Roses #54AR, 65AR & 55AR

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 4, 2017

How so many people can choose to believe climate change is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by the enemy of the American people (i.e., the liberal media) hell-bent on bringing down Big Business, despite what ninety-seven percent of climate scientists say via years of research, amazes me. With only two or three cold spells all winter long, and maybe one measurable snowfall, this has been the warmest winter I can remember here in central Ohio.

What is particularly alarming is that temperatures in the Arctic region have been rising far greater than the average increase of the entire planet, which has seen the twelve warmest years on record having occurred since 1998, with eleven of those occurring since 2003, and the five hottest all occurring since 2010. The Arctic is warming so much that ice has been melting in parts of the region during the past two winters. And, once the ice is gone, that’s when major changes to our climate really begins.

What does all this talk of climate change have to do with this photograph of a Rose, one might ask? This photo was taken on November 15th.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Advertisements

U.S. Elections Are Rigged, Just Not In The Way Donald Trump Whines About

November 1, 2016

How is it that America, which prides itself on being the world’s all-time greatest democracy, is becoming less and less so with each and every election? Though technically a representative democracy in which we elect local and state officials, along with members of Congress to cast our votes for us, this concluding presidential season just might prove that we are anything but one.

On the Republican side of the wall separating the two parties, businessman, blowhard and national embarrassment on the world stage Donald Trump beat a field of sixteen other mostly uninspiring candidates by out-name calling them to win his party’s nomination. Trump is such a polarizing candidate that members of his own party took an anybody-but-Trump movement right up to the moment he accept the nomination during the Republican Convention held earlier this summer in Cleveland.

Even though Trump won his party’s nomination by winning more than the 1,237 delegates needed to win, he referred to the system as rigged. As Election Day finally approaches, he has begun a full-time campaign decrying the system as rigged and massive fraud will be committed on Election Day. Trump has gone as far as stating he will contest the outcome, unless of course he miraculously wins. With election fraud virtually nonexistent, and polls indicating that Hillary Clinton just might win in a landslide, it seems that Trump is getting his excuses in order when he loses the election, so that the final result will not be a blow to his enormous ego.

Mr. Trump probably saw nothing wrong with winning his home state primary of New York with sixty percent of the vote, yet he received ninety-seven percent of the votes that really counts, the delegate vote. Making matters more complicated than this seemingly unnatural method of electing candidates are the party’s “unbound” delegates. The Republican Party cannot even give an accurate account of their highly influential number, as it ranges from plus or minus one hundred and fifty to as many as two hundred. These unbound delegates are free to vote for whomever they choose, despite the vote of the people, and comprise as much as sixteen percent of the actual vote needed to win the Republican nomination. This is democracy?

The Democratic Party, with its seven hundred and twelve unpledged “super delegates,” comprising a whopping thirty percent of the party’s total delegate count, is even more undemocratic. These super delegates, who are comprised of various Democratic leaders such as sitting governors and members of Congress, are under no obligation to vote for the candidate who won their state primary. The perfect example of democracy in action for the Democratic Party, despite the irony in its name occurred during the New Hampshire primary. Senator Bernie Sanders, who beat Clinton by twenty percentage points, walked away with a virtual tie in the delegate count.

Based on his margin of victory, Senator Sanders won the pledged delegate count fifteen – nine over Clinton, yet six of the state’s eight super delegates pledged their support for the former New York senator, with two delegates uncommitted. This resulted in fundamentally a tie between the two candidates, despite Sanders soundly beating his opponent. In an even more egregious example, Sanders won the Wyoming caucus by eleven percentage points, yet Clinton won the total delegate count eleven – seven. How is that possible?

The Democrat Party’s super delegate nominating process came about after former California governor Ronald Reagan beat President Jimmy Cater during his re-election bid in 1980. Party leaders felt to urge to correct any “mistake” made by voters during the primary season, thereby being able to nominate a candidate more their liking, despite how Americans actually voted. The vast majority of Hillary Clinton’s delegate count over Bernie Sanders was due to super delegates.

