itzwicks

An Open Question....

Would the Zimmerman murder trial matter nationally in the media if the victim was any race other than black, and the accused was any race other than "white Hispanic?"

For that matter, what's up with idiots and thugs wanting to riot if "the right verdict" isn't rendered by the jury? Why break someone else's stuff based upon something that has ZERO to do with them?

Human beings continue to have the dumb. Ugh.
itzwicks

Interestingly enough...

This has been quite the year for yours truly. I had hoped to have written more on this side of the social network, but Facebook was the primary recipient of my muses.

Now in my 49th year of existence, I have elected to return to my roots. Don't know yet whether or not to formally retire this LJ and start all over again, or simply give this one a makeover. In any event, should I make the jump, I will let one and all know what the blogging plans eventually become.
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The Doctor Who Christmas special arrives at BBC America in less than a week. Can't wait to see new Who action! :)
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Fiscal cliff? Ha! We've been over it for a while, and we are currently in freefall. The only question is what the landing is going to look like. Methinks it is going to be UGLY.
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Back to writing now...
itzwicks

Meanwhile....

Yup, 2012 is a political year. Everyone is out there trying to make the case for this candidate and that cause.

I am no different. As a right of center guy, I will do my best to champion stuff I believe in, but will do so in a way that isn't full of drama or snark. I try to be civil, respectful of those with opposing views, and not be so frigid as to be inflexible to changing my mind about an issue.

Just an FYI for you good people.

My Facebook and Twitter accounts are very active, and I try to look in over here as time permits. If there is anything that you feel merits my attention that I missed, by all means let me know.

Going back to work now. Live like you really mean it folks. ;-)
itzwicks

Musings on the PPACA (aka Obamacare) Debate

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA, aka Obamacare) is perhaps one of the most deceptively labeled, deceptively marketed, and deceptively authored pieces of legislation ever to be created by a US Congress in the history of the Republic.

Signed into law on March 23, 2010, Vice President Biden couldn’t have spoken truer words when, at the signing ceremony, he told President Obama that it was a “big f*cking deal.”

Why would I label it as deceptive in the first place? Consider the history behind it.

Candidate Obama promised transparency in the creation process, to include allowing the public to see the committee process on CSPAN television. Not only did the televised hearings never happen, but the opposing political party was shut out for the majority of the law creation process as well.

To be clear, the Republican Party was not opposed in the general concepts of healthcare reform, but they were clearly not interested in the Democratic version of it.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelolsi not only reneged on providing adequate time for public review of such historic legislation prior to a final vote (one of the key pledges made when she sought the Speakership) , but she was rather cavalier about the manner of which the voting members of the House would consider the bill.

“We have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what is in it,” she famously said several weeks prior to its passage.

By the time the bill finally arrived for full consideration, few, if any, of the members of Congress had bothered to read the full contents of the 1,000+ pages involved. Good luck tracking down the individuals who will proudly take credit for authoring the actual legislation in the first place.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was tasked to make budgetary assumptions about costs and impact based upon projected economic considerations supplied by the proponents of the legislation. These numbers were then used as part of a marketing campaign to sell members of Congress and the general public about the potential financial stability and effectiveness of the bill. But by using suspect numbers and accounting trickery (i.e. front loading the funding six years ahead before the massive operating costs came out), a major fraud was perpetrated upon the American people.

Candidate Obama and many of the Democrats assured all within the sound of their voices that no one making under $250,000 would see their taxes go up in the process of the healthcare reform overhaul. They further assured voters that if they were happy with their current health plans, that they could keep them. But for millions without healthcare, this had the look and feel of a modern day miracle supplied by a Democratic led government that actually cared about their well-being.

The Republicans couldn’t match the pandering. Add to that a war weary public, who wanted to see real change in the political landscape, the Democrats were given their once in a generation opportunity to get their biggest priority done.

The PPACA eventually passed both houses with no voting support from the Republicans. Within months, the law found its way in the courts, challenged by various state governments and private sector legal firms alike, citing overreach of the Commerce Clause section of the Constitution, culminating in a historic Supreme Court decision, affirming its Constitutionality on June 28, 2012.

President Obama vows to defend the law while GOP candidate Mitt Romney promises to repeal it if elected. In what was already a rancorous Presidential election cycle, the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has made Obamacare a chief focal point for many voters and pundits.

The Democrats are now forced to defend what the high court has called a “tax,” while Republicans will be tasked by actual voters to articulate what they would replace the law with to address the healthcare challenges facing the uninsured, especially those individuals with pre-existing conditions.

