November 10, 2011

What It Means to Be a Veteran

I've been thinking all day about what it means to be a veteran of the United States military.

To me, it's being in an exclusive club -- the finest, most exclusive club ever. It's knowing that, no matter how bad things may get in my life, I will have someone, another vet, around to listen and understand.

It means I've lived in the certainty that, even if I didn't like another sailor or soldier or airman, or he, me, if things got serious, we could count on each other, perhaps even to death.

It means having lost brothers or sisters in horrible ways the majority of Americans cannot imagine. Being a veteran also is friendships that'll never be lost, even if you never see that person again, or speak to him or her.

You might say I come from a military family, but not in the traditional sense. My dad's dad was in the Canadian Army, I recently learned. One of his older brothers, my great-uncle Jesse, was a U.S. Naval officer in WWI. In WWII, both my mom's younger brothers were in the Navy, as well, as SeaBees (Construction Battalion) island-hopping across the Pacific with the Marines. My dad quit high school and joined the Navy as well after Pearl Harbor. I have a cousin who, like me, is a Vietnam-era vet. He was a Marine with an in-country tour under his belt. I had other friends who served. Some of them died; some served, but have never told me. Nonetheless, they all served honorably, my dad through the end of the Korean War.

I never had a chance to talk to my gran'pa or great uncle about their experiences. They died when I was very young. Only one time did I ever hear my dad or his brothers-in-law talk to any extent about their war experiences. They just didn't say much about 'em. But one night when I was in junior high school, we had a get-together at our house, and as always, the women stayed in the kitchen chatting while the men moved to another room.

They popped a couple of bottle tops and began sharing their experiences. I overheard a few things, but they gently shooed me towards the TV as the conversation grew deeper. What I saw, and what little I heard that night, were three men, not especially close in their daily lives, sharing a common experience probably none of their other friends could. I gathered that all three saw some pretty heavy action. That night, they opened up and talk about things they'd probably held inside for years.

That night, they were talking to people, other vets, you see, who would understand. There was a bond in the room, and I could feel it.

My situation was different. I was what I call a "support sailor." Not a minute of six years' active duty was aboard a ship (if you don't count the USS Neversail in San Diego). I worked in communications. It was my job, along with all the other men I worked with, to ensure that the guys doing the grunt work got the best information available as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Most of the time, it seemed a long way between what I did and the men out front. But I was around enough deep-water sailors and combat-tested Marines to respect them more than I can express. When I look back -- and I know every one of those I worked with feel the same way -- I am very proud of any small part I may have had in helping those who laid everything on the line.

Blessedly, my son and daughter did not have to answer the call I and my forebears did. Maybe their children will, however, who knows? Regardless, I pray that they will respect, and pass on that respect of, our Americans in uniform. Ours is a citizen army, perhaps the only ongoing such force the world has known. It's been that way from the beginning, because we as a nation have called upon our people to serve in times of need -- and they answered, "Yes."

So mostly, I guess, being a veteran means serving the nation, unselfishly, because it's needed. For this, if nothing else, all veterans, every one, deserve our respect -- and our thanks.

Thank God they're among us! So, maybe I'll just dance...!

July 3, 2011

Our New Patriotism?

I'm a Vietnam-era vet. Independence Day, July 4, means a lot to me. So does the Flag and the National Anthem.

When I was in the Navy in the late '60s-early '70s, I wasn't that way. In fact, I and other of my fellow sailors often went to extremes to keep our situation hidden.

I knew one guy who almost never had his hair trimmed except on his neck. He'd comb it straight back and plaster it on the top and sides with gobs of Dippity Do, and he'd have his neck hair "blocked" only. While he was on duty, then, his hair was cemented in place, and the officers and senior petty officers would pretend they didn't notice. After his watch, he'd wash his hair and basically have a bowl haircut. I guess he felt that was acceptable to his non-Navy friends, and it eased his paranoia.

I knew another sailor who worried so much about what his civilian friends thought of his military service, he had a nervous breakdown and was medically discharged. He apparently never found a way to cope.

