Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cough cough! Second hand smoke! Ban smokers?

Smokers versus non-smokers are squaring off and it's going to a vote right here in beautiful Baytown, Texas, a predominantly blue-collar town. The smokers feel their rights as Americans are at stake and the non-ex-smokers say the smokers are violating their air space and their health. Some want to stop smokers from smoking in public…any public. Smokers who own businesses want to make the call themselves without laws stopping them.

Here is another of my perspectives.

Raising the price and taxing the fire out of tobacco products is not going to stop anyone addicted to nicotine. I myself was addicted for many years, but haven't had a smoke in 30 years, or do I want one.

Back in the early 70's a company named Laredo marketed a cigarette machine and kit that allowed everyone to roll their own, so they didn't have to pay that exorbitant .50 per pack. Outside the USA those same Cigs went for .23 per pack, so with a little fancy 'rithmatic, it can be estimated that they were already marked up times 2+. The Laredo machine caused some unexpected results that were many times quite humorous, but that’s another story.

I feel just as strongly as any non-smoker about the smell and dangers of cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke.

Smokers know that smoking has no benefits. It's very expensive, it makes you and everything you come in contact with stink, you can't go anywhere without your smokes and lighter, it is dangerous to your health, you are an outcast everywhere because you smoke and the newest bad thing added to the list is it causes hypothermia on cold days! Smokers live for that smoke right after they eat, because that's as good as a cigarette tastes anytime.

Drunken smokers occasionally light the filtered end and find out later they smoked more than their daily allotment, because the next day they have sore throats. Check their shirts and there's burn marks and holes...also in the car and on the couch.

Yuppers! Smokers know all this better than anyone, but raising the price and causing the whole community to be divided over the issue is counter-productive. We need to be patient as a culture and keep educating the young people on the dangers of tobacco use.

The insidious addiction of tobacco usage cannot be dealt with socially by upping the price till it creates a black market.

Tobacco users are increasingly being viewed as criminals and the old question comes up: "What vice or enjoyment will be next?" I'm told in Golden Colorado, a homeowner cannot smoke on his or her own front porch because folks have taken second hand smoke to the extreme. Tobacco users know not to smoke in peoples face and they don’t spit tobacco juice where non-users will find it offensive.

We need education, not more dad-gum laws that only make people mad and lawyers richer. I've said this before and I'll say it again; if we are not careful, we are going to tune and refine until no one has any liberty or freedom left.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Congress initiates S. 3633 To require the withholding of United States contributions to the United Nations until the President certifies that the United Nations is not engaged in global taxation schemes.

It appears the United Nations has decided to once again make its move to tax the whole world including gasoline sales.

"The U.N. crowd has proposed an international tax on aviation fuel, a tax on airline tickets, taxes on international currency transactions, carbon use taxes, including a 4.8-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline, and other taxes on an extensive range of transactions, goods and services."

http://www.theorator.com/bills109/s3633.html

The world's richest Capitalists unite and globalize, globalize, globalize! Every time I hear that word, I shudder...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The ugly face of hatred

I would like to tell a personal experience story concerning prejudice as an example and as a learning experience to all who haven’t had it happen to them.

I was born in Toledo, Ohio, but my folks actually lived in south Michigan. It is and was an area much like Baytown as far as blue-collar workers are concerned. We were close to Ted Nugent and Kid Rock country, if that clarifies anything. When I was in junior high, we moved down to Georgia to a little town of under 1000 when my Dad went to work for Lockheed building the C5A military jet.

Woodstock Georgia is now a modern city with multi-million dollar homes and all the accouterments of any thriving city, but in 1967 it was still in the 1930’s in some respect. Many folks did not have indoor plumbing and the anti-Yankee hatred was very much alive. To their credit, the carpetbaggers had raped the south, but that was 100 years in the past. Old prejudices die slowly.

We lived about ¾ of mile out of town on the second hill. The first hill was “nigger-town” and my three brothers and I in our naiveté played baseball with the black kids. This gave us the dual stigma of being Yankees AND “nigger-lovers”. One fall evening, one of our black friends hit the cover off our only baseball. He said he had one at home, up on the hill, so together we went to get it. Now bear in mind north Georgia gets very cold at night in the Fall and Winter and when we came close to his house, I noticed all the windows in every house was knocked out and there were blankets over them.

I asked my friend why they didn’t have windows and he told me in a lowered voice while looking at the ground “at night the bad white people drive through here and shoot the windows out”. I was shocked senseless and this has never left me. I saw many, many episodes of racism in north Georgia in the 2 years I lived there and too much of it was directed towards my brothers and I. I was eventually beaten literally senseless at school and left in the hall only to awake and see the teacher at her desk with her eyes on her paper.

I staggered to my feet and entered the class as everyone sat in total silence. I told the teacher I needed medical attention and without looking up, she passed me a permission slip. I called my mother who lived 20 miles away and she took me to the doctor’s office in our little town for attention. The only high note in the whole affair was the 19-year-old sophomore who was paid to whip a Yankee, broke his hand on my face and I in desperation had landed quite a few also and he ended up in worse shape than me. By default I actually won and this victory carried me safely along until I moved to St. Louis.

I would like to add a note to this true account. Georgia also had/has many very good people and to this day I am in touch with them on a daily basis through a mailing list I administer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Can one person make a difference?

The plan: Target one or more people for today's quest.

1. How can I make this person's day? Plan it.
2. Execute your plan
3. Write back here and let us in on the results using the comments section.
4. Reward yourself for making a difference.
Ideas:
1. Drop them a line and encourage them.
2. Help out a stranger.
3. Compliment someone you don't like and be sincere.
4. Buy a card and mail it.
5. Send an arrangement or flowers.

Good fortune and God bless!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Humor - Question of the day!

Woke up this morning about 0330 and decided to see if I had an email from my son in Iraq (didn't) and it was raining like crazy. I could hear my little dog whining from behind my door, so I let her out. Suddenly we had a bright flash of lightning and my doggie started hopping around by the window.


The lightning/thunder had scared her and she wet on the floor. This is the second time in a month she's done this when we had loud thunder. I took her immediately outside, but she wanted no part of all that rain and ran off into the house, ears back as if scared.


About this time the air-raid sirens went off at the end of the street. This is the Seek-immediate-indoor-shelter alarm the city put up in case we have a tornado, or a chemical plant excursion. All of a sudden through the pounding rain I hear 'BLAM' and my daughter comes out of her room and asks what was that noise?


I look in front of the house and a car has ran into the pine tree I planted about 10 years ago. I see two young people standing in front of the house and the girl is crying. I call 911 and they want me to confirm if anyone is actually hurt, which I can't do, as the young people are walking around in the rain with cell phones to their ears.


Anyway, the siren keeps going off and people are coming out of their houses to see what is going on and I look down and my legs are covered in mosquitoes. This is the worst outbreak I've seen of skeeters in years!


So, the cops come and in the meantime, I recognize the boy (21 years old) as a kid I taught Karate to about 10 years ago and he told me he lost control around the corner in the rain when his car skidded. We got all that settled and they towed his car to his house. I went out a couple of minutes ago to look at the damage and there was a copperhead laying on top of the water meter.


My question is this: Do these pants make my butt look big?

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

I had an appointment this week at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to have an echocardiogram, which by the way is an EKG ti...