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Marsico, Rozman and Morris for Dauphin County Judge

If you consider experience and qualifications alone when selecting a county judge, then there are only three logical people to get your vote on May 16th, 2017:

Ed Marsico

Michael Rozman

Royce Morris

Ed Marsico has been Dauphin County’s district attorney for a long time, so long that I have lost count of the years. During his time as the chief law enforcement official for Dauphin County, Ed has always struck a balance of fairness and restraint, when lesser people would have given in to anger over some of the heinous crimes committed in the Harrisburg area. That always struck me as the sign of a well developed personality, because man, I did not feel that way about some of the scumbag criminals he prosecuted. I wanted a public stoning. Ed pursued justice. Without any stain on his long career as a visible and scrutinized public servant, Ed Marsico is the most qualified candidate for county judge in this race and one of the most qualified we have ever had. He has earned your vote. (Ed has done a great job as DA, and I and many others would have liked to have had him run for Pennsylvania Attorney General, but Ed is devoted to Dauphin County).

Michael Rozman has served as deputy district attorney under Marsico for a long time. Often laboring away out of the limelight, Rozman has racked up some of the greatest experience any lawyer can have. Rozman’s mastery of forensics, crime scene investigations, police interviews and interrogations, and knowing how to distinguish a bad boy from a true bad guy puts him head and shoulders above any of the other candidates, except for his boss, Ed Marsico. Again, if experience and outstanding qualification matters to you, if you want justice and not politics in the court room, and if you want to be judged by someone who has had decades of experience dealing with courts, criminal matters, justice, and police work, then Michael Rozman has earned your vote.

Royce Morris is also exceptionally qualified to be judge, and he is the Yin to the Yang of Marsico and Rozman. Morris has been one of Central Pennsylvania’s leading criminal defense lawyers for a long, long time. His view of criminal law is seasoned with the understanding of the behavior and reasons why certain bad things happen and how people either purposefully or mistakenly end up in the criminal justice system. Royce has received accolades from judges, jurors, prosecutors, defendants and police officers for the careful way he has handled some of the region’s toughest defense cases. Again, if experience is what you care about, and you want to be judged by someone who is not a party hack or a devotee of political climbing, then Royce Morris earns your vote.

It is true that there are other candidates for the three vacant seats on the Dauphin County court. But none of those candidates has anywhere near the hard-bitten experience dealing with tough crimes and careful analysis like Marsico, Rozman, and Morris have had.

The quality difference between the top three candidates and the others is measured in light years, which is to say an enormous gap, not even close.

Yes, it is true that a Republican political endorsement was made for this seat, which benefited one of the other candidates, and while I am no fan of political endorsements in general, if there is one place where a political endorsement does not belong, where it actually indicates weakness and not strength, it is during the selection of a judge. Politics has no business entering the court room or the judge selection process, and only you, the informed voter can stop it.

About eight years ago now-Judge Andrew Dowling was not endorsed by the Dauphin GOP, and he was told not to run, and yet he went on to win his seat on the court, overcoming what is obviously a very shallow and judicially meaningless political process. A better process would be to rank judicial candidates by a letter system, or by gradations of qualification (e.g. Highly Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified). That election, when Dowling overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Three years ago outstanding judicial candidate Bill Tully was passed over by the Dauphin GOP, and another, very young and less qualified candidate was endorsed. He was closer to the political establishment. The voters rejected that set-up, too, and sent Tully to be the next Dauphin County judge. That election, when Tully overcame the political hackery, was a refreshing reminder of the wisdom and power of the citizen voter.

Readers may ask why I write these essays about candidates and politics, and I will tell you it is simply because I have always had a passion for good government and fairness. Believe me, I make no friends writing these things, I receive no money and actually have lost business because of my opinions. And I have garnered some enemies along the way, too. But if Americans are not brave enough to stand up for what they deserve, then they get really bad government filled with political hacks who care nothing for the welfare of their fellow citizens. Maybe I am brave, maybe I am foolish, but I stand up nonetheless, and I tell it like I see it, and I tell it from the perspective of the person in the street.

Vote for Marsico, Rozman, and Morris, and you will get judges we can be proud of. That is my opinion.