Like most everyone else I knew who was not in it for the long haul -- we ridiculed them, unfairly I know now, as "lifers" -- I too stretched the dress and grooming regulations as far as I could. I'm sure, though, that even when we weren't in uniform, people easily recognized us as military. But many of us first-termers suffered from the very real fear of being scorned, or worse, for being a part of such an unpopular war. We were afraid the average American hated us, and stretching the regs helped. It was one way to deal with the times.

And my part of the military, communication and support, suffered little bias compared to the marines, soldiers and airmen we knew --those who saw the real action. Though indirectly, we hurt for our fellow G.I.s who, usually after a couple of beers, would tell with a shrug how he'd been called names, spat at or, occasionally, even had something thrown at him as he walked through a West Coast airport, perhaps upon his return from WestPac.

Thank God, very little of that occurs in our nation today. There is a new sense of patriotism in the country that was deeply buried during Vietnam. We now have a renewed sense of national pride.

Having said that, I am a bit worried.

I see people recognizing and thanking our military men and women almost everywhere I go. (Maybe not during Black Friday, 'cause they'd be preoccupied with trampling each other over the post-Thanksgiving bargains. But I stay away from stores during that time, so I don't really know....)

Anyway, I'm extremely pleased that Americans today have again realized the sacrifices our military personnel and their families are making for us. And I believe we need to do more than just superficially thank them. I've seen too many examples of the hardships families go through when one or both of the spouses are called to active duty. I certainly do NOT believe Uncle Sugar is the panacea for every social ill. I do think, however, that if we call upon that portion of our citizens to serve us the way the military does, we need to make it right with them and their families while they serve, and reward them upon their return.

Currently, we're only giving 'em lip service.

I'm a middle-of-the-road-type guy, with leanings perhaps more to the right than left. And while I celebrate the patriotic revival the U.S. is experiencing, I see its darker side, too. Some are using it in ways that border on shameful.

For example, I disagree with most of the stuff currently espoused by liberals, or progressives, if you wanna call 'em that. But I am not and WILL NOT believe that all of those who do not agree with my points of view are un-American! I may believe they're misguided, perhaps foolish, and it seems too many times lately, dumber than a box of rocks. But I DON'T go along with the "America, love it or leave it" attitude too many of us are spouting today. That's too darn close to the attitude I saw too many examples of during the Vietnam era. Too many people were blindly following an administration's policies that arguably were dragging/pushing us ever closer to fascism.

This Independence Day, I see too many Americans NOT thinking for themselves. Instead, they seem again to be BLINDLY following someone or a group of someones claiming love of country as their motivation and wrapped in the flag of convenient patriotism. I see Americans looking across a political gulf and pointing fingers, playing the blame game; even hating other Americans who don't share their views. And it doesn't matter which end of the political spectrum they're on.

It is MY duty, as it is YOURS, to criticize the injustice, unfairness and illegalities we see in our nation. Because I see something differently from you, however, doesn't mean YOU are subversive and I am infallible, or vice versa. As Christians are charged to "love the sinner, hate the sin," we Americans are charged to respect each other, dislike the viewpoint.

Putting this nation together, the Founding Fathers didn't see eye to eye by any stretch of the imagination. We don't need to, either.

Far Left, Far Right, Conservatives, Liberals, Progressives, Moderates, Radicals, Tea Party-ers, Democrats, Republicans:


...If you don't we won't have anyplace, or any reason, to dance....

June 19, 2011

My Dad

In just a few minutes, it'll be Fathers' Day 2011.

Come November, Dad will be gone 20 years. I wish he was still here, but I also know he's in a better place than he ever could have imagined while he lived.

Dad would have been 87 last March 1. If he was still alive, those intervening years would have been hard on him. He was a diabetic with an insatiable sweet tooth. He'd already had bypass surgery, necessary the surgeon said, solely because he had smoked for 40-some years. When he was just a young man, around 30, I think, he'd had his back broken in an auto accident and it hurt him to spend extended periods on his feet. Additionally, five or six years before he died, Dad had fallen off a ladder while pruning the big tree in his front yard and broken his neck. Not in a way that threatened paralysis, but, probably due to his age, it never completely knitted.

