the daily doyle


Press 1 for English; Press 2 for… Endless Failure
July 3, 2011, 12:21 am
Filed under: General stuff

“No bum that can’t speak poifect English oughta stay in this country…oughta be de-exported the hell outta here!” -Actor Carroll O’Connor playing Archie Bunker in All in the Family (see Note below for more info about the show)

For those too young to remember, television character Archie Bunker was a cultural icon of the 70’s. He was considered to be a bit of a bigot.

If I said, “all them dang furiners need to speak English!” you’d think I were a bigot too.

On the other hand, if I said, “immigrants from any land should have every opportunity to succeed in the USA”, you’d consider me caring and thoughtful.

Despite the difference in reaction, those two statements are essentially the same.

It’s a kind thought that each person should be able to speak any language they want. At least on the surface. But is it really kind?

The United States has long been called the “melting pot”, a good description of life here. People came from all over the world (maybe aliens from other planets too) and they “melted” to become part of one thriving, prosperous society and a uniquely American culture.

When the masses of immigrants landed at the foot of the statue of liberty to begin their adventure in this new land, many of them spoke only the language of their birthplace. In decades past, virtually all of them, or certainly all who intended to become part of the business community, enthusiastically learned English.

Now, however, there seems to be a movement aimed at making it easier for those from other lands to move here, live here and continue to live their same lifestyle, speak the same language as their birthplace. If everyone who moved here basically carried their same culture, language, custom and lifestyle here, it would be the big “salad bowl” not melting pot.

So what’s the problem? I don’t have a problem with it honestly. I’m not offended by people who don’t speak this language.

We have a longstanding tradition of immigrants bringing their culture here to add to our diversity. A beautiful thing. Chinatown. Little Italy. And if you’ve ever been invited to a Jewish family’s Friday night dinner at home, you are going to be very glad they didn’t give it up for the great American tradition of McDonald’s eaten in front of the TV. It’s adventurous to walk the streets of Miami and see mainly signs in Spanish and hear Spanish spoken everywhere. It’s very fine to walk the streets of Chinatown in any big city and see/here/smell/taste the culture of the Far East.

Should English be required to live, to work, to vote, in the United States? It’s a controversial question.

When I posed this question on Facebook, I received a few diverse opinions. One person, whose opinion I greatly admire, wrote, “hey, what happened to ‘don’t discriminate’? isn’t this a free country? I’m free to speak any language I want, no?” Of course she’s right, we are free to speak any language we want, as it should be. Another wrote, “If people want to live in this country, if anything just out of respect, they should also learn the language.”

I don’t think it’s a matter of respect. I think it’s a matter of freedom, opportunity and equal rights under the law. Basically, someone who does not speak English, the common language of business here, is stuck in a permanent underclass. They may as well be illiterate. It’s the same thing. Someone who can only speak Spanish, Russian, Chinese or whatever language has a VERY limited job market. They are sort of stuck in a lower echelon of society. Gardening. Janitorial. Or they can only work in businesses frequented by public speaking the same language. Maybe if they really stretch their opportunities they can be a babysitter or nanny for a wealthy family. It’s a kind of slavery, keeping a cheap labor pool there so that others can take advantage of them. Quite simply, they should learn English. Many do. Those who don’t will always fall short of what they could be. I’m not sure exactly how to encourage more to learn English. I don’t want lawmakers coming up with a bunch of laws that will stifle business and make everything even harder. I just want people who live here to have full opportunity to succeed. That’s all.

I don’t want to outlaw people speaking other languages. I just want to encourage, by whatever method, people (and aliens) to learn English, because it will be better for them. They will have more opportunity to grow and succeed, and to really be a part of a thriving economy. It’s a beautiful idea to let everyone speak any language they want but it’s not a practical solution, in my opinion. I’m willing to listen to others’ opinions on this for sure.

