Thursday, December 26, 2013

Duck Dynasty vs. Corporate America

If you’re a marketing major at any university in America you need to be watching very closely the goings-on in the Duck Dynasty saga.  Unless you’ve been in a cave the last couple of weeks you know by now that Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson voiced his religious objections to homosexuality to GQ magazine.  ‘Dynasty’s’ network, A&E, didn’t wait for
ratings or sponsor response.  They caved immediately to the radical Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  This is the same group that scared comedian Bob Newhart away from a conference for Catholic business leaders a couple of weeks ago.

GLAAD is famous for bullying any company or any organization they deem tolerant of anyone with views contradictory to their own.  Make no mistake about it.  This Duck Dynasty business is not about homosexuality.  It’s about freedom.

Let me be clear.  Phil Robertson has every right to voice his opinion on any subject under the sun.  A&E has every right to fire him for any reason.  Fans of the show have every right to be furious and never watch the network again.  This is capitalism at work.

We broke the story on our radio show that Cracker Barrel restaurants had pulled all merchandise with Phil Robertson’s image on it from their shelves, leaving the rest of the Duck Dynasty merchandise, as if no one would notice.  One of our listeners noticed and alerted us.  We alerted the country.  The outcry was swift and severe.  

Not all Cracker Barrel patrons watch Duck Dynasty but it’s a good bet that most Duck Dynasty viewers eat at Cracker Barrel.  Or, at least, they did.  Cracker Barrel withered under the two-day onslaught and, on the third day, relented.  They, in essence, admitted they’d made a bonehead mistake.  The question is, is it too late to recover?

The lesson is to know your customers.  Sure, A&E may have started off catering to the wine and cheese crowd with shows like America’s Castles but take a gander at the programming line-up these days.  Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, Rodeo Girls, Duck Dynasty and, coming this January, Crazy Hearts: Nashville.  This ain’t exactly high-brow television.  Nor is it likely programming aimed at a gay audience.

A&E knew exactly what it was getting with the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty.  In fact, Phil Robertson has a book out and, I’m told, lays out his beliefs in his book basically just like he laid them out to GQ.  Didn’t the folks at A&E read it?  Or, were they too busy counting their money.  Then the first time some radical, fringe group says ‘boo!’ they fold like a card table.

If this were a star from Downton Abbey, maybe.  A star from Glee?  Absolutely.  But this is Duck Dynasty, for crying out loud.  There probably aren’t two people in the entire audience who disagree with what Phil Robertson said.

We still have freedom of religion in this country and most mainstream religions consider homosexuality a sin.  Why are all these liberal elitists acting so surprised?  They’re not, really.  They’re just trying to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.  What has Uncle Phil told you for years?  The left is all about diversity except when it comes to diversity of thought.  One biblical reference to homosexuality and the mainstream media come unglued.  Meanwhile, Phil Robertson, at the epicenter of the firestorm, remains cool as a cucumber.

Pay attention, you marketing majors.  A 67-year-old duck-huntin’ good ole boy from Vivian, Louisiana has just made two multi-million-dollar corporations look like idiots.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Republican House blows it yet again

The recent caving by Republicans in the House and Senate was breathtaking.  The much-ballyhooed budget from Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democrat Sen. Patty Murray will erase much of the hard-fought sequester cuts.  It also cuts military pensions.  Oh, it also raises the airport tax on your plane ticket that ostensibly goes for the TSA only this extra money is going to cover some of the sequester cuts.  That, my friends, is a tax increase, something Boehner and the boys in the House said they would never do.

The sequester cuts, although not ideal, were the first real cuts in federal spending since just after the Korean War.  Even Newt and the Republican Revolution of 1994 couldn’t get real
cuts and had to settle for slowing growth.  It was that slowing of the growth in spending that gave us several years of surpluses.  

This new budget does absolutely nothing to balance the budget.  Republicans who voted for it will tell you that it reduces the deficit but it doesn’t reduce it nearly as much as the sequester cuts and it doesn’t balance the budget.  

I’ve come to the conclusion that not enough people in Congress care about the deficits and the debt.  They say they do but they don’t.  They also say they want to kill Obamacare but each chance they have to do it they blow it.  The only way we were going to kill Obamacare was to defund it.  The House budget fully funded Obamacare.  Not one dime was stripped from it, despite the cacophony of protests from the millions who have had their policies cancelled.  

