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Complete Sentences

In the cacophony that is the presidential campaign I have not seen any discussion how candidate Trump seems unable to formulate complete sentences and coherent paragraphs. His speeches and now his debate responses are more like a poetry slam than political discourse. It is interesting to transcribe the words and see how disorganized the communications are. Language is a function of thought and I have to conclude that such disorganization is a reflection not just of Mr. Trump’

Accountability

The continuing and tragedy of questionable police shootings has generated much noise and consumed many hours of cable TV news bandwidth. I have learned to click past the expert-of-the-moment who seems to enjoy the sound of his or her own voice. Things have to change! Fire the rascals! March! Shout! Book another guest! There is something missing from this all, a solution. I would prefer to listen to how the issues of 1) police officer selection, training, and supervision and 2

Monuments

The aftermath of the tragedy in Charleston has triggered a lively and not always civil discussion on the action in South Carolina to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the capitol grounds (which I agree with) has generated calls fore removal of all symbols of the Confederacy. Most of this noise is just noise in my opinion.  When some misanthrope murdered nine people under color of the Confederate Battle Flag, cries went up to destroy everything Confederate. With the Int

Police Killings…

…or media-speak, “officer-involved shootings.” But these don’t include choking, taser, or blunt force trauma deaths. In any event, deaths and serious injuries as the result of law enforcement actions have occupied a huge amount of air time and bandwidth. To be sure, any death involving government officials is concerning, but I have to object to the level and direction of commentary and protest. The harangue is that deadly force used by police is a national and federal governm

Bengazi Thing

Congressman Adam Schiff (D., California) has been named by minority leader Pelosi to participate in the most recent inquiry into the deaths of a U.S. Ambassador and three other State Department men in Bengazi. This seems to be fish guts in the water for the Republicans despite the fact that 1) the ambassador had asked for increased security, 2) early assessments of the attack were wrong, and 3) in a war we take damage. I know Adam Schiff. I worked with him in the late 1980s w

Storm in the Desert

I note with some concern a series of stories about the Nevada rancher locked in a struggle with the U.S. Government over his payments for grazing rights. According to the stories he hasn’t paid rent on the Bureau of Land Management lands on which he has been raising cattle, cattle he sells for a profit. The Government has gotten court orders to seize his cattle and have picked up some 300 head. But the rancher is defiant and – this is the scary part – has attracted militia me

Crimea and Czechoslovakia

The crisis in Ukraine over Crimea has launched news producers into warp drive to find analysts, commenters, commentators, talking heads, and anyone with or without knowledge of events to be interviewed. You know you are wasting your time when the interviewee says, “I only know what I see in the news.” Some of the producers will find historians to find some sort of parallel in the past and the easiest one to pick on is the Sudetenland Crisis of 1938. To recap, in 1938 Adolph H

Twitter and Crimea

I learned how to follow topics with the use of hashtags. In this case #Crimea will bring up every tweet involving the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and there are thousands. The vast majority of tweets are from people who have no idea what is going on and just retweet retweets ad nauseum until there is no way of telling what is happening. They spent more time including hashtags in their tweets than they did thinking about their messages. Then there are the snarky comments

Asylum

Edward Snowden, the fugitive NSA contractor, has been granted “asylum” in Russia. Does anyone grasp the irony of this? Does he think he is free? He went from the United States and its justice system to a country which cannot even protect political dissenters or journalists. What is he going to do now? He will probably find a warm audience at the Federal Security Bureau – the old KGB – for a while, but then what? He doesn’t have the language and has to figure a way to make a l

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon was born 100 years ago. This anniversary probably popped up on “on this day” web sites and journalists paid by the number of hits their posts receive, sitting at their screens, weighed this story against the gun debate, Congress’s poor ratings, the president’s good ratings, the weather, and one of several meltdowns on cable news. The Nixon birthday ranked low on the list. Since most journalists were born after Nixon left office they have only occasional referenc

