AN AMERICAN STORY: COWBOY HEROES“My heroes have always been cowboys.” Recorded by Waylon Jennings (1976) and later by Willie Nelson

I’m not a movie critic. I like what I like and I don’t like what I don’t like.

In other words, I’m pretty shallow.

Recently, I saw the new Lone Ranger movie.

Westerns have always been a favorite so if you are expecting me to echo the opinions of “experts” that this latest Johnny Depp movie was a bust … well, you can go kiss the south end of a north bound horse.

Granted, the film took a lot of liberties with my historical image of the Lone Ranger, but it was a fun ride. And when the “William Tell Overture” starts playing (late in the movie), I challenge you to sit still.

I grew up on tv and movie cowboys: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the cowboy shows: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Have Gun – Will Travel, and of course, the Lone Ranger.

Two of my favorite actors to ever play cowboys: Clint Eastwood and the one and only, John Wayne.

Once I met Eastwood, just briefly, but I never had a chance to meet John Wayne.

There was the time that I flew into John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, and did something I’ve never done before or since. I asked someone to take a picture of me in front of a statue.

It was the 9 foot bronze of The Duke.

There he is … captured in mid-stride, his left arm bent with his hand near his belt buckle, and his right hand just inches from a six-shooter strapped low on his waist.

That’s an iconic image of John Wayne and for any cowboy.

When I was maybe 5 or so, my favorite cowboy was Hopalong Cassidy.

My mother would tell the story of how she would call me in for dinner (that would be the noon meal for those of you not raised in the South), and she would have to hold the door open for me and Hopalong.

He was always right behind me, and when I put my stick horse (Dusty) in the corner, Hopalong tied up Topper to the doorknob.

Mom had to put out an extra plate because I insisted that Hopalong was eating with us.

I can see some of you muttering, I knew something was wrong with that Conners boy; that explains why he always appeared a little “teched” in the head.

Yeah, in those days, I created my own little world of me and Hopalong … fighting the bad guys, stopping train robberies and saving women and children.

But it was a world where good always won and evil was always defeated.

I miss Hopalong and those days.



US FIGHTER JETS FOR EGYPT‘The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” Albert Einstein

Most of us know that you don’t throw gasoline on a fire.

Why that would be as stupid as sending U.S. F-16 jets to Egypt which is in turmoil … after the army ousted the president and the Muslim Brotherhood is fighting back.

Yet, we are continuing to honor a foreign aid package signed in 2010 when Hosni Mubark was Egypt’s president.

Next month, 4 more F-16s will be delivered and 8 more are scheduled for December.
The aid package includes 20 jets and 300 Abrams tanks.

This is not the time to be adding to the arsenal when we have no idea who is going to be in control.

Haven’t we learned from past cases where our weapons have been turned on U.S. forces?

We can block this delivery until we have a better picture of Egypt’s future … or we can show up at the next fire with our gas cans.



I’m still waiting to see how CNN will explain this.

Yesterday, CNN posted a document presented to the jury hearing the case where George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin.
It contained Zimmerman’s social, his birth date, address and phone number.
The first response from CNN … well, the court clerk was supposed to have redacted sensitive information.
Ok, so the clerk failed and someone at CNN saw nothing wrong with broadcasting the details?

I still haven’t heard CNN admit contributing to the “mistake”.



US MARINE & SECURITY CHECKPOINTS“At some places I’m treated like royalty and at some like a terrorist. There’s got to be something in the middle.” — Retired Marine Cpl Nathan Kemnitz

In 2004, Kemnitz was severely injured in a 2004 roadside bomb attack in Fallujah; for his actions and service to our country he has several medals which he wears on his “dress blues”. He also limited use of his right arm and cannot lift it above his head.

Recently, Kemnitz was going through airport security on a trip to the California state capitol building in Sacramento.

Before we continue, any veteran knows the value of good security and will be the first to admit that when you start making “exceptions” you breach security protocol. Certainly, a highly decorated veteran realizes this point —- BUT, once again, let’s exercise some “common sense and respect” in how we treat citizens and especially our nation’s heroes.

