Wednesday, September 21, 2016

For reasons passing understanding

Good morning to all.  We're almost finished with summer, at least from a calendar standpoint.  In reality, summer ended on Labor Day weekend for most everyone, though here in central Kentucky, we still feel the typical heat and humidity much of the time for a while yet.

I come before you today with more and more things that I simply do not understand.  In the past couple of days the news detailed the shootings of not one but two unarmed black men, one in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the other in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.  When we learned of the first shooting I mentioned to my wife that I found it unbelievable that with police having dashboard cameras in their cruisers and in many cases cameras actually on their bodies, there are still cops who will call in to their dispatch with details that are not accurately portrayed.

I applaud people who are brave enough to put themselves in harm's way in order to protect the public, but that courage does not entitle any police or other peace officer to open fire on suspects randomly.  Easy to say that I wasn't there, of course, but I know what I saw and those images and the circumstances radioed to headquarters don't match up.

All I know is that this has to stop.

Along these same lines I read this morning that the city of Chicago now intends to employ up to 1000 more police officers, in an attempt to curb the ongoing street violence that continues to plague that great city.  I hope that it helps, but by the time the new recruits are all hired and sworn in, things may have worsened considerably.

Let's talk about politics now.  Donald Trump now says that Hillary Clinton, not he, began the movement to discredit President Barack Obama by saying that he was not born in this country and therefore ineligible to hold office.  He was saying that the President was born elsewhere as early as 2011, and the President made a joke at Trump's expense at that year's White House Correspondent's Dinner.  There are those who say that Trump's decision to run for President grew out of that public humiliation, though I don't see him as being humiliated.  After all, this is a man who repeatedly proclaims that all press is GOOD press.

Clinton needs to stop attacking or counterattacking Trump and start touting herself and her policies.  It's the only way to motivate a large bloc of voters, as there just aren't enough people who take the Trump threat seriously, in my opinion.  It seems to me that so many people are just incredulous that anyone will actually vote for Trump and are therefore apathetic about preventing him from being elected.  I worry continually that they shouldn't place so much faith in the wisdom of the American electorate.  I don't have that kind of faith, of course.

One of the political voices I've missed these last few years has been that of Keith Olbermann, who has moved from news to sports and back again several times.  His career trajectory has been interesting and the media reports that he's frequently fired for being difficult to work with.  That may be true, but he often cuts to the heart of an issue with a sense of humor that also provokes opinions in both agreement and opposition.

Keith is back with us, sort of, doing what are now daily online commentaries for GQ.com.  If you nee to have a good thinking laugh about where we are in this election season, check it out.

Not much laughing going on in the halls of the Cincinnati Reds' management, where the team has ridden a pretty wild rollercoaster throughout September.  Lately they've not been good, but for the first week or better of the month played very solid and entertaining baseball.  There are some good pieces for the future, but there are also players that clearly won't be part of the picture as the rebuilding of the team enters its second season.  But Joey Votto continues to be quite a sight at bat, handling pitchers' out pitches with an ease that's almost otherworldly at times.  Talk about adjustment.

For those wondering, I am continuing to make progress in my search for the right career position, and doing some independent work as I look.  I've had a couple of promising meetings recently and will be making a trip to meet with someone as early as next week.  Fingers crossed.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Being someone else

Today’s one of those days when I’m glad not to be a presidential candidate.

Honestly, is there any other activity where it’s virtually impossible to be right, be appropriate and be honest, all at the same time?

I ask because of what happened to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Bearing in mind that her opponent, Donald Trump, has repeatedly questioned her health, and his surrogates, mostly former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have scrutinized issues like Clinton’s recent coughing spells and so forth.

In case you misplaced your scorecard, Clinton (and Trump) attended the 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero yesterday, but left after about 90 minutes due to what her staff called being “overheated.”  Then video surfaced online that showed Clinton very unsteady on her feet and being helped (“carried” might be the more appropriate word) into a van, in which she was taken to daughter Chelsea’s Manhattan apartment.  She then emerged some time later, told the collected media she was feeling better and what a beautiful day it was.

THEN it broke that she had been diagnosed with something much worse than the seasonal allergies that afflict many of us in my part of the country.  She has pneumonia, it was determined on Friday.  Nevertheless, she pushed ahead with a full schedule, but after all of this came to light, she wisely cancelled a campaign/fundraising trip to California.

Now she’s getting it from both sides.  Trump and his seconds are bashing her, but mostly for comments she made about the “deplorables” among Trump’s support base, and media and media critics alike are expressing shock for how poorly a legitimate health issue was handled.

As I said, damned if you do…..

I suppose the only other person I’d rather not be right now is Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops, who has to figure out how his program has absolutely cratered since the middle of LAST season.  His team is 0-2 after a whipping at Florida on Saturday.  Yes, Stoops and his staff have assembled multiple consecutive strong recruiting classes, and now the facilities are being upgraded at UK in a big way.  But none of that will matter if the players don’t execute and win more frequently from here on.  I’ve had brief social contact with Stoops (his children and those of one of his key assistants attend the school that two of my grandkids used to attend) and he seems a genuinely good guy who is trying to do the right thing.  Hope he gets the chance to see things through.


I’m not going to attempt to take a position on the whole kneeling-for-the-National-Anthem issue that appears to be the primary subject of discussion in professional football.  Worthwhile positions on both sides.  And we’re talking about it, but not about the issues that appear to have triggered all of this attention.  I’ll just say this:  if those who have means would do more to help improve the situation, instead of stopping short by simply calling attention to it, we might have a better scenario to discuss.

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