See-Saw Reactions Indicate Something is Up

When a political party or a movement politicizes every single thing its opponents do, in the hopes of turning every action taken into a negative, you’ve already got a problem.

It is a problem because nothing positive is being sold. It’s just hate and anger and fake outrage piled on top of more and more hate.

Trying to demonize people has many downsides. It is emotionally unsustainable. And it is politically unsustainable. Just ask Adolf Hitler and his Nazi socialists, who perfected the heaping of hate upon their opponents.

Hitler and the Nazis reaped a whirlwind of backlash.

And the credibility gap grows, because the daily bobbing and weaving in search of an opening leads the accuser to become the blesser and vice versa. It looks nutty because it is nutty.

So we have Obama jetting around the planet to sell his carbon control message. The huge SUV convoys taking Obama from place to place aren’t low on carbon emissions, either.

His TV interviewer asks him why he is against eating meat because he has cooked “thousands of steaks” for Obama. Obama admits he sure likes steak.

In other words, don’t do as I do, do as I say.

Obama’s credibility may remain high with a small group of highly partisan hard leftists, but the rest of us shake our heads at his naked hypocrisy.

This Comey firing business is even worse, if it can be imagined.

For months and months, one American political party was demanding that Comey be fired. They blamed him for the loss of their candidate.

Then he gets fired by the president yesterday, and within an hour the same exact people who hated Comey and demanded his firing are now hating the president for firing him and are saying it is a political act.

This irrational hate isn’t just hypocritical. It is self-damaging, because normal people see it as nearly schizophrenic.

Someone quipped last week that Democrats are now so confused, if Trump came out for gun control, the Democrats would be “outraged” and immediately be against gun control.

Somewhere this acting and fake outrage works on people who are not independent thinkers. I understand that. Enough people anywhere simply follow the lead of someone, anyone, to make a real movement. Might only be five or ten percent of a society, but it is usually enough to raise hell. And that is what is happening here.

Folks, if you are reading this, I hope it is to expand your own thinking and not just to try to find fault. One of the huge challenges the left faces is the constant hatred expressed for people who simply disagree on policy. For decades the Left has been calling opponents haters, bigots, racists, xenophobes, sexists, etc., with no substance to back it up.  Just toxic hate.

What our nation loses when these illogical, erratic see-saw reactions and wild hateful accusations lose their sting isn’t just a diminished political party on the left, but the real issues suffer.  That is because the political mix and debate is reduced and the normal people somewhere in the middle back away, disgusted by the antics.

Don’t be a hater. Be a thinker. For a long time liberals were open minded, thoughtful, reflective, and analytical. That great tradition is gone. And that is sad, because all Americans are impoverished as a result.

France Opts to be Bailed Out Again by the USA

France, the home of fine wines, fancy art, complicated food….the hedonist’s dream land, probably the result of much material success and relative tranquility.

And so as the old saw goes, France is somewhere in that endless human cycle of rising from slavery, achieving freedom, stability, then material success, only to have that material success put the human to sleep, cause him to drop his guard, and then allow others to enslave him once again.

In that cycle, France is presently at the point of falling asleep at the wheel from too much food and drink, destined to wake up a steaming, crumpled mess wrapped around a tree along the road.

Some say there is no real substantive difference between the socialist Macron and the socialist Le Pen, that both agree on far more than they disagree on, especially socialism and big government, and that the only real disagreement is on how many outsiders to allow in. And thus how quickly or slowly to commit national suicide.

In that understanding, yesterday’s vote was for France to die sooner rather than later, because Macron represents the side of mass invasion with minimal integration. Demographically it is then only a matter of a lifetime before the muezzin’s call is heard from the roof of the shuttered, “offensive” Louvre.

Truthfully, the France that saved America’s bacon in 1780 with its naval, infantry, and materiel contributions to the War for Independence, has not been around since its last great success, the invention of Poudre B.

Poudre B was invented by a French military officer in the 1880s. It was the modern improvement of basic black gunpowder, and created the move to modern weapons.

Ever since then, the French have been victimized twice by Germany and militarily bailed out each time by American GIs. Now France is being invaded by mostly unarmed foreign mobs, demanding a slice of the French pie. A sense of material success, perhaps even overindulgence, has conned the average Frenchie into stepping aside, and relinquishing her heritage, language, comforts, religion, even bacon for breakfast.

