Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pay Cuts and Celebrations

I hear that the president, secretary of state and other members of the administration have announced that they will be taking a 5% pay cut in support of federal workers who are being furloughed because of sequestration.  This sounds wonderful doesn't it?

Let's see how it works in the case of the president.  His pay is not actually being cut 5%.  Instead he will write a check for 5% of his salary and donate it to a charity.  He's so generous.

Come tax time, he's be able to take that 5% charitible contribution deduction on his return.  I'm not sure of the exact math, but somehow that doesn't amount to a 5% cut in his salary.  He gets the benefit of a deduction.

If only the federal employees could consider their 5% cut a charitible contribution to the US federal budget.

On another note, White House tours were eliminated because of sequestration and the fact that some secret service agents were being either reassigned or furloughed.  There was a gala party at the White House on Tuesday night.  I've heard that it was being paid for with private money.  I'm sure there were additional secret service agents assigned.  Were they paid with private money, or was their cost added to our budget for the running of our house?

Just asking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher - an example for young women

Margaret Thatcher died on Monday.  I'm sure we've all heard about it by now.  Although she was British, she is an example of the American Dream.

Her father was a grocer, the family lived above the store.  She worked hard, got an education at a time when that was not an easy thing to do for a girl/woman.  She married, had children and went into politics.  She became the first woman to lead her party and the first woman prime minister of England. 

You may not have agreed with her politics or methods, but you can see that she made changes and improved the lives of her fellow citizens.

I'm disgusted by some of the reports I have seen - people celebrating her death.  People who are too young to remember life before the "Iron Lady" (I like that name, might take it for myself). 

Have they no decency?  Don't they have any compassion for her family?  I guess they feel it would be hypocritical to keep their feelings to themselves.  There will be a time to discuss the pros and cons of her leadership, but now is not the time.

How would they feel if someone celebrated the death of a member of their family?

We need to return to a time when there was respect.  Remember that saying, "Don't speak ill of the dead".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gun Control

There's been a lot news today which I'll get to gradually.  Today I want to concentrate on the arguments for gun control.

Yes, the recent mass murders are terrible, but we should be careful about knee-jerk reactions.  All kinds of people in the media are calling for background checks and limits on the type of gun that can be purchased.  I wonder if they have thought things through.

Background checks would be wonderful.  Who wouldn't argue with them?  If you take the time to think, putting the emotions aside, you'll realize they just wouldn't work.

Does anyone really believe that the mob and gang members will actually submit to a background check from a legal dealer?  Gang members and the mob have their own sources and can, for a price, purchase any type gun they want.

As far as checking the mental stability of a prospective gun purchaser, there is a little thing known as "doctor/patient confidentiality".  All a doctor can say is that the person was or was not a patient.  As I understand it, if you visited a psychiatrist or psychologist for help in conquering a fear, such as an unreasonable fear of dogs or flying, or even large, open spaces, you would be labeled as having been a patient of the doctor and possibly red-flagged as not being mentally fit to own a gun.

Congress and the president should take a step back, away from the emotion of the issue and really study this issue.  The recent shooters had real mental problems and should have received help for their problems.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of facilities and the stigma of mental illness, help was not available.  The murders in Chicago (which has one of the strictest gun laws in the country) were done with illegally obtained guns.  Do congress and the president really think a law will prevent that?  Are they that naive?

I am a supporter of the right to own guns, may even buy one myself someday.  I'd like to learn to shoot among the other topics I want to learn about.  My brother owned guns and taught his children to respect the gun.  They know that it is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

If congress and the president can absolutely guarantee that there could be a law that would prevent the mob and gang members from obtaining guns I would be all for it..  Before any more  laws are put together on an emotional basis, we should devote our time and energy to getting the much needed help for the mentally ill.  But, human nature being what it is, that will never happen.

This is an emotional issue and emotional issues get votes.  We don't need new gun control laws, we need stricter enforcement of the laws already on the books.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grace & Dignity

This weekend I spent quite a bit of time watching QVC when they were highlighting copies from the jewelry collection of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

That woman had dignity and grace which she brought to the White House.  I must say that I'm not a fan of the Kennedy's and the way they have been praised by the media.  I will say that they added a certain elegance to the presidency which has very rarely been seen since.

I know people will argue that it's easy to have grace and elegance when you have money,  but a large bank account doesn't guarantee dignity and grace.  What does define grace and dignity is how you treat others and how you act on a daily basis.

I know that we live in different times from the 60's, but I would like to see more of that dignity, grace and elegance return to the White House.