Topping the blog lists!

You made Thinking Out Loud one of the top ten conservative blogs on "Top Political Blog" site (on April 28, 2012) with an international audience. On February 18, 2013, we hit in the top 50 of ALL political blogs. (This changes all the time, so keep reading.) Thank you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stalking is bad . . . unless you are a union worker?? Really Pennsylvania??

Can't believe this is just now being fixed in the Pennsylvania legislature. Is this 2015 or 1960??

Kudos to the FBI for finding this and for Pennsylvania's lawmakers who are fixing this.

But I do have to wonder . . . 84 people voted against this? So 84 legislatures thinks its okay to harass, stalk and threaten??

Bill Ending Exemption Allowing Stalking, Harassment and Threats of Violence Heads to Senate

HARRISBURG – Highlighting a special state criminal code exception for business management and labor unions in the Commonwealth, the House voted to prohibit stalking, harassment and threats of violence for everyone, House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) said today.

By a vote of 109-84, House Bill 874 passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.

“Without exception, stalking, harassment or intimidation is wrong and should never be tolerated – especially in law,” Reed said. “The majority of business managers and workers work together honorably and effectively, yet the laws of this state should protect all Pennsylvanians from stalking or threats of harm.”

Currently, Pennsylvania’s criminal code, Title 18, exempts management and organized labor from prosecution for harassment, stalking and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction. It is illegal to call in a bomb scare, or stalk people or their kids, except if the caller or stalker is involved in a labor dispute.

This exception was brought to light last year when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested 10 members of Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401, including union leadership, for aiding racketeering and arson, and indicted them under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

According to the indictment, union members repeatedly threatened non-union construction employers with violence unless they hired a certain amount of union members. The indictment noted violence was “deeply ingrained in the structure of their organization.” Federal prosecutors brought charges against 12 members of Philadelphia Ironworkers Local 401, and most pled guilty before trial.

“It’s unfortunate, but by allowing intimidation, such as harassment, stalking and threats of violence in state law, it took the FBI and United State Attorneys to charge and prosecute under the federal law the criminal actions of some members of Philadelphia Ironworkers,” Reed said.  

Well, guess we can just look at the voting record on this bill and find out who should NOT be working for the people come next election, eh?

Just me, as usual, Thinking Out Loud.

Have a great day.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

RAPID Act or short cut for donor interest?

With all the bruohaha from local environmental groups and paid protestors, I am very surprised that there is no news or petition or any murmur from these groups about this particular bill running through the legislature.

The bill will streamline the current permit approval process for energy, infrastructure, and other construction projects by setting hard deadlines, cracking down on prolonged lawsuits, and consolidating agency management of the approval process from start to finish. It was passed by the House by a bipartisan vote of 229-179.

In a press release from Marino's office:

Marino’s RAPID Act Passes House Judiciary Committee
Washington D.C.—Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10) issued the following statement regarding the passage of the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2015 (H.R. 348) today in the House Judiciary Committee:
“I am encouraged by the prospects of advancing and passing reasonable, meaningful and much-need regulatory reforms like the RAPID Act. This Act passed the House in both the 112th and 113th Congresses – every time with large bipartisan support, and I have every expectation it will do so again in the 114th. The RAPID Act’s mission is simple: federal agencies responsible for permitting critical infrastructure and construction projects, especially in the energy sector, must provide approval or disapproval of a project in a reasonable amount of time. This is a positive and significant step in the right direction which helps jump-start many commonsense projects across the country as well as create jobs. I am thankful to Chairman Goodlatte for his leadership on the Committee again and look forward to advancing more regulatory reform bills.”