The Republicans who caved pointed to polling that showed the American people blamed them for the government shutdown.  The American people don’t even remember the government shutdown and if you’re not willing to go to the mat for something you believe in what good are you?  I’m sick of politicians who vote based on polls that say they’ll be wrongly blamed for something.  At some point you have to have the guts to stand up for what’s right.

Killing Obamacare is what’s right.  In fact, I believe those same polls would have shown support for anyone who tried to rid the country of this horrible law.  Unfortunately, we’ll never know.  But that’s really beside the point.  The point is we now have far too many in Congress who cherish their jobs.  We need folks up there who don’t care if they get re-elected.  We need statesmen instead of politicians.  We need reliable representation.  The mark of a true statesman is someone you know before they vote how they’re going to vote.  It’s someone who doesn’t pander to the people in order to stay in power.  It’s someone who is quite comfortable losing that power.

How many folks in Washington does that apply to these days?  Certainly not enough.

So, where do we go from here?  I think it is imperative that we get more involved in the process.  It’s very easy at a time like this to turn it all off, to take a vacation from the madness and the frustration.  That’s exactly what they’re hoping you’ll do.  When good people no longer pay attention then bad people prevail.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The politics of AIDS

Fighting over which disease gets what kind of funding may seem unbecoming but in the stark world of politics it’s an unpleasant necessity.  President Obama just recently diverted 100 million more dollars to AIDS research vowing to find a cure.  That means other disease research will have to suffer as a consequence.

Understand this: AIDS is the most preventable disease ever known to man.  We know
exactly how it’s contracted and we know exactly how to stop it.  Spending billions of dollars on a cure is a colossal waste of time and money.  AIDS in the United States is almost entirely transmitted by two groups of people: homosexuals or bisexuals and intravenous drug users.  Stop the behavior and you stop the disease.

When I bring this topic up on the air invariably I get angry e-mails telling me I don’t care about little kids with AIDS.  Of course, I do, but the number of children contracting AIDS these days is fewer than 200 per year.  Conversely, the number of children with cancer each year tops 13,000.  I certainly care about kids with AIDS but the reason they got the disease in the first place is because their mothers were engaging in risky behavior.  I guess these people e-mailing me care nothing about kids with cancer.  

By the way, cancer is the leading cause of disease-related deaths for children.  It looks like if we really cared we’d be spending most of our time and resources where there’s the largest need.

That’s the problem with disease research.  It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the funding.  AIDS funding almost equals cancer funding in this country yet cancer kills 37 times the number of people who die from AIDS.  In fact, almost as many people die from cancer in one year than have died of AIDS in the United States since we first discovered the disease.

Common sense would tell you that we should be spending money on these diseases in proportion to their devastation.  Let me illustrate it this way.  We spend about $9,800 on research per cancer death in the United States.  We spend almost $198,000 per AIDS death.  In other words, cancer kills 37 times more people yet AIDS gets 20 times the research dollars per death.  And Obama is diverting even more money to AIDS research.  It’s not only wrong it’s downright sinful.

I was at a party recently.  Three of my friends at this party were battling cancer.  We all know people fighting this horrible disease.  Aside from maybe lung cancer, we have few clues as to why people get it.  One of my friends always ate right and exercised but still came down with some rare form of bone cancer.  It’s bound to make these people furious to know that just because certain people protest and stomp their feet the loudest that they get the lion’s share of the funding.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States but there’s so much we know about how to prevent it.  Poor diet, little or no exercise, and obesity are leading causes.  Maybe that’s why we spend less than half on research as compared to cancer.  We know many of the causes.  With cancer it’s a totally different story.  We have no idea what causes most cancers and we need the bulk of our funding going to finding a cure.  Had Obama stated that as his goal he may have garnered some respect.  Instead, he continues to play politics with our research money while hundreds of thousands of people needlessly die.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Common sense inequality

The unions are at it again.  They’ve expanded the fast food strike from 20 restaurants in New York City to 200 nationwide.  Their complaint?  The same old tired refrain of a living wage.  They want $15 per hour.  The minimum wage is $7.25.

