Wednesday, October 21, 2009


With respect to my daughter-in-law who loves Summer, is there really any better season than that of Autumn? The heat and humidity of summer have long since faded into the background and that same kind of uncomfortable condition will not return for months. Now is the season of quiet contemplation; of peaceful afternoons in the woods, soaking in the vibrant colors of this magnificent season.

On one such Autumnal day, we took a walk along a path that circles nearby Lake Creve Coeur. The quiet of the afternoon was stunning. The only sounds you could hear were those of a few chickadees twittering as they flew from limb to limb in the forest. Leaves of every imaginable color rustled in the treetops above us as the wind gently made its way through the tangled woods.

On the lake itself, the figure of a lone fisherman in his boat near a small cove spoke of Fall. The mists began settling in as an anticipated cold front neared. Colors were muted just enough to give the scene a dream-like quality.

We walked mainly in silence, quietly taking in the treasures of nature at this time of year. Little had to be said, really, since the beauty of the place spoke all the words necessary. It was a time to clear the mind and settle the soul. A time to contemplate the truly important things in life. It was a time to think clearly about one's present circumstances in life. A time to contemplate the spirit of God and what I have done to be a good steward of the many blessings he has bestowed upon me.

I thought especially of my granddaughters and their lives and what may be ahead for them. What excitement and anticipation their futures hold! When I think of all the things I have seen in my lifetime, the possibilities of what they may see and experience in their lives in this 21st century seem endless.

All of this because of much needed time out in nature. Amazing what a touch of nature in this wonderful season can accomplish. I feel like I have cleared my head and allowed for more energy to pour into my very being. This quiet walk with my beloved wife in the silence of a Missouri afternoon was a gift from God. I recommend a stroll in his cathedral soon!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two Future Tax Payers!

$1.42 trillion dollars. That's $1,420,000,000,000! That is the amount currently of our Federal deficit. That is not the National Debt. The National Debt stands at $11,957,469,307,131.18!!! To make that a little more understandable, that means that all of us, men, women, AND children, each of us, owes about $38,933.73 in order to pay this debt off. Who among those of you who reads this has this on hand or will be willing to pay it off in increments? C'mon now, let me see a show of hands!! Any takers? No, I didn't think there would be!

But this is the dilemma that we're in. We have lived so high and mighty as a nation without regard to any fiscal responsibility at all, that we have managed to tie our next several generations' livelihoods up completely before they're even born. For the next several generations, our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, great-great-great grandchildren and so on will be saddled with finding ways to pay for our excessive spending.

I put my two grandchildren at the top of this piece to illustrate just who the future tax payers of America are and how we have severely mortgaged their futures. They will be faced with taxes that we can't even imagine. Their life-styles will probably not equal ours. Fifty years after I am gone, they will still be paying for Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Wall Street, GM, AIG, and thousands of other interests that are simply too numerous to mention.

This country faces very critical times. I believe our fate as a republic hangs in the balance. Oh sure, you hear the pundits and representatives from the White House proclaim that things will get better and we'll get on with life as usual. But we cannot afford to get on with life as usual. We cannot, as a nation, continue to spend like there is no end to the money supply. We are spending money we don't have. How many of you can take your checking account balance, whatever it happens to be, and keep spending once your balance has dropped to zero like there is no tomorrow? None of us as individuals has that luxury. Banks would not allow it. Then why are we allowing our elected representatives spend money like they're on a drunken binge?

I all of our recent financial crises, not one elected official has been heard talking about sacrifice. Yet, sacrifice is what is called for if we are to avoid handing our future generations this mess. If we do nothing in a meaningful way to try to change our spending habits as a government so that those who come after us will not have to give up as much as it appears they will at this point, then we can only come to the conclusion that we, as a generation, are selfish and egotistical preferring to let the next generation clean up our mess. I am not suggesting that we have the ability ourselves alone to clean things up. What I am suggesting, however, is that we do have the power within us to begin acting more responsible where governmental spending is concerned.

We must put pressure on our elected officials by making our voices heard loudly and clearly that we will not tolerate this out of control binge we are on any longer. So what if they call us organized mobs? We are the citizens of this country and have been endowed by the constitution with the authority over those who represent us. We have to realize that government cannot possibly provide for every whim and wish we may have. Earlier generations certainly didn't depend on the government for their every need! What makes us different?

Take a long look at the picture at the top of this piece. Then take a look at your kids or grandkids and try to come up with an explanation to them as to why their lifestyles will probably be below ours because we just didn't care enough to get involved! Tough assignment, isn't it? Yet that is what we must do unless we begin to demand accountability from the government WE have elected to represent us. What will you say to the next generations?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama's "Compassion"

Yesterday, on his way to a multi-million dollar political fund raiser, President Obama stopped by New Orleans for a close up look at what "progress" has taken place in the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina four years ago. It would be a four hour stop to express his concern and compassion for the citizens of the city much of which still stands in ruins after all these years.

At a "Town Hall" meeting, Obama took questions from the audience. One of the citizens asked the President why, after four years, there was no rebuilt hospital in the area in which he lived. After all, the questioner posed, billions, if not trillions, of dollars had been used to bail out banks and other financial institutions who found themselves devastated by the greed of Wall Street.

Obama, in his "deeply compassionate" response, smiled, and with a laugh, responded that he couldn't just write a check. After all there were things like legislation and the constitution he informed the audience.

Now think about it! How much could a well-stocked, modern medical center cost? Certainly nowhere near the billions that Wall Street "had to have" to avoid the total destruction of western civilization as we know it! Yet the president blew off the question with that bright smile and easy cool way he has of delivering bad news.

Where is the compassion, Mr. President? Where is the change promised that would turn us around from the brazen coldness that was the hallmark of the Bush administration? And why did you only spend a few paltry hours in the city where thousands of impoverished people suffered so deeply after the violent storm destroyed their homes and the federal government, you now represent, seemed to abandon? Then you flew off to raise millions to elect more "compassionate" candidates who will come to the rescue of the poor people.

It seems to me that there is a huge disconnect between the government and the ordinary citizens of this country. When Obama was a senator he promised that there would be change and that things would be different. He was going to right all the wrongs of the last four years and people would know that there was a new man in town. It is insulting to the intelligence of the American people to have a president promote the idea that he is the vehicle of change when all of his actions point to the fact that he and his administration are just a continuation of the same. The government continues to grow larger and larger, gobbling up everything in its path. Lives that were forever changed by a long gone hurricane, languish in the inability of a federal government to change anything.

We need to begin to look to ourselves to help ourselves in this society. We cannot expect the government to fix things unless we have deep pockets that will attract every politician in the country. Obama stopped in New Orleans to show he cares! Then he winged off to California to gather in the really important thing he cares about--campaign funds! It is sheer hypocrisy in my mind to proclaim that you have feelings for the beleaguered people of New Orleans only to brush off a legitimate question about building a hospital and then jetting off to the fat cats of California. Oh yeah, and Obama is supposed to want health care reform. How about starting by building a much needed hospital in New Orleans, Mr. President!