Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!


Wow...And Just When You Thought It Could Get Worse...It Does!

If you're a Rush Limbaugh've probably heard him refer to other talk show hosts using his program as "show prep." The gathering of news worthy of discussion. My method of "blog prep" is to scan the DrudgeReport and WorldNetDaily to find something that I might have an opinion on. Today, this preparation takes me back to one of my least favorite governmental agencies, the Transportation Security Administration.

Here's my source...

Cigarette Lighters to be Banned Past Airport Checkpoints

In the intervening years since 9/11, the TSA has finally decided that butane cigarette lighters and perhaps book matches present a clear and present danger to the American flying public. Even though Richard Reid's hare-brained scheme to take down an aircraft over the Atlantic by trying to "light" his shoe bomb happened over three years the TSA thinks it's high time to take the "fire" away from the American flying public.

First, I think that this is somewhat akin to trying to close the barn door after the horse is long gone. When terrorists or criminals stage a high visibility crime or act...they can usually only get away with it once. It's like the trick play you'll see on the NCAA football fields or in that rare case, during an NFL game. Trick plays need to be executed amazingly well... because you can usually only get away with them ONCE! I think that the odds of anyone trying to physically "light" anything on board an aircraft is extremely low. Fellow passengers have shown themselves to be incredibly helpful when it comes to instilling a little bit of order when there have been problems aboard civilian flights.

Secondly, if you're going to take away lighters and matches...what else are we going to start taking away? Actually, I'd probably be satisfied with the concept of doing away with carry-on luggage of all kinds. The only exceptions would include a small purse for ladies, perhaps a briefcase for men, and one small bag for babies/children flying (toys/books/diapers/etc). All the roll-on carryon bags would be stored below...with the LUGGAGE! Even with the changes since 9/11, passengers are allowed to check two bags. Far too many people, for their own convenience on the destination end of their trip, do not check bags...and try to carry everything they're taking with them in the cabin. To me...that gives people far too much access to things that they probably ought not have access to during a flight.

To me, every electronic device carried onto an aircraft has the potential to become a dangerous device. Whether it's used to interfere with navigational aids, electronic systems, or is actually a bomb disguised as something's a threat. How do you solve this? No electronics on board the aircraft that are not provided by the airline. I think that the airlines have noodled this one through...having recently flown to the East Coast with MajorMom we watched movies, played games and even tracked the progress of our flight to Newark, NJ on a monitor placed in the headrest of the seat in front of us. Very cool system...and it did help entertain us and burn the three hours it took to fly from Houston. I suppose we could always go back to the days of yesteryear and do something archaic, like read a book.

So, just how should we protect people flying American carriers:

1. Conduct ethnic and racial profiling beginning at the moment a reservation is made. This needs to continue during the check-in process. We have database upon database collecting information on us every day. We need to tap into those databases to check on the identities of everyone getting on an aircraft here in the United States. This would also help round up people that are in this country illegally...or at least keep them off the high risk modes of transportation like civilian airliners.

There are also some crude "voice stress" analyzation tools out there. Have them up and running when the moronic questions (for 99.999% of the flying public) are asked. If you feel better, do the same for everyone...but I still think that in the interest of national security, law abiding Muslims should not fear a system like this, but embrace it as a means of keeping their families as safe as mine. As long as the racial and ethnic profiling does not lead on to improper incarceration or harrassment, what's the problem?

Sir, did you pack your own bag?

Sir, have you left you bag unattended for any period of time?

Sir, are you planning to blow up this flight?

If someone is trying to sneak aboard an aircraft with the intention of bringing it down, I'll bet we get a 'hit' on question number 3. I think that I've referenced El Al in previous posts...from what I understand, they have a VERY effective program ongoing. All airline personnel are trained to observe and pick up on "stressed" passengers through their voice and body language. Let's look at their track record over the hears. I think we can learn a great deal from them.

2. Cause the airlines to "throttle back" on carry-on baggage. There's no need for people to carry anything larger than a laptop-sized case on board the aircraft. I don't want to hear excuses about gifts, paintings, etc. UPS, FEDEX, DHL and even the US Postal Service can get anything you buy shipped to any point on the globe for a reasonable price. Your inability to plan ahead does nothing for me...the gift will have to be late, as it's not coming on board this aircraft.

Yes, the howls of discontent will go up for sure...but if you don't want to trust people, then you have to attack it universally. For the most part, all I'm calling for is for the airlines to enforce the rules and guidelines they already have in place.

