The Confederate Monuments Issue-Revisited

Just four days ago, on Flag Day, I blogged in part as follows:

I sing a different tune when it comes to removing the names of Confederate leaders (many of whom also served the United States) from monuments, schools, buildings and streets (collectively, referred to as the Confederate monuments issue). I see a big difference between the Confederate monuments issue and the Confederate battle flag issue.

After a very respectful back-and-forth on LinkedIn, one that could serve as a model for our Congressional leaders who are hopelessly caught in a negative play-to-your-base battle instead of listening to each other and compromising, I have decided that I was wrong. I was wrong. The Confederate monuments and all references to the Confederate leaders must come down if we truly want to heal as a country. Mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa.

I don’t know about you, but I find the three words “I was wrong” to be very comforting and therapeutic because they remind me of my human frailty and fallibility in a way that is akin to “you are dust and to dust you shall return.” An old friend of mine says of himself “often wrong but never in doubt.”

Nothing could be farther from my personal reality. I am always in doubt of my stances because I would rather be right than arrogantly wrong and obstinate. On the issue of the references to Confederate leaders and the monuments, I was wrong and must change my stance and hereby do so as I must to be true to myself.

On LinkedIn, I wrote:

“With the help of an old college friend, Jimmy Rafferty, and Messrs. Shepard, Travis and Fraser, I have changed my mind about the Confederate monuments. I remain very concerned about erasing history, but the battlefields remain, in tribute to those who lost their lives on both sides. Let that be sufficient warning about the erroneous position of slavery. I still think it unfair to judge people who lived centuries ago by mores that would have shocked them in their time.

Interestingly, Robert E. Lee didn’t even favor retention of the battlefields. Thanks to all for a civil and educational discussion that was respectful. As I said, my position on the Confederate battle flag changed after I saw it being used by fringe groups who bastardized its original meaning, and now my position on the monuments has evolved too.”

That feels better. As I frequently am fond of saying, I am a work-in-progress. Don’t give up on me. May God bless you and may He bless the United States of America.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Confederate Question-A Different Take

I’ve blogged before about the Confederate monuments that came down in New Orleans, but in this blog, I’m going to focus on the Confederate question in general, including the very controversial Confederate battle flag.

Unlike the leftist anarchists, I see a distinction between the monuments and base names, which mostly focus on specific people, on the one hand, and the Confederate battle flag, which honors the Confederacy.

Sadly, I think that some people have hijacked and distorted the meaning of the Confederate battle flag to mean white supremacy, which isn’t what the flag meant originally, to such an extent that it needs to go away. While I’m not a NASCAR fan (and won’t become one because I get little pleasure out of watching endless repetitions of drive fast turn left), I applaud the NASCAR decision to prohibit the Confederate battle flag on its properties and at its races.

It took real guts to do that. NASCAR is certainly going to lose some of its fans, possibly a sizable number of them. However, the flag was offensive to many. Perhaps NASCAR will gain more black fans as a result. But even if they don’t, it was the right and principled thing to do. Mississippi should have the guts to remove it from its state flag.

I might lose lose friends, even old friends, over this stance, but it’s the right stance to take. So be it.

I sing a different tune when it comes to removing the names of Confederate leaders (many of whom also served the United States) from monuments, schools, buildings and streets (collectively, referred to as the Confederate monuments issue). I see a big difference between the Confederate monuments issue and the Confederate battle flag issue.

For starters, the Confederate monuments honor a specific person, and the Confederate monuments are stationary, while the Confederate battle flag is portable and can be taken all over and waved in people’s faces who find it offensive. I’ver never seen a monument that glorifed slavery. I am very worried that if we wipe out our history, we’ll repeat the mistake of slavery. Today, human trafficking is a huge proplem and getting worse, so slavery is still here.

We need the Confederate monuments to remind us of our history. If we forget our history, we might repeat the bad behavior, which we should be ever vigilant to never allow slavery again. This is paramount.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#BlackLivesMatter Re-imagined

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Drew Brees comments about the flag, together with his second comment as well as his wife’s comment. I agreed with his first patriotic comment about the flag and still do. And, at least initially, I was a bit taken aback and sad about his subsequent apology, thinking that this was a clear case of bullying by other professional athletes and teammates.

At first glance, this may have appeared to have been a clear case of bullying. I initially thought that Brees realized that his black teammates were upset, and that 18 of the 22 Saints starters are black, so he cowtowed to them.

