to teach tolerance.  Having ass hole bigots like Clint McCance on the school board sends the message that bullying is acceptable.  It's not.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Hate Coupons

I do all the grocery shopping at my house.  I have to admit, I am pretty good at it.  I have a computerized shopping list that allows me to be organized and allows me to know where to find every item.  My trick to a successful shopping day is to get to the store before my wife hands me a fist full of coupons.  I really hate coupons.  Sure they help you save money, but I find them to be a major pain in the ass. Here is a small list of why I dislike them so much.
  • I walk out of the house and forget to take them.  My wife will quickly point how much I could have saved. This makes me feel like a failure and reinforces my belief that no good deed goes unpunished.
  • You won't believe this, but sometimes I take the coupons and forget to use them.  When this happens, I usually try to throw them away before I get home.  I know, I know, -- I could take them back with the receipt and still get the discount, but I hate admitting I screwed up. After all, my self esteem is worth something.
  • I end up buying things I normally wouldn't buy.  I am sure that makes some company happy, but it pisses me off when I throw it way later because no one liked it.
  • Sometimes it hard to find the product being featured by the coupon.  I already know where my usual products are located, why do I want to play hide and seek?
  • I hate getting stuck behind some one at checkout that has a ton of coupons.  First, the cashier has to scan them all, but secondly there's always a couple coupons past their expiration date, or not valid for some reason and the person checking out want to return or get some additional items. This is when I am glad I don't believe in guns.
When I am King, I am going to have all the grocery stores go to a new system.  It's called, Lower The Prices.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Get Out and Vote

When I was about 10 years old, I over heard part of my father's conversation with a neighbor.  They were discussing politics and I am pretty sure I had no idea what they were talking about.  Suddenly my father brought the conversation to a screeching halt with a very direct question -- "Did You Vote"?  Of course the neighbor hadn't.  My father then dismissed him by saying -- "If you didn't vote, you have no right to bitch".

On this topic, I always thought my old man was  a 100% spot on.  It's easy to sit on the sideline and take shots at everyone.  But, if you don't like how things are, be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  The least you could do is vote.  You don't even have to go to the polls, just get an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

I see President Obama is out visiting colleges trying to get young people to vote.  It seems that the very people who were instrumental in the president's victory, are now contemplating sitting out the election.  Are you guys nuts.  You might be disillusioned about the president's ability to deliver his agenda, but take a moment to check out the other side.  The Republicans have spent the last two years just saying no to everything except when it comes to giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2%. Well trust the King, the other side will give you plenty to bitch about if they become the majority party.   

Remember my dad's admonishment, If you don't vote, don't bitch.  Now get off your ass and go vote!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Supreme Court Term

In college I took a couple classes in constitutional law.  It was interesting to read old cases and study the reasoning used in making decisions.  I was amazed how many justices would make decisions that ran counter to their political views.  My favorite was Earl Warren in the Brown v The Board of Education case. 

I found it interesting because of the soul searching of  Chief Justice Earl Warren.  Warren was the former governor of California.  He was a middle of the road to conservative Republican.  Most though he would end up as Eisenhower's Vice President.  But, Ike picked Richard Nixon for the V.P. slot and promised a disappointed Warren an appointment to the bench later on.  Little did Ike know, that the first opening would be the position of Chief Justice.  The president tried to back out of his commitment, but eventually kept his word and made the appointed.

Eisenhower considered it the worse decision of his presidency.  Because Warren had a life time term, he made decisions without worrying  about politics.  This is how the system was suppose to work.  Boy have things change.  Now justices vote a long straight political lines.  The new strategy for appointments is to send justices to the Supreme Court at an early age and make damn sure  their political ideology  is aligned to the party  in power.  This way you know what you're getting (no Warren surprises) and you can count on them for 25 or 30 years.

