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Saturday, November 22, 2014

GOP, Can You Handle the Truth About Executive Actions?

"You want answers? You want answers? You can't handle the truth! .... 

"You don't want the truth because deep down in places 
you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, 
you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. 
We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline." 

Remember that quote from Colonel Jessep in the film A Few Good Men? Perhaps Republicans should consider these words before they spit venomous accusations of unconstitutionality against President Obama and his recent executive action concerning immigration reform.

Punchline, indeed, GOP. No, an executive order is not "the very definition of tyranny." That's the truth if you can handle it.

Jaime Fuller of The Washington Post points out ...

"In 1992, liberal activists crossed their fingers that President Clinton would be elected, bringing an end to what they saw as the executive actions-filled years of the Reagan and Bush administrations. 

"Gary Bass, director of the watchdog group OMB Watch, told the Washington Post at the time that Reagan 'grabbed every lever 
that the executive power could give to exert control 
and shift power from Congress to the executive.'"

(Jaime Fuller. "Executive actions: An increasingly common way for Congress to hate presidents." The Washington Post. November 17, 2014)

Fuller continues, "Every president since George Washington has interpreted the Constitution to allow executive orders, seeing in the phrase, 'shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed' (Article II) a whole world of political possibilities. And then, he issues an executive order, or a memo, or some other directive steering policy closer toward where the White House hoped Congress would take it on their own."

The truth? All modern presidents make policy choices about which violations of federal law to prosecute. Obama’s decision to defer deportation is in line with actions of past presidents, and well within the scope of his authority.

Distinguished professor, author, and political science chair Robert Spitzer reveals ...

"George Washington issued eight such orders. In fact, every president except William Henry Harrison (who held office for only a month before dying in 1841) has issued them. Based on the numbering system established in 1906, presidents have issued roughly 14,000 - yet the actual number is far larger, since before that time records of the orders were often not kept.

(Robert J. Spitzer. "Obama's Executive Orders: Can We Talk?" 
The Huffington Post. November 18, 2014)

Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush systematically exempted large numbers of illegal immigrants from deportation, including some 1.5 million people in the case of Bush. In fact, in October 2008, Slate magazine made a list of the "nine most odious executive orders issued by George W. Bush that the next administration should overturn."

Concerning Immigration

Hard-core Constitutional Originalists should know that in the original understanding of the Constitution, Congress did not have a general power to restrict immigration (though it did have power over naturalization).

Granted, immigration restrictions have been deemed permissible under precedent dating back to 1889; however, Originalists applaud presidential discretion to cut back on enforcement of laws that themselves go against the original meaning of the Constitution concerning immigration.

Robert Spitzer speaks of the enormous discretion over immigration decisions granted by Congress to presidents and agencies over the decades. He believes that Obama stands on firm footing to prioritize prosecutorial discretion and that he also possesses ample precedent to protect selected groups from deportation and the statutory authority to grant work permits.

The Bottom Line

If all is considered concerning President Obama's executive action, it is most likely the only logical decision in light of the inaction of a gridlocked Congress to address immigration reform. His decision to act is timely and legal.

The real question for all Americans is this:

"Do illegal immigrants violating the law to escape Third World conditions deserve compassion?" 

Please read this question again, and pay close attention to the qualifying remedy: "deserve compassion."

The United States Congress evidently doesn't have the time or the inclination to answer this burning question. We all know why. I will spell it out: P-A-R-T-I-S-A-N-S-H-I-P.

President Obama took discretion to "take Care" under Article II of the United States Constitution. Then, the President made a decision that these immigrants deserve a measure of compassion from the Executive Branch. 

To satisfy proper procedure, Obama's decision must be based on prior legislative or constitutional authority. I believe it is. Let's review another executive ruling of the past. Wasn't it a needed reform?  I defer to Professor Spitzer ...

"When Harry Truman ordered the racial integration of America's military forces in 1948 (anticipating by six years the Supreme Court's ruling that "separate but equal" in public schools was unconstitutional), it was the first important step in eliminating segregation."

So, Speaker of the House John Boehner, remember your words. You said, "Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama."

Are your speaking of the Original Constitution and its immigration stance?

And, Boehner continued, "Over the last five years, starting -- not coincidentally -- when his political party lost the majority in the House of Representatives, the President has consistently overstepped his authority under the Constitution, and in so doing eroded the power of the legislative branch."

