Monday, July 28, 2014
I am not the boldest person alive and really don't like stirring the pot, but a couple of things have happened and I just have a couple of questions banging around in my head that I just have to put out there.
First I am an old white male, just so you know.
I mentioned in a previous post that local politics is about to get very interesting. One of Dallas County's commissioners was arrested by FBI for a variety of charges. And this gentleman has been a very strong activist for African Americans and even to the point of being polarizing in some people's eyes. Many in our local African American community feel he was targeted because he is very vocal.
He has been involved in local politics for decades and has been very vocal and even flamboyant the whole time too. Many people respect what he has done for his community. And his arrest leaves many in the African American community upset and who knows, they may be rightfully upset. As a constitutionalist I have to advocate for him innocent until proven guilty. So for now my question is hypothetical, but assumes some things. And of course this is where my point can get lost in all the hyperbole of addressing is this a true race issue or is it something else.
So, hypothetically lets presume there is some merit to the FBI's charges and our friend may face real jail time. How is this handled by the African American community. Will they continue to support him at all costs? Or can they separate the good he did from the mistakes he may have made and basically ignore the race card and address the issue of the person. Can all the good he did for the community be emphasized so young people can emulate that and the community also recognize the mistakes and teach young people the difference so they can even further his work in the right direction? I think my point is it is 2014, when can we start trying to find a reasonable balance in what we do and our expectations of people as a person without any other issues hindering what is the reality. I am treading water here to hopefully walk a line to open honest discussion without inflaming the problem of the race issue.
And he is innocent until proven,guilty. He is so well known here that I am using his story as an example of how we all might could move forward innocent or guilty.
Some version of this next story occurred.
Say you are walking through a store and as you turn the aisle you see a woman/Mother hit her child two or three times and say I am going to beat your @$$.
Now this is hard enough to address even if you were to know the person, much less a complete stranger. Yet something should be done, you just can't let a child get hit, even if not hard enough to cause bruising etc.. All of us have an obligation to protect the innocent. (innocent in the general sense, for all I know the child could have called Mom a nasty name etc..) And this possible incident was witnessed by multiple people of a diverse group, but no one seemed to know what to do. In,many cases I have approached store mgt. to alert them of a possible problem. And I have worked in environments where I would and did address these types of issues, but what happens when an old white male addresses concern when he sees a young black female slap her ten year old child. How is that perceived? Do I look like I am helping the child? Or do I look like someone being critical of a different race?
And this question so bothered me that I almost went up to a semi young black male and asked him what he would have thought. I know he thinks I am crazy because I just stopped and stared at him for a second trying resolve in my head how crazy he would think I am. Yet he was in the vicinity so the thought did strike me to ask what should we do.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. How does the world view the villager when he isn't the same?"
Some crazy thoughts in this mixed up world where a little reason would help us all.
Friday, July 25, 2014
As a follow up to my Ukraine worst case scenario, my advice: put savings in local banks and credit unions. Even if I am completely wrong (hope I am) putting money in smaller institutions will help your local environment so hopefully a reasonable idea.
As a conservative I don't like too much government interference in our lives, but somethings are more important. Water is something that needs its own set of rules and we especially need to keep it from becoming a commodity. Absence of a national policy for now, a quick idea would be graywater systems should be a requirement in local building codes going forward. Not real impactive in the huge picture, but right now every little bit can help.
I am curious. Just read Bloomberg article about Paul Ryan's new budget proposal. Feeling a bit emboldened here, some of the philosophical reasoning for the changes match up with some of my ideas from the platform I wrote first of the year. It is tactically different, but similar in ideas and reasoning.
