Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On the Economy and Jobs

To date, this is the most political post I've ever written.  After reading it, if you decide to think of me as an ass, idiot, or moron, please feel free to do so; I'm used to it - it's the price to pay for being a renaissance man.  And, we are entitled to our opinions.  I've had the opportunity to observe the social, environmental, and economic landscape for decades and this post is a result of just a fraction of what I witnessed.

In my not so humble opinion, radical environmentalists are a rather silly bunch.  They would rather protect a scenic view than provide electricity to an overburdened power grid.  These folks will stop a major water artery that supplies a city, like a river, to protect a handful of nearly extinct fish.  And, they do not care that the city must truck in water from outside sources.  It's all about saving the fish.  The facts speak loudly:  several species of life become extinct everyday.  This is just not the cycle of life, but the environmental survival of the fittest.  If you want an argument on this, go talk to a dinosaur.  Well, what do expect from a guy who is a member of the original PETA Society - People Eating Tasty Animals?  And in my opinion, radical environmentalists have stifled our economy and real job creation.

The Keystone Pipeline is a case in point.  A major objection was that the pipeline would interfere with a major watershed, possibly causing the pollution of the drinking water.  That would be horrible but our present and evolving science and technology can prevent that from happening.  And, there are other pipelines and watersheds in the USA that appear to exist in comfortable compatibility (google the maps).  Another complaint to halt the pipeline is that the process of extracting oil from oil sands is dirtier (more pollution) than extracting it from beneath the earth's surface.  Again, I believe that emerging science and technology, coupled with what we already know, can easily handle those negative effects.  The same can be said about Clean Coal.  The point here is that these two energy sources could create 100,000 plus real jobs is not far fetched at all.

The phrase, Drill Here, Drill Now, should not be just words that conjure up the memories of the oil boom days of the 1950's and 1960's.  We have the oil; let's move forward.  That new oil will need new refineries.  When was the last time we built a refinery in the USA?  We do have the science and technology with more on the way to proceed in a safe and efficient manner.  The real job creation in this endeavor, I believe, will rival that of the Keystone Pipeline and Clean Coal.

Our vast array of technology requires a variety of trace minerals.  Although we have many fields of these minerals in the southwestern USA, we prefer to import them from China, along with the majority of our cotton.  So what the hell happened that we import most of our cotton from China?  Good question and good luck finding a reasonable answer.  Those trace minerals - we have the resources, science, and the technology to harvest our own.  It is now time to do just that, rather than having our science, technology, and our people held hostage in the near future by a foreign power.  The harvesting of those trace minerals can be done while maintaining a healthy environment.  The creation of real jobs will be in the thousands.

Cotton was briefly mentioned in the previous paragraph.  Another crop that needs to be brought back is Industrial Hemp.  Hemp was a staple crop when the USA was just the original thirteen colonies and to this day has many worthy purposes.  However, with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, Industrial Hemp was outlawed, along with medical marijuana.  Here is the BUT.  We import Industrial Hemp from China, Canada, and France.  One of the places where this import is used is in the upholstery of our newly manufactured automobiles.  In my opinion, Industrial Hemp is a real job creator and must be brought back to the American landscape.

To many, I am sure, I come off as a real hard-ass without regard for our environment; that is not true.  The proceeding paragraphs contain ideas and opinions concerning the economy and job creation NOW.  But, without forward thinking in our NOW, the future can be a dim one.

The research, development, and implementation of alternative energy such as solar and wind power must begin NOW and proceed in lockstep with the previously mentioned energy sources.  So far, when it comes to alternative energy, the talk has been empty and cheap.  The time of cheap talk is over; it's time for the powers that be to belly up to the bar and buy the house a few rounds.  The development and implementation of alternative energy is a huge real job creator.

The thought, the proposition, the idea that I do not care about the earth is incorrect.  My personal opinion is that we can do all of the previously mentioned things and still have a healthy environment.  My opinion may seem a bit naive to a radical environmentalist but I do not think so.  We humans need to remember a few things about our earth.

We know from science that the earth is billions of years old.  Science also tells us that we humans have been on the planet for about 200,000 or so years.  And, we began our march from an agrarian to industrialized society only about 250 years ago.  Also, science has told us that the earth has gone through a few Ice Ages, proceeded by a warming period.  Wanting to help the planet is not a bad thing but trying to save it is silly; the earth has survived far worse than us.  And, who knows.  One day Mother Earth just may swat us off her surface like a horse uses her tail to swat off pesky flies.  But you can, as an individual, help the planet by planting a garden, taking advantage of reusable grocery bags, and recycling your empty beer cans.  Our planet will save itself, despite our best efforts.  In the meantime, save yourself and demand real jobs.  Our planet will be here long after Walmart is nothing more than a bunch of empty buildings.

                                              Copyright @2013 Terry Unger        



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Moving Day

I don't dislike moving; I really hate it.  In our lifetime, my wife and I have seen the back of a moving van nine times.  For the first eight, we did the move without professional help.  This time we acknowledged that younger people have stronger backs and contracted a professional moving company.  We thought that was where those stronger backs were employed and were not disappointed.  Moreover, we got to see how well our heavy furniture bent around corners.  

Like anything else that is business, a contract was required with the moving company for services rendered.  When all the bits and pieces were added together, we decided that to save a few bucks, we could do the light work ourselves.

During the process of boxing, bagging, and tagging we discovered some cute stuff that we had put away to make room for more cute stuff.  It's amazing how much stuff two people can accumulate.  But in the end, to eliminate clutter in the new house, some of that stuff had to go.  It's odd how that stuff found its way into the neighbor's yard sale the following week.  What's even more strange - that's the only stuff the neighbor sold.

