Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon Martin, Guns and Insanity of a Nation

I'm not sure what to think about the Trayvon Martin murder. I call it "murder" because simply, that's what I think it was. However, it seems to me more than that. There is an issue of race here, racism if you will, that has made manifest the same divides that have existed for hundreds of years, notwithstanding Brown v Board of Education, the Voter's Rights Act and so forth.


The kid was murdered by a man who hid out in house afterwards and didn't follow police orders. Send the SOB to jail, today. Get rid of these "Stand Your Ground" laws. And for God's sake, people, let's get this nation to grow up.


John F. Timoney, a former Miami police chief, police commissioner and deputy police commissioner in New York, wrote in The New York Times, "The very public controversy surrounding the killing on Feb. 26 of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, by a crime watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, was predictable.


"In fact, I, along with other Florida chiefs of police, said so in a letter to the Legislature in 2005 when we opposed the passage of a law that not only enshrined the doctrine of "your home is your castle" but took this doctrine into the public square and added a new concept called "stand your ground."


"Use-of-force issues arose often during my 41-year policing career. In fact, officer-involved shootings were the No. 1 problem when I became Miami's police chief in January 2003. But after we put in place new policies and training, officers went 20 months without discharging a single bullet at a person, while arrests increased over 30 percent.


"Trying to control shootings by members of a well-trained and disciplined police department is a daunting enough task. Laws like "stand your ground" give citizens unfettered power and discretion with no accountability. It is a recipe for disaster."


There are many bad streets, or to quote the movie, "Mean Streets," that I have walked in my relatively long life: Harlem, the "wrong side" of Marseille, parts of Washington, DC when it was the nation's "murder capital." I've ridden subways in the wee small hours.


In the 70s I was robbed on a subway at knifepoint. In the 60s I walked away from various violent engagements, none of my own instigation.


Whether it was my imagination or reality, I've felt threatened in many other situations; life-threatened.


However, I have never
felt the need to carry a weapon, even a rolled magazine under my arm. I've never had the desire to own a gun, handgun or otherwise and certainly not the former. I could give you all the reasons for the way I feel, but I'm sure you've heard them elsewhere and frequently.


What I do believe is that handguns, of any sort, should be absolutely outlawed, collected and melted down for scrap. Barring that, anyone owning should have to prove categorically why they want one, the purpose and then prove regularly that they are using it for that purpose – Self-defense is not a purpose. And, they should have to report the weapon every month and take a test to be able to have it.


I hate, and I mean that in all senses of the word, guns. Get rid of the damned things…and don't tell me that old saw, "Well, criminals will get them anyway." Go take a look at the statistics for gun deaths.


And, by the way, get the NRA out of Congress.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Are You Thinking?

My life seems back to normal, whatever that may mean, as the apartment is now in shape and only some boxes remain in my office/den. There are, of course, things that need to be done, but I'm putting it all aside for now and returning to ranting, I suppose.


I remain extraordinarily appalled at life daily, today especially as four were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. There is a spate, if not approaching an epidemic of anti-Semitism around the world and it concerns me, both as Jew and a human being.


Unfortunately, it does not seem to concern Mr. Romney, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Gingrich, or for that matter, the President. I've not read a word about this incident or the increasing problem of racisim and bigotry in this nation…and the world. Nor do I see action being taken. There are a number of states, if you are aware, that are making efforts to essentially roll back voter's rights, i.e.making it more difficult for certain groups to vote.


And, of course, there's the Illinois primary tomorrow. Mitt Romney (and other GOP candidates) can't say much about the economy, as it's clearly improving, virtually across the board. So now what's the guy doing? He's casting President Obama as a free-market antagonist bent on building a massive bureaucracy that has slowed the recovery and stunted the economy.


If you're out there and believing most, if not all, of the prevarication and hyperbole about this administration being spit out by these Republicans, then you're simply ill-read and uninformed.


Just take the economy as an example. Bush got us into the worst situation since the Great Depression. That's not arguable, it's just plain factual. If you believe that the economy can be turned on a dime, then you're clueless. Economies are monolithic and take great power, control and time to move. Ours is doing that. I wish it would move faster, but I know that's not possible.


If you're a woman reading this, you've got to be appalled that the apparent war on women by these GOP candidates…


Just ask yourself a simple question: Whose body is it?


I'm not crazy about this Administration. However, I absolutely dread the possibility of Mitt Romney as President, or any other GOP candidate for that matter.