The truth is only a small percentage of restaurant workers make minimum wage.  Those are entry-level positions.  In fact, the restaurant industry is one of the easiest industries in which
to advance.  One has to be willing to work hard, work smart and take on more responsibility.  That’s the problem with liberalism.  It’s never the liberal’s fault.  It’s always someone else’s fault. 

Let me tell you something.  If you’re 50 and you’re making minimum wage at a fast food restaurant it’s your fault.  Barring some mental or physical handicap, if you’re trying to make a living off minimum wage you’ve made some bad decisions.

That’s the conversation few in this country want to have.  What is the root cause of poverty?  It’s impossible to say with certainty what the percentage is but it’s safe to say that most people are poor because of bad choices.

You may gasp at that notion but it’s true.  Let’s put it another way.  How do people get to be rich?  Trust-fund babies aside, people who become rich do so based on the choices they make.  Some may call it luck but Bill Cosby was once asked if he felt like he’d been lucky.  He said it’s funny but the harder he works the luckier he gets.

Fortunes aren’t made by happenstance.  They’re built.  That’s why it irks me when people talk about an unequal distribution of wealth.  Wealth is not distributed.  It’s earned.  If these folks striking at these restaurants really want to better themselves they need to get back inside the store and start making it happen.  Make yourself a valuable employee.  I’m not promising you’ll never get fired but I can assure you you’ll go a lot further in life than you will standing out in front of some restaurant holding a sign complaining that you’re not making enough money.

Were I the owner of a restaurant and my employees were striking in front of my store I’d fire the lot of them.  There are plenty of folks looking for a job and, moreover, looking for an opportunity.  That’s what these striking employees can’t see.  They can’t see the opportunity.  

The average salary for a McDonald’s store manager is $42,000 per year.  Too many people turn up their noses at $42,000 a year.  When I first started out in radio I made $6,000 a year.  Six grand!  That’s the equivalent to $17,000 a year today.  Did I think I was underpaid?  I never really thought about it.  I was there for the opportunity.  I was there to learn, to grow, to advance.

These folks standing outside of Taco Bell and McDonald’s have absolutely no ambition.  And they’re being brainwashed by union thugs who’ve convinced them they deserve a “living wage.”  They deserve to be fired!

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Are scientists coming back to science?

One of the lighter moments in our movie, An Inconsistent Truth, is when we’re making the point that of all the factors global warming alarmists point to they ignore that big, burning ball of fire in the sky.  We conclude the segment with a paraphrase of political guru James Carville.  It’s the sun, stupid.

Sometimes there’s a point when scientists are so immersed in the science that they can’t see the obvious.  The proverbial not being able to see the forest for the trees.  I believe the great global warming debate will go down in history as one such example.

The French news agency, AFP, recently ran a story on how the sun has been surprisingly
quiet lately.  Scientists like to package things as chaotic as the sun into nice, little packages that can be studied and presented in nice, little, peer-reviewed papers.  The only problem is the sun is unpredictable.  Usually we can expect around 120 sunspots per day in a “normal” 11-year cycle, they tell us.  The most recent cycle was forecast to peak at around 90 sunspots per day.  It’s coming in at about half that, or roughly a quarter of the 250-year average.

Interestingly enough, scientists tell us the last time this happened was around 1650 to 1715.  They refer to that as the Maunder Minimum, named after a 19th century husband and wife scientific team who discovered the anomaly.  Many scientists now believe the Maunder Minimum sparked what is now referred to as the Little Ice Age, a period of prolonged cooling that ran from about 1650 to 1850.

And guess what happens after you come out of a little ice age.  You start to warm a bit, as we have since 1850.  Now that the sun is quiet it would make sense that we’d begin another cooling phase, as many scientists now predict.  Instead of common sense another theory captured the imagination of scientists and that is a theory that manmade CO2 is now driving climate change.  The only problem with that theory is there doesn’t seem to be any correlation.

No one is denying that carbon dioxide levels have risen substantially over the last 100 years.  The problem with the theory is the temperatures haven’t followed the rise in CO2.  In fact, as we point out in the movie, if you go back and closely examine the historic record you’ll find that temperature rise precedes the rise in carbon dioxide.  In other words, as the planet heats the ocean temperatures rise and give off more CO2.

