Friday, January 28, 2011


In just the past few weeks and months we have seen what seems to be an upsurge in idiotic acts. There’s a guy from the Twin Cities trying to climb Mt. McKinley in January. I heard yesterday that the wind chills were in the minus 100 degree range. I understand some of our young people are looking for new and better ways to get stoned. Some are using synthetic marijuana while others have found intoxication from exotic bath salts. Bath salts? Where did that come from? Who was the first moron to try that? Of course there is always the old standby of sniffing paint or glue. The end result of all these acts is a fried brain and in some cases serious psychotic issues. Many individuals have committed suicide while under the influence of these inhalants. Some just become vegetables in constant need of care and supervision. What in the world is going on?

I am going to try to examine some of this phenomena. First, I am sure you would agree that we are all members of the animal kingdom. I grant you that we should accept that we might be a higher order of animal, but animals none the less. In the lower order of animals, individuals with a propensity of self destruction don’t last very long. In fact, entire species have disappeared because of their failure to adapt. Humans, one would expect, should use their brains for their survival, not their destruction. I don’t believe lower animals would ever intentionally dare fate by putting themselves in compromising situations. If a lower animal climbs a mountain it is for a reason other than just because it is there. They would be looking for food or shelter or safety or something of value. Humans are the only animals who dare fate by exposing themselves and their ultimate rescuers to danger just because they can.

Only humans look for ways to alter their consciousness by getting high. Apparently lower animals accept life as it is and deal with it. It would also appear that only humans suffer from the need for an adrenaline rush. Why else would anyone try to climb an ice covered mountain in the middle of January? Another question I have is why would the news media cover such an event? Is it like watching a traffic accident? Are we waiting for the eventual disaster?

All of these moronic acts are committed by selfish people seeking attention. These are people whose desire for the high, or the rush, is so great that they forsake their families and their responsibilities to their fellow humans in order to get that feeling. Often we are left to pick up the pieces of wasted lives. Often children face a life without parents because of those parents’ desire to dare themselves or test fate. And to what end? What has been accomplished? So you climbed a mountain. Big deal. Instead of celebrating you, I pity you. I pity your family and your friends who have to worry about your survival. I also pity the rescuers who often have to risk their lives to pluck your sorry hide off the mountain. No, to me, there is nothing to congratulate.

To those among you who are bent on removing yourself from the gene pool, be my guest. If this life is so bad and so harsh that you need to alter your brain, jump in. Through the many eons of animal existence on this earth, some species have excelled and survived. Alas, many others have died off. The gene pool is always open. Dive into the shallow end at your own risk.

Ron Scarbro January 25, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011


It is about time for my annual physical exam. Like most of you I go through this every year. I don’t look forward to it but I recognize its importance and its value. A friend of mine from out west once told me that he never went to the doctor for a physical. He said that if there was something wrong with him, he didn’t want to know. May he rest in peace. Would he be alive had he known of his condition? I don’t know but why take a chance. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

I am a veteran and as such am enrolled in the VA Medical system. They make sure that I know when it is time to come in because their computer tells them and they set me an appointment.

The lab will draw blood for testing and then the nurse will weigh me and take my blood pressure. Then she will ask, are you in any pain? On a scale of one to ten, where is your pain? This is where it starts to get sticky. Like most seventy year old men, I always have some kind of pain. Having never been seventy before, I don’t know how I am supposed to feel. I can remember when I wasn’t in pain but that was years ago. So what is normal? There is no doubt as I have grown older, I have slowed down. My body objects to sudden movement and sometimes any movement at all. It takes a while when I get out of bed in the morning to get everything going again. I guess that is my new normal. I know that feeling little aches and pains beats the alternative, that of feeling nothing at all. Mickey Mantle said on the occasion of his retirement, I still run as hard to first base, I just don’t get there as quick. That pretty much sums up my new normal.

So now I see my Doctor. She has been my Doctor for about six years and has seen me through some ups and downs. The first thing she will do is frown when she sees my weight. She will express concern about my blood sugar and my blood pressure. I believe she sees her job as keeping me alive as long as she can. Good for her. I hope she continues to do her job well. We have the same objective. I’d like to say a brief word here about my care at the St. Cloud VA. It has been superb. They treat me as if I were the only patient they will have all day when I know that there are many, many waiting in the lobby. I am never rushed or kept waiting. One of the reasons I tell you these things is that I know my Doctor reads this column and I don’t want to get her mad at me. Seriously though, the VA has provided me the best of care and I am always amazed at the quality of the care I receive.

