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by Reid Fitzsimons

Back in perhaps 1966 or 1967 the eternally progressive Montgomery County (Maryland) school system introduced “New Math.” Presumably the education elite at the time determined that Old Math was passé and a more hip method of teaching was required. This was just at the time my math education was beginning in elementary school, and I recall three specific New Math tenets: properties imbued with the names associative, distributive, and communicative. I suspect beyond these words I learned math in pretty much the same manner as prior generations, and the New Math and its proponents long ago went the way of King Ozymandias. I wonder how many times since the educational theorists, or perhaps the textbook publishers, have decreed, “We’ve been doing it wrong all this time, and now we finally we have the ultimate and correct teaching methodology!”

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by Reid Fitzsimons

George Michael, a British pop star who first achieved fame in the 1980s, died on Christmas Day at the age of 53. His death was likely caused by the scourge of wealthy music celebrities- his body/heart simply gave out after decades of abuse, mostly drugs. He was still a teenager when he first encountered star status, initially as part of a duo called Wham! After five years he transformed into a popular solo performer and continued active until recently. Some of his memorable songs were Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Faith. In my opinion his songs were generally good in an era of some of the finest post-rock music (99 luftballons, If You Leave, most songs by the Cars) and some of the absolute worst, especially the precursors to Hip-Hop.
In his younger days of fame he was vibrant and handsome and the phrase “teen idol” could well have been applied to him. Much later after his fame and fortune were well established, in 1998, he publicly declared himself a homosexual following an arrest for public lewd behavior. At the time of his death his wealth was in the $130 million range.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

In less than six months the rainbow flags will unfurl and people dressed in their statement-making finest will be marching: June and another Gay Pride month will be upon us.  Though certainly aware of events occurring under the moniker of Gay Pride, somehow until recently I was unaware that an entire month is devoted to this concept, despite former President, Bill Clinton, declaring such back in the year 2000. I’m not sure where I’ve been, though admittedly it wasn’t until 2015 that someone explained to me the intrigues of America’s premier family, the Kardashians, even though they’ve had a culturally vital TV show going back to 2007.  Furthermore, I learned there was a relationship between Bruce Jenner and the Kardashian clan.  You might recall that Bruce Jenner, now in his mid-60s, garnered fame and fortune many years ago through his athleticism, and more recently found additional fortune and fame through the less strenuous enterprise of declaring himself a female.  I’ve been thinking that photos of this recent incarnation of Bruce Jenner remind me of something and it finally struck me- the poor guy looks a little like Norman Bates when he dressed up as his long-dead mother.

In the not-to distant past Barack Obama decreed that homosexuality and the military were fully compatible. This was not the eminently sensible policy in which one was welcome to be in the military as long as they did not feel compelled to share their personal sexual inclinations and the military had no particular interest in learning them, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Barack Obama’s vision revealed itself to be a descendant of the 1960s creed of Let It All Hang Out: it became almost an expectation that one’s private sexual preferences were to be revealed, the more “in your face” the better, as long as they were homosexual or otherwise non-heterosexual. Hence we quickly were treated to homosexuals in full military uniform enthusiastically marching about in events called Gay Pride parades, with the full blessing of the progressive military hierarchy.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

On Nov. 18, 2016 a black youth, 15 year-old Javon Wilson, was shot to death in his home in Chicago. The suspects/culprits were inside the house when apparently an argument over a pair of shoes ensued, and 17 year-old Dijae T. Banks (a female) handed a pistol to 16 year-old Tariq M. Harris (a male) who then shot Wilson. News accounts summed up his short life with a depressing “he liked basketball and rap music.”

His death was not particularly out of the ordinary, sadly. In the progressive world we’ve created, life, per se, is not of inherent or specific value, lest we sound like Pro-Life nut jobs talking about the “sanctity of life.” This especially holds true with black people, where there exists no innate value, but rather the meaning and matter of life is largely determined by the manner of death, with a few exceptions such as black sports and music figures, celebrities in general, and inaptly described civil rights leaders. Had young Javon Wilson been shot by the police his life would had found great significance and been marked by ecstatic outrage, marches, riots, and perhaps other murders.   Typically, however, a black person murdered by another black person rates at best a candle light vigil, a makeshift monument of teddy bears, and a few pro-forma words from a local politician of how we have to stop the violence.

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Nobody knows how the Trump presidency will unfold. Perhaps he’ll enjoy the celebrity aspects of the office and leave the actual governing to (hopefully capable) advisors and administrators. Certainly there are conservatives who worry he’s in reality an in-the-closet progressive. He might prove to be erratic in word and action and need to be constrained by constitutional check and balances that all but disappeared during the Obama years, facilitated by feckless Republicans. Or perhaps he’ll prove to be a principled conservative, holding a gentle but steady hand on the rudder of state. Nobody knows at this moment, perhaps not even Trump himself.