I'd much rather have Dad around today, possible health problems notwithstanding, than not have him. But knowing him, Dad probably would not have wanted to live his last years with ever-lessening capabilities.

Dad was a proud man, you see. He came from a dirt-poor background, and told me several times that he did things in his youth he was not proud of. But he felt he had to, to get money to help feed his younger three sisters and brother. Although he never said so, I've long suspected that Dad didn't really get much of a childhood. And what he'd had, he never would have settled for his children.

That's not any sort of indictment of his mother and father. It was just the way things were. Different time, different mores, different values.

Dad was a quiet man, too. Never said much. When he did, though, my sisters and I took note. Intently. He was short, about 5'6", but he was stout. All shoulders and chest. When I was about 16, maybe, I had a pretty good mouth on me. One particular day, Mom and I had been having words. When Dad got home from work, she'd apparently talked to him. So, when Mom said something to me and I answered -- to this day, I don't remember what it was -- Dad was primed. As I walked by, he reached out with one hand, grabbed me by the shirt collar, lifted me off the floor and held me against the wall. I was just under six feet and probably 135 pounds.

"What did you say?" he asked.

I can't tell you what I replied as his eyes burned into mine. However, I can tell you what I thought -- and this is it exactly -- "I'm gonna DIE!"

That was the last conflict we ever had. Dad taught me that day, that no matter how big I got or how feeble and shrunken my parents might grow, they'd always get my respect.

Dad taught me so much more, as well. Patience, for example. He loved to fish, and we went at every chance, up until I got interested in team sports. By that time, though, I'd learned to sit quietly and pay attention to things.

Dad could fix just about anything, too. He'd had to. Growing up in the Depression meant not having the luxury of buying a new whatever-it-was when the old one broke, or even being able to pay a repairman. I didn't realize it at the time, but all those years I spent as his gopher -- "Go get me a 5/16 wrench." "Which one's that?" "It's the one in the box." "I can't find it" ...and etc. -- I was learning. Watching Dad, I learned not to be intimidated by an unfamiliar task. 
Dad taught me, as I like to say today, just enough about _____ to get myself in trouble. And just enough to get out again.

Dad was my hero. He was also my buddy, my advisor, my protector. At various times, I feared him, but I respected him, as well. Even when I thought he was being unfair or stubborn, I knew he was doing the best he could. And I loved him for that.

One of these days, don't know when, I'll get to see him again. Until then, I remember him on Fathers' Day, and thank the Lord Dad was in my life.

And maybe I'll just dance....

May 22, 2011

Media, I Have Faith in You

My previous ramblings tried to put the recent failed doomsday predictions in humorous light. I had to. Too many things about them were just, well, laughable.

For example, my friend Barbie mentioned her minister saw an interviewer ask one of those rapture-prophets for all his money. You know, since the doomsayer obviously wouldn't need it. The man quickly changed the subject and was gone -- as in hauled arse gone. I don't care who you are, that there's funny.

Now, though, I want to be serious.

As a former journalist (newspaper reporter/editor/photog, depending on when and where), the coverage of this alleged "news event" bothers me. Number one is that it was waaay over-reported. The story deserved one, maybe twomentions in the "legitimate" news media; maybe not that many. I mean, the "prophet" that got the most press is a self-styled biblical expert who has made the same predictions again and again. I guess that means he's credible? Riiight.

What did the story receive? How 'bout two weeks worth of daily coverage? Wasn't that sorta like putting a pig on stilts, calling it a thoroughbred and running it in the Kentucky Derby?

For the most part, I've avoided discussing religion here in the Chronicles, largely because I see this blog as a fun thing. I'm not what some call a "Bible-pounder." I'm not one to hit others between the eyes with my spiritual beliefs, and I don't particularly want to deal with whatever controversy or criticism such discussion might spur. The whole coverage of that non-event, however, really irritated me. What chafed my behind most was how it treated Christians.

So, this is my blog, and I'm gonna talk about it. It's important.

