One man’s opinion

Lugars loss is our loss

by Rick. 0 Comments

This past Tuesday, there were several primary elections around the nation, all of which gained national attention for one reason or another. While all of these states had issues of merit, I believe Indiana represents the more critical issue to our nation at this time.

Dick Lugar, a long serving (36 years) and well-respected Indiana Republican Senator was soundly defeated by the far right, Tea Party supported challenger, Richard Murdock. Since I only follow politics as a weekend warrior, I dont know much about either of them except what Ive gleaned from the liberal media, and a little digging on my own. (Is internet research still considered liberal?)

While I could expound on the political histories, positions, and voting records of each of them, Im sure you wouldnt care, and, for the most part, neither do I. Except for one small detail, which I consider essential to being a good politician, or for that matter, a good spouse, and that's the ability to compromise! And, compromise, like virginity, is not a dirty word.

The media has reported that one of the reasons for Lugars drubbing was that he had lost touch with his constituents back home.

This could be true. However, the more important reason seems to be that he was actually known to have routinely looked at both sides of pending legislation. He then decided to vote on the actual issue instead of whether it was printed on red or blue paper.

What audacity!

Let's not forget that it must have worked very well for 36 years. Unfortunately, compromise from our legislators today is about as welcome as ants at a picnic.

The problem for our nation is not that Dick Lugar lost, or that Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman decided theyre not up for a negative and expensive re-election campaign. The problem is that there are many others like them who have either already been voted out of office, or have chosen not to serve where extreme partisan politics is the rule of the day. There truly is a my way or the highway type of attitude in our politics today.

I wouldnt have believed people could actually believe in or support this manner of governance, but a colleague and I were involved in a little political banter and he claims he does support it. No compromise!

Let me be clear. I understand, from an economic standpoint, were in the middle of a mess right now, although slowly coming out of it, but we all get to share some of the blame for it.

The legislators and presidents from both parties are certainly guilty, as are the voters for allowing it. We all live in a glass house folks. Put the stones down or its going to get drafty for all of us.

If we were to look at just the spending issue, it very quickly becomes apparent that you just cant stop spending. While this may be an option in your household, its not even a consideration in a multi-trillion dollar budget.

How do we determine which programs or subsidies get cut? Is it just my programs or just your programs that get the ax, or might we compromise? Get it?

Id like to sum up with an example.

A number of years ago a friend of mine bought a new motorcycle. I was surprised, as I didnt think his wife supported the purchase. When I questioned him about the purchase, he said, I keep the bike in the shed and she doesnt know I bought it.

I guess he took the no compromise route, in spite of her obvious objections.

It worked out the way one might expect of unilateral decisions in a marriage. The bike was sold about three weeks later. Is it surprising they are no longer a couple?

If we vote out of office all of the legislators who are willing to compromise to get things accomplished, well get what we deserve, and we wont like it.

Theres a reason the color grey was invented.

Thats my opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Black and white all over again

by Rick. 0 Comments

On Feb. 26 of this year a 17-year-old young man, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by a 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. As if this wasnt enough of a tragedy all by itself, the young man was black and the neighborhood watch captain was a white Hispanic. Even though the youngster was unarmed, the watch captain claimed it was self defense, and consequently wasnt initially arrested or charged with any crime. Since that time, the whole situation has become a mess.

As of this writing, the police chief resigned, the states attorney and a key investigator withdrew from the case, a special prosecutor was named, and of course, Al Sharpton showed up. There were record setting on line petitions, there were nationwide rallies such as Hoodies On the Hill and the Million Hoodie March, and naturally it was a news bonanza.

Senators across the country felt they must show support for Martin and wore Hoodies to their legislative sessions. I happened to be eating lunch with six people (all white males) when this came on the news. Unfortunately, judging by the comments, these Senators did nothing to further black/white race relations by showing off their Hoodies.

Even the President felt he must get involved. Then, not to be outdone, the Republican candidates for President felt they had to say something negative about the President. The Black Panthers, not to be outdone, offered a ten thousand dollar bounty for Mr. Zimmerman.

Nothing like stirring the pot!

And, no catastrophe would be complete without hearing from Geraldo Rivera who said the young mans hoodie was at least partially to blame.

If youre thinking, by this point, that Im going to take sides in this issue, you are sadly mistaken. The only facts I have are the ones reported in the news, and of those, I get to choose which I believe and which I dont. This makes me just as well qualified to spout off at the mouth as all of the others who are doing so.