The two biggest influences in American behavior are now the US Tax Code, and Obamacare.  The party that runs the country will be in the driver seat as to how the citizenry will conduct their lives based upon what the laws say. And should affordable private sector healthcare collapse (as many believe it will due to the overburdening requirements of PPACA), the calls for one-payer healthcare will be deafening.

A quick look across the pond reveals cracks in the financial stability of such propositions in Europe. It isn’t hard to imagine such problems arriving to our own shores sooner rather than later.

*****

How Americans arrived at this point in history can be summarized by the following two waypoints:

  • Too many people are literally divorced from the true costs of life. From food stamps to first aid, growing numbers of citizens are provided free or reduced government managed services paid for by other people, at rates which will be fiscally impossible to sustain for very long.
  • The sheer volumes of politicians who campaign one way, and then govern another, have left a cynical public leery of both lawmakers and politics in general. Exposed human failings on the part of elected officials, political correctness run amok in both mass media and academia, and a dwindling number of Americans intimately familiar with both theory and reality of how government works, also contribute to the apathy (willing and otherwise) of the voting public.

This did not slow down the conclusion made by Chief Justice Roberts in writing for the majority of the SCOTUS: “Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

That, in a nutshell, is where we are today, thanks to decades upon decades of lawmakers, goaded upon by the citizens who elected, to not just insure equal opportunities, but to ensure equal outcomes regardless of cost. Legislating utopia and perfect human behavior on North American soil (or anywhere else on earth) is impossible as the architects are human, and the beings having to live with said laws are human. Our very nature is both rebellious and non-conforming, proof of which is seen every day in all manner and station of society.

The best we can do is to limit the impact of the statists (those who believe in enabling the power of government first to resolve issues big and small), the socialists (those who believe in harnessing the power of other people’s money to resolve issues big and small), and the busybodies of the Ruling Class of both parties (those who think that they know how to manage our life choices better than ourselves) from our daily lives.

This is a much harder sell than it sounds.

Consider the example of an unemployed single mother with two children (one with Down’s syndrome, the other with irregular heart issues), no formal education to speak of, no participation or financial support from the father of her kids, and no external family members in which to provide her assistance.

What is she supposed to do about healthcare, let alone basic survival for herself and her family?

Or how about the 30-year-old homeless veteran suffering from PTSD and alcoholism, or the 52-year-old music teacher let go from her school district due to budget cuts?

What are they supposed to do about their healthcare needs?

I am citing fictional extreme examples here, but the real world cases out there are far more disturbing. The reality is that the United States simply doesn’t have the money to dole out the kinds of healthcare that is needed to resolve all of the issues of its citizens, even though the country spends more than most nations on the planet.

Resources are finite. At some point, rationing will occur. And when twenty people show up for a heart transplant, and only four are available, it will no longer be about who has the greatest need, but more about who do you know in the system that can help you ahead of everyone else.

Are we all free range Soylent Green waiting for our turn in line at the senior citizen bug zapper when we turn 70? Come to think of it, that would relieve a bit of stress on the Social Security budget.

Something has got to give.

In the short term, the 2012 Presidential election will be a referendum on both Obamacare, and the fiscal direction that the country will be heading on. The differences between the Democrats and the Republicans couldn’t be starker. To say that there is little to no daylight between the two parties would be the height of deluded statements.

A second Obama term would signal a willing permanence to the PPACA, and acceleration to the fiscal abyss. The US Senate, under the stewardship of Senator Harry Reid and a Democratic majority, have yet to pass a single budget, and are in no danger of doing so prior to Election Day. A Romney Presidency, along with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, would likely repeal the law, presumably replacing it with one based upon sector solution sets. But the last time that GOP controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, they weren’t exactly known to be the fiscal bastions of constraint, so any missteps this time around would likely spell the end of the Republican Party as a viable national party.

With choices that are wildly different, I suspect that the polls nationwide are going to see higher-than-normal participation rates this fall. If healthcare reform isn’t enough a draw for potential voters to chew on, there are always the issues of national security, the economy, the nomination of at least two more associate justices on the SCOTUS, and much more.

For those who follow history, this election may seem to have a 1980 Carter versus Reagan feel, or even a 1964 Johnson versus Goldwater vibe going on. I beg to differ; I believe that we are staring down a contemporary showdown of 1860 proportions. While there are no literal slaves to speak of, the challenge to freedom and liberty will stir many to the polls.

