Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just a couple of Thoughts

I have been watching the events of the Arab or Muslim world and have come to the conclusion that they are bi-polar. That is the only explanation I can come up with. Any other explanation leaves me dazed and confused.

But the conclusion I have come up with we the US of A need to only maintain a minimum presence in the Arab world. Let our diplomatic corp deal with these crazies that what they are trained for in making sure our economic and governmental relationship are covered.  They should while there maintain a low profile but there should never be any question that though they speak softly they carry a big stick of the full force and might of our Military should the rulers of these Arab countries forget and allow as well as encourage at times their people to act out their frustration on our people.

This concept is nothing new in our history it was coined in the late 19 century the ideal of Gunboat Diplomacy and no one used it better than Theodore Roosevelt and his "speak softly but carry a big stick." Back then it was understood that as long as you operated in good faith so would we but if you took violence upon our diplomatic reps well that was where the term "Send in the Marines" came from. I once more thank that while this tends to be a isolationist diplomacy it is more of a staying in the background and acting in our own best interest and quit thinking of nation building. The Arab world does not want it. If they do then they need to do as every country who has initiated democracy over some kind of plutocracy by the force of their own nature and not artificially acted on by a foreign force. Instead of giving away blindly our wealth in form of aid we now trade it for positive action.

Again step back to Theodore Roosevelt concept of "Speak softly but carry a big stick."  Maintain a low profile like we used to but know that in the background waiting if needed is the full force of the US Military, our big stick.

 On another tack on what is going on here in the good ole USA the war on the working class continues. While it is not a war of guns it is still a war of attrition of the simple old beat down until you have no more energy to fight the good fight.

It is the numbers that show this to be true. Unemployment remains high while there are some job growth they do not represent a living wage that or at best is really just a survival wage. Unions that usually represent the working class in the form of collective bargaining continue to be under attack by throwback governmental policy and economic war of if you don't do as we say then we will move our business off shore taking your job with it. All this began back in the Ford administration and continued thru today with the FTA or Free Trade Acts treaties that has allowed big international corporations to dismantle our industry that made us a powerhouse and turn us into a nation of no real wealth except on paper, and paper has no wealth other than as toilet paper.

One of the big Democratic selling points for President Obama was his stepping in and supposedly stopping the flood of cheap flawed tires from China. It was met with popularity among the working class who the Dem's are depending on to vote so they have been talking the talk of protecting our jobs even at the risk of a trade war. Even the republicans are talking the say way out of the sides of their mouth. But just because you talk the talk are you willing to walk the walk? At least the dems have shown some intuitive to do so. The Republicans on the other hand have no incentive to do so as it would hurt their base the elite 1% .

This is a question you will have to answer for yourself. I believe until we have a strong enough of a 3rd political party you will not be able to keep the Dems or the Republicans honest and beholden to the majority.


The book case I am building for my wife's cookbooks and gardening books has changed from a mission or arts and crafts style to a "shaker" style or country look. Again using pine or Douglas fir for the frame but redwood or rather cedar for the panel insert on the side of the book case.

My thought would be to paint the frame and back panel either a solid color or with a milk paint finish and the side inserts of cedar natural. I would appreciate any comment on what other wood workers think as the above ideal came to me during the night while I was waiting for sleep to come to me.
This is the style I was thinking of.

Finished reading "The Devils Hearth" by Phillip Deploy and found it a good and solid read. The setting in north Georgia in the edge of the smokey mountains reminded me of my families ties in rural central Oklahoma. 

The book I have undertook "Bad Things Happen" by Harry Dolan on the other hand is starting out slow and proving difficult to maintain my interest. Hopefully it will pickup the pace and action.


Recently rented the movie "Battleship" a great movie well worth the rental fee where ET came to kick our ass but we kicked his instead. Think "Independence Day" instead of in the skies on the seas instead.

Enough for now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Affordable Safe Housing

One of the key points in the proposed economic bill of rights that FDR proposed was the Right to safe affordable housing. When this was proposed the ideal of a McMansion for everyone was not the ideal rather it was the ideal of a reasonable home in a safe neighborhood.  But what is an affordable safe home?