Are you condemning only what your party deems to judge as "overstepping"?

"The House will in fact act," Boehner told reporters.

And, what (as if I didn't already know) will the House "action" be, Speaker Boehner?

Boehner replied: "With this action, the President has chosen to deliberately sabotage any chance of enacting bipartisan reforms that he claims to seek."

Thank God the truth is finally spoken. We can all expect more partisan gamesmanship, and we can quote Speaker Boehner for the honest declaration that reeks of uncooperative public service.

Compassionate people don't matter to political parties; only party members matter to these  organizations because each party member represents a blind vote for keeping power in office and jobs in hand. And, the country is still looking for "a few good men" to come together and accomplish the greatest dreams of those who dare to dream.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Immigration Reform = Political Parties and Millions of Votes

I wonder how many people today remember President George W. Bush's frustration as he finally gave up on an immigration overhaul through the Senate approximately seven years ago? He believed in "compassionate conservatism," and rewriting the immigration system was at the core of his stance.

"In May 2006, Republican senators at Bush's urging joined Democrats to offer a blanket amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens and permit US businesses to go abroad and bring in foreign workers. Senators had been shocked by the millions of Hispanics marching in America's cities under Mexican flags... President Bush was hailed for his compassion and vision." 

(Patrick J. Buchanan. State of Emergency:The Third World Invasion 
and Conquest of America. 2007)

Like Republican President George Bush, President Obama begged for immigration reform and failed at getting Congress to act. But, he did not give in.

Instead, Obama asked his lawyers if he could change the system on his own. His White House team decided he could. So, in a prime-time address, he announced he would wield executive power to patch up the system as best he could, temporarily shielding up to five million people from the threat of deportation.

The President plans to offer temporary relief from deportation to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have been in the country for more than five years. He'll also extend a program that already allows undocumented migrants brought here as children to stay in the country.

And, a key element of Obama's plan is to instruct immigration authorities to target those undocumented immigrants who are dangerous rather than law-abiding undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and residents and others.

The President said they will go after "felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids."

(Jim Acosta and Stephen Collinson. "Obama: 'You can come out of the shadows.'" 
CNN. November 21, 2014)

Of course, Republicans claim Obama is subverting the Constitution and behaving more like a king than a president. They say Obama has not only overstepped the boundaries of his authority but also "ignored the will of the people." Speaker Boehner said he told the President that the American people simply "don't trust him to enforce the law as written."

But, two avenues are open to those who claim Obama is acting like a criminal. He explained one of these alternatives:

"To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress have failed, I have one answer. Pass a bill," Obama said.

(Stephen Collinson. "On immigration, a tale of two presidents." CNN. November 21, 2014)

And since Obama was forced to act via executive order, his moves could be wiped out with the stroke of a pen by a future president.

This executive decision came against a backdrop of crisis on the southern border as thousands of child migrants were teeming across the border. Republicans charged the human tide was triggered directly by the President's earlier executive order that offered certain categories of Dreamers -- undocumented immigrants brought the nation as children -- relief from deportation.

The Obvious

Both parties understand the desperate need for immigration reform. It is sorely evident that many political arguments have kept this legislation from coming forth. The longtime partisan gridlock is truly sickening in light of the urgency of the problem.

What is the real problem with the stalemate? You and I know the problem lies in the tremendous strength of the the immigrant vote. This is a block that has the potential to strengthen greatly the Democratic Party. 

Yet, the right Republican support for immigration reform could also aid their voting contingent. Like most all issues, immigration has turned into a party issue. For so long now, the lack of political compromise has hurt so many Americans. Enough is enough. If parties want the votes, they must act to satisfy the immigrants.

I do understand that granting amnesty does not secure our borders. Only a fool would believe that. Yet, blocking all dreamers from American citizenship is committing blanket judgment and forcing a sick stagnancy upon our free soil. Surely, politicians have to be careful not to commit the greatest Constitution sin of believing we, present-day American citizens, control the ideals of freedom and refuge for all. 

People should know that now, November 21, 2014, the President of the United States has no power to put undocumented immigrants on the long road to citizenship. He cannot grant permanent residence permits known as Green Cards, and all of his changes could be struck down by a future president.

As daunting as the task may be, each immigrant presently in America must be judged on an individual basis. This is what democracy demands. This is the burden of the government in the Land of the Free. For God's sake, we must see people as "human beings" and judge them by their merits, not as "Mexicans" or as "Latins" or as "unwanted refuse."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Black and White Racism in Ferguson, Missouri

The problem in Ferguson, Missouri, is not complicated. Rather, it is as clear as black and white.