I honestly pray that there will be no violence when the results of the Obama versus Romney face off are revealed, but there can be no guarantee as to what will happen when one side learns that they lost to the other based upon what the Electoral College number show.

There are people still genuinely angry about the election results of 2000, not fully understanding the mechanics behind the Bush-43 victory, but convinced that the election was stolen from then Vice President Gore. Here is hoping that the final numbers in 2012 leave no room for doubt as to who won and who lost.

The days of sitting on the sidelines of our democratic republic are long gone. If one wishes for a particular outcome, the requirement is to become an activist in said cause, starting with voter registration, and then encouraging like-minded citizens to do the same. The stakes are too high to leave it to others to resolve on their own.

If you have read this far, I thank you for your time and attention. Enjoy your Sunday, folks.

itzwicks

Food for thought..

The veneer of Western Civilization is far more vulnerable than we can possibly imagine.

When you look at the waves of uncivil discussion and over-the-top hyperbole and discourse (online and elsewhere), one has to wonder how is it that we all manage to keep it all together?

The answer is actually very simple: continuity of the actively enforced rule of law, and the non-breaking food & water supply chain. As long as people are assured that they can get their basic needs met (and that includes the SECURITY that they won't be taken away), then all is well in the world.

But, remove those first two levels of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, and you have sucker punched the first world, sending it back in line with the third, and further.

Your saintly neighbor, the one who bakes those nice pies for you during the holidays, won't have any compunction to slice your throat if it makes the difference between starvation and feeding their kids should the sh*t hit the fan (SHTF) and/or the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).

Here is what is REALLY bothering me today: this online article from Red State which essentially concludes that the ends justifies the means, ESPECIALLY IF THE OTHER SIDE DOES IT.

http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2012/03/17/fairness-is-for-suckers/


So I join with Dr. Fish in affirming that “fairness” is for suckers and that our first loyalty is to our allies.

Many moons ago, the inestimable Thomas Crown wrote

Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.

That is my philosophy moving forward from today.


Really? Are we actually going to go down that road of honest-to-God lawbreaking (not peaceful civil disobedience which is done out in the open for all of the world to see) in order to win the next election cycle?

For the record, I am very uneasy with this. No, strike that. I am not willing to go down that path to the Dark Side.

I will not apologize for pointing out evil, double standards, bad behavior, and other forms of insanity from the other side of the aisle, but I will always do it in a civil manner. I'll avoid the personal attack, and I won't sully my name in the tactics of my political opponents.

For me, the trick is to engage the other side, if not the scant undecided, and convince them of the rightness of our argument, and not just snark them on the wrongness of theirs.

This really matters. This is what is going to make the difference between turning the car around while there is still some road left in which to do so, or watching it drive off into the abyss (the Left will do it at 88 mph, while the Ruling Class Right will do at 55 mph).

We have to actively enforce the election laws on the books. We need to be smart and agile enough to make common sense corrections as needed to ensure that the innocent does not get short sheeted on their Constitutional rights. And we absolutely must remain vigilant of foul play from our side, lest we lose the moral high ground.

To borrow a metaphor I once heard on the Mark Davis Show, if you open up a can a Coke, and you see a rotted fish head in it, I assure you, it will be a LONG time, if ever, before you'll want to drink a Coke again.

An aside: if the GOP fails to govern like they advertise in their coming fall campaign, they can be assured that they are finished as a political party, and not just because their brand will be ruined. The Democrats will stack the Supreme Court deck with like minded associates that will make the extinction of their political rivals that much easier to fulfill.

There is a storm coming. And pretty soon, there will be no bystanders, and no civilians, especially if both sides of the political aisle engage in mutually assured destruction just to win elections.

It still spells MAD to me.
itzwicks

About my Dad

Eugene Martin Wicks is my father. He was born on Tuesday, June 11th, 1935 in the city of Philadelphia, PA. That was 28,015 days ago and approximately 342 miles southeast from where he is today, in the city of Rochester, New York, the place where he will shortly leave this celestial plane.

The world was a very different place, still gripped in economic depression, and with war clouds off in the distance. One could argue that Burton James and Anna Mae Wicks were nuts for bringing yet another child into the world under conditions like that.

Yet still, they did. And, by the way, Eugene was child number 10 of 11.

As a youngster, Eugene was more than a handful. Not quite the model child, he once told me that didn't always do the right thing, was in hanging in a crowd at a very young age that would have put him in jail or worse had outside elements not intervened. Those elements would eventually relocate him across the country to Seattle, Washington, where he would find faith, new hope, and a chance to reset the biography.

