Cuba

December 20th, 2014

 

Earlier this week President Obama announced that diplomatic relationships with Cuba would be restored. He also urged that Congress end the 52 year old embargo. This has generated a firestorm of criticism. Basically it boils down to charges that we are giving the Castro government a lifeline.

 

The Cuban government is a brutal dictatorship. It sponsors international terrorism and has destroyed the economy through its mismanagement. However, we have diplomatic relations with brutal regimes around the world. Talking never hurts. Exchanging ambassadors won’t change the Cuban economy of the Castros grip on power.

 

The embargo was put in place during the Cold War and has outlived its usefulness. The idea that the government will fall if we hang on a little longer is ludicrous. The people have suffered from the embargo, not the government. The government has used the embargo to blame the US for their economic woes. Remove it and the blame will shift where it belongs.

 

While I agree with what Obama has done, I strongly disagree with why and how he has done it. Clearly this is an attempt by him to increase his standing in history. It has nothing to with anything other than satisfying his massive ego. Once again, he is taking a go it alone approach. Even worse, he agreed to free spies that killed an American.

 

We trade with China and Vietnam. There is no reason not to trade with a country 90 miles from our border. The only real reason for the embargo is to appeal to Cuban-Americans in the swing state of Florida. That is not a good enough.

 

Let the Government Pick Your College

December 15th, 2014

 

The Obama Administration seems to believe that the government knows what is best for us. Now it has decided we are incapable of choosing what college to attend. It will soon unveil a ratings system for every college and university in the country. Picking a college can be difficult. If they developed a database of pertinent information, that could be quite useful. However, I have several problems with assigning each school a letter grade.

 

First of all, a one size fits all rating is impractical. How do you compare an elite Ivy League university, a private liberal arts college, a state university, a community college and a junior college? In addition, the ratings will encourage colleges to focus on improving their grade rather than the quality of its education. This is similar to elementary and secondary schools concentrating their teaching on doing well in standardized tests.

 

My real objection is philosophical. The government designs a scoring system based on what IT thinks is important. That judgment should be left to college students and their parents.

 

This is just the latest example of the government believing it can run our lives better than we can. Sadly, it won’t be the last.

 

Playing with Fire

December 10th, 2014

 

It has been more than 13 years since that horrible day when the towers came crashing down. We were not prepared to deal with such an unprecedented attack. In the aftermath of 9/11, mistakes were made. These include the use of what was euphemistically referred to as “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Torture is a much more accurate word.

 

Still smarting from election losses, Senate Democrats have decided to dig this up again. It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. It damages the country in the eyes of the world and may even provoke violence. Troops around the world have been put on alert. Many, including some in the Obama administration, urged that it not be released. Obviously some are so filled with hate that they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. It is all so pointless since it won’t change the minds of a single voter in 2016.

 

The Bush Administration made many mistakes, most notably the decision to start a war with Iraq. Those actions are now history. No good purpose is served in dredging it all up. What’s next? Watergate? Teapot Dome? Some dirt on Lincoln?

 

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

December 7th, 2014

 

Note: Unlike the TV networks, I don’t believe in reruns. There is one exception. I will repeat the following post every December 7 as long as I am blogging.

 

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a devastating strike that resulted in 2,400 deaths. Virtually everyone in the country was affected. Millions traded work clothes for uniforms. Many women went to work in factories. Everyone had to cope with shortages.

 

We were woefully unprepared. Earlier that year maneuvers were held in Louisiana. Many men carried wooden rifles. A bill to extend the term of draftees was passed that summer by only one vote. It took almost four years but the war was won. Over 400,000 soldiers never returned home.

 

Anyone that has the chance to go to Hawaii should go to Pearl Harbor. Visiting the memorial, built atop the Arizona, is an incredible experience. It’s hard not to think about the men permanently entombed below your feet. Nearby is the Missouri, the ship upon which the Japanese surrendered.

 

When I think of Pearl Harbor, I think of one young man. He was already in the service. He had a 30 day leave starting on December 6. When he reached home, a telegram was waiting ordering him to return. Eventually he caught up with his unit. They were in a California desert since it was feared the Japanese would capture the coastal cities. Soon he was shipped out to Australia. On his second day there he was in a truck accident and broke his back.

 

That man will turn 94 next week. He feels the effects of his injuries every day. Most call him Perry. I call him Dad.

 

Expectations

December 1st, 2014

Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini had at least 9 wins in each of his 7 seasons of coaching the football team. Only two other schools, Alabama and Oregon, can match that record. That wasn't good enough because he lost his job yesterday. Now the players are in an uproar and some recruits said they are going elsewhere. They fired a coach in 2003 who also won 9 games that year. In 2004 they had their first losing season in over 40 years.

Those that follow Nebraska know that they have a storied history. They won two national championships in the 70s, 3 in the 90s and came close many other times. However, the game has changed. The combination of scholarship reductions and shared TV revenue have equalized the game. The real problem was not a coach doing a bad job, it was unrealistic expectations of the fans.

The problem of unrealistic expectations isn't limited to a few football fans. It is a national epidemic. Kids want to live a lifestyle it took their parents decades to achieve. We want an economy like we had before the world caught up to us. Voters expect instant change even though they voted for divided government.

We all need to take a moment and look at the world as it is and not how we want it to be.