Sunday, January 28, 2018

All Dogs go to Heaven

There was an animated movie we saw many years earlier with the name of the title of this blog.  We now take comfort in these words as we prepare for our dog, Lola, to go to heaven tomorrow.  Nearly 15 years ago this little bucket of love was brought into our lives.  She was joined by her half-sister, Zena, who arrived a year earlier and left us for heaven two years ago.

Both were Yellow Labs, but very different.  Zena, was an over-weight puge-cake with a square face and had to lay atop us.  She never saw herself as the 80lb pooch she was, but a 7lb puppy.  She would run from a Chiwawa, but demand her spot on the bed or couch.  Comfort was her motto and love her mission.  She also fancied herself an Olympic athlete…a swimmer or track star, though her body was more of the sumo wrestler variety.

Lola, was brilliant and masterful.  As a puppy, we had contained her to the entrance area of the house during her house training. However, whenever we left the house we would return to find Lola had done the great escape and left little presents – evidence of her Houdini-like abilities – all over the house.  But how?  She was too small to jump the fence and too big to slip through the fence openings. One day, as we returned home, the question was answered.  We peered through the glass door to watch Lola climbing the fence!

Lola was the athlete.  Always 10lbs lighter than Zena - she was Air Lola.  She would hurdle over a 4ft wave as she jumped to fetch the toy in the ocean.  She was never on top of us like Zena, she always lay by our side.  She was the first to learn and the first to please.

As time passed, the jumps became hops and runs became long walks that are now short.  She is thin, but not frail.  Alert and not deaf.  But she has a large tumor to which nature calls.

There are tears as we write this as a burdensome sadness washes over us.  Our hearts ache and fingers shake, but we know it is time.  Any longer is but our selfish desire not to let go.

We brace ourselves for the morrow, but rejoice her life today.  The weekend we have.  The long goodbye we take comfort.  With this writing we share the blessing of her life.  The wonders of a family.  The joys of so many memories.

So, dear Lola, we’ll be gathered tonight, as so many before, around the television with you at our side.  We’ll watch a movie, stroke your head, and give you an extra helping of kisses for tomorrow morning you’ll depart, and with tearing eyes, we’ll press our lips to your head for a final goodnight. All this while remembering that all dogs go to heaven!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Real Character vs. Pretenders

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article of a woman, Autherine Lucy Foster, in the January 5th article by Bob Green, The University of Alabama Earns a Victory Over an Ugly History, that mentioned a plaque of Foster that was unveiled on the campus of the University of Alabama. 

In 1956, Foster wanted to become a teacher and go to the University of Alabama.  She believed this school to be the top in the state and, from that degree, she would gain a full-time teaching position. UA accepted Foster, but upon learning she was not white, rescinded the acceptance. 

Foster went to court and won the right to attend and, on her first day of class, was met with angry and threatening crowds.  Three days later, she was suspended for “her own safety”.  Undeterred, Foster went back to court, but UA now expelled her based on her arguments in court.

As the story unfolds, she did work as a teacher and eventually did go on to and receive a Master’s degree from the University of Alabama in 1992 . . . and on the same day her daughter graduated as well. 

Courage, yes. Determination, unquestionably.

Now Compare Foster to Ashley Judd and those of her ilk who are “Hollywood Hero’s” after they came forward…but only after the brave had cleared the path.  Once they’ve gotten theirs, with strong voices and shaking fists, they speak against the “evil” that once lay before them, but said nothing about.

So, let’s raise a glass to toast real character and courage.  This is one statue we admire, not for the color of skin or gender of body, but of spirit of character and determination.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Enemy of the People

Patrick Caddell, a former Democratic Party public opinion pollster who worked for Democratic President Jimmy Carter, gave an impassioned lecture on September 29, 2012, at a conference sponsored by Accuracy in Media, where he decried the media, for its bias in elections, as a threat to democracy and said: 
The press’ job is to stand the ramparts and protect the people from organized government and governmental power, when they desert those ramparts and go to (one) side they decide to become active participants … to decide what truths you may know and what you may not … then they have made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy and made themselves an enemy to the American people.

