Category Archives: Society

About what other people think

It Was the Mom’s Fault

it-was-the-moms-fault

I just saw some of the photos that were released today in regards to the Newtown Massacre. The photos of the house revealed to me why Adam Lanza murdered 20 innocent children and five innocent teachers. He didn’t live in a home, he lived in a place.

A place where stuff was kept. A place full of material possessions. A treadmill. Boxes of stuff stacked in nearly every room. Computers, multiple game consoles and televisions. Artwork not hung on bare walls. An unopened box of “Sand Art” for kids. Bionic action-figures strewn about. A lone, white Teddy Bear.

Nancy Lanza received hundreds of thousands of dollars annually as part of her divorce settlement. She was planning on selling the mansion they lived in and move to a smaller place. She was planning to buy her troubled 20-year old son another gun.

She was constantly cleaning his clothes because he changed several times a day. She cooked only specific foods he requested and served them only on plates Adam specified. Yet Adam didn’t let her into his room. And only communicated with her by email.

Adam’s relationship with his Dad deteriorated in the fourth quarter of 2010. Adam stopped responding to his father’s mail and e-mails about getting together. Nancy didn’t help Adam and his Dad, nor did she seek out professional help for her very troubled son.

Her buying Adam stuff instead of spending time with him enabled the murder of those 20 poor children. She financed the whole thing. Bought him the gun and the ammo. An arsenal of weapons for a kid. And a crazy kid at that.

We have a materialistic lifestyle perpetuated by a materialistic culture. This only provides us with temporary happiness. Happiness is not based on the senses, but within one’s mind. Think of how your peace of mind helps you be happy, helps your physical health and of all those around you.

Instead of spending money on things, go spend more time with those who you love.

How I Survived a Facebook Troll

how-i-survived-a-facebook-troll

Several days ago I jumped onto my Brother-in-Law Ken’s Facebook post about the GOP’s obstruction of the PPACA. Turns out I got trolled pretty hard by some guy named Manuel. Here is the thread (edited for clarity).

Manuel

Love how it’s always the Republicans’ fault. Harry Reid? Barack Obama? Nancy Pelosi? Why they’re just patriotic public servants.

Manuel

LoL and you just adore republicans. If the democrats were willing to compromise the government would be open. What compromises did democrats make?

Manuel

BTW I don’t have disdain for democrats. I do have disdain for their refusal to offer any compromises, and for the inflammatory rhetoric they use in their effort to confuse the public over who’s really playing politics.

Manuel

Oh you’re right. Republicans should just roll over and let a disaster in the making proceed. Let’s just all get a front row seat to watch the looming train wreck, watch millions of people lose their jobs, or have their hours cut to below 30, and watch them get sucked into inefficient, coercive gov’t exchanges where, while they may see lower premiums, will also bear far higher out of pocket deductibles and co-pays. And those Republican extremists as you call them, who, last time I checked many were elected in 2010 and 2012 to oppose Obamacare? I guess they ought to just shut up and color too, because “Harry, Nancy and Barack” say so. That’s now how government works. But if your real goal was to shut down the government so people like you can jump up and down and blame the “Tea Party extremist,” it’s perfect. Democrats are always whining about wanting to see more compromise; that is, except when they want what they want.

Kenny McCarthy

Manuel I just read your posts. I had to comment. Your posts are chock full of opinion, not rational discourse. Nothing but platitudes and talking points. Please shut off your talk radio and think things through for yourself.

I am sad to see an entire political party get hi-jacked by the medical insurance lobby. I am an independent voter, and after this latest charade I will be hard-pressed to ever, ever vote for a republican again.

Truth be told, private health insurance companies add no value to our health care. We have a serious problem with private health insurance in this nation. The ACA is a step in the right direction.

Manuel

If it were simply a matter of fixing a few parts of the law I’d be with you. Unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than that. And Democrats shouldn’t be surprised that there’s so much opposition to this law three years after it passed. Consider: It was rammed down the throats of republicans by supermajorities in both houses on a purely partisan, straight line party vote, nearly all of the predictions made back then about how problematic and complex (and contradictory) the law will be has come true, and polls consistently show a majority of Americans oppose the law. But according to democrats delaying funding of the law for 12 months is just too much to ask for.

