Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bill of Responsibilities

Driving home this afternoon, I was listening to Detroit's Paul W. Smith (guest-hosting on Rush Limbaugh's program) and heard the following from Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Considering the age we live in, we should be reminded what our responsibilities as citizens to our country are, and not the reverse.

Bill of Responsibilities

With Rights come Responsibilities—As Americans, we must accept responsibility with the gift of security of our rights. As the Founding Fathers of our nation set down the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, to establish certain rights of American citizens, the Freedoms Foundation has outlined responsibilities of American citizens in a free society:


Freedom and responsibility are mutual and inseparable; we can ensure enjoyment of the one only by exercising the other. Freedom for all of us depends on responsibility by each of us.

To secure and expand our liberties, therefore, we accept these responsibilities as individual members of a free society:

1. To be fully responsible for our own actions and for the consequences of those actions. Freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility for our choices.

2. To respect the rights and beliefs of others. In a free society, diversity flourishes. Courtesy and consideration toward others are measures of a civilized society.

3. To give sympathy, understanding and help to others. As we hope others will help us when we are in need, we should help others when they are in need.

4. To do our best to meet our own and our families' needs. There is no personal freedom without economic freedom. By helping ourselves and those closest to us to become productive members of society, we contribute to the strength of the nation.

5. To respect and obey the laws. Laws are mutually accepted rules by which, together, we maintain a free society. Liberty itself is built on a foundation of law. That foundation provides an orderly process for changing laws. It also depends on our obeying laws once they have been freely adopted.

6. To respect the property of others, both private and public. No one has a right to what is not his or hers. The right to enjoy what is ours depends on our respecting the right of others to enjoy what is theirs.

7. To share with others our appreciation of the benefits and obligations of freedom. Freedom shared is freedom strengthened.

8. To participate constructively in the nation's political life. Democracy depends on an active citizenry. It depends equally on an informed citizenry.

9. To help freedom survive by assuming personal responsibility for its defense. Our nation cannot survive unless we defend it. Its security rests on the individual determination of each of us to help preserve it.

10. To respect the rights and to meet the responsibilities on which our liberty rests and our democracy depends. This is the essence of freedom. Maintaining it requires our common effort, all together and each individually.

Copyright © 1985 by Freedoms Foundation

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spring Is Here!!

Ah, the change of the seasons!! It looks like the weather has finally moved out of the winter doldrums and charging into spring.

I've only been gardening for the past couple of years, and have decided to take on a couple of larger projects than in the past. The front garden area has been neglected for a little while, although servicable, and needs some work. Also, the back gardens (home of the Roma tomato garden) will be reworked as well.

Both of the areas will be planted with some perinnials I've had my eye on (and the wife's), but there's a lot of prep work that needs to be done. I'm surveying the areas, making planting charts, and otherwise doing lots of digging


As a result, my serious topic blogging is going to get put on hold for a little while, although I will drop in on your sites to try & keep up with everyone else's interests. When I have time, I'll post some humorous (and clean!) material for your enjoyment.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the weather, and keeping the stress level down.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I sincerely hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter, and got their tax return mailed or filed before the deadline.

There are certain drawbacks to having your email address posted on your blog. One is getting spam, especially those folks who want you to open up a bank or credit account so they can transfer money from another country and give you a percentage for your trouble. (Yeah, right...) The second is getting flaming, toxic emails concerning an earlier post.

But before I begin, let me reiterate - I am not against the aged, infirm, or those who are otherwise physically or mentally incapable of working from receiving Welfare - there is a social and/or moral obligation to take care of these people who cannot take care of themselves. The people that I have problems with are those persons who believe that Welfare is their God-given right, believe that they are entitled to it, are physically & mentally able to work for a living, but choose not to.

The earlier post was titled Thoughts on Immigration & Other Social Ills, and the writer of the email took exception to my generalization of Welfare recipients. I could not respond to this email since any response to the address returned an error (message cannot be delivered - address invalid). The email was also poorly written and full of profanity that I care not post or repeat the contents, but the main thrust of it was that I was an idiot and just do not understand the situation. Oh, but I do!!

Soon after the divorce from my first wife many years ago, I was literally one paycheck away from bankruptcy. Bills, attorney fees, credit cards, rent, loans, etc. took up just about everything I earned. In an effort to save money, I moved from the two-bedroom apartment that my son, ex-wife, and I had been living in, to a decent but cheap apartment on the other side of town. One of the reasons it was so cheap was that it was next to "the Projects." Almost every town has them, the apartments that Welfare recipients live in, and are often laden with gang or drug activity.