Most major news outlets are at war against President Donald Trump, as is he with them.  Trump speaks of fake news as anything from the press that is unflattering about him.  The press speaks of fake news as anything that does not originate from them.  The former is ego and the latter is arrogance.  The former is for the consumption by a political base, but the latter, as shrouded in bias, is the sophistry of deceit.

For example, MSNBC was reporting this week on the Fusion GPS dossier with the caption: No fact in the dossier has been proven incorrect.  Let’s examine this phrase regarding the dossier that is a collage of allegations regarding Trump’s activities with Russia.  First, an allegation is not a fact, meaning it has not been proven correct.  However, the caption positions the dossier as factual, which has not been proven.  It then follows with a negative proof: there is no proof that anything in the dossier is wrong.  A negative proof means that everything in the dossier is therefore correct until proven wrong.  This reasoning is both faulty and dishonest. The press puts on display their blatant and extreme bias developed to mislead an audience to a conclusion that has not been supported by fact.  And accordingly, as Caddell writes, the press is an enemy of the people.

In the end, the media is not bound by law or oath to be fair, complete, or correct . . . and they are not nor have been since the beginning of the Republic.  The press has always been a hot bed of prejudice.  Therefore, it is and always has been, our responsibility, and vigilant citizens, to find the facts and reason a judgment . . . that is the requirement of responsible citizenship.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

SEC Football Championship

With the College Football National Championship on the line this coming week, we compliment the selection committee for their choice in the final four.  After all the bowl games were completed, their decision to put two SEC teams in the finals against the Big12 and ACC were justified…and certainly correct.

We viewed - with much delight, we might add - as the SEC underdog, South Carolina Gamecocks, dealt the Big 10 its only loss in bowl games.  South Carolina came back from a 19 to 3 score with only some 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter to force 5 turnovers and pound Michigan with 23 unanswered points to win the game 26 to 19.  Not to mention, it was a repeat Outback Bowl win over Michigan…Go Gamecocks!

We make no effort to hide our SEC roots, so gleefully, we join the PAC 12, Big 12, Big 10, and ACC Power Conferences who will be at home to watch an all SEC championship match-up tomorrow . . . the way it should be!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

As we step into the New Year of 2018, we leave a curious 2017 filled with economic and political contradictions.

Unemployment as presented in the media (U3 index) was about 4% but the broader measure of unemployment (U6) was double that of 8%.  Workforce participation remained fixed at 62.7% which was the same as in January 2016, as well as, December of 1977.  The election of President Trump was supposed to create a stock market collapse, so said Nobel economist Paul Krugman, but since the election the stock market has risen 25% and, GDP in 2017, had two quarter of growth over 3%, an accomplishment that was last seen in 2014.

Politically, Republicans were at their zenith in January, but their inability to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act infuriated their base.  Then the struggle with the tax bill allowed Democrats and media to rebrand it as a give-away to the rich.  Accordingly, some polls show Republicans would lose to generic Democrats.  Keeping one or both chambers of Congress in November will be challenging.  However, in political time, the mid-term election is a dog-year away and Republicans believe the economy will be more the barometer of things to come politically.  But while Republicans scoff that the Democrats have no message, Democrats do have an energized based, which the Republicans currently lack and, the base is crucial to win elections.

Of all the things President Trump was not expected to do well, foreign policy was it. Yet, it can be argued that he has been the most consistent, controlled, and effective in this area, especially, when compared to his predecessor.  He has made the U.S. military more lethal, given pause to dangerous regimes, and inserted America leadership back onto the world stage.

For the New Year we constructively suggest a resolution for the president to put his Twitter account on a Jenny Craig diet – this could help him be more effective in governing.

With this perspective on 2017, let’s ring-in 2018 with a tone of optimism and our wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity.  Be vigilant.  Be free.