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Bits and Pieces: 13th Edition

Guess what folks, it is time for yet another Robservation edition of “Bits and Pieces.” Today, there is just so much going on that it is difficult to pin down just one story. This time, I don’t think any of them are too controversial but interesting nonetheless. As for the first story, let common sense rule. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but in this case, if you agree with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), you are wrong. Sorry. Here goes!

1. Student Loan Forgiveness. I have no idea where in the heck these progressive, Marxist nut jobs come up with some of their ideas. Well, actually they are progressive Marxist nut jobs. That explains everything. Somewhere inside their pathetic little world, they sit around and dream up the most ridiculous ideas. Here is just one of many. I was watching the news several weeks back and AOC was on the floor of Congress spouting foolishness as is often the case. I guess she also tweeted the same nonsense. She actually had the gall to say, “We have a moral obligation, an economic obligation, a political obligation to cancel student loan debt.”

Are you guys out there in newspaper land reading this? She said that you, me and all other Americans have a “moral obligation” to pay off her, and others’ student loans. She is not alone in this vapid stupidity. Fellow “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib fully agrees and bemoans the fact that she still has some $70,000 dollars in student load debt that needs to be paid off. Afterall, she needed to get the loans to pay for her law degree. This coming from a woman who allegedly is earning rental income from property worth potentially as much as $250,000 per year. Not to mention that she and AOC both earn some $174,000 per year as members of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren, want President Biden to do their dirty work for them through an executive order. Nothing has been thus far but the current national federal student loan payment pause does not expire until January 31, 2022. Can we expect some action within the near future? I hope not.

Am I the only out here who sees this for what it is? Clearly, I am not and a lot of people are speaking out. Rightfully so. Let there be no doubt that the entire idea of student loan debt forgiveness is just another way of saying, “Tax payers, you are going to payoff of the student loan debt these kids willingly chose to accrue but now are too irresponsible, lazy and pathetic to payoff on their own. Deal with it.” I’m sorry (actually I am not), if you think that Rob Tate sitting here in Montgomery, Alabama has a “moral obligation” to pay for your college, you are an idiot. Plain, simple, true. Before anybody says something stupid, yes, I went to college. No, my parents could not afford it. Yes, I got student loans. I graduated college in 1983 and made my last payment in 1995 while I was still on active duty in the Air Force. Twelve years and 144 payments later, I paid off my obligation.

I knew I wanted to fly airplanes. I knew on my own I would never be able to do it financially. The only way was through the GSL program. But you know what? I knew at the end of the day, I was going to have to pay that loan back. You know what else? I did. Simple. Please tell me where in the heck anybody has the right to tell me that I have to foot the bill for their or their kid’s college education. There is this pesky little thing in America today called personal responsibility. If you cannot afford college, cannot get a grant, have to rely on student loans, you had better get a degree that will allow you the opportunity to pay off that loan. $250,000 in student loan debt for a degree or Masters in gender studies or art history is probably not going to cut it. So don’t expect me to pay for you. Sorry. Again, no I’m not. Not even close. And, if you cannot afford college or abide by the expectation that you pay off your own debts, the answer is really simple. Don’t go to college or at least until you are able to satisfy your personal responsibilities.

Here’s another kicker, the authors of an April 2021 study, entitled “The Distributional Effects of Student Loan Forgiveness,” concluded “that universal and capped forgiveness policies are highly regressive, with the vast majority of benefits accruing to high-income individuals.” In other words, if this were to ever pass, the people whose debts would be forgiven, disproportionately are kids from higher income families. Yeah, that’s fair. So instead of trying to pass laws attempting to gouge money from taxpayers, why not pass laws forcing the colleges and universities to reimburse students for financially raping them all these years? They created the problem, let them help fix it. Do not expect me to. Moral obligation? I think AOC has a moral obligation to keep her boney fingers out of my, and your bank accounts. Moving on.

