Notes to Grandchildren – January 3, 2020

28 Jan

Grandchildren,

I smashed the middle finger of my right hand in the car door last night.  I wasn’t paying attention.  Damn, it hurt.  It bled.  It’s now black and blue.

Surprisingly I didn’t swear and use many of the words my father used regularly or that I heard in the Navy.  It’s a choice to give in to anger, frustration, or disappointment.  I was proud that I didn’t.

Love,

Grandfather

Notes to Grandchildren – January 2, 2020

27 Jan

Grandchildren,

Never stop reading.  The world opens its doors through a book whether it’s in the “old” format that I know so well or in some “new” form that you will embrace.  Because we all want to be freer, fearless, and achieve a sense of peace always read and meditate on what great minds have said.

Love,

Grandfather

Notes to Grandchildren – January 1, 2020

26 Jan

Grandchildren,

Keep in mind that there are things you can control like your emotions and things you can’t control like the weather or what others do.  Focus on the things within your power and you’ll have a better life.

Love,

Grandfather

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.

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 ….