Here is what happened as reported by The Military Times:
Kemnitz shows up at the airport in his dress blues wearing medals which few will ever wear or have or desire to pay the price to wear — and at one security point he was told: you are wearing “too much metal”.
At the airport, a TSA screener looked under the medals, ran his hands under the Marine’s waistband and swabbed his shoes for explosives.
Later, TSA asked Kemnitz to raise his arms for the body scanner, and he said, “My right arm doesn’t work; it’s a lot of hassle for me to do that.”
Kemnitz was annoyed, but didn’t complain.

Then at the capitol building, security guards asked him to remove his dress blue blouse “because he was wearing too much metal”.

Take off his uniform because he had too many medals!?!?

That’s when the retired Marine did get upset as he said the guard was rude and unapologetic.

His escort, Patricia Martin, took pictures and wrote to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki: “What does a uniform and heroism represent if our own citizens — in this case employees of the TSA and security personnel — have no regard for them? — I feel so strongly that you need to know just how shamefully even a Purple Heart recipient/disabled veteran can be treated by some TSA and security employees.”

The Military Times posted: In March, bystanders notified Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., about what they perceived to be maltreatment of a double amputee by TSA screeners at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.
Concurrent with that incident, TSA announced it had changed its rules to eliminate a requirement that injured troops remove their shoes, jackets or hats. But to receive the expedited service, TSA asks affected personnel to call the agency’s Military Severely Injured Joint Service Operations Center before traveling.
TSA also offers escorted “curb-to-gate service” for injured or ill personnel who request it as well as the TSA Pre program to service members with a military common access card at four airports: Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Now, here’s a kicker to this story: Retired Marine Cpl Nathan Kemnitz made the flight to go to the state capitol … because he was being honored as his legislative district’s veteran of the year.

Cpl Kemnitz, thank you for your service and Semper Fi.



A FB follower sent me this for review, and I think it is worth your consideration.

A 21 year old videotaped what happened when he was stopped at a DUI checkpoint.
He had not been drinking, had no drugs in the car and is entirely within his Constitutional rights, but —

Let’s begin with a matter of respect when law officers approach.

They are doing their job … as best they can … under more and more difficult circumstances and often more dangerous.
Anyone who is willing to wear a badge becomes a target.
Keep that in mind.

My first reaction to the video .. the driver should have simply complied. It started with a simple request/order … roll down your window.
If you are an officer, and someone won’t comply with that simple act … you are suddenly on heightened alert. I dare any of you to deny that if you were the officer that you wouldn’t have suddenly gotten concerned.

Now, as the event unfolds, there clearly are violations of Constitutional rights … from what started as a DUI checkpoint.

It is important that you know your rights, and officers should be properly trained to also know and FOLLOW the Constitution.

In this case, I agree the search of the car violated the driver’s rights; it is true that when dogs trained to detect drugs and other contraband search and find nothing — they can be given a specific command and suddenly act as if they have found illegal items.

Here’s the crux of the issue:
What if this driver had been smuggling stolen guns or counterfeit money or other contraband — he could cite the same responses … it was a DUI checkpoint, he hadn’t been drinking, he wasn’t even asked if he had … he had no drugs in the car and the dog was “directed” to give a “hit” ….. all of this would violate the driver’s rights and most likely, anything found in the car could not be used as evidence.

We don’t want innocent Americans trampled in the rush to catch the guilty … and it is true, we already bend on many issues and simply accept what we must — everything from taking off our shoes to board a plane to stopping at DUI checkpoints when we haven’t had a drink.

Yes, we have the Constitution and our Bill of Rights … but applying, using, defending, and interpreting … will never be as clean and clear as we like.

Don’t waiver from defending your rights even when dealing with law officers — but at the same time, let’s show respect and appreciation to officers willing to stand between us and those who could care less about the Constitution and Bill of Rights .. except as they might be used to avoid just punishment.



While we celebrate our independence, our Constitution and all our rights … keep the following story in mind.

Egypt’s military led authorities shut down several broadcast stations …after President Morsi was toppled by the army.

The security forces raided the offices of Al Jazeera’s Egyptian news channel and detained at least five staff members.
The channel, Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, was prevented from broadcasting from a pro-Mursi rally in northern Cairo and its crew on the scene was detained.

Al Jazeera’s Egyptian station began broadcasting after the 2011 revolution that topped President Hosni Mubarak and has been accused by critics of being sympathetic to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Correspondents reported being interrupted during a live broadcast, with presenters and guests being arrested.