The usual ideal of public assisted housing refers to the housing projects where the economically deprived are warehoused in apartments. This is not the answer. It usually leads to predatory behavior of a few on the downtrodden. I am not talking about the gangster mentality that so many have in mind but rather the limitation of opportunities and a higher cost of just getting by where a few individuals take advantage of those with more to lose.

Here in these neighborhoods you will find a high concentration of payday loans and check cashing business. In these neighborhoods you will find that fuel is usually more expensive by a few cents and that food stores are far and few between resulting in higher food prices and that on those again who can least afford it.

The other problem tends to be the diversity of these neighborhoods. Unfortunately for what ever reason it tends to divide up racially,. this tends to lead to a distorted view of racial equality. The African American and Hispanic cultures tend not to trust whites or anyone not of their specific race because of their lack of dealing with the other races this leading to further isolation.

Well as usual I am getting too long winded. Bottom line you don't concentrate folks racial or economically in little islands to which they tend to identify themselves with. Rather you disperse folks throughout the neighborhoods in an attempt to develop better relationships in understanding how other races think.

It is not just the cost of living in sergated communities that is a problem. It also has it safety issues which are apart of FDR Economic Bill of Rights. A concentration of the economically and on racial lines result in the predators coming out of the woodwork. It is a case of where a start up is a new line of designer drugs, or a new way of home invasion or a new way of car jacking. Here is an personal example of what I am talking about.

Recently my youngest son moved from a neighborhood that was slowly moving from a racially diverse neighborhoods to a primarily African American concentration. These were relatively new duplexes and rent was for our area reasonable if not a little high.

On the last day of his move he was loading his pickup when two young black men decided that they were going take advantage of the open garage door to get access to the duplex to steal most likely the appliances and copper wiring as well as what he had on his truck if not his truck, a 2010 Ford F150 Crew Cab. My son had set my youngest grandson down in the house with an ipad to play with while he loaded the truck. My son said all he could think about was how Adam was in the house as these two guys did a bums rush on him.  Unfortunately for them they didn't make it into the garage as he stopped both men knocking one down with his fist and shoving the others head through the drywall. They decided they needed help.

My son quickly finish tying down the load put Adam into his car seat just in time for the same two guys and three other to decide to make another move on him. He had his significant other on the phone at the time and gave the phone to Adam and told her to talk to him and keep him occupied while he dealt with the situation.

He shoved the keys to his put into his pocket and before he could get in to his truck he  had face these 5 men  all black as they came after him. Doing as I've told my boys to do in a situation like this he made them come to him by funneling them one at a time to him to deal with but his back was still exposed.

The first one the same one he had shoved into the drywall of the garage he again knocked down knocking his head into the side of the pickup. The second guy he punched in the face and solar-pelex putting him onto the ground . The third guy got behind him and hit him in the side with a piece of pipe bruising his ribs and shoulder. Jim took this from him and laid him out. Then the fourth guy a big one Jim said started forward stepping over the two he had taken out. He pulled a piece of 2X4 from his truck and smacked the guy up the side of the head. He said the guy took a step back and just shook his head and started forward again but now pulling out a pistol. Jim said he thought o crap picking up the piece of pipe the other guy had dropped and knocked the pistol from his hand and kneed the guy hard enough in the groin he went down. Meanwhile the fifth guy who Jim said had been telling these other guys they didn't need to do this reached down grabbed the gun and ran across the road taking the gun from the equation. This gave Jim the opportunity to get out of there.

During this whole time it was happening a crowd of about 10 to 15 people had gathered to watch and egg on the bad guys. They were all black and were making fun of the assailants for getting whipped by one little white guy. I want you to think about that they at no time tried to stop it but merely were there to watch and encourage them on. What is wrong with that?

This is what happens when a neighborhood becomes singular and not diverse. I firmly believe that if they neighborhood had been more racially diverse this would never had happen that a crowd would gather to not to encourage but to stop it. Maybe I am just being naive but I hope not. All I am saying when you have a neighborhood that is segregated into racial groups a ideal of us against the other attitude results.

Enough for now on Safe and Affordable housing and on the next blog I hope to add some ideals ot what we as a society and government can do.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

General Observation and FDR Economic Bill of Rights

Recently I have taken noticed of a change in the diversity of some of our neighborhoods here in the City of Ft. Worth TX. Now normally when I would say this people would think I am being negative and despairing on how blacks or Hispanic or moving into traditional white neighborhoods, but far from it. In fact it is the other away around.

