My 2017 Turkey of the Year awards

In a few days from now, many of us will sit down with family members to eat some great food and give thanks to the many blessings we are given in our lives. The Thanksgiving holiday is also a time when this blogger sits down with his committee to discuss who is entitled to some very prominent awards in the world of politics, sports and entertainment. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it it time for my annual Turkey of the Year awards. In others words, we honor those individuals, or in some cases, groups of people who make absolutely complete fools or idiots of themselves. Just a couple of rules reminders before I proceed with the awards. First of all, the President of the United States is exempt from receiving the award or even being considered. My committee feels that we should at least show some respect for the highest office in the land. Also, the author of this blog is not eligible to win much to the disappointed of a few people out there. Due to a medical condition, I was not able to give out awards last year, but I am back as well as my committee for this year’s presentations. So without further delay, let me list those who made the final list but fell just a little short of the title.

1. Senate Republicans. There are a few Republicans in the United States Senate who are major hurdles to anything President Trump wants to pass. Even if the legislation greatly benefits the American people. We are seeing this will the fight over repealing and replacing Obamacare. Their lack of unity is hurting Americans everywhere. Many of these Republicans are just locked in a personal feud with the President instead of doing what is best for the country.

2. Hollywood. Turn to any Hollywood awards show like the Grammys and there is a high probably that a bunch of elite Hollywood stars will lecture you on how we should be inclusive and respectful to all people. Then you have monsters like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey come out of Hollywood and allegedly treat women like they are some piece of meat. It is even more entertaining to see the spinning that Hollywood folks do after these allegations.

3. Kathy Griffin. Holding up a fake severed head of the President was in extremely poor taste and she was properly heavily criticized for it. Shortly after, she holds a press conference and whines about all of the abuse she has to endure because of her complete lack of judgement. Well what to you expect, Kathy?!! Wake up!! Your career is over now. Let this stupid act be a warning to others in the future.

4. Those shoplifting UCLA basketball players. Young people do stupid things all of the time and shoplifting often ruins a youngster for life. The arrest goes on their records and it makes finding that first job to start a career very difficult. I don’t know if these players had enough common sense to realize that shoplifting over there in China carries a very long prison sentence. 3 to 10 years in the slammer over a pair of sunglasses is not worth it, but these athletes apparently were dumb enough to try. Thank you President Trump for saving these morons.

Now it is time to name the top 3 finalists for this year’s award. Before I go any further, let me just give out some mention to a few people who did their best to make our list of finalists but fell just short. Jamille Hill, Jake Tapper, LeBron James and a still pending possible contender for next year’s award, Judge Ray Moore.

First runner up, Al Franken. When it comes to unethical behavior by Republican politicians, Franken is usually the one leading the charge and you could also say that he likes to grandstand when it comes to these types of issues. Funny how that comes back to bite you isn’t it Mr. Franken. He will not win the Turkey of the Year, but he might have a firm hold on being named the Hypocrite of the Year.

Second runner up. NFL anthem protesters. Several NFL players decided to take a knee at games this year prior to the playing of our national anthem. Never mind that many fans in the stands were military personal who fought for the flag so these crybabies have the freedom and opportunity to make millions of dollars. It is never a good idea to alienate your fan base to express a political view. These protests have basically backfired on the players and the NFL was left with a huge PR nightmare.

Now it is time to name the coveted 2017 Turkey of the Year award. I must say that this year’s winner was a very easy pick to make . This individual was on my committee’s radar since last November due to her many excuses at failure. He book that came out this year wrapped up the award. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Mark’s Views 2017 “Turkey of the Year” award. It is none other than Hillary Clinton. For winning this award, Mrs. Clinton will receive our new shiny trophy as well as a year’s supply of turkey pot pies. Oh one more thing, she will also get a free one way ticket to Moscow so she can investigate any collusion by the Russians in last year’s election.  Hope everyone has a grand Thanksgiving and we will see you next year at this time for the 2018 awards.


Should Senator Al Franken resign?

It happened again! Seems these days that my posts are becoming more and more about discussing sexual abuse allegations against high-profile people and this week is no exception. The latest individual involved is none other a Senator from my state of Minnesota, Al Franken. I find these charges of improper sexual contact against Senator Franken rather ironic because if this happened to a Republican Senator, Franken would probably lead the charges in calling for his or her resignation. Whether Franken will practice what he preaches and resign remains to be seen and I have some thoughts about that.

