Basketball Lives Matter

I keep seeing articles and posts and newscasts telling me that blacks and whites in America are supposed to hate each other.

That may be true in downtown Minneapolis (I doubt it) but it’s not even remotely accurate in my South Carolina town.

At least twice a week I go to my local YMCA for pickup basketball games. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am white, 66 years old and one year removed from major brain surgery, but I just love to play basketball. Most of the guys I play with are in their twenties, a few high schoolers, a few middle aged, and I am the “old man”. I feel blessed to be able to compete well enough to be part of the group.

Our players are about half black and half white. If you believed the network news, you would think that when we pick teams for a game, it would be the angry black guys against the angry white guys. And that a black guy would never pass it to me, an old white guy. And that if a black dude gets knocked down, I would never stop to pick him up, or vice-versa. And that we couldn’t possibly laugh together, compliment each other, root for each other, and just generally have a great time sharing our love for basketball.

But it’s true.

At the store, in a restaurant, at a gig, in church, I see people of all colors and classes smiling and enjoying each others’ company. I see black families, white families, mixed-race families interacting with warmth and joy. Kids play together without even noticing skin pigment.

Racism, black or white, is just not tolerated in my town. And I suspect that my town is pretty typical of most American towns. Before you call me naive, I must admit that bigotry does exist, but that is mostly on the part of far-left idealogues, who insist on categorizing people by physical characteristics instead of judging character.

So what’s up with all these network and internet reports of out-of-control racial hostility in America? COULD IT BE THAT SOMEBODY IS TRYING TO MANIPULATE US FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I said if you’re thinkin’ of being my baby
It don’t matter if you’re black or white

I said if you’re thinkin’ of being my brother
It don’t matter if you’re black or white

Black and White – Michael Jackson

America Won’t Survive Without Private Property Rights

photo of gutted Minneapolis storefront by Fox 9 TV

“This was going to happen with or without us,” he says. “First thing, we decided we’d be respectful. I told our staff, ‘Let them write on the pavement and on our neighbors’ walls. Let them bring whatever they want to bring and leave it wherever they want to leave it. We’ll figure it out later.'”

“The throng . . . spray-painted and Sharpied . . . every available surface, mostly in English, but also in Spanish and Italian, along with the consonant-rich dialects of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Arabic characters flowed on downtown L.A.’s sidewalks next to Japanese kanji. [Soon] there was no room left on the streetlights and storefronts.”

You’re thinking about rioting and property destruction in Los Angeles, right? Actually this was a Sports Illustrated report about the public response to Kobe Bryant’s untimely death. It took local property owners around the Staple Center weeks to clean up and repair.

What struck me as I read the report is the disregard so many people now have for private property. Whether mourning the loss of a local sports legend, or expressing anger over the death of a criminal suspect at the hands of overzealous or malevolent police officers, or just enjoying an opportunity for mayhem, these young, urban people do not even consider that the property they are defacing or destroying actually belongs to somebody who worked hard, saved and invested. Maybe somebody who looks just like them. Maybe their moms and dads.

It’s a leading indicator of our country’s slide toward Marxism and Communism, where all property (except that belonging to the elite leaders) belongs to the government so nobody is responsible for damage. The police, at the direction of local government, will not protect private property or allow us to protect it ourselves, and even public monuments and buildings fall prey to angry mobs.

Think of Cabrini-Green, the government housing project in Chicago that in the 1960s became a violent, third-world shit-hole because its residents had no ownership, no “skin in the game”.

If you are an American who has worked, saved, and invested in a home or business, and are relying on your constitutional guarantee of property rights, don’t blink – we are 116 days from an election that could turn the American Dream on its head.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side



And far away, they burn their buildings
Right in the face of the damage done
We are the fortunate ones
Who’ve never faced oppression’s gun

Rebellion – Linkin Park

Blackometer Needed

I am not a racist. I am not a racist. I am NOT a racist!

