A SOLEMN OCCASSION (MEMORIAL DAY)

 

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Pennsylvania State Memorial, Gettysburg

 

FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO OUR FATHERS BROUGHT FORTH ON THIS CONTINENT A NEW NATION CONCEIVED IN LIBERTY AND DEDICATED TO THE PROPOSITION THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL •

NOW WE ARE ENGAGED IN A GREAT CIVIL WAR TESTING WHETHER THAT NATION OR ANY NATION SO CONCEIVED AND SO DEDICATED CAN LONG ENDURE • WE ARE MET ON A GREAT BATTLEFIELD OF THAT WAR • WE HAVE COME TO DEDICATE A PORTION OF THAT FIELD AS A FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR THOSE WHO HERE GAVE THEIR LIVES THAT THAT NATION MIGHT LIVE • IT IS ALTOGETHER FITTING AND PROPER THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS • BUT IN A LARGER SENSE WE CAN NOT DEDICATE~WE CAN NOT CONSECRATE~WE CAN NOT HALLOW~THIS GROUND • THE BRAVE MEN LIVING AND DEAD WHO STRUGGLED HERE HAVE CONSECRATED IT FAR ABOVE OUR POOR POWER TO ADD OR DETRACT • THE WORLD WILL LITTLE NOTE NOR LONG REMEMBER WHAT WE SAY HERE BUT IT CAN NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY DID HERE • IT IS FOR US THE LIVING RATHER TO BE DEDICATED HERE TO THE UNFINISHED WORK WHICH THEY WHO FOUGHT HERE HAVE THUS FAR SO NOBLY ADVANCED • IT IS RATHER FOR US TO BE HERE DEDICATED TO THE GREAT TASK REMAINING BEFORE US~THAT FROM THESE HONORED DEAD WE TAKE INCREASED DEVOTION TO THAT CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY GAVE THE LAST FULL MEASURE OF DEVOTION~THAT WE HERE HIGHLY RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN~THAT THIS NATION UNDER GOD SHALL HAVE A NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM~AND THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH •

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

So Long Gunny

Everybody’s favorite hard core kick ass Gunnery sergeant R. Lee Ermey has passed away. He will be greatly missed, by Marines and civilians alike, who embraced the charismatic Gunny for is lovable demeanor and his numerous movie roles.

After living in the Philippines and acting in several movies there, he began his American movie career in 1978 as Sgt. Loyce, in The boys in company C, he then appeared in an uncredited role in Apocalypse Now in 1979. His next military role was in the 1984 B movie Purple Hearts; but his most memorable role was as Gunnery sergeant Hartman in Full metal Jacket, in which he was nominated for a Golden globe. Personally I think he should have received an Oscar, although he was literally playing a part that he was perfectly suited for.

His filmography is long and varied and his voice work was featured in many animated series. There was no mistaking that booming voice of his and it will be sorely missed in this world. He was a source of pride for many old Marines and I am positive that I am not alone in this sentiment.  So Semper fidelis and God bless Marine, I will miss you.Da29LUSVQAA8PHw.jpg-large

SLEEP NUMBER BED (Review)

I was going to start this review with a bunch of swear words, but I’ve decided to keep a cool head and approach this as objectively as possible, for a dissatisfied customer.  First off I was welcomed at the Sleep number store with open arms; they made me feel important as a valuable potential customer. After testing a variety of beds at different sleep settings and of different sizes, I was ready to buy.

My old mattress was well over twenty years old and was no longer comfortable and causing me a lot of pain. The sleep number ad campaign is very effective at pushing its product; unfortunately, actually trying to sleep on the bed is not very satisfying.  In the store my sleep number was determined to be 35 but on my bed this is not a good number. I have tried every number from 25 to 100 with no appreciable effect.  Further more my bed is too short. I am average height so I did not think that there would be a problem. However the bed that I purchased is a double, which means wider than a twin but not as wide as a queen size bed.  I was foolish to make the assumption, that all beds would be long enough to accommodate the average adult.

Somewhere in the paper work I got the idea that if I was not happy with my bed there was a 100 night trial period in which to return it.  Apparently this is not the case; all sales are final once you’ve taken possession of the product.  The problem with this policy is that, until the bed is full assembled, you can not discern what the actual length and width of the bed is.  I asked about moving the bed around and was assured that they would put rollers on it, they didn’t; I called and complained about it and was told that I would have to purchase the rollers, which cost me another twenty six bucks. Incidentally my bed didn’t have casters on it either they arrived a week later with the rollers.

As soon as I saw what the size of the fully assembled  bed was, I realized that I had made a  monumental mistake. I called the dealer the very next day and what I got was a stern all sales are final talk. I was told by the person that delivered the bed that I could upgrade to a bigger more expensive bed but that also wasn’t true.  So I am stuck with a bed that doesn’t fulfill its promise of a good nights sleep and is also a nuisance because I can’t stretch out with out my heels hanging off the edge of the mattress. I called the store two more times and couldn’t get a hold of the person who sold me the bed to let her know that I was not a happy camper. I haven’t been able to get a hold of her yet and she hasn’t returned my calls.  I called the customer service number but they are not open on Sunday. I will continue to try but I am not very optimistic about the outcome.

When did businesses become so resistant to, good service, honesty and customer satisfaction. I went online to the consumer affairs web site to look at the reviews and make my own. I started reading some of the other reviews and was not shocked to discover that hundreds of other people gave them a one star rating and was not alone in my dissatisfaction with the sleep number staff and their lack of sympathy with customers. I also noticed that a lot of the people complaining were seniors like myself ,who remember the days when customer satisfaction was a real concern and not just an empty platitude.  I would definitely not recommend Sleep Number beds to  anyone. They are pricy,  not that good and the customer service is appalling.