And things are about to get really hot here in North Texas and I am not talking about the weather. John Wiley Price,, a local County commissioner was arrested for a variety of indiscretions and abuse of office along with some others in cohorts with him. This could get real interesting if some of the fall out starts to bring in business interests alluded to are involved. This is round two of this story, but the FBI is involved and this time there could be much more. This will make county elections going forward real fun . More to come.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Good evening everyone,
I usually try to keep my thoughts/posts etc inline with rational thinking, occasionally I do get a bit snide. There are times though when the world gets the better of me, (okay a bunch of times). And lately I have been swimming hard to stay out of the deep end, but my brain just won't stop so I am going to quit fighting the current and float around here on the edge for a few moments.
I do try to avoid certain conversations though. I am not a big conspiracy buff. Or am I obsessed with trying to match up Biblical quotes and verses to what is currently happening in the world. I have a client where I work who I get along with socially who was going down this path the other day. It amazes me that people get so wrapped up in this thinking. Anyway I wanted to preface my insanity by saying I believe more that it is more important in what we do than worrying about what is going to happen.
So up first: Ukraine
First of all I want to offer my condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of this tragedy and travesty. The US entered WW I because of a ship being sunk if my memory serves correctly. I don't think this is similar, but I am having a hard time trying to remember anything that is such a horrible incident in history. There was no reason for this to have happened. So much sadness for these families while whoever is responsible will be able to avoid any accountability because all the world leaders will play games posturing themselves. Again my condolences to these families who may never see justice.
So where does that leave us. My worst case scenario is Putin does feel too much pressure and starts to get desperate. He is in a dangerous position with some heavy weight options. And yes one is nuclear, but I think Putin knows that wouldn't do him any good. And with any "world leader" it will always come back to themself. No, I think he has other options to distract World attention away from blame being put on him directly or indirectly. My worst case practical solution he might employ is an all out cyber attack specifically at us. Maybe not Europe at all or as much since he still has energy leverage. Some warnings that things could be going south for him and he may start getting ramped up is if money starts flying out of Russia. I read one article where the billionaires in Russia are afraid of Putin. Now I don't know how true that is, but if they start sending money out and try to leave Putin,maybe up to something they want no part of and may try to stash cash to avoid losses if they think US banking or international banking maybe under attack.
Putin gains time to regain control and maybe advance if we have to spend weeks to months picking up the pieces of an injured infrastructure or banking system. And if hard enough another possible multi year recession which will be about the death knell of the middle class unless we really get to work on who we elect to put us back together.
Next up: The Islamic State
On a side note I am writing this with Talking Heads "Life during Wartime" playing un the background. I must have chosen "Stop Making Sense subconsciously for this one...." does anyone have any questions"
Okay, back to being extreme and the IS.
First of all condolences to all the people who have been overrun by this madness. And madness is nowhere near strong enough to describe how off the chart this group is becoming. I have no idea how the human brain can even begin to believe what they are doing as any iota of righteousness to what they are doing. And yes I know I am writing from the perspective of Western smugness, but at some point how does the human condition become so perverse that this insanity is considered a norm. It is the 21st century, but it seems we just can't move forward on an evolutionary scale. And hopefully I am not too misguided about human evolution and perspective. Western greed isn't exactly a good move forward in human development, but these barbaric atrocities you read about is just impossible to comprehend these are humans.
And yes this is about IS and I am scared to death of these psychopaths my paranoia runs to another groups lack of action. And to me this actually affects the US in a different way and beyond us getting involved in a war. It is more how we get involved that is playing the paranoid thoughts inhabiting my brain.
My thoughts are; where are the Saudi's in all this? Yes they put some troops on the border, but as usual they are strangely absent. And I believe they will stay that way. They feel a bit above the fray, the royal family does. They surely don't want to get their hands dirty etc... And you know this IS will be looking their way sooner or later and they won't give a damn about Saudi money, maybe at first they could be appeased with some to build resources, but sooner or later Mecca will call.