Being the only white person within blocks was very uncomfortable for me as well as my neighbors, who definitely distrusted anyone not of their race. For the most part, they left me alone and I left them alone until one day I looked out of the window. I saw one of my neighbors run out of her apartment followed by a cloud of smoke! Not thinking to call 911, I grabbed a fire extinguisher that I had & headed on out the door. The woman was coughing a lot, and I stopped long enough to ask her if any of her kids was home (she had two pre-schoolers). She shook her head no, and I went on in to her apartment, and found a very bad grease fire in the process of spreading to the rest of the kitchen. I managed to put it out, and came back out of the apartment to be greeted by the rest of the neighborhood and the fire department. Of course, everyone looked at me like an alien from Mars, but that was OK. The woman was fine, and the fire department told me later that if the fire had not been controlled at the point that I had gotten to it, it would have been possible that the apartment and perhaps the building itself could have been severely damaged. As it was, the apartment only suffered smoke damage.

From then on, everyone waved and talked to me when they could, and I was even invited to picnics. Thus, I got to know the mentality of many of these people. The bottom line is that they feel do not have a way out, and since they feel that they have no way out, they are thus entitled to the Welfare. Yes, training was available for them to improve their educational background, but if they went through the training and got a job, their benefits would be cut to a level below that they would be receiving from the Government. Thus, in general, they were better off just sitting around & not working. Some people did go out & try to work, but not very many. A sad situation, yes, but one that has been repeated in so many cities.

Then there is the other experience that I had. Again, same time frame, only at a grocery store.

Being in the dire financial pinch that I found myself in, the other area I cut back on was food. I virtually lived on Hamburger and Tuna Helper for several months. Going to the local discount grocery store, I got my meager supplies for the week, and went to the checkout line. I found myself behind a well dressed Black woman with jewelry, smelling faintly of nice perfume, and a fur coat. She had a huge stack of groceries that included canned veggies, steak, cereal, milk - everything that a well stocked pantry should have. The cashier gave her a total of over $250, and this lady proceeds to pull out of her very nice purse food stamps. Of course, I am absolutely floored!! She paid for the groceries and left with 7 or 8 bags of groceries.

I get to the cashier to pay for my one bag of groceries, and came face to face with one of the women from the Projects. During the following greetings & small-talk, she made the following statement to me about the previous customer, "She sure knows how to work the system, don't she?" I paid for my groceries with a couple of bills & some change in my pocket, grabbed my bag of groceries, went out the door, and proceeded to watch the well-dressed woman drive off in a new Cadillac. Another situation that has been repeated many times, and just as sad.

In the first instance, the people of the Projects have no incentive to improve their situation because to do so will reduce any benefits they receive. In the second instance, the well dressed woman has no incentive to change as all of her needs are met and exceeded. In both cases, the status quo is maintained.

To the person who wrote me the email, I understand fully what people in the Projects experience - the hopelessness, the fear, the absolute depression that their situation brings. I also understand that there are people who take unfair advantage of the system, depriving benefits from those people who desparately need the help. Welfare by itself is not a bad thing, but the abuse and the cradle-to-grave entitlements must end. Therefore, reform must take place, but must happen so that everyone has the chance to succeed. And I realize that not everyone has that capability. So did our Founding Fathers.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is what our Founding Fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence. They stated that everyone has the right to make something of themselves, and understood that not everyone could succeed. They did not state in any of the documents that founded this country that people who failed would be taken care of by the Government.

Rather, much of what we call welfare today was taken care of by the churches and some of the village elders. Their help was mostly limited to helping someone get back on their feet, but it was the recipient's responsibility to stand on their own two feet. Those who didn't were either run out of town, became beggars, starved, or all of the preceeding & more.

Are we a more civilized society today? Perhaps, but we, as a society, are not doing anyone any favors by not providing incentives for people to get themselves off of Welfare and back into mainstream society. And maybe it's too late to do that...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Florida Condo for Rent

Since everyone seems to have Easter Weekend plans but me (I'm working), I thought I would pass on this offer to the readers of this blog:


I haven't said anything to anybody about this until now, because I wanted to wait until things were finalized: I just purchased a one-bedroom condominium on Sanibel Island as an investment property.

I finally closed last week. So, I thought I would let you all know in case anyone is interested in accommodations for an upcoming getaway to the island. It's available for weekends or on a weekly basis. For now, I will be handling bookings until I can find an agent.

Weekends will cost about $100 for three nights and $250 for an entire week. These prices are low because they are for friends and family only. Prices will be a bit different for people I don't know, but I can discuss that on an individual basis.

In any case, it's a one bedroom, high-rise unit that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, nestled among lush greens, a short walk to the beach and has a magnificent view of the Gulf of Mexico from every window!

By invitation only on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited reservations.

Let me know if you are interested See photo below.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

And Now From the Land of Tax Return Hell...

As tax season approaches, we are always surprised by the amount of stupidity that happens to go on, not only by our own government, but be the people closest to us. Well, maybe not so close to us...

For the first time in 18 years, my ex-wife decided to claim our son as a dependant, even though legally I am allowed to claim him. Of course, when you e-file the return, it gets kicked back to you with an error message stating that another return has used the Social Security number of the dependant, and there is no way on God's green earth the return will accepted.