When you also consider the Republican Party is doing everything it can to restrict voter turnout, be it by reducing early voting dates or enacting new voter ID laws, America’s democratic values are being greatly undermined. In Texas, a hunting license is an acceptable form of voter ID, yet a college ID is not. We are led to believe that stricter ID laws are required because of voter fraud, yet voter fraud is basically nonexistent. From 2000 through 2014, more than one billion votes were cast with only thirty-one documented case of voter fraud, a fraction so insignificant it might very well be zero. Most cases of alleged fraud are only errors committed by citizens staffing the polling stations.

The Grand Old Party has also taken to greatly reducing the number of voting machines in historically Democratic voting districts, resulting in lengthy waits in line just to cast a vote. In this past Arizona primary, voters waited in lines for up to five hours, while during the last presidential election, voters in Ohio waited in line up to eight hours. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was sued earlier this year by the ACLU over allegations of illegally removing tens of thousands of voter names from registration rolls. In September, the Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled he cannot purge the voting rolls merely because citizens do not vote regularly. Maybe it’s time for America to change its national motto from “In God We Trust” to “If You Cannot Beat Them, Restrict Them.”

Another method of restricting voter turnout are the “closed” primaries, in which Democrats are only allowed to vote Democrat and Republican the same, leaving Independents out of the process. One report indicated that more than a million New Yorkers were refused their constitutional right to vote. Who can forget that two of Trump’s children failed to properly register and left unable to vote for their father?

Making the entire process even more corrupt was the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the court basically ruled that the ability of corporations and unions to contribute unlimited amounts of money to candidates and issues equates to speech. Money is not free speech, and not free as money buys influence. Unlimited money buys corruption. Campaign contributions to candidates by Wall Street have tripled since 2012. It is said that members of Congress now spend most of their time begging for campaign contributions.

After voting is completed in state primaries and then finally the national election, it is not the candidate who receives the most votes that wins the election, it is the Electoral College that decides who will be the next president of the United States. Is America a democracy? Hardly.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Have The Cleveland Browns Ever Won An NFL Championship?

September 12, 2015

As the NFL kicked off its 96th season Thursday night with a game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, it is rather absurd that the league will also celebrate its 50th Super Bowl at the end of the year. Did the league not have a championship game during its first fifty seasons?

Well, of course they did. It was only called the NFL Championship, which is exactly what the Super Bowl represents. And, as a matter of fact, the Cleveland Browns have won four championships. Yet, they never receive the proper credit, because they all occurred prior to the championship game being called the Super Bowl.

During the Browns first decade in the league, after winning all four All-America Football Conference championships, the team played in the championship game seven times, winning three, including a championship their first year in the league. Not only did the Browns dominate the All-America Football Conference during their first four years of existence, they continued their dominant play during their first decade in the NFL. The team won its last championship after the 1964 season.

Yet, not one football talking head on television mentions these historical feats, only that the Browns are one of only four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. Granted, those championships were a long, long time ago, but I am old enough to remember the last one.

Steven H. Spring

A Fool Of Me

April 24, 2013

In honor of National Poetry Month, I am posting the following words, although I will be the first to admit that I do not consider myself to be much of a poet and/or songwriter.  Hopefully, I am a much better photographer and guitarist.  I just write about my life’s experiences and feelings from my heart and soul.  That said, the following words were penned in response to false accusations made against me by a coworker many years ago.  If I had not been this person’s supervisor, her accusations against me would have been immediately dismissed.  As it were, I was treated by my employer, the Auditor of State of Ohio and its investigators as if I had murdered someone.  They kept me against my will and ignored my demands to speak to an attorney.

