Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Over the past few years that I have been writing opinion pieces for various newspapers and publications, there have been critics of some of my columns. I know you are going to find that hard to believe but there are some people who just do not agree with me and some are even vociferous enough to offer their criticisms in writing to those newspapers. For an opinion writer this is always a good thing though. First, you know someone is reading your stuff, and secondly, you strike a nerve.

On more than one occasion the critics have used the same argument. It is almost as if they get their criticism from the same talking points. This is what they say. “Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but, they are not entitled to their own facts.” This, to me, is a very interesting position. It assumes that they, the critics, somehow have facts about particular situations or events that I do not have. It further assumes that the facts they possess are true and mine are false.

This is my contention. Unless you have first hand knowledge of an event either by witnessing it or by experiencing it, all you know about that event is what you have been told either by the media or some other news source. Then you have to assume that your source of news is true and without agenda.

Over the years during many of my debates with both fans and critics, I find many people read or listen to only the headlines and never dig into the whole story. In addition, I find my most vocal critics trust as their only source of news the major media outlets i.e., The New York Times, the big four TV networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, or CNN. Some even use as their news source PBS or NPR. I don’t think anybody has ever used FOX as a source of their disagreement with me but it could happen.

If these are your only sources of information, then you have no true idea of what the facts are. All of these so-called news sources are private businesses attempting to sell their services (news, commentary, etc.), and as such are edited down to a position that satisfies the agenda of their advertisers, shareholders, and managers. Facts become inconveniences that are dealt with as such.

And so you ask, “What are the facts?” I have found that the truth often lies in the middle. Take any story that is in the news, then watch, read, and listen to several sources of that story. Listen to the agenda that each reporter tries to sell. Whether you hear it or read it, it is there. The prejudice of the reporter or his organization will shine through. The liberal position will have the most sources, all the major media as previously reported in this piece, and the conservative position will be offered by FOX and AM talk radio. Of course there is also the Internet and it is all over the place. But, if you care enough, you can find the best semblance of the truth. It just  takes a little work. Fortunately for you, my lucky readers, I do that for you. Seriously though, you have to be diligent. Just because The New York Times reports it doesn’t necessarily make it true. In fact that is all the more reason to be skeptical.

Many years ago in the simpler times, we had three TV networks and PBS ran kid’s programs. They told us what they wanted us to know and rarely did we question it. That has all changed now and the media has done it to themselves. If you really want to know the “facts,” either go beyond the headlines, use several sources, or just read my columns.

Ron Scarbro, March 28, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I recently heard a debate concerning gay marriage. The debate caused me to consider several things. This essay will not be about gay marriage however. No, this writing will examine why we are what we are as a country.

When our forefathers escaped Europe and settled in the new world, perhaps out of necessity they formed a group. The group dynamic made security more possible. The group was basically a co-op which produced food and shelter for all of the  members of the group. The group formed militias to secure and defend themselves. They chose representatives to speak for them as to the passing of laws and rules. The representatives then enacted laws governing the group’s behavior. The obvious purpose of all this was to allow them to get along with each other and live in harmony with their neighbors. This then was the basis for our current form of government. We rejected the monarchy and we rejected anarchy. We became a compromise between monarchy and anarchy.

With the foregoing in mind, I want to go back to the debate concerning gay marriage. The advocates for gay marriage used the “libertarian” philosophy arguing that the group does not have the right to decide what sort of relationship any other couple can experience. It being none of any one else’s business. Carried out to its logical conclusion, this means that the group cannot decide how any other member of the group can live. Here are some questions that I would ask of this “libertarian” philosophy. Can we, as a group, have standards? Can there be norms? Do we have the right to decide what a marriage is? How about the decision as to when a person is a “legal” adult? Can we have laws against bigamy or polygamy? After all, whose business is it anyway?  Can we have speed limits? Isn’t this a preemptive law designed to prevent a situation from happening before it happens? Simply asked, can we have any laws governing actions of any consenting adult member of the group? Let’s face it, everybody is not going to be happy or satisfied with all of the rules of a society. You can’t please everyone.

The libertarian philosophy is apparently that any legal decision by the majority is seen as tyranny against the minority. That certainly is an interesting position. The problem becomes one of group compatibility.  Homosexual unions are just what they are, homosexual unions. They are not and could never be a marriage. To call such a union a marriage is an attempt to normalize an abnormal situation. That having been said, I personally don’t care  that these unions exist. They do not affect me and as such are not my problem. I do believe, however, that there should be mechanisms for them to contract together if they so choose but, marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the standard the group has decided and there is no reason to change it.

Now, back to the theme of this essay. We are what we are because this is what we have chosen. Persons who wish to live peaceably within this group called America, must obey and adhere to the laws the group has deemed appropriate. If you don’t like a particular law, work to pass a different law. Should you decide that you just cannot obey any particular law, you disobey at your peril. Also there is nothing preventing you from running for office and being a part of the passing of laws. All you have to do is get enough people who think like you to elect you to an office. Then, of course, you have to convince your elected colleagues to go along with your thinking. Not simple, but doable. If your position is so out of the mainstream of societal thinking though, you may have some difficulty. Such is life.

We are a successful republic. We didn’t want monarchy and we certainly do not want anarchy. Our forefathers made good decisions and handed down a form of government that works and has staying power. It continues to be up to us to make certain this government prospers and grows. If we fail, we have only ourselves to blame.