No matter how many times a news pundit or protester or politician says I am a racist, I deny it – only God knows what’s in my heart. I subscribe to MLK’s wisdom: judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.

I don’t deny that racism in America did exist, or that it still does exist (with bias by somebody of every race against somebody of every race). But our nation has made great progress in overcoming bias in my lifetime. I just don’t see much real racism on a daily basis, and I live in the South!

So I have a hard time understanding the Black Lives Matter movement and demands for reparations and charges of white privilege that are in the news every five minutes. These serve two purposes: to create conflict and profitable ratings for the liberal news media, and to promote violent anarchy, Marxism and one-world government for George Soros and the other evil rich guys.

I see mostly white liberals protesting, and I suspect these are the real racists. Liberals want to categorize everybody by pigment, gender, and any other subgroup they can use to divide and conquer. And if they, the white liberals, have misgivings and guilt about racism, then they think all white people must be racists, too, and must be made to feel guilty. Why do liberals automatically assume every unpleasant incident is racially motivated? Some people are just a**holes to everybody, regardless of pigment. But most Americans have no axes to grind, and don’t care about skin color any more.

I just can’t understand how BLM (Black Lives Matter, not the Bureau of Land Management) plans to distribute their proceeds and their punishment based on race. How is “blackness” defined, anyway? Do you use a color chart from Home Depot? Should really-really black people be paid more reparations than “coffee-with-cream” people? Do their lives matter more?

Or is there a test that precisely determines the percentage of African Slave ancestry a person has in their DNA? What about the millions of black immigrants from Africa who arrived in the USA in recent decades with no slavery in their family histories – are they entitled to the same reparations as an American black whose great-grandfather was a slave in Alabama? What about Asian and Middle-Eastern people who are descendants of slaves – do they get reparations and preferences, too, even if they are not black?

What about mixed-race people? Barack Obama had a black father and a white mother. Is he only oppressed 12 hours per day, or six months per year, as opposed to LeBron James, who is oppressed all the time? Do these guys both get reparations even though one was elected president by white voters and one makes a gazillion dollars selling his shoes to white kids?

Same thing with white privilege. How snow-white does one have to be, and how rich, to have privilege? There are employment cases all over America indicating that white job applicants (especially males) face insurmountable discrimination in many companies and governments against minorities. Their lives don’t matter.

If you can’t define a problem, you can’t solve it. So until we come up with some math and technology to measure “blackness” and “whiteness” BLM will have to go back to the drawing board. There will have to be a functional “blackometer” and maybe even a “whiteometer” for this BLM and white privilege stuff to work.

Maybe Joe Biden and his Chinese buddies already have this technology. After all, he determined in a split second that if an African American didn’t vote for him, “He ain’t black!”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Black Betty had a child (Bam-ba-Lam)
The damn thing gone wild (Bam-ba-Lam)
She said, “I’m worryin’ outta mind” (Bam-ba-Lam)
The damn thing gone blind (Bam-ba-Lam)
I said “Oh, Black Betty” (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

Black Betty – Ram Jam

How to Solve All of Our Government’s Problems

Today I am not going to whine or point fingers. Instead, I am going to take my best shot at problem-solving. Stick with me.

Back in the early 1980s TQM (Total Quality Management) was all the rage in corporate America. The TQM movement started when the US Army hired Dr. Edwards Deming to take over economic development in post-war Japan. Deming applied quality improvement techniques that transformed Japan from a nation of shoddy third-world trinket-makers to a wealthy nation of world-class manufacturers. His astonishing success gave rise to the thought that maybe the world could be saved after all.

As a young executive, I was asked to select and implement one of many popular TQM programs to make sure that our company stayed at the leading competitive edge of our industry. After looking at the alternatives, I chose the Philip Crosby Theory because it just seemed so simple and common-sensible. The Crosby Theory is based on these principles and definitions and provides tools to achieve them:

  • Quality is defined as conformance to requirements
  • Quality defect prevention is preferable to quality inspection
  • Zero defects is the quality performance standard
  • Quality is measured in monetary terms – the price of non-conformance

A government, like a business, is a group of people trying to get something done together in their common interest. And in government, like in business, if there is no agreement on what the requirements are, or how to tell if we are meeting them, there is zero chance of success.