The bottom line is this, if you werent there, please refrain from making statements as if you were, because youre getting your information from the news like the rest of us.

So here is my point: Why is it that every time there is a significant black/white issue, especially if the white is perceived as the wrong doer, its like lighting a nationwide Primacord which is attached to a boxcar load of dynamite?

Worse than that, it always seems to be simmering just under the surface. It boils and boils and then one day, the lid comes off the pot!

If a black or a white were accused of killing, say a Jew, an American Indian, or even a Pakistani, its unlikely to start a national event. However, if its a black/white issue look out!

You can choose any nationality, race, or religion to insert in this equation and you will not hit upon one that exudes the vitriol of a black/white incident. This seems especially true of injuries or fatalities caused by knives or guns.

Why? Is it somehow more personal? Was this a racial incident, racial profiling, an assumed guilt because of race, or was it just a shooting that needs investigating?

Apparently, Im not the only one who thinks this way.

"We as a nation have become much too violent," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday. "...If it's black on white, it's jail time. If it's white on black, it's revolt time. If it's black on black, or white on white, or brown on brown, it's Miller time."

We all know we shouldnt judge people by how they look, or what theyre wearing, but the fact is we do. We make assumptions when we see someone with dread locks, or a ball cap on sideways, wearing a Hijab, walking with their jeans around their knees and their underwear showing.

Why would a Hoodie be any different?

Why must every incident involving two different races be prejudged to be racially motivated? Im not saying some of them arent, merely that the presumption, or default position, seems to be its a hate crime until proven otherwise. Isnt there a peaceful, or maybe less dramatic way of getting things done?

The Martin incident may be a hate crime, but there was a confirmed hate crime in California where a young woman lost her life. She died after being bludgeoned to death and a note was left by her side saying she should return to her country.

Quick, what was her name?

Dont feel bad, I didnt expect you to know it. She was an Iraqi Muslim. A terrorist. . . . maybe, maybe not. Point is, whos marching for her? Why hasnt this stayed in the news for six weeks?

While it may sound as if Ive completely given up hope for race relations, I havent, not by a long shot. I was at a restaurant last week and saw two boys having a great time together, one black and one white. They didnt seem to know, or care, about this case. One table away was a mixed race couple and while Im sure they were well aware of the case, they also appeared to be having a good time. Scenes such as these keep me optimistic.

My opinion is that if we ever hope to improve race relations, incidents of this type need to be tried in a court of law, not in the media, and not in the court of public opinion. We should not have to resort to million Hoodie or Hijab marches to assure that justice prevails, no matter the color of the skin, what the person is wearing, or whatever the outcome. If this current debacle is the best we can do, then several months, or a year from now, it will be deja vu all over again.

As a side note, the "stand your ground" handgun laws are basically good laws in my opinion, and the prosecutor has stated they dont apply to this case.

Do they need tweaking? Possibly, but nothing in those laws allow people to "pursue and confront."

Stand your ground allows people to use force, up to and including deadly force, to defend themselves anywhere they feel a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. The sole intent of these laws is to permit you to defend yourself without the dangerous position of having to retreat prior to doing so. They are not, nor should they be, a license to commit murder. If you want to check out the actual laws, click here.

Finally, since I knew you wanted to know, the Iraqi womans name was Shaima Alawadi. Her skin was brown also.

Thats my opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Federal regulation vs. religious freedom

by Rick. 0 Comments

Two areas in life one is always admonished not to talk about are politics and religion. Apparently, if youre not careful, discussing these subjects can be a good way to diminish your friends list.

Unfortunately, from our Right flank its beginning to look more like poli-gion so this month Im going to double down and talk about both of them. Remember, as in all of my columns, Im only stating my opinion here and yours certainly may be different. Its not only okay to have differing opinions and ideologies, its what democracy is all about.

The most recent high-viz political flap is over the issue of whether birth-control measures should be covered (mandated) under insurance plans. I believe it should.

At the most basic level, thirty years of birth control pills are cheaper than even one baby being delivered. Basically, this is simple economics since the total cost of a pregnancy would be thousands of dollars and birth control only in the hundreds. As a matter of fact, a woman could probably get birth control for life less expensively than the cost of one pregnancy.

However, we all know this ballyhoo really isnt about birth control. It is a bellwether of how much federal regulation there is, or might be, or shouldnt be, in our day-to-day lives. In this case, religion is being used as the basis for telling the feds to stay out of their (personal) birth control business.

