Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Peaceful demonstration or rioting?

The situation in Baltimore has prompted a great deal of emotion. On one side you have those very upset over what they regard as police abuse and therefore taking their feelings to the street.  On the other side you have those condemning the violence that occurred Monday night.

Aggravating both sides are remarks and/or actions of well-known people who represent one or the other extreme.

Take for example an interview I heard on the Today show Tuesday morning.  Savannah Guthrie was interviewing a prominent religious leader.  She kept trying to get the man to say that the violence was unacceptable because there are better ways to deal with the problem.  He wouldn't do it.  He basically condoned what the rioters were doing.  Al Sharpton was basically on board with this.

Therein lies at least part of the problem.  There is a very important difference in my mind between peaceful protest and random violence and rioting.  Community leaders who do or will not recognize this are hurting their communities a great deal.

On an encouraging note, there were a number of residents who decried the rioters and  stood along side the police.  One mother, now famous, even chased her son away from the scene. 

Let's hope there is more of this but let's go further.  Let's take seriously the core concerns of people who see themselves as victims of police aggression.

Thus endeth my rant for the day.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

And so it continues...

I recently received the following email message from a friend of mine:

Things I trust more than Hillary Clinton:

* Mexican tap water
* A rattlesnake with a "pet me" sign
* OJ Simpson showing me his knife collection
* A fart when I have diarrhea
* An elevator ride with Ray Rice
* Drinks offered by Bill Cosby
* Michael Jackson's Doctor
* An Obama Nuclear deal with Iran
* A Palestinian on a motorcycle
* Gas station Sushi
* A Jimmy Carter economic plan
* Brian Williams news reports
* Loch Ness monster sightings
* Prayers for peace from Al Sharpton

It seems as Obama's time in office draws to a close, we can now look forward to a year and a half of Hillary-bashing.  This isn't the first message I've received where Hillary Clinton is the target and I'm sure there will be many more.

I'm so looking forward to the political season, aren't you?  The "joking" seems to get more and more nasty.  Much of what I have received or seen elsewhere about Obama has been downright racist.

What's more, overwhelmingly the targets are democrats.  Why is that?  Are republicans simply meaner people?  Well, maybe. But I think a better reason is that the current pack of republican wannabees who seem to think they're suitably presidential are such a laughable stock of buffoons that there simply doesn't need to be anything more to be said.  They're doing fine destroying their own characters on their own.  They sure don't need any more help. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015


What would you do if you heard those words coming from behind you?  Would you run? duck and cover (that's what I would do)? Turn around and put your hands up? Pull out your iPhone and start recording? Just keep walking?

The right-and smart-thing to do is stop, turn around with your hands clearly in view and wait for further instructions or information.

However, as we have seen over and over on numerous occasions, that is not what many a "person of interest" has done.  Instead, they have run.  The inevitable resulting police chase never turns out well because first there's always someone around recording an out-of-context scenario and second the police and their intended "person of interest" are now on high alert, adrenaline pumping and emotions running high.  We've all seen what happens next on the evening news ad nauseam.

BUT, and this is a big but (no pun intended), why do we see so many incidents of blatant and inappropriate behavior from police?  How much more of this is happening that we don't see?  Is it regional in nature or endemic to all PDs?  What kind of training are police given to address the issue?

Lots of questions, yes, but important ones.   Absolutely, the overwhelming majority of men and women in blue are good, decent, well trained officers of the law.  So in my never-ending quest to make the earth a better place than I found it, here are a few suggestions for police officers across the nation:

1. Make more of an effort to use nonlethal force, i.e. tasers, etc.
2. Assume every single thing you're doing is being video taped whether it be in a dark alley at 2 A.M. or in broad daylight on a heavily traveled city street. 
3. When you and your backup do finally have the guy down and cuffed, stop beating and kicking the crap out of him.  You did your job. You got him.  Let the courts do the rest.
4. Face the fact that you and possibly your fellow officers may be just a tad prejudice.  This is especially true for those of you who fight crime in areas where a large percentage of the perps are minority.
5. You have public relations departments.  Use them. Get them to bombard the media with all the good things you do.  YouTube for example has countless videos of police officers doing extraordinarily good things.  Those things need to make their way onto the evening news and into daily papers.
6. And finally to police administrators: do more to get rid of the bad apples who are spoiling the barrel.  You know how the public is always screaming about getting bad teachers out of the schools?  Well the same holds true for police.  Get the bad ones out of uniform. 