Someone told me yesterday that since Senator Franken was not in office at the time, these incidents should not matter. That is total hogwash! Anytime you grab the breasts of a sleeping woman, that should matter. Anytime you write some sick fantasy about a woman journalist, that should also matter and the list goes on and on. If anyone remembers, Senator Franken was elected in 2008 just a few years after the infamous picture breast grabbing photo was taken. These incidents were not known at the time to us Minnesota voters. Had we know, Franken would not have stood a chance to win a Senate seat. By the way, Franken barely won the election by a mere 300 votes due to a controversial recount which Mr. Franken somehow mysteriously gained 500 votes during the recount. It is highly likely that voter fraud was involved because an investigation revealed that nearly 1000 felons illegally voted. If Franken does not win that Senate seat, the Democrats would probably not have enough votes to pass the highly maligned Obamacare bill.

The million dollar question now is what will Senator Franken do now. Will more women come out and say that Franken abused them? These allegations are extremely damning to Franken. Unlike the allegations by women against Judge Moore, there are photos and real actions to back up the woman’s claims. It is not a he said versus she said. Senator Franken apology over the matter seemed to be rather weak if you ask me. Where has he been hiding for the last few days? Wouldn’t the proper response be to hold a major press conference, admit that he was deeply sorry and talk about how this incident will make him a better person in the future? Perhaps he can also talk about possibly supporting women’s abuse groups in the future as well. I always believe that you garner much more respect from the public by owning up to your mistakes right away instead of hiding and running like Franken is doing right now.

In my opinion, Senator Franken should immediately resign his Senate seat. His actions back then as well as his half-hearted response to these allegations now indicate that he is not fit to be a United States senator. On top of that, he is a total hypocrite who should never run for office again.

What I am most thankful for this year

It is a tradition for many families to discuss what they are most thankful for prior to eating their Thanksgiving dinner. Our family did it last year. When you think about it, most of us could spend many minutes discussing what we are the most grateful for. We can point to our loved ones sitting at the table, our careers or the great country which we live in, but there is one thing that often goes unnoticed in this discussion. What about our health? So many of us take our health for granted. There is not one person on this planet who is guaranteed perfect health. Even if you are young, there is always a chance that some illness will creep up or you might become the victim of a car accident. One day you might be on top of the world and the next be stuck in the hospital fighting for your life.

About this time last year, I went through a very serious health situation in my life, I suffered a very unexpected stroke. It was a complete shock to me when I received the diagnosis. How could someone who was so active, healthy and fit suffer a stroke? But it happened and  it was quit a storm in my life. Things I took from granted like walking and eating was taken away from me. I spent many hours going through rehab so I could get my life back together again. That is all I wanted in my life at that time. Nothing else. Now one year later, those struggles are nothing more than just some distant memory. I got my health and life back. I am back running, working out and playing basketball again at a very good level. Oh and the eating thing, nothing will ever make a person more appreciative for eating a nice meal than spending a month getting feed through a feeding tube. I fully appreciate being able to eat regularly again and put down lots of good food.

So before you start to grumble about how bad your life may be at any particular time, stop for a minute and think about how lucky you may be with being able go to work. Or finish that run. Or eat a nice big meal. There are many people of all ages stuck in hospitals who want more than anything to get their health back. Some are not lucky and never will. You can give me all of the material things in the world but it will not matter if I am not in good health. For that reason, my good health is the number one thing that I am the most grateful for this Thanksgiving. If you have good health, consider yourself very blessed.

A very unlikely place for a mass shooting

When one thinks of places for a mass shooting to take place, heavily populated areas usually come to mind. I think of a large concert hall shopping mall or sports arena where many thousands of people are gathered. Any evil nut or terrorist would have a field day with that many people gathered together in such a short space. Usually those settings are in some larger city or area. I don’t know about you, but I never feel totally safe in those situations. Odds seem to be higher in those places that something bad will happen. Now on the other hand, if I were to attend any church service, especially one in some small rural area, I would feel extremely safe. In fact, there are very few places that I would feel safer. This is why last Sunday’s awful church shooting in Sutherland Texas is so shocking and disturbing. It is about the last place on earth that you would expect something like a mass shooting to happen.