Gracias por lectura! -Doyle

NOTE: The Archie Bunker character was a workin’ man, living in Queens, conservative, Republican. His daughter was radical leftist played by Sally Struthers who lived with a do-nothing way-left-wing husband in their house. The husband part was played by Rob Riener in his first major role. Archie’s wife, Edith, was a darling lady who worked hard to keep the piece and tolerate Archie’s ways. She was very funny, so was Archie. Many of the scenes were simply filmed in a living room with Archie’s chair and Edith’s chair. At one time the who set, with the real chairs were on display at the Smithsonian as an example of American culture.

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I Love Milton Friedman
June 17, 2011, 12:25 am
Filed under: General stuff, Political stuff

With such a definitive title, it’s pretty obvious this article isn’t going to be especially critical of Milton Friedman.

Anyone reading the title probably had one of the follow thoughts:

1. Yeah man, righteous, Milton was the grooviest.

2. What? He was the worst – wrong, wrong, wrong, and partially responsible for the bloodshed and violence of the Pinochet regime in Chile.

3. Who?

Those in category 3, who didn’t even know the name Milton Friedman, need a better education. Mr. Friedman was an economist and also a statistician, a Nobel Prize winner, from back in the day when winning a Nobel Prize meant something. He would be considered very, very conservative by today’s meaning of the word yet he often said, “I’m no conservative; I’m a liberal; I believe in freedom.”

For category 2 folks, you have even further to go. You have to UN-learn what you already know and then take a fresh look at the greatest economist of the modern era. I’m looking forward to comments from anyone in this category.

And category 1, we’re on the same page. You get it. In terms of economics, freedom, government and a true respect and love for people, Friedman had no peers.

Just to get the dry stuff out of the way, Friedman was born in 1912 and died in 2006. He was chiefly an economist and Professor of Economics, teaching at the University of Chicago for decades. He was an adviser to President Ronald Reagan.

“The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that’s why it’s so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -Milton Friedman

He advocated free-market solutions to just about everything. He was opposed to almost all government intervention. As such, he strongly opposed the popular Keynesian view of economics, which advised that governments should borrow money and spend big to get the economy going in times of economic hardship. Those who call themselves “liberal” generally opposed and sometimes even hated Milton Friedman.

Friedman was involved in the economic recovery of Chile throughout the 70s and 80s. Through public talks of his own in Chile and through Chileans who studied under him at the University of Chicago, Friedman’s economic free-market principles worked their way into the culture there and led to a faster economic growth in Chile than any other Latin American country through that period. Unfortunately part of that time, Chile was ruled by a brutal military government and those who opposed Friedman have attempted to blame him for various acts of violence and human rights violations.

Though he’s gone, he left a legacy of his books and many writings. There are also many videos, from his many television appearances and lectures on college campuses. Many are available on YouTube.

If you’re in category 2 or 3 as described above, you can begin your education, or re-education, simply by searching for his name on YouTube.

Friedman definitely holds some controversial viewpoints such as legalizing drugs and (his critics’ favorite) eliminating the requirement that physicians be licensed. You’ll have to read his book Capitalism and Freedom, or listen to his lecture on the subject to understand why.

This short article is not intended to fully cover Friedman’s views, only to generate interest and to get the readers to look further into the subject, to find their own agreements and disagreements.

In the videos particularly and in books as well, one thing comes through very clearly. Friedman has a genuine respect and love for people. He has unending confidence that people will do the right thing if given the freedom to do so, a vast departure from the common belief among many today that man will only do good if forced by an oppressive government.

I encourage all readers to look further into the principles of this great man, Milton Friedman.

-Doyle



Guest Post – Americans Attacked by Mexican Spider Monkeys (Satire from Elvin Verdad)
June 12, 2011, 10:58 pm
Filed under: General stuff

This is an article written by my friend Elvin F. Verdad. It’s SATIRE, so don’t take it too seriously. But have some fun with it. I love the way Elvin writes. -Doyle

Americans Attacked by Mexican Spider Monkeys

By Elvin F. Verdad

The spider monkeys of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico are generally a source of entertainment to the tourists of the Aventura Spa and Cove resorts. The hotel organizes groups each morning and afternoon so the guests can see them. Most guests have a good laugh and take a picture to have a pleasant memory to share with the folks back home.

