Monthly Archives: December 2013

Who Gives a Duck?

Can you believe the media sensation surrounding one redneck from Louisiana?  (I am not talking about Drew Brees or the Bayou Mauler!)

Of course, I am talking about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame..  Phil, much like Paula Deen before him, is being castigated in the media because of his interview with GQ magazine.   The interviewer asked very pointed questions of Phil.  These questions centered on his Christian faith and his family values.  In the event that you have been living under a rock these last few days, I will tell you that Phil said that homosexuals, as well as those engaging in other behaviors frowned upon in the Bible, are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God.  Phil was trying to be nice in saying that people practicing these behaviors were ‘going to hell.’

Can you believe it?  People practicing these behaviors took exception to his comments!

Because GQ is also media, the magazine just could not resist creating interest in their upcoming January issue, all in the hope of selling more magazines.  They did this by releasing the contents of the interview with Phil.  Thus the media storm.

I have never watched a Paula Deen program.  I have watched most of the Duck Dynasty programs. Why?  Both Grandma P and I like to be entertained without the excessive use of foul language, blatant sex, violence or gore.  Such offensive programs were not prevalent in our formative years, but they monopolize the programming today.  Along came Duck Dynasty.  A program not afraid to illustrate people who openly and proudly practice their Christian faith.  A family that is not ashamed of demonstrating their family values.  A zany cast of characters, some with beards and camouflage clothing, that appears to be having a really good time.  It provides good entertainment.  The family dynamics are amusing.

Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the family.  He is devoutly Christian.  He is honest.  He is rich.  He is a target.  He is a target because he speaks what is on his mind and when he does, he can get himself into trouble.  The ‘politically correct’ disagree with his life philosophies.  More on that later.

Because of their reality show on A & E, we know quite a bit about Phil and the entire Robertson family.  He frankly admits that he was both an alcoholic and a womanizer until he found faith.  Not too many people would fess up to that, but Phil does.  As a child of the 60s, he has stated that early life was ‘sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.’  That is totally understandable to me as I am a child of the 60s.  The temptations were there.  Life choices are a bit blurry when you are subjected to so many temptations as a teenager.

But enough about Phil.  After all, he is what he is.  He is the patriarch of a family that has the most popular show on cable television.

What I find most interesting, is  A & E’s initial response to Phil’s interview:

‘We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty.  His personal view in no way reflects those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.  The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.’

Champions of the LGBT community?  That indicates to me that A & E are supporters of that lifestyle, and embrace it as being more important than any other lifestyle.  When you champion a cause, is that not what is meant?  I could be in trouble!  On all these forms that I have filled out over the years asking sexual preference, I have always  answered ‘flaming heterosexual.’   Admittedly, the writer of the A & E response is gay.

A & E, do you really believe his personal beliefs are not reflected in the Duck Dynasty program?  Do you ever watch what you televise?  His beliefs are everywhere in that program!  Look at his sons.  Are they not a reflection of his beliefs?  Alan is a minister.  Look at Phil’s daughters- in-laws and grandkids.  Phil’s imprint is everywhere!  Have you not seen them closing each show with a prayer at a family dinner?  It is usually at Phil’s house.

I am not an advocate of gun control, but maybe we need to revisit that issue when it comes to stupidity.  A & E has the most popular cable television program ever, and then someone decides to shoot themselves and the network in the foot with that stupid response.  Thus the gun control for stupidity.  I am sure Phil would lend a shotgun to the A & E writer of the response.  He would likely throw in the ammo.  What makes this all the more amazing is that A & E receives royalties for all things Duck Dynasty!  Bring extra ammo, Phil!  (Duck Commander and Buck Commander are strictly the Robertson family.)

What are some smart responses?

Under Armour,  the maker of all that fine Duck Dynasty camouflage clothing and hunting gear responded: “We are obviously aware of the situation, and his comments are not indicative of Under Armour’s views.  We have no plans to change our current relationship.”  Short and sweet.

The Walmart comment was that it would have ‘no comment.’  I find that interesting as they were one of the first companies to dump Paula Deen during her media crisis.  All in the name of political correctness. (It is also interesting to know that you can still buy Paula Deen items on the Walmart website.)  Maybe capitalism is winning over ‘political correctness.’

Duck Dynasty is another animal.  (Pardon the pun.)  The latest Wall Street estimates are that Duck Dynasty has created over $400 million in merchandise and clothing sales.  Walmart is estimated to be responsible for half of that total.  By far, the most popular line of clothing sold in Walmart is anything that has to do with our favorite bearded, camouflaged family.  That is for both men’s and women’s clothing!  That’s not chicken feed!

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, said it best, “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.”