America still refuses to come to grips with color. Until people -- white, black, brown, red, yellow, rainbow -- accept each other as human beings and not as distinct individuals within the same population, distrust, fear, and hatred will continue to haunt our American citizen identity.

A racist is defined not as a person within a distinct ethnic population, but instead as any person "who practices particular poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race."

For Christ's sake, all races should take pride in positive parts of their identity; however, no race should take part in anything that supports inequality or criminal activity in the name of the color of their skin. All of this activity simply adds to stereotypes and fuels the flames of bigotry that still burn in the hearts and minds of people who can't see beyond race.

Everyone I talk with about the Michael Brown incident includes speculation on racial judgment. Why? I believe racists -- white and black -- automatically use incidents like this to confirm their lingering distrust of those unlike themselves. I'm not saying that some of this animosity isn't warranted. I am saying that people who use and abuse others because they are white or black are simply in the wrong.

Let's review some obvious actors in the Brown incident that provided opportunities for racists everywhere to confirm their prejudiced views:

The robber (identified as Michael Brown) and the victims at the convenience store

Michael Brown himself

The police officers involved in the on-scene investigation

Officer Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown

The eyewitnesses to the shooting such as Dorian Johnson

Brown's parents and attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin,

Owners of businesses that were vandalized and looted

Outside influences that flocked to Ferguson to join local protesters including civil rights leaders like Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson

The entire Ferguson Police Department

The Missouri Highway Patrol 

President Obama and the Justice Department investigation

Governor Jay Nixon, City of St. Louis Mayor and other area leaders

Two reporters -- one from the Huffington Post and another from the Washington Post who were arrested by police at a Ferguson McDonald's

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy of Michael Brown

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Attorney General Eric Holder who ordered a separate federal autopsy for Brown at the request of his family.

The National Guard brought to Ferguson by order of Governor Nixon

Attorney General Eric Holder who was ordered to monitor unrest in Ferguson by President Obama

Trayvon Martin's mom, Sybrina Fulton, who wrote a heartbreaking letter published in TIME magazine to the family of Michael Brown.

Brown's mother and father, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., who traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to testify before the United Nations Committee Against Torture as part of a delegation of human rights advocates organized by the New York- and Atlanta-based U.S. Human Rights Network. McSpadden also said on the Today Show, "When justice is prevailed, then maybe they'll regain their trust in the locals."

The grand jury that began investigating whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should be criminally charged for the death of Michael Brown.

 The NAACP that held a peaceful protest throughout Ferguson

Vonderrit Myers Jr., a second black teenager in the area, who became a shooting victim

Clergy and activist academic Cornel West arrested by police on "Moral Monday"

There is so much black and white interaction that transpired in Ferguson that so many closed minds wish to label as "racist." This unfortunate incident is rift with speculation, accusation, and mixed reports. No matter whoever is to blame for whatever, racists on both sides of the issue do nothing but encourage further violence and continued racial distrust and hatred.

It's time to stop blame in the name of race when the blame is unwarranted and liable to do nothing but build further racist views. I don't know all of the facts in the Brown case, but whatever they are, people who use the incident to stir undue hatred of Caucasians or of Afro-Americans are wicked.

"Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which 
rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. 
The foundation of such a method is love."  

--Marin Luther King, Jr.

In 2014, Ferguson, Missouri should not be a step backward in racial equality. I hope the truth does prevail, yet I believe even if it doesn't, those who blindly continue to act with black or white bigotry are destroying the foundations of love so many have worked so hard to establish in America. Our land cannot be a place of injustice because of the color of your skin nor can it be a place where people cling to closed minds colored by bigotry.

I pray for colorless justice in Ferguson. God, please let people see that "wrong" and "right" are not to be judged in terms of black and white, but instead judged in terms of one humanity of like beings. Please alleviate the ugly distrust. Your will be done.

"Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; 
love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." 

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Charles Manson To Marry "Star" Burton and Same-Sex Couples Still Denied?

 The Loving Couple

Well now, what's the buzz?

80-year-old Charles Manson has a license to marry Afton Elaine Burton, a 26-year-old woman who visits him in prison.

Won't this be a delightful May-December affair?