It’s interesting that this week much of the nation has been going through a cold snap.  We must be careful that we don’t confuse weather change with climate change.  The global warming alarmists are famous for this.  Any time there’s an unusual heat wave they trot out their theory of global warming.  On weeks like this they’re conspicuously quiet except for those who call this “extreme weather” and blame it on humans.

The odd thing is there is no scientific scenario in which CO2 would cause dramatic cooling.  This whole theory of CO2 causing weather extremes is nonsense.  Either additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing the planet to heat up or it’s not.  The greenhouse effect is just that.  Greenhouses get warmer, not colder or wetter or dryer or stormier.  These folks are so determined to blame humans that they ignore common sense and even science itself.

There is basically one dominant factor that determines whether we’re going to be warm or whether we’re going to be cool. 

It’s the sun, stupid! 

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Come on, folks. Get a grip.

I want it known up front that I am a pet lover.  I have owned pets all my life.  I wept out loud when my 18-year-old cat, Smokey, died.  We have a Jack Russell that I affectionately refer to as my Jack Russell terrorist.  With my pet street creds out of the way I want to address the subject at hand.

My story begins at a beachside restaurant in Pensacola Beach, FL just a couple of weeks ago.  I was enjoying my breakfast from the sumptuous breakfast bar when a couple came in and was seated not far from me.  In addition to the earth boots and other attire that gave them the look of two professors who just walked off the campus of Berkeley, the woman had a dog with her.  A rather large one, too.  I’ll admit the canine was well-behaved but when she went to the breakfast bar she took Fido with her.

Now, I had already enjoyed my breakfast - thank goodness - and was just enjoying a second cup of coffee and checking my e-mail.  As I was leaving I had planned to discreetly ask the hostess if dogs were now allowed in restaurants in Florida when the woman walked in front of me with the dog.  He was wearing a neckerchief that read “Service Animal.”  I decided to hold my tongue but I couldn’t help wonder what kind of pansy excuse she had for dragging her dog along everywhere she went under the guise of a service dog.  She certainly wasn’t blind.

After bringing the subject up on my radio show I was educated to the fact that some dogs are used to predict seizures.  Others are trained to sniff out foods that may trigger food allergies.
  I get all that but I also know there are lots of people who abuse the “service animal” laws.

As it happened, right after my encounter there was a rash of news articles on the subject.  One, from CBS News, focused on just how easy it is to obtain a service animal vest for your pet.  Apparently anyone can go online and buy one and there doesn’t appear to be a law to stop them from using them.  And, of course, businesses are scared to death they’ll be sued if they dare say anything.  It’s getting completely out of control.

The bad part is these people who try to pass their pets off as service dogs are doing a disservice to those people who actually need a service dog to lead a free and independent life.  Some businesses are starting to get wise and the CBS piece featured a man with a legit service dog who had been ejected from restaurants simply because non-service dogs were acting up and his was assumed to be fake, too.

But I’m curious about the psychology here.  What kind of person - assuming they’re not in physical need of a service dog - has to take their pet with them everywhere they go?  I’ve heard the excuse of separation anxiety.  They claim the pet has it but it’s really the pet owner.

Again, I love Jack like he’s part of the family but I understand his place in the family.  He’s not a human.  He’s not as important as one of my kids.  He’s a dog.  People who don’t realize the difference have serious mental issues and the last thing they should be doing is subjecting the rest of us to their neuroses. 

If you just can’t go out to eat without your dog, maybe it’s best you stay home.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So easy a 20-year-old could do it

When three 20-year-old computer programmers managed to build an Obamacare website in mere days with more bells and whistles than, and it actually worked, the Obama administration’s ineptness was further exposed.  One of the programmers noted that’s problem was it didn’t offer the plans and the prices up front.  Instead, it requires applicants to enter all of the their personal information - including some odd questions about personal habits having nothing to do with health care - before it reveals the applicant’s cost.

The website designed by the young programmers works much like the health insurance calculator that’s been up for months at the Kaiser Family Foundation website.  The Kaiser website asks you your age, number of dependents and whether any of those to be covered are smokers.  Then it calculates not only how much your policy will cost but how much of a subsidy you’ll get. waits until the last moment to reveal that information.

Can you imagine finding a product on and being required to enter in your credit card information and address before it tells you how much the product will cost?  And they wonder why only 3 percent of eligible applicants have signed up. 