Tough to do?  Yes.  Easy for a 'civilian' like me to sit here and say what you should do? Undoubtedly.  But, still.  The police do not deserve the bad press they're receiving so if there's something here that can turn the tide of bad feeling then it's worth the criticism I may or may not face.

Good luck...and remember, nothin's easy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Want to be a farmer? I didn't think so.

I'm reading a book entitled "Some Luck" by Jane Smiley.  It's about a family of Iowan farmers and it covers a period of about 25 years. 

There are a number of themes that thread their way through the book i.e. self reliance, loyalty, individuality, struggle and hardship, the value and rewards of hard work,  but one of the most revealing to me is that dealing with the trials and tribulations of farming. 

It's amazing to me that anyone would want to do it.  Your dependence on the weather alone is enough to make one run for the city or suburbs.  Indeed there are fewer family farms every year-partly due to the rise of large agribusinesses.  It's impossible to compete with them.  But the lure of owning and working your own land is a powerful force and it's especially strong for those who were brought up on farms who just don't want any other kind of life.

I've always had enormous respect for farmers.  When I was a boy I spent part of every summer on my uncle's farm.  He started out as a dairy farmer and later became a chicken farmer.  I would get up every morning with him and follow him around doing the many chores of the farmer.  I actually liked it-especially when he let me drive the tractor!

Farming is an extremely important part of the development of America.  Was a time when the farm was the hub of the community.  In fact my grand daughter is going on a school field trip soon to Sturbridge Village, MA.  Sturbridge Village is set in the 1830s. She will see all kinds of craftsmen doing their work and she will learn that each of them is also a farmer or one who is working long enough at their craft to have enough money to own a farm.  The farm in New England at that time was  everything.

Gone are those days-probably forever-and with them an important piece of American culture. I think that's a sad thing. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Odds and Ends

1. With warm, sunny weather finally here, I was able to get a lot done in the yard today-with Sadie's help of course.  And it looks as though the weekend is going to be just as fruitful.

2. I just discovered my wife has a book on her Kindle that I'm half way through in hard cover.  Hate when that happens.  Anyone want a free copy of "Some Luck" by Jane Smiley?

3. The workers are finishing up the job we're having done to our house.  One of them is in the driveway vacuuming up some harmless debris that spilled.  Unbelievable.  Neatest crew I've ever seen and they did a great job on newly insulated attic.  Goodbye ice dams (hopefully!) Looking to do energy upgrades on your house? Windows, insulation weatherization stuff like that? Call Dr. Energy Saver 800-328-1081

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dog/Fish Sitting

With Pete, Jen and the boys off to Disney World for school's spring break, we get to care for the two who couldn't go: Sadie and CNPJ (hard to pronounce so we just call it "fish").

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring is here...and what a mess!

The sun is out, temps are on the rise, the snow is gone and my annual early spring stroll around the yard has been completed. The conclusion?  The usual mess awaits me.  I don't know why I bother spending all that time blowing leaves in the fall.  They're just going to blow back over the winter. 

On top of that,  due to the unusually cold winter, I went into next year's wood supply so now I have to start scouting around for more. 

It's going to be a busy spring...but I don't care. I'm glad it's here.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Home from another great week in Naples.  The weather was perfect.  The gulf water was still a little cool but pool water was bath tub warm.

Since the week just completed seemed to be the spring break for many, the beaches were more crowded than I've ever seen.  Of course that meant the roads were equally busy but none of that interfered with our ability to have a good time.

A week in a warm place after a very bad winter is always welcome but it's especially nice when it's with family.

To see many pictures of the past week, click here and follow the photos link in the navigation bar.

Now it's back to the routine...for about a month. Then it's right back down to Naples for 10 more days. 

Yeah, I know.  It's a tough life.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Indiana's Answer to Everything

Getting tired of all the criticism?  Trying to find a way to silence the bleeding hearts?  Looking for that perfect solution to practice bigotry, racism and discrimination without having to endure the barbs of the far left media?

Look no further than Indiana.  They've found the perfect way to lump it all under one all-inclusive umbrella-religious freedom!

What a neat solution.  Now you can go ahead and discriminate all you want by just calling it your right to observe your religious preferences.  Never mind that the Constitution already guaranteed you that right.  Indiana has simply improved on it. 

We sure have come a long way as a nation, haven't we?!?