Things that I would like to see happen in 2015

In a few days from now, we will kiss 2014 goodbye and usher in 2015. When I think of the year 2014, a lot of very negative and controversial stories come to mind. I don’t know if it is just me, but the year seemed to have far more of those type of stories than normal. The news was constantly filled with bad and disturbing stories ranging from the brutal behavior of ISIS to the transgressions of Russia. Here in the United States, high-profile events surrounding police shootings and killing of unarmed men dominated the news. Politics had it normal share of controversies and stories. A person could not even turn to the sports to get any relief to all the controversy. Multiple stories of domestic abuse by NFL players dominated the sports headlines. However, the end of 2014 saw a ray of hope, gas prices went down dramatically and the economy seems to be finally picking up steam after one of the slowest post recession recoveries ever. So all was not bad last year. What will 2015 bring? Sadly, I can see more of the same; even more controversial and negative news. The following are just a few of many things that I would like to see happen in the new year.

1) Gas prices- I would love to see gas prices remain nearly 2 bucks a gallon for the whole year and possibly go lower. The chances of this happening are probably slim, but hey, even 2.50 a gallon does not sound bad after paying 3.50 last year. The lower gas prices are just what this struggling economy needed and furthermore, help bail out the awful economic policies of a few political leaders.

2) The Super Bowl- It would be great to have Peyton Manning back in the Super Bowl for one another shot at a title, however, I would like to see the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl. Why not? To see a long time struggling franchise like them win the title would be wonderful. By the way, I am not a Lions fan, just a fan of underdog teams.

3) The police- 2014 was certainly not a great year to be a white police officer in this country. There were many stories of police brutality and several protests around the country. I still stand steadfast in my support for our police, they do a tremendous job in most cases. It would great to see a high-profile story of a white police officer saving the life of a young black teenager. Actually many do everyday but those stories get ignored. I would like the race baiting media in this country to reflect more on these type of feel good stories.

4) Gay athletes- In the upcoming year, can we just get rid of all the drama concerning some athlete coming out? As a sports fan, I could care less if some athlete, is gay, bisexual or straight. Their sexual preference is totally not important to me. I just want someone who can play. Are you listening, ESPN?

5) Better leadership in Washington- Good leaders are willing to unite, bring people together and compromise. I don’t see a whole lot of that going on in Washington. The last year was filled with bickering, stalemates and just typical fighting between both parties. Perhaps the new Congress will be this different this year, but don’t hold your breath. The Republicans have a golden opportunity to show that they can govern, will they capitalize on this opportunity?

6) NFL rule change- The NFL seriously needs to look at how the playoffs are structured. A team that wins it division should not be an automatic to host a playoff game. The top 6 teams record wise in each conference should qualify for the post-season and the seedings are based on records. The top 2 teams record wise should get byes. No more of these teams with losing records who make the playoffs just because they win their divisions.

7) Smart phones- Every year, we always see an upgrade on what some of these phones can do. I always see commercials describing how this phone or that phone can now take some of the best pictures possible. Well that is great, but can someone make a smart phone with a super battery that does not have to be recharged every day? If they are going to upgrade all these little features, at least upgrade the battery. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a phone that requires limited charging? I have one of the best, but I am constantly charging my phone.

Those are just a few things that I would like to see in 2015. I wish everyone the best of luck in the New Year and may 2015 be the best year of your life.

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Cops lives matter too

While watching the protests and rioting following the Ferguson grand jury verdict, a thought came to my mind. What about the safety of the police officers across the country? It has long been known that many people have rather negative views towards police officers. The Michael Brown and Eric Garner killings have only fueled that hatred towards cops. My worst fears came to life yesterday when 2 NYPD officers were assassinated by a black man who posted on social media that he was out to kill some cops in retaliation for the killings of Brown and Garner. Whether there will be more of these cops killings and threats remains to be seen, but I have a hunch that more cops around the country will be targets by people sympathetic to Brown and Garner. In fact, I can almost guarantee there will be more incidents.

In the past month, there have been several protests across the country in response to the killing of Brown and Garner. A common chant heard during these protests is “black lives matter” Actually don’t all lives matter? During a rather heated protest last week in New York, several of the protesters were chanting “death to cops”. Well those individuals are probably beaming with joy today in learning that 2 of New York’s finest got the fate the protesters desired. So sad!! I even saw some posts on social media praising the cop killer and saying that justice had been served. If people want to feel that way, fine, but don’t cops lives matter as well too? These 2 cops have families, one was just recently married, and now those families are grieving just before Christmas.