I could not agree more.  As I have mentioned in numerous posts, I am tolerant until someone engraves their cause on a Louisville Slugger, and hits me between the eyes.  I had to look up what LGBT meant.  I am more than tired of the media attention given to states that are allowing same-sex marriages.  In Minneapolis, the mayor married 50 same-sex couples in city hall the day the law went into effect.  Am I becoming homophobic, or are these people attempting to impose their lifestyle on our society?  In referring to the A & E response about being ‘champions of the LGBT community,’ I think the Louisville Slugger has been swung.  And we now know in which direction they swing.

Why is Phil the target of so much venom by the ‘politically correct?’  Short answer: He is a Christian and he believes in the Bible.  In essence, he swung his bat, and the ‘politically correct’ don’t like it.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of Phil Robertson’s beliefs, but I do support his right to state his beliefs.  After all, we are subjected every week to brainless comments made by athletes, entertainers, and politicians.  If they can get the podium, Phil should get it, too. (Charlie Sheen, the epitome of virtuous lifestyle, has jumped on the Phil bashing bandwagon.  Need I say more?)

Here are the repercussions of Phil’s interview.  Firstly, prominent people have risen to his defense.  Too many to mention.  Secondly, the Duck Dynasty merchandise is flying off the shelves in support of Phil.  Many of the Walmart stores have run out of the DD merchandise.  Thirdly, the silent majority has become very verbal in their defense of Phil.

Sorry, A & E, I do not see Duck Dynasty continuing without Phil.  They have enough money.  You need them more than they need you.  Good luck in negotiating further contracts with the Robertson family.  How many major networks do you think have contacted the Robertsons?

Aha!  I finished this article, and while the Bayou Mauler was editing it, lo and behold, the A & E network released a statement:

“After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A & E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family”

Well isn’t that just ducky?

The network has put aside their moral dilemma to keep their ducks afloat.  They’ve been offended, but not so offended they would completely abandon the Number 1 series on cable TV.  To completely ruin their alliance with the merchandising phenomenon would be a bad call – a bad duck call, that is.


December 28 is the one year anniversary of Common Sense by Grandpa T.  We have received over 43,000 hits on the blog site, about 40,000 more than I thought we would get.  I have enjoyed writing it and hope you have enjoyed reading it.  My thanks to Grandma P, Houston Nefoo, and my hotshot proof reader, Bayou Mauler, a proud Christian and Louisiana gal.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Grandpa T

Waist versus Waste

Have you jumped on a scale lately?

Here we are, in that ‘tweener’ period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It is the time of year when, confronted with vast servings of cookies, nuts and candies, we just seem to lose control of our ‘well-intended’ diet plans.

In the spirit of this caring and sharing time of year, friends and neighbors love to share homemade gifts – usually more  cookies, nuts and candies.  Grandma P partakes in this tradition.  It has created a vicious cycle of personal ‘weight turbulence.’  This is especially true when Grandma P bakes about 200 extra dozen cookies, with the direct order for me to try each type to assure they are friend and neighbor-worthy.  As she values my opinion, I am obligated to sample each type.  I usually taste each flavor  five or six times to make sure she got that cookie ‘just right.’  She helps me during this process by leaving said cookies exposed on the kitchen counter for easy access.  This is the same concept as the check-out lines in Walmart that are stocked with items for your ‘impulse’ purchase.  I impulsively eat more cookies.

Friends, family and neighbors also want to socialize during this time of the year.  (My opinion is this is done so they get their ticket punched, and do not have to do it again for the New Year!)  These gatherings usually entail adult beverages, cookies, nuts, candies and other assorted desserts to ensure that cardiac care centers remain in business!

Taking all of these items into consideration and combining them with my recent exposure to a twenty-eight day ‘all you can eat’ bacon buffet, you begin to understand my weight gain dilemma and  challenges.

But, just when the world appears its darkest and gloomiest, it is human nature to look at those less fortunate and say, “I guess I don’t have it so bad.”

And therein lies the light at the end of the tunnel!  Just when I thought that my pending weight gain was unstoppable and incorrigible, that magical, inevitable  “I guess I don’t have it so bad” epiphany. (What Oprah Winfrey calls “an ah-ha moment.”)  Even though I may put on a few pounds, this organization has virtually increased its ‘weight’ almost five times during my lifetime!

What is it, you ask?  The size of the President’s Cabinet, and the Cabinet level staff! 

An explanation is necessary.  I researched the material for this post on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day.  The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was the prelude to the largest single event to affect the United States and the world in the last 100 years, World War II.  (If you disagree, just imagine the ramifications to the world and the U.S. if we would have lost!)

