Judges

I am trying to be less judgmental. So…here are the facts without any comment from me. Now perhaps I don’t have ALL of the facts but the ones I have…I think they are fairly important.

  1. trump nominated Brett Talley from Alabama for a federal judgeship (a lifetime appointment)
  2. Brett Talley has practiced law for 3 years
  3. Brett Talley has never tried a case in court
  4. After the Newton, Conn., tragedy, Brett Talley tweeted, “A Call to Arms: It’s Time to Join the National Rifle Association.”
  5. Brett Talley wrote, “The NRA stands for all of us now, and I pray that in the coming battle for our rights, they will be victorious.”
  6. This September Brett Talley tweeted, “Hillary Rotten Clinton might be the best Trumpism yet.”
  7. The American Bar Association rated Brett Talley as, “Not Qualified.”
  8. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination, along party lines.

(sourced from Testimony of Brett Talley in Judiciary Committee Hearing, Boston Globe, Washington Post, NY Times)

I don’t care which party you support…

East Pennsylvania Penitentiary

East Pennsylvania Penitentiary

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Heavy Heart For New Yorkers…and all of us

My heart goes out to the families, friends, and all those in New York touched by the latest terrorist tragedy.  I think though, each of us is somehow touched, no matter where we live. Sadly, there is a “polar response” to this continuation of violence against people just going about their day-to-day lives. I say polar because the press is only telling us about what the trump tweets and how the trump’s “tweet targets” respond. The human loss and the country’s loss of humanity is turned into fodder for yellow journalism that generates revenue through clicks and channel choices. In the meantime, families of the stricken are devastated. No one in our country that has power, seems to be asking why this is happening and how does one address the reasons for terrorism.

I perceive a “belief fog”  that lets folks actually believe you can solve something with a simple flick of a switch. For instance, where I live, a candidate for governor accuses the other candidate of supporting MS-13, an incredibly violent international gang. The accusing candidate reached that conclusion by saying…my opponent supported immigration rights, MS-13 is made up of immigrants, therefore the opponent must support MS-13. And people, smart people, believe this manufactured fact. The thought process reminds me of Monty Python’s “Quest for the Holy Grail,” when they used a logic path of “do ducks float” to determine if a woman was a witch. The candidate’s MS-13 affiliation is a fantasy of course, but it plays will with people who WANT that to be true, who want to believe that by picking a certain candidate the problem of gang crime is fixed. Many people in my community live in this fog, believing that picking a party or a candidate will solve these extraordinarily complex social and economic problems…they are so wrong. People commit acts of terrorism for many reasons and for us to live in a bubble, behind a real wall or moat, is NOT going to stop crime and terrorism. There is a chance that this candidate will win despite his association with the confederate flag supporters, his support of the ultra-right, and his silence on many human issues. If he does win, MS-13 will not go away.

Admittedly, the other party has absolutely nothing to offer except the rhetoric of how injured people will become if they don’t get into office. Their lack of foresight is shocking but really not very surprising. Same thing last November.

In the meantime, please say a prayer, have a moment of silence…remember those who were lost and injured in New York.

Cemetery in Old Town Alexandria

Cemetery in Old Town Alexandria

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Blue on Blue

Hmmm…is that a song? Listening to the news make me think that most folks in the country are in a continual state of road rage. I’m looking at potential solutions.

Political parties? The current administration is a wonder, not in a good way…and is quite different than either republicans or democrats. Republicans are tickled to be in the congressional majority but remain out of touch with most of the actual people in the country and so don’t do anything human. Democrats puff up with glee each time the administration tweets another incredible fabrication but the democrats have nothing of their own to offer except blah…blah…blah platitudes and are out of touch with most of the actual people in the country. The president is neither republican nor democrat and I don’t think he actually cares about most of the actual people in the country.

Churches? I heard that a bishop in the midwest had his priests urge their parishioners to vote republican in 2016 and even lifelong democrats did as he bid! My church (BIG church, not local) has avoided any substantive discussion on some current social issues and so has alienated parts of our population. The big deal with new mega churches and the millennials that attend them is to go on a mission to Africa or India or Costa Rica, not Mississippi, Indian Reservations, or inner cities.  So I’m pretty sure that churches are out of touch with most of the actual people in the country.

And the media? Big collective sigh. Some time ago there was a differentiation between “the news” and Yellow Journalism. But the earth shook with the electronic age and the lines between the news and “almost the news” began to blur. Instead of reported facts, we receive conclusions and suppositions based on bias and fear to get more clicks. News people often start and stop their journalism using only headlines to draw people in and those headlines exist to get ‘click ads’ to generate revenue. Media outlets worrying about daily hits on their websites and advertiser click throughs…I’m pretty sure that they are out of touch with most of the actual people in the country.

What to do? Doing nothing is dangerous because the economic and social collapse will only be staved off by an international crisis that will temporarily bring the nation together and divert our attention away from our division. Think North Korea. Perhaps the answer is at my level…your level…the individual…each one of us. The actual people in the country.

We should be able to talk civilly with one another; to recognize the right to have our opinion, no matter; to let that person know that their opinion is as valuable as mine. EXCEPT there is no room for hate, prejudice, ostracism. We do not have to agree…we have to talk. One-on one. I’m pretty sure that actual people in the country can do that…

When we don’t, I feel blue.

USN Ship in Drydock

USN Ship in Dry Dock

Potomac & Shenandoah Rivers

Potomac & Shenandoah Rivers

Velocity Not to Exceed 135mph

Velocity Not to Exceed 135mph

Castoff rope on the dock

Castoff rope on the dock

Day is Done

Day is Done

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Village

In a recent walkabout in a small, rural village, I couldn’t help but notice “the old” and “the new” competing for space. Many of the older houses had huge “new” additions growing out of the back of their 150-year-old structural hosts. Some of the old things were failing and falling with little hope of preservation. A local foundation is dedicated to preserving these old structures, the streets, the history of the village. I admire that effort although I don’t believe that all things vintage should be preserved, I do believe that a discussion is appropriate. Judging from the number of hand driven water pumps visible in the yards of the town, I imagine that well water was the standard for generations and that many of these old hand pumps will be preserved by the house owner…this particular pump was in front of a small, abandoned and dilapidated building so I am thinking that its days are numbered.

A larger number of photos from my Waterford Walkabout are posted on my Photography Blog.

Waterford Hand Pump

Waterford Hand Pump

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Standing Up…

Over the last several weeks our country and our neighbors have been ravaged by hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. Most of Puerto Rico has no water, no food, damaged homes, ravaged infrastructure. People in Florida have lost homes, neighborhoods, communities. First responders have come from all over the US to provide aid and comfort. Medical assistance is strained. Heat. Debris. Confusion. Death. Loss. Sorrow. Tears.

Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Louisiana…Harvey, Irma, Maria… Where is the news coverage? Where is the attention of our president and our congress? Not on disaster recovery but on the flag. I wore a military uniform for many years, I stand for the flag, then and now. But, I wore the uniform to protect our right to NOT stand…to protect our right to speak, the right to care, and the right for justice. In totalitarian regimes, the citizens are required to stand for their flag or face imprisonment. I don’t want that here. I am heartened by the power of the flag, that it’s so important to the protesters that they choose the flag to demonstrate the depth of their passion.

Flag on the USCGC Eagle

Flag on the USCGC Eagle

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