If you haven't guessed, I'm a Christian. I also sin. A lot. No matter how hard I try not to. I'm also hypocrital, self-righteous, self-centered and selfish. I'm greedy, glutton-y, arrogant at times, lazy and sloth-like at other times. As Jimmy Carter once confessed, I have lusted in my heart -- more times than I can ever count. I'm not a Bible expert, nor do I pretend to be. I've not even read it through, although I did listen to it on CD once. Took me a whole year.

In short, I'm all theses thing, and less. As far as I know, all Christians are. We try to do right, but we constantly fail.  Jesus established His church for us. And thank God He did! Churches are filled with us sinners.

Why do I bring this up? Because in reading, listening to and watching the circus that this "event's" coverage became, it seemed to me that it quickly evolved from amusing, to ridicule, to indictment. As the designated day approached, it seemed too many reporters assumed a subtle attitude that told their audience, "Those damn crazy Christians are at it again, the right-wing nuts." In other words, the coverage seemed to shift intent and direction.

Before my media friends get their bowels in an uproar, no, I cannot cite specifics. I don't remember any. But I do remember on several occasions sensing subtle reporter hostility. If you closely watch those who communicate for a living, or focus on their words, you soon realize that just a small gesture, slight expression change, or the choice of one word over another can have a massive effect. It can slant a story. We see it all the time on TV, because visual clues are easier to detect than written. A slight smile here, a raised eyebrow there....

I'm not saying that all newspeople intentionally slant their information. Time demands, unconscious peer influence, workplace attitude all enter into it. But I have known, and know still, several reporters guilty of it. And of these, there were more than a couple who were recognized and honored for their "professionalism."

I submit such behavior is prejudicial. You don't see TV reporters smirk when reporting aberrant Mideast (read Moslem terrorist) behavior. Over time, such clues build an impression with the public that all Christians are Republicans, judgemental pharisees and spend their time looking under rocks for others' sins. Come to think of it, that's sorta like political and investigative reporters, except for the Republican part.... (Oops. I'm being judgemental. What did I tell you about Christians falling short? I'm an example.)

The rapture myth that's been sold to the public is non-Biblical, and the majority of mainstream Christians don't even give it a thought. You wouldn't know that from most of what you saw or read in the past week or two. That fallacy wasn't even addressed until late in the game.

What happened? I think a certain number of the media are, perhaps not just anti-Christian, but anti-religion. And although they may truly pride themselves on their objectivity, they never are truly bias-free. That perhaps is more apparent when they deal with Christian and religious topics, because anti-religious sentiment seems on the rise in our nation.

I don't want the news media promoting my version of Christianity, or even religion. I don't want to force my faith on anyone. My role is just to live a Christian life and let that speak for me. I'd like my media friends, however, to be honest with themselves and to recognize their prejudices, as we all should. We all have biases. We're human. I want the nation's newspeople to stop painting those of faith all with the same brush.

I want members of the media, at all levels, really to think about their responsibility to, not only to their audiences, but those about whom they write. I want them to consider the consequences of what they say and how they say it. Most do. But not all.

I want media "stars" to reconnect with the average person. They're above it all. Some of them have no reason to feel justified and infallible, and I want them to take greater responsibility. Almost every reporter I've ever met sees him/herself as a servant of the public. I want them to start acting like one. They can do it!

Then, maybe we all can just dance....

May 20, 2011

Read This While You Still Can!

Several things about the End of the World, which some say will be here soon (read, "tomorrow")....

For starters, none of the self-proclaimed "experts" and "prophets" seem to agree on just when the Great Creator is gonna pull the plug. I cannot begin to tell you how many nutcases have predicted the End of Times, Judgement Day, Doomsday, etc.
 The latest "prediction," if you wanna call it that, is either tomorrow, May 21, 2011, or Dec. 12, 2012. Both dates are based on the Mayan calendar, which I understand ended every 50 years.

Hmh.... There's something odd about basing a doomsday scenario on the calendar of a long-gone civilization. Especially one that saw the end of the world occurring every half century, yet apparently still flourished hundreds of years. Perhaps that's not the most reliable basis for an accurate prediction. Ya think?

