Election 2018

13 Nov

Thank heaven this election cycle is over.  The negative campaign advertisements drive me crazy.  At least there will be a short breather before the catastrophe called election 2020 begins.  It can only be worse!

Apparently, my Facebook postings, likes, retweets, etc. were successful.  My Republican friends suspect that my votes were completely for the Democrats while my Democrat friends believe exactly the opposite.  (My goodness, I used friends to characterize both groups. Is that even possible in 2018?  I’m probably a candidate for the loony bin.)  Frankly, my votes crossed party lines and even included candidates who were neither Republican nor Democrat.  (How shocking!)

Reviewing the election data for Hancock County, Ohio, elicited the following:

  • There are 51,652 registered voters in the county, and 28,273 voted (54.74 percent).
  • Of those voting,
    • 99.14 percent voted for Governor
    • 98.9 percent voted on Issue 1 involving penalties for drug offenses
    • 97.9 percent voted for United States Senator
    • 96.71 percent voted for Attorney General
    • 96.86 percent voted for Auditor
    • 97.32 percent voted for Secretary of State
    • 75.11 percent voted for the first Supreme Court Justice
    • 74.13 percent voted for the second Supreme Court Justice
    • 98.61 percent voted for Treasurer
    • 97.02 percent voted for state representative
    • 96.28 percent voted for state senator
    • 98.7 percent voted for United States Representative
    • 76.72 percent for county commissioner — uncontested
    • 78.35 percent for county auditor — uncontested
    • 66.09 percent for court of appeals judge — uncontested
    • 75.9 percent for Common Pleas Judge — uncontested
    • 61.79 percent for Common Pleas Judge (unexpired term) – uncontested

Looking at the percentages, the surprise is that voters in Hancock County focused on the state and federal congressional and administrative races and the constitutional issue while appearing less interested in who decides cases on the Ohio Supreme Court.  Why?  (Was it because of the absence of negative campaign ads?  Was it because the campaign advertisements didn’t begin in July about these races while the governor and United States senator races were contentious since the primaries?)

The percentages for the county offices and the court of appeals proffer no surprises.  They were all uncontested having been all decided in the primary election.  The votes may be attributed to those who simply wrap their trunk around the tail in front of them and follow blithely around the circus ring or those who simply bray and bray and bray.

Statistics be damned!  Wouldn’t competition among candidates result in greater voter turnout?

  • Perhaps some political science will pick up the ball and run with this topic.
  • Perhaps more people will register to vote.
  • Perhaps more registered voters will cast a ballot.
  • Perhaps it will foster the end of elections being determined in closed primaries.
  • Perhaps more candidates will run if they didn’t have to “kowtow” to a party. machine.
  • Perhaps there should be term limits.
  • Perhaps there should be campaign reform to limit “soft” money and the influence of special interests and lobbyists.
Advertisements

Mishandled Gift

6 Nov

Doesn’t charity begin at home?

Perhaps something should be said about either giving directly to a charity or institution or creating one’s own giving plan.

In 2001, an alumnus gave $30 million dollars to a university to

  • Create four endowed faculty chairs within a college
  • Start a merit scholarship program to provide full tuition and a stipend for 30 students
  • Establish a fund for innovation and excellence within a college
  • Award leadership for one student in each of three classes

Sadly, the university threw the $30 million in with other gifts in order to facilitate collective management.  The value has declined by 28 percent.  The university assessed a fee of 1.33 percent to “manage” the gift; however, a portion of this fee was used to develop further gifts to the university.  Instead of 30 scholarships being awarded annually, the university only gave 12 to 16 scholarships.

With such specific goals in mind, handling this gift outside the university would have

  • Allowed active management of the gift
  • Monitored use of the gift
  • Provided oversight

Charity and trust go hand-in-hand.  A belief exists that the charity or institution will use the gift in a charitable way.  Careful oversight remains necessary to ensure its proper employment.

Sleight of Hand

2 Oct

Politicians, news entertainers, and pundits practice sleight-of-hand.  They’re conjurers.  They’re prestidigitators.  They’re tricksters.  They use psychology.  They practice tricks.  They employ misdirection.  They embrace natural choreography to accomplish a magical effect.

  • We’ll protect your money while reaching deeply in our pockets.
  • We’ll protect your rights while silently taking them away.
  • We’ll protect your interests while allowing statutes, administrative rules and regulations, and court decisions to further the interests of lobbyists and special interests.
  • We’ll tell you what’s REALLY important while acting vigorously against our rights and interests while we watch helplessly at what they want us to concentrate on.

Is there “fake news”?  Certainly!  Every news entertainer employs it.  Whom do news entertainers want to look bad?  Whom do news entertainers want to appear to be the people’s savior?  There was a time when it would have simply been called a lie, and probably would never have seen the light of day.  It’s sleight of hand.

Today, politicians only want to tell us what, they believe, we want to hear; it’s spin.  An entire industry exists just to create spin with biased surveys and polls.  It’s fake news.  It’s pseudo- psychology, sociology, and statistics.

Today, news entertainers only want to further their own agenda.  Consequently, the reports and articles contain little, if any, truth.  If the devil were running for public office, the news media would provide an endorsement IF the devil’s plan fit with the media’s agenda.  It’s misdirection.