The young programmers were scratching their heads at the simple “error” in but it’s no error.  It’s by design.  Some news reports suggest the site was originally designed to show you the prices first but someone in the Obama administration had that idea scrapped and the site had to be redesigned at the last minute.  That may partially explain why it’s been error-plagued.

So, why would the administration not want you to see the prices up front?  They still claim that most people will save money through the exchanges.  Were that true they would gladly post the costs up front to attract more applicants.  The truth is there’s no way most people will save money.  If that were the case the whole program would be upside down from day one, despite Obama’s contention that Obamacare will reduce the deficit, not add to it.

Supporting that contention is Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economics professor and one of the architects of the Massachusetts plan.  He admitted to that in order for Obamacare to work the insurers must cancel lower-premium plans for healthy patients in order to drive them to the exchanges.  There’s no “free lunch,” he told Politico.  He says Obamacare is structured on the assumption that health insurance companies that chose to be a part of the exchanges would get a defined number of customers.  That’s why they’re canceling policies and sending them to the exchanges.  Once there, these same customers are finding their premiums have doubled or tripled or worse.

When you understand that you understand why the Colorado exchange ran print and Internet ads featuring young white males doing keg stands urging them not to blow their beer money on healthcare.  Join the exchange, they were urged.  Why?  Because the “keg-standers,” who are primarily 26 to 32-year-old white males, are the least likely to use health services.  Obamacare has to have them to pay for those who are high risk.  The only problem is the keg-standers aren’t showing up at the exchanges.  And why would they?  More than likely they get their insurance through their employer and even if they don’t, they’re low-risk enough to get a cheaper policy through a private exchange unassociated with Obamacare.

The whole program was doomed to failure from the start.  And Obama knew it.  He just hoped you’d never find out.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, November 8, 2013

While you weren't looking . . . amnesty

While you were obsessing over the latest incarnation of out-of-control government, whether it be Obamacare or the NSA, forces were diligently working behind the scenes to pass amnesty.  Sen. Jeff Flake - appropriately named - tells The Arizona Republic that he senses “some active movement” on a House version of amnesty.  Flake tells the paper the House bill “won’t prohibit those who are here illegally now from getting on some sort of track that already exists.”  He adds, “It just wouldn’t create a special path like we did in the Senate bill.”

What I’m trying to figure out is why in the world we need to be doing anything other than enforcing the laws we already have.  It’s against the law to break into this country.  You do it once it’s a misdemeanor.  Twice or subsequent times and it’s a felony.  Once again, Congress seems obsessed with concentrating on the symptoms of the problem rather than the problem.

They tend to overcomplicate the issue like they do everything else.  Fixing the illegal immigration issue is simple.  There’s a reason why 20 million illegal aliens have invaded our
country.  They’re here for either the jobs or the benefits or both.  You cut those off and they go home.  Stop feeding the cats and you get rid of the cat problem.

I can’t tell you how long I have been proposing Demagnetize America.  You fine businesses for their first offense in hiring illegals.  If they do it again, you jerk their business license.  Problem solved.  Illegal aliens are not going to come here if they can’t find a job.

At the same time you have to cut off the benefits.  Again, it takes stiff penalties to make that work.  A slap on the wrist won’t cut it.  That’s exactly why the IRS is still targeting conservatives.  There is no down side.  You get caught, like so many IRS officials have, and there’s no repercussion.

It’s like everything in life, if the risk outweighs the gain you have a better chance of stopping the bad behavior.  Horse thieves used to be hanged.  Why was that?  It was because stealing a horse was such an easy thing to do and people depended on their horses for transportation and work.  The only way to curtail the crime was to make the penalty so great that the risk would outweigh the gain.

Hiring an illegal alien is one of the easiest things to do.  However, the unintended side effects are enormously destructive.  Illegal aliens clog our courts, our prisons, our hospital emergency rooms.  It costs billions to educate their children.  Illegal aliens kill American citizens daily either through car accidents or murder.  They soak up a disproportionate amount of our social services.

Instead of going to the root of the problem our congress seems determined to make it worse.  They want to legitimize the illegals who are already here seemingly unaware that in doing so they ensure another, larger wave of illegal immigrants.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What was once extreme is now mainstream to the mainstream media

There’s one piece of advice I’ve given my kids that I hope sticks with them throughout their lives.  Don’t let anyone else define you.  That may sound like odd advice given all the other pearls of wisdom a father can give his children but if people are allowed to define you then they’re allowed to control you.