Manuel

Kenny thanks for your own set of opinions and irrational discourse. And I rarely listen to talk radio so you know where that irrational opinion can go. And speaking of facts, please provide a few to support your view that “an entire political party” was “hijacked by the medical insurance lobby.” Facts please. While you ponder how you’re going to answer, are you not aware that the Obama Administration and “medical insurance lobby” cut a back room deal in order to get the “medical insurance lobby” to support Obamacare??????

Manuel

Kenny you want some facts? Here are a few for you. Sure you’ll find some opinion, but it’s opinion based on empirical evidence and knowledge of past government inter-party crises. Here are three reasons why it’s the Democrats, and not the Republicans, who wanted the government shut down:

1. The Obama administration has already agreed to multiple (unconstitutional) delays in certain sections of the the healthcare law, including delaying the employer mandate for 12 months. (FACT). So any talk about “the law is the law” and must be followed is total nonsense (see political posturing, hypocrisy); any change to the law this time at least would have been constitutional. (FACT)

3. Probably the most telling reason why Democrats are the ones who wanted to see the government shut down: because as in past shutdowns, they know their media allies will make sure Republicans get the blame (FACT), and this is the reason why Democrats are tripping all over themselves get in front of the cameras to attack Ted Cruz, attack the Tea Party, attack Republicans in the most visceral rhetoric not heard in years. Democrats have called Republicans demons, terrorists with explosives strapped to their chests, legislative arsonists, extortionists, Tea party anarchists, willing to tank the economy, deny healthcare to Americans, wanting to plunge the country back into recession (FACT); soundbites they know will get plenty of play on friendly cable stations and network television.

Hopefully the public won’t be so easily duped this time automatically default to blaming Republicans outright without knowing all the facts, just because “the media says so.”

An you want to blame Republicans. Great, Harry and Barack are counting on it.

Kenny McCarthy

Gentlemen, listen. I’m not about to get into a diatribe on Facebook with strangers. It will just get us upset. Life is too short to hate.

Political opinion is intended to sway people’s minds. Most of it is just words strung together. That’s the reality I see when I read all these politically-charged comments.

There is plenty of non-partisan, reputable information out there on the PPACA act. Just google it. Think it through for yourself. And write to your Congressmen and Senators about it. I have.

Is the PPACA act perfect? No. Is it a step forward in the right direction to fix a big problem in our country. Yes it is.

Manuel

Well then name one Ken.

Manuel

Hey Ken, while you’re at it, name one time when democrats rolled over, sighed, and said, “well, it’s the law.”

Manuel

Funny. When democrats rant an rave, call people who disagree with them extremists, and generally accuse “the other side” of some of the most vile things, they have other names to call it, other than “whining.” Love it.

Manuel

Kenny no need to enter into a diatribe. Jut asking you to back up what you’re saying.

Manuel

Still waiting to hear how the medical insurance lobby was hijacked (ostensibly by the republicans).

Manuel

Didn’t see this post so posting again:

Kenny, I appreciate your desire to hear some facts. Here are a few.

Here are three reasons why it’s the Democrats, and not the Republicans, who wanted the government shut down:

1. The Obama administration has already agreed to multiple (unconstitutional) delays in certain sections of the the healthcare law, including delaying the employer mandate for 12 months. (FACT). So any talk about “the law is the law” and must be followed is total nonsense (see political posturing, hypocrisy); any change to the law this time at least would have been constitutional. (FACT)

2. The Republicans have offered multiple compromises during this latest crisis in an effort to find a solution to the impasse, including the last one offered as a compromise last night that would have delayed the individual mandate for 12 months, and remove the congressional exemption from the law. (FACT) The Democratic response? Rejected outright, just like every other GOP offer. (FACT) Not even one counter proposal. (FACT) In fact Democrats have not offered one single proposal or compromise (FACT) why? Because they were more interested in shutting down the government and reaping the political benefits than they were reaching any agreement with the Republicans.

3. Probably the most telling reason why Democrats are the ones who wanted to see the government shut down: because as in past shutdowns, they know their media allies will make sure Republicans get the blame (FACT), and this is the reason why Democrats are tripping all over themselves get in front of the cameras to attack Ted Cruz, attack the Tea Party, attack Republicans in the most visceral rhetoric not heard in years. Democrats have called Republicans demons, (FACT) terrorists with explosives strapped to their chests, (FACT) legislative arsonists, (FACT) extortionists, (FACT), Tea party anarchists, willing to tank the economy, (FACT) deny healthcare to Americans, (FACT) wanting to plunge the country back into recession (FACT); soundbites they know will get plenty of play on friendly cable stations and network television.