However, I have come to realize that there’s much more to Drew Brees than that. The man is intrepid. He was truly remorseful because he obviously came to the same realization that I only came to after having read and watched both of the Brees’s apologies. And for that I am eternally grateful to the Brees couple.

On second thought, I think that the New Orleans Saints legend and his wife were right both times. And I say that as an ardent supporter of President Trump. It really depends on how you read the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. I was, like many white people, concerned that it overlooked the obvious fact that all lives matter. I still believe that. However, I think that all but the most strident and dangerous #BlackLivesMatter supporters, who are just criminals, believe that all lives matter too.

Then this occurred to me. Perhaps had I read the hashtag with a silent “too” at the end of it, I wouldn’t have been taken aback by it at all. In fact, had it said #BlackLivesMatterToo , I don’t think anybody but the worst white supremacists, many of whom are criminals too who should be in jail, would have ever retorted all lives matter. Black lives do matter too. Police brutality is wrong, legally and morally.

This is not to denigrate the overewhelming majority of law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily for little money. I wouldn’t do that job for all of the tea in China. I deeply respect law enforcement and hope that they do a better job of policing themselves, which is where this should start.

In my opinion, granted coming a bit late, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and the kneeling at the football games (which I understand now but still wish they wouldn’t do) really don’t denigrate the flag or the country. In fact, I’ve come to believe that the hashtag means nothing about the flag at all. The overwhelming majority of black people are as patriotic as I am. Some even more so.

Let’s face it. The black community has been discriminated against both overtly and covertly, directly and indirectly, which is wrong no matter how you slice it. Discrimination of any kind is morally reprehensible, including reverse discrimination. The black community and the overwhelming majority of others agree. The black community has had enough of racial discrimination, and I agree with them. They’re upset, and I now really understand why.

As a white person, I sadly admit to having been discriminatory many times, and I was wrong every time. Every single time. If I still lived in New Orleans, I wouldn’t be a member of all of the clubs and organizations that had only white members, and I was member of several back in the day. Hopefully, those clubs and organizations have changed, but I doubt it. While I’m not going to apologize for being white because that was God’s plan for me, I have sympathy for their plight.

I remain concerned about all of the criminal opportunists and anarchists who are taking advantage of George Floyd’s gruesome death (I made myself watch all 8:46 of the video, and it was painful). I still denounce all of the destruction, murder and looting. At present, at least 15 people have died during this time. Their lives mattered too.

I watched George Floyd’s family ask for peaceful demonstrations, but the anarchists and criminals were well organized. Too well organized for this to have not been a coordinated effort that used George Floyd’s death as a pretense; those people couldn’t carea less about George Floyd. The financiers and organizers of the criminal activity need to go to jail. As far as I am concerned, their actions are not only illegal and immoral, but they’re counterproductive to the cause of ending racial discrimination.

In closing, we white people should not eschew #BlackLivesMatter because I now realize that the overwhelming majority of black people don’t intend to be threatening white people with it. Let’s face it, whites outnumber the blacks at least four to one, so I doubt that a race war is the end game (although I wonder what the end game is for the looters and anarchists).

What it really means that black lives matter too. For this, I would peacefully protest on the side of the road since I don’t believe that protesters should block roads because black lives do matter too. They’re precious gifts from God, just like me.

Thanks, No. 9 and Mrs. Brees! Bless you, Boys!!! Geaux Tigahs and Saints!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Essential v. Non-Essential from a Different Vantagepoint

I think that one of the most interesting questions for courts in these unconstitutional overreaches by states and local governments lies in the determination of who’s essential v. who’s not.

There seems to be a lot of inconsistency in these determinations from place to place. The purpose of this short blog is to consider this determination from the viewpoint of the employee.

In the eyes and mind of the employee, his or her job is essential. Essential to pay their bills and feed their families. Think about that.

It’s a compelling and eyeopening view. And it’s right and a voice that courts must hear.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This Unconstitutional Overreach Just May Have a Silver Lining

This surreal experience with the Wuhan Chinese virus has showed the true colors of many elected officials. They don’t really care about their constituents. They care a lot about exercising power and having control of their constituents.

Some of these power hungry governors (of blue states) have encountered some difficulty with their legislatures and with the public. One governor in particular has been spectacularly tone deaf: Michigan Democrat Governor Christine Whitmer. The Control Queen was put off by the fact that people who are just trying to survive showed up at the Capitol to protest the stay-at-home orders, most of which were unenforceable and ridiculous, e.g., prohibiting neighbors from visiting their next door neighbors, not to mention patently unconstitutional.