I am now rethinking my view on the life time appointment.  I am not sure it produces the desired out come -- decisions base on the facts of law. I think there should be an age requirement and a fixed term.  When I am King, a justices will have to be at least 55 years old and will serve a term of 15 years.  Hopefully, there are still some prospective justices out there who are willing to follow their conscience and the law,  instead of an ideology.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Re-Post "If I Were King"

 I thought it would be a good idea to re-publish my introduction post.  It seems that some people take me a little too serious. Hopefully this will give people a better idea where I am coming from.  Sorry if I pissed anyone off. 

First of all, let me assure you that I do believe in democracy. But from time to time, I just wish I was in charge so I could bring about some type of change without giving a damn about numerous ass kissing procedures to make it happen. Hence, I want to be an occasional King and not a President. I want to see a wrong, or just something that pisses me off, and come up with automatic solutions. However, sometimes I just like to shout out my own opinions. My family will assure you I don’t have a shortage of opinions. Some you might agree with, some you shouldn’t. Others might get you thinking about your own take on a particular subject.

Kings can have an opinion on anything and most people won’t tell them they’re full of it. But, don’t worry if you disagree with me, I promise not to behead you. Hell, my own family thinks I am nuts from time to time. Sometimes I just like to tell a story. It might be a story about an event in my life. I might want to talk about a book I recently read. Who knows? Basically I like to talk about politics, social wrongs, sports and other things that drive my family from the room. If I Were King, they would have to stay and listen – followed by a quiz.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today I had a great time at my twin grandson's birthday party.  It is wonderful to see their growth and development.  You see, they were born premature.  They weighed just a fraction over two pounds at birth. There was a time when their life was touch and go.  But thanks to science, they enjoyed their third birthday today.  You would never know that they fought so hard for life.

Their birthday party was like many kids party. Lots of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and one great grandmother were in attendance.  Gifts were plentiful and watching the kids reactions was priceless.  My son wondered how long they would have interest in all the toys, before they started looking forward to Christmas.  I had to give my son a reality check and remind him how many kids don't have loving parents able to dote on them.  Science might have given them life, but loving care has made them into such wonderful kids.

When I am King, I won't be able to guarantee every child a loving support system, but I wish I could.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Political Ads

I don't know about you, but I am really sick of political election ads on TV.  Each election ad uses some actors to make it sound like the end of the world is about to happen if we elect the wrong person.  Kind of a modern day "chicken little" plot.  Most are outright lies and distortions.  Both parties use them and they all suck.  Worst of all, they start two to three months before the election and they're on constantly.  Making matters worse, our Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have no financial limits on campaign donations.  Seems bribing candidates is now called "free speech".  This means you can fund all the ads you want and you really don't even have to disclose where the money is coming from. 

Well enough all ready.  When I am King, all political ads will be allowed on TV only during the last two weeks of the campaign. TV stations will be allowed to sponsor as many debates as they want.  Debates are great because you learn a lot about each candidate's views and philosophy.  But, best of all, you can change the channel.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tear Down This Wall

Recently I viewed a documentary on the U. S. border fence being erected along the Mexican-U.S. border.  The purpose of the fence is to keep Mexicans from entering our country illegally. It's not doing too good of job.  It seems that it is quite easy to take out a map and a marker and draw a line where the fence should go -- all 1,950 miles of it.  Building it is a little bit harder.

Some areas, the land is relatively flat and not much of a challenge.  Other areas are some of the most god awful landscape you've ever seen and the task is a lot more difficult.  So difficult, that the fence just stops.  A little farther down the line it starts up again.  All total, only about a third of the fence is completed. 

Even if the fence was  100% completed (something that will probably never happen) it does little to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.  The documentary showed video of people routinely scaling the fence and hustling off to a better life in America.  You see, where there's a will, there's a way. 

This whole project is a colossal waste of money and an extreme cause of environmental destruction.  Instead of building a fence, we need to make it less attractive for illegals to come to America.  We can do this by attacking the people who give them jobs.  When I am King, I will severely punish those who employ undocumented workers.  I'll start with a $10,000 per worker fine for first offenders and mandatory jail time for repeat offenders.

