Taking Note: Tiger Shows Up and Other Thoughts

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The Republican Party is better at the game of politics than Democrats. You have to when you are the minority party, and you find ways to control voters’ minds with emotional issues rather than facts. The fact is, 72% of the population is pro-choice and yet via politics, Roe v. Wade is set to be tossed out. Instead of arguing why their party wants to toss it out, the GOP has turned the attention toward who is responsible for leaking a Supreme Court draft on the matter. By pointing the finger of blame at Democrats, they make them pivot from the real issue, dumping Roe v. Wade, and making them point a finger back at the GOP.

Emotional issues are all that the GOP has to rely on and they seem to work pretty well for them. Trump’s hold on the GOP represents at best 30% of the nation and yet they are set to take over both houses of Congress this fall while also holding a big advantage in the Supreme Court.

Hard core Democrats are genuinely nicer and more caring about people than Republicans. It’s why they keep taking it on the chin. Nice guys finish last, and they are proving why. Their party needs a real ass kicker to lead them, one who can stand up to all their factions and tell them this is how it is going to be, and you are going to get on board. The problem is, whenever a faction is left unhappy, they stay home and do not vote. Republicans turn out more consistently because they vote out of the fear of what might happen if the other party wins. Dems whine more about not being heard by their leaders and respond by not voting when they are not happy with a politician’s stance on a single issue.

Issues are hard to master and understand in today’s world while memes do a pretty good job of summing up what Republicans have to say or think about things. “Don’t kill babies, vote Republican.”  “Keep foreigners from stealing your job. Vote Republican.”  It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Mastering the nuances of topics like voter rights, the environment, college tuition, and most any other topic the Democratic Party pushes takes time and commitment to learn and understand. It’s why the GOP makes fun of the college educated liberals. It is anti-democrat to make fun of stupid people, so the Democratic Party remains tactful.

This year’s midterm elections have been simplified by the GOP. You either believe a woman’s body is hers to do as she chooses, or you don’t. You either believe a bunch of mostly rich white men have the right to determine what women can do with their bodies or you do not. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. And if you do not believe abortion is important anymore, and that what a person can and cannot decide to do with their body matters, then you have forgotten the essence of what it means to be able to be your own person. When you hand that choice over to the government and they do away with an issue like abortion, how long before they take away your right to be what matters more to you?

Freedom means having the right to forge your own path in life. It doesn’t mean it is handed to you or restricted. It allows you a fair and equal shot. However, when the government steps in and removes freedom from one group of people, women in this case, how long before they remove it from other groups? How long before they remove it from seniors, children, people of color, non-Christians, gay, and on and on?

Voting for Democrats this fall is voting for your right to decide on your life because at the end of the day, each of us are individuals and that places us into some sort of fringe group that someday could be targeted next by a group of politicians willing to stoop to any low to hold onto power.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently announced their new inductees which included Dolly Parton. I love Dolly and even though she once covered Stairway to Heaven, she’s another example of the Hall selecting pretty much anybody they feel like.

Courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

I’ve been to the rock hall and have to say I was impressed with the displays. However, that was 18 years ago. I am not sure I would have appreciated a display of Dolly Parton’s contribution to rock music. Has the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Whitney Houston for her cover of Dolly’s I Will Always Love You?

Does anyone besides Ted Nugent think he belongs in any hall of fame? This clown has gone from performing dressed as Tarzan to some redneck heading off on a hunting expedition. Wait, he is a redneck dressed for a hunting expedition No matter how long and hard he hunts, he will never find the votes necessary, even for the rock hall.

The day before I visited the rock hall, I visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Having my photo taken next to Bart Starr’s and Steve Young’s jersey and keeping them up in my office is a wonderful reminder of how much I enjoyed the sport.

The other morning, I had a wonderful revelation about the shoes I was wearing during my run. My toes had plenty of room late in my run. Often, this is not the case with running shoes. As a run wears on, the feet heat up and swell which leads to blisters, black toenails, or sore spots. Not with my Brooks Ghost 14. From start to finish, streets or grass, wet or dry, or fast or slow, they never let me down.