See the House Judiciary Committee and Chairman, Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) statement below which was released earlier today:
The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 15-11 the Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2015 (H.R. 348). This bill, sponsored by Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), streamlines the approval process for federally-funded and federally-permitted infrastructure, energy and other construction projects and delivers faster approvals.
The RAPID Act recognizes that delay and uncertainty in the process for new construction and infrastructure projects, undermines job creation, and economic growth for hardworking Americans.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) praised today’s Committee vote.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Our country’s burdensome and time-consuming regulatory process only adds to the American people’s frustration with the federal government. Bureaucratic red tape slows the permit approval process for infrastructure investment, and continues to be a barrier for many Americans who look to these jobs for stable employment.
“The RAPID Act would bring accountability and expediency to the permit approval process by setting hard deadlines, instituting oversight on those who control the process, and cracking down on costly and time-consuming lawsuits.
“This legislation will be an open door for the American people who are looking for work in challenging economic times. The RAPID Act is a concrete mechanism that would act as a job creator for Americans across the country, to the effect of 1.9 million jobs annually during construction of the projects, and hundreds of thousands of jobs every year following the completion of the projects.”

And yet, SILENCE from those who are busy screaming about things they can do nothing about. This is something that requires closer scrutiny. Wonder where the naysayers are now.

Agree, disagree . . . it really doesn't matter to me. Just don't let others think for you. Don't believe their spin. Think for yourselves for a change. Don't even just blindly listen to me. I am just the voice in the wilderness bringing these things up for debate. But you know, this is just me . . . . thinking out loud.

Have yourselves a great day.


(Rep. Mike Kelly - R-PA 3rd District - defends the Act.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Thinking about voting for Hillary? Read this first . . .

If you are thinking about voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 . . . all I ask is that you read this first. You can still vote for her if this and all the recent news from Benghazi to her flagrant snubbing of her nose at the law, Congress and the American people does not dissuade you.

And its not a woman thing. I know that will be what many people say. Just like they said (and still do) that any criticism against Obama is a race thing. Which is ridiculous. I could care less if he is black. I just just don't like him, his olitics, his arrogance and his vapid allegiance to everyone OTHER than the America people. Anyway . . .

But read this and then make up your own mind. Don't just believe me. Read and research the truth. Don't be fooled by SPIN. Think For Yourself.

But this is just me . . . thinking out loud!

Have a great day.


Pike County Historical Society gets grant

Pretty cool news. Pass it along. I will be resuming my blog shortly but will - from time to time - pass along bits of news items. (Mostly because I can't stop being a journalist, even though I have stopped being a journalist for the year to concentrate on other projects - like my CD and books.)

Brown, Peifer Announce Local Cultural and Historical Grant

HARRISBURG – The Pike County Historical Society has been awarded a $4,000 grant by the state’s Cultural and Historical Grant Program, Reps. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Pike/Monroe) and Mike Peifer (R-Pike/Wane) announced today.

 “It is because of the important efforts of the Pike County Historical Society that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy and learn about our county’s history, heritage and culture,” Peifer said. “I thank them for all they do.”

The Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program, run by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), is awarding nearly $2 million in grants to qualified museums and official county historical societies. The one-year grant program is distributing funds designated by the state Legislature to support the preservation of Pennsylvania’s history.

“These funds help the Pike County Historical Society to bolster the good work they already do to preserve history,” said Brown. “Our history plays a significant role in education, especially for future generations.”

To be eligible, museums must be located in Pennsylvania and have annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 and at least one full-time professional staff person. Historical societies must be designated as a county’s official historical society.

The Pike County Historical Society seeks to maintain and perpetuate the historic legacy of Pike County through preservation, leadership and education. The society acquires, preserves and protects the historical sites, artifacts and records which pertain to the heritage and culture of Pike County.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thinking Out Loud - Straight Line Voting is killing America

“Tucked deep in North Carolina's election revision law that has stirred great passion is a provision that barely gets noticed.”

That's how an August article on the News Observer website begins. Gee, I wonder where this is leading? And as predictable, it rambles on how this is the Republican's way of keeping voters from having “a handy way to participate in many contests with a single mark for a party’s slate of candidates.”

Really? This is how you want your voters voting? In a handy way? I read that as a lazy way. And why this country is in such a shambles as it is. Instead of voting for the best person to represent them, they just lazily vote for the party that they think represents their values.