To paraphrase a former president, "Mr. Obama, tear down this wall."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Giving Back

In my first life, I was a basketball coach.  I loved basketball.  It's a great game that requires a lot of strength, quickness, agility and determination.  Coaching the sport is quite demanding.  Especially learning how to coach in the first place.

Most people think the jump from playing basketball to coaching basketball is easy.  Trust me, it's just the opposite.  Most great basketball players make really lousy coaches.  That's because there's a big difference between playing and teaching.  Things that came easy for a gifted athlete are difficult to teach to an average athlete.  That's why early in my career I went to every basketball clinic I could find.  I listened to some of the greatest coaches talk on a multitude of basketball topics.  I also developed the knack of picking the brain of every coach I met at those clinics.  Over time, I learned how to coach.

Yesterday, I served as a guest lecturer at a coaching class at Lewis University.  The class is taught by my good friend Dr. Ralph Miller.  Ralph and I coached together at South Suburban Community College for a few years.  We had great success, finishing 3rd and 4th in the nation on two occasions.  Dr. Miller is now retired from coaching but still teaches at Lewis University.  He asks me, as well as other coaches, to lecture his class every year.  Each year it's a pleasure to give back some of the knowledge that I stole from others along the way.  Giving back is also selfish -- It makes me feel good. When I am King, I'll encourage everyone to give back.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Justice For All

What if I told you, you could rob a bank and 75% of the time the bank wouldn't report the crime.  Furthermore, what if I told you that even if the bank did report the robbery, the police department wouldn't do follow up forensic work because they lacked the budget or personnel to do so.  You might decide on a career change.  Robbing banks wouldn't look like such a risky adventure.

Sad, but true, that's what happens in most rape cases.  The vast majority of all rape cases aren't reported, because most women don't think a successful prosecution will occur.  Even when they do report the crime, crime labs don't always process the rape kits in a timely manner, thereby limiting the odds of a successful prosecution.  It's estimated that there are over 100,000 rape kits sitting in warehouses waiting to be processed.  Many crime labs have backlogs of five to ten years. 

New York City's successful prosecution rate in rape cases went from 40% to 70% when they started testing every booked rape kit. Los Angeles has recently started processing all rape kits and has seen similar results.  Soon, Illinois will begin to clear up their back log and begin testing all rape kits.

When I am King, I'll make sure we won't turn our back on rape victims because we can't afford it -- that's just despicable.  We should have justice for all, not just those that fit into the budget.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

King's Stimulus Plan

Everyone agrees we have to get this ecomony moving again.  Everyone has their idea on how to accomplish this.  Republicans think more tax cuts (especially for the rich) will do the trick.  Democrats think they can spend their way out of rough times.  I kind of lean toward the latter, but the problem with most spending stimulus plans is people don't spend.  We give tax rebates to people for buying new homes, appliances, cars and who knows what.  The problem, most people just put the money in the bank instead of spending it.

When I am King, all stimulus rebates from the federal government will be in the form of prepaid Vista cards.  You can use them just like cash and buy almost anything.  Here's the kicker.  If you don't spend the prepaid amount in one year, you lose it. 

I am pretty sure most people will spend the money.  More money spent, more products need to be made, more jobs are created.  Let's get things moving again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Civil Rights for Everyone

Finally, a court decision that advances civil rights.  U. S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, WA, ruled that Air Force Maj. Margaret Witt should be reinstated.  Witt, a flight nurse, lost her job when the Air Force discovered she had a civilian female partner.

In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled against public school segregation in Brown v. The Board of Education.  That led to a massive civil rights movement that eventually led Congress to pass a whole series of anti-discrimination laws.  It wasn't an easy task.  Students did sit ins. Freedom riders put their lives on the line.  Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life. 

Hopefully, Judge Leighton started the process for universal civil rights.  His decision will trigger a series of future court appeals.  I have little confidence in the Robert's Court, but I am hoping that Congress will stand up during the future lame duck session and end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" forever.