I can't speak with detail to my father's high school years, his initial college years, or even his military years of service. The fact that I failed to ask him specific questions about those parts of his life saddens me deeply as I now view them as parts of a library to be forever closed for exploration and discovery.

While serving in the United States Army, a blind date on New Year's Eve 1959 introduced him to one Josephine Elizabeth Hills, of Franklin Louisiana. Within four years, the two were married, and by Christmas 1963, the young couple had a child, the first of six to come.

The world was, again, a different place, filled will Cold War tensions, civil unrest, and societal challenges that would test our nation. Gene and Josie didn't cower in fear of the future, but were bullish about it. When opportunities presented themselves, they took action to take advantage of them for the benefit of their family.

Eugene worked for a time with the Vicks Company, but eventually found his way with Xerox Corporation, where he would work for 33 years in a variety of capacities. Strong in his Catholic faith, Eugene also spent a lot of his free time in the service of the church, participating with parishes of Holy Spirit Church, and St. Rita's, to name a few. Civic organizations also saw his shadow, to include the Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts of America.

Education was his passion, and those who know him directly can vouch that he always pushed it with zeal. Not only did he talk the talk, but he walked it as well, earning a Master Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1992, teaching middle grade children about Catholicism in church, and providing guidance to intercity youths as part of outreach programs sponsored by Xerox. Eugene's focus didn't stop at his front doorstep, but it went inside as well. His tolerance for sloppy performance was low, and he pushed his children to strive for more. At a time when dropout rates for black Americans were on the rise, none of Eugene Wicks' children would ever populate those statistics.

There are so many personal memories that can be told of Eugene as a father. I will do my best to capture as many as I can in some form in the coming days. Memories fade in time, and it would be an even greater loss to future generations yet to be born to not know the man whose bloodline they share.

In recent years, even as his health began to fail him, Eugene never failed to live like he really meant it. Family was always important to him, so he made it a point to participate at family gatherings whenever possible. Even as the people who remember him as a small boy continued to pass on to the next life, Eugene made everyone around him feel much more alive. Throat cancer survival came at the expense of a vocal chord, but he persevered. Parkinson's Disease slowed him down, but he didn't stop. And when his personal thought into physical action became further and further apart, his frustrations may have grew, but there were never any doubt of his intent and his compassion.

Eugene is loved by so many, respected by so many, and will leave a legacy that even he could not begin to imagine. To have had him be an active participant in one's life is a blessing in and of itself. But to be one of his offspring is even more so. I am an okay guy, but Eugene Martin Wicks is the true original.

When they made my father, they broke the mold.

For those of faith, they already know that a homecoming is about to take place, a reunion of the highest order. My father will rejoin the love and comfort of parents he has missed for decades, along with other siblings and dear friends long since passed. I am sure that a good time will be had by all.

But in the meantime, myself, along with my mother Josephine, and my siblings, Deborah Ann, Darryl Vernon, Anna Mae, Thomas Christopher, and Dawn Christina, we are going to miss than man dearly.

We are going to miss his smile, his laugh, his self-assurance, and his can-do attitude. We are going to miss the conversations, his physical presence, and so much more. My mother is, and will remain, a very strong and proud woman, but she is going to hurt for some time to come as she will lose her best friend of nearly 49 years of marriage.

There is a quiet place less than five miles from where I type these words which will become his earthly home. When the finally goodbyes are said, I will return to Oklahoma, heavy in heart, but high in spirit knowing that my father will have departed in peace, fully aware that he made a positive difference for the world he leaves behind.

Prayers, good thoughts, and good wishes are encouraged for my Dad and for the family. There will be some tough days ahead and I know I won't ever be quite the same again.

itzwicks

Happy New Year!

Taking ownership of one's own life begins with knowing (and accepting) the current landscape for what it is.

What does that REALLY mean, anyway?

It means, for starts, that YOU are literally not the center of the universe. Unless you are a minor child living with legally responsible adults, NOBODY owes you anything. If you sit in a classroom and elect not to apply yourself to the material at hand, that's on you. If you don't respect yourself, don't expect others to respect you. If you don't take chances, don't listen with the intent of understanding what others are trying to convey, take inappropriate shortcuts, and behave as if the world owes you, I assure you, you are going to be disappointed. On a regular basis.

It also means a general acceptance of the things you can not change, versus the things that you can. If you are 34, 4' 11" and 200 lbs, don't expect the NBA to ring your phone off of the hook to secure you a place on the starting roster. If you live in a town in which there is 20%+ unemployment, and you happen to be a part of that statistic, there is a strong probability that gaining decent work may need to begin with a change of location.