I hope and believe that the physical will prove to be a normal exam. I know, however, that someday one of those pesky little tests will come back with an abnormality. I hope that is many years in the future. This physical is a present I give to my body. My body has served me well for these seventy years and I look forward to the next seventy.

How long has it been since you have had a check up? Do you owe your body a present? Do yourself a favor. Make an appointment with your doctor and get an exam. Think of how much better you will feel when you learn that everything is normal.

Ron Scarbro January 16, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Since the shootings in Tucson, the airways have been filled with accusations, theories, justifications, and just general nonsense. Extremist political types from both sides have accused each other of over heated rhetoric. Talk radio, some say, has caused this senseless act. Mentally unstable individuals, they theorize, are easily led by too much of such rhetoric. Can they not see that by making such ridiculous comments, they are just adding to the heated conversation?

I intend to offer a somewhat different view. I believe the “alleged” shooter in this case is just a whack job. That’s all. Just a whack job who should have been institutionalized years ago. From all we can learn at this point, everybody who knew him or came in contact with him knew that he was nuts. This killer probably didn’t listen to talk radio, watch TV, or read the newspapers. The only voices he heard were probably in his head. The shootings in Tucson were just a random act of violence committed by a deranged nut job who lived in a world all by himself. I am sure that he planned the event. I am sure it was premeditated. I do not think that just because he is crazy, that he cannot form intent. He knew completely what he was doing and in his pea brain probably thought it was the right thing to do.

I know it’s cliche, but this seems to be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could just as easily have been a building collapse, or a lightning strike, or a run-away rabid dog. I understand that this is not a very satisfying answer, but sometimes s--- happens.

So, that having been said, what should we do to try and prevent future such acts from happening? Remember we live in a free society. We cannot arrest a person just because they act funny. If we did, we would fill our prisons. The law is clear. In order to be arrested one must have committed a criminal act, not before he commits it. Then, of course, as in the case in Tucson, it is too late.

We need instead, to be more aware of individuals who demonstrate unsocial or uncivil behavior. As a society we need to take mental illness more seriously. We need to be able to commit people to hospitals for their as well as society’s own good. Obviously we will never be able to get them all off the streets. Consider the “uni-bomber.” A complete wing nut who took himself out of society and nurtured his madness while living as a hermit. Today there are probably hundreds if not thousands of people just like old Ted. I believe, however, that somebody knows of most of these individuals but will not say anything for whatever reason. Maybe it is family loyalty, maybe its political correctness, whatever. Once the crazies in question unleash themselves on the public, it is too late. I assure you, the family of this killer in Tucson knew he was a deranged madman and that sooner or later he would wind up on the front page of the newspaper. In many ways they should share in his guilt.

As far as heated political rhetoric is concerned, we enjoy free speech. One man’s criticism is another man’s compliment. If I feel that your political views are ridiculous, I am free to say so. You have the same right to criticize my opinion. That is what America is all about. I will not soften my views because some wing nut might get upset or offended, anymore than if someone who holds an opposite opinion might object. Free speech is what we are about. Mentally ill people need to be identified and dealt with for their own good as well as society’s.

Ron Scarbro January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011


Recently in Minneapolis, a man of Chinese decent was arrested for a murder that occurred sixteen years ago. Federal marshals swooped in and picked him up at the Chinese restaurant where he had worked for the last seven years off and on. His employer apparently knew very little about him since he was a part of the so-called Chinese restaurant worker’s underground whose workers are paid under the table in cash with no records being kept. No social security number, no ID, no nothing. Today that restaurant is still in business with no apparent sanction for their violation of our law. The suspect was difficult to find because he had left little or no paper trail. Employers like this restaurant are hiring illegal workers violating our laws with no penalty; from meat packers to landscapers, to farmers.

I have been tuning in to the National Geographic Channel lately to watch “Border Wars.” It shows the millions we are spending chasing down illegal trespassers and drug smugglers. The Border Patrol’s struggle is a daily grind with thousands of illegals being picked up and subsequently returned to their homes, only to turn around and come back to try again. The so-called “border war” is a losing situation. It is heart breaking to see these poor people trying to get to America where they believe the money will flow like water and all their troubles will come to an end.

This nonsense has to come to an end. We cannot absorb all the poor people of the world who want to improve their lives. The situation is rapidly becoming impossible. That is why twenty-one additional states will be introducing legislation this year similar to Arizona’s immigration law. We the people have had enough. This is just the beginning. These new laws will only serve as a band-aid however. We need a permanent fix.