When I am King, civil rights will be for everyone.  Not just the powerful, the mainstream, the white, the rich -- but, for everyone.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guns Kill People

When I was in high school and college, three men I admired deeply were assassinated.  There names were John, Bobby and Martin. Each was a great leader whose life was taken by an asshole with a gun.  Because of their deaths, I've always had a great dislike for guns.

While in college, I wrote one paper that I truly felt good about.  The topic was the NRA (National Rifle Association).  What I found out was amazing.  This organization had virtually every member of Congress afraid of them.  That's because they had huge membership that impacted almost any ones re-election hopes.  Best yet, they were unregulated because they weren't registered as lobby, but as an educational institution.  What a bunch of bull shit.  By the way, that paper was written in 1967 and nothing much has changed.

Today we have people shooting cops or abortion doctors in church.  You can buy a gun at a gun show and go on a rampage at your college killing students you don't even know.  Worst yet is the number of children and teens kill by gun fire every year.  One child is killed every three hours, or about 50 a week - over 3000 per year.  What a horrific waste.  Meanwhile the NRA will try to convince you that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  Tell that to the 80 adults who are murdered by gun fire each day.

Yes, I am aware there's a thing called the second amendment.  I am also aware that it has been lied about so much, that even rational people think it's an absolute right.  Well it is, if you listen to the Robert's Supreme Court.  But, that wasn't always the case.  Previous courts believed the right was reserved for those people serving in well regulated malitia - like the police and military.  Regardless, I am sick of guns that have no purpose but to kill people.

When I am King, I will out law bullets for hand guns and semi-automatic weapons .  You can have all the guns you want, but if you have one bullet your sorry ass is going to jail. In the mean time, please check out The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Friday, September 24, 2010

God's Work Tax?

When I was a young boy I use to go to church with my mother and father.  I was always fascinated when the collection plate was passed.  I couldn't believe how many people willingly deposited money into the collection plate.  I always wondered if anyone would notice if I took out a few bucks for myself. That was before my mother explained that the money was given so the preacher and the church could do God's work.

I had this view of Mother Teresa helping the down trodden with this collection money.  That was until I visited Vatican City.  As I approached the Vatican Museum, I couldn't help but notice the beggars lining the perimeter.  As I tour the museum and St. Peter's Basilica, I also remember that back in Chicago, the church was getting ready to closed down some Catholic High Schools in poor neighborhoods due to lack of funds.  Lack of funds, are you kidding me!  Sell a wing of art treasures in the Vatican Museum and you could feed all the beggars and fund all the schools for a long time.

One needn't travel to Rome to see examples of collection plate fraud.  In a near by neighborhood, we have a minister who has a mega church that rakes in money hand over fist.  Most of the people attending the church are poor working class people who reach deep into their pockets each week to keep funding God's work.  However, God's work consist of funding two mansions, each worth over $1,000,000, in a gated country club community.  Clearly, this man is no Mother Teresa.

It's hard for me to understand why people willing fund such establishments.  Worst yet, I don't understand why we have to subsides them with our money so they can avoid paying taxes.  When I am King, I'll eliminate all tax breaks for churches.  They will be viewed as businesses, and have their income and property taxed like all other businesses.  Since some of the tax dollars will go to help the poor and sick, I guess will call it "God's Work Tax".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - RIP

When President Clinton pushed through "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", some considered it a step forward in the battle for gay rights.  I believe that President Clinton thought it was the best compromise he could get at the time.  Well, the time has come to do better.

There is no logical reason to ban a person from serving his country because of his sexual orientation.  This is not a military problem, this is a civil rights problem.  At one time in this country, women and black men could not vote.  Blacks and whites could not marry.  How stupid are you if you think these were good ideas.  It's time to live up to our true meaning as a country.  We claim we believe in liberty for all.  Now it's time to prove it. Click her to watch a passionate plea from Lady Gaga on John McCain threatened filibuster to block the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

When I am King, civil rights won't be just for those who appeal to conservative mainstream ideas, but to everyone. I'll strike down all discrimination laws.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Spent How Much?