Didn't go to college? Well, Michael Dell, Rush Limbaugh, and so many others didn't walk across a stage, but life still managed to turn out well for them. And, check it out: none of them necessarily won the sperm lottery of being born into wealth.

Here's a novel idea: Utilize the resources at hand to build up and shape the future of YOUR desire, rather than the circumstances of today shape that future for you. It starts with a personal inventory of your assets and strengths, and putting them to work for you. Surround yourself with people who are either actively (that's the key part) going in the same direction, or who have already made the journey and are waiting for you at the finish line.

If you find something that gives you passion, pursue it. If you find yourself lacking in imagination, find someone who has it in mass quantities, with plenty to spare. But whatever you do, don't expect your government to actively lend you a hand in a timely manner. They may be obligated to give you the equal opportunity, but that doesn't mean that they are required to give you an equality of outcome. Rinse and repeat.

The sooner you start, the sooner you will get to where you want to go, and you will be in the presence of encouragement, not envy and despair.

* * * * *

Don't have a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or partner? Last time I checked, there were over 7 billion people on the planet, with at least 310 million of them in this part of North America. There are literally plenty of folks to go around, if you are willing to do your due dilligence. But please, DON'T inflict yourself on anyone else until you like yourself enough to share your brains, your brawn, and your heart.

Having "great chemistry" is a fancy way of saying that your exterior finishes are doing the job of keeping the mutual interests of someone else. If you aren't working on building up and/or maintaining the good stuff, how the heck can you expect anyone else to do the same for you?

But it goes beyond the superficial: Your personality is unique and separates YOU from the rest of humanity. Father Time will eventually take away what Mother Nature gave you, but it is your words and actions that will attract and/or repeal people over time, and that clock began ticking downward the moment you popped out of the womb.

I recently posted about the need to keep negative people out of your life. True advice from the heart, folks. While it is okay to have a "Devil's Advocate" of sorts, the person who constantly whines about the suckage of life, while doing nothing to change the conditions to point of "WINNING," well that person needs to be given the pink slip from your presence. Seriously.

* * * * *

It is a brand new year, and so many opportunities await us all. Let us all begin by removing the baggage of years past, and prepare for a shiny future built upon the actions of today. That literally begins with attitude, and follows up with real, consistant action, built upon a foundation of a loving support from family and friends.

Live like you really mean it. Not just for today, but for always.
itzwicks

Yes, I am still alive...

I am actually in the middle of a strategic move in more ways than one. The geographic one is going to take a month to complete, but the less obvious ones will take even more time to complete.

Anybody want a postcard from Lawton, Oklahoma? Send me a private email with your snail mail address and I will put one in the post after the Labor Day holiday.

In the meanwhile, be safe out there and live like you really mean it!
itzwicks

Meanwhile back in New York...

Today finds me back in my adopted hometown of Webster, "Where life is worth living."

The place is actually sprawling with stores, businesses, homes, and churches. I am always amazed at how much changed in Monroe County. And I am also surprised as to how much has remained the same. The citizenry here is mostly polite, patient, and patriotic. You can tell that you are on the East Coast by the sound of accents, beachwear, and sensibilities on topics of interest.

And for all of that, in the back of my head, I recall the phrase "you can never go home again."

Overall, the world has changed, and for me, things from the past that I once held dear, don't have the same shine and allure that I once felt so intensely. Call it cynical aging, or something else, but I am just not feeling it like I used to. But I still try to retain the general concepts and understandings of the most basic workings of the how's and the why's, and just apply worldly experience to what I encounter in the here and now.

It isn't so much the specific examples, though I can list them, but the overall "feel" of the things that I have observed in my immediate surroundings since returning to the streets and various surroundings of the places that I had roamed in my youth. There is sometimes a sterility of sorts in the people I encounter that emanates beyond just the lack of familiarity. It could be just me, but I often think otherwise.

No matter what happens, we must all remember that our daily ripples of humanity interacts with others and goes to places far beyond the scope of our awareness. Humility and thoughtfulness still goes a long way.

Before this day ends, I will try to place myself on a Lake Ontario beach in anticipation of Sunday's sunset. There is something majesty yet calming about watching our nearest star making its final curtain call as it dips below the horizon. While some things must come to an end, there is an assurance of sorts that there is always a tomorrow, and with it, new possibilities.

We may not get all the tomorrows we want, but we can certainly make the most of the today's we have in the here and now.

Live like you really mean it, folks.