If Doomsday -- let's be clear, it's not the Rapture. The Rapture is the Christian Judgment Day. If Doomsday occurs Dec. 12, 2012, we have a whole year and two-thirds to get the biggest things emptied from our buckets. For my part, I'm gonna do my Christmas shopping early and celebrate the holiday Dec. 11. Plus, I might throw a Boll Weevil party to commemorate the day in 1919 when they raised a monument to the bug in Enterprise, AL. Either way, it'll be the first time in my life when I won't have a pile of holiday bills coming due in January.

For the purposes of this blog, though, let's say tomorrow is D-Day (Cue eerie music: wooOOH-weee-OOoooo....). Let me offer you some things you might be able to accomplish -- IF you hurry!

1. The first, obviously, is not paying your bills. As an addendum, you might wanna run up your VISA card as high as you can. In fact, run up every credit card you have!

2. Don't just empty all your bank accounts, cash in every CD, bond or anything else you can. And put the cash on your kitchen table at home.

3. Write enough rubber checks that you'll enter Eternity known as Mr. or Ms. Goodyear -- or at least, the Latex King/Queen.

4. Now's the perfect time to tell your boss what you REALLY think of him/her.

5. You know that neighbor's barking dog that keeps you awake all night every night? You won't get another opportunity to rent the biggest P.A. system you can find and blast "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha" into his bedroom all night long tonight.

6. Eat two hotdogs with everything just before you hit the gym this afternoon, then when Mr. or Ms. Lookdon'tyawishyouwereme shakes his/her glutes in your face, it won't take much to upchuck all over his/her biker shorts and designer cross-trainers.

7. Invite every relative, friend or casual acquaintance who has ever tried to involve you in Tupperware, Amway, Mary Kay or any other multilevel or pyramid marketing to Home-made Brownie Party. Make the icing out of Ex-Lax. Urge them to eat up; then send them home -- quickly.

8. Tell that person in your office with the chronically bad breath or B.O. to brush and take a shower.

9. If you happen to be at a bathing suit-appropriate venue and see that individual with the 50-gallon-capacity beer gut in a bikini or Speedo, now's the time to tell him/her exactly how much you admire their choice in beach/pool wear.

10. Rent a limo -- better yet, charter a plane -- and treat your main squeeze to the most expensive restaurant you can find. And tip like you own Fort Knox.

11. If you live in a large metropolitan area, take a Bugatti Veyron ($1.7 million list price) for a test spin. Don't return.

If, however, you're on the conservative side and are absolutely convinced we'll all pay for our excesses and extravagances in the afterlife, just hie yourself to the nearest church and meditate in your "final" hours.

I believe we can't know when the End will be. Therefore, please leave your door open and your liquor cabinet unlocked. And don't forget the cash.

...And maybe I'll be dancing there when you return!

May 8, 2011

Thanks, Mom!

Mom, it's almost 6 p.m. on the downhill side of Mother's Day, and I just wanted to sneak in a few lines before I go work out.

We didn't get up early enough this morning to eat anything, so Wife didn't get breakfast in bed again this year. You'll be happy to know, however, we did make early service, and we stayed for bible study. And the church roof didn't even fall in! Afterward, the In-laws, Daughter and Son-in-law -- they've been married a year now -- and Wife and I all went out for lunch.

As I get older, I find that Sunday morning services become more important. And although I no longer have to run the rat-race, the renewal those couple of hours provide me one day a week really does help me make it through the other five.

Growing up, I know we didn't attend church, um, "religiously" as a family -- and too many of the times we did, it was a real hair-puller for you. I'm sure getting us three kids out of bed and out the door to make it on time, especially when we got to be teenagers, wasn't exactly how you preferred to begin your Sundays. But you never gave up, and I for one am glad you didn't. I had absolutely no thought of the trials we were putting you through those Sunday mornings, which I can see now were terribly stressful for you when they should have been the opposite.

And I look back and marvel at how patient you and Dad were to get us to church at all. I knew Dad's days off were Sunday and Monday, but it never registered with me that you actually only had one day a week together, and you were sacrificing a good part of it to help the three of us build our faiths.

