Sunday, July 24, 2016

It's Broke. Time to fix it. Article #9

It's broke . . .

You may have noticed that last Sunday I didn't post a new blog (blog? blog article? blog post?). Last week was the Republican Convention, and being that I live here in the wonderful city of Cleveland, I did what any sane person would do: I got the heck outta Dodge!

(Now, to be perfectly honest, if I lived in Philadelphia, where the Democrat Convention is to take place, I'd get the heck outta Dodge too!)

Actually, Friday the 15th was the celebration of ten wonderful years of marriage to the most beautiful (and patient, and forgiving, and tolerating . . . ) woman in the world. I took that day off in order to celebrate; along with the following week for a mini-vacation. It just so happens that the convention was taking place the same time we were on vacation.

We went to Maumee Bay State Park and stayed at the lodge. The park is located on the coast of Lake Erie, between Sandusky (think Cedar Point) and Toledo (think Mud Hens and Tony Packo's). Nothing like catching a couple of Mud Hens baseball games!

Me and the most beautiful, patient, forgiving, tolerant (etc.) woman in the world!

Getting back to the topic of this post . . .

Currently we have a two-party system. The Republicans and the Democrats. A.K.A. Tweedle-Dumb and Tweedle-Stupid. The part that pisses me off the most about both of these groups is that deep down they don't give a rat's ass about doing what is best for the country. Oh, they say that they do. But honestly? All either party cares about is doing what is best for their own party. Getting re-elected and staying in power means more to them than what is best for the very taxpayers paying their salaries.

I know I talked about third-party options previously, but no one ever takes groups like the Green Party or the Libertarian Party seriously enough to make a dent in the two-party monopoly. Though that may change. Usually, the Libertarians are dismissed as a bunch of people who only want to legalize drugs. Well, with Colorado and Washington both legalizing the dancing with Mary Jane, and many more states looking at that viable tax revenue option, Libertarians will soon seem like the "normal" of the bunch.

The 12th Amendment gives us the procedure for electing both the President and the Vice President (also known as the Electoral College). In a nutshell: the person with the majority of electoral votes becomes President AND the person with the majority of electoral votes becomes Vice President. Two separate elections. Now, somewhere along the line, our benevolent party leaders decided that it wouldn't be good to have a Democrat President and a Republican Vice President (or vice versa), so they decided to make a change and have the party candidate choose their "running mate".

You may notice that they didn't change the Constitution via Amendment (like when the 18th Amendment - prohibiting the manufacturing or sale of alcohol - was repealed by the 21st Amendment). They simply decided to ignore the Constitution for the betterment of the parties.

So, the system is broken.

My wife had a great idea, and I think it's the perfect solution: Let everyone who wants to run, run. The person with the most votes becomes the President. And the person with the second most votes becomes the Vice President. Parties be damned!

And I agree. Let the games begin!

. . . time to fix it!

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's Broke. Time to fix it. Article #8

It's broke . . .

Every four years we go through the same thing: A bunch of rich people spend all kinds of money running advertisements, traveling all over the country giving speeches, and holding massive conventions, all to convince the populous that they are regular people like you and me, and to convince us to go into a small booth and choose them for President of the United States. And each election cycle the amount of money spent - nay WASTED - could be invested for far more beneficial ends; like, say, the very things they want to spend money on once in office.

I’m a Clevelander. I love this city. And not just because the Cavaliers won the NBA Finals this year (breaking a 52-year curse over the town) either. This year we are to hold the Republican National Convention in our town.

And it makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.

With all of the recent shootings by and of police in the last few weeks, one thing we in Cleveland don't need is a bunch of Trump hating protesters coming to town and possibly stirring up trouble. And why? Because the GOP chose to allow Donald Trump to run in the primaries as a Republican, and now regrets that they did it. They want a do over. They call "mulligan"!! And frankly, if something doesn't happen soon to correct the Good Ship "Grand Old Poopheads" they will be handing over the election to Hillary Clinton.

Though, from what I remember, Hillary Clinton may be the cheapest to elect anyway. After all, doesn't she already come with a bunch of (stolen) White House / Air Force One towels and cutlery?