THIS IS WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE … if we ignore, neglect or fail to protect our Constitutional rights.

Keep that in mind … burn the image of tv/radio stations being shutdown, newspapers being burned and the internet and any electronic communications being disrupted.

On this July 4th … remember the price paid for your freedom.
Do not ignore this event in Egypt — do not say it can not happen here.

If you haven’t read the 1962 book “Seven Days in May” or seen the movie … you should.

In that case, the take-over of our government was reportedly influenced by the right-wing, anti-Communist political activities of General Edwin Walker after he resigned from the military.

It is important to keep in mind … right-wing, left-wing, Liberal, Conservative, Muslim, Christian …any group or effort intent on destroying our Constitution … should be fought tooth and nail.
Already, too many good men and women … died and suffered in the trenches to preserve what we have. Do not forget their sacrifices. Do not fail them.

Karl Marx claimed, “Democracy is the road to socialism.”
Lately, we might be inclined to accept his theory, but then, I’m reminded of the words of Ron Paul: “Our founders cherished liberty, not democracy.”

And “liberty’ is the true essence of our First Amendment and all other rights under our Constitution.

While it is important who rules and controls Egypt … the more pressing fear is … how close are we to experiencing the same fate of government/military control of our news sources?

First Amendment rights can be as fragile as smoke … if you do not take care to protect them.



A CROSS TO BEAR / BARE“A lot of people are bored of all the political correctness.” Clint Eastwood

And I would add … angered.
Consider this latest case.

At Sonoma State University, a 19 year old student was told – you have to remove that cross necklace because it might offend someone.

What??? What!!!

At the time, Audrey Jarvis was at a student orientation fair promoting the school’s Associated Students Productions. That’s when a school administrator told her: you can not wear your cross because it might offend others, it might make incoming students feel unwelcome, or it might cause incoming students to feel that ASP was not an organization they should join.

Audrey called her parents, and her mother was quoted as saying: She doesn’t wear the cross as a fashion statement … it’s a statement of her faith.”

Mrs. Jarvis said she reminded Audrey that we are still one nation under God, and said her daughter replied, “Mom, it doesn’t feel like that here. Our faith was attacked. It’s unnerving. I know what’s going on in this country. I know Christianity is being attacked. Now, I know it first-hand and it sickens me and saddens me.”

That’s a 19 year old college student making a statement for all of us to hear.

Since all of the publicity, the University President has issued an apology and said the school officer who made the demand was wrong.

Well, that’s a good step, but what about training staff to “think” before taking such action; I thought a university was supposed to be a place of “higher learning and the educated”. This act just reaffirms that many such places are run by “the ignorant” and that “political correctness” only applies when it fits a “liberal agenda”.

You can be Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or any religion of your choice; it won’t be my religion, but I am not offended you wearing jewelry or clothing that reflects your faith.

Add to that statement … if you are offended by the cross around my neck … well, I’ll close with another Clint Eastwood quote: “I tried being reasonable; I didn’t like it.”



FIREFIGHTER TRAGEDYWhen everyone else runs from a fire, that’s when firefighters rush in.

19 members of an elite firefighting crew were killed Sunday in a wildfire about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

They were trapped by flames and had little time to protect themselves; in such cases, they are trained to dig as deep as they can, get in the hole and cover themselves with a fire-resistant cover.

Then, they hope the fire passes over them.

In this case, some of the bodies were found under the covers while others were outside them.

We can only imagine the horror of what they faced in those final moments.

One did survive, but there’s no update on his condition.

Keep them, their families and all firefighters in your prayers.

This was the worst loss of firefighters battling a wildfire in decades; in 1933, 29 died in the Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles. 340 firefighters died in the 9-11 terrorist attack.



School Dress CodeFirst, let’s begin where the 2nd Amendment and 1st Amendment are clashing.

Louisiana now has a law penalizing anyone, organization or business publishing names of individuals who own a conceal-carry permit or even applied for one. The penalty carries a potential jail sentence of 6 months and $10,000 fines. The identity can be publicized if the permit holder is charged with a felony involving a firearm.

Six months ago, in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, a paper in that region published a map with the names and addresses of all licensed pistol permit holders in a couple of counties.