So what is a Saudi royal to do? Buy an American election. And between the Supreme Court throwing our Constitution out the window with some of their rulings on campaign money and with enough money in this country tied up in oil and the MIC (military industrial complex), add a war mongering propaganda machine set up and this may not be that far fetched. Yep, a bunch of rich paranoid, if not legitimately frightened Saudis could funnel in enough money under the table to help sway an election where we enter the fray for all the wrong reasons and come out smelling worse than we ever have and so bogged down in a quagmire that destroys every hope of democracy surviving much less actually become a government option ever in the future. We really need to get our country back before mankind is left with perpetual war and a ruling class of much less than one percent with their sole goal to be the last one standing. All along wasting us and this planet till the dinosaurs come back.
And now for third and final chapter of madness this evening.
And this is: Israel and Gaza.
And yes more prayers and condolences for the families of this smaller bit of craziness, but with the potential to escalate. The difference in this situation there is a history of this fighting being put back on hold. It never seems to go away, it is just the thorn in the side of humanity that could at anytime erupt into those wonderful Biblical end times, And this time though it seems the least dangerous of three until you add the three together.
For this chapter I will keep my fears to this as a singular event. Adding the three together would make any sane person go over the edge.
And this one has the obvious fear of Iranian involvement. Maybe fortunately Iran is tied up helping Syria and Iraq they can't jump in or.... Somehow someway Iran is able to do something horrid hidden under the smokescreen of the IS fighting. A well placed terrorist nuclear attack, but really masterminded by Iran would tip the scales to such a large war that the only save place to live would be China as somehow I just keep thinking they are waiting out the West, Russia, and Middle East and plan on picking up the pieces. And I know throwing China in as a wild card seems out of place, but this is my paranoid dream so it goes where it goes.
Anyway a well directed mis directed attack by Iran is not being ruled out in my mind. The fallout from that could possibly be the fall of civilization as we know it.
Okay, okay lets try to be sensible now. And it goes back to the beginning, do we sit around and watch this happen. Or do we realize maybe we do have free will, but not just for ourselves, but for the choices we make as mankind? Can we rise up to the task of truly being judged for our actions?
Some crazy thoughts coming from the usual hotter than heck summer night here in North Texas. I hope your dreams are much more pleasant than mine.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I previously wrote a post where the point was suppose to be how we don't think for ourselves. The goal was to set up future posts about how we put band aids on issues and problems instead of trying to find the real solution. I had to rush the ending so I don't know how others may have perceived it. Anyway I wanted to go forward with some discussions, however, since then a few things have happened which though fit partially into this thinking.
I really wanted to talk about current events and how we handle the issue. The first example is the children coming from Central America and all the people thinking if we build a large enough fence the problem will go away. Again putting a band aid on cancer. Until we address why these children are coming we truly won't solve the problem. We need to think this through instead of spending billions, yes, it will make it more difficult for the children to get into the country, but the problem still exists. And this is something I would like to discuss further, but am going to wait for another day.
This issue hits real close to home that is an enormous problem facing just about everyone so much so that we need to sit down and think about what we need to do. The current practice is okay, but there are so many pieces to the puzzle and the puzzle will be different for every family. What we are doing and will need to do will incur an enormous strain on us individually and as a country that we cannot even begin to let it sit or go forward and just hope for the best.
First a bit of background. I watched my Mother suffer through a physically debilitating disease. She suffered for years. The medical costs were huge, and the emotional toll was excruciating. And of course no one is really prepared to watch their parent suffer.
Now I am going through round two with my wife as we live through her Mother having dementia. And actually the situation with our Mothers overlapped a bit as my Mother in law was already past the start of dementia when my Mother passed. And unfortunately both my wife and I lost our Dads at relatively young ages so we had to take on the care of our parents.