Historically certain parts of East and central FW and were primarily black as certain parts were historically Hispanic in North FW. But times are a changing for these areas usually were economically depressed meaning cheaper homes for rent but the new economic reality of today whites usually found in the suburbs are moving into these areas as their economic fortunes have changed.

Now the working class whites who lived in the suburbs are moving into these areas as they loose their homes or job changes that have them making less money forcing them to look for cheaper housing. Hence the white infiltration of black and Hispanic neighborhoods. What is disturbing to me about this is the method of forced diversity of these neighborhoods. Forced by economic realities.

I have always been offended by the ideal of I could not live in certain neighborhoods because of my skin coloration. Particularly since my maternal grandmother and mother were native American or Indian. Because of their skin coloration they were discriminated against. Now if you are one of those millions who proudly point out their Indian heritage of 1/16th well I am happy for you. But for the bulk of the Indians who live in states with a reservations often find their selves discriminated against much as the deep south was at one time. By the way my birth certificate says Father white and mother Indian. Which just shows you what Docs know. My father was registered with the Cherokee Nation and my mother was never registered with the Choctaw Nations her grandfather did not trust the BIA.

The only reason I mention my heritage is show I understand discrimination and white flight back into the "hoods" has nothing to do with prejudice on my part but merely noting the economic changes and the lack of affordable housing. This is what is forcing people back into economically depressed neighborhoods, the lack of affordable housing. Instead of blacks and Hispanics fleeing into the suburb's as their economic situation improved now it is the other way around putting a strain on what is out there.

The other thing that I have observed is the age of the whites that are moving back to these areas. Of course you have young folks but their is a significant number of older folks who in the recent past were able to stick it out with their homes paid for or stable incomes. But no longer is this a reality for older workers. Unfortunately the older workers have been some of the most impacted. If you are over the age of 45 don't be surprised if in a wave of layoffs your group take the most hits. Consequently the age group of 45 to 65 will find it takes longer to find a job and then that job will most likely pay half of what you used to make. Hence the increased number of older folks moving into the depressed neighborhoods looking for affordable housing.

The funny ha ha things is it is a myth. Economic depressed neighborhoods pay significantly high rents for the level of housing they receive. Just that the slum lords tend to have less stringent renting policies and they make up the higher turnover with higher rent. That is the reason you will often find multiple generations living in one household so as to be able to afford to pay the rent.

So now you are thinking about why folks don't move into the housing project for low income. Basically because years ago the powers to be started selling off these projects and issuing vouchers for section 8 housing. These lucrative properties were sold for a song to developers. For example here in FT Worth one such that was in downtown FW was closed down and sold to Radio Shack another one in Dallas was closed down and sold to Presbyterian hospital and Dental school.for parking. The people who lived in these projects worked in the downtown of FW and the Presbyterian Hospital. Now they live farther away with longer commutes because the almighty dollar was more important than housing that was affordable for the disadvantage.

So now we have more folks competing for the few homes that are considered affordable. It is not uncommon for homes to rent to folks at a rate greater than traditional 25% of gross income and now tend to be 30% to 45% of gross income. This means less money for essentials such as health care, clothing, and food.

The problem is for a lot of these folks this is a new reality that they have never had to deal with. Fortunately for my wife and I we have been there. We were both raised in homes with empty pantries, homes where the power was not always on and water hauled in from a neighbor.  Homes whee the breakfast consisted of bowl of beans left over from last night supper. Christmas and birthday presents that didn't materialize for there just wasn't any money for them. That was why I went to work when I was 11 years old first just for the $1 a day for labor or 10 cents a row of corn hoed. The thing is we both knew we were only two paychecks from homelessness.  Something a lot of people don't realize until it happens.

With the selling off of our jobs overseas for the sake of increased profit through the use of Free Trade Agreements, destruction of unions, and general layoffs for further profitability the working class both blue and white collar are pretty well screwed.

Why have I stated the above? Because I believe in the answer to be in what Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed in 1944 just before he decided that a second bill of rights be initiated as a "Economic Bill of Rights." If you don't know what this is take time to learn. Start talking about it for it is a viable workable concept. Here is a link that you will find useful.

