Voter ID–Short and Sweet

To get a library card at the New York Public Library, you must show an identification card with a photo.  To open a bank account you have to show an ID with a photo and your actual physical address, which you must also verify with a utility bill.

So why is it so oppressive or cruel to expect people to prove their identity when they vote?

Iowa Caucuses and Beyond

Before the 2008 Iowa caucuses, the polls predicted that the U. S. would be choosing between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

In other words, there is no way to know on this eve of the new year, who we will be on the ballot, for the Republican Pary, in November.

In last year’s Iowa caucuses the top four Republicans were Huckabee, Romney, and (with the same percentage) McCain and, my favorite, Thompson.  The top three Democrats were Obama, Edwards, and Clinton, and they were quite close in percentages.  In other words, we should not put too much stock in who wins or loses in Iowa.

I predict that the top three Republicans will be Romney, Paul, and Gingrich, in that order.  I am considering the polling data and what I am hearing and reading about the man on the street in Iowa.

I will not be voting for any Republican candidate next year, unless I have no Libertarian to vote for in a particular office.  However, I would like to see Ron Paul succeed this time around.  He won’t, but I still hope so.

I am quite sure that Republicans will go with a “safe” candidate the way that they did last time, by which I mean Romney, of course.  He probably will not win against Obama, but who could?

Resolutions for 2012

Here’s what I plan to do this year.  I will write updates on how I am doing.

1.  Brighten at least one person’s day or lighten at least one person’s load every single day.  Say a kind word, give a compliment, offer tangible help, provide for a need, send an encouraging note.

2.  Buy only what I truly need.  Make good use of what I have.  Get rid of excess stuff.

3.  Avoid being overly critical of everyone and everything.  Extend grace.  Exhibit compassion.

4.  Avoid conflict whenever possible, but have the courage to stand firmly against injustice.  Be neither a doormat nor a jerk.

5.  Live in a healthy manner.  Exercise a little every day.  Eat only healthy food for at least six days a week.  Drink water.  Sleep.

6.  Learn a new poem every month.

7.  Work a challenging puzzle every day.

8.  Acknowledge that my own opinions might be wrong.  Listen.  Consider other ideas sincerely.

9.  Read three chapters of the Bible every single day.

10.  Learn to cook a new dish every month.

Top 10 News Stories of 2011

You might disagree with me–feel free–but here are what I think were the most important news items of the year:

1.  The secession and independence of South Sudan

Whenever a group of people are free to run their own state, it is a remarkable and praisworthy event.

2.  Earthquake and tsunami in Japan

It was a horrible disaster with a terrible aftermath.

3.  The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleman

What can I say?  I love the United Kingdom and the Royal Family.

4.  The capture and killing of Osama bin Laden

It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.

5.  The end of the space shuttle program in the United States

It is a sad conclusion to an exciting program.

6.  The death of Christopher Hitchens

He was a brilliant man with fascinating views and superb communication skills.

7.  The end of the Iraq War

It was a war that should never have happened.  One can only imagine what the ruture holds for Iraq.

8.  Protests and revolutions in the Arab world

I am totally for power in the hands of the people.  We must wait to see what happens over the next few years.

9.  The death of Vaclav Havel

He was an amazing man who loved freedom.

10.  The 1000-for-1 prisoner swap between Palestinians and Israel

It shows once again who is truly for peace in the Middle East.

A Humbling Moment

My wife bragged about how well I can make gravy.  She’s right; however, I was nervous about making it in somebody else’s house.

It was coming along just right–smooth, thick.  I thought that I had the flame adjusted just right.  Then I realized that the bottom was getting scorched.  I took it off the heat, but it was too late.  I ruined it.

Did I mess up because I was so axious about it?  Did my wife’s bragging jinx me?

It looks good but tastes bad.  That’s how I feel about myself at the moment.  I appear smart, capable, confident.  Inside I am idiotic, klutzy, and embarrassed.

Other than that Christmas has been very enjoyable.

Being Gray

I am not exactly the black sheep of my family, but I am at least gray.  I am the most intelligent and most highly educated member of my extended family.  I am also the most intelligent and most highly educated member of my wife’s extended family.  It’s really awkward at times.

Just the other night we were watching a movie on television.  An easily recognizable actress appears in it, and my sister-in-law is not sure about whether she wants to keep watching the movie.  “I can’t stand her,” she says.  Apparently the actress plays a really obnoxious person in a TV series.  I refrain from explaining that when an actor plays a role, the actor himself or herself is not like that.  My sister-in-law is surprised at how nice this actress is in the movie that we are watching.  Ugh!

My brother loves Barack Obama.  When I ask him why, he says that he has restored hope to people.  When I ask, “Hope in what?” he cannot really say.  When I ask what the President has done to inspire such hope, he mumbles something about a black man finally holding such a high office.  Oh, and he closed that prison in Cuba.  “No, he didn’t,” I point out.

“Whatever!” my brother says.

My sister offers a different opinion of our President.  He has ruined the country, according to her.  “In what way?” I inquire.

“Well, he’s not a real American.  He’s a secret Muslim.”

I want to say that it must not be a very well-kept secret if she knows about it.  I bite my tongue instead.  Peace matters more to me than correcting my sister.

Most of my relatives are overweight.  I watch them eat junk food all day long and wonder how they can say that they do not understand how they got so heavy.

Most of them squander money on junk.  Then they complain about not being able to make ends meet.

I don’t fault anyone for having a low IQ.  However, it annoys me that my relatives and my wife’s relatives fail to make the most of the information available to them.  They make no attempt to educate themselves on politics or economics or health or anything important or useful.

It leaves me with little to talk about.  I don’t enjoy hearing about their recent trips to the grocery store to buy peanut butter.  I don’t enjoy hearing about the spark plugs that they recently changed in the lawn mower.  I want to talk about people’s thoughts and feelings about current events.  I want to talk about the meaning of life.

Learning Reponsibility

     I didn’t learn everything I needed to know in kindergarten.  I didn’t even go to kindergarten.  However, I did learn a lot in elementary school, as well as in Sunday school and at home.  And in the Boy Scouts.  I learned a lot about responsiblity at that time, and I wonder why others did not.

     I learned that if I misplaced my pencil, it was my responsiblity to find it again or to get a new one.  Nobody else was obligated to give, or even lend, me his or her pencil.  Nobody was obligated to buy me a new one, except my parents, and they were probably going to require me to pay for a new pencil with my allowance money.

     I learned that the teacher did not give me a grade on a paper; I earned a grade on the paper.

     I learned that if I dropped a piece of paper on the floor, it was my duty to pick it up.  The magic trash fairy was not going to do it for me.

     I learned that if I broke something, I had to repair it or replace it myself or pay to have it repaired or replaced.

     I learned that if I promised to do a chore in exchange for a reward, then I could not back out later.  I certainly could not demand the reward without completing the chore.

     I learned that if I broke a rule, I had to face the consequence.  In fact, I learned that I should humbly accept the consequence that I deserved.

     When I look at some of the so-called adults around me, I wonder why they did not learn these things.  They think that somebody else should pay for their needs.  Somebody else should suffer for their mistakes.  Their employer is not “giving” them enough.  They should back out of obligations if they change their minds and do not “feel like” following through.  They should face no consequences for violating policies or even laws.

     What is wrong with such people?  Are the stupid?  Did they ignore what they were taught?  Are they able to ignore their conscience?

     I wonder.