2. Montgomery Crime. I moved here in July, 1997. Guess what, my wife and I are still here. Somehow, someway, we both fell in love with the River Region and Montgomery. We have an outstanding church, Harvest Family Church and a great church family. It is one of the things we love most about this city and arguably the main anchor point for us here. Is Montgomery the best place I have ever lived? Nope. The worst? Nope. Well not yet at least. In my Air Force and airline days, I have traveled to hundreds of places around this country. Some really nice, some pretty crappy. Some places that I could see us living. Others, not for any amount of money. But in the balance, this area of Alabama has agreed with us over the years. That is until recently.

I am simply not sure what has happened over the past several years. After Mayor Strange’s revitalization of downtown and the promise it still holds until today, my wife and I at times hardly recognize this city. There does not seem to be a single day that we turn on WSFA and see where there was a shooting. How many this year? Too many. When you look at the rate of violent and property crime in the city and compare those rates to the rest of the U.S., yeah, we pretty much exceed those rates. By a lot. That is both sad and disgusting.

Too many people have this very myopic view of the world and want to place all the blame on either guns or even the Mayor. To be honest, I did not vote for the man and when you are in the driver’s seat, you have to drive. But I am not going to lay all of this at his foot. Nor are guns the problem. The idiot pulling the trigger is. There is a crisis of character more than anything that is plaguing not only Montgomery but the entire country right now. We have way too many horrible parents raising even more horrible kids. No guidance, no direction, no support, no moral instruction, no emphasis on education, no value on life, no love of neighbor; you name it. Violence and outright sinful behavior is cherished more than morale restraint and righteousness. The result? Turn on the news any night and watch.

But you want to know the truly sad part of this? If this keeps up and gets worse to the point of no return, a lot of people who otherwise love this city but actually love their lives more, are going to bug out of here and go to places where a trip to the Walmart will not mean a bullet to the face and driving down the Eastern Bypass is not an invitation to get in the crossfire of a drive by shooting. If the city does nothing to curb this dangerous swing in violent crime, those of us who can afford to leave, will. It really should not be that hard to understand.

3. NFL: For the first time in years, I actually watched a lot of NFL football this year. The four games this past weekend were phenomenal with each game ending in walk-off field goals. Three leading to wins and one leading to overtime. This is the point here, NFL overtime. The game between the Chiefs and Bills was awesome. But that overtime. Chiefs got the ball, scored a touchdown, game over. The Bills never touched the ball. That is not right. I know the NFL has pushed the idea away for years but I think the game last night showed that they really need to adopt an overtime format more closely aligned with college football. Not only is it 1,000,000,000 times more exciting, it is infinitely fairer. They score, you don’t; they win. They don’t score but you do, you win. You both score the same, you keep going until a victor is crowned. Ta da. Enough said.

4. Russia and the Ukraine: Since I am running out of space, this will be short. Yes, it looks like Russia may indeed invade the Ukraine. My question. Where is the U.N.? Why have they not made any forceful statements? Why does it always seem to rest upon the U.S. and our Allies to always step up to the plate first? Shouldn’t the U.N. say something forceful like, “If you invade the Ukraine, we will revoke your permanent seat at the U.N.” Something? Anything other than the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “against international law.” Against international law? No duh, Einstein. But what are you going to do about it if they do invade? Guterres then added, “I'm convinced it will not happen and I strongly hope to be right.” Now if that is not a strong diplomatic statement . . . The U.N. is arguably the most feckless international organization on the planet. They are showing yet again.

We just sent more weapons there and the President is considering sending American soldiers. Really? We are going to shed American blood in the Ukraine fighting Russian soldiers. I for one certainly hope that is not a plan. But after the Afghanistan fiasco, who knows what these guys are capable of screwing up and who knows what is going to happen at this point? I saw an interview with a Ukrainian man yesterday. The American reporter asked him what the Ukrainians were thinking. His answer was classic. He said the only thing Ukrainians were wondering was, “Where are we going to bury all the Russian soldiers?” Now that is an attitude I can get behind.

Some information about student loan forgiveness expressed in this column can be found at:“We%20have%20a%20moral%20obligation%2C,that%20she%20still%20owed%20%2470%2C000%20in%20student%20debt.


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