Hopefully the public won’t be so easily duped this time automatically default to blaming Republicans outright without knowing all the facts, just because “the media says so.”

So go ahead and never vote for a republican again. Barack, Nancy and Harry are counting on it.

Manuel

I brought that up the other day, ie it would be refreshing to see some courageous democrats stand up and admit this law isn’t ready for implementation. The response I got?: screw that….” A lot’s been said about the inter-party disagreements on the Republican side, and it can look and sound ugly. But what do we have on the other side? We have a whole party that goose steps in unison and does whatever the party leadership tells it to do or else. At least there are some on the republican side who are willing to take a stand knowing they’ll take fire from both sides. We need more of that in congress, instead of the old “the only way to get along is to go along” way of doing business.

Manuel

Kenny, you believe Obamacare is a step in the right direction. That’s your opinion and you are entitled to it of course. But I have seen very little to support that opinion. There were far better ways to address the healthcare problems in this country in a very thoughtful, systematic way. None of them were considered in 2010 and that is why (in large part) I believe there is so much consternation and opposition to this law. People who support this law are in the minority in this country, and that minority will become much smaller in the next year or two when the public really starts to feel the pain this will cause. But let’s be perfectly honest: the law is so bad, so poorly written, so complicated, so intrusive, and so inefficient, that it seems like it was designed to fail. And there is considerable evidence that is the case. But you have to understand what progressives are really after, which is government-controlled, single payer, universal health care. That is the ultimate goal, and in that respect, Obamacare is a step in the right direction.

Manuel

First of all, the majority of Republicans where in favor of “delaying” the law all along why??? So there would be an opportunity to FIX it, that is, if Democrats would have been willing to compromise. Based on the past few weeks that may be a pipe dream. There were only a few senators who supported “defunding” the law. More house members, I admit, but in the end most republicans voted to DELAY to law. And why did we get on the democrat side? One Rejection after another. Look if you think this stating facts is whining, I’m happy to whine.

Manuel

I have been a student of the American presidency (and American history) for as long as I can remember. You would be hard pressed to find an American president that’s been less presidential than President Obama has been. He really is a huge part of the problem. He has no respect for the constitution (like most progressives), no respect for the opposition (like most narcissists), no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the American people, and certainly no respect for his office. Kenny may call this another example of irrational discourse, but there is plenty of evidence to support this. In fact books have already been written about this subject, look or many more once he finally. leaves office. Leadership begins at the top, and for the past 5 years the country has been poorly led.

Manuel

You sound more and more like a typical liberal democrat who doesn’t like or want to be challenged. That being said, actually the delay would help the democrats. Why do you think Obama delayed the employer mandate? Or any of the other 16 changes to the law that favors his core constituencies? I will predict right here and now that the law will be proven so unworkable, so cumbersome, so expensive, and more unpopular than it is today, that many democrats up for re-election in 2014 will regret their vote. It’s their ideology that’s driving their vote, and of course fear of Nancy and Harry.

Kenny McCarthy

Gentlemen, last comment on this because, well, I got better things to do than to make strangers more upset. I really don’t have any skin in this stupid game, but just to enlighten others to think things through for themselves.

This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it.

Health reform is the ethical thing to do. Lord knows, the current system we have now isn’t working.

America is unique to have such a divergent population. Democrat or republican, white or brown or yellow or black, christian or hidu or muslim or jewish or athiest – it doesn’t matter, does it? We are humans that are more alike that not – by a long shot. We have to treat each other better. What I am witnessing here on this thread and on the news is sickening.

The Creed of the Extreme Right Wing has become this:

Poor people have too much money, which makes them unmotivated to work. We need to cut off public assistance, cut tax breaks, bust their unions and cap minimum wage levels.

Rich people have too little money, which makes them unmotivated to “invest”. We need to give them more tax breaks and de-regulate business.

It’s a f**ked up creed if ever there’s been one. It’s reverse Christianity. And it’s killing our Nation.

Manuel

Kenny not upset even a little bit. But I never did see your evidence to prove the “medical insurance lobby” was hijacked by one of the parties.