That’s basically what’s happened to the tea party movement.  The mainstream media have defined the tea party as some extremist movement along the lines of the KKK.  In fact, the hopelessly leftist Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Tea Party Nation as a hate
 group.  You see, anyone or anything that opposes the socialist/leftist agenda is considered a hate group.  Yours truly was, at one point, designated a “hate speaker” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for my opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens.  I, of course, don’t allow anyone to define me, least of all a bunch of pathetic liberals like the SPLC.

So, what is so hateful about the tea party?  Understand that the tea party is not a party, it’s a movement.  It’s a movement like civil rights was a movement.  The civil rights movement had some obvious goals; among them equal public access for blacks and elimination of discrimination in hiring and admissions to universities, not to mention desegregation of public schools.

The tea party movement has goals, too.  Among them are fiscal responsibility, a constitutionally limited government and free market economics unencumbered by government over-regulation.  In fact, if you’ll read the founding documents you’ll understand
exactly what the tea party movement is all about.  Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin, were they alive today, would be part of the tea party movement.  They were the original tea partiers but somehow that’s too radical for today’s political landscape.

That’s because the political landscape has been warped into something our founding fathers would scarcely recognize.  The amount of debt we’ve accumulated as a country would, no doubt, frighten our founders.  The bounds to which our constitutionally limited government have been stretched would probably infuriate the founders to the point they would insist we dissolve this republic experiment.  In fact, they fought a war over far less intrusive and restrictive government.

And the free market is now anything but.  Wall Street, like a heroine addict, is now dependent on the slow drip of smack coming from the federal reserve in the way of quantitative easing.  People assume that what’s best for Wall Street is best for the country forgetting that Wall Street is a whore and doesn’t really care if the infusion of cash is coming from a Twitter IPO, the fed chairman or the federal government.  That doesn’t mean that capitalism has failed.  It simply means the free market is no longer free.  The “free” part means free from outside manipulation.  

So, when the government is controlling the market it’s no longer capitalism but socialism or worse.  Many folks, including our current president, don’t like our country as currently constituted.  They feel if they can just change it - i.e.: do something about this pesky capitalism - it’ll be a great place.

These people need to understand one thing.  Capitalism and the United States are joined at the hip.  If you are anti-capitalist you are, by definition, anti-American.  To say that America would be a great place if we could only do away with the free market system is to miss what this country is all about.

When someone says they despise the tea party that should tell you all you need to know about them.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The new entitlement class - artists

I was reading a piece in The Tennessean newspaper that “artists” were twice as likely not to have health insurance as the rest of us.  I rolled my eyes. I’ve known a few of these “artists.” They’re somehow not too proud to take a handout but much to proud to take a job.

I also learned from a caller to my radio show that the city of Nashville offers subsidized housing for these so-called “artists” so they can continue to work on their “art” while they wait for their government checks. I was reminded of what Nancy Pelosi said during the Obamacare debate way back when.  

“We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said of Obamacare, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”
In other words, let’s encourage people to be irresponsible. I arrived in Nashville, Tennessee back in the ‘80s, as many young folks do, all starry-eyed and eager to make it in the music business. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the radio business took off for me and I ditched my dreams of being the next big thing.
Art is a relative term. What some call art others call trash, whether it be paintings, dance, music or filmmaking. I would love to make films full time but I’m not going to quit my day job to do it. At least not yet. People like Nancy Pelosi think that’s unfair. I call it being responsible. I have a wife and kids to consider.
Let me be honest. Twice as many artists are without health insurance because they’re bums. I know that sounds harsh but it’s the truth. Somehow somewhere along the way they were convinced that it was their god-given right to sponge off the rest of us in order to allow them
the freedom to chase their dream. I’m, quite frankly, offended by the notion that there are people who value their dreams more than their responsibility. Nothing wrong with dreams. I have a few of my own but pursue them when you’re financially able. Just because you want to be an “artiste” doesn’t mean I have to subsidize it.  Or, at least, it used not to mean that. I guess now in this post-Pelosi world it does.
A good 98 percent of those trying to be an artist will fail and there’s a reason for that. A good 98 percent of that 98 percent are fooling themselves into believing they really have talent. Or maybe they’re listening to folks like Nancy Pelosi.
I’ve got news for the dreamers. Everybody has a secret dream. Everyone has this deep secret of being someone or something else. It’s perfectly natural. It’s perfectly healthy. Some of us will break out of our mold and become that new person we always knew we could be. Most of us won’t. There’s no shame in either. The only difference is in how we go about it. There are more important things than self-servingly chasing a dream. If you have a family you’re obligated to them first. Even if you don’t you should have enough pride not to become a ward of the state. Pelosi wants you to be just that.
Far be it from me to rain on your parade. If you think you have talent, whether it be in music or dance or painting or filmmaking, go for it. Just go for it on your own dime.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What is a statesman?