We have a dog problem.  Since our little leader, Athena, died last November, three of our dogs have carried on as if nothing happened. However, my dog Mini has changed a lot. She used to be the most timid dog of our bunch when it came to seeking attention or food. However, she loved to run and play in the yard. Over the months, we have seen her slowly, and slyly, try and become the dominant dog of the bunch. I guess she figured no one else wanted the gig so why not put in for it. Now she has become the food Nazi and determines who can nibble out of the bowl and worst of all, she no longer wants to play.

The Moore dogs (James Moore)

Our vet gave us the name of a canine psychologist. She recommends we contact her to see if we can get Mini to revert to her old self. I can’t imagine what her fees are.

My wife and I have been residents of California for all our lives. However, thanks to things like drought, soaring taxes, and the desire to maximize our money, we are considering leaving. The grass seems greener on the other side of the Rockies.

I live in a nice community, one that has lots of tree lined streets with well-manicured mediuns. The city seems hell-bent on keeping it that way and having taxpayers flip the bill while at the same time telling us to cut back on watering to one day a week.

Another beautiful coastal community, Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA (Tim Forkes)

Where are the tax rebates for homeowners to rip out lawns and replace them with artificial turf? We received rebates for taking out old windows and installing more energy efficient ones in their place. With a drought, it seems only logical to encourage homeowners to replace watered landscaping with dry landscaping. Then again, logic and government do not go hand in hand.

It’s May, which means every state entity is spending what remains of their budget just so they can be rewarded with more money next year. Rather than waste money on useless stuff spent in a hurry, why not reward local municipalities for coming under budget? Let them add what they saved one year for the following year. It’s called being responsible. Imagine if citizens spent like crazy in May so they can be eligible for more money come the next fiscal year.

For 30 years, I was a teacher. Every May we were reminded to spend what was left in our budgets before the new fiscal year. Why not have a set budget with a built-in two percent cost of living increase like they do for retired teachers?

It was no different when I worked in the Parks and Recreation Department. Spend the public’s money on whatever you can so it’s there for the following year.

Is there anyone out there counting the days, weeks, or decades until that bullet train of ours is up and running? What’s the point of it when by the time it is ready, we will all be driving driverless cars.

How does a six-foot nine inch escaped convict take a week and a half to be captured? It’s not like he can just blend in with a crowd. Even if he had plastic surgery, he’s still 6’9’’. How many white men are there in this country between the ages of 25 and 50 that tall? Cops could arrest every white guy close to that height and have probable cause. He would have had a better chance hiding from the law if he just sat on the bench of any NBA team.

Who else gets tired of reading about teams that lose playoff games blaming the officiating? It no longer has an effect because it is expected of the losing team to complain. It doesn’t matter what sport. Losing teams in any league point the finger at refs who are not allowed to comment.

LA Kings HC Todd McLellan puts the blame for his team’s loss in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs squarely on his and team’s shoulders. (Claudia Gestro)

Just once, I’d like a player to say the reason they lost a close game was because despite being paid several million dollars a year, no one expects you to sink 70% of your free throws, catch every pass that hits your hands, or execute a bunt. Blame the official and fail to take ownership.  It’s the American way at all worksites.

Finland wants to join NATO which should not come as a big surprise. Putin might succeed in getting his hands on parts of Ukraine, but in the process, he will find himself stretched more than before this war when it comes to the protection of his border, let alone his desire to build a new empire.

Courtesy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Sweden also seems poised to join NATO. Putin has really managed to botch up his plan to rebuild the Russian Empire. In the process, he will never be able to admit defeat or failure and remain a powerful leader at home. So much for building a legacy.

My wife and I are about halfway through the show Candy and enjoying it. No matter how it turns out, the creators of it sure nailed the look of the late 70’s and early 80’s.