What we do know is that on January 20, 2017 we will not have to be subjected to a shrill voice proclaiming, “We are women, and from shore to shore the entire world heard us roar,” or some such inanity that flows so readily from the mouth of Hillary Clinton. We can take pleasure in the knowledge that any number of despots and obscure manipulators of money and power will not be receiving the return on their investment: “for a ‘donation’ of xx million dollars to the Clinton Foundation, I can assure you when I’m in the White House I will…” Hillary and Bill will always have enormous amounts of money and with it will maintain a cadre of people to tell them they are wonderful, but absent power no one will have to listen to them.

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hillary-clinton-yelling  donald-trump-mocks-disabled-reporter

by Reid Fitzsimons

From late 1982 to early 1986 I worked at a medium security Federal Prison. We ran the gamut from Mafioso to urban gang convicts to white-collar criminals, and lots of drug related convicts. Overall an interesting assortment of people with a fairly common thread: despite their crimes, and many were horrendous, the convicts could often present themselves as the nicest guys in the world. Seemingly a paradox until one realizes the nature of sociopathy, or antisocial personality disorder, in that the afflicted are driven to obtain whatever they desire, and to achieve their goal their behaviors can range from violent and murderous to affable and charming, whatever the situation may require. The object of their desire can vary widely and include material things and favors, money and sex, and all the way to domination over others. These are people without a conscience; they may know the concept of right and wrong exists but it doesn’t apply to them. Needless to say, to a sociopath lying is as natural as breathing.

Unfortunately for our country, considering the seemingly limitless amount money in the government coffers and increasing laws, rules, and regulations that allow government to wield unprecedented authority over the citizenry, opportunities abound for sociopaths in the world of politics. In Hillary Clinton we find we find the embodiment of a sociopath. She truly will do and say anything to realize her goal, which is inexhaustible self-aggrandizement. With the exception of abortion, in which she consistently revels, there is no position or belief she holds at a given moment that she won’t cavalierly contradict the next. I recall learning that in the same day she took a pro-Palestinian position while talking to a Palestinian group and a pro-Israeli position while talking to an Israeli organization. The continuing e-mail leaks confirm everything we know of her, her penchant for differing public and private policy positions, her lust for Wall Street money while publicly denouncing it, her (forced) amiability in appearances while angrily demeaning people she sees as beneath her when behind closed doors. And man does she lie.

Her opponent, in a convoluted manner, is almost refreshingly honest in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. He is boorish, crude, loutish, and coarse. He says vile, stupid, and outlandish things and offends even people who don’t take great pleasure in being offended. Like his opponent’s husband, he thrives in the porcine world, though apparently limiting himself to words as compared to Bill Clinton’s actions. No one really knows if he can be taken seriously, and in a bizarre way this is to his advantage: if everyone knows he’s buffoon he can be reasonably accommodated. The real danger in this election is that a soulless person, one who defines what is right exclusively by what benefits her, might well become President. Trump is clearly a blowhard, but I’ll take the blowhard over the sociopath without too much trepidation.







by Reid Fitzsimons (note: this is to be published under the heading No Excuse For Political Sign Defacement in the Forest City (Pennsylvania) News

Many people view Hillary Clinton unfavorably and even despicably, and not without justification. Were it not for a biological characteristic, her sex, she would have no significant political standing: her resume’ is as empty of gravitas as her policy ideas are vacuous, unoriginal, and exhausted. She comes across as shallow and insincere- not Presidential but much more like the director of some low-level government bureaucracy who achieved her position through sycophancy and scheming rather than competence. Still, I wonder if some degree of pathos can be felt for this shrill and unappealing person.

Consider her habitual lying. There is no doubt it reflects some degree of sociopathic drive for money and power, but I can’t help but think it protects her against her own unaccomplished self: an ardent feminist not self-made but husband made; a (faux) champion of the poor who amassed a tremendous fortune without earning it. This must be difficult if she has any degree of conscience. Perhaps by fabricating, for example, her story of dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, she becomes a courageous figure of some sort, if only in her own mind. It is possible she is the type of person for whom her own lies become truth; essentially a fantasy life that assuages her inadequacies.

During this campaign she has come to rely on the guise of experience as a shield of sorts. I spent most of my working years as a medical practitioner (PA) and knew too many practitioners who simply were not very good, and especially seemed incapable of learning from their mistakes. Given enough years of misdiagnosis and prescribing ineffective and even harmful therapies, even the worst could claim, “25 years of experience!” I’m sure most people who have spent time in the real world have known similar people.

