Friday, January 31, 2014

January 30, 2014   (A day late)

USA Today had an excellent article marking the passing of an old friend, Pete Seeger.  The title “He taught us to sing - and to think”.  Very accurate.

I trust you remember - or will remember songs like, “On Top of Old Smoky” (I didn’t realize he had written this), “This Land is Your Land” (my personal favorite),  “If I Had a Hammer”, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and so many others.

I had forgotten the fact that he was once a member of the Communist Party and was convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to testify about that, a conviction that was overturned on appeal.

What I did recall was the one concert I attended and he had the audience in the palm of his hand with his songs, but even more so by the homespun wisdom he had to offer.  He will be missed.

Sadly, the major media seemed to over look his passing, more intent, it seemed to me, by their criticisms of the leaders in Atlanta, GA, and their failure to prepare for a few inches of snow.   Perhaps, they earned it as I vividly recall how much of East Point - where I lived at the time, was paralyzed by less than three inches of snow in the late 50’s.   What amazed me - from the reports I heard, was the resilience of the people who responded to the others trapped in the cars on major highways and went out of their way to bring snacks and drinks .   And of course, there was the baby born in the front seat of her parent’s car while thousands of others had nothing to do but wait it out.


I was completely ignorant of how “blogs” operate when I received the encouragement of a dear friend (some of you know her, Karen Langford), but with her knowledge and encouragement, I am now confident I know the basics, at the least.   So, starting tomorrow, February 1, I will get started with my real objective - not just to “report” on life as it is on the day I write, but letting you in on the life and circumstances that led me to where I am, today - the only reason I have confidence to believe, every life has importance and our biggest problems in life stem from the fact we are not alone.

So, with this blog, you can tune in as you will and still understand why I might be writing as I will be.   And I want you to know, I have made a lot of mistakes along the way and let you know - it is not the mistakes we make, but the lessons we should learn by experiencing them.  See you tomorrow?

That is my prayer…

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

I had a hunch I would regret mentioning the President’s State of the Union address in my “inaugural” blog as I have been sensing for quite a while, the political enemies were just laying in wait to dismiss everything he would have to say - and my hunch was even more accurate than I had expected.

I have a copy of his speech, so if you would like to join in the outrage that has been expressed by the so-called “professionals”, by all means do so - as long as you stick to one of the several points he made in his speech.  I chuckled that one of his critics was so enamored with his own sense of importance that he listed five, the last of which was “the disappearing act” regarding gun control.

It is difficult for me to imagine another President who would have done more to bring our nation to its senses regarding gun “control” and although it saddens me that any idiot can find access to a gun, I have to believe the President didn’t pursue the need for legislation because it would be a waste of our time, given the more critical issues we face.

I have been around for a long time so I have heard lots of speeches by the resident President; this one get a 98.9 rating in my opinion.   Another reason I have a bumper ticker on my car that reads - “I’ve got his back”

And would you believe - you ought to because it is the truth, just as I went to my car to make sure I had the correct wording, I stopped by the mail box and there was a letter from him.  Form letter to be sure and you probably could guess at it’s content.   You would be right, he is urging me to support a Democrat in our Senate race.    So you know, I will be supporting whoever is the Democratic candidate as his opponent, Lamar Alexander, has been in Washington, wasting away our time pretending to know what we need in the way of positive action to correct the wrongs we hear about, almost daily.   And to think, I used to like the guy.   He did a lot for Tennessee; he has done nothing for Tennesseans since going to Washington.

Enough of this.   Politics is for the most part, a waste of time.

Yesterday, I visited the local office of what we used to call, the U.S. Employment Service.   I can vividly recall visiting a USES office in Norwalk, CA in the 60’s and met with people who knew about every job possibility in their immediate area - every one.   They knew because they had copies of the form all employers were required to submit to Washington transmitting the taxes they had collected from their employees - by name.   And in a column opposite the name and Social Security number was another number, this one representing the Dictionary of Occupational Term’s code for their skill.

These folks took time to collate these forms and manually file them so if a person came to their office looking for a job as a Fork Lift operator - as an example, they merely pulled their file and made another list advising the applicant of the places where he (she) needed to make an application.

Would you be surprised to learn, their area had the lowest un-employment rate in the State?   It should not.   Their applicants received guidance.   Today, given the fact these offices use computers, they get information.   Looks good, but here is the catch.   Yesterday, I was provided with a list of nearly 5,000 potential job openings in the State of Tennessee.    I took time to see if there might even be a job for me.   Guess what.   I found three.   But I also discovered there wasn’t a “new” job listed.   Most of the listings were for employers that anyone with skills should have already contacted.

Therein is the problem.   The other three applicants sitting in the office during my visit were not prepared to apply for a job.   Unfortunately, they looked like their only qualification would be a farm hand or laborer - and that might be true.   The problem is, they probably would not be qualified for any of those 5,000 jobs and they would be added to the lists of the un-employed.

What they needed more than anything else was a counselor who could explain the details of how a person - especially those with real needs, went about actually locating a job that would provide a pay check.

I hope I didn’t lose you with such a discussion, but the fact is, we have an under-class in our nation, people who have no skills, school drop-outs, most of them, and whether we want to agree or not, they will be living off of the taxes we pay - unless we have the courage to identify them and plan to help them find their way in our complex society.

I wonder, I have to ask, does this bother you?   When was the last time you had to search for an employment opportunity?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pardon the delay. My editor is a close friend and I really do not like imposing on the good nature of good friends. I trust you will understand. Better yet, I pray that you will respond. What do you think about "using" the talents of good friends?

Wow! What a day to start this. As you will learn, I love the art of politics and I will have comments on the state of politics as I write. To tell you the truth, both sides of the critical issues of our day are suspect. They were elected to office to serve the "We, the people".... as described in our Constitution and it ought to be apparent, "We" are the missing ingredient in most of the solutions they have to offer. So, tonight, as you listen to the President of the United States put forth his proposed agenda for the coming year, take time to realize this is his perspective. You may differ from his, but if you do, I pray that you will offer a reasoned response and not just the words offered to you by your favorite political "think" tank.

But politics is not the intent of my efforts. I have lived a long time, going on my 85th birthday in August, and I have learned a lot, forgotten even more, but this I believe with all of my heart. There is a God and none of us really know Him if our lives do not resemble His teachings and they should not be restricted to the dictates of any one particular religious ethic. In saying that, I do not wish to demean any particular religion. You ought to be free to make up your own mind. I have a strong belief in the ethic defined by our nation's Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. I have opinions and have come to realize that they are always subject to change as long as others do not try to force their opinions on me. I live to learn and even at my advancing age, I am eager to hear about new ideas, even old ideas with a new twist..

When you hear the responses to the President's speech tonight, take care that you do not merely echo their thoughts. They get paid to say what you will hear and - regardless of which party has fashioned the comments, you can believe that you need to carefully examine their content.

With that, I am out of here. Plan to spend the day examining the employment opportunities in our community, the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee, my adopted home. I love it. Yes, I was born in Michigan, graduated from Yale, but that was not the college in Connecticut. It was a great place to start, but I have also traveled a lot and stand amazed at this land we call the United States of America. I am proud of every acre and the people who occupy who occupy even a fraction of each acre. We do amazing things and our reason for being ought to focus on encouraging others to do even more. Think about this and I'll be back tomorrow. I trust I will see you then.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Welcome to my new blog!  Stay tuned for stories and musings about my life as well as my thoughts about everything that is going on in the world.  Please have patience with me as I learn everything there is to know about blogging.  This is new to me, and with anything new, there needs to be a learning period.  I am looking forward to sharing with you!