At one time, a conservative pundit lamented that there was simply too much information in the world today.  To help, the pundit offered to digest this vast amount of data and present only the important parts to listeners (with commentary, of course).  Some accepted the offer hook, line, and sinker.  Others found different pundits to do the same thing for their particular political persuasion.  However, some remembered a political indoctrination class (high school government).  The class compared various political systems.  The teacher stressed one advantage of our system – Freedom of Speech.  Other political systems had information controlled by the government, i.e., the people only heard what the government wanted them to hear.  Those who bought into the pundits from either side of the aisle have adopted another political system, i.e., they only hear what their pundit wants them to hear.  It makes it ideal for the illusionists.

What is really going on with the government?  What’s happening if the spin is removed?  Without the spin, voters might exercise appropriate oversight over our government.

What is really being reported in the newspapers and news programs?  Snippets of conversations and interviews color the reporting.  Any interview can be cut to make the interviewee look either like a demi-god or a goat.  If the corporate bias were removed, what would be reported?  What must be kept hidden?  (Those who only get information from one source must be forgiven.  Sadly, three or four different bases must be searched in hopes of finding a kernel of reality.)

Pundits would better serve society by cleaning out cattle barns; however, many lack the strength of character to perform the job successfully.

Like an audience watching a magician, we’re concentrating on what the magician wants us to.    It looks like an ordinary, natural, innocent gesture, but what’s really happening?

#MeToo

27 Sep

The #MeToo movement ….

Stories of sexual abuse of power by religious are of biblical proportion.  Is there any other import to 2 Samuel 11 – the lust of David, the seduction of Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah?  Little has changed. Stories abound of religious seducing, raping, or taking advantage of

  • Altar boys
  • Children
  • Penitents
  • Church secretaries
  • Employees
  • Parishioners

Stories of sexual abuse by those in the entertainment industry are historical.  How long have there been stories of the casting couch?  This theme has even found regular play in the industry itself through television programs like How I Met Your Mother and in a variety of movies some of which are captured in The Casting Couch in Classic Hollywood Movies.  So, the escapades of Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Asia Argento, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley, and others are far from new.  To believe otherwise is to be terribly naïve.  To believe that these things could not happen to you means that you don’t have a firm grasp on reality.

Stories of sexual abuse by those in government have been around for forever.  Was there the practice of jus primae noctis (a noble’s right to take the virginity of peasant women) in medieval society?  Members of Congress had (have) a practice of abusing congressional pages.  Presidents of all parties have abused power for sexual purposes.  To believe otherwise is to be terribly naïve.  To believe that these things could not happen to you means that you don’t have a firm grasp on reality.

Stories of sexual abuse in business and education equal those of religion and government.  The AARP magazine chronicled a law firm’s senior partner unreported rape of a summer intern.  The 10 examples of harassment describe behaviors that can result in complaints and litigation.  (Since off-color stories are included in the 10 examples, a former colleague regularly told off-color stories at department meetings without recrimination.  That pretty much set the tone for the institution.) However, it still continues today.  To believe otherwise is to be terribly naïve.  To believe that these things could not happen to you means that you don’t have a firm grasp on reality.

Isn’t the resurrection of alleged events that occurred 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or more years ago troubling?.

  • Was it consensual?
  • Was alcohol involved?
  • Were drugs used?
  • Was it rape?
  • Was it sexual battery?
  • Was it groping?
  • Was it petting? (Anything that happens between the neck and the knees.)
  • Was there a “relationship”?
  • Was it consensual until the “relationship” ended? (The jilted lover?)
  • If it was consensual, was there regret afterwards? (A college student’s sexual harassment complaint admitted to consenting to fondling and cunnilingus but became remorseful because good, Christian girls don’t.)
  • What was the situation?

So many questions ….

Admittedly, a double standard exists.  However, a double standard doesn’t excuse the behavior, and “no” means don’t even begin and if it has begun to stop, cease, desist, discontinue, halt, end ….

Simply because these things have occurred since the beginning of time doesn’t make them right.  But … hiding in everyone’s past is an encounter that probably shouldn’t have, and could probably be classified as some category of sex crime and/or sexual harassment today.  Should every one of those events see the light of day to be investigated, prosecuted, explained, and defended?

The #MeToo movement ….

 

Politics

23 Sep

I hate politics.

It strikes me that party trumps country, state, county, or city.  That’s wrong!  Politicians can play party UNTIL elected, but once elected the standard ought to be what’s in the best interest of the country, state, county, or city … and party be damned.

Congress sits divided: the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right.  This shouldn’t be!  It fosters group think … and party conformity.  Perhaps state delegations should sit together.  (Or, maybe, the elementary school paradigm should be adopted and the legislators should sit in alphabetical order.)

On Constitution Day, a speaker asked, “How many believe that our elected officials represent you?”  No one raised his or her hand.   (Isn’t that why our elected officials were chosen to begin with?)  That’s wrong!  Why do we keep re-electing them?

It’s wrong to play politics to disenfranchise voters such as voiding registrations because the registrations are not on the “proper” weight paper.  (Ohio tried it.)