Although I was found innocent of all charges made against me by the Auditor of State himself, the allegations resulted in my losing everything of value to me, my job, career, marriage, health and most important of all, my two precious children.  I even lost the proverbial farm.  If I had only hired my attorney before I was mercilessly interrogated, I would have never lost my job.  All I did was speak the truth.  During the four or five hearings that I eventually had, my attorney and I made the dozen officials from the Auditor’s Office, including every high-ranking official but the Auditor himself, look like complete fools.  With every succeeding hearing, more and more higher level officials would attend.  My attorney and I went up against the entire upper level staff of the Auditor of State of Ohio, and I must say, we kicked their ass!  This was the reason why I was fired.

I paid a very heavy price for my mid-life transgressions, however one good thing did come from this hellish tribulation, on my fortieth birthday, exactly one month after the accusations were made against me, I decided to finally pursue my lifelong ambition of playing the guitar and bought my first Fender Stratocaster.  It has been my guitars that have given me the will to live throughout this horrific nightmare!

A Fool Of Me

You made a fool of me, there is no denying it
I should have known better, and you obviously didn’t care one bit
For everyone else involved, it was so plain to see
I was weak, I was trusting, we both know you took full advantage of me

I was living a lie, wearing a suit and tie
The way you flaunted yourself, you were always very flirtatious
You seduced me over time, you know it’s so
And in the end, you wore me down, I just could not say no, could not let you go

You were some one who showed me attention
That was definitely lacking in a failing marriage
It was, I must admit the perfect psychological storm
Obsessive compulsive was certainly at fault; at least I was addicted to internet porn

Mine was not the only head you turned
All the men came running round you had to know
Whenever you wore that dress slit up nearly to your waist
You really did put on quite the show

You played me for a fool; you were just as much in the wrong
When I spoke of my feelings for you, you very easily could have walked away
You could have left anytime you wanted; however, you choose to stay
But you never said a word, and in the end, all I got was this here song

You spoke your peace, accusations were made
But there were many truths that were never told
I am not the only one to blame
Guilty only of falling in love, have you no shame?

If only I had never spoke up to defend myself
Never opened my mouth to speak the truth, I would have never lost my job
When I did, they found out your accusations were nothing but bull
But because I did, mine was not the only head that did roll

I thought you were my friend, I trusted you as such
In the end, that friendship didn’t amount too much
I knew better, but I just could not let go
In the end, I found out that you were just a hussy, a slut, a ho

I am the devil, or so you had everyone believe
You cast a spell over me, there’s no denying it
It was too strong and I was too weak, I just couldn’t fight it
But in the end girl, it was you who did truly deceive

I told you things I should never tell
However, you were just as guilty of that as well
I taught you well, you must admit
The pain you cause, you didn’t give a shit

All the guilt was placed on me, but I did nothing legally wrong
We both know you said many lies
The lives you destroyed, you have to accept some blame
For it was you who was playing a game

I never meant for it to happen, there’s no denying it
You played me for a fool
But you were just as much at fault, can’t you see
In the end, you made a big fool of me

Steven H. Spring

Are Illegal Drugs To Blame For Mass Murder In America?

While reading a recent letter to the editor of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch entitled “Make life tougher for the lawbreakers,” regarding gun violence and gun control, I could not help but laugh when I read his concluding statement “Stop the drug flow and most of the gun violence will end.”  And no, it wasn’t because I was stoned.  The article’s author places blame of America’s love affair with guns and the associated violence they cause on the use of illegal drugs, which is a little like blaming a child’s teacher for the failing grade on their report card.

Every day in America, two hundred and eighty-nine people are shot by firearms.  Eighty-six of these people die.  Of these eighty-six deaths, thirty are murdered, fifty-three commit suicide, two are shot accidentally and one person dies from being shot by the police.  I do agree with the writer in that violence is definitely associated with the illegal drug trade, most notably in Mexico where nearly one hundred thousand deaths have occurred since 2006, however it is not the drugs that is the source of the violence, it is their illegality.  To prove my point, one need only look back to this nation’s other attempt to outlaw its citizens’ craving of mind altering substances, that being alcohol.  During Prohibition, organized crime and corruption became so rampant, and shoot-outs involving gangsters armed with automatic weapons, especially the Thompson submachine gun, so prevalent, especially in Chicago, that Congress passed the National Firearms Act on June 26, 1934, outlawing ownership of automatic weapons.