Over the next few blogs I would like to examine these few ideals that FDR proposed and has laid stagnant since his death.  Well enough of this.

Projects- books-movies

I have decided that the bookcase/TV.entertainment shelves will be out of dimensional lumber i.e. 1X12 for sides and shelves and 1/4inch plywood for the back. and will start to put the material together this week.

Books - Finished reading "Cliff Walk" by Bruce DeSilva and it was again wow. The ending like his first mystery left you wondering about justice and how it is applied. I have started a book by Philip Depoy called the "Devils' Hearth". glancing at briefly I have a feeling that it will be a book that I will back up several times to catch passages of it.

Movies - watched "Safe" another of Strahtam movie that was a thrill ride.from beginning to end. Also watched for our 39th anniversary the movie "The Words" my wife didn't care for it since it did not have a satisfactory ending at least one for her.

Until later take care.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Thoughts on Health Care

Recently I had a little scare that fortunately turned out to be nothing. But it did have me spend some quality time with health care professionals. Now most of the time I find doctors periodically need to be reminded that they serve you and not the other way around. They start feeling a little too self-important and forgetful of you as a human being. But still most of the time they are OK. But what I found out to be the most reveling is when you talk to their support staff.

Did you know that most Doctors do not offer any health care insurance to their staff. At best they treat them free of charge and give them meds from the free stuff they get from the sample bin. That means the very people who you see first before the doc that take your temps and try to make you comfortable and consequently exposed to a wide variety of infectious colds and flues have no reliable health care. I mean after all do you want your podiatrist treaty you for pneumonia?

I was also surprised of how many responded to my questions on how they felt about health care reform. The overwhelming number were for a universal health care or medicare type system for all.

It wasn't just because of their own perilous situation but because of the many they see that come through who have forgone treatment because they could not afford the basic care they needed until it became a matter of life and death.

Many scream about how they do not want socialize medicine as it will lead to rationing of health care. The truth again is we already ration health care. Either by simple inability to afford it or the meds or by the health insurance industry denying claims or services for any number of reasons mostly because it is industry standard to deny the claim on the first request.

I am one of the fortunately ones in that I am on Medicare and have taken advantage of their buy up insurance plan.. This means that I pay $0 to my Primary and only $20 to specialist. My meds of which I take 7 only cost me $4 apiece for $36 a month average. A recent colonscopy cost me only $20 and that included the removal of the benign tumor. Any lab work I have done cost me $0 and all of this for a fee of %99 a month. If we can do this for our seniors and disabled why cant we do this of all.

Now I know you are screaming at me saying this is the kind of thing that is breaking this country. But BS is BS and that is exactly what it is. When I was preparing to retire the City brought in a SSI specialist to advice those who were approaching that age. The rep a medicare specialist when asked if the system was in the process of going broke responded if we did not take anymore money in as of that date, 2009, and just used the money that was already collected the funds were enough to last until 2030 at the soonest.

So why are told of dire predictions of impending doom?

Because the system as it is setup right now does not set well with the elite for it is money they cant touch. So their mouthpieces set and scream about entitlement programs that are giving away Cadillacs to welfare moms and of impending doom if they do cut back or do away entirely of these programs take it back to pre 1930 days.

But they are right about one thing it is an entitlement program. But it is an entitlement program you are entitled to because you have earned it. Do not let these greedy SOB's take it away these programs that help feed the needy, educate our children, make our retirement possible, and health care fessible.

For more information and insight on the problems go to PBS Frontline and Bill Moyers and Company for a unique and eye opening info.
Well I have been on my soapbox long enough but pay attention and be ready to take to the streets if these bastards make a move on us. Finally never believe them when they tell you it is not personal for it ablsoutley is.


I have begun assembling a list of materials I will need for a bookcase/TV stand to replace the clunky old entertainment system we have right now. But first I need to finish the design of it and I can't seem to settle on a final configuration.

Reading the second novel of Bruce Desliva "Cliff Walk" and again I am amazed at how some books are just easy and fun to read and he seems to have the knack.

Netflix has been playing a lot into our TV movie viewing mostly the BBC series "The Last Detective" a great show of a man who receives little or no respect from his superiors or his peers but suprisingly solves the unwanted cases.