Manuel

Kenny, wow. The irony here is hard to overlook. So is the hypocrisy on your part. I don’t have time now but I will respond to your erroneous assertions that the 21 individual taxes in Obamacare will only effect the rich. That is patently FALSE. The stink bomb you threw before you left regarding the “creed of the extreme right” is also nonsense, and you’d be hard pressed to back that up as well along with your other unproven claims. I don’t know where you get your information from but you’re being poorly served. Have to go now but would love to see you post anything factual to prove what you just wrote. If you can’t (you won’t be able to) then I’ll just chalk it up as a real example of “opinionated irrational discourse.”

Kenny McCarthy

Manuel

(Well, so much for my last post being the last. Here goes….)

I’m really sorry you are having a problem comprehending what I wrote:

I never wrote the “medical insurance lobby was hijacked”. I wrote “I am sad to see an entire political party get hi-jacked BY the medical insurance lobby”. This is a huge semantic difference between what I wrote and what you quoted.

I am sad that the Republican party stooped so low last night and closed the Federal Government. I acknowledge the fact that a healthy political system requires two parties to work out compromises. That’s not what’s happening today because the extreme right-wing hate Obama.

You’ve mis-characterized me as a “typical liberal” on a number of points that I tried to raised. And therein lies the problem.

Talk radio has destroyed the tone of debate in this nation. People are becoming so quick to stereotype others who have different opinions. Am I liberal on some issues? Yes. Am I conservative on some issues? Yes too! How can that be? It comes down to our environment, our parents, our life experiences, and yes – genetics. None of us are identical. So what am I? Liberal. Conservative? Moderate? How about a little of all.

You see, this thread shouldn’t be an argument. Health Care reform is a very complex issue. Bringing in the “right vs. left” dogma only brings the level of rationality down. Calling each other wingnuts doen’t help.

I don’t know anything about you, whether you are married with kids or not, what type of work you do, what you do for recreation, or whatever. And frankly it’s not my business. But I do know we share a lot more in values that you perhaps don’t realize. The right to pursue life, liberty & happiness; a happy family, a safe home to live in, fire and police protection, protection of the environment, guarding our nation’s borders, affordable health care, freedom. Those are all things we agree on.

Health Care Reform is sorely needed in this nation. Is it perfect? No legislation crafted out of committee ever is. But it’s a step in the right direction. The GOP leadership is doing NOTHING to help resolve the problems we have with health insurance in this nation. Other countries have it resolved. Why not us?

Is it wistful thinking? No I don’t think it so. My experience with the current health insurance system taught me that the private health insurance companies add zero value to health care. It is time to move forward on health care reform and not turn the clock back. More work remains ahead.

Manuel

Kenny , let me make sure I have it right this time: “I am sad to see an entire political party get hijacked BY the medical insurance lobby.” Followed by “I will never vote republican again…..” SO, now that we have that straight, what party are you talking about? If you’re talking about the Democratic Party I would agree. But it sounded a lot like you were referring to the Republican Party. If I’m wrong, please write more clearly. An simple “and” in the right place and you would have been more clear.

Manuel

Kenny, now, to your assertion that “this is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people…” You stand by that?

Manuel

Kenny I never characterized you as a “typical liberal,” let’s keep this conversation within the realm of fact. If you read my responses to you, what I am characterizing is your false assumptions, all of them devoid of any substantive support to back up what you say. I never called you a “typical liberal” but I will say you are woefully un-informed for someone so opinionated.

Manuel

Kenny if what you say is true about private insurance companies providing “zero value” then please explain how pill after poll suggest 85 percent of the public generally are happy with the healthcare insurance provided (mostly through employer-provided coverage). That may be true for you, that’s your experience, that’s isn’t the experience the majority of Americans have had. Not saying the private insurance industry didn’t need reform, but one cannot intelligently speak about the problems inherent in the health insurance industry without talking about government policies which contribute to those problems.

