Friday, February 24, 2012

Americans need to put America first.

Kodak. Appleton Paper. United States Postal Service. Proctor and Gamble.

President Barack Obama and his cronies have been crowing in recent months about economic recovery. Obama claims that Americans are going back to work and the new jobs are being created.

Yet, the companies listed above have all announced significant reductions in their workforce. Thousands of jobs will be gone, probably forever. These announcements occurred in just one week.

American jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate yet our president has the nerve to tell us that the job market is looking brighter. Something is definitely wrong with the picture that Obama is painting. Now that presidential elections are looming, don’t expect the rhetoric to get any more truthful.

There is no doubt that changes in technology are responsible for some of the shift in the American job market. Union greed has spelled the downfall of a large number of manufacturing jobs in our country. The saddest part of the whole situation is not that the large corporations, like our auto manufacturers, have priced themselves out of business, but rather the hundreds, if not thousands of subcontractors to those types of companies who have been forced out of business by foreign outsourcing. In order for a General Motors, or Ford, to continue to afford the ridiculous pay scale for union workers, not to mention the salaries of arrogant and greedy executives, they claim to have no option but to outsource parts jobs to out-of-country manufacturers who pay pennies per day wages.

What I am saying is that, while the president may be lying through his teeth to us about the job market, much of the blame for America’s employment issues falls on the shoulders of large corporations. Corporate greed in America is nothing new but I fear that a “perfect storm” is developing as jobs evaporate, corporate giants become more greedy, and politicians who are more interested in their own careers than those whom they represent fight amongst themselves and continue to sell us out at every turn.

I am beginning to believe that the answer is, do the same thing that saved lives in pioneer days. We must “circle the wagons” of America. Forget much of this “global economy” stuff. We obviously must continue to work with, and trade with other countries, but we need to develop an attitude of looking out for “number one.” We have spent decades “kissing up” to other countries, around the world.

We need to bring our troops home and concentrate on our own issues. A side benefit would be that our cowardly president would no longer feel the need to issue an apology to foreign groups who just murdered soldiers, but we will save that for another time.

The time has come for Americans to worry about America. The rest of the world seems content to see us fall. We know that they are not going to help us. We have spent too many decades trying to appease everyone else. Our government has offered up our hard-earned money to every Tom, Dick and Harry excuse for a foreign program while our own people starve, cannot find work and are unable to pay bills, partially due to our being taxed and mandated to death by our own government. We can’t pay for our schools. We can’t fund our highways and bridges. The list goes on.

I’m sorry to all of you bleeding-heart liberals but we must stop worrying about who is starving in Africa, and every other corner of the world. We need help at home. It is time for our tax dollars to go to work for us, not be sent to an impoverished country.

We better start watching out for ourselves because no one else is going to lift a finger to help.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Scammers are everywhere. Just because it is on the Internet, does not make it true

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

gullible |ˈgələbəl|


easily persuaded to believe something; credulous : an attempt to persuade a gullible public to spend their money.

More Americans should pay attention to this word, and its definition.

Scams have been around since biblical times. The only thing that seems to change is that while more and more people are evil enough to attempt to perpetrate a scam, there seems to be an even larger number of people gullible enough to fall for the fleece job.

I consider thieves and deception artists to be among the most evil of all criminals. Like wolves, they prey upon the the weak.

Throughout the years, scam artists have been at work trying to convince Americans that they should part with their hard-earned cash by way of donations and get-rich-quick schemes.

With the proliferation of the social media generation, scams and schemes of all sorts have surfaced around the Internet. Facebook seems to be one of the most frequent avenues for 21st century scam artists to ply their trade.

Many of the Facebook scams don’t necessarily dip into your pocket, they just play on your emotions, probably for the scammer’s own amusement.

What I do not understand is why more people don’t ask themselves, “Does this seem right?” before they share a post with others.

One of the “old sayings” that my dad was fond of repeating was, “If it seems too good to be true, it is.” I have learned repeatedly through the years that my dad was right.

I cannot believe the number of people, who upon seeing a photograph of a forlorn-looking sad-eyed puppy or kitten will immediately hit the “share” button on Facebook on a post that says something to the effect of, “The Humane Society will donate $1 for every share….”

Come on folks! First of all, many so-called help-the-animals organizations are too busy perpetrating their own scams against the American public. Those television commercials with the sad music and the video of “abused” animals, put together with a professional actress, commenting in a suitable sad tone of voice.