Burton "fell in love" with Manson when she was 16, (she claims) not for his notorious, murderous exploits but instead for his gentle philosophy toward the earth. Manson is a proponent of ATWA, an environmental viewpoint that stands for air, trees, water, animals. 
Afton Burton, who goes by the name "Star," has been in touch with Manson since she was 17, and she moved from her home in Illinois to Corcoran, California in 2007. Burton reportedly has been visiting Manson in jail on Saturdays and Sundays since then.

Burton believes Manson is innocent. "I'm completely with him, and he's completely with me. It's what I was born for, you know. I don't know what else to say," Star said.

Burton runs a few pro-Manson websites, said she would like to work on his case, so marrying him would allow her access to information and documents restricted to family. “There’s certain things next of kin can do,” she told the Associated Press.

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton confirmed to the AP that the license had been transmitted to the prison.

Thornton said each California prison designates an employee to be a marriage coordinator who processes paperwork for an inmate's request to be wed. In most cases, she said, the department of corrections approves of such weddings as "a tool of family reunification and social development." But Manson is "a unique case."

Thornton confirmed that Manson can have a wedding at the prison and invite an officiate from outside the prison to perform the ceremony.

Burton said the wedding might have happened earlier if Manson did not have "some situations" at the prison.

Thornton explained that in February, Manson had three violations for possession of a weapon, threatening staff and refusal to provide a urine sample. Further details on the violations were not immediately available.

Burton said the prison holds marriages on the first Saturday of each month. She expects to be married in an inmate visiting room at the prison.  

("Charles Manson Gets Wedding License." Associated Press. November 18, 2014)


Oh, the glory of love... NOT. Cuckoo... Cuckoo. This marriage license makes me madder than a one-legged stripper doing a lap dance. Thank God at least something is still right in the universe: Because Manson is serving a life sentence, the couple will not be allowed to have conjugal visits, even after they are married. 

Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Why do some state laws prohibit same-sex couples from getting married when Charles Manson, of all people, can legally tie the knot with this less-than-stable, headline-grabbing young woman? The denial is a travesty of justice. The Supreme Court must correct this discrimination.

Legal arguments for excepting same-sex marriage from the definition of marriage as a civil right have rested on the argument that the state has a compelling interest in restricting same-sex marriage that justifies limiting the right to marry (an argument that was also used to justify restrictions on interracial marriage), and/or that laws permitting civil unions provide a substantially equivalent standard to marriage that satisfies equal protection standards.

Where is the reasoning used by the state for allowing a convicted mass murderer the right to marry and denying that right to free, law-abiding gay couples? This is appalling.

Hey, "Star," or "Afton," or whatever you call yourself today, grab your fifteen minutes of fame and make your money by writing your book about being the spouse of Crazy Charlie and a proponent of his "gentle philosophy." Don't forget to carve that attractive, loving swastika into your forehead to seal the vow. You are doing a wonderful service to yourself, not to me.

And, hey, Highest Court in the Land, check out the latest proof of the great imbalance in civil rights. Once and for all, realize that those who oppose same-sex marriage base their understandings on judgmental principles not applicable to states' interests. And, please as time passes without your final judgment on the legality of same-sex marriage, think of a happily married Manson.

How can you justices sleep at night? We all know what occupies old Charlie's dreams now, don't we?

"Believe me, if I started murdering people... 
there'd be none of you left!" 

 --Charles Manson

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Portsmouth Town Center, a.k.a. The Martings Building

Jason Kester, the Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA), tells us that the Marting's Building is now known as the Portsmouth Town Center. 

Portsmouth City Council has authorized Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen to enter into a three-year contract with SOPA, pledging $25,000 a year as its share of SOPA’s budget to make that organization the city’s primary economic development arm.

The Portsmouth Daily Times reports ...

"The one building that has had a polarizing effect on the city and specifically Portsmouth City Council is the building known as the former Marting’s property.

“'We also need a plan to increase the occupancy of the buildings downtown from Fifth/Third building to the former Martings property to the vacant buildings along Chillicothe Street. We’re looking at every building downtown – and we’re open to ideas,' Kester said. 'I am trying to find investors who are interested in developing downtown and I’ve had contact with a couple consultants who have provided some insight. We don’t know what the problem is – so it’s difficult to know how to fix the problem. The Portsmouth Town Center is the largest vacant property – but it’s not the only vacant building.'”

