Archive for February, 2014

The National Debt

February 24th, 2014 Comments off

Democrats and Republicans are blitzing us with propaganda about the national debt.? My purpose here is not to side with either political party, but to add understating to the subject. ?Contrary to what many people think, China is not our largest creditor.? Our largest creditor is our Social Security Trust Fund.? But, if that?s the case, are we really in debt?? Do we have to pay ourselves back?? To understand all of this, let?s take a very brief look at history.?

Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Treasurer, was also experienced in banking.? Each state had accumulated debt in helping finance the Revolutionary War (1775-1783).? In 1790, Hamilton instituted a program of repaying the war debt to each of the thirteen states.? The payments were from the federal treasury with a certain amount going to each state, earmarking how much was for interest and how much for principal.???

For the next one hundred twenty-five years, the primary debt our nation took on was for fighting wars?the War of 1812, Read more…

Learning from our Grandmothers

February 21st, 2014 Comments off

When I was a young boy growing up in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, one of my favorite times was when my grandmother would take my brother and me in her old, blue four-door 1929 Chevrolet sedan to Woolworth?s on what we called main street, although its real name was ?Commercial Street.?? She would usually give each of us a nickel–occasionally it would be ten cents each–and we were allowed to buy anything we wanted, except no candy.? On the occasions she gave us ten cents, we usually bought some kind of a toy or play gun for five cents and spent the other nickel for a cherry coke sitting on the stools at the counter of the store?s soda fountain.? One time, instead of a toy, my brother, who was two and a half years older than I, spent his entire ten cents on a bottle of red ?hair oil.? Read more…

Brushing up on Grammar: Misunderstood Words and Troublesome Prefixes

February 8th, 2014 Comments off

A good friend of mine asked me the other day if it was correct to say, “taken back” as an expression of surprise. The answer is “no”; the correct phase is “taken aback.” That may sound funny to some people, but it is correct.

This caused me to think about another word and some prefixes. So I decided to write about “aback,” “unkempt,” and how to use “in” or “im” or “il” or “ir” as a prefix with adjectives. Let’s take them one by one.

Misunderstood Words: “Aback” and “Unkempt”

“Aback,” an adverb, dating from AD 1,100 and coming to us from Middle English, has three historic definitions: Read more…

Too Early to Determine Christie’s Involvement

February 6th, 2014 Comments off

In America, unlike many countries, one is innocent until proved guilty.? Let?s wait until there is proof of what really happened before any judgments are pronounced concerning what Governor Christie?s role was in bridge-lane closing.? As former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggested, if the evidence shows he did not tell the truth during his nearly two-hour long news conference, than he?s in real trouble.? But if he did tell the truth, then that should be the end of it.??

Regardless of what the investigation shows, he evidently has taken steps to dismiss those who were directly responsible for what happened, and he deserves credit for that.? Read more…

Please, Mr. President, Lead rather than Divide

February 1st, 2014 Comments off

When Mr. Obama campaigned for President of the United States in 2008, he assured voters that he would bring the county together and especially quell the gridlock in Washington that had made it difficult for the United States Congress to pass important legislation.? But, instead, the discord in Washington is greater than ever and has spread throughout our country.? How did this happen??

I realize that I am not a political science major and as just a regular citizen who has never run for office I may be guilty of being na?ve and oversimplifying politics.? That being said, it appears to me that President Obama almost goes out of his way at sowing discord rather than negotiating agreement.? For example, as recently as his State of the Union address earlier this week, the President started out on a very conciliatory note, but before too long he began to make threats of what he would do with his pen if the Republicans failed to pass certain legislation.? And the next day he began making campaign-type speeches in different states degrading Republicans, and especially the Republican held United States House of Representatives.? Such verbiage may please his Democratic base.? It certainly does not, however, bring about any type of unity, but further fuels discord in Washington. Read more…

If I Were President . . .

February 1st, 2014 Comments off

I received an e-mail on my Web site that features my latest book: The Big Ten of Grammar: Identifying and Fixing the Ten Most Frequent Grammatical Errors.? Of course, I liked the e-mail because of what it said about my book, but even more because of its general emphasis on a completely different and very important subject.

?The e-mail reads as follows:? Read more…