Ron Scarbro March 21, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have no intention of trying to defend Rush Limbaugh. He has fared pretty well so far without my help and he will probably do okay without me now. That having been said, I thought his recent comments were stupid. His choice of words was ridiculous. If you didn’t hear, he basically referred to a young law school co-ed in very unfavorable terms. In her testimony before Congress the girl tried to point out that young law students just couldn’t afford to pay tuition and be expected to pay  for their birth control too, and that is why the government should. Limbaugh’s point was that if the tax payers have to pay for her birth control, she should be required to make available to those taxpayers films of her sexual activity. He called her dirty names and in so doing failed to make his point about free contraception. Limbaugh has since apologized for his comments and well he should.

This sort of activity and rhetoric does very little to advance the conservative position that we should be self-reliant and responsible for ourselves. To this young lady I would just say, if you are going to dance, you should have to pay the band. After all, you don’t have to dance. If you are mature enough to have sex, you by all means should be mature enough to cover whatever expenses you may incur and responsible enough to deal with the outcome of your activity.  Personally I don’t care if you choose to sleep around. I don’t care if you see higher education as party time. I don’t care about any of this as long as you pay your own way. If your parents are financing your education, what you do is their problem, not mine. The idea that taxpayers should fund your sexual activities is arrogant and just plain stupid.

I wonder sometimes how and why we have come to the place where we now are. How have we come to the decision that pregnancy is somehow a disease? When my wife and I were expecting our first child in the 60s, pregnancy was not even covered by our health insurance because pregnancy was considered normal, certainly not a disease. How is it that birth control is now considered health care? I just heard Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Obama Administration, say that birth control reduces health care costs because fewer babies are born. It would appear that this administration doesn’t see these new people as possible contributors to our society or to our economic engine. I guess, be fruitful and multiply is just ancient philosophy.

I have written before that we today have the government we chose. These people we have in positions of importance and power are people we have chosen. If, as it turns out, they are morons, what does that say about our ability to choose?

Fortunately we have the opportunity to fix the mess we have gotten ourselves into. That is what elections are all about. Every two years we get to change out the House of Representatives and every six years we have the opportunity to get rid of the Senate. Each four years the President has to face the voters for their approval. We are rapidly approaching that time again. We absolutely must not fail. Another four years of what is going on now may just be the straw on the proverbial camel’s back. The world is counting on all of us.

Ron Scarbro March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


In my working life I had to hire and fire many employees. I took my responsibility seriously. After I hired someone, I then had to make sure they were trained. Some employees just couldn’t learn the job. Ultimately after much effort at training and re-training, some had to be fired. That’s life and that’s business. As the employer I was responsible for the actions or lack of action of my employees. That, of course, is how business is run. Our form of government is not a business however. So then the question arises what is our responsibility as a citizen of this country?

Today, I am sure you would agree, we as a country are in trouble. We have huge debt problems. We are fighting two separate wars. We have energy issues and rising gasoline prices. We have unacceptable unemployment numbers. Real estate values have sunk to their lowest levels in years. Social Security and Medicare are rapidly running out of money. All of us would have to agree we are in trouble.

If you believe the national media, one would conclude that all of this is our fault. Senior citizens are too greedy. We should all pay more taxes. Etc, etc, etc. Well, guess what? None of this is our fault. If our government was a business maybe. But we’re not. Unless you are a Member of Congress or the President, none of this is your fault. Your responsibility begins and ends at the ballot box. That is where we hire our employees to represent us. How they perform their jobs is their fault.

This then is where the problem starts. There is no opportunity to train this new employee. There is no monthly evaluation report. We don’t even know when or if they show up for work. Were they prompt? Were they tardy? Did they sleep at their desk? Did they have a three martini lunch? The only way we know anything about their performance is what they tell us. It seems to work like this. Joe Blow from Cornbread Crossing, Kentucky is elected to Congress. He moves to Washington DC. In just a matter of days, he is no longer a Kentuckian. He soon becomes a Washingtonian. He becomes a member of the elite good old boy’s club. He manages to maneuver a second term, then a third, and before you know it he is a career politician who cares only about his own self interest. He has never seen himself as your employee and now he sees himself as invincible. The only time he shows up in Kentucky is at re-election time. As a citizen, your only option is to fire him.

You know, of course, that Congress now has an approval rating in single digits. Why on earth are these morons continually re-elected? Why do voters seem to always blame someone else’s Congressman for the problems? The facts are clear. The Congress does not represent the people who elected them. Not yours and not mine. They represent themselves. They choose up sides, select their own leaders, and vote for their own pay raises and holidays. They vote for their own benefits and they are responsible to no one except at re-election time. Then they rely on the fact that the majority of the electorate is too busy trying to survive in the screwed up economy which they the Congress created to feel the heavy hand of government picking their back pockets.

How do we fix this? Well, the first step is to hold those whom we have elected accountable for their actions. Don’t let them get away with blaming someone else. We recently heard a Republican candidate for President say in a debate that sometimes in the Senate he voted for things he didn’t believe in to “take one for the team.” What? That, ladies and gentlemen is a load of BULL. That is not what I am looking for in a leader. Congress has only one team and that is the American people.

If, by some miracle, you get the opportunity to talk with your elected representative before this next election, ask him to read this piece or, better yet, tell him yourself. Let’s fix this mess.

Ron Scarbro March 7, 2012