Gun Debate

I am disappointed at the noise about the role of guns in the recent tragedies in Connecticut, Colorado, and here in Seattle. I am one inclined to support regulation of firearm possession and ownership, but the reality is that there are enough guns in the U.S. to arm every man, woman, and child. I cannot imagine a mechanism to remove half or a quarter or a tenth of these weapons from homes and circulation. All these discussions and all this proposed legislation syphon resource

Sixty-four and three-quarters

I applied for Medicare today. One is eligible at age sixty-five, but you apply three months before that momentous birthday. It’s all done online, if the servers work correctly. I had to restart a couple of times. But I got ‘er done, have my registration number and will await an avalanche of direct mail offers of Part B coverage. The irony is that I already have excellent coverage. Now Medicare will pay my HMO to take care of me, but it costs me $100 a month. Go figure. #medic

Don’t Settle?

The unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs has highlighted his accomplishments and his vision. But one bit of of his wisdom might require some qualification or at least discussion. Steve emphasized following what people love and not compromising that. Indeed, he pressed his engineers to solve insoluble problems, and they did. He didn’t settle for their expert advice. There is much to be said for persistence. Since he was writing the checks he could be as persistent with his engine

Justice?

The recent demise of Osama Bin Laden has caused many to declare that justice has been done. Even the president says this. Calling the killing of the terrorist justice is unfortunate because it equates this action with some sort of judicial process. I don’t agree. There was no judicial process so this is not really justice. Back as far as President Bush there were cries to do justice and bring terrorists to justice. A more sensible approach to the killing of terrorists is as a

Silliness Within the Sadness

The recent tragedy in Tucson didn’t bring an end to the silliness that has inspired my posts recently. First the Sheriff of Pima County blamed the shootings on the degradation of political discourse. Apparently he is more politician than law enforcement officer and couldn’t see the event as another deranged person bent on destruction. Predictably the media picked up the scent and went bonkers on the sheriff’s idea. Never mind that there is no evidence to support that. It’s al

PC Huckleberry Finn

The news item about a publisher cleaning up Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to eliminate references to “the N-word” is both laughable and lamentable. The work is in the public domain so there are no copyright issues or control to be exerted by the author’s heirs so I suppose that the publisher is well within their rights to change the text in any way they like. They argue that this change will bring new readers to the work, as if Twain has been falling out of fashion. This is a

Another video lynching

In the aftermath of the tragic death of Oscar Grant at the hands of a Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman on New Year’s 2009, Officer MarySol Domenici was suspended, then fired for her role during a chaotic situation on a train platform. She was accused of lying to investigators about her actions that night. She appealed her termination and an arbitrator held that the law firm hired by the BART Police to investigate the entire incident presented conclusions that were flawed. Onl

And now for something political

Today I read of a measure filed in the House to enact a Constitutional amendment called the Repeal Amendment (New York Times, Kate Zernike). It would allow two thirds of the states to vote to repeal any federal law or regulation. What a dumb idea. And cowardly too. Apparently conservatives think that this is the only way to limit the authority of the federal government which they find overly intrusive into private lives and business. Their case in point is the new health care

Deficit cutting

What a boring topic amid a week of news about presidential trips abroad, the GOP taking over the House, and, as always, the pundits proving that if you give people enough money they don’t mind making fools of themselves. One item caught my eye and some other notice was the list of suggestions by two members of the deficit commission (not its official name) on how to trim federal spending. The first reaction of readers and viewers is probably “how will this effect me?” and “wi

Political Coverage

I may be in a tiny minority, but I just don’t accept what is being reported and analyzed about the outcome of the midterm elections. I read and hear about polls predicting a Democratic party route, but the Pew Research Center has suggested that the polls are only capturing people with hard-line telephones. The pollsters are not calling cell phone customers who have no phones at home. Doesn’t that throw into question the “representative sample” upon which polls are based? Not

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