And where does a person start? This is the third event of dementia I have been involved with in my family. Lucky for me the first two were indirect. By the time the disease or affliction truly became an issue I was out of the picture and only heard the stories of what was happening to them. And these stories did give me an idea and some preparation of what was to come, yet until you live with it day to day you cannot completely understand the severity. And I don't care what the TV shows do there is nothing cute or funny about this at all. This is a mean and sad life for anyone this afflicts. And on a side note while I think about this, if someone says don't worry about going to see someone now because they may or may not remember you or you don't want to see them because they aren't the same person etc...you do need to go see them. Even if they are far enough along and maybe its a grandparent you haven't seen in awhile because of distance or whatever the reason...go and see them. I regret not going to see my Grandmother even though she was thousand miles away and my Mom said don't worry about it. You have to go and I can pretty much tell you it won't be pleasant. The fact is you remember them and as with any grieving process you will need to come to terms with what has happened. And the sooner you get involved in dealing with the issue the sooner you can begin to heal
And I tell you the above because I regretted not seeing my Grandmother, but also because I am watching many members of my wife's family struggling with her Mother. Some of the family waited to deal with this issue for years and now as we go through a week in ICU, they don't know what to do. My Mother in law has been through a very horrible last five years of her life and if you hadn't been part of it seeing her now as she is hurts. This poor woman with dementia/Alzheimer s has been through fractured bone, multiple surgeries, possible stroke (and the story behind that is crazy and why we need to address elder care better), and a host of minor health issues that when you add it all up she is barely a shell of who she once was. A person just can't come to terms with the person,they are now seeing in ICU and think is this my sister, aunt, grandparent etc.. And there is no healing in your heart for a long time.
And on another side note, this is pretty disjointed post because I am typing this on a smart phone with no editing capabilities in between going back and forth between the room, lobby, 11pm dinners and moving family around as they come into town to help my wife since she is now spending the 24/7 at the hospital now. Many have come and are helping, but as I said earlier they are unsure how to be involved because they haven't been involved all along. So again don't let others dictate to you or don't be so fearful yourself that you don't go. We all have to begin the grieving process at some point. With dementia you have to start early so you can begin the healing process while they are still alive. Believe me I am watching a few people struggling right now.
And with all that said we, as a society, have our work cut out for us, yes with dementia, but also all of our elder care. I hate to say this, but if you don't believe me go to a nursing home or long term care and spend time. And unfortunately even if you go irregularly or just on weekends you won't see family for everyone. My wife definitely goes very regularly and is on the facility about the care, but for me I go to support her and don't go every visit, but you can tell who has family involved. We are lucky here and the place we go takes good care of everyone and we have been reassured of this in a variety of ways. Some places though just don't meet the grade. Back to family though and I know the regulars on my visits because they are up there all the time. It is a shame that for many, maybe not the majority, but too many you wonder at all if anyone comes.
It may be us I don't know, but I don't know what to say for the people in homes and no one seems to visit. My wife and I had her Mom with us for years before she got so bad we were just incapable of handling her. We even tried bringing her home after the first time we were told it would be better to put her in professional care. It just becomes too difficult and the risks become enormous trying to care for someone past a certain,point. And yet some people are able to do home care, but those people are a very special few. We even had ib home day care for awhile and it still was difficult. This post though wasn't suppose to be a criticism of family care and involvement.
The whole point is we need a whole new set of thinking about elder care. This isn't my usual pick an issue and comment about it or deride those who polarize an issue like the border and the children. No it is truly asking us to think and think hard. For good and bad, elder care has not become a political hot potato, but in some ways bad because no one seems to talk about it at all. There are experts, we have experienced great doctors and not so great doctors. I was on one to one speaking terms with my Mom's doctor, but did not take advantage of that near enough. You can find plenty of literature on all the health issues, etc.. I guess what I am trying to say is we have the knowledge, but not the will to shape any productive policy for elder care.
And let me say this I don't believe in socialized medicine in general, but something is going to have to give for elder care. And also Medicare and Medicaid as they stand now aren't the answer. It is going to have to be more than just a medical discussion or cost discussion, or family discussion, it will need to be all these discussions plus much much more And I know I put out much much more personal info than I normally like to or you may have wanted to read, but there may be many of you have already gone through similar experiences and it is you I need to help push the thinking on what needs to be done. And if you are young or middle age and blessed with parents in good health you still cannot ignore the issue because medical costs alone will eventually affect you even if the emotional costs don'r right now.