I know you must have burnt a lot of prayers seeking the restraint not to strangle us before we got out the door. So I just want to say how much I appreciate your persistence in grounding us in that faith.

I wish I could have hugged you and Dad at Daughter's and Son-in-Law's wedding last year, and but circumstances didn't allow it. But I know you both saw how beautiful and loving a bride she made. And she is married to a fine young man. I know you like him.

Mom, you remember that Son and His Fiancee now are engaged, don't you? To a wonderful girl. Intelligent, loving and beautiful. He made a good choice -- or maybe she did, that's for them to decide, I guess. They haven't set a date yet, but I'm sure when they finally do tie the knot, that’ll be just as joyous and beautiful an occasion.

I couldn't let Mother's Day go by without letting you know just how much My Sisters and I truly appreciate the sacrifices you made for us. I'm ashamed we weren't better behaved and as cooperative and helpful as we should have been. And I want you to know that all those times when I was growing up that I was sure you were trying to make my life hell, I now know you were doing what you did out of unconditional love.

You’ve been gone more than eight years no, and Dad more than 20. I really miss you both, and at times if I could, I'd still pick your brains for advice. Many things have gone on that you've been unable to take part in, but I know that you've been a part of. I just wanted to express my appreciation and love to you this Mother's Day and let you know as best I can how thankful I am that you are my mother.

I won't wish you a Happy Mother's Day, because I know each and every of your days are infinitely happier than any I could wish for you. Keep watching us. If nothing else, we should be able to give you a good chuckle every so often.

I love you, Mom. One day, I hope to tell you in person again.

Until then, maybe I'll just dance....

May 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Apple: Dance with the Guy What Brung You

Dear Mr. Apple, Ms. Macintosh, Mr. Jobs, et al:

I LOVE Apple products! I've been a staunch user and advocate 22 years. The first one I ever encountered was at work, a Macintosh IIci with a 16MHz Motorola 68030 CPU with 24 MB memory and 40MB hard drive. My first home computer was a Mac Quadra 610.

Today, I drive an iMac 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 2 GB memory and a 300 GB hard drive. Admittedly, by current standards that's not a particularly hot machine, although it's more-than-fine for my needs. It is, however, waaay beyond what used to be.

At work, we slowly climbed the Mac product ladder as more effective models became available. After several years, though, office politicians replaced our department's Macs with Windows-based machines. Smart move, huh?  I was sickened.

From the start, Apple's machines had been easy to use. Now, that's called "intuitive." To me, it was simply fun. But with PCs, what had been uncomplicated, single-keystroke tasks suddenly became more difficult to accomplish -- IF they could be done at all. It was asinine for us to lose our most effective tools just so some Mac-hater "boss" could build his little fiefdom.

But I digress....

From the beginning, Apple focused on the consumer. It took a highly complex machine that only a mathmetician could understand and made it so Joe the Plumber or Joe the Car Salesman or Joe the Teacher, or even Joe the Business Exec, could use it. And that leads us to here ==> X.

Too often in life, success breeds failure -- that is, when we reach our goals, we tend to become satisfied, lazy, arrogant, smug, maybe even feel entitled. And that's what's happening to Apple. You're forgetting "to dance with the guy what brung ya."  More and more often, I see your company Microsoftizing itself. You're turning inward and working for each other instead of your user base.

 (I despise that word, "user." Ughh! Images of some unshowered pimple-faced geek sitting at his computer in his underwear drooling over online porn. But I guess it's the best term we have currently....)

Back to my point: Your highly useful calender/appointments application iCal was released in '02. Immediately, we, your loyal customers, found its font sizes too small. And we had no way to adjust them. That was nine years ago, Folks, and you've done nothing to fix it!

The same goes for your excellent Mail, Address Book, iPhoto and iTunes applications. And the text in the Apple Store. We have no simple way adequately to adjust the size of the fonts in any of these areas. In fact, most of your native OS applications' inherent fonts cannot be adjusted. The "solutions" we're given -- preference options, universal access and changing screen resolution -- are impractical and troublesome, as well. We can't increase the size of the type in the OS menu bar, either. (We could in your earlier machines. PCs can.) We can change the font size in the Help function. Why can't we also do it in these other instances?