Often the monkeys seem amused by the behavior of the people and seem to perform for them as they play and jump from limb to limb.

The monkeys are harmless to people, cute and silly. Usually. But it’s just not a good idea to antagonize a three foot high wild animal. That’s especially true of a wild animal with strength equal to the average prize fighter, long sharp teeth and sharp claws on both hands AND feet!

Most people might think this is common sense. But it isn’t that “common” to find a great deal of common sense in hillbillies. This week at the resort, common sense took a vacation as two guests decided to try and get a close up monkey experience. It started with Lia Goldman and Bartholomew Mayweather of Hazard, Kentucky simply attempting to take a picture of three monkeys in a tree. When they could not get a good shot, Mr. Mayweather evidently got an inspiration. He shouted “watch this!” and charged into the jungle, camera in hand shouting HEY MONKEY! MONKEY! MONKEY! And tried to climb the tree.

The spider monkeys were not amused. Mr. Mayweather was treated for head and back injuries and for a sprained ankle gained as he tripped while running full speed down the road with a monkey on his head yelling, “help, I got a monkey on my head!”  Ms. Goldman fared better. While she was attacked viciously, the monkey only basically damaged her rather large and highly sprayed hairdo.

Dr. Jesus Gonzalez, who treated the couple’s injuries, stated, “I see all kinds of injuries in my practice but I rarely see this much stupid.”

An innocent tourist was injured as well as she was laughing so hard she hyperventilated and dropped her heavy camera on her foot. Luckily though, she did get a good photo of the attack and won the resort’s “funniest photo of the day” contest. Ironically the prize was a small statue of a man with a monkey on his head.

It’s possible that alcohol was involved in the incident.

———————————-

If you liked this article, check out more of Elvin’s work at http://www.thespoof.com/profile.cfm?uID=3499



Death Doctor Dead as a Doornail
June 4, 2011, 1:22 am
Filed under: General stuff

Just how dead IS a doornail anyway? And what the hell is a doornail?

I had to look it up. That phrase, dead as a doornail, has been in use since about 1350. Even Shakespeare used it.

Evidently there is some question about its exact meaning. It could be a real nail, as used in a door that would be driven through the door and pounded flat on the other side. You could never use that nail again so it would be “dead”. Then again, some think it was a word used for the piece of metal or nail head where the door knocker landed each time someone announced his arrival. After being repeatedly knock in the “head”, it could be considered very dead. Other references say it came from a time when nails weren’t used in doors at all. So “dead as a doornail” would be dead as something that never even existed.

Ok, enough of that.

What about Jack?

He’s dead, as of today. May his soul rest in peace if that’s what souls do. I figure he’s off to the next adventure.

There are few people who have ever existed that were as polarizing as Doctor K. People either hated him with a passion, or deeply respected him as a freedom fighter. Jack, as you probably know, was renowed as the “doctor of death”, the nation’s most prominent supporter of assisted suicide.

Does that mean if someone had a bad day or experienced a known side effect of psychiatric drugs, suicidal ideation, that the good doc would help them position the gun and pull the trigger? No. Kevorkian helped terminally ill patients who were staring down a short and painful life path to end their suffering. And, of course at the time, end their life.

It’s a tough question, suicide. I’m strongly opposed to suicide, in general. In the vast majority of cases, suicide is simply a non-confront of the situation, an attempt to escape, a computation of the lowest order that makes everyone else wrong.

I’m not pro-suicide but I’m very much pro-freedom. If someone has the right to life, and we do as affirmed by the Constitution and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he has a right to not have life.