Elder care will have to be its own issue. Will social security, medicare etc need to be changed?,probably, but that is only policy. We also need to address some of these issues in our heart. And then we need to turn the definition of what is good care on its head. I don't believe we need 10,000 new federal agencies to monitor care facilities, but we need to know when someone is not getting the care a person deserves. And this is more than a term like quality care, more like what is dignified care. And of course who defines and administers all this. Yes I have many more questions than answers and that isn't fair to others if you want to make an issue out of something. And yet that was one of my points this shouldn't be just an issue, but something we all have to face should make it easier for us all to come together to be part of a real solution.
Some long and verbose ramblings while listening to the steady beeps from all the monitors these last few nights. Hopefully someday I can come back and tie this together bette. Maybe time and sleep will help. If you haven't already there will be a time in your life elder care will become a very pressing issue. I hope as a society we are farther along for you than where we are now.
Please keep my Mother in law in your thoughts and prayers. It may or may not be her time, but everyone needs to live a dignified life and we hope maybe some peace will come about for her and any of your family suffering..
Saturday, July 12, 2014
First of all the prosperity gospels are like worshiping false idols. I am not a theologian or know Bible verses by heart, but I don't think Jesus ever said follow me and you will receive multitude of riches, just don't think that is in there.
That being said I was somewhat impressed by what I heard the other night coming from someone on the surface and church I would not have expected to hear this. The person stated the preacher said you don't have to give to the church. In fact some of the congregation's tithing could, if not should, go directly to the poor.
Have you ever driven down a road or highway and seen those signs highway adopted by xyz organization etc.. and you wonder well...... We were up early today and lo and behold there were about ten to fifteen people out with the little plastic gloves on and trash bags cleaning up the side of the road we were traveling.
The other day I was walking through downtown by my work and quite honestly I have been pretty ticked at the world lately so I couldn't have been walking around with a big ole smile on my face, but just about everybody I passed acknowledged me in some way. They either smiled, nodded their head, and a FEW even said hi. I was beginning to feel a bit self conscious or something like these people knew something about me or something (like I pissed myself) Heck even the people at the bus stop looked up and acknowledged me as I passed. Flipping me out. A tourist randomly came up to me and asked me to take a picture of him sitting by a local landmark. At this point I am starting to feel guilty about my attitude. So I am like ready to take a few pictures so this guy gets what he wants, but he seemed quite pleased with the one picture and he went about his merry way. He had some European accent and all.
Anyway a few minor faith restored stories, now back to the regular BS.
If you read my blog regularly you know I am out to change our energy dynamic, however, truth be told I love road trips. A contradiction I have to admit to when it comes to using gasoline. I just love the solid sound of car doors shutting at dawn then pulling out of the driveway, family falling back to sleep as I start whatever destination is in store. The sun low in the sky reflecting out of the mirrors, the quiet of the highway at that hour, the openness especially when you get out of the city, and getting those first 2-3 hours in before everyone wakes up and starts wanting breakfast. And even when they are awake it is always great to be out far from civilization cruising to tunes and laughter. Yep we have put some serious miles over the years out west. One of these days I hope to get to big sky country.. Montana Wyoming etc.. And get some huge air under the tires and just go. Hopefully someday someone will make an electric car that can handle it.
Yes I am Grandpa nowadays, but I still love listening to a little Yes in the background. "seasons will pass you by, I get up /// I get down///..."
So enough of Lebron, will my Mavericks get to keep Chandler Parsons? I haven't seen any news so I hope Houston hasn't matched the Mavericks offer. Maybe not the biggest horse in free agency and the Mavericks may have paid a bit too much, but getting 25 year potential star is definitely a positive for the team especially getting Tyson back. Losing Calderon means we still need a few more pieces, but a bit of hope for next year.