This is my proposal. First, fine or imprison any employer who hires an illegal alien, period. That means all employers from Hormel to the avocado farmer with ten acres of trees. No one can be legally hired without a valid social security number and those numbers must be verified. Secondly, all existing employees must prove they are here legally. They would be given a month to do so. Those who do not would be dismissed and deported. In a matter of days most of the illegals would deport themselves. With no job and no welfare there would be no reason to stay.

But Ron, we would have a serious shortage of people willing to take the jobs these illegals have been filling. Possibly, but remember we have an unemployment rate of near 10%. I am willing to bet that of the millions of our citizens who are without jobs, some of these situations might look better to them than you think.

This brings us to the next phase of the fix. Our government would immediately put in place a guest worker program whereby non-citizens could work here for a specified period of time legally and could even possibly extend their visit with proper employer recommendation, clean arrest record, and a willingness to obey our laws. These individuals would be issued a non-copyable ID card showing their dates of entry and their dates of required departure. Their spouses would also have to have such a card. Any minor children that come with them would be welcome in our schools. Further, any children born to them while they are in this country would not automatically become American citizens. They would be required to have legitimate driver’s licenses, carry necessary auto and health insurance, and would not qualify in any way for our welfare system. They would be expected to pay all legal taxes just as everyone else is.

Any employer who hires an individual without proper identification would be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. Any employer who retains an illegal employee is subject to these same sanctions.

This fix would serve us by, number one, stopping the flood of people coming to America illegally. Two, employers would be able to have available employees for their commerce. Number three, we could have a much better idea who is in our country and where they are. Finally, our unemployment would be reduced by half.

Should any of these guests wish to try and become citizens, they are welcome to do so legally.

I know some of this fix sounds harsh, but I assure you the alternative would be much worse. The time to get busy with this is now.

Ron Scarbro January 9, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


President Obama has asked the new Congress to come to Washington with a commitment to get things done. He wants the Republicans and Democrats to set aside their differences and just do the people’s work. Sounds simple enough, right? When one examines this request more closely, one comes away with a different conclusion. I am reminded of the old statement, “Be reasonable, do it my way.” In order to set aside differences both sides must suspend their philosophies and take on the beliefs of the other side. Republicans must think like Democrats and vise/versa. Is it just me, or is this a potential problem?

First of all I believe both parties want what’s best for America. Both sides want to see the economy grow and unemployment greatly reduced. Both sides want a secure and a safe America. The problem lies in the way each of them would accomplish this goal.

In general Republicans want less government, less taxation, less regulation, and more private and individual initiative. Republicans, for the most part, think government is the problem, not the solution. Democrats on the other hand see the government as the savior of the economy. They seem to believe that the government is the better and wiser spender of your money. They see extensions of programs and projects as good for the economy. They want to centralize power in the halls of Congress and basically lead the way.

Call me crazy but I don’t see a lot of room for compromise in these two different philosophies. The question becomes, “Are we doomed to two more years of the same bickering and fighting, or is there any middle ground on which the two sides can agree?”

I am sure you would agree that the electorate as a whole was quite dissatisfied with what had been done in the last Congress. So dissatisfied in fact that they threw out a lot of career politicians of both parties and clearly stated, “Do a better job or whomever is left is next to go.” That seems clear to me. So, can it be done? Can people of such diverse opinion come together for the good of the country, or will they just continue to toe the party line? The first answer is, they had better. The second answer needs a bit more reflection.

In the history of our country, diverse thinking has always existed, but that hasn’t stopped our country from succeeding. On the contrary, our differences have in many ways made us stronger and wiser. We can do that again. The President and the Congress have to understand that. We are not an absolute monarchy. We are a republic. We are citizens, not subjects. We just fired a large crowd of people who had not satisfied their constituency, and that certainly could happen again in two years.

Here are some thoughts. Give and take. Co-sponsor legislation between the parties with compromise as the theme, and America as the beneficiary. Put the country ahead of your party. Utilize the talent and intelligence that exists throughout the country and not so much in Washington. To create jobs their must be a need for a product or service. Artificial shortages create artificial solutions. We have enough government workers. We need long term answers. Get out of the way of entrepreneurs. Let business happen. Don’t get so regulation happy. Allow the tax base to increase. In other words, do the job you are being paid to do. Finally, re-read the Constitution and pay particular attention to that part about the limits it places on Congress.

This job is doable. The greatness of America will shine through. Just get out of the way and let it happen.

Ron Scarbro January 4, 2011