(Frank Lewis and Wayne Allen. " "SOPA working to develop downtown Portsmouth.  
Portsmouth Daily Times. November 17, 2014)

Kester says SOPA doesn't have "a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses – so it’s a challenge to know how to develop the property." The Port Authority is gathering information on all of the buildings and will hopefully be able to develop a plan in coordination with the other property owners downtown to spur growth and development.

Now, I'm not a consultant, yet I believe the problem with the property now known as the "Portsmouth Town Center" is evident. It is a huge, aging, department store property owned by the City of Portsmouth that sits in the middle of a downtown void of a vibrant retail shopping trade. It is the Lazarus of Portsmouth that remains an empty edifice memorializing a bygone era.

The Town Center has become a metaphoric albatross that continues to hang around the neck of city government. The entire epic of the acquisition of the property by the city and their efforts for well over a decade to remodel it or to sell it have left an indelible bad taste in the mouths of taxpayers. "Vacant" is an apt description of both the minds of those who procured the property and of any investment plan for future use.

How does the city "fix" the "problem"? The "problem" should not have been created in the first place; however, "fixing" the remains may require a project for which the city has insufficient funds. An old axiom of construction is that remodeling and renovation is often more expensive than starting from scratch. I think the city has learned that lesson.

Portsmouth seems to have been victimized by bad judgment concerning proper renovation. Many residents still mourn the loss of a historic railway terminal in town and often wonder why a plan for a major facelift of that property was abandoned.

Yes, polarization haunts Chillicothe Street just as it lingers in other areas of the city. It stems from memories of an energetic past when bright city lights once drew happy shoppers in droves to something residents called "Downtown Portsmouth."

Over the years the crowds found little to buy and even less to afford as major retail business after major retail business closed. Skeletons of the thriving businesses were all that was left to occupy the downtown real estate, and an occasional small store still reopens in there to operate as little more than a reminder of a glorious city retail exchange.

SOPA, it takes real materials and real innovation to make abandoned real estate "come alive." Time changes everything, and dreams cannot be built on false promises and speculation. Dreams can only be realized by positive industry guided by gifted thinkers.

"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions 
stems the dream again; and this interdependence 
produces the highest form of living." 

 --Anais Nin

The "strengths and weaknesses" of which you speak lie within humans. Bricks, mortar, wood, nails -- these are merely materials used by those who construct dreams with their great foresight and imagination. It is folly to begin fruitless enterprises just to occupy space. And, it may be important to consider the possibility that grandiose structures have outgrown their utility and their appeal.

Good luck with your "study" of primary economic development as it relates to downtown Portsmouth. How do you inject life into an area that has been guilty of "beating a dead horse"? I don't really know, but I do know why some mistakes of the past can only be erased with novel thinking and fresh actions.

Unanswered E-mails: Manager Allen and Councilman Meadows Croon Duet "That's Life"

Here is the latest play-by-play from city hall:

It's trouble as usual for city council as the plot thickens ...

Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen is frustrated with his job. He says he's working tremendously long hours on a mission to "turn this city around," yet he feels he can't satisfy people with his efforts. He says he needs another employee in his office to be able to meet the expectations that people have.

Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows is evidently one who is dissatisfied. He doesn't like the fact that Allen hasn't answered all his e-mails.

In his defense, Allen explained that since he returned from vacation he has not had time to go through all of his electronic correspondence. He affirms he has taken his allowance of exactly 10 days of vacation in 2014.

But, Meadows, unwilling to accept the explanation, says. “If we’re prohibited from contacting department heads to ask a question, you’re going to have to find some way to respond to us regardless of the number of e-mails that you get.”

The dramatic conflict builds ...

Meadows then accuses Allen of being gone Thursday and Friday, non-vacation days.

Allen replies that he had his required 40 hours of weekly work in by Thursday, so he didn't work those days.

The climax is upon the table ...

“I don’t think I’ve cheated anybody,” Allen says. “I took a week’s vacation. I left early last week. I already had my 40 hours in. To me it is somewhat insulting. I understand your frustrations that I haven’t been able to get back to you on an e-mail but the last time I checked there’s still 83 emails I didn’t get through. I got through about 70 of them.” Such accusations make Allen wonder why he ever even took the job of city manager.

Insult leads to insult ... 

Meadows replies by denying he said "anybody cheated the city our of any hours," and he stresses he has weeks in which he works "70 and 80 hours, too."

And, at last, the anticipated denouement ...