Read the list above again and imagine all the ways that our government could be improved if these principles were applied. How many problems would this solve!

By defining what the requirements are, we would stop wasting time, money and effort doing things that half of our citizens don’t want done. We are fortunate to have a constitution written by geniuses that clearly defines what our government is expected to do.

Another great way to avoid wasting time, money and effort is to prevent problems instead of dealing with them after they are discovered. This would indicate that the single most important thing to our nation’s future is the improvement of our education system. We could apply TQM to that, too.

A major problem with our system of government is there is no standard of performance. That’s why our growing budget deficits and debt seem insurmountable and inevitable. If we are going to survive, we have to have achievable expectations of our government officials and hold them totally accountable.

And how would we measure our success? The only known way to measure anything is numerical. “Niceness” is not a measurement that can be agreed upon. “Respect”. “Caring.” “Fairness”. “Equality”. None of these are objective measurements. Let’s face it, government is all about using our shared money to improve our standard of living. All adults strive to financially improve every day. And no matter how much they “care”, elected officials can do nothing other than spend – or not spend – our money. Measurement of our government’s success must be statistical, not emotional: GDP growth, per capita income, consumer financial security, etc. We want all the graphs to point upward.

Okay, I gave it my best shot. Surely government can’t be that simple. Or can it?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Ain’t no need to complicate it, we both know that’s overrated
We’ve been there, its safe to say it ain’t our style, yeah
It’s like one, two, three
Just as easy as can be
Just the way you look at me
You make me smile

SIMPLE – Florida Georgia Line

Who Will Have the Next Revolution?

We see news of protests on a daily basis now, from every corner of the world.

photo by WireNewsFax

Hong Kong has erupted in street protests over the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive push to strip the “autonomous” region of its freedoms guaranteed under the 1997 agreement when the UK gave clear title to the CCP.

Protestors continue to march in Venezuela, demanding the ouster of dictator Nicolas Maduro after suffering through years of economic devastation and loss of personal rights.

Ethnic attacks in Mali and DR Congo have inflamed citizens to the boiling point. In the Middle East civil unrest in several nations including Yemen, Syria and Libya have become a fact of daily life.

And in the US this week, riots have erupted in several cities over the police killing of a black man during an arrest in Minneapolis. This follows weeks of protests at state capitals by conservative activists who oppose the government’s coronavirus-inspired economic shutdowns. America is polarized, with every news development devolving into a red / blue showdown. There doesn’t seem to be even an inch of middle ground in our political turf-war. The very structure of our constitutional government is in play as lines of authority continue to break down. The separation of powers as defined in the constitution is taking a beating as rogue judges attempt to override executive and legislative authority, while corruption runs rampant and unpunished.

Tensions between the ruling class and the governed simmer all over the world. We know that civil unrest can lead to civil war or bloody revolution, and the results can lead to positive change or down the highway to hell.

The world is now averse to hot wars, but in the USA we openly hope for revolutions in Iran, Venezuela, Syria and China that lead to regime change. Do they wish the same for us? The US has shown a proclivity to get involved in foreign civil wars in the past, with less-than-stellar results. And we are seeing our adversaries brazenly meddling in our domestic affairs lately.

Could we be the first in line for civil war or revolution? Will we soon be watching bloodshed in Hong Kong or Tehran? Or will they be cheering while watching ours?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You say you want a revolution?
Well you know,
We all want to change the world.

Revolution – the Beatles

Blue States: Call the Suicide Hotline!

America’s Blue States continue to accelerate toward self-destruction, in total denial of the ugly fate that awaits them. The Blue States (run by Democrats) are always broke and looking for bailouts from the Red States (run by Republicans).