Whether you agree with federal regulation, or you dont, its here to stay. Unfortunately its needed, because people and corporations cant behave themselves.

Dont misunderstand what Im saying. Im not talking about completely unfettered regulation, but I do support common sense issues such as paying for birth control.

Lets be honest, if this issue had to do with paying for ED medication instead of birth control pills, it would have never seen the light of day.

Another thing I find very interesting in this debate is that the very people, or political party, who want to limit federal regulation is always asking for more federal regulation.

Confused? Let me explain.

This partys members dont want insurance companies to be mandated to pay for birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies, yet they want the feds, or states, to restrict, to the maximum extent possible, the right to abort the pregnancy should one occur. There were approximately 450 lawsuits and 1100 proposed reproductive laws just last year. If you believe the feds should stay out of your business, then I say keep them out of your medicine cabinet and off your body, too.

It seems to me religion is one of those taboo areas (unless you are evangelical), we dare not talk about because it is, well, a sacred area of one's life. I respect that completely. I doubt you will find anyone who believes in religious freedom more than I do. This includes the right to choose a religion or not, to worship whomever, however and wherever you choose. Where I drastically part ways with religious freedom, is when freedom turns to fervor and someone tries to make their religion become my religion.

I believe in the separation of church and state. Neither the Ten Commandments nor anything else religious should be in public buildings or on public property. The property is public, it belongs to all of us, and surprisingly, we may not all believe the same things. Same goes for opening and closing public meetings with prayer which is why there are churches.

If its your building, your property or your private meeting, then I respect your right to do whatever you choose. If I dont like it, I can choose to stay or leave, but its my choice. I see this as akin to your right to smoke or swing your fist. Both of those rights end at the point where they contact my nose same goes for religion.

I have one last burr under my saddle. Corporations are people, too are you joking?

I have for many years believed we have the best government money can buy. Now there is no doubt. The absurd ruling by SCOTUS which essentially considers corporations to be people regarding the ability to make unfettered political donations in secret to boot.

Its been said that I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

Thats My opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknespost.com.

Be careful what you ask for and other fun stuff

by Rick. 0 Comments

In last months column, I said that I would give politics a rest for a month and, true to my word, I did. What with all of the political fodder out there, you have no idea how much of a challenge that was.

This column will be a compilation of miscellaneous things that have been on my mind, and while a non-partisan political association could probably be made to some of my meanderings, none was intended.

Be careful What You Ask For: My wife and I own a Prius and a Toyota 4x4 pickup truck. The Prius regularly gets about forty-six miles per gallon, and the pickup gets about nineteen miles per gallon. Were both tree huggers and border on environmental snobbery (not really, but Im setting the stage here). So, to save money AND reduce the amount of gas we burn, we drive the Prius the vast majority of the time, using the truck only as necessary.

Since Im usually the one who drives the truck, I generally fill the tank, which I did just a couple of days ago.

Well, shut the front door!

What happened to gas prices while I was obviously sleeping? I was shocked, shocked, I tell you. The price had risen so dramatically in such a short time and apparently, the worst is yet to come. We may see $5.00 a gallon.

Heres the ironic part. I have said in more than one of my columns that we should just let the gas price go as high as it wants so well quit using so much of it. Additionally, I brazenly said, let the free market (supply and demand) set the price as those-who-shall-not-be-named keep crowing about.

Looks like I got what I asked for, and now find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I carp about the prices like everyone else or curtail my driving and walk my talk, so Im using less of the black gold?

No contest actually. Well curtail unnecessary trips and make the most of every trip we take.

The struggling (or is it?) economy: First, let me say I truly feel sorry for the folks who are, through no fault of their own, busting their chops to make ends meet, trying to find a job, or those who may have lost their home to foreclosure. To all of those folks, this couldnt be more real.

However, as Ive said previously, if the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, then approximately 91 percent of the country is working, and apparently doing okay by some measures. The Super Bowl was just a week or so ago and news casts put the price of a ticket at two to four thousand dollars. One gentleman speculated he would spend up to five thousand for the weekend the weekend!

There were about 74,000 fans at the stadium! Im not sure if theyre the one-percenters, the ten-percenters or the ninety-percenters but somebody seems to have a sufficient amount of disposable income.