If this is a controversial position, so be it. I am in favor of assisted suicide in cases of terminally ill patients with no hope of recovery and no likelihood of an acceptable life in their own estimation.

I have great respect for Jack because he chose to fight for this right despite all the controversy and opposition. He even went to jail for his dedication.

“The American people are sheep. They’re comfortable, rich, working. It’s like the Romans, they’re happy with bread and their spectator sports. The Super Bowl means more to them than any right.” -Jack Kevorkian

So we’re left with Jack’s legacy, and hopefully a little more freedom for all. He also left some fascinating artwork; he was a painter. His work is, well, memorable. Some pieces are definitely along the “doctor of death” theme. And some others are pretty good; I wouldn’t mind owning one.



Doyle’s Driving Lesson
May 30, 2011, 12:36 am
Filed under: General stuff

It was a dark and stormy night… I drove home safely. The End.

Now that is a good story. Perhaps not too exciting, but good. I have driven home, or other places, in many dark and stormy nights, as well as bright and sunny days, and always arrived safety.

I’m not bragging, or maybe I am, but I have an almost perfect driving record. I have been driving for just about 32 years. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? I would love to know how many miles I’ve driven but couldn’t even guess. I know for sure that I bought a new two-tone silver Ford Pickup with red velour seats (hey, it was the 80s) and drove it 187,000 miles, pretty much all by myself. Perhaps 1000 miles were driven by others. I’ve driven hundreds of rental cars thousands and thousands of miles. I’ve driven coast to coast in the USA. I’ve driven in Venezuela up to 3x the posted speed limit. I’ve driven on the left side of the road and the right side of the car in Grand Cayman and UK. I’ve owned approximately 17 Cars.

Maybe I know a few things about driving.

The first thing I learned about driving came from the local First Baptist minister in my home town. He said this while driving well over the posted speed limit on curvy mountain roads. “My plan is, get there before the accident happens.” –Reverend Jimmy Grayson, may he rest in peace

So there you go, drive faster and get there safe! Ok, no, that’s not my advice. But sometimes fast is good. I wish we could legally drive much faster on limit access highways. Like they do in Germany.

My first advice is pretty straightforward – be awake! Don’t drive if you’re too sleepy. Don’t drive if you’re intoxicated. And even, really, don’t drive if you’re upset. It’s just not worth it.

Second, leave a little extra space between you and the car in front. It astounds me that people will follow so closely. If the car in front stops unexpectedly, and sooner or later one will, you’re in trouble. Also, I see people all the time that will follow at a safe distance, and then when passing the car in front they will cut the corner and for a short period of time be maybe 3 feet from the car in front. This is very bad driving practice. Do you do it? Stop.

Third, safety is more important than going where you want to go. If you just realize that you are in the wrong place and you have to get over three lanes in the next 50 feet through heavy traffic to make that exit, don’t. Go somewhere wrong, stay safe. You’ll find your way there sooner or later.

Fourth, use GPS sparingly or not at all. There is a whole generation of drivers today who never go anywhere without the GPS running full time to tell them where to go. It’s bad. I’m sure you know these people. Even a simple trip has to be accompanied by the soothing voice saying “left turn in, pause, 2, pause, miles” and the annoyed “recalculating route”. GPS is a great tool. If you are lost it can get you un-lost really quickly. But don’t use it. If you rely on GPS, you will lose your own ability to navigate. Someday your GPS is going to fail and then what will you do? This is not even a matter of driving. Some folks use the GPS on their phone constantly to find out where they are walking! So use it when you need it but also sometimes use a map, old school, and keep your skills in practice.

Fifth, stop being such a victim. “He cut me off”. Well, so what, get over it. If it makes you feel better, go cut him off next time. Just don’t be such a whiner. Did he really do you any harm in cutting you off? Will you be one second late to roll call? He probably did you a favor, scared you a little and gave you a little shot of adrenaline. You’ll be a safer driver for the next 20 minutes. If somebody actually hits you, well, get as mad as you want. But for something trivial, forget it.