Suicide Net on Golden Gate Bridge

Blue State costs explode as they continue to invite illegal immigrants and unemployed homeless people by offering them medical care, welfare, food, tents, hotel rooms, rent subsidies and other benefits. They promise pensions and health care to retired government employees far beyond what they can afford or have budgeted. They spend taxpayer funds on ill-conceived projects, inflated salaries, corruption, and general incompetence.

Meanwhile, Blue State revenues steadily decline as their bad decisions and over-regulation chase companies and families away, usually to Red States. They can’t increase taxes fast enough to make up for the exodus of taxpayers and the declining net incomes of those who foolishly stay. The quality of life erodes daily in Blue States.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example of Blue State attempted suicide. Because they hate Trump and want to hang the virus around his neck, the Blue States insist on keeping their businesses shut down, their churches and schools closed, and their citizens locked up. The result: decreased revenue, increased costs, and frustrated folks. Meanwhile, the Red States open up their economies and turn their consumers loose. Blue State border dwellers feel like they are looking over the Berlin Wall, and run to nearby Red States to spend their money and enjoy some freedom.

The only satisfaction Blue Staters receive from their sheepism is they get to call the Red Staters selfish meanies, which is a crap sandwich at best.

A few years ago California put “suicide nets” on the Golden Gate Bridge to prevent desperate San Francisco citizens from taking their own lives in total despair. Who knew that the entire state of California, and many other Blue States, would one day be driven to suicide by Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Deacon Blues – Steely Dan

“Working Tirelessly”

Have you heard the phrase “working tirelessly” lately? I guarantee it came from a government official, referring to government employees.

Now let me start my rant by saying I don’t want to broad-brush any group of people. I know there are many hard-working, conscientious government employees who put themselves in harm’s way every day. They are patriotic, dedicated and responsible.

These are not the government employees I am referring to.

Too often (such as during our current COVID-19 crisis) we see government officials on camera, in front of the slobbering press and the ubiquitous deaf interpreters, literally breaking their arms patting themselves on the back taking credit for the government “saving us” from threats that they probably had a hand in creating.

They never give credit to the people – the truck drivers, waitresses, nurses aides, ranchers, line workers, managers, and yes, owners and executives – who really do work long, hard hours, especially when the chips are down, to pay the taxes that put these showboats in front of the cameras.

Truth be told, most government employees work fewer hours for higher pay and more benefits than their peers in the private sector. And they get paid and get raises and have eternal job security whether their department succeeds or not. They never have to meet a production quota on time or a budget or put their own money at risk. They don’t have to turn a profit for survival. In fact, many cities and states are broke because they have promised totally un-fundable retirement plans to their employees, and are now looking for bailouts.

Staying up all night and pulling calves in a blizzard – that’s working tirelessly. Taking enemy fire for days from all directions and dragging injured buddies from danger is working tirelessly. Climbing poles and repairing lines in the driving rain for days on end to restore electrical service destroyed by a tornado – that’s working tirelessly. Working two menial jobs and keeping a smile on for customers, just to earn a subsistence living. Burning the midnight oil to figure out how to operate well enough to keep good people employed and insured. Working tirelessly.

Bureaucrats who punch a computer in an air-conditioned office, making arbitrary decisions that as often as not make things worse instead of better, never working a 40-hour week or a weekend?

Not so much.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I said hey, hey workin’ man, workin’ man like me
I ain’t never been on welfare and that’s one place I won’t be
I’ll be back workin’ – as long as my two hands are fit to use
Drink a little beer in the tavern, and sing a little bit of these workin’ man blues

Workin’ Man Blues – Merle Haggard

Why Are We Still Burning Corn In Our Cars?

The price of oil futures fell to negative territory last week and remains anemic at around $17 per barrel today. We have such an oil glut that there is no place to put it any more.

Thanks to fracking, new oil exploration in other parts of the world, and OPEC’s erectile dysfunction, oil is no longer a scarce, expensive energy source. The world has enough oil to last for centuries.