It is tough to understand where the French spirit of 1776 went. Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite have obviously become empty slogans, as the invaders are granted greater rights and higher standing than native born French tax-paying citizens, who are subject to draconian anti-free speech laws aimed at making French pride illegal.

Maybe the French just expect the Americans to sweep in and fix it all, to bail them out like we have twice in the recent past. That may be deep inside the French socialist psyche – more freebies are inevitable.

One thing is for certain, France is no longer going to be France. And after our contributions in WWI and WWII, I no longer think this is our fight.

Harrisburg’s Mayoral Race: Not Even One Lesser of Many Evils

Here in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we are cursed with the single-party dominance that is the bane of nearly every other American city.

The lack of political competition means that voters and citizens are offered few choices, and a very narrow band of philosophical differences to choose from.

Like most other American cities, Harrisburg is dysfunctional, broke, mostly black, and run by the Democrat Party. American blacks vote overwhelmingly for Democrats and the corrupt special interest groups that hover about them, like the teacher’s unions.

Until American blacks start asking themselves why they keep voting for the failure and poverty that the Democrat Party has afflicted them with since the days of Southern slavery and Jim Crow, these cities will remain in their broken status.

Even state capital cities like Harrisburg. Our city’s school district is the worst in Pennsylvania, because it is dominated by the teacher’s unions. With bad schools, would-be taxpayers flee to school districts where they get something positive for their property taxes. And where their kids are more likely to get a decent education.

And to be fair, while you are more likely see better financial success in a conservative-run city, the fact is that cities dominated by a single party of any sort become playgrounds for careerists and corruption.

So here we are, with Eric Papenfuse as our current mayor.

Eric’s big claim to fame is that he graduated from Yale University. Seriously, I am not joking. Eric uses that assertion as if it is the beginning and dramatic ending of any policy discussion. It is as if he is stating “I am simply smarter than you, because I went to Yale, so discussion is over.”

Yale is like all the other Ivy league schools: Utterly worthless. Yale’s Politically Correct indoctrination has dumbed down students, not made them smarter. The liberal Borg mentality brooks no questioning, no competition.

As a human, if you do not question, then you do not develop critical thinking skills. Simply being “right” on a long list of leftist talking points does not make a person smart. It makes them intellectually inferior, even disabled. I believe this is why so many liberals get crazy mad when they are debated – they simply lack the ability to logically, calmly debate.

I will always give credit where it is due, however, and even sweaty faced Papenfuse has some achievements under his belt.

By withholding expenditures, the city now has some money. And some departments are actually functioning for the first time in a long time, like trash pickup and public street sewers.

Eric’s main political ally, Alex Hartzler, has felt comfortable enough to continue to make risky, low-yield redevelopment investments in bombed out ghettos. This generates new home sales and a new tax base, a sense of security and community. The private market can work, if allowed to work.

Laugh at these small accomplishments if you will, Harrisburg was on a trajectory to become another Detroit.

And to be fair, being the Harrisburg mayor is probably an unwinnable job, regardless of party or of personal charisma. It just may be one of those roles that in the current environment cannot be done well by anyone. The constraints are tight, the flexibility is low, and the wildcard variables are numerous.

A fractious and unimpressive city council does not help, either.

So it makes sense to make no predictions or endorsements in this race.

Even with six or seven mayoral candidates to choose from, it doesn’t appear that we even have a lesser-of-two-evils to choose from. They are all disasters.

Papenfuse has his hands full with city council member Gloria Martin, who may win simply because of  identity politics. If she wins, we may go forward, we may go backwards.

It is doubtful anyone could tell the difference.

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May 11, 2017 UPDATE: Jennie Jenkins has been recommended as a strong mayoral candidate by someone whom I and many other Harrisburg City voters look to for guidance and leadership.


May 14th UPDATE:  I learned Jennie Jenkins is a former city police officer. Great! Who was apparently fired or dismissed or who voluntarily left the police force because she was accused of stealing $350 from a police benevolent association fund. She’s suing various city leaders over this and says all charges were dropped. Patriot News reporters say almost all the charges were dropped, except one light misdemeanor that included no admission of guilt, repayment of whatever sum got misplaced, and ARD. Like I said above, the list of mayoral candidates is not super strong.