Manuel

I really don’t care to be accused of wanting the poor and aged to go without healthcare in this country just because I believe (based on the overwhelming empirical evidence that the law is unworkable) Obamacare is simply bad law. This applies to anything conservatives support or oppose. I get a little tired of being called “extreme” because I want the government to return to its constitutional precepts, and not waste so much of the nation’s wealth on wasteful, inefficient, and in many cases, unconstitutional special interest government programs. I’m tired of democrats injecting race into every conceivable issue. Or democratic politicians using inflammatory rhetoric without being challenged by the media. Imagine if a republican called democrats “anarchists, terrorists, extortionists, holding the country “hostage” with a gun to its head, demons, heartless cold, radical extremists wanting to hurt the poor and the elderly and children. This is typical language routinely used by many democrats. Julian Bond, referring the tea party as “the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.” This passes for “rational discourse” on the left. A healthy part of the Democratic Party supports amnesty/open borders, federal funding for abortion, abortion on demand, gun confiscation, total control of healthcare, spending billions on failed green energy companies, crippling the coal and oil and gas industries, elimination of work for welfare programs, the elimination of God or religion from the public square, and they call conservatives “extreme.” And it used to be that “far right” was a term used to describe the Tim McVeigh’s of the world, ruby ridge, Waco, the KKK/skinheads/neoNazis, militia groups training in the woods to overthrow the federal government, abortion clinic bombers. NOW if you support the Tea Party, or want limited government, or lower taxes/reduced spending, or want less gov’t control over education, or oppose Obamacare, or support the traditional definition of marriage, or question the notion that human activity is destroying the planet, or want a return to adherence to the Constitution, or oppose amnesty/open borders, or support voter ID laws, or the second amendment, or even if you’re a Christian, you’re labeled a “radical, far-right extremist.” Sad but this is where we’re at. And people wonder why the country is so polarized.

Manuel

I forgot to mention “racist.” That’s a real popular one.

Kenny McCarthy

Wow Manuel, a whole block of text where you hit all the talking points. Nice job there stringing words together. They are just words, platitudes, triggers to incite emotion. You’re just poisoning the well Manuel.

I’m not buying that. Let’s focus on the attempt by the GOP to stop health care reform. Please allow me to re-state the obvious:

“This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it.”

I stand by my assertion that “this is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people…” I never stated, as you quote, “that the 21 individual taxes in Obamacare will only effect the rich.” You’re making a hasty generalization about assuming that I believe only the wealthy will shoulder the load. We all will in one way or another.

I did not write “I will never vote republican again…..”. I stated “I will be hard-pressed to ever, ever vote for a republican again.” Not never. Never implies a sense of hopelessness and finality. It’s an all-or-nothing phrase that does not lend itself to listening, compromising and creating good will.

On the topic of polling suggesting that “85 percent of the public generally are happy with the healthcare insurance provided”, I respectfully digress.

First thing, polls are notoriously mis-leading. There are aided and un-aided questions that can be phrased to steer a respondent towards a particular outcome.

Second, I am talking specifically about Heath Insurance, not Heath care. I think 85% of people ARE satisfied with their doctor and health care providers. I suspect if you were to ask the same population how they feel about their health INSURANCE, the answers would be drastically different.

Thirdly, thank you for acknowledging my experience which does shape my perspective on this issue. My experience is this – I had a health plan. My wife was stricken with cancer. Even though I had health insurance, the co-pays and deductibles were astronomical. The total bill was well north of $600,000. I remember trying to decipher the statements, calling up the doctor offices, asking what was this and that code meant. I learned one thing, we were getting gouged. The prices I was getting charged for were absurd, with markups as high as 10,000%! The hospital rate-setting has no basis on actual costs because, well, they charge whatever they can get away with.

Finally, we spend nearly 20% of our GDP on healthcare, the highest by far amongst industrialized nations.

I retract my accusation about being labeled a “typical liberal”. Chalk it up to too many Ken and Kennys in this discussion. It was Ken who was labeled, not me(Kenny). LOL.

So in essence, this isn’t a political discussion for me. It’s about health care. We need to fix it. Continuing as we’ve had the past few decades will bankrupt this nation. I’m asking you and other to step away from the political rhetoric and and help us fix the problem.

p.s. I congratulate Manuel for eliciting the longest rant I’ve ever made on a comment board. It was kinda fun, I think. Peace.