I've been thinking of voting for a third-party candidate this cycle. Why? I can't stand either of these yutzes. I think these guys got it right: Everybody Sucks 2016.

"But J.P., if you vote third-party you will throw your vote away."

Or -

"But J.P., if you vote third-party you might as well vote for Clinton (or Trump), as you will give her (him) the election."

For one thing, you have to realize that your vote means squat. And if you vote absentee ballot, your vote means less than squat (as absentee ballots don't get counted anyway). As much as Americans want this to be American Idol (vote early; vote often), electing a President is not a popularity contest. Just ask Al Gore, who had more popular votes, but still lost to George Bush.

And for another thing, I am not only registered as Independent, I'm also independent of thought. I don't tow the party line. I'm not voting Republican or Democrat because my daddy was a Republican or Democrat and voted Republican or Democrat and so did his daddy and so did his daddy. There is more here at stake than the pride of whether or not your state is red or blue!

If you are reading this and are a U.S. citizen of voting age (and "hello" to all of you not from 'round these parts), you are also a tax payer. That means you pay the salaries of all of those yahoos in government. Which means, you are the President's EMPLOYER. He (or very possibly "she") works for YOU, not the other way around. Which means you are actually in the hiring position right now.

Let that sink in for a minute.

What do you do, as any good employer does, when needing to fill a position? You interview candidates for the position and look for the best.

So, as an employer, you find yourself with two individuals vying for the position that are morons. They are self-serving, rude, lying, and unscrupulous - you know, perfect politicians. So what do you do? Do you chose the lesser of two evils?


You look for other candidates. You tell both of those to hit the road and you keep looking.

Or, you look at third-party candidates.

So, my voting for a third-party candidate would not be a wasted vote. As a responsible "employer", I'm voting for the person I think is the best to do the job. If the rest don't, and my vote is over-ruled, so be it. At least my conscious is clear.

But to pull this into the title of this article: What we need to do is have all candidates submit a thesis of what they plan to do in office and why they think they are the best person for the job. And NO NAMES. That way all we voters have to work with is legitimate facts and no bullsh**.

Then maybe. Just maybe. We will stop this cycle.

And save a little of this wasted money while we're at it.

. . . time to fix it!

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Up in the Air

This is the 4th of July (2016) weekend, and since I normally post a blog on Sunday I thought I'd share with you something patriotic. More specifically, a story from my time in the U.S. Navy.

When I was on the USS Elrod (FFG-55), I had a leading Petty Officer named Carl Barber, who being an avid photographer, always looked for opportunities to play "shutter bug".

RM1 Carl Barber - with camera over shoulder
Because of him I purchased my first "real" camera: a Canon T50. A real beginner's beauty:

Now, Carl was a REAL photographer. He knew all about F-stops and apertures, and all that shtuff. Me? I knew the "auto" setting.

One day we took a ferry ride around the coast of Maine, navigating around a number of small islands. It was the perfect opportunity to snag some photos. We got on the boat, got settled, the boat left the pier, went around the corner and right smack dab into a fog bank. The temperature dropped and the visibility went to zero. We sat shivering, clutching our cameras for the entire ride.

Not all opportunities were misses though.

The USS Elrod was an anti-submarine vessel. Among its gear were two SH-60B LAMPS MK III helicopters. Now, in order for a helicopter to land on the back of a moving ship, the helicopter would lower a cable to a crewman on the flight deck, who would drop it through the deck to connect to a winch. The helicopter would pull back on the stick, making the cable taught. The winch would then start to pull the helicopter to the deck, with the pilot maintaining speed to match the ship. Once the helicopter touched down, it would be clamped to a trolley-type device that, after the props were folded back, would be carted into one of two hangers.

On the way back from the Persian Gulf, I had the opportunity to go into the Helo-Control Tower and take some photos. Here are a few showing you what I just described:

And for perspective, here are a few shots I took FROM the helicopter of the ship:

The Helo-Control Tower is the windowed box sticking out between the two closed "garage" doors.

So, as you enjoy a burger or brat, and maybe a cold brew, take a moment to say a quick prayer of gratitude for those serving in our armed forces. I know I will.

©Emittravel 2016