May 14th UPDATE: Mayoral candidate Anthony Harrell describes himself as a patriotic Iraq war veteran (thank you for your service, Anthony) who supports Second Amendment rights. His writeup in the recent print version of the Patriot News is the first I’ve heard of him. Definitely the kind of candidate Harrisburg needs. But no one knows he’s a candidate, except him.


May 14th UPDATE: After previously waging jihad against and attempting a political suicide attack on the Harrisburg Civil War Museum that caused city residents to shake our heads in mystified disbelief, Eric Papenfuse now says the place he wanted to bomb into rubble is actually “a valuable city resource.”  Uhhhhh, OK. Like we all know, the list of Harrisburg mayoral candidates is pretty weak. This is the best we’ve got….

 

 

Did PA Senator Scott Wagner go too far?

Naturally people in all political parties are asking if Pennsylvania state senator Scott Wagner went “too far” when he grabbed cameras from a trespassing stalker who illegally followed him into a posted private building for a private non-political event.

Clearly the American Bridges stalker was literally over the line.

If you have to break a bunch of laws to try and prove that some elected official is a bad guy, then you have defeated your own purpose.

Again, the videographer stalker lied to get himself inside a private event on private property. The event was not political. The participants there did not give their permission to be photographed or recorded by the stalker.

Inside, the stalker hoped to get video of state senator Scott Wagner saying something that could be used against him at some future point.

Once again we see someone on the Left ignoring laws that are in their way, in the pursuit of achieving some goal against a political opponent. Basically, the same thing going on at Berkeley and many other places where close-minded fascists do all they can to shut down speakers who they disagree with. While claiming some sort of righteous mantle.

On the one hand, it is refreshing to see an elected official actually DO something, like actually take action on anything other than getting in line for another free meal at some political event.

After asking the guy to stop, to no effect, Wagner strode over and took away the illegal cameras. He had that right. By law.

And by nature, someone trying to bully you deserves a bit of a smack back.

So on that score, Wagner did well.

And he did not whine, or give fake smiles. He acted like a man. Like I said, in that way this is refreshing.

On the other hand, Wagner clearly lost his cool and was a little uncoordinated in his efforts. He was visibly upset and acting on his emotions.

As my friend Pastor John said, Wagner could have exhibited a little more poise. And both the politico and the athlete in me agrees: Never let them see you sweat, or lose your cool, and don’t get physical unless you are going to be smooth.

And for the record, there are things about Scott Wagner that I like, mostly his policies. And there are things, or to be more exact, moments, that have left me upset with the man. Having spent two days outside working polls to get him elected, I earned the right to criticize Scott Wagner. And I have some unhappy things to say about his behavior with me.

But that’s not the subject here. What is the subject is why the Left keeps ignoring laws they don’t like, that get in their way. Their behavior is anarchic, inconsistent with the rule of law. Why they expect to do these things without pushback and resistance is not understandable.

On that score, Wagner’s actions were a good “shot heard round the world” type moment.

The rest of us could emulate it. Smooooothly.

 

First World Problem: Antique Arms Collectors Now Face Mostly Fakes

This headline is probably ho-hum to most people, at best.

To others, it is a “here we go again, another whine-fest by history buffs who spend their money badly on old rusty junk.”

But if you are indeed a history buff with a penchant for old weapons, both edged and those that go BOOM, you may be interested in this post.

My opinion is that most antique weapons collectors are facing an overwhelming amount of fakes.

Much more so with Japanese swords, so let’s discuss them first.

Used to be that finding a Gendaito blade was unusual; maybe one or two a year. Now, you go on eBay and find the same several sellers conveying dozens of them annually. Wakizashis, katanas, even various sized dirks and tantos etc.

These must all be fakes, as there simply were not this many Gendaito blades in existence before Chinese smiths began to create them in about 2011.  Having watched these counterfeits move at an ever brisker pace, I simply feel sad. At some point the uninformed collectors will discover their money has been taken for what is a very good reproduction that is probably worth a thousand bucks, simply because it is that good of a copy. But it ain’t real.