Frau Whitmer (yes, that is intended to be a Nazi reference-if the shoe fits), does the freedom of association ring a bell? What about the freedom of assembly? Hint: they’re constitutional rights. I know that it’s cruel to bring up the Constitution to a Democrat, but it is there and applicable to many of your silly orders. Frau Whitmer, a brand new governor, pushed back against the protestors and threatened that the protests may lengthen the stay-a-home orders. Ha!!! We should just call you Frau One Term Whitmer.

You’ve managed to piss off even solid blue voters. Now, HIllary Clinton, the scourge who will not just go away, stoked the fire recently by proclaiming that the protests against the stay-at-home orders are domestic terrorism. So, Hillary, you ought to be in jail, but you’re saying that it’s terrorism to protest against the government. That’s pretty rich. And very damn unAmerican to boot.

However, I think that this classical overreach, which was encouraged and fostered by a lemmings public, will have a silver lining, and it’s this: The United States has been fat, dumb and happy virtually since World War II. Frankly, we got soft about our freedom, and we lost some of it, beginning with 9/11. The overreaching, which will be held unconstitutional if an honest judge gets the case, has awakened that individuality and patriotic spirit that was nonexistent for just about all millennials and had fallen off for many of us.

People are starting to care again and push back against overreaching, and that’s a positive thing. A very good thing. Therefore, I’m willing to take a bit more overreaching, particularly if it stays in effect close to the election, if the public awakens and takes back its freedoms. Next step: Vote out the overreaching bums.

Frau Whitmer, respectfully, f*ck off.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

People have lost their minds…

With all of the hullabaloo over the so-called coronavirus, I have watched people lose their minds over precautions being taken. No baseball. No March Madness. I could care a less about the NBA, but there’s no pro basketball either. No hockey, and at a time when my Blues were playing well too. Restaurants have gone to take out only. Meetings beaucoup have been cancelled.

What’s the truth? Louisiana has fewer than 100 cases and two deaths. Ohio has fewer than 50. As does Michigan. I give the public about two weeks max before revolting and disregarding the government if the number of cases and deaths hasn’t grown EXPONENTIALLY. Things are going to be interesting.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Don’t Bank with Fifth Third Bank

I can’t be any more blunt than that. In less than one year, I’ve encountered three separate episodes of so-called regulatory holds on deposits that I’ve made via mobile banking or via a bank ATM into my Fifth Third account. A regulatory hold is essentially ten days of being without funds represented by the check. They claim that they’re protecting me from mythical bank fraud. The problem is that in each case, the issuing bank cleared the check the same or following day, leaving open the $64,000 question of where’s my money???? No one from the bank answered that question, but we all know where the money is, and it’s sitting in the coffers of the greedy bank earning interest for its account. I’ve had enough of that shoddy treatment.

If Fifth Third is what it purports to be, a large regional bank, and it wants to be a 21st century bank, it sorely needs to reexamine its mobile banking rules. But that doesn’t help me now. Three strikes and you’re out. Therefore, I’m done with Fifth Third in all capacities. I will not go back except to close my accounts. I am making it my mission to publicize the bank’s foolish and unnecessary actions.

Fifth Third’s mobile banking is clunky at best anyway. I used to bank at Wells Fargo and thought they were bad, but I was wrong. Expect to read this story in local news outlets because I owe it to the bank’s shareholders to point out the bank’s deficiencies. I bet you five dollars that no one from the bank will address any of this.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Whatever Happened to the Loyal Opposition?

Today’s politics has not been our finest hour. However, I have been seriously dissapointed by the House Democrats, who have been in the majority now since the last election cycle, but have done next to nothing legislatively except investigate the President, despite the glaring need for some legislation. In the good ole days, the party opposite competed with the party in control in the arena of ideas. In my opinion, the Democrat Party’s fixation with impeachment and obstruction has taken their focus off of where it should be, which is proposing alternatives to the positions of the party in control.

The Democrat Party’s irrational insistence on obstructionism and impeachment has drown out virtually every legislative idea that they might have proposed. Instead, in my opinion, they’re wasting their time in control on impeachment. And, by so doing, the Democrat Party has squandered a golden opportunity to distinguish itself from the Republican Party. Instead, the Democrats have chosen the path of obstructionism and just saying no to whaever the President proposes. I predict that the Democrat Party is going to pay dearly for this decision in the 2020 elections, and I think the margin is going to be surprisingly convincing.