Still, we have farmers planting, growing, and harvesting corn so we can add 10% ethanol to our gasoline. We turn our auto factories upside down and add thousands of dollars to the price of each car and truck to meet stricter EPA minimum gas mileage targets. We subsidize alternative “renewable” energy sources and devices despite having essentially solved carbon-based pollution.

Short-term, the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the demand for oil. But that is temporary and doesn’t address the bigger issue. Let’s face it, oil is and will continue to be the best energy solution on earth for a long time to come.

So how does it make any sense to suppress the production and use of oil as an energy source? Two answers, the same ones that can be applied to every seemingly irrational political and cultural issue: money, and power.

Our kids still come home from school (when it is actually open) in tears from dire predictions about their world being destroyed by evil, smoke-belching big businesses and mom’s gas-guzzling SUV. Never mind that those end-of-the-world predictions never seems to come true.

Leftist politicians just can’t let go of the “global warming” hoax and the power it gives them over a frightened populace. They know their bubble could burst at any second. They have no choice but to continue promoting subsidies for windmills, solar panels, electric cars and so many other technologies that will NEVER be comparable to the common-sense fuel that God designed and made plentiful for our use: oil.

But back to corn. This week farm lobbyists are asking Congress and the Trump administration for billions of dollars in Coronavirus aid. Some of the request may be legitimate, as the ag sector has been harmed by government decisions such as the COVID-19 shutdown and foreign trade negotiations. But part of their justification is that demand for corn continues to fall because demand for gasoline is down.

Instead of letting the free market determine how our acres of productive land are used, such as growing the foods needed for people and livestock, we are actually considering paying farmers because they have to plant corn which is no longer needed in light of low demand for gasoline. What the hell kind of logic is that?

Let’s tell our leaders that it’s time to end the ethanol requirement, and subsidies that prop up dumb alternative energy industries and the corruption that inevitably goes with them.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ on the Right Side

Mobil station where I stand
This old gas pump in my hand
My boss don’t like me, got a face like a weasel
Oil on my hands and the smell of diesel

Fill Her Up – Sting

Where Is Sleepy Joe?

I guess there are all kinds of reasons for him to stay in bed instead of being out on the road campaigning. His home state is under a COVID-19 “shelter-in-place” order. Delaware governor John Carney has declared that his state will remain locked down until “the public health threat is eliminated.” That sounds kind of permanent.

Still, Sleepy Joe could be doing media interviews from his home like other politicians do. Or he could go to Washington, DC where Congress is going to reconvene on Monday. Surely he could catch a reporter or a camera for a few minutes there.

And there are many states in various degrees of re-opening. All of them have residents who will vote in the November presidential election. Every state allows essential employees to go to work. Has anybody decided whether presidential candidates are “essential”?

Something is keeping Sleepy Joe from coming out of hibernation. Hmmm.

A quick Bing News search of Joe Biden shows that he has not been totally forgotten. Here are today’s top Sleepy Joe headlines:

Old Sleepy Joe doesn’t seem to have much to say about world affairs these days. Most headlines revolve around China. But Sleepy Joe avoids mentioning China – it reminds everybody of the $1.5 billion deal he steered to his son, Hunter from the Bank of China. C’mon, man.

And lately, Sleepy Joe doesn’t sound very awake when he does speak. Watch this video to see how sad dementia is. Almost everybody recognizes the signs, but he remains the Democrats candidate for president.

Meanwhile, his adversary, Donald Trump, is not campaigning either. He doesn’t have to — he is on camera every day dealing with real presidential stuff, like the pandemic, the economy, national defense, etc.

And this week perennial loser Stacey Abrams is demanding that the Democrats make her Biden’s running mate. Like Sleepy Joe doesn’t have enough problems.

It’s okay, Sleepy Joe. Under the circumstances, you should probably just stay in bed. Have you tried a My Pillow?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Why get up? Why get up?
How can I get up? Why should I get up?
This whole world’s gone crazy,
Think I’ve seen enough.
I’m gonna sleep forever, why get up?

Why Get Up? – The Fabulous Thunderbirds