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Monday, June 29, 2015

Burke and Niemoller Say to Stand Up

I live in Southeastern Connecticut, specifically in Norwich which, says,, is 5,907.8 miles from Baghdad, Iraq.

I think the visual is a nice touch. It's what's called in the biz an 'embedded learning object,' and as we all know there's no biz like show biz. Enhances and deepens understanding say folks who get paid large amounts of money to tell me stuff like that (explains my wallet).

I don't need a visual to understand that a year after they started popping up in news service feeds from the four corners of the globe, ISIS, or ISIL or DAIISH , are very definitely a human plague of incalculable magnitude.

Were they to be restricted to/confined in the "Middle East" they would be horrible enough but these zealots who murder in the name of their own perversion of a Divinity so awful that S/He, in Her/His infinite wisdom, would not recognize itself in their belief system, are the perfect version of Churchill's fanatic. They will not change their minds and they cannot change the subject.

I/you/we can continue to worry about what Kim and Kanye will call their next baby, or what Marvel comic will get turned into which movie in the next decade and get so butt-deep in the minutiae stream that we can nearly forget about the barbarians at the gates, but they won't forget about us.

And we have the voices of the past, and the lessons they offer us if we choose to listen, from whom to learn. If you're someone bearing a strong resemblance to about half the folks seeking the Republican Party's nomination for President who believes that Arabs and Muslims (they're not one and the same. sorry FNC) haven't strongly said 'enough is enough' you're wrong.

One more embedded learning object to underscore the point of today's lesson? Only if you insist.

Silence is murder and murder is always evil.
- bill kenny

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Four Words Forever

It's funny how people prove to be bigger (and often better) than the labels we, in our intellectual haste and arrogance, slap on them. The last ten days have proven to be that way for the caped crusaders who work at 1 First Street Northeast, Washington DC, 20543.

Not sure how revolutionary or evolutionary any of changes that result from decisions by Chief Justice John Roberts and the rest of The Supremes will be one hundred years from now but at this moment I'd offer they've made a much larger impact together than any of the Presidents who individually nominated them or the Congresses which approved them could have ever imagined.

The big excitement was early in the day on Thursday though it wasn't as gripping a read as Dashiell Hammet's The Glass Key, it was still quite a good one. One that we'll be talking about, or at least members of one political party will be, through the Presidential elections next year.

If you're looking for a good snooze, you might want to check out the decision rendered on this past Thursday the 25th reference the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al Inclusive Communities Project et al but you'd be wrong in terms of excitement. I always think when you have ET as a plaintiff, it's a tough fight, but then again I have a bike without a basket.  

Of course, on Friday, for some the world ended while for others it began anew. And for those in the former camp, I recall a sunrise yesterday morning and am confident, depending on what time today you're coming across this, we'll have another one, just like all the other ones, today as well.

Not sure my little brain understands all the hullaballoo since I can read simple English and understood the conclusions were foregone when you read what's over the doorway, "Equal Justice For All."

-bill kenny

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Rather Snappy Little Tune

Almost thirty million Americans have diabetes; one in four of us doesn’t yet know it. I’m not in that  group. In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you I have Type 2 diabetes. I control it with reasonable effectiveness through diet, exercise, and medication. Actually, with lots of medication that I will take every day for the rest of my life for as long as I continue to like typing “for the rest of my life.” 

Type 2 diabetes or adult onset, as it's sometimes called, is often seen as akin to a self-inflicted wound. Lifestyle choices, in what to eat and drink and how much care I take of myself have a great deal to do with my diabetes. Your diabetes or that of someone you know and love could be very different in many aspects but have as a sad similarity a frightening number of serious illnesses and medical conditions that it helps exacerbate. In my case, everything from impaired healing after surgery to retinopathy. 

There’s no need to feel sorry for me as I do a good job of that all by myself and I’m very competitive. I'm a cautionary tale. If you wanted to spare a thought for those with Type 1 diabetes, that, I think, would be more than appropriate and probably much appreciated. 

A donation to help with research even more especially, though truth to tell with the escalating rates of diabetes, research seems to be bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.  Actually all the annual donations don’t even come close to offsetting the one billion dollars the American Beverage Association spends on advertising to encourage the consumption of their most popular product, sugary soda. 

Some have pointed out the chances of finding your name on the side of an insulin vial pale in comparison to that of a can of the real thing. Maybe it’s time to change the tune.
-bill kenny

Friday, June 26, 2015

Skin in the Game

I take a great deal of comfort from my belief in karma which allows me to rationalize before I close my eyes at night that all the evil and horrible things I did to people during the preceding day they (somehow) had coming to them.
It’s always the simple lies that help us sleep…

I’m thinking maybe the universe shares my belief. What else should I conclude when an article is called, “Report Says Erectile Dysfunctional Drugs Increases Skin Cancer Risk”? So much for sitting in adjoining bathtubs with a smile as your umbrella I guess.    