Additionally, the Daytona 500 is coming up in about a week and it seats about 168,000 fans, if it's a sell-out. Tickets may go from $50 to who knows how high. Lets just say there are 125,000 fans in Daytona for a week of race festivities. My guess is that by the time you consider fuel, motels, meals, tickets and other trinkets then a grand per person is probably understated. A few more seem to have disposable income and apparently arent aware the economy is in trouble.

Bike week in Daytona is the first week in March. Its a different crowd but the same principle still applies it's still full of those who have plenty of disposable income.

Several years ago, the crowds were estimated at 500,000 participants. How much ca-ching do you think they drop? So is the economy in trouble or might it not be as bad as were led to believe?

The Right to Bear Arms: On a different, but related topic, I took a concealed weapons handgun permit class last weekend in Frederick. There were fifty-six people in the class, and the class contained both sexes, multiple races and ages varying from late teens to early seventies.

Each participant paid around a hundred dollars for the course plus additional money for other items offered in the class. This is the disposable income component of the topic.

The other point here is that in one small city, in one small state, on one day there were 56 people interested in taking a training class to qualify them to apply for a concealed carry permit. This doesnt mean that everyone will apply, nor that they would be approved. Even if they did get the license from Utah or Florida, they still cant carry in Maryland purely ridiculous, in my opinion, but sadly true.

If one considers all fifty states and multiple classes given throughout the larger states on any one day, times say just 3 classes a week, that means a significant number of people have at least considered the fact the police cannot be everywhere, all of the time, nor can they reliably reach your emergency in a timely manner. Its not a sermon, just something to consider.

Theres Only One Rule You Have to Be Kind: Finally, there is one political point Id like to make. Since this is an election year, the venom being spewed forth is sickening and, at this point, is mostly contained to one party. Once the Republicans select their candidate, the floodgates will open from both sides.

Let us agree to not be part of it, and where necessary, just agree to disagree. Or, as a wise man once said: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Thats my opinion(s), whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

What I like about Republicans

by Rick. 0 Comments

Okay, I admit it, Im being blackmailed. A Republican friend of mine (one of many it turns out) indicated that while he did find last months column somewhat humorous, he thought it would be fair if, for a change, I said something nice about the Republicans. Ordinarily, I would blow off this request.

However, this particular friend is the purveyor of many fine foods and spirits, and he gladly allows me to partake of the same. He also freely shares his multitude of boy toys, large and small, which go bang. Since I enjoy both good food and toys which go bang, I have agreed, quite willingly, to be blackmailed into saying something nice about the Republicans.

Here goes: I like their elephant better than our donkey.

Seriously, Im not Fox News, but I try to present a fair point of view and a somewhat balanced one. Regular readers will know that while I admit my columns being slanted toward the left, both sides have received my ire from time to time.

I thought it only fair if to seek out what the Republican Party actually states as their tenets. Hence, I turned to the most reliable source I could think of. No, not Fox News, but www.GOP.com. Hows that for being fair?

It turns out, as I suspected, the Republican Party and I share a number of similar values. Ah, but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Column space doesnt allow me to expound on this subject as much as Id like so Ill have to pick and choose a little. If you wish to see more, please go to the web site listed above.

The Republican Party believes:

1. Were fortunate to live in America with our inalienable rights. I agree.

Where we disagree is when States Rights interfere with common sense. One example is that, my marriage and CDL drivers license are both recognized in all 50 states, yet my CCW permit in only 32. Why not just develop minimum national standards to obtain a CCW and make the problem go away?

Also, there is talk of having welfare recipients drug tested prior to getting approved for benefits. Some states are for this and others are against it. I happen to be for it. However, this program shouldnt be based on luck of the draw regarding your state of residence. If its good for the goose, its good for the gander.

2. . . .in the value of volunteer giving and community support over taxation and forced redistribution. I agree, and practice what I preach. However, from where I sit, I dont believe any vast number of communities or individuals could, or would, give the adequate amount of continual financial support to those in need, especially those who need it most. What happens to the remainder of the needy?

3. . . .Our armed forces defend and protect our democracy. Absolutely agree. However, lets admit that while we view our military as the best, they certainly arent the most efficiently run, or budget conscious, organizations in our government. Our military is so large, no one knows the exact numbers of bases we have around the world. Good guesses put it at between 460 and 1000. Cant we make them just a teeny bit smaller and reduce that deficit we keep talking about?

4. . . .is supportive of logical business regulations that encourage entrepreneurs to start more businesses. I agree. Im all for entrepreneurial spirit, starting businesses, and hiring people. Im for decreasing unnecessarily burdensome and costly regulations.