3. Increase the protection of our borders both here in the US and abroad. I'm not sure what might be in place in airports that service American destinations...but I think that it would be a good idea for us to have security in those foreign cities as well. Why even allow someone to board a plane entering the United States without knowing who they are?

We also need to get a handle on our southern, northern and coastal borders as well. With a country as large as ours is geographically, we have almost infinite number of entry points. We need to figure out how to keep the borders closed to illegal immigration or terrorist infiltration.

Well, once again, I've taken a longer route than I wanted to...but hopefully I've gotten you to think about knee jerk reactions and solutions to problems. In order to really make the country safer against attacks on our transportation infrastructure or using that infrastructure as potential weapons, we need to look past silly rules banning groups of items from transport on aircraft. We need to figure out how to keep BAD PEOPLE from getting on these modes of transportation in the first place.

See you all on the high ground...or perhaps somewhere between here and El Paso. Yes...headed out of town again, but as always, I'll try to keep in touch. Maybe I'll do a little audioblogging again from the road.


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Happy New Year 2005

Happy New Year to all the stumble in for a bit of classical education and maybe even a lesson or two in critical thinking.

Here's to a happy and successful 2005. May the elections in Iraq go off as well as they did in Afghanistan. May our forces deployed overseas remain safe...and may they have successful operations against the enemies of peace. Sure, there are those of you that visit that will see a tremendous contradiction in these words, but that's life. I believe that everyone deployed knew that it could happen the day they raised their right hands and swore the oath. It's a dangerous business...they knew it and accept the consequences.

May our President continue to guide this great nation forward over the next four years.

From all of us in the Major Household...please accept our most sincere holiday wishes.

See you all on the high ground in 2005 and beyond.


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Tsunami Relief Efforts, Accusations, and Speculations

I've said it before and I'll say it again. From the bottom of my heart, I'm so sorry to hear the hourly reports of increased death tolls and the aftermath of the tsunami that hit the nations on the Indian Ocean. It is truly a sad story...but one that we can only blame on Mother Nature herself. There can't be any finger pointing at greenhouse gas accumlation, global warming or SUVs changing the face of the planet. The earthquake deep below the ocean's surface is simply an anomaly in nature...and the tsunami the result. The incredible loss of life in such a short period is indeed a great tragedy.

However, I think that we're going way off the deep end with the accusations and speculations about the way we have all chosen to respond to assist and minimize the suffering for the survivors. Here's a story that talks about:

Bush Undermining UN with Aid Coalition

In this piece, a former director of the International Development (Whatever) accuses the four country coalition made up of the United States, Japan, Australia and India of undermining the efforts in coordinating the aid for the recovery effort.

My question to Ms. Clare Short is...which UN Aircraft Carrier Task Forces are currently steaming to assist with the effort? How many UN Marines are going to land and help with the medical and other humanitarian efforts? How many UN helicopters have been dispatched to the area?

The answer is for some...unbelievable. The answer is NONE! The UN is a figurehead type organization that begs, borrows, and most recently has been exposed for stealing as well not only money, but the troops to try and implement their policies around the globe. They have very few, if any assets of their own to deploy. (See the controversy of PFC New and the Blue Beret)

Does Ms. Short advocate us withdrawing our support so that we can allow the UN to get the glory she seems to be willing to shower them with...or is she more concerned about getting the relief effort moving forward and heading off the impending epidemics at the pass?

I believe that the key to success in recovering from this disaster at this point is:

1. To get the dead recovered and buried/cremated quickly.

2. To speed building materials, foodstuffs, and other basic survival materiel where they're needed most.

3. To assist the nations heaviest hit by this tragedy to set up their own early warning systems to provide more 'lead time' in knowing something this bad was coming. While these are much shorter in warning time than typhoons and hurricanes, I'd be willing to bet the loss of life would have been much less had these nations been able to warn their people like we're able to do here in the US with tornados and hurricanes.

Grousing about monetary assistance...a president that is on a well deserved working vacation... or the credit for the relief effort isn't doing any good at all.

May God look kindly on those assisting in this effort and keep them safe from harm.

From the high ground...


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Tsunami Aid...Who's to Say Too Little?

First, before I really get going, let me say that we in the MajorFamily have placed the people impacted by the tsunami's terrible show of force into their thoughts and prayers. Perhaps some of that money that we put in the SA kettle last week (and matched by one of my favorite stores, Wal-mart) will somehow make its way to the region and provide some sort of relief to the suffering there. It is a terrible tragedy, but one that we have no control over.