Yeah, right. The only values a political party cares about is one, how they can get elected / re-elected and two, how their “money” wants them to vote. Years ago, the Republican Party was the party of caring and the Democrats were the greedy corporate types. Somewhere along the lines, the Democrats convinced the people that they were the party of social change and caring and that the Republicans were the greedy SOB's. (And it became true. But then it changed again - but not in a good way.)

But, as always, the truth is somewhere else.

Today, the political party system is all about staying in power, catering to special interests and letting the less than scrupulous big money people frame the laws in their best interest.

The people are nowhere to be seen in the equation of modern government.

Gone is the government “of the people, for the people and by the people.” As much as we'd like to think otherwise.

So whats the answer?

Vote them all out!

Yeah, nice sentiment, but that doesn't really work, does it. Not only do they never get “all voted out”, the people who actually vote in numbers are the ones who are too lazy to look at all the candidates on the ballot.

So its just a popularity contests influenced by a media that is bought and paid for by the political parties they are supposed to be watchdogging.

Its a vicious circle. Truly it is.

But I have the answer. Not a perfect answer. But an answer thats better than allowing the 14 states out there that still have it. Do away with ALL straight party voting. Make the voters choose their candidates wisely and not through skewed news and campaign ads.

Okay, so the first part is easy. States need to do away with the straight ticket voting and their courts need to stop giving in to BS lawsuits trying to get it back.

Making people accountable for WHO they vote in is NOT racist. It is NOT a ploy by one party or another to gain an advantage. Its about making the voters do their homework before they get into the voting booth.

Wow, an informed electorate! What a concept.

But its the second part that is going to take work. There needs to be a law banning all negative ads. If you want people to vote for you tell them why they should vote for YOU. Don't tell them why NOT to vote for the other candidate. That's their decision. Anyone flooding the airwaves and the newspapers and billboards and mailings who stoop to negative campaigning should be ripped off the ballot.

And before you say that candidates would just sue their opponents claiming negative ads, there needs to be accountability. Have a strict set of guidelines on what is a negative campaign strategy and what would constitute a valid lawsuit. And in the second part of that, make the consequences of a spurious lawsuit be having the person bringing it ripped off the ballot.

Contrary to this article in the News Observer, and all the whining out there being done by both parties over this matter, straight ticket voting hurts America. It hurts all of us. And it is the lazy man's way to vote.

I know of people in the Democratic party that are really concerned citizens wanting to make a difference, wanting to serve their country and represent their constituents. I also know of republicans who are that way. And Green party and independents and people of every stripe and color.

They care. They work hard. But they cannot do their jobs if the people keep voting a straight party down the line without doing their due diligence before stepping into the voting booth.

If they vote straight Democrat than they are voting on the PARTY Agenda. Which means the republican on the ballot who is better than the Democrat doesn't get in. And America suffers. Same with the Democrat who deserves a chance but is wiped out by the straight Republican voter.

And then there are all those independent candidates out there who realize the party system is broke, but can't even get in the door to fix it because of the lazy voter.

Just take for example the guy in Texas who should never have been elected but was voted in because of the straight line voters. If the voters had done their homework on this guy they would have said “whoa, no way!”

In 1994, Steve Mansfield was elected to the state's highest criminal court . . . with no criminal court background, despite claims to the contrary, and a very dubious past. Part of that included being fined in Florida for practicing law without a license. Mansfiled himself said he didn't expect to win and said his campaign would have been “dead in the water” had anyone looked into his background.

This kind of thing will happen every time you vote straight line and do not KNOW who the heck you are voting for.

Stop being lazy! Stop being sheep and believing the lies the political parties feed you! You're not babies who need to be spoon-fed pablum, you're responsible adults who not only have a right vote but you have a duty to be informed. And for heaven's sake, stop being brainless masses for the irresponsible media to fill up with whats popular at the moment and spewing out the words of who's got the most power! I feel shame for my colleagues who don't have the backbone to stand up to the corporate bean counters who worry about ratings and access. They are shirking their duties as the fourth estate, the watchdogs they are supposed to be. (But that's a rant for another time.)