Now, these problems are not a major catastrophes. But let's put them in context:

We Baby Boomers are consuming your products at a greater rate than ever. We're quickly becoming computer literate, and we're also probably the ones who employ apps like iCal, and perhaps even, Address Book, more often. Because we're older, more settled, entrenched in our lives and have more to keep track of.

Through the years, your products have been superior, so we haven't minded that you generally have charged a premium for them. We figure you get what you pay for. But loyalty only goes so far.

Your employees in Cupertino undoubtedly are young and dynamic. They probably all can read itty-bitty type. An increasing number of us, your customers, cannot, however. We've learned from the younger generations, though; we communicate with one another, and we have long memories. We don't appreciate being blown off because we're older.

We, your loyal customers, are really disappointed that you have chosen to ignore things that seem trivial to you, but are quite important to us. We believe that customer service is a footing for long-term business success.

So, it just seems like the smart thing to do is to shift your focus a bit. I may be wrong, but it's probably more important that you cater some to your customers rather than wows your peers. If your clientele leaves, can your employees buy enough product to keep Apple afloat? We, your loyal customers, have simple wants. You're neglecting them. Don't you think it's smarter to "dance with the guy what brung you?"

Then, we'll be happy, and maybe we all can just dance....

Scurvy McBeady,

April 27, 2011

It's about time!

Let me begin by saying I am not a "birther."

In spite of their general left tilt, I believe our national news media sufficiently micro-examines presidential candidates. Perhaps with prompting from their few conservative members, the media would have reluctantly told us by now if Barak Obama was not constitutionally qualified to be president of the United States.

As of yet, they have not. Today, the White House finally released what has to be seen as the definitive document proving that the president indeed is U.S. citizen by birth. Case closed, he's qualified.

But is he "qualified?" Heck, no! He's the most inept president since Jimmy Carter (for whom, I confess, I voted and later regretted). But that' fodder for another time....

When I learned his people had released his Certificate of Live Birth, which shows he was born in Kapiolani Maternity & Gyn. Hospital in Hawaii, my first thought was, "What the heck took so long?"

The fact that the president has watched this controversy and until now only fought release of information speaks volumes. By his own admission, the question has been floating around for two-and-a-half years! You'd think that at least ONE of his advisors/handlers would have noticed that it had legs, as they say in spin circles, and was not gonna go away.

At this morning's announcement, however, he noted that he'd watched with "amusement" and was "puzzled" by the controversy. But why wouldn't people want to know, once the question was raised? Think about it. He was the first candidate for U.S. president -- at least in the modern era and maybe ever -- with strong blood ties to a foreign nation, and the first one who spent a significant part of his childhood outside the U.S. Why wouldn't we want to make sure he was constitutionally eligible?

Rather than addressing the issue head on, Mr. Obama danced around it, then later bowed up and refuse to produce any acceptable evidence. This morning, he called any interest in the question "silliness" for which we had no time. The whole thing was propagated, he indicated, by "sideshows and carnival barkers."

Granted, most people probably accepted that he was, indeed, legally eligible for the presidency. And he was right this morning: now, we can go on and deal with the nation's business. Still, the question had been raised, and it should have been answered definitively. Silliness? Perhaps, but not to a significant number or Americans who hold the Constitution sacred. We legitimately wanted to know.

His attitude toward the whole controversy was dismissive and arrogant. Even this morning, Mr. Obama's comments spotlighted his total disregard for people's concerns. His is a let-them-eat-cake mindset -- and his stubbornness regarding his citizenship questions has been an irresponsible waste of time, effort, and worse, taxpayers' money.

I had prayed after he was elected that Mr. Obama would grow into a competent and excellent president. That has not yet happened. He showed that at today's announcement. Once again, he showed us his nature: the typical two-bit pandering, ward-heeler Chicago politician.

Maybe he'll change. I hope so. We need a good president. But if he does not, I guess I'll just dance....