It’s wrong to deny voting rights because of a physical or mental disability. (Poll workers have refused to allow citizens with disabilities to vote.)

It’s wrong to accept money and gifts to vote a particular way.  (It’s all that special interest and lobbyist money.)

It’s wrong that elected officials respond to inquiries by simply spouting the party line and failing to address the questions presented. (My representative did.)

It’s wrong that the media continue to identify our elected officials by party instead of simply by office.  Too many people turn off when the party designation is revealed.  (Sadly, I must admit that I turn off when politicians speak.  Politicians lie.  Politicians can’t answer questions.  Politicians always try to tell me what the pollsters tell the politicians what the pollsters think I want to hear. Politicians only seem to really care about me when it comes time for re-election’ otherwise, I’m a nuisance.)

Is it at all surprising that I hate politics?

Misinformation

18 Sep

Wasn’t it obvious?  An African-American had been elected president; wasn’t it time for a woman?  It was “Her Story.” She was entitled!

The nomination process had been successfully choreographed.  It didn’t matter what other candidates might do; the nomination was in the bag.  Let the people choose whomever they wanted, the super delegates would deliver the nomination to her!  It was her turn!

How much better could it have been?  The other party nominated a buffoon!  Who, in their right mind, could even consider voting for the fool?  This election was truly wrapped up! What ever happened on November 8 would simply be a formality.  After all, she was entitled!

The campaign droned on.  Biased surveys and polls reinforced the candidates’ philosophy.  Speeches presented.  Positions remained flexible to accommodate the audience while each candidate (and party) craftily created their own version of reality depending upon the spectators.  Analyses made.  She had to win; it was her turn!

Everyone made mistakes. Faux pas happened to all parties. All candidates and parties applied spin to tell the voters want the voters wanted to hear.  Objectivity, if it had ever been present, vanished.  She was entitled!

All suffered delusions.  Every party and every candidate spread misinformation.  Was there tampering?  Of course, there was.  All the candidates did it; it’s a characteristic of the political process.  Internally, yes.  Externally, yes.  The truth cannot survive a political campaign; just watch any political advertisement or read any campaign literature; it’s pure spin to either play upon the ignorance of the reader or scare them into voting a particular way.  But … it was her turn!

How could anyone vote for the ass?  It’s inconceivable!  Wasn’t she entitled to the presidency?

Oh, there had been corruption in the process.  Tampering?  Outside influence?  Misinformation?  It had been arranged.  She had played with the process.  She employed people, organizations, and associations from inside and outside the country to sway the vote.  She spread lies.  She distributed money – political money, soft money, hard money, Citizens United money, foundation money.  It had been arranged.  The other party did everything she did, but she did it better, didn’t she? Damn it!  It WAS her turn!

Then came the dawn on November 9.  She carried the urban areas; they loved her.  The religious communities were not so embracing; there must be something about telling people that the government’s values supersede those taught in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, and on a loving mother’s lap even if you ARE entitled.  The forgotten rural areas were even less so.  While the popular vote resides in the big cities, the rural areas generally determine how the electoral votes are cast.  She should have been beware of the stupid, ignorant, uneducated deplorables even if it was her turn.

It really was “her story.”  It was a story of manipulation.  It was a story of entitlement.  It was a story of misinformation.  It was a story of outside influence.  It was a story of choreography.  It had worked previously.  However, people need to believe that they are part of the process and that the message resonates with them. This is politics; it isn’t the second grade playground, and no one cares whose turn it is.

Yesterday, I Saw the Devil

19 Aug

Yesterday, I saw the devil.

Although the calendar said August, the temperature dipped.  After days in the high 80s and low 90s, it seemed cool although, frankly, if this were April instead of August the university women would be preparing to worship the sun. Patchy fog developed and gathered in the troughs among the hillocks.  The soybeans, alfalfa, corn and the weeds growing in the wheat stubble hung heavy with dew.

I was bound for Findlay, Ohio, from my home in Upper Sandusky.  My immediate route took me north on Mifflin Township Road 97, just one of those meandering, one-lane country highways that require the utmost courtesy when meeting a traveler headed the other direction.  (Sharing the road takes on a new meaning when the right side of your vehicle is on the berm instead of the asphalt.)  It would be preposterous to even consider passing a vehicle going the same way while patience is developed when following farm machinery.  It’s the kind of byway that my father would have enjoyed; his father’s eye would assess the corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. I still hear his admonition to “slow up” so that he could take it all in.

As I rounded a bend on Township Highway 97 about thirty-two hundred feet from State Route 294, there stood the devil about fifty feet from the road on my right in the soybean field.

Just his head was visible.  Our eyes met for a fleeting instant.  He stood immobile.  He appeared just like my Sunday School teacher described him with horns … dark skin … bulbous nose … black eyes.  Cloven foot?  Probably, but I couldn’t see because the lower part of his body was hidden by the soybeans.  Involuntarily my right foot pressed the accelerator; I sped away … all the while that voice in my head — my father’s voice — urged me to “slow down.”  Thank you, no.  I wanted to escape.

The image haunted me throughout the day.