When I was a teacher, I knew a person who spent $12,000 of his own money to win an election to the school board.  That's a lot of money, especially when you consider that school board members don't get paid.  I kept asking myself, why would someone spend so much money for a non-paying job.  The guy must be nuts.

Of course, it was his money and he was entitled to spend it anyway he wished.  But, what did he hope to gain. In a  word, power.  It seems people will do anything to get it and to keep it.  It turned out this guy was a football freak and wanted to be on the school board so he could control the hiring and firing of football coaches.  But, since he didn't have enough like minded colleagues, he was relatively harmless.

But on the national scene there seems to me no shortage of like minded individuals.  How else do you explain Meg Whitman spending 119 million (so far) of her own money in her race to become the next Governor of California.  I mean, think about it.  California is a completely bankrupt state.  Not even the Terminator could save the place. What could she possibly gain from such an expenditure?  Can you say Presidency?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

King and Queen Golf

Today is our annual King and Queen golf tournament.  Sometimes referred to as the "The soon to be divorced tourney".  For you not into golf, let me explain.  My wife and I will both hit our drives from our respective tees, pick out the best ball, and hit alternates shots until the hole is finished.  Once you start alternating shots, the fun really begins. For example, if I hit our second shot into a sand trap, my wife will hit the next shot.  I am sure you can imagine all sorts of scenarios that would require a lot of "I am sorry" comments.

The trick is to get to the end and still be talking to each other.  There will be times when I make a suggestion and my wife will think I am nuts, and vice versa.  There is a great urge to say "I told you so", but we'll both do our best to stifle that comment.  The hard part is for me to keep my mouth shut.  As you know, I pretty much have an opinion about everything.  But, today I am going to do my best to keep my opinions to myself.  As much as I want to win, I also want my wife and I to be on speaking terms when we finish.

Believe it or not, we have won this event before.  But back then, you had to play with your spouse. Now, you just need a partner. Trust me, it's a lot harder to play with your spouse, than just another person.  Your spouse will tell you in a heart beat where you can shove your golf ball.  When I am King,  you'll play with your spouse or not play at all. In the mean time, wish us luck.

 Update: We finished 2nd and we're still talking to each other.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grown Too Quick

When my daughter was born, I was the happiest man in the world.  I looked forward to raising her to become an independent, intelligent, and confident young woman.  She exceeded all my expectations and made my wife and I awfully proud.

Early this morning, she got in her fully packed car and headed across country to the University of Washington to become a PhD candidate.  How's that for independent, intelligent, and confident?

As we hugged good bye, her mother was brought to tears.  I acted tougher, but the truth be known, I cried my eyes out later when my wife wasn't around. I already miss her, but I realize that birds have to eventually fly from the nest.  I only wish the last 23 years had gone a bit slower. If I knew all my children would turn out like her, I would have had ten more.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Man's Worth

By now,  I am sure everyone has heard about the minister in a small town in Florida who thinks it would be good idea to have a Burn the Koran Day on September 11. I've seen a couple of interviews with Reverend Terry Jones and the man appears to be totally off his rocker. He claims he wants to send a message, but is totally incapable of articulating what is his message.  During the interview I noticed he had a gun on his desk.  He claims he's been getting death threats, and therefore he's always packing.  What ever happened to "... I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...".

Basically Reverend Jones is just another nut case looking for his 15 minutes of fame.  Unfortunately, the media has probably all ready given him too much attention.  At first glance he just appears to be a totally worthless human being.  But then I remember what my father use to say, "No man is ever totally worthless, he can always serve as a bad example."  Well done Reverend Jones.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hypocrisy In Action

Christine Judd use to be the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at Cathedral High School in Springfield Massachusetts.  I say use to, because she was forced to resign her position because she did the unthinkable.  She married the person she loved.

Christine is a lesbian.  Even though she gave 12 years of loyal service to Cathedral High School, and she did nothing illegal, the Springfield diocese decided her conduct contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church.  The same diocese allows teachers to divorce and remarry with out an annulment.  Allows teachers to openly be pro-choice.  Or allows women to use birth control and men to have vasectomies.  But, marring the one you love is just too much.

