Sunday, July 31, 2011

My TV watching has greatly diminished. There is nothing on that seems worthwhile. The news is always horribly depressing, but I do try and stomach the 10:00 PM broadcast to see what mass murderer is on the rampage since we live near Ft. Hood. Our area is filled with killers, rapist and other perverts. Following this I watch the opening monologue of Jay Leno, then get ready for bed. Leno is great because he loves to slam politicians and the government. He also has a couple of special features such as Headlines and Jaywalking. This weeks Jaywalking was especially good because it featured questions on American History.

The answers Leno got regarding American History were unbelievable, but highlighted the shameful lack of history knowledge that is so common. Here are a few of the questions and answers.

When ask about the War of Independence and who we became independent from, the answer was Mexico. Another person got it partially right when ask about the author of the Declaration of Independence when he said Jefferson, but when ask his first name he said George Jefferson.

Another person was ask who delivered the Gettysburg Address and when this occurred. The answer was George Washington during World War II.

Another was ask if she had heard of Pearl Harbor and what happened there. She was partially right when she said she thought it was bombed, but when ask who did the bombing she said the Hawaiians.

Another was ask if she knew about the Alamo and who fought there. After thinking for a long time she said, John Wayne. One of the best was an individual who thought Lewis and Clark were Clark Kent and Lois Lane. No wonder they were successful in their expedition, one was actually Superman.

All these stupid responses about history make me very sad and want to cry. Over 50% of high school students never heard of Winston Churchill and can’t tell you who we fought against in World War II. They are even uninformed about current events. Recently it was determined that more than 75% of folks in Texas couldn’t tell you the names of the Texas Senators and many named Rick Perry.

All this is the reason I write a little post on facebook each day about a history fact and what happened on this day in history. I don’t reach many readers and most of them are already informed, but it’s the best I can do to try and make folks aware of what has happened in the past that has shaped our present and determines our future

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I have always loved books. It started with comic books and a little science book about the Wonder of Living Things. That science book was one of the initial sparks that led me into a career of medicine. I gradually progressed in my reading habits and settled on Mark Twain as my favorite. Through the years I have relished the joy of reading. Now, books as I knew them are disappearing and being replaced by the electronic version.

Borders bookstores are the latest victim in the vanishing world of books. Kindles and Nooks are now becoming the preferred method to read a book. These are great and convenient with the books even costing less than the printed paper version. I still like cuddling up with a hardback book and even enjoy the smell of the printed word. All this is now going the way of the horse and buggy.

The great magazines of my childhood have disappeared and the newspapers are in a rapid state of decline. Letters and handwritten correspondence have gone the way of the scroll. Even e-mail has declined in favor of texting using symbols and abbreviations. About the only mail I now receive at the post office are advertisements. No wonder the postal system is broke.

The small independent bookseller is totally a thing of the past. Soon there will only be two booksellers; Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Hope these giants survive. Even these giants are threatened by places like Sams that sells books for greatly reduced prices. There is hope that Sams and Walmart will be unsuccessful in the book business because their average customer doesn’t care about reading.

Anyway, it’s sad to see books like good TV and Movies fade into oblivion. I’m trying to learn the art of texting, but my thumbs and sensitive screens seem incompatible. Also, much of the written word, in any form, will likely be replaced by symbols and abbreviations. Even oral communication is being threatened by squeaks, groans, and words like awesome, like and you know.

When my new porch is completed, I guess all I can do is sit and stare at my backyard. There will be no books and the only TV shows are things like Americas Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, Survival shows and CSI, all of which I hate. Even the pesky deer have disappeared from my life. All this is enough to make a body depressed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yesterday, Texas Rangers invaded the office of McLennan County’s tax assessor-collector and removed his files and computers. He is accused of cheating on his income tax and not paying $1,300 on a deal he made by selling a county vehicle. The investigators are going to spend a million or more in the investigation that will probably result in his resignation and a jail sentence. The thing that struck me about the news coverage was seeing the large number of Texas Rangers required to invade his office. I always thought it was one Ranger per mob, but for a simple tax evasion crime it takes a dozen or more. The main thing that caught my interest about the story was seeing the Rangers. They all wore cowboy Stetson hats, big belt buckles, hand cuffs and pistol strapped to the belt and white shirts with a pot belly hanging over the belt. It’s the classic dress for the Texas lawman.

I love how folks dress like cowboys. The hat is the key for the cowboy look. A big belt buckle and boots are also essential. A pot-belly hanging over the belt is a must. At the first football game we attended in Temple we saw a fat man dressed like this walking around the track before the game started. We inquired about his identity, and sure enough he was the sheriff. He was a classic.