I was curious as to how many members there were in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1940 cabinet.  This would have been the cabinet that was responsible for America’s large contribution to winning that war.  Have a guess?  The number of members of the 1940 FDR cabinet was eleven.  This 1940 cabinet was comprised of:  Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor.

FDR was a smart guy.  He foresaw the events in Europe unfolding in the late 30s, and  he surmised that America, regardless of her isolationist sentiment, would eventually get involved.  He selected his cabinet members wisely.  He valued experience.  Two of his cabinet members served all thirteen years of his term as President.

His most interesting choice and his most remarkable choice was Henry L. Stimson as Secretary of War.  Firstly, Stimson was a Republican.  No harm in that, as the current Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is also a Republican serving a Democrat POTUS.  Stimson was appointed Secretary of War in July of 1940 at the age of 73!  Why Stimson?  ( A question for my trivia team!)  He was selected because he was the Secretary of War during World War I in the Taft administration!  During WWII, Stimson directed the expansion of the military, managing the conscription and training of 13 million soldiers and airmen.  He also was responsible for the purchase and transportation to battlefields of 30% of the nation’s industrial output.

What a patriot!  At the time in his life when most retired, Henry Stimson stepped up to the plate to help his country.  He did this at an age that was greater than the average life expectancy of a male at that time.  He lived to the age of 83.

Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, and Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, served the entire time of the FDR presidency.  Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. both served eleven years.  One FDR cabinet member had four years experience.  The remainder of the cabinet had five or more years.

In retrospect, FDR and his Cabinet could be called the ‘gang of twelve.’  Fortunately for us and the world, they were educated, experienced and dedicated.  They must have been remarkable to shoulder so much responsibility,  as we won the war.

Do you know how many members there currently are in the 2012 Obama Cabinet?  There are twenty-two members.  That is double what FDR had in his Cabinet just 73 years ago.  Just like my weight, it gets bigger; and just like the commercials on TV….but wait, there’s more!  There are an additional twenty-nine Czars, many of them with Cabinet-level standing.  This adds up to fifty-one Cabinet members and Czars.   That is over five times the number of people FDR had to win World War II!  Now who has put on the weight?

Most of these current Cabinet members have been appointed recently.  Most were appointed following the 2012 election, but there are some that have been appointed after 2012, as their predecessors resigned.  John Kerry replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State would be an example.  Suffice it to say that the eleven members of the FDR administration would far and away exceed the existing twenty-two Cabinet members in experience. It appears that Cabinet membership has become a revolving door to ‘get one’s ticket punched’ on the way to a better position.  The dedication is not as apparent.

There is no doubt that the largest problem for our country is the continuing inability to present a budget, much less make an attempt to balance a budget.  We have not had a budget since this POTUS took office.    Our government is still operating on ‘appropriation bills.’  The next one expires on January 15.  We have another possible government shutdown looming in less than six weeks.  Happy New Year!

The existence of all these Cabinet members and Czars is creating a financial hardship on this country.  How so?  Have the Departments of Education and Energy run their course?  Do we need them?  Do we need twenty-nine Czars?  With the existence of all these Cabinets and Czars, we have people competing for monies to justify their existence and expand their particular agencies.  We are funding people we don’t need and programs we don’t need.  They are doing this with our money!  (We could eliminate a boatload of IRS agents by repealing Obamacare!)

Here is a partial list of the Czars that are currently in this administration:  Energy and Environment Czar, Faith-based Czar, Domestic Violence Czar, Aids Czar, Climate Czar, Central Region Czar, Auto Recovery Czar (Yup, I’m serious.  I could not make this up!), California Water Czar, Car Czar, Government Performance Czar (How would you like to present that report to the POTUS?), Great Lakes Czar, Green Jobs Czar, Guantanamo Closure Czar, Information Czar, Pay Czar, Regulatory Czar, WMD Policy Czar, Tarp Czar, and last but surely not least – Sudan Czar.

I am not exactly sure of the responsibilities of each Czar, but Common Sense tells me we can put the Federal Government on a diet and eliminate a bunch of them.  There appears to be overlap between Czar responsibilities and Cabinet responsibilities.  Do we need both?

FDR and his cabinet were masterful in their ability to shape our country and the world.  They did it with a cabinet of eleven and a President.  There were no Czars.  They were the ‘gang of twelve.’

The fact is, our government is too large and has ballooned in size.  We, as a nation have become much too dependent on the government, at the expense of individual responsibility.  This  ‘plus size’ government is the result.  The people of the United States need to decrease their reliance on the government, and the government needs to be put on a ‘diet.’

As a role model for our government, I, Grandpa T am going to get on a treadmill to reverse the misfortunes of weight gain.  (Right after I am done with my milk and cookies.)