Just last summer, a beloved cop and father of 2 beautiful teenage girls was gunned down just about a mile from here. I posted something at that time indicating my new appreciation for police officers and I will repeat some of the same things. Maybe it is time that we start respect the men and women in blue for what they do for our society. If you listen to those protesters long enough, you might get the impression that all cops are bad and need to be thrown in jail. That is totally nonsense!! Sure there are bad cops and eventually many get fired. I want to scream when I see people posting stupid stuff that white cops are out to kill all blacks. Really? Those are extremely ignorant and quite frankly, racist comments. An overwhelming majority of cops are outstanding officers. They place their lives on the line everyday so we can feel safe and secure. Imagine a world without police officers? We would be like the Wild West. Everyone would be out for themselves. Some parts of the country would be totally unlivable. Imagine what the south side of Chicago would be like?

The fact that, in the wake of the high-profile killings of unarmed men, police work is being heavily scrutinized is very unfortunate. One of these days, nobody will want to be an officer and we will have a serious shortage of officers. It is a dangerous enough job without all the scrutiny. Maybe those protesters ought to walk in a police officers shoes for one day and see what they have to deal with. Just maybe, had those unarmed individuals who lost their lives followed orders, they would still be alive today. How is a cop supposed to know if a gun is real or fake from a distance? Please!! They have a split second to react or else they would be the victim. All of these incidents have a simple common denominator, the victims did not follow police orders.

I encourage those police bashers to stop their hate and learn to appreciate the many good cops out there who do an outstanding job. If was not for them, there would be many more black lives lost. Nobody likes to discuss when an officer saves the live of a citizen. The media in this country just loves to bring up stories of police brutality, especially when a white officer is involved and there is a racial element to the story. For every person who loses their life to a police officer, how many lives are actually saved by officers? Just a thought to ponder. All lives in this country matter and I appreciate the lives of those who protect us courageously everyday.

Chalk one up for North Korea

Before I go any further, I would like to give out a special thanks to the North Korean government for allowing me to write this post. Apparently, us bloggers are now supposed to check in with their government before posting anything online. If not, a hacker will be waiting to disrupt our computers or perhaps, Dennis Rodman will show up at our doorstep!! How sad would that be!! Anyways, the recent hacking of Sony email accounts and subsequent canceling of “The Interview” has created a lot of discussion and debate about whether Sony did indeed cave in to those foreign hackers linked to North Korea. Was it right for them to cancel the movie amid threats to various movie theaters if they did show the film?

I can understand the concern about showing this film at the present time. Suppose Sony told the hackers “screw you” and went ahead with the film on Christmas Day. The probability that attacks on every movie theater in the nation that showed the film is probably very remote. However, having just one theater being attacked is enough and imagine how it would impact this country on of all days, Christmas Day? It would be a major PR blunder for the company. Having said that, since when does another foreign country have the gull or right to say what is contained in our movie films? NONE AT ALL!! This is a nation of freedoms and free speech is one of the biggest freedoms that we have. The movie is simply a comedy about the assassination of the leader of North Korea. It is in no ways a serious film. I guess the North Korean’s do not have a very good sense of humor!

First Sony, then what? What other companies will be targets for future hackers? Some punk hacker could do the same thing to one of our major companies and greatly affect our economy. The more these companies cave in, the more these hackers will continue this practice of blackmail. Eventually, they may even hit our power grids and cause a tremendous amount of chaos. The new form of terrorism that we should be concerned about is not some terrorist or terrorists sneaking bombs into our company. The real concern should be about how we deal with cyber attacks from terrorist groups. Our president needs to be very harsh on those North Korean hackers who are basically mocking us. We need to send a message that there will be very serious consequences for any future attacks. Those hackers are basically disrupting our freedoms and that is totally uncalled for.

I would love to see Sony stick it to those hackers and announce a grand opening premier date for the film. A great and strong nation like the United States should never be bullied by some rogue nation like North Korea. Those responsible for hacking Sony need to be arrested and face American justice. They are terrorists and should pay the price for interfering with our companies. Until then, North Korea just a chunk out of our freedom of speech. We need to stop them before more chunks are taken. A foreign country should never dictate what we do or not do as a country, NEVER!!!

A Christmas present for many Americans

The last 5 years or so have been very tough on many Americans. Paychecks are simply not covering the continuing rise in prices of just about everything. A person almost needs to take out a second mortgage in order to go grocery shopping! I need to shell out 5 bucks just to buy a pound of hamburger; that is completely absurd! In addition to rising grocery costs, we are paying more for non-grocery items that we normally buy like toothpaste and cosmetics. Gas prices just a few years ago were the highest they have been in years. Health care costs keep on skyrocketing with no end in sight. To go along with the rising costs of living, people’s wages have remained stagnant and in some cases been decreased. The median family income has gone done in the last 5 years. Well just when things appear to be spiraling out of control, a ray of hope has emerged that will go a long ways in putting more money back into people’s pocket.