Unfortunately, when companies are left to their own devices, they have proven, time after time, that greed wins out over doing the right thing. All one has to do is look at oil and gas industries, mining industry, manufacturing industry, or farming industry to get an idea of what would happen without regulations. If you know of a Republican congressperson who supports business regulation, please call me quickly as he wont be in that position long.

5. . . .support energy independence in an environmentally responsible way. I completely agree. Im just not sure the Republicans mean it. If running an oil pipe line from Canada to Mexico, Fracking for natural gas and oil, clearing mountain tops out of existence for coal, or drilling for oil in ANWR is considered environmentally responsible, then Im a monkeys uncle.

Our main goal now should be to reduce consumption of these products (which we seem loath to do), meanwhile pursuing clean, truly environmentally-friendly alternatives namely wind and solar power. They will produce just as many jobs and be much better for our health and the environment.

6. . . . We believe in a world-class educational system allowing everyone to reach their full potential. We also believe that parents should have the right to send their kids to better schools. I agree, as long as the parents pay for it themselves, not the tax payers. Remember, we want smaller, more efficient government with fewer entitlements. Our governments provide more than adequate levels of fire & police protection as well as a top notch educational system. If a citizen wants a private education for their children, they, not the tax payers, should be responsible for the tuition.

A couple of closing thoughts.

I support several other things which I believe the Republicans also directly or indirectly support. I support government-issued photo IDs for drivers licenses, voter registration cards and concealed carry permits. Do we want to know whether people are who they say they are and whether they are here legally, or dont we?

I believe Tort laws should be drastically reformed. I believe that damage awards have become insanely high and we all pay the price for those awards. Im squarely with the Republicans on this one.

I believe in free market economy. However, we all have to live with it. If gas prices go to $6.00 a gallon, then too bad. We dont need to drill for more oil. If you want the prices to come down, then reduce your consumption. Supply will go up and prices will come down. Just sayin!

Last thing. I believe in keeping my financial house in order - not spending more than I can pay for, and hence, I dont have a deficit. I dont believe the U.S. should have a deficit either and Im willing to reduce, or completely give up my pet programs if you are deal?

So there you have it. That's where I can agree with the Republicans and where I think we differ a little. Maybe one day well work to minimize the areas where we disagree and proactively work on areas where we agree. Its a novel concept, I know.

Thats my opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

A Christmas bash

by Rick. 0 Comments

Man-oh-man, do I hate to do this to you at this time of year. However, if I get it off my chest now, at least one of us will feel better. I normally try to save my political chidings for a time other than the season of peace and good will. However, this year it cant wait.

What the H (as my mother would say) is going on in Washington? And dont go blaming it on the President. Yes, hes part of it, but there are about 535 (voting) legislators, a zillion lobbyists, and only one President. Is it just me or do the divisive, and derisive, partisan politics appear to be getting worse every year?

Every issue coming before Congress recently appears to be a battle to the finish, with nothing getting done until the very last possible moment, and only then when each side can take something back to their base. Pure political gamesmanship at its worst it makes me sick to my stomach!

You might be asking yourself what could have possibly sent this normally mild mannered columnist into orbit. Well, Ill tell you. It was the legislation just passed by the Senate which continues funding the government for the rest of this fiscal year, coupled with passing of an awe inspiring (and necessary) ONE DAY resolution for the same thing.

Then, those workaholics also passed legislation to extend the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two whole months. However, lets not forget they also reduced unemployment benefit checks from 99 to 59 weeks as a part of that last minute deal. Woohoo! With knocking out such grueling legislation day-after-day, its no wonder they need a vacation.

One issue which really pushed me over the edge was the Republicans holding up funding the government so they could protect the longevity of the now ancient and energy-wasting, 100 watt incandescent light bulb.

Yep, you heard right. This is probably the only time in the history of Congress where the Republicans have stuck up for something on the endangered species list.

Its also interesting to note they, ostensibly, did this to help the poor and down trodden, low and middle classes who apparently cant afford the more expensive, but much more efficient (energy saving), fluorescent or LED bulbs. The Republicans sticking up for the poor somebody pinch me.

The other issue which raised my hackles a pinch was tying the funding of the federal government and continuing a tax reduction to (you better sit down) construction of an oil pipeline, known as the Keystone project.

I know, I was as surprised as you. Why would they do this? Could it be their undying love for, and total commitment to, the oil industry? I suspect its more nefarious, and that they are actually trying to separate two of Obamas ardent groups of supporters - environmentalists and union workers.