Governor Bobby Jindal and bill supporters wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen in Louisiana.

The editor of The Advocate in Baton Rouge said he doesn’t see his paper ever printing such information and added, “I think it is a bad law — It is probably unconstitutional and follows a non-existent problem in Louisiana.”

Governor Jindal said, “In the face of an administration in Washington that wants to take away the rights of law-abiding gun owners, we are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution of the United States here in Louisiana.”


Monday, July 1st, Colorado’s strict new gun control law goes into effect. One of those laws ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

In advance of that action, Magpul, a gun accessories manufacturer, is giving away 1,500 30-round magazines for free. Customers can also buy up to 3 magazines for $10 each. The mags will be “grandfathered” under the new law.

In the meantime, Magpul is making plans to leave Colorado; the company has more than 200 employees and generates about $85 million in taxable revenue; Wyoming, Alaska and other states are putting out the welcome mat.


Criminal charges are dropped against a 14 year old who wore an NRA shirt to school.

April 18, Jared Marcum wore the shirt to school, refused to remove it, was sent to the principal and police were called.

The officer claimed the boy was argumentative and would not be silent so he was charged with obstruction of justice. He could have been sentenced to a year in jail.

Jared’s father says, charges should have been dropped sooner, but we’re just glad it is now over.

The school dress code gives educators a wide range of discretion about what’s appropriate and what’s not.



“My father taught me to work; he didn’t teach me to love it.” Abraham Lincoln

This is the time of year when kids start looking for jobs … or at least, if it’s your kids … you hope they do.

My parents never had to tell me to get a job; I wanted to go to work and earn money, but kids can do more than earn dollars, they can learn life.

Like most of you, I did various jobs during summers and sometimes school weekends.

For my first job, I took our lawn mower from house to house asking if I could do the lawn. It was good training for a youngster to learn how to talk to adults, but I didn’t really know how to negotiate the pay.

I would get the job and when done, the lady of the house would survey my work and ask, “How much do I owe you?” (Looking back, I’m surprised that customers didn’t set the price before I did the job or that I didn’t set the price.) Anyway, I would just bat my eyes, and say, “Whatever you think, Mamn.”

That’s how I learned the value of modesty.

Then, I got a job selling “spud nuts”; these were like donuts, but made with potato flower instead of wheat flower; I would load up a large basket that I hung around my neck and start walking through our little town, hitting various businesses. I had a selection of plain, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, and on really good days, I went back to the shop and loaded up for a second trip.

That’s how I learned the value of persistence.

“Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” Edgar Bergen

Sometimes, summer jobs turned into year round jobs.

For instance, I had a paper route when kids could still do them from a bicycle. The papers would arrive flat and bound with metal wire; I had to cut the wire, roll the papers, put rubber bands around them and then load the baskets on each side of my bicycle.

Sunday papers were the hardest … always thick and many times I couldn’t fill my baskets with enough papers to cover all the customers so after the baskets were empty I had to return to get more. (Here is where I need to thank my dear Mother for all the mornings she got up to help me get the papers ready for distribution and on stormy days, drove me along my route. I never could have done it on my own.)

That’s where I learned how to deal with adults … especially when they were late paying for their papers.

The door bell rings and here’s a rag tag, freckled face kid with a cow lick, and a nervous smile.

“Mr. Jones, I’m here to collect for the paper?” Yes, it was more a question than a statement. I certainly didn’t look like an enforcer for a bookie, ready to break an arm or leg or both. I was just trying to collect money for a paper.

Sometimes, I got paid in full; often, just a bit … which meant another collection call … and sometimes, I got paid nothing, which definitely meant another call … and my stomach would be in knots.

But it was good training for the adult world.

As nice as it is for kids to have their own money, I definitely believe summer jobs helping kids grow in social and business skills … is just as important.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the money I made.

Every night I would take out my personal safe and add whatever I had earned to what I already had saved — then sit and count it over and over. I only did this when my brother wasn’t in the room or I was sure he was asleep; I had nightmares of him finding my fortune stuck way under my mattress.

My safe was an old Prince Albert can. So, my money always had the smell of tobacco and even now, if I smell tobacco, I think of money.

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” Woody Allen