So I call the ex up to try & find out why this she did this. Now I admit that I'm a little cranky about the whole deal since now the entire multi-page return has to be printed up with additional letters & documents showing that I do indeed have the legal right to claim the boy as a dependant. Her response goes from outrage that I'm cranked off about this to ignorance (I don't know what happened) to a mild apology (turns out that her tax preparer made a mistake). In the course of this conversation, she is trying to blame others (the tax preparer, in this case) for her mistake. Of course, she now realizes that she is going to have to file an amended return to keep her from getting into too much trouble with the IRS (yes, I told her what she needs to do - I'm not that big of an a**hat).

Public Service Announcement - Now folks, if you take your tax return to a preparer, you are obligated to give the tax preparer all pertinant & accurate information, and YOU are responsible once you sign the tax return. If there is a mistake, YOU are liable, not the preparer, no matter what the commercials say.

Here's the bottom line on all of this - many people do not realize (or care) that their lack of personal responsibility affects other people. In this case it's a tax return, which can be corrected. On the job, it could mean anything from putting out bad product (that fails or hurts someone) to hurting or killing other workers or yourself. Over the course of a number of years, I've seen all of this.

The problem is that we end up having people who go through life not wanting to take any personal responibility, and in doing so, they cause great inconvenience to everybody else within their sphere of influence and beyond. Don't believe me? As one example, think of all the product liability lawsuits that are out there. I'm not talking about legitimate lawsuits where the product is clearly faulty, but the frivolous, non-responsible use of the the product that clog the courts. You know, the ones of where someone tried to us a screwdriver as a pry bar which then broke & put their eye out. What that means for the rest of us is that if we have a problem with a product, it gets buried for years in the court system. The other thing it does is raise prices for every single item that we purchase and use.

Of course, the above is a very large view from 30,000 feet. I imagine that there are a number of instances that you, the reader, have been inconvenienced by others because they do not do what they are supposed to do, i.e., be responsible members of society. If you have been in a car accident caused by another person, you know what I'm talking about. And quite frankly, I'm tired of these people who don't care.

I know this is a rant because I'm POed. And that's OK, because that is one of the uses of Blogs. However, when commenting on this post, please keep your political comments for another time. Personal comments only this time. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Immigration Article & Post

I know, I know - another post on the immigration "crisis." In fact, we are all beginning to get a shade POed about it.

This article from the American Thinker titled Why Americans Hate This “Immigration” Debate seems to address the real issue.

Not to be outdone, Indigo Red has this post on the words of Teddy Roosevelt that reflects upon this article before it was written!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Why Mexico Won't Stop the Immigrants

While I was spending some time in the back room (see previous posts), I started to think about why Mexico's President Fox stated that he would not even try to stop Mexican citizens from crossing the border to the United States. Here's what I came up with:

  • For every Mexican that crosses the border is one less person that the Mexican government must take care of or be concerned with.
  • The illegal immigrants create revenue for Mexico by sending a portion of their wages back to their families, who in turn, spend it in Mexico.
  • If the immigrant is a criminal in Mexico, it's one less person for the Mexican authorities to track down, try in their courts, and incarcerate (with the associated expenses).
  • In many ways, these border crossers are one of Mexico's greatest exports, at least from their viewpoint.

So from an economic sense, Mexico is making out like a bandit (!) by not stopping or curtailing illegal immigration to the United States. Can you think of any others that I may have missed?

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Oakland County, MI (AP) In a daring raid early this afternoon, the Oakland County Sheriff busted an illegal gambling and loan-sharking operation. In the process of executing the warrent, the Sheriff deputies were stunned to find a blogger only known by the name Tom being held for ransom. What was unusual were his kidnappers - his cats! However, the cats were not scooped up in the raid, and remain at large. Sheriff deputies released the following pictures of the suspected felines.


Details of the kidnapping remain sketchy at this time other than the ransom demand - sushi! Sheriff Deputies speculate that the operators of the illegal gambling den were tired of Taco Hell & Burger Queen takeout, and wanted something different. It is also unknown if the suspected kidnappers were to get a cut of the ransom.

While refusing to press charges against his feline catnappers should they be apprehended, Tom would only say that his cats were victims of an elaborate scam put on by the bookies suspected of being members of the notorius Yellowfin Tuna gang. He stated that they were sucked into a get rich quick scheme betting on the rat races at a little known track located in the Feline Republic. "They got in way over their tails," he said.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ransom for Tom

Hello Bloggers Associating with Tom:

After much planning, we have captured Tom and are holding him in an undisclosed location.

If you EVER want to read any more posts from him, leave 5 pounds each of sushi-grade salmon and tuna in a cooler in the park at midnight tomorrow night.

The Cats

Translated by Babblefish from Feline to Human