And I have no idea what to say about the Texas Rangers except maybe we can bring some youth up to get their feet wet in the big leagues the second half of the season. Things just collapsed this year.
Okay I admit it, I do have a Lebron comment. I wish I had said it out loud sooner, but somewhere after game 2 and before game five Lebron decided to go back to Cleveland, maybe subconciously, maybe more consciously, but I think he was headed back. Go back and watch the games, he looked frustrated. Once Mr. Gilbert apologized it made it real easy to go back publically, but privately I think the "decision" was made during the finals. He just couldn't admit it till he got his apology so his out.
Tomorrow is the world cup final and we are looking forward to it. I got to say I think Germany is the better team and I should be routing for them. It was some Germans I meet in college decades ago that got me interested in Soccer. I watched a few world cup games with them and really picked up on the sport as a casual fan and over the years learned much more. So I have always had a bit of an affinity for the German team. This year though we are going New World and routing for Argentina and the whole family, extended family and friends are all in. Germany maybe technically better, but going with the emotions on this one. Go Argentina. And not quite sure how Pope Benedict and Francis feel about it, but you have to love the coincidence.
Kind of dropped off my last post before truly closing my thoughts, but had to go and editing on this phone is a nightmare. Plan to pick that back up someday once I can get my thoughts back around it.
And finally it is the usual hot as heck here in Texas, but they say, yes they say we may get a cool front next week with real rain and highs in the 80's. Heck this is almost as rare as snow in July. Any day below 90 for the next 8 weeks is a shocker.
Life is good, enjoy.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
The lost art of thinking....hmmm sounds like a great topic to post to your blog. Yet, try wrapping your brain around it and everything fizzles.
It all started because I got a gift card to a bookstore for Father's Day. And even though I like to read I couldn't think of a book I wanted. Sure I could go and browse and see if something would catch my attention, but I didn't even have a starting point. Should I go for a novel,a history book, biography, or what. The last book I bought was a short book about T Roosevelt and the 1912 election and it was a short read and I didn't even finish. I plan to, ha ha ha.
So it got me to thinking about where should I be taking my brain nowadays. There is so much out there (and there always has been much), yet I couldn't decide where to begin. I googled the best books of the 21st century and got the expected multitude of lists from way too many sources. I tried scanning through a few, but didn't find anything that interested me. I did find one list I liked and it was probably the most subjective. It was the best book of each year from 1963-2013. I am not saying I agreed with many of the selections, but the person picked a book for each year, talked about it briefly, and also mentioned some other "great" books for that year. I ended up liking some of her secondary choices so overall to me the list had some merit. Much better than top seller lists or some random groupings I found.
And so what does all this have to do with thinking? Well it just seems we don't put much thought into many things nowadays. Everything is so ordered and prepared for us. Sure these book lists are just one example, but it seems to be the way of the world. Even if you want to get off the beaten track there are guides and books to help you do that. The concept of exploration is forgotten by many. And this includes thought. Not everyone is going to be a great inventor or discoverer, but we don't look for the new or different. And by people doing that, it would make people think.
Look at E Monk. He definitely tries to push the envelope, but not too many people really know him or of him. We don't look for the bold or new to test our beliefs. We look to the familiar so we don't have to think.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Just saw Argentina vs Belgium. Very good game, watching Argentina play shows how far the USA needs to develop. Their foot work and passing are outstanding. I know we almost got lucky against Belgium in the last minute and they are definitely a really strong and good team, but maybe better we didn't get lucky. I always route for my home teams, but Argentina would put a serious clinic on us.
I am still proud of USA, but Argentina just played well against a really good team.
On a side note, if you coach little league or similar in ANY sport show film of #9's goal if you are having a hard time convincing your kids to play their position and spot or "staying home". The original pass was deflected and he was right where he was suppose to be.
And unfortunate tragedy for Neymar and Brazil. That was a seriously uncalled for foul.