Sixth, be careful with left turns across traffic. A lot of accidents happen when drivers make unsafe left turns, usually turning into oncoming traffic. This is how a lot of motorcyclists die. Motorists don’t see them and turn left in from of the motorcycle. So be careful with that. And if you’re not going to cross, don’t creep into the lane, just stay out of the road completely until the road is clear, then go. Also, when you’re driving straight and coming up on somebody who might turn left, keep an eye on them and be ready to take evasive action, just in case.

Driving is really fun. It’s a one-of-a-kind feeling of freedom to hit the open road. So be smart about it, have fun and be safe.

Doyle



About the Media
May 23, 2011, 10:05 pm
Filed under: General stuff

Mark Twain reportedly said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

There is something very fascinating about this quote. Possibly Mark Twain said it, or perhaps Thomas Jefferson said it before him. There are conflicting reports. One newspaper somewhere attributed it to Mark Twain and it has been mainly considered “his” ever since. It serves as the perfect example of the fact that a newspaper can A) make a mistake and B) can shape public opinion.

Today of course, news media is a lot more than newspapers. We have television, radio, the Internet. Books are not really media but they do carry ideas and sometimes the same messages that the media feeds us are to be found in books as well. Certainly any book by a politician is going to contain some “spin”, some information slanted in a way to suit someone’s agenda.

That, essentially, is the trouble with all media. Pretty much every media outlet is slanted to forward a particular message. The slant may not be obvious. In many cases, even slanted media will cover a story pretty fairly. Yet the “slant” can be simply that they choose to focus on certain stories and ignore others.

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the “mainstream” news media had a great time discussing Sarah Palin’s expensive clothes and her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy. The same media didn’t give any coverage to some questionable real estate dealings Barack Obama had with a convicted felon, or his questionable association with Bill Ayers, who could be described as a domestic terrorist.

There was really nothing wrong with the coverage of Sarah Palin’s clothes and her daughter’s little problem, in themselves. The reporting, as far as I know, was pretty honest. Yet the choice to focus on these things and the amount of attention given them is questionable.

In today’s age, of course, there are media outlets on the other side that will focus on Democrat missteps. Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the Drudge report are the balance to those outlets considered mainstream. There are no precise opposites but some generally slant toward what we call “left” and some slant what we call “right”.

What to do? Can we demand the news media be fair and honest. Can we force each media outlet to cover both sides of the fence. That would be a bit difficult because who is going to decide what’s fair, honest and balanced. Why would we expect this person to be unbiased? Are there angels somewhere that can’t be swayed and have no agenda and could be entrusted to keep everyone else honest. I don’t see why we would expect them to be unbiased.

From 1949 to 1987, a law called the “Fairness Doctrine” was in place, forcing broadcasters to A) present controversial viewpoints and B) to give adequate coverage to opposing viewpoints.

Some want to bring back this fairness doctrine.

But I think we’d all be much better off if we really understood what our Constitution says about free speech and follow that. The second amendment states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Splitting out just the part about speech and the press, you get:

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

Abridge, in case you don’t have a dictionary handy means, “to reduce in scope, extent, etc.” I think our founding fathers realized that the press couldn’t be trusted but that an overreaching federal government could be an even bigger threat.

As citizens we only have to understand that the press is free to be slanted, even dishonest. We must be therefore vigilant and careful with what we listen to and what we believe.



Turbulence
May 21, 2011, 4:26 am
Filed under: General stuff

Since I’m writing this from seat 12E of American Airlines flight 674 DFW to Tampa, I think I’ll write about flying.

It sucks.

The truth is, I hate flying, commercially at least. The other truth is… I love traveling. Or perhaps I should say, “I like BEING in other places”, that’s probably a better description. New places intrigue me, places I’ve never been, places that are fun, places with good food, all that.

But the flying itself, the getting to the airport so much time in advance, the checking in, the security, the waiting, the following orders, the ENDLESS announcements, the delays, the dry air, and on and on, I really just don’t like it.