The reason I am writing, however, is not simply to disparage Hillary Clinton. Her rival, while I will vote for him, sadly shares most of her failings, just not to the same degree. The other day driving through Wayne County I observed that several Hillary for President yard signs had been defaced. This behavior is unacceptable for people supporting Trump. While it can now to be expected from the Obama (punish your enemies) and Clinton (basket of deplorables) progressive left, who are intimidated and frightened by free speech and opposing ideas, it has no place for those who value Constitutional ideals. While it is inconceivable to me that anybody could support Hillary Clinton (perhaps with the exception of being in opposition to Trump), those who opt to lobby for her via signs or other means should be allowed to do so unimpeded. Trump supporters should not want to be viewed as cowards and thugs- leave that to the Clintonites.


by Reid Fitzsimons

From 1982 to 1986 I worked as a Physician Assistant (PA) at a Federal Prison (FCI Ray Brook in New York). This, of course, was in the early days of AIDS and there was heightened concern of exposure to blood. One day, along with one or two other PAs, I was in the little pharmacy and one of us knocked over a bottle of Betadyne, a common surgical antiseptic with a rusty brown color. The pharmacist, who was not with us at the time of the spill, returned and was quite vocal that we had been “throwing blood around the pharmacy.” We assured him everything was okay, it wasn’t blood but Betadyne. His response to this was emblematic of certain human reactions in the face of the unexpected: “It might as well be blood!” he declared. To be fair, the pharmacist was a decent guy who had a little problem with his temper, but in many ways his denial of facts in favor of his angst of the moment has proven to be prescient of a behavior that is now largely ruling our society.

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by Barry King, 4 Sept. 2016

The sad thing about the high cost of the appetite of American lawyers for their made-in-the-USA multi-million dollar "liability" lawsuit settlements, is that the true cost of that addiction, to Americans and to the world, lasts for decades after the fact.

The short list of "made in the USA" products that can be found now in Africa includes most of the airplanes that I fly, which were built by Cessna in Wichita, Kansas. But most of those, like most airplanes worldwide, are more than 30 years old.

This year we reach the 30th anniversary of the year (1986) when greedy lawyers and unions, and their political allies in the USA, accomplished what the Germans and Japanese could not do in WW2, and the Russians could not do in the cold war. The American left's raid against Americans managed to shut down light aircraft production in the USA, and to keep it shut down for the 12-year period 1986-1998. That's how long it took to get the barely-adequate reforms into place.

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false attribution

by Reid Fitzsimons, more or less

If a raving lunatic, or a chronic prevaricator such as Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for that matter, proclaims the earth is round, does it make it less likely to be true? Notwithstanding it is conceivable Clinton would declare the earth flat for the right speaking fee, we accept the roundness of the earth as a fact. The reason I mention this is because I received one of those e-mails making the rounds ostensibly titled "A German's View on Islam" attributed to Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known psychiatrist who died in 2014. It appears Dr. Tanay did not write the article, but rather it was authored by a Canadian named Paul Marek in 2006 under the title of “Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant.” Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to check the provenance of things found on the Internet, though I have no idea why it was falsely attributed. If only I wrote an article that circulated for 10 years!

It is certainly possible I was the absolute last person in our round earth to find this article in my inbox, but in case others missed it (though the readership of this blog is probably in the single digits), it will be published here, mainly because it is reasonably compelling. For me, its theme is consistent with what I’ve experienced in the “third world,” for example the vast majority of people I’ve known in Honduras are peaceful, but crime, often violent, is nevertheless ubiquitous and underlies daily life in Honduras. Here is the article:

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come.'  My family lost everything.  I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.

'We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. 'Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant.  It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

'The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march.  It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide.   'It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.  It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.  'The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

'Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

'China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

'The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving?

'History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt. Yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our Enemy if they don't speak up.  Like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them and the end of their world will have begun.

'Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

'Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other public schools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord's Prayer was removed (due to being so offensive? The Islamic way may be peaceful for the time being in our country until the fanatics move in.

'In Australia, and indeed in many countries around the world, many of the most commonly consumed food items have the halal emblem on them. Just look at the back of some of the most popular chocolate bars, and at other food items in your local supermarket. Food on aircraft has the halal emblem just to appease the privileged minority who are now rapidly expanding within the nation's shores.

'In the U.K, the Muslim communities refuse to integrate and there are now dozens of "no-go" zones within major cities across the country that the police force dare not intrude upon. Sharia law prevails there, because the Muslim community in those areas refuse to acknowledge British law.

'As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts - the fanatics who threaten our way of life.'

'Lastly, anyone who doubts that this issue is not serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.

Extend yourself a bit and send this on. Let us hope that thousands world-wide read this, think about it, and send it on before it's too late, and we are silenced because we were silent!!