And, by the way, let's find a way to overturn this Citizen's United ruling by our now quite UnSupreme Court. Congress can do that, and if you don't think that'd be a fine accomplishment, well, you aren't thinking.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Apartments, yes? Houses, no?

I've owned a few houses in my day. I've owned two in Washington, a couple in LA and one here in Las Vegas. I'm a New Yorker. I was born and raised in an apartment and later lived in a few of them; there, and other places.


Okay, there are a lot of folks who love houses; love to own them, love to rent them. I've done both. Owning is generally a myth. How many of you "homeowners" out there actually have the Deed of Trust, i.e. own your house free and clear? I'll be it's damned few; and that those that do are probably underwater anyway.


Moreover, own a home, ya' gotta fix it yourself. Own a home? You accumulate stuff? Live in an apartment? You get rid of stuff. You live economically, in terms of what you own and buy, and that includes groceries.


Okay, I'll agree that for a period of time people looked at their homes as "investments." But please, investments go up and down: You've got to know when to hold and sell any of them, whether it's stocks, bonds, stamps, coins or homes. The latter is the toughest and just because we had that "great" boom a few years ago, doesn't mean it's coming back anytime soon. In fact, it isn't. No chance. Too much inventory.


I'm particularly happy today because I've finally got my "office" set up. The floor's cleared, the computer's working. I've got a desk and a printer stand. And get this: In the garage there are still a half dozen boxes marked "office." Most of 'em will go to storage or I'll sell the contents.


I'm a clam to day, or at least happy as one…assuming clams can get happy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who Is Maggie?

Well, I've written about her extensively. And I've looked for her to see if she's even alive. If you know her, let me know here.


Ah, my gripes of the day. First, in my business, when a client requests something, we move very quickly to get it done. It's usually a media or crisis issue, both of which require great dispatch, and expertise if I may say so myself. Yet when most are billed, the response is, "We'll get it out soon," or "We'll get it out next week." Most companies cut checks on a weekly basis and we know when our clients do; we send bills accordingly. Those responses are just rude, especially in light of, and I say this quite modestly, few firms accomplish what we do for clients.

Then there's the weather. It's bloody cold and exceptionally windy here today and my allergies are going nuts; sneezing.

More on clients, or rather prospects. I had one that strung us out for six months and finally, last week, took us to lunch, told us what he wanted, requested a proposal which took several hours and then responded "We're not ready now and that's not what we wanted." We were absolutely on target.

My business is quite successful and I've had since about 1991. In recent years I've concluded that this "new economy," such as it is, has given birth to a new kind of executive: One who exercises power by leading vendors on over time. You might argue that a company is in a selection process, but this is different: These folks select no firm.

Overall conclusion: "Miss Manners" in the Washington Post is definitely correct in her view that there is a deterioration of courtesy, to say nothing of honesty in this nation, if not the world.

Pundits: Enough already. Damned Super Tuesday was rampant on television last night, again with the smallest comment parsed like the head of a pin.

So much for now.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Life Today

I am remarkably tired. Perhaps it is stress that I've never noticed. I thought that I can live as I do without "disturbance" that has a physical impact on me, or psychological for that matter, perhaps "emotional" is a better term. All of that is a bit histrionic.


It just seems that the world continues to spiral out of control, to use a trite phrase. I continue to try to consider a single good thing transpiring either personally or in a world view.


The screaming of my wife yesterday. It wasn't what she said, I know how she feels about me (remarkably negative) and herself (remarkably "entitled." It was the screaming which came across as borderline hatred. Today our cat, well, "her" cat as it came with her when we first met, who is old is on his way to vet and I'm hoping for the best.


Then there's the clutter about me in my home office. I need to reduce, then eliminate it and finally buy a "real" desk or table, as opposed to this shaky thing I got for $20 from a Craig's List ad. To give you an idea of the intrusiveness of my wife, I want to get a simple table desk, enough to hold my phone, a lamp and my computer; no drawers, just a clean table, again to reduce clutter. She, however, feels I must have some L-shaped piece, which will do nothing for me but take up valuable space and become a receptacle for clutter (I know myself on these things).


Hyperbolically, I frequently as G** for a single day of "peace" in my life, for a single day without a complaint from her. There's never a response, but I understand that. Steve Allen once say, "G** has better things to do than to bless me."


Well, I suppose I'll put away some more books and reduce clutter.