Smith-made (hand made art blades) Shinto blades also fall into this counterfeiting scam by the hundreds annually. Again, there simply were not as many of these blades surviving WWII as there are now for sale on eBay.

With guns, it is harder to fake than a sword, because a gun is obviously a gun. A Winchester 1873 is a Winchester 1873, and its condition usually dictates its value.

What makes some gun values go crazy high are rare or historic marks (the ubiquitous spurious stage coach markings on rabbit eared double shotguns being the best example), which can be easily faked by anyone with good control of a metal punch. This is true fakery and it is an area most collectors know about and do more diligence about.

But let’s talk about the area where it is harder to see what has happened, and harder to call it fakery, though it is: The collectible antique sporting rifles.

Demand is high for antique sporting rifles, because their modern day equivalents cost about $35,000 to start and easily get to $100,000 and much, much higher. So in that context, it “makes sense” to pay $5,000 to $20,000 for an antique sporting firearm that functions as it should, rather than several times that amount for a brand new one that goes BOOM just like or nearly like the old one.

Antique sporting rifles are getting lots and lots of makeovers, both in England and here in America. They are marketed at auction and on websites as having been “period upgraded” or “period refurbished” (say from the 1870s to 1930s), when in fact they were very recently “tarted up” by a gunsmith to heighten their attractiveness to unknowing, unquestioning collectors.

I recently purchased – and immediately returned – such a rifle.

Oh it was a rare dandy, and looking past the hyperbole on the well-known seller’s website, which included an obviously fraudulent claim of “original condition,” there was still a fine gun that could take an American bison or a grizzly. If it worked the simple way a rifle should work, it was the gun of a lifetime. In a rare, hard-hitting caliber that I wanted.

So, I busted a move on it.

After joking on the phone with the salesman about the obviously fake claims of original condition, the seller and I eventually reached agreement on price, and the gun arrived in a couple days. Right out of its original 1895 leather and brass case with the original owner’s name and military rank on it (God, what a case!), the red flags were popping up: Improperly refinished wood had pulled the stock away from the receiver, leaving the stock to accept the heavy recoil on only one side.This meant the stock would crack soon after use.

A punch mark on the barrel lump was testimony to the cheap and meaningless effort to temporarily tighten the otherwise loose action. The list of el cheapo work went on. Yes, the bores were immaculate, but the fact is that this gun had been recently “tarted up” for re-sale, and it had been worn down quite a bit recently. Worn down more by the nature of its heavy caliber than by any misuse by previous owners.

Had the seller simply disclosed these facts, I might have made a more informed decision, and he would have received less money. We would have had full disclosure and an honest exchange. But within 48 hours of receiving it, I drove the gun all the way back to the sales room, three hours away, where the sales manager and the business owner tried to talk me out of the return. The refund check arrived ten days later, with none of the additional costs I incurred like shipping, transfer, gunsmith evaluation etc. They knew full well what had been done to that gun, and they simply got caught, and they punished me by withholding cash they should have covered.

This is one of the big names in high end gun sales.

Today I am looking at another uncommon rifle on a well known auction site. The gun has clearly been recently overhauled for re-sale. The wood finish is as bright and shiny as the new wood floor in a brand new home. The metal finishes look like they were done weeks ago, and not the 117 years ago that is the actual age of the gun. Yet it is marketed as having a “period” refurbish. Rubbish! Nonsense! Buyer be super aware!

This is not total fakery, as no fake numbers or markings have been punched into the metal or wood. Custer did not purportedly grasp this gun as he fell at the Little Big Horn.

Instead, until a few months ago, this gun’s metal parts were probably a mix of silvered and plum finishes, the welcome, honest patinas of hundreds of days afield in India or Africa, or the Scottish Highlands, chasing big game in the hands of a British, Indian, or Scottish Man of Importance. Until months ago, the wood probably looked like hell, was beat to hell, dented, dinged, and scratched, each a story in itself. Not any more! Now it looks so fake and shiny it about blinds the eye.

Shame, too, because under the fakery is a really cool gun.