Manuel

Kenny you’re hilarious. Poisoning the well. I think you’re the one using incendiary language, calling names, and mischaracterizing the facts. But I’m poisoning the well. Do you even read what you write? And I’m sure what I wrote are just words to you. I have no doubt. You’ve proven to be immune to common sense. And sure, you never mentioned the 21 individual tax measures inherent in the law. I did. I’m sure you were clueless about them, but you did allude to the tax increases being primarily linked to “the rich.” Which is absurd. If you knew what you were talking about instead of spewing your own litany of platitudes you’d know that many of those taxes hit the middle class some will actually help increase the cost of healthcare (tax on medical devices, gee you think?), and a few are already hurting job growth. Twelve specifically affect families making under $250,000. That’s a lot of families. So let’s stop playing word games, and for start backing up your nonsense. I’ve lost track of the things you’ve said that you’ve failed to back up. And BTW, wrong again when you state that, at the risk of having to endure your boring word games, republicans are opposed to healthcare? Do I have that right; you write some pretty long rants yourself, it’s hard to go back and look for your nonsense. For the record republicans are NOT opposed to healthcare reform. Stop believing in myths. Republicans are opposed to YOUR brand of healthcare reform. Republicans have NEVER opposed common sense, market driven, health care reform, all, btw, opposed by DEMOCRATS. I’d be happy to list them each and expound on how these ideas would do a far better job at reducing the cost of healthcare, so people like the princess could actually afford to purchase her own rather than go crawling to the government to take care of her. But why bother you with facts or substantive ideas? You’d just gloss over them and go back to your own collection of talking points. (After listening to you all day I feel confident in recommending you add hypocrite to your resume.) If you didn’t write so many things that aren’t true or factually incorrect you’d have more credibility.

Manuel

Found it. You said “let’s focus on the attempt by the GOP to stop healthcare reform.” Pretty much the same as saying republicans oppose healthcare reform. So please, spare me your senseless word games. However you said it, or however I paraphrase your point, it’s still factually incorrect. And however you characterized the law with regard to “stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people,” again totally false. The people that will really be hurt aren’t the rich. It’s the middle class, and this law will go a long way toward reducing the middle class even more than Obama’s policies have already done. Or do I need to educate you on that one as well? And I never did hear your clarification with regard to what party you’re sad to “hijacked by the medical insurance lobby.” And golly, lookie here, this is what you said about voting republican in the future: “I am an independent voter, and after this latest charade I wi be hard pressed to ever vote for a republican again.” So thanks for wasting my time over semantics. It’s what people typically do when they’re losing an argument.

Manuel

Don’t worry Kenny. I have absolutely no faith at this point you are capable of backing up any of your dribble. Basically you’re a leg humper. I hope it felt good. I’m done wasting my time with you.

Kenny McCarthy

Wow. I’m speechless. I’m lying? About everything I wrote? That’s harsh.

I don’t owe you a damn answer to any of your questions. You’re just a partisan hack who gets his information from biased sources. Believe me, you don’t want to directly debate me point-by-point on politics because I will own you.

The GOP is simply trying to run out the clock on health care reform, because they realize that once it takes effect, a large majority will like it.

You got nothing. Check back with me in a year when this legislation has had a chance to work. I’m done trying to rationalize with extremists.

Regards

Manuel

I’m extreme because I don’t want to allow a government that can’t even pass a budget, or that had three and a half years to get a web site running, take over 1/6 of the economy. You’re a joke. I feel sorry for you.

Manuel

Kenny, I forgot to thank you for proving my earlier point, you calling me “extreme.” Clearly your definition of “extreme” is anyone who disagrees with you. Enjoy the Obamacare train wreck. (To quote one of the law’s authors.)

★★★★★

Usually I don’t engage with trolls. But I couldn’t help myself after I read some of the outlandish comments in Ken’s Facebook post. The slandering of the PPACA act struck a nerve in me. I am disgusted.

I’m upset at myself for stooping so low as to get into a Facebook argument with a complete stranger. I was even more upset thinking about what it is with some people who can’t think things through for themselves. What prompts people to go online and regurgitate such stupid nonsense? It has to be more than stupidity, no one could be that stupid. It has to be something else.

There is an erosion of science education, particularly in the Deep South. This is the agenda of the religious right wing to get their fundamentalist creation myth taught as science in the classroom. They want to teach young people at a young age that it’s alright to believe in lies and nonsense. The children learn beliefs and not much more. Many are not exposed to free discourse where they learn the hard lessons about the difference between a good argument and a bad one. They grow up lacking the cognitive thinking skills and the intellectual curiosity to be able to flesh out an issue as complex as Health Care Reform. The kids grow up brainwashed, unable or afraid to think for themselves, entirely reliant on a belief code.