When did it become state law that Laguna Niguel burns every year? Fortunately, these are multimillion dollar homes which means the homeowners are likely to have one or two other homes to live in while they rebuild.

$97 Billion dollars is a lot of money. It’s how much surplus money California has to spend. Why the hell then are taxes and utilities going up?  Maybe we can fill up our lakes and streams with bottled water and end this drought. I am for saving for a rainy day, but our state seems to actually be saving money for the next time it actually rains.

It’s easy to poke fun at Russia’s military, but let’s not forget, we have work to do. Our Navy is decommissioning nine recently built ships due to hull issues that keep them from performing as designed. There goes more than a few billion dollars per ship in taxpayer money.

At last, a Barbie doll I can relate to. As a kid, I was known to take GI Joe’s down to a nearby creek and set up elaborate battlefield situations with friends in which we had them hold a firecracker and light it. Unfortunately, replacing the arms was costly so it didn’t last long. Now they make a Barbie doll with hearing aids. I can wear mine and scream at her, “What did you say?” and give my wife a much-needed break.

Dying is big business and it shouldn’t be. As a nation, we spend more money on healthcare over the final two years of life than we do on all other years combined. It isn’t healthcare, it is deathcare. Experimental treatments are just additional treatments that are often painful but meant to “extend” the life of someone and get more of their money.

Why are we so concerned about the inevitable while failing to provide more well care for those with plenty of life to live? Wellness is not as profitable from a medical standpoint than postponing death once it has been diagnosed.

Some paid a far greater price than most of us will ever know.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, San Diego, CA (Tim Forkes)

Upselling a grieving family over the burial arrangements of a loved one is about as low as a person can get in terms of sales.

I am pretty sure when you wear body armor and a camera to broadcast your killing ten people in a supermarket you drove two hours to get to, there is no point to a trial.

Does it even matter if he was sane? Just put the dude behind bars for the rest of his life and save the taxpayers and victims’ families from a trial.

How do you find a jury of your peers when you are on film showing you gunned down ten people? I am sure there are plenty of other dangerous men who can relate to this shooter, but I doubt any will answer their jury summons.

The value of NFL teams has skyrocketed. The Denver Broncos are up for sale and believed to be worth $4.5 Billion, double what their value was five years ago. Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys and their stadium for $150 million in 1988 and they are now believed to be worth close to $10 billion.

What are the Los Angeles Rams worth now that they have won Super Bowl LVI?
QB Matthew Stafford and HC Sean McVay of
the Rams (Claudia Gestro)

Meanwhile, we claim to value the work of nurses, police officers, and teachers even though their earning rate lags well behind that of the increase in value of NFL teams. At the same time, a teacher, nurse, or law enforcement officer who conducts him/herself in the manner of NFL owners or players is fired.

Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of Americans who claim to truly value the work of public servants do not come close to their words. When public servants are cussed at, spit on, physically assaulted, and shot, don’t say you value them. Those words ring empty. Prove it by raising better children. Prove it by holding kids accountable. Prove it by ridding your homes of the guns they turn to. Prove it by being there for them. Quit making excuses for the monsters you raise and hold yourself accountable. Sit down and spend time with them instead of telling them you are too busy watching a game and getting your drunk on.

“I really value and appreciate the work you do,” is so condescending. You are a taxpayer. Demand higher wages for public servants. Demand harsher penalties for people who verbally or physically abuse them. Turn off the game and attend a board meeting, show up for parent conferences, listen to the doctors and nurses instead of talking at them, respect authority, and quit making a league of 32 owners stinking rich while they conduct themselves in a reprehensible manner.

Phil Mickelson will not be defending his PGA title from last year. Everyone claims he is not suspended, but it sure seems that way. Perhaps he finds answering questions about his gambling losses or his support for the LIV golf league more challenging than hitting a little round ball. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods will limp around a golf course knowing he might be a shadow of his once greatness because he is unafraid of a challenge, whether it is on the course or off it with his private life. Maybe Phil is the better family man than Tiger, but for now, I will cheer for Woods. He at least shows up.