So why am I here on this plane? Work. Not just work though, I had a great time, met some good people, spent some quality time with my beautiful goddaughter, got in some nature walks AND spent 4 nights in a Hyatt eating whatever food I wanted on company expense. All those things I really like.

Back to the subject, flying. I really hate to be one of those people who loves to complain about flying. I am generally pretty quiet, polite and, when I can manage it, cheerful about it.

I called this article turbulence because most of the flight we have been beaten back and forth by it, so bad that they suspending serving drinks, a true tragedy. In this case though, I have no reason to complain. I got my drink, cranberry juice, cheap and crappy cranberry juice with high-fructose corn syrup. Yum. I try not to drink such things and protect my health better, but the pickin’s are slim here.

This flight is really kind of ok. It is a very full flight but there happens to be an empty middle seat between me and the stranger in the window seat.

I’ve had some bad ones though. Here are the highlights:

-Do you know how bad ferrets smell? I spent one flight with two ferrets in a pet carrier under my seat. Yuck!

-Once I flew from Pittsburg to San Francisco, in a center seat, with a Muslim girl on my right and a Muslim girl on my right talking to each other, in Urdu, Hindi or something all the way there.

-I got on a plane in Texas once then a storm came through and we sat on the ground waiting it out for over 3 hours.

-Flying Avensa Airlines, the Venezuelan local carrier, we had a former Eastern Airlines 727 that badly needed a coat of paint and lots of other maintenance. Halfway through the flight my seat belt broke off and there were no empty seats so I just held on.

-The dirtiest plane I’ve ever been on was Air India. Nasty. I took one of their planes from New Delhi to Mumbai. Remember I said I like to visit intriguing places? Well, India is intriguing, but I still don’t want to go back, ever.

Despite those unpleasantries though, every plane I’ve ever boarded arrived safely at its planned destination and every passenger survived every flight. From that perspective, I have had a great experience with flying overall. I’ve never even had any serious emergencies, never seen an oxygen mask drop of the ceiling above my head, never had occasion to use the seat back as a flotation device, and never had to work an emergency exit.

I’ve certainly had some beautiful experiences on airplanes too.

-I’ll never forget holding Logan at the tender age of 13 days, yes DAYS!, on our way from Columbus, Ohio to Phoenix and on to San Jose. I was so nervous he would break or something and I was so glad when we arrived.

-I’ve flown over the Arctic, near the North Pole 5 or 6 times, on flights to Asia. That’s always amazing, nothing but ice as far as you can see in every direction.

-Flying to Europe from the USA is always exciting. You leave the east coast in the evening. Then the next morning the sun is coming up while they’re serving coffee and croissants and such and when you look around you’re in freakin’ Europe!

-I think my favorite flight ever was Mumbai to Frankfurt. As I mentioned earlier, I really didn’t care for India. Arriving at the Frankfurt airport I just thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

I’ve met some really cool people at airports, pretty girls, musicians, politicians… I was on a flight once, first class, from Melbourne to Sydney next to the “liberal” senator from Tazmania. Tazmania! Really! That was cool. I just couldn’t think of anything except the Tazmanian Devil for the entire trip. Talking to the guy was fascinating, especially because I learned that what they call a “liberal” is what we call in this country a “conservative”. Wild. It makes more sense their way because liberal should mean freedom, but here it doesn’t. I should save that discussion for an article on politics.

So here I am, flying again. I’m not enjoying it but I’m infinitely excited to get home. I have a new longboard at the house that arrived today and my son has been riding it all day, damn him. I hope a pretty girl will come over and see me. And it will be so nice to pet my cat and fall asleep in my own bed. Maybe my bed isn’t as nice as the Hyatt, but it’s mine, and I do love it.

Dorothy was right, “there’s no place like home”.

But next week, I’m going to Philadelphia and New York! Can’t wait!!!

Doyle