The sordid thread with Manuel taught me to never again get into an argument on a site, no matter how altruist I am. It’s a no-win game. A good friend gave me some great advice about feeding trolls:

NEVER SING FOR THE DEAF PIG. IT MAKES YOU LOOK BAD AND IT ANNOYS THE PIG.

I have one thing left to say to Manuel – Keep on fucking that Chicken!

The SeaBees

the-seabees

The SeaBees are a construction battalion, tasked to build bases, roads, airstrips and docks during wartime. SeaBees were often on the front lines, fighting and building. Sometimes the SeaBees went behind enemy lines, at great risk, to build stuff.

I remember Grandpa talking about the War. He saw a lot of action and he told me some stories that I’d rather not share. Shell Shock became Battle Fatigue and then PTSD. It’s a serious problem for our returning Vets. I think about the price our servicemen are paying in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think about the toll it takes on them and the families it impacted. I think about what if there wasn’t any war, how these families, mine included, would have been different. Then there is this.

It’s a photo of Grandpa Frank’s SeaBee Company on the Solomon Islands campaign. Grandpa is in the front row on the far right, next to the CO and 1st Officer. Of the 32 men pictured, only 5 of them made it out alive. Grandpa was one of the lucky ones, if you want to call it that. A bit of him died back there in the South Pacific.

Band of Brothers

band-of-brothers

Mom brought some old pictures when she visited last week. We had the opportunity to go through them and talk about them. Some of them I want to share with you. This is a photo of my Great Grandmother Burns and her six sons. All the boys served in World War II, most of them seeing heavy action. It was a miracle they all returned home alive.

Going from left to right:

John Burns – Navy

John was the only Uncle I never met, I don’t know anything of him. He passed away when I was very young. I don’t know where he served, if he ever got married, had kids or how he died.

Bob Burns – Army

Uncle Bob came back from the war and married his sweetheart Vera. They lived a simple life on the South Side near Idora Park. They were a private couple. One year the family got together at one of Uncle Clarence’s birthday bashes and I found myself sitting down with Bob over a few beers. He started talking about the War. Turns out he spent the war as a Captain of an Army unit in Burma. Burma was the longest campaign in the war and arguably the most ferocious. Bob told me stories about operating hundreds of miles behind enemy lines and ruthless hand-to-hand fighting. His unit was the model of the formation of the Army Rangers. His most horrific story, by far, was about the end of the war when he entered and released starving American GI’s from Japanese POW camps.

Lillian Burns – Mom

I never met her for she passed before I was born

Jim Burns – Army

Uncle Jim and his wife spent a lot of time together with Grandma and Grandpa. Whenever we visited their house on the West Side, it was always a happy place. The ladies meet every month to play Bridge for over 50 years. Jim and Grandpa shared their love of fishing. Uncle Jim spent time in the European Theater, including, I think, heavy action at the Battle of the Bulge.

Clarence Burns – Navy

We called him Uncle Monk. He and his wife Mildred both lived into their ’90s, having being married together for over 60 years. Both of them had incredible senses of humor. I don’t know much about his service in the war because he never talked about it. I think he served in the Pacific.

Floyd Burns – Army

Sadly, I don’t remember anything about Uncle Floyd. Someone once mentioned he was at Anzio. Mom recalls him fondly.

Frank Burns – Navy

My Grandpa. Look up the definition of a crusty seaman and you’ll see a picture of him. He was a tough little guy who could build and fix nearly everything. I guess that’s why they made him a Sea Bee. He said that when the Marines bragged about landing in the Solomon Islands his unit had built an airstrip and piers before their arrival. Once he told me of seeing his best friend take a shell, killing him instantly.

Big Brother is Watching You

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The 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the shenanigans of the NSA, you should. Their unwarranted search of our telephone and internet activity is violating your rights. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue. Don’t blame Obama or Bush for this. This permutes every level of government – Federal, State and Local.

As one who had my 4th Amendment rights trampled on by the San Luis Sheriff Detectives, and my digital life ripped to shreds, I know. I know how it feels to be subjugated by law enforcement. I know how little I meant to the criminal justice system. I know what it’s like to have your digital devices and assets seized without a warrant properly served. I know how violated I felt having my email and browsing and Facebook activity searched.

Write to your Senators and Congressmen today and tell them to start protecting our rights. The first step is to repeal the Patriot Act.