Councilman Meadow says, "That's life."

(Frank Lewis. "City Mgr. frustrated with job." Portsmouth Daily Times. November 16, 2014)

Another Stirring Performance

What will become of all the unanswered e-mails? Are they merely a product of well-deserved vacation time, or are they related to some kind of dastardly, secretive prohibition?

And, what of all of this massive overtime argument and the Mexican standoff of "I work more than you work." It seems what we have here is the classic theme of "failure to communicate" further complicated by the age-old maxim: "There are not enough hours in the day."

Will the city manager get help? Will the councilman continue his Frank Sinatraesque view of the problem?

And, in the meantime, will discussions at City Council meetings ever lose their smack of "na-na, na-na, boo-boo; stick your head in doo-doo"?

"I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet,
A pawn, and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out,
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race!

"That's life! (That's life)
I tell ya, I can't deny it.
I thought of quittin', baby,
But my heart just ain't gonna buy it.
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try,
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly."

From "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mr. Perfect Versus the Well-Groomed Man

What makes women crazy about a man? I have read about women and their dreams of landing a perfect specimen of a U.S. male. You know the "hot" features that draw the eyes of a woman: a V-shaped, athletic body; broad shoulders and a strong chest; a flat, six-pack tummy; narrow hips and muscular legs; a narrow butt; sensitive, kind eyes; a high nose and a strong chin; and even a large member in the nether regions. 

All of these things are undoubtedly sexy attributes, yet most males are lucky to have one or two absolutely "hunky" features to impress the ladies. But, don't despair, gentlemen. All guys can benefit from understanding there are some body parts that men think women don't notice, yet they may check them out as much as the traditional He-man features.

Yep, we are talking about grooming. Personal grooming plays an essential role in enhancing one’s personality. And, remember, a lot depends on a person's first impression. Grooming and hygiene help men to make a mark of their own in the first meeting itself. Many men wrongly think that personal grooming is for females only. This is untrue.

Every individual irrespective of gender should look clean, fresh and hygienic. All men can enhance their appearance with good grooming. In fact, a study by GQ and Allure magazines (2010) found that 63 percent of men surveyed say they like their morning grooming routine, and 72 percent say they feel more pressure to care about what they look like.

Accordingly, men are spending more money on their grooming products because they’re using more of them. In 2010, the found that was an average of 11 products to a woman’s 16 products, and they’re getting more expensive versions of the products they need.

According to Pat Guenther, vice president of pharma, wellness and personal care at Multi-sponsor Surveys, “In the men’s grooming market, grooming dollars follow grooming attitudes. Casuals and Respectable Joes report spending on average between $31 and $37 respectively over 12 months on personal grooming tools or appliances. Lookin’ Hot and Cool Customers on the other hand spend nearly twice as much in a year’s time—on average between $62 and $64, respectively.”

(Pat Guenther. “The 2012 Study of Men’s Grooming Appliances & Tools”)   

Let's look at some male body parts that benefit from good grooming: 

1- Eyebrows
2- Nails
3- Skin
4- Feet
5- Ear/nose hair
6- Teeth

Without getting into how to keep all of these parts well groomed, I chose just to include this list as a reminder that there is considerable ground for improvement in all of these areas. Men can become much more attractive to females if they simply practice daily good grooming -- how much attention to spend and how much improvement to make are up to the individual. Suffice it to say that any improvement will be appreciated by the fairer sex.

The entry on the skin is mainly about taking care of skin. Men’s skin is different than women’s skin. It is up to 40% thicker, pumps out five times more oil, and contains more sebaceous glands. Different skin and hair conditions are also much more frequent in men, including rosacea/rhinophyma, acne scarring and male pattern hair loss, to name a few. Men’s skin also ages differently than women’s, losing collagen more rapidly after the age of 30. Many skin improvement products are readily available over-the-counter.

How about hairy men as a turn-on? A relatively new, popular male skin practice is known as manscaping. I really don't understand the appeal, but the Multi-sponsor Surveys of 2014 report a sizeable proportion of men -- 39% -- remove body hair below the neck (aka "manscaping) at some point, up from only 6% in 2005. The increase in body hair removal among all age groups suggests that men are continuing to remove body hair even as they age.

The manscaping trend is sharply skewed toward millennials and Hispanic men, among whom majorities -- 57% and 58%, respectively -- report body hair removal. For these men, it is just part of their total grooming routine, with the majority agreeing that "removing body hair helps a man look and feel well-groomed."