All this time I had assumed the greatest danger was risk of injury in a horseshoe pitching competition immediately after taking an ED aid. Curiously, I’ve never read/heard of any reports noting an uptick in calls to the Guinness Records Book people for any reason. Of course, unlike eating before swimming in that instance you’re supposed to wait for four hours.

The report on the (very, very) preliminary research did NOT suggest to me that scientists had any specific insights into where men were getting skin cancer, but between us. I think we can guess. Some advice, much like Coppertone, cannot be slathered on often enough, and we may have the research to prove it.
-bill kenny

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Time for a New Lesson

I’ve spent a large part of my sixty-three years (and counting) on the planet trying, and not always succeeding, in understanding my own behavior and motivation on everything from actively disliking almost all seafood to an irrational passion for the New York Yankees.

I’m wired the way I am because of heredity, environment, and life experiences. So are you. Good and bad, Sekt Oder Selters, we are each the way we are. Not better than one another and certainly not worse, but different. And those differences between us are a way to recognize each of us as unique.

Another is how much we have in common, despite our differences. Our biology is the same regardless of our religion or skin color or fondness for pistachio ice cream. With my apologies to Reggie Jackson, we are each in her/his own way more than able to be the straw that stirs the drink every day and any day.

I have no deeper insight than does anyone else on this as to what clicked the switch inside the head of that white young man in Charleston, South Carolina, last week. If I did, I’d have offered it by now and you wouldn’t be able to shut me up about it. But I have no words, and only sorrow without surcease because the firestorm of reaction we are experiencing is not the first and, more importantly will not be the last time.

I don’t know what I don’t know, but I do know this: It’s not guns, or flags, or skin color or left-handedness that’s the root of our national crisis. We are

If I'm arrogant and foolish enough to think I’m better than you because of (insert right here however many excuses masquerading as reasons as you’d like) WE have a problem and all the talk about anything else will NOT fix it.

In the midst of all the attempted conversations in large and small groups across this country in recent days, I found this article online and knew in the marrow of my bones that we still haven’t unlearned all the stupid stuff we need to if we are to move forward as one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. 
We’ve got to be carefully taught, starting today because tomorrow is too late
-bill kenny

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Please Don't Dominate the Rap, Jack

Now that the shouting and pointing, posturing and politicking are done for another municipal budget year, what have we learned, assuming we learned anything at all.

It seems to me we have NOT yet learned that budgets are a political process that ideally, define desired goods, outcomes and services and then deliver the appropriate amount of public financing to those agencies and departments to pay for those efforts.

We continue to make the process personal which is helpful only when you seek someone to bless or to blame. Instead of looking at an incendiary situation like paying for public education, we get distracted by artificial distinctions (such as I saw repeatedly on-line this year in the comments' section) between property owners and renters. I realize there is a tendency to include as part of any solution a step that involves searching for the guilty, but I've never seen anyone achieve any permanent, long-term solutions by scapegoating.

I'm told it's a part of our nature to believe that "for me to look good, you (whoever you are, from the acting City Manager to the Superintendent of Schools) need to look bad." Based on the frequency with which we do this to one another, it seems to be regarded as true. There's no gain to this game, but we play it rather than seek to directly address the challenges we collectively face.

And who can blame us? Life is hard. And developing a different model of government that involves lowering our voices and our expectations has so far proved to be too hard for us to do. People prefer problems that are familiar to solutions that are not.

Money, often blamed as the root of all evil, is in reality the root of our discord and discontent. We want everything we've always wanted, but we want more of it and we want it to cost less. Someday soon but not soon enough, we may concede silently but never in a collective that we can't continue to have unlimited appetites for public services because we can't afford them.

Every year, in the aftermath of the car crash that was the run-up to the new budget's creation, we promise do better next year, but we never do. We continue to be unhappily surprised that we're never rewarded for all the hard work we didn't do.

As it is, again, we've crafted a budget that increases taxes to beyond a breaking point, doesn't have enough money to educate our children, that requires sacrifices and workarounds for public safety and postpones investments in an infrastructure already thread-bare and well past its best-by date. Instead of joining hands we ball our fists and vow 'next time will be different' but the blame remains the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

All Ducks Are Birds

Sunday, Father's Day, I got a new cellphone. I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. There's no causation between those two sentences though both by themselves are absolutely correct.

Sunday was Father's Day, and as you can see above, and below and below and below that, I have a new cellphone. If it helps, Sunday was also Raymond Douglas Davies' 71st birthday.

He did not get me a camera for his birthday though perhaps he did get himself one. It's one of those imponderables. So is this: this camera in this new cell phone takes remarkable photos.

Its audio player has superlative fidelity, at least to my ancient ears at three something in the morning when I'm panting like an Irish wolfhound when all I really am is long in the tooth on a treadmill at Planet Fitness.

There is a better than average chance that I may someday use the cell phone to make a telephone call. Once I learn where the slot is to put the dime.

Meanwhile, I can watch this and wait for someone to come back with change.


- bill kenny