Now, onto the real purpose of these words I'm about to crank out. It sure didn't take long for folks within the mainstream media to pick up on the stories about the United States not doing their fair share in the relief effort. Actually, it was such a powerful story we were able to separate our former President from his bevy of interns in order to get him in front of a camera. Check this story out...

Clinton Talks Tsunami; Bush Administration Provides Aid: Guess Who is Criticized?

Former president Clinton could have stopped the tsunami!

By: Steve Yuhas

I suppose that while we might be able to generate a little more foreign aid to assist in the recovery for the question many foreign aircraft or ships did we see pull into port this last fall when Florida was being hammered by hurricane after hurricane? Not that charity should be a tit for tat activity (if it is...then I need to start posting my address so the different charities I've contributed to over the past 20 or so years can cut me a check...), but let's get real here folks.

I'm more than just a little tired of having the US' hand bitten every time we try to do something for others around this country...or in this case around the world. If people don't like the way this country is run...those that are here can renounce their citizenships, apply for immigration visas to the paradise of their choice, and leave. It's pretty obvious to me that the people have spoken and Mr. Bush's administration is at the helm for another four years. No amount of crying and wringing of hands is going to change that fact.

For those of you around the world that want to bite the hand that feeds you, clothes you, or protects might want to consider showing just a modicum of appreciation. I believe our nation is at a crossroads in our ability to support the generous foreign assistance we've shown over the years...and that the gravy train could come to an abrupt stop just short of you folks that can't seem to get your collective stuff together and run a country. I know for a fact that if we put this to a vote across the United States, we as a collective would vote to keep the money here and put it to use to assist our own.

As far as the UN claim about the US being stingy in their relief contributions...they too should probably tread a little more lightly. In the wake of scandals to include "Oil for Food for Payola", sex scandals in Africa, and other indiscretions, they too are probably as close to being asked to leave as they have in a generation. The UN, in my humble opinion, is becoming irrelevent and may in fact go the route that its predecessor organization, The League of Nations did.

Much in the way our founding fathers wrote our guiding documents, it might be time to re-establish a world organization that actually enforces policy to make this planet a better place. It's pretty plain to see that in its current state, the UN is simply a place for foreigners to hang out for a few years and enjoy the hospitality of the country that it seems to want to tweak on a regular basis. If you had someone come to your house and give you as hard a time as the UN seems to enjoy giving us, you'd ask them to leave. I believe that time has come.

See you all on the high ground...


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MajorDad on the Radio...

Hah! Smash isn't the only Academy Grad blogger out there that's being asked to appear on the AM talk radio circuit...he's just doing it in a larger market!!!

I got an email out of the blue from a morning talk show host down in Corpus Christi, Texas (Jim Lago)asking me to appear on his show sometime. We talked about working out the details and we'll either be doing some time together Wednesday or Thursday this week.

Unfortunately 1440 AM KEYS doesn't stream their shows...but I'll see what I can do about maybe getting a copy of the tape and getting it into a digital format.

Wish me luck!

See you on the high ground.


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The Saudiazation of America? I think not...

I'd heard some discussion again, about the minimum wage last week on my favorite medium, talk radio. I was waiting until I saw it appear in print to say something about it. Here's an opinion piece by Ellen Ratner. Give it a read and c'mon back...

The Saudiazation of America??? from the

Ms. Ratner talks about nearly falling out of her chair upon hearing some of the things that President Bush has said about importing foreigners to do the work that is below the American workforce or simply shipping the jobs overseas. I don't know how to respond to that, but I do think that the American workforce has gotten to the point where they almost expect something for nothing. When you hear about some of the concessions that employers are forced to give their employees that have relatively low stress, "low impact" jobs...I almost want to hurl. As consumers of goods and products, if WE the consumers tell 'big business' what we want/expect...they should provide it. I guess it's not only the employees that want something for nothing...we consumers are part of the problem.

We are definitely in the position to force the market to employ Americans...but are we willing to bite the bullet in order to keep Americans employed or are we willing to forego full employment in this country in order to keep prices lower so that we can consume more goods and services for the same dollar we did 10 years ago? Before we start throwing rocks at the President...perhaps we should take a look at the companies we're throwing our support behind in the name of consumerism.