This is the same Catholic Church that knew about pedophile priests and just moved them from dioceses to dioceses.  Hypocrisy's is an ugly thing.  I am sure God is proud.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conservative Chain Emails

Yesterday I received another conservative (hate) chain email.  As usual, it was intended to stir up fear and anger in people against Muslims.  Of course there was nothing factual about the email and I pointed this out with my reply to all.  I received one reply where someone ranted that "he learned everything he needed to know about Muslims on 9/11".  He went on to say that we were "on the verge of losing the country by you bleeding heart liberal ass holes who are now running the country.  GOD BLESS AMERICA and bring back water boarding."

Wow, there's a guy who has some strong anger management issues. But as luck would have it, I received another reply responding to the aforementioned jerk this way:  "So basically you're going to judge 1.6 billion people on the actions of 15 from the same religion? Should we do the same with Christianity because of Waco and Jim Jones? (  I would add the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and Timothy McVeigh to that list) There are extremists in every religion, creed and nation, but that's not a reason to generalize everyone in that category as an extremist."

Now that sounds like a well thought out, common sense, opinion. However, when it comes to conservatives having common sense, it's not all that common.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Evaluate The Source

Yesterday I received an email from a friend that shows a small boy having his arm run over by a car. The email was entitled THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS!!!  It allegedly shows an 8 year old boy having his arm crushed for the crime of stealing food. The purpose of the email is to inflame Islamic bigotry. The first sub heading says "May God have mercy on us who tolerate the Muslim."
My friend is a good hearted soul, but he's not the sharpest tack in the box.  If he had looked underneath the list of email addresses he would have found: False Email--

If my friend had clicked on the link, he would have learned that the pictures were accurate, but the descriptions were not.  Instead of being punished under Sharia Law, the boy is part of a common street act where the performers are hustling for money. The child was unhurt.

When I am King, every high school and middle school will have a curriculum in place to teach kids how to evaluate sources.  It won't be a one week exercise, but an on going learning experience right up to graduation day.  Hopefully, education can slow down the spread of ignorance.  There's a novel idea.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Handicapped Parking

Handicapped parking is a real pet peeve with me.  My father was a paraplegic, who walked with the aid of crutches and leg braces.  Once I saw him fall trying to get over a curb in a parking lot.  Just then, a young guy came out of the restaurant and got into his car and drove away.  Oh, by the way, he was parked in a handicapped spot.

Now everyone has seen one of those handicapped signs where it boasts about a $250 fine for violators.  But does anyone know someone who has received the fine.  Probably not.  I am sure the whole process of fining someone is more pain in the ass than it's worth.  But, I have a solution.  Hold on to your seat, this might shock you.

When I am King, I'll do away with the fine.  Instead I'm going to have a police officer just shoot out a tire. Now I know this sounds a little radical, but consider the effectiveness.  A person comes back and finds he has a flat tire.  Now he has to change the tire - if he has a spare. He might have to call a repair service to come and change it for him.  If he uses his spare, he will need to purchase a new tire.  Do you see where this is going?  You have instant punishment, loss of money and a shit load of aggravation.  And best of all, the police don't have to waste their time.  I'll have the police keep a data base of offenders.  Therefore, if it's a person's second offense the policeman will shoot out two tires.  I think you get the idea. After awhile, I am sure their will be plenty of handicapped spots for people who need them.  Too late for my dad, but maybe just in time for yours.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Atheists For Glen Beck

Glen Beck had a rally today at the National Mall in Washington D.C..  He tried to bring God along by assuring people  "Something beyond imagination is happening," he said. "America today begins to turn back to God."  If Glen Beck is in charge of turning people on to God, atheists everywhere are rejoicing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Preschool Education

Imagine you're the captain of an ocean liner leaving Los Angeles heading for Hawaii.   You're just a few miles out to sea when your navigator informs you you're two degrees off course.  You realize that two degrees at this point is only a matter of a few yards.  Even though it doesn't take a great deal of effort to change course, you decide to ignore it because it doesn't seem significant.  A few days later, you're so far off course you miss the entire state of Hawaii.