(Note: if you want to donate your hard-earned money to a worthy cause involving animals, please donate locally. Here, you know that your dollars are going to the intended purpose, not to line the pockets of paid employees of the national organization.)

What is it with Americans that causes them to throw their nose into the air and turn away from causes that will help people but those same folks will “share” like crazy at the sight of a puppy or kitten.

This must be a glorious time to be a Facebook scammer. Even normally sensible people somehow believe that if they find it on the Internet, it must be true.

Here is where you need to think. In the past, when people read something in the newspaper, or saw it on a television news story, they took it for granted that it was true. These were, after all, professional and ethical reporters and writers.

Today, one can not always go by what they read on the Internet. As more and more iReporters (a la CNN) have their unprofessional, often biased and sometimes totally inaccurate stories mixed in with those of an ever-shrinking corps of professional journalists, it is ever more difficult to separate fact from fiction.

My message to all is to only trust stories that you read and watch from trusted sources. Facebook, and other social media sites, are not necessarily trusted. Some of the content comes from trusted media sources, but all too much of it comes from unknown people out in cyber land.

I recall another of my dad’s “old sayings” — “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”

You will get much further in your life by taking a few minutes to verify or corroborate a story, than by just assuming that it was in the Internet, so it must be true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Athletes and parents need attitude adjustment

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

As much as I try to be an optimist about the direction our society is heading, it is difficult when I see weekly examples of the horror some of our kids are capable of causing.

Just over a week ago, a high school basketball game between Fairborn and Miamisburg ended with a fight. The fight left one young Miamisburg player with serious injuries. A number of players were involved as well as some student fans.

The seriousness of this incident is closer to “home” than you think. Both of the teams involved in the altercation belong to the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

It is not hard to see where some the anger is coming from. Students, both players and fans, are growing up as part of a generation who cares little about anything but themselves. They have no respect for their teachers, parents or authority. They believe that they are entitled to anything that they want. There is no need to work for anything. If they want something, they will just take it.

Mind you, this is not a blanket description of everyone. There are still a lot of shining examples of how we want our kids to grow up, especially right here in Piqua. I still see good sportsmanship on the floor and in the stands.

Unfortunately, when one of our kids runs up against one of the unscrupulous types, he, or she, sometimes end up caught in the situation.

Too many of these testosterone-filled conflicts between athletes are spin-offs from how over-zealous parents treated their kids since they began playing sports.

Some are parents who, maybe, weren’t such hot athletes when they were growing and are reliving their dreams of athletic stardom through their kids. Others are parents who see the path to a college eduction for their child going by way of the football field or basketball court.

Too many kids have grown up hearing nothing but hype about how they are such superb athletes — in the minds of their parents. I have a news flash … just because one’s parents are willing to spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to pay for their child to be on a traveling, or “select” team, does not mean that their child really is a superb athlete.

There is a time for encouraging and supporting our kids as they compete. That is part of being a parent. There are other, very valuable, lessons for our kids to learn. No one deserves to win. You win by working harder, by playing better. Another lesson to be learned is that not everyone is cut out to be a star athlete. You can want to be a star as much as you like, but some people have the athletic ability, and some do not. There are a few, for whom a great deal of hard work and dedication can make up the difference, but for some, they are never going to play above the high school level.

I might mention a side-effect of this parental attitude. A good number of these kids are so burned out on sports by the time they reach high school, that many want nothing to do with the sport when they can actually make their own decision.

By the time these kids get to junior high and high school, they believe the hype. Add to this, the selfish and uncaring attitude, and you have a walking stick of dynamite, just waiting for someone to light the fuse.

Sportsmanship. High school athletics are supposed to be about sportsmanship. Yet, schools allow, and I believe some even encourage, “trash talking.” I have even seen parents “trash talking” opponents. Student sections at games no longer chant encouragement to their players. Chants of “airball,” and other teasing and derogatory remarks are common. Granted, these are minor things, but they lead to more serious unsportsmanlike remarks.

I believe that if the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who claims to be all class and sportsmanship, really is serious about what they claim to stand for, they should take a hard-line stand against derogatory remarks, by both athletes and fans, as should the GWOC and other conferences.

Some, probably many, will say that such acts are done in fun and should be treated as such. There is no one who believes that the world is too thin-skinned more than I, but if if the OHSAA claims to be teaching sportsmanship, our high school athletic competitions are no place to allow negative remarks or actions.

The OHSAA slogan is “Respect the Game.” I think that it is time for them to draw the line, and close the door, on those who do not — respect the game.