No matter how you slice it or dice it, there is only so much stuff that you can jam into the back of a pickup truck at one time; we made fifteen trips with the "light stuff."  And then reality hit home:  that rickety, thread-worn recliner had to find its way to the nearest dumpster to await its spot in a local landfill; we had to say goodbye to that old friend.

I have decided that the next move will happen for only one reason:  when the professionals arrive to haul my dead ass off to the undertaker's.  Did I mention that I hate moving?  You never will know what gets left behind for some guy to sell at a yard sale.

                                              Copyright @2013/2015 Terry Unger  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Renaissance Man

In a world filled with overly protective soccer moms, political correctness, and people who dance to the music of another's song, being a renaissance man can be tough.  A renaissance man is not a throw back to a by-gone era.  Rather, he is a person who enjoys the art of living and makes up his own song, always humming the melody, much to the annoyance of those folks who follow the existing state of affairs.  He is not a drone.  It takes a certain amount of courage to be a renaissance man.

Today when people think of courage, their minds run to the memories of 9/11/2001:  the heroic efforts of the New York City fire and police personnel as the first responders at the Twin Towers and the valiant efforts of the passengers of Flight 93 that brought down the plane before it could take its' toll on our nation's capitol.  They think of Seal Team 6 and Obama bin Laden.  Many can recall the images of weary GI's carrying a wounded comrade to a waiting helicopter.  And some folks can still remember the raising of the U.S. flag by a few marines on Iwo Jima.  Then there are those of us who are reminded of the courage it took for George Washington's men to cross the treacherous Delaware River on a cold December 25th night to defeat the Hessians and deliver a major blow to the British war effort.  These are examples of courage never to be denied and always remembered.  Sadly, when the average Joe is reminded of those things, he feels that he could never compete in that arena; he puts his life on one side of a balance scale and those heroics mentioned on the other.  Joe feels diminished and does not try to be courageous in his every day life.  He does not realize that he is comparing apples to oranges and continues to follow the music of the popular beat.  That is a shame because not everyone can be at the same place and time to be a Sgt. York, an Audie Murphy, or Seal Team 6.  We are where we are and not anywhere else.

What about the Joe who goes to work every day hating his job and hating his boss.  This particular Joe cannot simply walk away; he has mouths to feed and bills to pay.  People depend on him.  So he sucks it up and soldiers on.  He does his job and completes his mission, one day at a time.  This Joe has put the needs and wants of others before himself.  This is another example of courage.

There is that particular kind of Joe who cannot tolerate any kind of abuse.  He is the corporate whistle-blower, he is the guy who stopped his neighbor from beating his wife, and he is the Joe who helped police catch the leaders of the town's dog fighting ring.  These Joes stuck out their necks for others and maybe never thought that they were courageous; scared yes, but courage may not have entered their mind.  And there are more examples.

That Joe who stands his ground based on principal, regardless of personal consequence, is courageous.   Today in our politically correct world, standing up to a bully is not considered a smooth move; we'd rather turn it over to the shrinks and lawyers to handle.  But the Joe who bloodies the nose of a bully, regardless of the shit storm that it can create, acts courageously.  Coddling bullies only makes them more aggressive but when justice hits them square in the face they tend to crumble.  Celebrity, money, and position never should exempt a man from the behavioral rules of an ordered society.  Being a renaissance man is not being a relic of the past but living a life of self-respect where courage is complimented by other elements.

When the average Joe becomes industrious in one or more forms, he becomes more self-reliant.  He can stand on his own two feet and has less need to call for a helping hand.  Self-confidence grows as does self-esteem, giving way to a deep sense of personal honor.  All renaissance men exhibit these traits and also have developed a strong, personal form of self-discipline in their lives.  But a renaissance man shines brightest in the areas of his life that involve truth and fidelity.

A renaissance man knows that sometimes truth is hard to swallow; he faces it and takes his lumps.  And his fidelity to a true friend and spouse takes real courage.  He must have the courage to tell his friend the hard truth, regardless of hurt feelings, or the possibility of a punch in the nose.  The same is true in his give and take with his spouse.  The renaissance man has the courage to champion and cherish his spouse above all else; the oath of marriage and the marriage bed are a really big deal.

Sorry, but even the most ardent soccer moms and football dads can succumb to infidelity if they do not possess the cold steel discipline and courage of a renaissance man.  A renaissance man knows what is truly important and does not fall into temptation's hands.  When I was much younger, a wise man gave me a brief lesson in moral and ethics, and his words are just as valid today.  He said, "A moral man knows it's wrong to cheat on his spouse but does it anyway.  When faced with the prospect of the tempting act of infidelity, he reasons within himself that somehow or someway he either deserves it or has earned it.  In this manner the moral man commits a grievous error against his wife and does so without any sense of self-reproach or loathing.  An ethical man also knows that infidelity is wrong and just will not do is wrong."  A renaissance man truly is an ethical man.  And if a man cheats on his spouse, what else or who else is he or has he cheated?

So what about all those average Joes?  The truth is that many of them are not average; they are renaissance men but have yet to recognize this fact.  That will happen as soon as they stop comparing themselves to others.  When they do, they will write their own music, hum their own tunes, and sing their own songs.  All of this will be done, much to the chagrin of the keepers of the static state of affairs, and to the princes of political correctness.

                                                   Copyright @2013 Terry Unger



Unity of a Forgotten Kind

The world and all it contains, both seen and unseen stands with mankind in a state of consubstantiation.  Our ancestors understood this as...