Apparently the sellers believe that hiring “gunsmiths” to do quick and dirty upgrades to these collectible old sporting arms is more important than selling the actual honest gun, with its actual original wear and condition.

This means the sellers have gullible buyers who ascribe too much weight to new and fresh appearance, when the opposite is true: An original condition gun that has not been butchered or fooled with by a modern day “gunsmith” is actually more valuable.

The key to fending off the faking is educating new gun collectors and buyers to understand this fact: Fresh, new looking antique guns have been shined up to turn them into shiny objects. Don’t be a foolish fish and bite on them, unless you recognize a) what they are, and b) there are probably problems covered up by the new “improvements” that would have been addressed 100 years ago, but are now papered over, and thus, you are not getting what you paid for.

And as for the Japanese swords out there on eBay, man, what can be said? Be super wary. Ask yourself simple questions about production numbers, survivor numbers, and then answer your own question: How on earth is this one seller repeatedly finding so many of these should-be rare swords? Is every American veteran selling his prized Japanese sword to just these few dealers?

You know the answers to these questions. Run away, and hold on to your money.

In closing, buyer beware. Because there are gullible collectors willing to part with their money, there are unscrupulous sellers willing to sell them things that simply cannot be true. It behooves the smart man to ask the simple questions before biting.

Good luck and be patient!

Turkey Time

And now it is officially Turkey Time, the beginning of the Pennsylvania spring gobbler season.

A gobbler is a turkey that gobbles, which is nearly always a bearded male. Sorry, there are few transgendered turkeys in the wild, and those rare females (hens) who do grow a beard are just as much a target as the males. No artificial PC protections here!

Spring gobbler hunting is one of the lowest pay-off hunts possible, in terms of harvested birds, with success rates somewhere in the high single digits to low double digits. That’s a range of 9-15% success, which means about 85% to 91% of turkey hunters will hang up their shotgun and camo at the end of May without having put a harvest tag on a bird.

Not that hunters won’t shoot turkeys, oh occasionally they will. The question is whether or not the turkey knows it has been shot and decides to die in a place where the hunter can bring it to hand. Wild turkeys are exceptionally tough creatures, and with their tiny pea-sized brains, they can be difficult to actually kill, though shot. A friend of mine “rolled” a turkey at 6:10 am Saturday morning, two days ago, watching it fall over, flop around, and then suddenly stand up, run away, and then fly away. Long gone. It has happened to me, too.

When that happens, the hunter feels awful, for the bird, for himself, for his sense of capability. But like a coyote getting a mouthful of feathers after carefully stalking and ambushing a wild turkey, occasionally we human hunters get just a moment of opportunity and then blow it, too, as all predators must.

Turkey hunting is tough and low-yield not just because the birds are physically tough and can withstand being shot, but mostly because they make up for their low intelligence with a warp-speed sense of wariness.

Turkeys can see through concrete, my old friend John Plowman said.

While that statement is obviously untrue, it is a truism that experienced turkey hunters agree with. Somehow, wild turkeys possess eyesight and hearing so acute that it seems like X-Ray vision and NSA- quality listening capabilities. They bust hunters at every turn, at far distances, even when the hunter has done everything right: Concealment, calling, gun preparation, etc.  So even the best turkey hunters, who are seemingly magical beings themselves, because their understanding of turkey biology and habits is so good, can get skunked or go a long time before harvesting a bird.

Of course, it must be said the real harvest from turkey hunting is not tagging a bird. Rather, it is the time afield. Time watching the sunrise, listening to the sounds of the forest and field slowly awaken, listen to the sounds of people moving from sleep into active, and so on. And Spring time is a great time to watch the natural world’s most subtle beauties, accomplished by either time lapse photography or by sitting motionless up against a large oak tree for several hours, and taking note of rare wildflowers slowly emerging from under leaf litter, or watching a walking stick bug moving at a snail’s pace along a blueberry bush.

In the frenetic hustle and bustle of today’s American life, we typically rely on naturalists and professional photographers to capture these moments for us.

Turkey hunters go afield at 4:30 am, and discover these hidden other worlds ourselves.

Turtle Time

It is officially turtle time.

Every spring turtles of all types emerge from their muddy hideaways, under stream banks, under logs, or burrowed deep into the soft dirt on the side of a farm field.