And don't just take my word for any of this. Look around. Research. (Lots of places to do this - but don't pick just one. Like PolitiFact and Snopes. And you can check voting records at GovTracks and Project VoteSmart.) Be responsible adults. Do whats right, not whats easiest or laziest or popular.

But hey, who am I right? This is just me, Thinking Out Loud! Have a great day!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Let us contemplate the Teacher for a moment

As a great many people, young and old, go back to school for an even greater number of reasons, let us contemplate the teacher.

Not many people know this but here is the origin of the Teacher.

Back when God created the earth and the sun and the sky and the plants and the animals and, of course Adam and Eve, He thought He'd done a pretty complete job. But then Adam and Eve messed up.

It was at this point that He realized He needed to add one more thing to creation to help these hapless two and those who would follow.

So on the one hundredth and eighty-first day (yeah, it really didn't take them long to blow it), God created the Teacher.

He formed them out of the very core of the earth, because He knew they would have to have the greatest of strengths to deal with apathy and disrespect and long hours and short periods of rest and all the responsibility that came with being a Teacher.

Next He gave them the heart of a star because He knew they would need the hottest of fires to fuel their inner passions in order for them to share all they knew with so many, even in times of great adversity, and stubbornness on the part the those being taught.

Then God added a summer breeze in order to calm them during the greatest of tempests they might encounter, to help them achieve peace as they struggle to impart knowledge to unwilling recipients.

After this, God reached out into the heavens and pulled in just a small piece of the universe so that Teachers would have the wisdom of ages yet to come.

Finally, the Creator touched the center of the Teacher's soul to impart the compassion He Himself had shown Adam and Eve when they messed up.

With all these ingredients, God created the Teacher to instill, impart and inspire.

Many people give themselves the mantle and title of “teacher”, but only a handful were called in this manner and given the true soul of a Teacher. These few not only impart knowledge but they also instill passion and inspire to greatness those they teach.

If you were able to read this and think about what was said, if you drew a conclusion for or against these words, if you laughed and smiled and nodded your head – or even rolled your eyes – at any point during this discourse, then you should thank a Teacher.

Normally I would end this with my usual rants and taglines, but in respect to all the Teachers I have known, and do know in my life, I merely bid you adieu – truly, a fond farewell.

May you all have a peaceful day.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nuke 'em all, let God sort them out . . . or something like that

There was a story online about a billboard ( The billboard, put out there by the US Marine Corps, reads, “Its God's job to judge the terrorists – Its our mission to arrange the meeting.”

This, as you might guess, made lots of people comment. Some were the supportive, Semper Fi-ish comments and others were of the typically uneducated sod kind.

One in particular caught my eye and I felt I needed to respond.

It was from a Brian Johnson of Denver, Colorado. He wrote:

Good old religious fervor!! There are so many things wrong with this billboard statement:
- First and foremost, is not one of the Christian Commandments, Thou shalt not kill? If in fact you truly follow the Christian religion, these kinds of statements go directly against what you preach. You can't have it both ways
- According to their beliefs, they are doing what is right (and it exactly mirrors what this billboard suggests; ridding to world of your religious "enemies"). So if Christians follow this billboard statement, then they are no better than the people they wish to kill under the guise of religion.

I find it odd that the most consistent and grotesque comment these days comes from the so called Religious Conservative/Tea Party group who believe in small gov't and limited spending, but then vocally state that our military should go in and wipe the place clean (meaning the Middle East). Really? And this is a way to reduce gov't spending?

While I do not agree for one moment with what the ISIS/ISIL group is doing, I also do not condone what Israel, Syria, Russia, etc. are doing right now either. And even in our own back yard there are numerous examples of actions perpetrated by the USA in the name of "Freedom" or "Democracy" that are reprehensible. This rock we call "Earth" is an imperfect place and the sooner that the world's religious zealots realize this, the better off we as Humans in general will be. Humans are just one species on this planet, but we are also the species that has committed the most egregious acts against each other and our living environment.