What is a statesman?  It’s a rather subjective question.  It depends on who you ask.  I’ve seen lists.  Some are compiled by historians, some are gathered from polls.  Here are some names that seem to pop up over and over.  Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, even Al Gore.  What is the one thing that threads all of these names together?  They were all deeply divisive and partisan.
The John McCain’s of the world today seem to think that statesmen are molded through compromise and bipartisanship.  The fact is a true statesman stands for something, whether it’s popular at the time or not.  A true statesman sticks to his or her guns.  They are unwavering in their dedication to their cause.  They are unapologetic for their stand.  Whether you agree with them or not you always – and I mean always – know where they stand.  There’s no shifting sand under their feet.  There’s no hint of compromise on basic, bedrock principles.  They stand for something and they stand firm.
Today’s politicians believe if they can just get invited to the next cocktail party held by a prominent member of the other party they’ll be regarded as a statesman.  What they don’t realize is no one at the
party thinks better of them just because they’ve extended a hand across the aisle.  Moving to the middle is behavior of someone who wants to be liked, not someone who wants to be right.  There’s nothing in the middle of the road but road kill.  No one respects a capitulator, least of all the one to whom he has capitulated. 
The tea party movement is full of uncompromising people who long for a country that hasn’t forgotten its roots.  They read the Constitution as almost a sacred text, an inspired agreement between our original states that lays out the boundaries of government.  These boundaries were long ago breached by those who deemed the population too simple-minded to possibly take care of itself.
People like John McCain hold the tea party movement in contempt.  He believes the “rancor,” a word McCain is so fond of using, is destructive to our nation.  He believes that those who will not go along to get along are obstructionists who stand in the way of duly elected majorities.  He fails to understand the role of the loyal opposition to constantly push back against things with which they disagree.  Nor does he realize that the very reason he was invited to the White House to talk compromise with the president was because of the tea party, not in spite of it.  Had people like Ted Cruz – a true statesman – not fought back against the establishment the rubber stamp RINO Republicans like McCain would’ve have stepped aside to allow the Democrat steamroller to do its thing.
John Boehner in the House is hardly any better.  Sure, he has surprised some by his steadfast position in the sequester fight and later the budget fight but Boehner has been operating from a position of fear.  He doesn’t consider himself part of the tea party movement.  Any chance given to talk about it he refers to it as “them” and “they.”  He simply found himself in a position where the more conservative factions of his caucus could possibly drum him out as speaker had he not listened to reason.
At the end of the day there is nothing noble in foisting more debt and socialized medicine on the American people nor is it any nobler to have put up a good fight only to cave in the end.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The nasty side of Barack Obama

This is unprecedented.  Since the 1970s the government has shut down something like 17 times but I’ve never known a president to close the ocean.  That’s exactly what President Obama did in a vindictive move to make the partial government shutdown hurt.  Over 1,100 square miles of the Florida Bay was placed off-limits to fishermen and the Coast Guard was sent to enforce the closure.  Just how much it cost to utilize national resources in this way is anybody’s guess.  One thing we do know.  It doesn’t cost a dime to leave the ocean – and the people who fish in it – alone.

But that’s not something that comes natural to a meddling liberal like Obama.  As you’ll recall, he also closed open-air monuments in Washington, DC that required no park supervision.  Again, it cost much more to close them than to leave them open.  Obama even had the park service close off scenic overlooks so tourists couldn’t stop and gaze at Mt. Rushmore.  Yeah, he closed overlooks; carved out slithers of asphalt that cost nothing to keep open.