This is what is happening every day in education.  Kids are starting kindergarten with huge gaps in their readiness to learn.  Some have all the tools they need, but many are just a few degrees off.  Quality preschool can do wonders to narrow that gap. 

It would be nice if every parent could provide a plethora of enrichment experiences for their children.  But that is not always possible, for a multitude of reasons. Some kids enter first grade with a working vocabulary of only a few hundred words, while others have several thousand. If we start early, it does take much effort to change this course.  But if we wait too long, the gap will continue to grow until a student is so off course that failure is the only option.

When I am King, we'll spend our resources wisely at the front end of the journey so we don't miss our target all together.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preschool Education

Several people asked me what I would do to improve education. The first thing I would do is think long term.  We need to make sure every kid in America has an opportunity to learn.  This means leveling the playing field by making sure every child has a quality preschool experience.  It should be mandatory that every school district provide a free appropriate preschool program.  Personally I am fond of the Montessori Method.  

The Montessori Method stresses self-directed learning activities.  Kids learn by doing and making their own discoveries.  The student's learning experiences are matched to their needs, not the needs of a store bought curriculum. Students take responsibility for their own learning which serves them well through the rest of their educational career. When they enter first grade they are prepared and eager to learn.

I  know for a fact that years three through nine are the most important years in a child's educational growth.  Around fourth grade is when we see kids start to act out and lose interest in school.  I believe it's because they are too far behind in their skill development.  In case you haven't noticed, school keeps getting harder every year.

When I am King, I'll give full scholarships to brilliant students who are willing to teach  preschool through 3rd grade.  Better yet, I'll make sure they get paid a minimum of $10,000 more than the other teachers.  Hopefully, this will attract some of our best and brightest to the field. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Standardized Testing In Schools

Here in Indiana, another school year is about to start and already the State Superintendent of Education is talking about holding teachers accountable via standardized testing.  Standardize testing might have its place in education, but using it as an evaluation instrument is a waste to time and energy.  The tests do not address reasons for lack of achievement, i.e. attendance, class size, prior educational experiences, home life, etc.  Basically, the blame is always laid at the feet of the teachers.

Can you imagine a dentist being held accountable for all the cavities of a teenage patient, even though the kid doesn't brush regularly, refuses to floss and lives on a steady diet of sugar.  Of course not.  However, the government thinks all kids should learn at grade level regardless of the student's effort, attendance or support at home. When I taught, it was not unusual to have students start school three or four weeks late.  I've  had kids who missed over a hundred days of school in one year.

When I am King, no state legislature will mandate student testing until every member has taken the required test and had their results posted  in the local newspaper.  Now that's my idea of accountability.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bush Tax Cut:: Just Say No

When Present Clinton left office he left behind a $127 billion budget surplus.  That quickly evaporated because the Bush Tax Cut (aka welfare for the rich)  gave the wealthiest one percent a huge tax cut. After that give away, the Bush administration ran up the largest budget deficit in history.

Now history is about to repeat itself.  Why?  Because Obama promised during his campaign  not to raise the taxes on people making less than $250,000.  If the Bush Tax Cut is allowed to expire at the end of the year the middle class will see a rise in their taxes also.  Hence, some legislation is needed.  The question is will the Democrats have enough spine to pass the legislation to exempt the middle class, while allowing the handout for the rich to expire.

If the Bush Tax Cut is not allowed to expire, the wealthiest 120,000 people in the United States ( you probably don't know many of them) will be given three million dollars each over the next decade.  Overall, that's 680 billion dollars of revenues that disappears from the federal budget. The Republicans will tell you that making the Bush Tax Cut permanent will stimulate the economy.  Bull shit.  It means a lot of rich people, who already have everything under the sun, will just stick some more money in their pockets.

The Democrats need to step up to the plate and provide some protection for the middle class.  But, when it comes to making the Bush Tax Cut permanent, JUST SAY NO!!!!!!