I know for a fact that people of faith and church goers are becoming increasingly targets of violence. Never mind that many who attend church are people who are among the finest people we have living on this earth. So many want to make a huge positive difference in this world. Why on earth would someone want to shoot up a bunch of innocent people including many children in a small church? What exactly was their crime? The more I think about this awfully tragic story, the more it makes my heart sink.

The scary part of this story is that every one of us is a vulnerable person. You or I could have been shot and killed by this deranged person. If this is going to happen in some small rural area, it can happen anywhere in this country. Tomorrow is not a given for anyone. We could be sitting in our favorite restaurant with friends and having the time of our lives when suddenly, death comes knocking on the door. And believe me, more nut cases like this gentlemen are probably out there just waiting to snuff out more innocent lives.

Is there anything to make us safer and prevent these terrible incidents from happening again? Probably not. Evil people are going to find some way to strike whether it be with a gun, bomb, vehicle or knife. I hear people talk about how this event shows that we once again need stronger gun control laws. Instead of showing concern for the victim’s families, they seem to be more concerned with scoring cheap political points. The fact is there is very little any new law could have help in this case. A procedure in place was not followed and therefore, this madman was able to obtain a gun.

As a fellow church goer and person of faith, my thoughts and prayers go out to the many grieving families of the victims. America and the whole world are behind you guys. It is sad that in today’s society, attending a church service is not safe anymore, especially in a small rural area. Very sad indeed.

Just another sexual abuse allegation

If you have been watching the news as of late, you may be noticing a very disturbing trend taking place. It seems like the number of top stories are being dominated by a particular topic. No, it is not tax or health care reform or event gun violence that is topping the headlines. It is a growing number of sexual allegations against extremely well-known people, whether they be from Hollywood, sports or the political arena. You simply cannot go a day without some new allegation popping up. The latest is against a politician running for a Senate seat, Roy Moore. Moore is accused of having inappropriate relations with multiple teenagers when he was 32 years old. Funny how these allegations suddenly surfaced 40 years later with his election only about a month away. Something seems rather fishy here. Can you say someone is out to get Roy Moore?

There is no question that sexual abuse in any form is an extremely serious matter. If you have a position of power and use that power to treat women (sometimes men) like they are just some piece of red meat, that is about as evil as you can get. Any person committing these acts deserve to be shamed publicly in the worst way possible. A politician in particular does not deserve to even be given a chance to hold  public office. I don’t care which party they be from. We the people expect a higher code of conduct from our leaders and when they fail in that regard, they ought to step down or even serve jail time. I am still puzzled to this day why then President Clinton did not step down from office when he literally shamed the office of the President by his conduct. Of course the fact that he was a popular Democrat had everything to do with it.

On the other hand, anyone being accused has to be given fair shot to give their side of the story. Who is to say that one of these many accusers just wants revenge on the person being accused? In Moore’s case, why did people come forward some 40 years later with those accusations? Why not sooner? If this amounts to nothing more than a political hit job, it would be an extremely sad day in the political world. So if you not like the opposition’s candidate, just find a bunch of people who can lie for you and make up stories. What kind of political climate is that? Furthermore, who would want to run for office knowing their past could fully be exposed? Many of today’s brightest potential leaders are probably having second thoughts about seeking public office.

Sexual abuse stories are indeed sad and disturbing because so many lives are ruined forever. It is extremely important to weigh all the facts before rushing into judgement. Unfortunately in today’s world, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent. We should learn from the Duke lacrosse scandal that sometimes, the facts need to come in first before we should make judgements.

I don’t know if these continuing allegations will ever stop anytime soon. Who will be the next person targeted? Maybe the heavy coverage of these constant allegations will force high-profile people to be a lot more careful in their own lives. That urge to commit these acts, the smallest ones, might come back to haunt them later on. I am just happy to live a very private life where my skeletons of the past are not put out in the public eye. Will these non-stop stories of allegations stop anytime soon? Probably not. It is just the new world that we live in today.  Sexual allegations equal ratings.