This subversive action is probably a good plan, but I might suggest that the same tens of thousands of jobs being created by an oil pipe line could just as likely be created by constructing any number of much less polluting energy producers such as wind turbines and solar arrays.

Instead, our leaders choose the path of a hundred years of tradition unimpeded by progress. Way to go legislators! Thank you for your hard work and creative solutions.

Im not so naive as to think this is a one-way street. I know the Democrats had a big hand in this also, and are equally to blame. However, if I have to choose sides, Id rather fight to have a cleaner safer environment, as well as, safer food and water as opposed to air and water pollution, supporting big business, the banking industry, insurance companies and huge farms sucking up hundreds of millions in subsidies.

Finally, we have the never ending fight over increasing taxes on millionaires which the Republicans are loath to do. I was curious as to why that might be and I may have stumbled upon the answer. It seems 47% of our Congressmen ARE millionaires. Coincidence? I dont think so.

Okay, let the hate mail begin.

Thats my opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Go Christmas shopping and help your country

by Rick. 0 Comments

A couple times this past year I have mentioned, or maybe I strongly suggested, that we as a nation should start purchasing products that are made in America whenever and wherever possible.

I have no way of knowing whether anyone has joined my wife and me on our quest, but we persevere nonetheless. So, one last time before the end of the year, and coincidentally right around the holiday shopping season, Im suggesting a way to help Americans and buy a present at the same time.

As much as Id like to claim this idea as my own, alas, I cannot. It was sent to me in one of those annoying pass it on e-mails which we all hate to receive. Since I dont like to receive them, I also generally dont forward them and consequently, if they are to be believed, I will suffer decades of bad luck.

If you are the type of person whose idea of gift giving is to make sure you give truly amazing, wonderful and expensive gifts, this idea may not be for you. However, if you tend to give more thoughtful, useful and meaningful gifts, as well as gifts that will keep Americans working at the same time, then this might be right up your alley.

Heres the idea in a nutshell. This holiday season, please consider giving a gift that benefits both the recipient of the gift as well as the person or company from whom it was purchased. For example, for those of us who get our hair cut or done up throughout the year, why not purchase a gift certificate from a local barber shop or hair salon where they recipient gets their hair cut? They get hair cuts for free all year and the shop owner gets a couple of bucks to stay in business. Bonus: Not one single penny will go outside the United States!

Other ideas may include pre-paid car washes, car detailing or gift certificates for a few rounds of golf maybe theyll even invite you along. Or how about a gym membership? Youll have to be careful with this gift idea or you may end up wearing it around your neck.

The next is my favorite gift idea. Gift certificates to locally owned restaurants. I know there are at least several of these in downtown Frederick, and Im sure there are some where you live. Again, you are giving a great gift and supporting the local economy.

The list is actually endless once you start thinking this way. What about an oil change or two from a local repair shop, not one of the national chains. We all lead very busy lives and sometimes house cleaning isnt what we want to do when we have two minutes to rub together,as my mother would say, so you can give a gift certificate for the services of a local house cleaning company.

This time of year there are also craft fairs everywhere. Even if these folks may not be local to Frederick, they are at least private citizens and not representing companies whose money goes overseas.

My wife and I attend programs at the Weinberg Center as often as possible. What a great gift idea it would be to have gift certificates for tickets. Im sure there are many others who would also like this idea while supporting an important local institution.

Instead of going to Big Blue along with the zillions of holiday shoppers, and facing long lines, bad tempers, and screaming kids, you could do most of these ideas from the comfort of your home in your jamies.

This is a direct quote from the aforementioned e-mail and since I couldnt say it any better, I thought Id just quote it.You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

As a final thought, Ill leave you with a favorite quote of mine.

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them." George Bernard Shaw

I suggest that instead of us all sitting around complaining about what the federal government either is or isnt doing about saving or creating jobs, we use the same energy constructively to think nationally but act locally. Its in our hands really!

Thats my opinion whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

Let’s get off the oil

by Rick. 0 Comments

I'm responding to columnist Marta Mossburg's Oct. 5 "Green jobs myth" column. Her egregious omission was that she never mentioned or suggested that we first need to reduce our use of all types of energy.

Then, in her last paragraph, she writes that, "Green energy is expensive, unreliable and job killing folly." She intimates that oil, coal and natural gas are cheap, reliable energy sources. Has she lost her mind? Or possibly has no memory of just the last year or so?