It's time for the US to get off their high-horse, step back from the world leader stage to better grasp what our true issues are here at home and deal with them, and get away from this Manifest Destiny idea. Far too many US citizens state their opinions with conviction, yet those same opinions have no substance or merit to back them. America needs to turn off the brain-washing, mind-altering, agenda-driven boob-tube called television "news" and get back to reading and interpreting various news sources with a critical, questioning approach.....don't believe everything you read just because it is written.”

I felt compelled to educate, as well as applaud in a few spots, this person (don't know if he was a young man, old man, veteran, peacenik, or even a woman). Therefore, my response, verbatim, was this:

Brian, I am of several thoughts concerning your comments. Shooting to the end of you comments, you are accurate about America needing to concentrate more on home (although your right wing / tea party focus is slightly delusional - all politicians, right and left, make use of people's passion for their true agenda of power). Instead of sending billions overseas, we do indeed need to start looking at feeding our hungry, sheltering our homeless and educating our young.

As to America stepping off their high horse and abandoning the leadership role in world affairs, I must disagree. By doing all the things we need to do for our own people first, America should once more be the shining hope, the example to others in world affairs. We once were. America was the example many people looked to for ways of shoring up their own country's problems.

Now to the heart of your comments, the beginning. You need to stop listening to whoever it is YOU are being a sheep about. The actual translation from the original Hebrew is not simplistically "thou shalt not kill" it is a more nuanced word that means kill egregiously - that is, to murder. And it is a "commandment" that pre-dates Christianity. But even then, I think the Hitites, Amalites and the citizens of Jericho might have been as confused as you that God would command do not kill and then send his people to do just that. But if you are going to espouse that people start doing due diligence to get their facts and information straight, you should as well.

Now as far as the terrorist just doing what he believes in, if they embrace Islam and say this is the ideal from which their actions flow, then they are being deluded by those who are teaching them. The Koran does not condone the actions these murderers are committing. The leadership of the terror organizations throughout the world teach uneducated / disillusioned / crazies a warped and twisted version of the ideals the Koran embodies. So to say that they are just doing what they believe in and should be left alone (not what you said, but what you imply), you argue from a viewpoint that is, itself, flawed by misinformation. Again, a little research on your part about Muhammad (and the fact his wife took over his teaching when he died and only half quotes are used when defending certain actions) and the actual text of the Koran might enlighten you on what it says.

If a serial killer was running around your neighborhood targeting blonde women, you would be all "lets go nail that right now!" Especially if you had a wife or daughter or sister who was blonde. If someone told you that he believed blonde women were from Satan because Eve was obviously a brunette (all the pictures show this), I am sure you would say not be saying, "well if he believes this then we should just let him be."

Long winded, I know, but I wanted to point out some areas in your thinking that may need to be revisited once you had more information.”

Now I don't believe Mr. Brian Johnson of Denver, Colorado will even read let alone heed anything I have just posted. But even if it gets one person to think for themselves I will have won a small victory toward educating a world in deductive reasoning that sorely needs it.

But don't take my word. Agree or disagree, I don't care, just so long as you think for yourself and stop being sheep. Because, hey, this is just me, Thinking Out Loud.

Have a great day.


post script – or to the layman, p.s.

All that being said, the real problem we have is not with the whiny liberals or the soft hearted do-gooders or even the fanatical terrorists themselves.

No, the real problem lies with a Muslim world that is just fine with all this terror. So long as they just sit idly by they can justify the spread (by elimination of everyone else) of Islam and feel smug that THEY had no hand in all these atrocious acts of cowardice and barbarism.

post post script - or is it post script script . . . anyway . . . 

The title of this piece comes from an old t-shirt I had back in the early 80's when I was in the Navy. Just thought I'd let you know. :)