The amazing evolution of the smartphone

I still remember it like it was yesterday. The feeling of buying my first cell phone was a feeling I will never forget. The phone was rather large and bulky but I carried that precious piece of equipment everywhere I went. I wanted to look important and found every excuse to make a call in a public setting. Funny but I still have that phone hidden in storage somewhere in my home. Never could I have imagined the changes that have taken place of those phones. My current smartphone makes this original phone look about as prehistoric as a dinosaur!

There has been a lot of buzz lately about the new iPhone X and all of its fascinating features. Suddenly, my latest greatest phone seems so obsolete. I saw an ad on this newest tech gadget just a few hours ago and my jaw nearly dropped to the ground. One of the most impressive features is the camera inside the phone. Now my phone has the ability to take pretty decent photos, but it pales in comparison to what this beauty offers. It is a totally high-tech camera unlike nothing I have ever seen! I have to admit that one of the most appealing features that I look for in a phone is the camera and this new iPhone certainly delivers on that feature. In this new age of posting pictures online, a phone with a good camera is very important. I think many people will agree with me. Who would have ever thought that a camera could be such an important part of a phone?

Isn’t it amazing how these new phones have totally changed the way we communicate as a society? Who calls anymore when you can just send a text message? Texting and instant messages are some of the greatest inventions ever! No more bugging people with an annoying phone calls while they are busy eating, performing chores or driving. Just send a text and they can get back to you whenever it is convenient. Sure talking to someone on the phone is much more personal, but texting people is the new wave of communication today.

I can honestly say that my smartphone is the second most important possession I have besides my vehicle. I cannot live without it. Funny how my life and millions of other people’s are so entrenched in such a small device. What are smartphones going to look like 15 years from now? Perhaps better battery capability would be a huge upgrade. In the meantime, I might have to take out a second mortgage and buy one of those newest iPhones before they become totally obsolete too. Technology is changing our lives faster than I can keep pace! Those individuals who invented the rotary phones must be rolling in their graves if they saw how our phones have evolved.


The old tax reform debate

A very hot topic in news these days has been the efforts of GOP members in Congress to revamp our tax code for millions of taxpayers across the country. If anyone has any knowledge about our tax system, you probably know how complicated and complex it really is. Any reform should bring about as much tax relief to the middle class as possible. Critics of the current tax proposals predictably have been slamming it because in their minds, it is very evil to give the government less of our money and more to ourselves. People like Senator Chuck Schumer criticize the new tax plan because they feel there is no way that we can pay for it and our children and grandchildren will be saddled in the future with a huge debt. Is Schumer right? This blogger feels that he is just another politician in serious need of an economic and business lesson.

Let me just start out by stating a fact about tax revenue in this country. Last year, the government collected some of the highest taxes ever on record. GDP growth was still stagnant, less than about 3 percent. And on top of that, our nation’s debt continued to increase. Any reasonable person might conclude from this fact that collecting millions and billions of dollars in taxes is not the problem. No, we have a SPENDING PROBLEM in Washington. Many Democrats, and even some Republicans ,think that money grows on trees and the government can just tax and spend their way to their heart’s content. People like Senator Schumer are worried that their precious little failed social programs will not have enough funds to exist. Does anyone even consider that our government’s out of control must be addressed as well? Perhaps that is one way that we could be pay for a tax cut. Government, whether it be on the local, state or federal level usually runs up debt because of a lack of spending controls, not due to a lack of tax revenue.

Some of these critics also do not understand what happens when people get to keep more of their money and that includes those evil rich people. I know many people are against having a rich person get a tax cut, but what about some rich person who owns a business and suddenly, he or she has an extra 10,000 a year to spend? Does it occur to anyone that they may just invest further in their company thus creating more jobs? A typical middle class person will have more money to spend and that can only help our economy. How could it not? More jobs will be created and consumer spending will increase. Both of these scenarios is the ideal way to ensure that our government gets to the proper revenue to survive. Deficit spending is a serious problem that very few politicians have the guts to address. Many politicians feel the solution to economic growth is to continually tax and spend and that has been proven to be a wrong course of action.

I know not every tax reform plan will please everyone. It is impossible to do so. But having worries that any tax reform plan will greatly increase our nation’s debt is absolutely foolish. We CAN pay for it by increasing economic growth and controlling our spending.