For starters, there was the gulf oil debacle, the largest and most damaging of its kind ever. Let's not forget the lives lost in that incident, as well. I also recall a small incident in Alaska called the Exxon Valdez disaster. Then there were several major natural gas pipeline explosions. So much for the reliable aspect of her assertion.

As to cheap energy. I doubt any of us have gone to the gas pump or received our gas bill and exclaimed how cheap it was. However, when was the last time you heard of solar panels exploding or destroying the environment?

The cost of green energy is more expensive right now, and so was your 52-inch flat-screen TV when the technology was new.

Let's get off the oil.

RICK GODFREY

New Market

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Rick. 0 Comments

When I first heard about the military's Dont Ask Dont Tell (DADT), I wondered what all of the fuss was about. My mother and I had already cut a similar deal back in the 60s. For the most part, it worked very well. She didnt ask what I was up to, and I didnt tell her. Consequently, she had fewer grey hairs, and I spent less time confined to my room. As I grew up and trust became less of an issue, our little agreement went by the wayside.

Were there any unforeseen bumps in the road? Possibly, but I dont remember anything dramatic, and unfortunately shes no longer here to ask.

Fast forward to today when DADT is a much more serious subject with our military and our society. Lets start with the assumption that DADT is going to be repealed a forgone conclusion, I believe. The questions then become how, and when, should the repeal take place. As you might imagine, I have an opinion.

However, before getting into the military DADT, I would just like to spout off a bit about prejudices in general. I try to be non-prejudicial in my everyday life, and for the most part, I believe I do a decent job of it.

My lovely wife is the only truly non-prejudicial person I know. Every single person she meets is equal in her eyes and in her heart, until they prove otherwise. Just the way it should be. Prejudice brings her to tears, literally.

Im sure most everyone clearly remembers all the prejudicial things that were said and done for years, specifically about but not limited to blacks and women. Turns out, they can fly planes, shoot straight, go into space, fight fire and crime, become CEOs and yes, even President of the United States.

My belief is that its the person, not their color, sex, religion, nor sexual orientation that determines their character. Are there less than credible people who are black, female, Muslim or even gay? Of course. But let us not forget that the severely misguided Timothy McVeigh was an American-born white male. Remember, its the book, not the cover!

Id like to make another point specifically addressing the gay/lesbian topic before returning to DADT in the military. While I dont know, I suspect that everyone reading this column knows, knows of, or suspects someone of being gay or lesbian. Probably everyone works with, has worked with, or has a relative who is gay or lesbian.

Now the key word here is knows. Just because someone looks a certain way, acts a certain way, or only uses pronouns when describing their friends or room mates, that doesnt make them gay or lesbian. So unless someone outs themselves or is outed, we can only suspect.

To take this a bit further, lets say that you have a coworker who you suspect is gay or lesbian, but you dont know it. Yet, for years, this person has successfully and honorably performed their duties, and possibly even been promoted a time or two. A stellar employee by any measure.

Then one day this person decides to come out of the closet and declare his/her other-than-heterosexual orientation. What has changed and how will this change the work place environment, or their performance? Im not gay, so I dont know, but my opinion is that it wont.

Now to the military DADT dilemma. I was in the military for 5 years, 18 months of which were on active duty. Open barracks, open latrines and showers all of us together, all of the time. In addition, I spent about 30 years in the fire service where our shifts worked, ate, played and fought fire all of us, together. Did I ever work with gays or lesbians in these situations? Probably. There were certainly those people whom I, and others, suspected of being gay or lesbian but we didnt know it and we didnt care.

The next logical question then, is if I had found out that they were gay or lesbian would it have affected our job, or more importantly, our mission, and I maintain the answer would be no. Might there be an occasional brush fire that has to be put out sure, but overall, it would work, and there are brush fires of all kinds to put out in every job, every day.

The point of view for maintaining DADT, or for postponing the repeal of it, that irks me the most is the foxhole argument. I have to tell you that I just dont see two people in a foxhole, taking fire, trying to stay alive, and one of them says to the other, Oh, by the way, nice butt! I give them more credit than that theyre professional soldiers mission above all else.

If Im on a hose line going in to attack a fire, the ONLY thing I care about the other person right then is can they do the job period! If so, they can be black, lesbian, Muslim, or all three, I dont care - lets just put the fire out and get out of here!