When will it be time Mr. speaker?

As usual, the pusillanimous lackeys of the NRA are regurgitating the same old puke, after another horrendous school shooting.  Speaker of the house Paul Ryan dared to spit out those meaningless words “NOW IS NOT THE TIME” once again. I knew exactly what he was going to say before he opened his mouth, because he says it every time there is another mass murder. He said it after Sandyhook  he said it after Las Vegas and every time in between. He is not alone in this phony money driven sentiment; Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader,stayed on script and spit out the same garbage. Marco Rubio, the Senator from Florida also said, “Now is not the time” this shows me that the language is scripted. These bought and paid for politicians are not representatives of the people, but agents of the gun lobby. The fact that they continue, to try and misdirect the conversation away from sensible gun control,  proves that their agenda is not the safety of children, much less citizens in general, but to keep the guns flowing and the bullets flying for the sake of profit.

Minority apologist, nay sayers, and fake progressives

There is a disturbing trend in the the media and in the progressive  movement, of timid voices, Trump apologist and negative defeatist and unfocused pseudo revolutionaries disguised as progressives, (some of which might just be government plants). I have heard the statement, that we can not work within a broken system, we must over throw the system; but these people never say how that can be done with out violence. these same people say that marching in the streets and peaceful demonstrations yield no results what soever.

All of the above mentioned myths are dangerous, in one way or another, so for the sake of clarity, I will attempt to address each of these categories of  political saboteurs individually.

First the minority apologist; these men and  women appear to be well educated and rational normal human beings. Their usual spiel is; people don’t give Donald trump a chance, that folks don’t want divisive government and that we should seek compromise with uncompromising republicans, like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz; all of which were blatant obstructionist to the Obama administration. The history of their obstructionism is evidence enough, I seriously doubt that any of these distinguished gentlemen, have changed their attitudes about cooperating with Democrats in any way shape or form.

Under the Trump administration, things are exponentially worse. So why are you normalizing this unacceptable behavior, by disregarding the truth and denying the obvious. My question to you, Mr. or Ms Minority apologist, is why are you legitimizing a man who obviously thinks that you and the ethnic group you belong to, are basically inferior Untermenschen? Why are you making excuses for a man who refuses to brand Neo Nazis as domestic terrorist? There is no reasoning with the unreasonable men of the Trump administration and their congressional cronies.

Next I’ll address the Nay sayers. I understand that everyone in a forum or a strategy meeting deserves a voice; as a matter of fact those are usually the rules; however another rule of strategy meetings is, do not be negative, negativity is counter-productive. I have seen this on various discussion panels on both national and local programs. One of the most irresponsible comments that I hear is, that protest and demonstrations don’t work. There are  literally  thousands of examples world wide, that disprove this ludicrous belief. Mass demonstrations send a powerful message to those in power, it can also incite  fear in  the ruling elite; which is exactly why they have spent the last half century militarizing local police forces. Instead of dealing with social problems they have chosen to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. It is our right to protest unfair treatment by the government and if protest didn’t have any effect, Police officers would not use pepper spray on demonstrators, who are peacefully exercising their rights to protest, by simply sitting on the ground.

The other misconception that is expressed, is that working within the system is a failed policy. The diverse progressive block of the Seattle city council have the opposite opinion or they wouldn’t have run in the first place. The council includes Kshama Sawant, Lisa Herbold, Debora Jaurez  and Lorena González, a female majority. With a strong progressive block they have made meaningful changes to public policy including a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage. When people see what is possible, they stop thinking that their goals are impossible, or pie in the sky as Hillary Clinton described tuition free college education. If there are changes to be made, they have to be made from within the system. The alternative is not pretty and probably involves violence, but most of these cowards who claim that we shouldn’t bother working within the system, won’t come out and say it. If the nay-sayers have a viable alternative that doesn’t include shooting up the country I’d like to hear it.

The third group of disrupters and detractors are the fake progressives. These timid souls claim to be progressive, but their views are more status quo, neo liberal. They are always afraid of rocking the boat or disturbing the progress that has already been made. Their classic lines include, universal health care will never exist. Socialism doesn’t work, Pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies should be part of any health care plan and my favorite, where will the money come from for free college tuition. I have an answer for that; take it from the NCAA ,every penny of it, it’s all stolen from the public any way. The other tell that unmask the fake progressive is, that most Americans will steer clear of anything left leaning and that we need a big tent party to win elections. The truth is, that the populist movement can unite people across party lines  and that most democrats are center left and not center right. We need a return to the progressive policies of Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Neo- conservatism and Neo-liberalism should be  reviled, not socialism, yet fake progressives use the word socialism with as much disdain as any Republican.

This is not a critique of the Progressive movement,  it is a warning against taking trolls and defeatist seriously. All these people do is misdirect energy,confuse the dialogue and slow down the movement to create an equitable and just society. We can have an intersectional,  multifaceted, people oriented solution to, wealth inequality, never ending wars, pollution and an end to the extraction capitalism of corporate oligarchs.

Student Loan Crisis

I worked up to three jobs as a student just to feed myself and put a roof over my head, and that was in 70″s when tuition was a lot cheaper. part of the reason for the inflated tuitions is the NCAA a pernicious parasite that sucks the money out of schools and universities and gives little in return. they are listed as a non profit an insult to anyones intelligence.

Times of Resistance

The student crisis is not like any crisis this country has seen. It’s not a natural disaster like a hurricane, a medical pandemic like MRSA, or even an inability to stay competitive in the global economy. This is, in fact, man-made. To explain, a national innovation system has three parts, basically schools, companies, and customers. In a functioning system, customers tell companies what they want and companies ask schools to educate students to produce what customers demand. The companies are merely a go-between, and when they decide they don’t want to do that anymore, you get what we have today in the United States.

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