If anyone has noticed, gas prices are dropping like crazy in the last few months. A few weeks ago, I stopped at my local station to fill up and had to do a double take at the price listed on the pump. $2.44 a gallon? There surely must be some type of mistake! Remember a couple of years ago when gas was $4 a gallon and many experts were predicting it to go even higher? Never in my wildest dreams did I see prices coming down this far! I was jumping for joy when gas was suddenly below 3 dollars a gallon! It now appears to be headed lower than 2. For people like me who live a large metropolitan area, the drop in prices is a huge boost to my finances. I am now paying about 50-60 dollars less per month on gas than I did about a year ago. This is an economic stimulus that will work unlike those government economic stimulus packages that just transfers money from one part of the economy to another. People all across the country will not have to shell out so much of their take home pay on gasoline and have more money to spend on things like Christmas presents. In addition, businesses will certainly reap the benefits of the lower gas prices. Many will see lower operating costs and this will definitely improve hiring.

The price of oil has dropped to some of the lowest levels in years. The fact that we have increased our production by nearly 50 percent since 2008 has played a key role in lessening the demand for oil and thus the lower prices. It is refreshing to see that we are using our resources and technology to become more energy independent. I just hope the politicians in Washington see how our vast amount of resources can be a gold mine of opportunities and good paying jobs for years to come. Let’s beware of those crazy, phony extremists who claim we are damaging the earth by using some of those new methods for extracting energy. Their claims are totally misguided and foolish. Our emphasis on energy independence is something that can help us prosper for years.

I want to give a shout out to those who are making this TRUE economic stimulus come alive. Your reasoning and planning is making life so much better for millions of Americans by putting more money into our pockets just in time for Christmas. This is one present that we can all enjoy.

Some terrorists deserve torture

The very partisan CIA report that came out this week described the treatment of terrorist prisoners held by the CIA as being unusually harsh and immoral. The report apparently did not include any direct contact with any CIA officials, therefore, one has to wonder whether this report was purely a witch hunt on the CIA. Since this report came out, there has been a great deal of debate about torture on terrorists we apprehend. Some people are absolutely outraged that the CIA had the gull to force a few select terrorists into sleep deprivation and isolation. How dare the CIA do that to our enemies!! Perhaps we should just ship all those captured terrorists to a nice 5 star hotel in Bermuda and feed them with the finest foods. Then we can release them after a month of captivity so they can rejoin their fellow thugs and kill more innocent Americans.

Sure, torture is certainly outlawed according to international laws. I firmly believe that it is unnecessary on most terrorists who we capture. Many can be coerced into spilling their secrets by using simple interrogation methods from trained military personal. The percentage of terrorists who actually undergo torture is actually a very small percentage. How many of the thousands of terrorists that we have captured in the past 5 years have undergone waterboarding? Perhaps a handful. The report that came out seems to paint the CIA as some rouge agency that has no respect for any laws. For the most part, they are a great agency who deserve a lot of credit for doing a very good job in keeping us safe from further attacks since 9/11. Those who feel the need to criticize the CIA need to remember that.

For the last few days, I keep on hearing about how the United States needs to show its so-called “moral authority” around the world. Will someone please tell me how dropping bombs on villages in order to kill high-ranking terrorist officials considered using our “moral authority” Or our drone strikes? In the process, many innocent people including children end up getting killed. Where is the outrage over those situations? The fact that some people are actually concerned about how some terrorist is being treated in captivity is very mind-boggling to me. They are probably being treated much better than they deserve for killing or being a threat to innocent people.

If you want to start talking and feeling sorry for the treatment of those cowardly terrorists, how do you think the families of those killed by the terrorists feel? They have to live with the torture of reliving, in their minds, the last moments of their loved ones life for the rest of their lives. Imagine what the families of those innocent beheaded Americans are going through right now? I cannot imagine the pain and emotional torture these poor families have to deal with everyday. Those poor people who were in those buildings on 9/11 faced the ultimate torture and horror. Trying to decided whether to end your life by being burned alive or jumping 20 stories is a rather painful thought! Perhaps those anti-torture folks may change their opinions on torture if one of their loved ones or they were the victims of one of those ruthless terrorists.