Turtles are gentle creatures, hurting no one, and yet when they make themselves vulnerable by appearing on the sides of roads, or trying to cross roads, many drivers go out of their way to hit them. Seems obvious to say, a turtle hit by a vehicle will either die a long, lingering, painful death, or if they are small, they will be crushed outright.

What the hell is that about, anyway?

Seeing these sad, destroyed, dead little things strewn about on the roadsides is painful. Turtles really bother no one, and they should elicit human compassion and empathy for their slow but intense drive to find a safe and soft place to dig a hole and lay their eggs. It is not their fault that humans have built uncrossable roads with no wildlife tunnels, or that some humans delight in maiming little animals.

Please slow down along Front Street in Susquehanna Township and entering into Harrisburg, and give the turtles there a break. After millions of years of moving slowly, purposefully, and deliberately, they have earned it.

It will not hurt to drive slower, but it will definitely help

Are so many of us harried, in a hurry, a bit frayed around the nerves and feeling out of time?

Yes. This frenzied lifestyle is common.  It is a sign and way of our time now, where life does not stand still for a second. Smart phones, GPS, email, texting, everything is happening real-time, right now, and we MUST respond and act. We are scheduled by the minute.

Adrenaline junkies like it, and everyone else stays laser focused to the exclusion of much else, goal oriented all the way.

This modern anxious existence is a form on tunnel vision, and it can be witnessed anywhere there is a red traffic light, a stop sign, a pedestrian cross walk, a parking lot, heck even a school pick up zone.

These locations are choke points, places where cars and people tend to gather, and where prevailing traffic must slow down. But a lot of drivers do not slow down in these areas, either because they have tunnel vision or because they are desensitized to congestion. Like everything else, they just plow through it.

Daggone, drivers are in a HURRY to get to that next stop sign, or the next red light. If they would pay attention to the vehicles around them, they’d see that blasting from one light to the next does not advance their cause, but it does eat up their gas and increase the risk of hitting someone.

Parking lots are the biggest buggaboo I see and experience, where drivers just go way too fast. Parking lots are relatively small areas and there is little room for error there. If a driver speeds, driving fast in a parking lot during business hours, there is a real possibility of a pedestrian or two walking through to their car but meeting up with the speedster, instead.

Let us ask some simple questions: Why are we hurrying in these small, tight, confined spaces? What actual time saved are we hoping to bank, a second, two seconds?

What is that miniscule amount of time worth against the life or health of another person, who may be walking nearby? What is our time savings worth when we hurt someone, and then suffer the consequences along with them?

It won’t hurt to slow down. It might even help, because accepting the terrible fate of losing a few seconds of time can become a form of Zen relaxation.

Try it, you will like it.

 

Dr. Wil Steger, My Friend, My Hero

Dr. Wil Steger sat next to me on a domestic flight, up in Buffalo, New York, I think, in 1994.

By the end of the flight, I was a big admirer of his, among a long line of admirers around the world. We maintained a relationship up until today, when he died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family.

A former employee of the RAND Corporation in the 1950s, Wil and his wife Sheila started their own analytical service provider, CONSAD, in Pittsburgh, in the 1960s. Wil’s PhD in economics from Harvard shaped the way he saw government policy and decision making, and it allowed him to remain objective and aloof from the messy politics involved. As a result, Wil’s dispassionate and insightful research was sought by private and public customers around the world.

Wil was an economic and policy advisor to every president from JFK through W, and he showed me his blue “WHITE HOUSE” cap with pride. He had been in the White House a lot; more times than he could recall.

But you would never know that Wil was so smart, or so successful. He was humble, and self-effacing, and funny. He and Sheila were committed to their Pittsburgh community, to financially needy families, to educational institutions, to friends, and to family.

Some of my best adult memories are of sitting in their Squirrel Hill living room late at night, with a glass of wine or a tea in hand, talking about whatever with both Sheila and Wil, and then with just Wil after Sheila left us.

Bye, old friend. Your advice and professional guidance helped me make a lot of careful decisions that shaped my career, personal life, and my family, and I am forever indebted to you for your kindness and good way. May you rest in peace.

The service is Monday, in Squirrel Hill.