Will repealing the DADT policy now be perfect? Probably not, but whatever happed to improvise, adapt and overcome? Since its the military, I suspect that between orders, training and discipline, any issues that arise will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. A year from now, we will all be wondering, (just like with blacks and females in the military) what was all of the fuss about.

As I said previously, I believe the policy will be repealed. I say we trust the young men and women of our military to do the right thing and repeal it, out-right, now.

A political cartoon I stumbled upon hope you enjoy.

Thats my opinion, whats yours? See you next year!

Rick Godfrey writes a monthly column for fredericknewspost.com.

Its Finally Over Or Is It ?

by Rick. 0 Comments

Lets get right to the point this month. We Democrats got our butts handed to us in this last election, and the Republicans are all basking in the post coital glow of politics. As for this no-where-near-the-far-left Democrat, I was briefly elated. Then I became depressed. Like a political version of manic depressive disorder.

A Democrat elated over the fact that his party took it in the keester? How could that be?

Heres my thinking. First, I get my television back. No more of those ugly, hateful, albeit somewhat truthful, political ads where the political acts of omission and commission are so blurred they remind me of watching the bullet train go by.

Two, I get to go back to watching the commercials that inform me of all the maladies I have, and how with one little pill I can fix them all. Ahh, what could be more peaceful than watching two people in bath tubs, in a serene setting, watching the sun go down? Now thats television.

So much for elation. The depression started setting in on the very night of the election. No, not because the Republicans took the House. I actually think thats a good thing, and I even voted for a Republican this time, because I thought he was the better candidate. Ive got my panties in a wad, because before the ink was even starting to dry on the results, the partisan politics was already starting to rear its ugly head with a vengeance.

I can still hear it. Each side offering up a spirit of cooperation, vowing to work with the other side, reach across the aisle, getting America back on the right track, and getting things accomplished. If only the other side will change their wily ways and give up their unrealistic expectations.

Blah, blah, blah.

Aint gonna happen its politics as usual. Worse, on the very night of the election, everyone was talking about 2012. If I could cuss in this column (which I cant), this is where WTF would go.

Instead of 2012, how about worrying about today and the next two years, then worry about the next election? In the pre-election rhetoric, there was a nationwide hue and cry to lower taxes (mostly for small business the heartbeat of America) and create more jobs. Well, that was the promise so lets get to it. Put up or shut up as the old saying goes.

The fact is that the economy will improve, taxes may be lowered, jobs will return and the ominous skies will turn blue again. However, it has nothing to do with any particular party. It would happen if the country was run by elephants, donkeys, or even goats.

At some point, and to a greater or lesser degree, tumultuous times such as these will return. I promise. I may be guarding the pearly gates (or somewhere else much warmer) by that time, but it will happen again. Since its both cyclical and based mostly on personal and corporate greed, history is doomed to repeat itself. Im sorry, but someone had to tell you.

Now heres what really burns my buns. A lot of Republicans campaigned on repealing the Health Care Act. Not adjusting it, not aligning, correcting, amending, or modifying it, but repealing it. How absurd can you get? Apparently, according to them, there is not one single solitary shred of a good thing in a 1000 plus page document. Thats just partisan politics, plain and simple.

Here is a small fact that you may not know. When the HCA was being considered, to which party do you think the health insurance industry sent the majority of its money? If you guessed the Republicans, as I did, youd be wrong.

You see, the health insurance industry actually wanted this bill to pass, because there was a mandatory coverage requirement in it and that would be like money in the bank to the health insurance industry.

Now that the bill has been enacted, to which party do you think the health care companies are giving their billions? This time, if you guessed the Republicans, youd be right.

You see, they know the Republicans are good friends of both big and little business and dont want those businesses over-burdened with those pesky rules and regulations. So the industry lobbyists are wisely spending their money to get those regulations gutted to the point of being worthless. This gutting of the regulations and lack of oversight worked so well with the banking industry, I can hardly wait for the sequel, starring the health care industry.

Politics aside, if you pay for your own health insurance, or have any chance of having a previous medical condition that could even remotely be considered pre-existing, you may want to contact your congressmen/women and let them know youd like them to keep the good portions (that protect the population from the corporations) of the bill, and then modify the rest.

Congratulations again to the Republicans. I guess well all see how well this spirit-of-cooperation thing works out. Now if youll excuse me, Im going back to watching my commercials.

Thats my opinion, whats yours?

Rick Godfrey writes a monthly column for fredericknewspost.com.