The second part of Ms. Ratner's piece speaks to the issue of the stagnant minimum wage...but she fails to make a very compelling argument. She and others point to the fact that a person making the minimum wage cannot afford to rent and pay the utilities for a two bedroom apartment. My question to her is...whoever said that someone that has the skills and knowledges to make minimum wage deserves to live in a two bedroom apartment? I know that will probably raise the hackles on a number of folks that wander in to read what I have to write, but let's be honest with ourselves. In America, if you make the minimum wage in this country, you're pretty much performing "unskilled" labor. You're performing menial tasks that free others with more skills from wasting time with:

1. Flipping burgers.
2. Answering the phone.
3. Filing paperwork. (Adams goes into the A folder, Barnes goes into the B folder.)
4. Pushing a lawnmower, blowing clippings, or raking leaves.
5. Washing cars.

Okay, we've established the fact that for the most part that if you're making the minimum wage, you're certainly not putting your education to're putting your body and brawn to work. Based on that may be:

1. A teenager.
2. A college student.
3. In between jobs.
4. Working for the opportunity to work. (Retired folks that either "need" the money or simply enjoy the opportunity to get up and do "something" less stressful than during their retirement years. One day, I'll have to tell you what MajorDadDad does now that he's retired.)

I think that the bottom line here needs to be that we all should take a hard look at our own lifestyles and live within our means. Just because I'm a member of the workforce at the lowest rung on the ladder doesn't necessarily mean that I deserve or even need a two bedroom apartment.

Oh sure...I can hear it through the hidden microphones secretly built into your PCs, "MajorDad, what about families with kids?" If you can hear me through your speakers (I knew that it was a bad idea not to build this functionality in....) here's my answer:

If you're not able to support a family or will not be happy in supporting a family at a level commensurate with your income generating abilities...perhaps you shouldn't have one!

Life is full of choices and the rest of life is usually based upon the consequences of the decisions we make. I'm far from perfect...but I've always been able to live within my means and I've never found myself in a situation where I haven't been able to offer my family an above average standard of living.

Just because I have enough credit cards in my pocket to purchase a small 3 bedroom home, doesn't mean I'll do it! That goes for the huge screen televisions, the outrageous cars (although I do have a pretty sweet 2004 Expedition that MajorMom loves to drive), or super duper sound systems in either my home or my vehicles. Now why is that? It's because I feel that I should always live within my means...and with the exception of some high cost ticket items like homes and automobiles, if there's not money in the bank to pay for something, it needs to stay right on the shelf where it started. When it comes to "keeping up with the Joneses" I'd rather compare bank balances, stock holdings, and the ability to retire on my schedule...not some creditors.

Am I some sort of Warren Buffett investor? I can show you statements that would definitely refute that point. Is my family eating chili mac and mac & cheese 4-5 times a week? Absolutely not. No, we simply do what more Americans should probably start doing...and that's to take stock in how much we earn, realize that retirement must be planned for, and you cannot spend more than you take in. Everyone seems to be concerned about the deficit our federal government runs...why should your private deficit or surplus be any different? do we fix things?

1. Young folks...set your goals to work for minimum wage for no more than 12 months. Even if you start out at minimum wage, you should be striving to do things better than your peers. Once you do that, the bosses will notice that you're not satisfied to do things to the minimum standard. This will likely put you into a different category...and your check should start getting bigger each week.

2. Young folks again...DO NOT START A FAMILY UNTIL YOU'RE ABLE TO SUPPORT IT. We all know what causes those "little bundles of joy" to arrive. Wrap those rascals or keep the feet and knees together until you're ready to be financially responsible for the results of your '15 minutes of fame.'

3. Young adults. Start saving NOW for your retirement. Go with a 27" television rather than the 54" television. Drive a Focus rather than an Explorer/Suburban/HUMMER. Start saving 10% of your take home pay and put it into a mutual fund with a decent track record. A 10-15% return isn't that hard to find.

4. Adults. Teach your kids financial responsibility early. You are the starting point if we're ever going to turn this around. I was reminded of this on Christmas Day when I watched the MajorBaby playing with the boxes that some of the gifts came in...rather than the contents. Kids can be happy with less than you think. Maybe it would be a better expenditure of your income by using birthdays and holidays to "spoil" them with gifts that will increase their smarts and abilities...rather than indulge the need to be entertained. When it comes to buying a computer or an X-box...choose the computer. I don't seem to recall too many educational titles for the new generation of gaming systems.

Wow...we've gone a long way on this post. I'm anxious to hear what you think.

From the high ground...with enough to keep him happy.


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