Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

A handsome exhibit

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

It would make a cool art project to cast the hands of people who work in various vocations and display them together.

Wake Forest police address concerns about ‘stranger danger’ cases ::

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Wake Forest Police have expressed exasperation with citizens sharing information on Facebook about a recent spate of “stranger danger” incidents. The incidents involve men driving a silver or gray SUV and trying to lure kids into the vehicle.

It’s a very frightening situation and any parent’s worst nightmare. People are afraid and rightfully so. They want answers, and if the police aren’t giving them then these folks will fill the void using social media outlets like Facebook and NextDoor.

I’ve seen how social media can help solve crimes. It works. Nothing helps police efforts like citizens working together. Instead of blaming it for “heresay,” Wake Forest PD should embrace social media as a “force multiplier” to solve crimes. If there are rumors that should be quashed, they should go online and set the record straight. It’s a new world we live in, after all.

Leonard said the police department has received other reports on social media that investigators have looked into, noting that they have had to use resources to track down "inaccurate information and hearsay.""If you see something that looks suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police department first rather than posting it on Facebook," Leonard said.

via Wake Forest police address concerns about 'stranger danger' cases ::

How does he know?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

I witnessed very interesting behavior from our dog, Rocket, this evening. He was napping on the floor next to me while I read in the recliner and Hallie surfed the Internet from the other room. Kelly had been at work all day and was bringing Travis home from his piano lesson.

Everything was quiet in the house so I was wondering where our dog was going as he suddenly hopped up from his nap and walked over to the door leading to the garage. Seconds later, the garage door went up and Kelly and Travis walked in with Rocket greeting them.

I sat there astonished. Could it be the dog had somehow known they were coming home? How? He clearly hopped up from his nap and went directly to the door as if he knew they would arrive. I can’t say for sure what his intentions were but to my eyes it certainly seemed like he was ready to greet someone at the door.

The fine line of classroom discipline

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Today is Martin Luther King Day, honoring a great man who pushed America to honor its commitments to everyone. It’s got me in a contemplative mood.

A well-meaning liberal friend forwarded this article from the NEA about the “school-to-prison” pipeline. It portends to raise alarms about how a kid who gets suspended often winds up taking a path towards crime. This is indeed a serious issue with troubling implications. I was disappointed, though, to see the article missing an important point. For example:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which last year ordered school districts to respond to student misbehavior in “fair, non-discriminatory, and effective” ways, Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than White students, while Black and Latino students account for 70 percent of police referrals.

Who built this country?

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

My friend and new Wake County Commissioner John Burns was at the N.C. Association of County Commissioners where the state’s commissioners were given a presentation of the state’s changing demographics. Demographic trends show that white people will soon no longer be the majority.

One commissioner took issue with this and, according to John, announced “so we’re just going to take what built America for 200 years and throw it in the trash can, I guess.”

Of course, it was the immigrants who built America. Blacks, Chinese, Irish, Mexicans, and many others. The people who did the jobs that no one else wanted to do (and in the case of slavery, that they didn’t want to do, either).

Fortunately, everyone around this guy rolled their eyes. And it makes me glad that idiots like him are getting left behind.

Impossible odds

Monday, January 12th, 2015

See this gentleman? He was arrested last month for a string of burglaries around East Raleigh. Before was busted in December he had been arrested six times since September. This photo was taken today at the county jail, when he was charged again with possession of a stolen firearm and possession of stolen goods.

Now here’s the mugshot of his mother, taken the same day her son was arrested. Note the shiner. Mom was charged with marijuana possession and possession of a stolen firearm. She has a rap sheet stretching back to 1995 with a few larcenies, license revocation charges, and minor drug charges. In each case her sentences were suspended and you know what? She managed to largely stay out of trouble since 2003.
Though I’ve been quite willing to send kids like this one on his way to jail whenever one’s been caught stealing in my neighborhood, it has made me wonder how a kid can wind up in such a situation. It’s a damn shame to have to send a kid to jail.

As a PTA president, I hear a lot of stories of sad cases, absolutely heartbreaking cases of completely dysfunctional families. I heard one today that will haunt me into my dreams tonight, a story of a child whose parents are apparently no longer interested in being parents and want the child gone.

What kind of world is that for a child to grow up in? When you have no advocate at all? And no love? What kind of future does that child have?

If there’s an economy in your sharing then it’s not really sharing

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015


You can say I know a thing or two about sharing. I was open source long before it was cool. I support Wikipedia with not only my money but my photography, which I freely donate to the public domain. Even this blog is licensed under Creative Commons, allowing anyone to take what I’ve made and use it practically any way they choose. So the brouhaha over the “sharing economy” in Raleigh has me puzzled.

I attended what was billed as a “public hearing” on Airbnb Monday night. Fans organized the meeting to make a case for why Raleigh should consider legalizing use of the home-hosting service. Like other cities, Raleigh, they say, needs to embrace the “sharing economy.” I’m friends with many of these folks but I have a different take on this issue.

Cuban relations

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

President Obama caused quite a stir yesterday when he announced the normalization of relations with Cuba. Of course, Republicans quickly went ape-shit at this announcement and are already lining up to oppose it. Being that it’s the President’s constitutional prerogative to conduct foreign affairs, I’m not sure what whiny Congressmembers can do.

As for ditching restrictions on Cuba, I say good riddance! I’ve never understood the continuing economic embargo against Cuba. Yes, Cuba is a communist country but for decades we’ve had no trouble doing business with communist (and nuclear-armed) China. Hell, China actively spies on us, conducts provocative naval maneuvers, and is actively working to diminish the stature of the United States in the Pacific region. I suppose if Cuba had a population of a billion potential consumers like China we be falling all over ourselves to put aside our differences.

Bootstraps? What if you don’t even have boots?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

A post I made to my Facebook page regarding the minimum wage turned into a pointless discussion about how the poor, lazy SOBs should just get better jobs. Yeah, I know … predictable. I know enough to not fan those flames but I came away from it really wondering what it might take for conservatives who subscribe to that point of view to really grasp what life is like for the working poor. Would spending 24 hours with a struggling single mother help them to see that the poor aren’t lazy? If not that, then what?

There is a force in play in our universe called karma. Those who mock the plight of the poor may one day find themselves in the same predicament. I would hope it wouldn’t come to that but honestly I’m not sure what might open their eyes. How can I help them understand?

Don’t blame the voter

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

It’s been about two weeks since the last election and I’m about as tired now of the Monday morning quarterbacking from my fellow Democrats as I was of the campaign mudslinging. I keep hearing “if only so and so group had voted.” “I don’t understand why this group didn’t vote.”

Can I ask a favor? Can we please stop blaming the voter? If a voter wasn’t moved by our message it’s not the voter that needs fixing, it’s the message. We Democrats have to either sell what people are buying or convince them to buy what we’re selling. If our product isn’t compelling then we need to come up with either a better product (a.k.a., candidates or platform) or better marketing (a.k.a. spin).

This really isn’t rocket science. It starts with knowing the voter, knowing what it takes to get her off the couch and into the polling place. If you don’t understand why a particular voter doesn’t vote that sure ain’t the voter’s fault.