Some novices don’t know how to properly dress. One weekend when I was in a local feed store a doctor acquaintance was in line behind me. He was from another country and came to shop with the other cowboys. He thought he was dressed in the right cowboy attire. He wore a towering hat like Hoot Gibson, had a red bandana tied around his neck and wore cowboy boots with the pants legs stuffed into the top of the boots. At first I thought it was a joke or he was in some sort of costume. But no, he was for real and thought he was dressed like a cowboy. He looked like a clown. He wasn’t a rhinestone cowboy like Roy Rogers but a throw back to the silent movie era.

I have known a few real cowboys and they don’t dress anything like Texas Rangers or the movie characters. They usually wear old jeans, a work shirt that may be plaid and some scruffy looking boots. They commonly have a western type straw hat that is stained from sweat and dirt. Their belt buckles aren’t even that impressive and they are usually lean people with flatter bellies than their drug store counterpart.

Our mental images and impressions are really heavily influenced by the media. The media is mainly responsible for myths such as one Texas Ranger per mob and superhero rhinestone cowboys. Anyway, I feel a little sorry for that tax assessor-collector being invaded by an army of cowboy Texas Rangers for cheating the government out of 1,300 dollars.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

I have the life saving answer for the defense of Major Nidal Hasan, the accused Ft. Hood shooter. This is the Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people and wounded 12 others in 2009. He was shot and paralyzed during the shooting spree and is now in a plush Bell County jail at great expense to the taxpayers. The investigation of the shooting has taken months, but yesterday the Commanding General of Fort Hood said that Hasan will stand trial with the possibility of the death penalty if found guilty. Hasan’s present attorney is a master of delays and obstacles, so the trial may not get underway for several more months.

The press continues to refer to Hasan as the suspect for the killings or the alleged killer. Sometimes they call him the accused. How many more witnesses do we need to say he is the cold-blooded killer? If we wait long enough for the trial everyone involved will either be dead or forgotten. Maybe this tactic is what his defense attorney has in mind. Just continue to postpone and everything will be forgotten.

My suggestion for getting Hasan acquitted is to hire the attorneys for Casey Anthony. They are certain to get him off the hook. Anthony’s attorneys would not only get him acquitted but the Army would probably give him an honorable discharge and some sort of medal. It’s probably better that he be acquitted anyway, otherwise he will be considered a martyr by the Muslim community. After his acquittal he would be eligible for full time disability since he is paralyzed. What a deal criminals have these days. Justice is truly blind

Anyway, one sensational trial ever few decades is all we can handle. Casey Anthony is enough for awhile. Hasan’s trial can be postponed for several more years if he isn’t lucky enough to get the Anthony lawyers.

Justice is truly blind, deaf and mute. I like Mark Twain’s remarks about justice. “The rain falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I superintended the rain’s affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Casey Anthony was acquitted by a Florida jury of killing her 2 year old child. The world was surprised because all the evidence pointed to her as the killer. She didn’t report the child missing for over a month and during that time she went partying and even had a tattoo. The body of the child was finally found buried in Casey’s father’s backyard with duct tape over her mouth and nose. Initially, the father claimed the kid drown in the swimming pool. Everything pointed to Casey who initially said her child had been kidnapped but later denied this story.

I couldn’t believe the verdict. I might have bought the verdict of not guilty for reason of insanity. No matter how you look at the case, Casey is crazy. Now she is going to be free for reason of slick lawyers. It’s another O.J. Simpson case. The whole case again confirms my opinion of lawyers and the justice system. It’s not about the law but about lawyers. I have an incredible distaste for that profession and to think I have a couple of lawyers who are friends: no, wait that’s only one and he isn’t a trial lawyer.

The story by the defense is ridiculous. They could have presented any absurd tale and this jury would have bought it. There are some other likely scenarios for the murder and cover-up. The baby could have resulted from Casey being raped by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French monetary man. Strauss- Kahn then had Inspector Clouseau or the French Foreign legion dispose of the body. Other likely possibilities are this could have been the love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger or John Edwards and they were involved in the murder and cover-up. These scenarios are just as plausible as the story by the defense that got her acquitted.

Maybe I should be happy with the legal system and the prosecution didn’t prove that Casey committed the murder beyond a reasonable doubt. I am left with more than a reasonable doubt about the intelligence and wisdom of the jury in this case. Sometimes I think the justice system of the Old West wasn’t so bad. Hang them and ask questions later. At least we didn’t have overcrowded prisons in those days, because the accused usually ended up in boot hill.

Now, Casey Anthony will join the ranks of other famous acquitted killers like; O.J. Simpson and Lizzy Borden. This will be a story that will be with us for a long time and one my grandchildren will tell to their kids. This story, like that of Lizzy Borden will become folklore. On the positive side, perhaps it will become a classic case study in criminology and law school. Also Caylee Anthony is in a better place without the misery of being raised by an immature, crazy, dysfunctional mother.