("Study: Majority of Millennial Males Manscape." Mult-sponsor Surveys. July 23, 2014)

Here is a simple checklist that men can use as an aid to good grooming: 
  • Shower
  • Wash your hair
  • Wash your ears (inside, out, and behind)
  • Brush and floss
  • Clip your nails (includ­ing your toenails)
  • Shave or trim your facial hair
  • Pluck stray hairs on the bridge of your nose and eyebrows
  • Apply a neu­tral antiper­spi­rant and taste­ful cologne
  • Wear clean underwear
  • Wear freshly laun­dered clothes
As far as clothes go, a few simple suggestions can improve the look groomed men desire:
  1. Wear clothes that fit. When it comes to cloth­ing, fit is king. Most guys wear cloth­ing that is too big for them, because it’s com­fort­able or because they can’t be both­ered to shop for cloth­ing that fits well. Also a lot of guys are self-conscious about their body and try to hide it with loose cloth­ing. A good fit accen­tu­ates your body and even mod­est cloth­ing will look good if it fits well.
    • With shirts, the shoul­der seam should extend to the end of the shoul­der, not any further.
    • On dress shirts, the cuffs should not extend past the wrist bone.
    • The bot­tom of your pants or jeans should rest gen­tly on the top of your shoes.
    • Your pants should never slip off your waist with­out a belt.
  2. Match. Most straight guys have a hard time with color coor­di­na­tion, but match­ing is easy when you know what to look for:
    • Your belt should match your shoes and/or your accessories.
    • If you’re wear­ing dress pants, your socks should match your pants.
    • If you’re wear­ing jeans, your socks should match your shoes.
    • Less is often more, so try not to wear too many col­ors at once. 
  3. Acces­sorize. Acces­soriz­ing will help you to spruce up your look, but don’t overdo it just for the sake of it. 
    • A nice watch goes a long way to increase your style and status.
    • A scarf can round off an out­fit really well and make you look extremely fashionable. 
    • A neck­lace can accen­tu­ate the neck and shoul­ders and can cre­ate a sense of power and dominance.
    • A bracelet can accen­tu­ate your hands and arms. Whether metal or leather, make sure they match the col­ors and style of your outfit.
    • You can put a ring on any fin­ger, but avoid the left ring fin­ger for obvi­ous reasons.
    • Sun­glasses can cre­ate a sense of mys­tery and power. Find a pair that com­pli­ments your head shape.
  4. Dress to your per­son­al­ity. Dress­ing to your per­son­al­ity and lifestyle is impor­tant in pro­ject­ing a con­gru­ent image and it will help you to attract women with sim­i­lar tastes and inter­ests. If dress­ing like a rock star fits your per­son­al­ity, then do it. If you’re a top account­ing exec­u­tive, you should dress like a styl­ish and suc­cess­ful exec­u­tive. If you’re into surf­ing then, by all means, go for a surfer look etc.
("Style and Personal Grooming Tips for Men."

So, even if a man is not a perfect specimen of feminine desire or a chiseled, hot property, he can definitely use grooming to improve his sex appeal. This entry may seem incredibly simplistic; however, I am sure many males need good grooming suggestions. Many men seem to assume spending any time looking good is basically wasted energy, and it is evident many guys who groom too little are not even remotely appealing to female tastes.  

Saying all of this, I do believe some males need to understand that overdoing their "animal sexiness" creates an image that is much too strong and even frightening to attractive females. For instance, a great deal of men do not understand the difference between an overpowering scent vs. a subtle scent in a cologne, so they buy into the "more is better" fallacy.

And, I'm sure there are plenty of men who use makeup these days. I guess that is an option, but it is wise to realize the risks of any bold, artificial change.

I would think it might be wise for a man to talk to a trusted female about grooming techniques. Cosmetologists can offer useful suggestions for improvement. Or, it might be that just a little more personal attention to grooming could do wonders. Hygiene issues such as bad breath, chapped lips, and shaggy facial hair can make a prospective girlfriend run for cover.

A well-groomed man with a good-paying job and a genuine, caring personality can be the "catch" a beautiful woman keeps. In these days of the Wal-Martian mentality of personal upkeep and dress, the well-groomed male certainly is a refreshing sight for many sore feminine eyes. Looking "clean" and "sharp" may be just the ticket to a male makeover for dating success.