Saying that torture never works and is completely ineffective is complete nonsense. It was largely responsible for getting valuable intel on the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. What is a better way of getting valuable intel from a defiant high level terrorist who will not talk? Having a brutal terrorist feel uncomfortable for a few weeks and coming clean with valuable information is completely worth it if it saves thousands of innocent lives. Before we start going on some moral high ground over prisoner treatments, let’s remember who these terrorists are. They are looking to kill you or I in a heart beat. Sorry, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for any terrorist who is forced to undergo sleep deprivation. They fully deserve it!! The price they pay is only a small drop in the bucket compared to what thousands of innocent people in this world have had to go through at the hands of those scumbag terrorists.

What about black on black crime?

The grand jury’s decisions not to indict a police officer in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases have certainly created a great deal of debate and angry among many folks in this country. Protests on the streets have erupted in many cities. People are screaming for equal justice for all people, especially for the cops who killed these two individuals. It is widely believed by those protesting that minorities are getting the shaft when it comes to our criminal justice systems. In the Eric Garner case, I believe they may be correct. The police officers seemed to go totally over the top in trying to arrest some guy for the totally unthinkable crime of illegally selling some cigarettes on a street corner. The victim, Garner, was taken down by what appeared to be a choke hold by one of the officers after he resisted arrest. He later died from complications brought on by that incident. What is not mentioned by many in the media is that this guy had some pre-existing conditions unknown to the officers and this so-called choke hold by the officer was not appropriate on someone with asthma. Unfortunately, in both cases, young lives were lost and the old tired debate of race and race equality in this country has started yet again. The race baiters have been in full force during the last few weeks demanding the justice system change and be more fair to black people. While I appreciated their and the protesters passionate concerns, why are they not as vocal when it comes to an even bigger problem facing the black community, black on black crime? When a white officer happens to kill a black kid in self defense, they are up in arms and very vocal. However, when a black gang member happens to kill an innocent young child in a drive by shooting on the south side of Chicago, you don’t hear a pin drop from these folks.

For the last 3 years, there have been an average of over 400 homicides in the city of Chicago. Among them are several innocent people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A good many of them happened to involve blacks killing other blacks. Gang violence is a serious problem in many cities across this country and yet it is often just ignored. I never seem to see hundreds of people marching in the streets demanding the violence stop. Why is that? I hear several of those protesters talk about how this unfair treatment of police officers towards minorities as a national crisis. Really? The real national crisis is the very high homicide rates among members of the black community. The percentage of African Americans in this country is around 13 percent, yet they commit nearly half of all violent crime. That is an absolutely staggering statistic. Before anyone says that we need to start having a discussion on why blacks seemed to be targeted by police, lets start with the statistic that I just brought up. What are the black leaders doing about the seemingly non-stop violence that takes place in some of these communities? When a particular racial makeup of people commit a good portion of the crimes in the streets, the police are naturally inclined to target those groups of people. It is very unfortunate because there are so many good and innocent black people out there who are unfairly profiled by the police. A few thugs among the black community have ruined it for many.

I find it very troubling to see black leaders such as Al Sharpton and even the president use these recent events as a way to further divide people. If you listen to Sharpton and other leaders long enough, you might get the impression that white police officers are the most evil people in the history of the world. Perhaps some day, one of those evil officers might safe your life Mr. Sharpton!! That goes for those protesters who are calling for officer’s heads. If it wasn’t for the bravery of those men and women who risk their lives everyday, there would be more blacks killed on the streets. Those so-called evil police officers do far more good to the black community than people realize. Imagine a country without any police officers? Many communities in this country would be totally unlivable. I think for simple starters, people need to show more respect for these officers. Resisting arrest as in the case of Garner and Brown is a certain recipe to get on the bad side of any cop. Simply following orders when a cop pulls you over can go a long ways in preventing these incidents. Garner and Brown would still be alive today had they obeyed the officers. Instead, they chose to had an attitude and paid for it with their lives.

I appreciate and respect the passion people have on these race topics. Unlike the night of the Ferguson verdict, most of the protests have been peaceful and civil. They are completely right, black lives do matter as well as anybody’s life. Gang violence has a far greater impact on black lives than people want to admit. Unfortunately, many people want to dwell on a few isolated police incidents to state their case about how blacks are being oppressed. In my view of things, being oppressed in living in some high crime, high unemployment, crappy neighborhood where your life is in constant danger by a bunch of gang bangers. Before starting a discussion about racial profiling and being treated unfairly by the police, lets start by talking about what is really hampering many blacks, black on black crime and what can be done to bring this down and give hope and a better way of life to many African Americans.