Then there was the case of the elderly couple living on Lake Mead in Nevada.  The couple was thrown out of their home because even though they own the home itself they lease the property from the federal
government.  Chances are they’ve never seen anyone from the government on their property until now.  They were given just 24 hours to vacate.  What possible excuse could Obama have for that other than trying to inflict pain and blame it on the Republicans?

Apparently, that’s exactly what he’s doing.  While he was kicking people off the ocean and out of their homes he set up a website for people to share their shutdown heartaches.  He was compiling them and sharing them on the Internet.

This is probably the most childish thing I’ve ever seen any politician do and I’ve seen politicians do some childish things.  But it’s worse than just childish.  It’s downright mean-spirited and vicious.

Oh, and he allowed furloughed federal workers just 15 minutes to check their e-mail so they could read that he was working with Congress to solve the impasse.  What does it cost to let furloughed federal workers check their e-mail as often as they please?  Nothing!

If this is any indication of the debt ceiling negotiations we’re in for a rough ride.  Not raising the debt ceiling is being portrayed by Obama and the Democrats as economic Armageddon.  Of course, these are the same folks who cried wolf over the sequester and the government shutdown.  Starting to look like they lie a lot.

The fact of the matter is we have plenty of money to make the debt payment.  About 7 cents of every dollar goes to service the debt.  Money is continuously flowing into the treasury and we have plenty to pay our bills.  What not raising the debt ceiling means is we can’t go into more debt, which is a good thing.

We’re looking at about a $700 billion deficit this year.  Our national debt is around $17 trillion.  The American people have had enough.  In a recent Fox News poll 58 percent of the people were against raising the debt ceiling while only 37 percent were in favor of it.  To show you which party is the party of big spending, 78 percent of Republicans are against raising the debt ceiling while 57 percent of Democrats are in favor of it.

That’s exactly where the problem is.  Not only can we no longer afford more debt it appears we can no longer afford more Democrats.   

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Doubling down on the global warming hysteria

Is there any wonder that young folks are losing sleep.  Washed up rocker Bob Geldof continues to struggle for relevance with outlandish statements.  "We may not get to 2030," Geldof warned kids at the One Young World summit in Johannesburg, unless something is done about global warming.

Geldof told the young delegates, "There will be a mass extinction event.  That could happen on your watch.  The signs are that it will happen soon."  This is the same hysterical nonsense that has been recklessly thrown out by global warming alarmists for decades.  The bad news for them is "soon" has
come and gone a thousand times and none of what they've predicted has come true.

Let's review.  Al Gore told us in his dreadfully pessimistic motion picture that hurricanes would continue to grow in severity and numbers.  Neither has been true.  In fact, we've been experiencing an abnormally quiet period for hurricanes since Katrina in 2005.  Gore also warned that the polar bears were nearing extinction.  The truth is polar bear populations have exploded since the 1980s.  Gore and his Branch Algorian disciples told us there would be no sea ice in the Arctic by the year 2013.  Arctic sea ice has not only not disappeared, it's 60 percent larger than it was last year.  The doomsday prophets have predicted all sorts of mayhem if we didn't change our evil ways and none of it has come true.

But the torpedo under the water line to the global warming scare has been their very own climate models.  Way back when they were predicting dramatic temperature rise because of our relentless release of CO2 into the atmosphere.  The day of reckoning has arrived.  There are 73 climate models dating back to 1979, the year NASA launched a satellite to track temperature around the globe.  Even though CO2 has continued to rise, temperatures have not.  In fact, despite the IPCC choosing to ignore the obvious, global temperatures have remained steady for the last ten to fifteen years.  In other words, ALL of the climate models were wrong.

The IPCC tells us we can't draw any conclusions from just 15 years of data then, in the same report, tells us humans have been causing global warming only since 1950.  So, 63 years of data plucked from several million years is definitive but 25 percent of that time period is apparently irrelevant if it doesn't fit their political agenda.

You see, Geldof, Gore, et al use guilt as a powerful motivator to separate people from their money.  If you've been convinced you're destroying the planet you'll pay any price to repair the damage.  These hucksters of hysteria know that.

Perhaps Geldof should've picked a time a little further down the road.  The year 2030 is just 17 years away and Bob Geldof is now 62.  Like Al Gore and the IPCC, he may just live long enough to see how ridiculously wrong he was.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.