Putting Things Behind

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I had a comment on my last posting. It went like this:

Why do you post this stuff, Kenny? There are many of us who love and care about you, but who also loved and cared about Janet, too. I understand, completely, that you were very hurt by the things she said to you, but posting your resentment for all of us to hear, well, I struggle to rationalize what would compel you to have to display it like this.

This is my blog. I write about my children. I write about philosophy and morality. I write about myself and the the hell I have gone through. Writing helps me heal. Pulling my thoughts out and putting it down on paper is my way to re-integrate my mind. It isn’t resentment or revenge.

What happened on June 12, 2010 was tragic, the worst sort of bad luck anyone could have. Calcoastnews.com took our family’s tragedy and hammered me. No, they sledgehammered me. What they did was reprehensible. They have no idea of the career they ruined, the harm they did to my family, and the struggle I have with re-building my life. The impact has lasted years and spread far.

Some people have made it nearly impossible to deal with her death with decency and dignity. They know nothing about our relationship. Janet lied about me, lied to me, lied in front of our children. She told people that I was a violent drunkard. That I was having an affair with two ladies simultaneously. That I was abusing my children. Just incredulous stuff, all untrue. Friends have relayed to me her lies. They couldn’t believe the things that Janet was saying about her husband. In nearly 23 years of marriage I can’t think of once where I disparaged my wife. Not one time ever.

There are a few people who can’t leave it behind, and continue to make life difficult for our family. I have a neighbor, Alan Volbrecht, who recently verbally accosted me in front of Douglas, scaring him. Alan also gives me “mad dog” looks whenever he see me. His wife Chris is on record writing things such as “the children need to be protected from their father whether or not he did anything to Janet” and “I will protect the kids from Ken anyway I can.” The “anonymous” call to Children’s Services accusing me of abusive behavior. This posting on my blog by an In-Law, under the pseudonym A_long_silent_witness@yahoo.com, “How do you put this last bit of pain away? Reflect on the things you did and the things you didn’t do and then pray for forgiveness. If you happen to find someone else as wonderful as Janet to share your live with, history will repeat itself unless you learn from it.”

I stayed married to a woman for 23 years out of love and devotion. If I argued then I was labeled unreasonable. If I disengaged then I was labeled as not caring. If I got upset then I was a tyrant. If I called out her behavior she denied it until our relationship was past done. I was always “wrong”, always “selfish”, and always “not caring”. For wanting to see my friends, for wanting my own life, for not wanting to deal with being insulted or emotionally abused. And the worst part was that I believed every word of it. I spent years feeling like I was an awful person, and feeling scared of her. I felt like leaving the situation would just prove that I really didn’t care/love her enough, and that would make me a bad husband, a bad father, a bad human being.

Janet would be happy that I am taking very good care of our children. They have emerged from an incredible loss. They are happy, healthy and thriving. Teachers, coaches, parents and friends all have stepped forth and helped us. Alexandra has been a rock for us. They have allowed me to deal with my wife’s death with grace and dignity. I am very grateful to these people.

I will continue to call out those who slandered and libeled me. None of them have the courage to apologize to me and my family for the hell they put us through. None of them have offered any support to my family. I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to do so. I can’t change their misperceptions. They’ll believe whatever they want to believe. For them, opinions matter more than facts.

There was more to Janet that what she projected in public. Borderline Personality Disorder is an incurable mental illness, a darkness that tore our marriage apart. Those who live with it knows what hell is like. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of living with this woman and the fallout from her passing. Truth be told, I loved that woman, but I didn’t like her for what she became.

The Good Son

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Ray Boom Boom Mancini was the real-life Rocky. A tough-as-nails fighter from a tough city. Boom Boom won the World Lightweight Title in 1982. Tragedy struck later that year when he knocked out Duk Koo Kim in a title defense. Kim never regained consciousness.

Boom Boom and I grew up in Youngstown, OH, in the South Side. Ray lived in the Lansingville neighborhood and I lived adjacent in Pleasant Grove. We had a few mutual friends. It was through them that I got to meet him.

I saw him work out. Ray trained harder than anyone I knew. He wasn’t a gifted fighter by any means, he won by sheer, brutal force of will. He got to the top level by working harder at it than anyone else. Ray was all heart. We loved him in Youngstown.

A few months ago my good friend John Ruble sent me Ray’s Biography. It’s a beautiful story about fathers and sons, drive and championships, loss and redemption. It’s a testament to the human spirit. Thanks John for sending me this great book.