Over the past one hundred years, many nations have attempted to prohibit the use of both alcohol and drugs, to no avail.  People will always find a way to pursue their vices.  President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971 and forty years later what are the results?  Billions of dollars wasted and the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.  One million Americans are incarcerated each year for drug offenses, with marijuana comprising one-half of all arrests.  When the Reagan administration began using the CIA and the U.S. military in the attempt to stop the flow of drugs into the country, the drug cartels soon realized it was much easier and far more lucrative to import pounds of cocaine instead of tons of marijuana.  The end result was the cocaine and crack epidemic of the 1980s.

I am not condoning the use of any drugs, including alcohol.  However, to incarcerate one adult for smoking a joint while another drinks their martini is asinine.  All prohibition does is to drive up the price and bring in the criminal element.  History proves time and again that the prohibition of anything has never worked.

Steven H. Spring

360 Degrees Of Plattsburg Farm

These thirteen photographs were shot most likely either in the fall of 1995 or spring of 1996.  What probably lead to these photographs being taken was that I was either hanging Christmas lights or taking them down when I decided to shoot this panoramic 360 degree view of my old farmhouse from the rooftop.

It is hard to believe that even though you see very few neighbors, I had on two different occasions a sheriff’s deputy come calling, responding to a call of disturbing the peace.  Neither time involved my brothers and I playing guitars, just me playing the stereo.  The deputies could not believe it as well.  I used to rock that old farmhouse!!!

Steven H. Spring

Lightning #36C

Lightning #36C

This photograph was shot in the back yard of my old farmhouse one night many years ago as my two brothers were loading up their guitars and amplifiers after an afternoon and evening of hard partying, hearty eating and loud, loud music.   After my divorce, in which I bought my first guitar on the night of my fortieth birthday, Brian and Willie would come out every other weekend for a day and night of good times pickin’ and grinnin’.  Willie wasn’t technically my brother, but an ex-brother-in-law.  However, after playing alongside him all those many afternoons and evenings, I consider and refer to him as one.  Sadly, Willie passed away two years ago after being electrocuted at work.  He never sounded better the last time we jammed!

Every other weekend was party time down on the farm since they too, were divorced and had visitation with their kids every other weekend.  This did not affect me as after my son moved back home with his mother, I never had visitation with my two children.  Wesley lived with me for six months until his mother bought him three bicycles over a four-week period that Christmas, when she finally bought the expensive one he really wanted.  Even though I wrote the Common Pleas Court judge who presided over my divorce three or four times begging for help in getting visitation with my kids, not once did I receive any response to my request.  I guess the court system did not see any reason to legally enforce their own court appointed visitation schedule.  Thinking back, I went more than five years in which I never saw my children.  As a horrific example of how long I went without any visitation, several years ago, one Sunday afternoon a young man knocked on my door.  He knew who I was but I did not know him.  It took me several minutes to realize that this young man was my son.  I am still haunted to this day by the thought of not recognizing my own child.  I will never forgive my ex-wife for having stolen my two precious children from me.

Enough of my soapbox ranting…lets get back to the story behind this photograph.  After getting a glance of this magnificent display of lightning off in the distance, I quickly went back inside to grab my camera and tripod and went back out and started shooting.  If memory serves me right, I believe I shot a whole roll of film that night.  This particular picture was the last shot on that roll of film.  I must admit, however, that this very large bolt of lightning spooked me, as the farmhouse sat up on a small hill and I was standing out in the middle of the yard holding onto a metal camera sitting high up on a metal tripod.  This particular bolt of lightning seemed to stretch from the horizon to well over my head.

This coming week, I will be posting several more photographs that were shot during this same storm.

Steven H. Spring