I pine for the days of the relationship between the late Tip O’Neil and President Reagan, who, despite being bitterly opposed on political matters, were nevertheless social friends. That’s what is missing in politics today. Everyone is appealing 24/7 to their rabid bases and in demonizing the opposition. Could this be attributable to gerrymandering? McNews? Do we need term limits to battle gerrymandering. Whatever the true cause, our elected officials on both sides of the aisle need to seriously scale back the rhetoric and get back to what’s best for the country, not just for their party.

 The only ideas emanating from the Democrat Party are the wacky and out of the mainstream ideas of some of the Democrat presidential wannabes and the radical socialist representatives that President Trump calls the Squad. Almost all of those ideas have humongous pricetags and virtually no chance of passage or acceptance by a majority of Americans.

Like him or not, President Trump has been incredibly refreshing in that he’s focused on what he promised  during his campaign, and he’s delivered on several fronts already. Very few politicians today keep their promises, in part because most are promising things based on attracting their base and not what is best for the country.

The President has a record to run on, and he will continue to pursue and deliver on what he promised during his campaign. He will continue to emphasize the return to law and order, building the wall, enforcing the immigration laws, another round of tax cuts, putting more conservative judges on the bench, and whatever it takes to keep America great.

What do the Democrats stand for? I honestly don’t know, except that they’re rabid for impeachment and investigating things that don’t seem to need to be investigated. 

I was a Democrat until I was about 40. Frankly, the Democrat Party’s slide toward liberalism just left me behind. And I’m not alone. In my opinion, the Democrat Party has become a fringe issue party. Most of the stances of the party are out of line with ordinary Americans, who are the ones who elected President Trump. I pray that the Democrats don’t wake up until they’re licking their wounds in November 2020.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

High Times; Peaceful Times

Accompanied by friends, I decided to make my first Cannabis Cup in Clio MI over the weekend. Thinking we’d let the initial throng float in before we showed up, we arrived about 3:15 p.m., thinking that we’d waltz right in. Were we in for a rude surprise!

Apparently, thousands of others thought similarly, arriving at or about the same time. The lines were hours long. It took us almost three hours to get in. The sea of humanity was peaceful though. More on this in a minute. People were queued up, in the hot sun, and 81 degree temperatures. There had to have been some pretty nasty sunburns the next day! Thankfully, I was not one of the casualties.

Sure the crowd was smoking cannabis openly and abundantly. And many of the people were high. No big deal, and, in fact, to be expected. However, what struck me, no, struck isn’t a sufficiently descriptive word-gobsmacked is more like it, was that despite the conditions and hours of waiting, the crowd was PEACEFUL!!!!

What was missing? Alcohol. While there were some were drinking beer, the overwhelming majority of people were only consuming cannabis. I saw no fights. Very few health issues-about the only things I saw looked sun related. No vomiting or any of the other unpleasantries associated with drinking.

I’ve not had a drink for over 11 years, and I can honestly say that there’s not been a single day that I’ve missed it or wanted to drink. A lifetime inventory of my screwups occurred when alcohol was involved.

All socioeconomic groups were represented at Cannabis Cup, from Rasta wannabes to Rolex wearing yuppies. And likely all political persuasions too. Yet things were PEACEFUL. I was there for almost three hours and saw ZERO police interventions. It was a lovely day; something that I’ll definitely do again.

High Times Cannabis Cup is coming back to Michigan in August. Memo to self: acquire VIP tickets.

Cannabis could be a unifying issue in the next round of elections. It is well past time to take cannabis off of Schedule 1.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Banking a Fifth Third Better? Bank Mathematics Under the Microscope

This is a true story, one that doesn’t have an ending yet. Another title for this piece could have been “Bank Mathematics: When $1,350 + $4,650=-$3,300.”

On the evening of February 22, 2019, when my Fifth Third checking account balance was a positive $1,350, I deposited a check for $4,650 drawn on a local law firm’s business account at a local bank via the ATM. When I checked my account balance on February 23, 2019, I expected the balance to be around $6,000, but I was in for a major shock. Bank mathematics had struck, and my bank balance was a negative $3,300!

I was shocked but not very concerned at the time, thinking that the account was still in the process of settling out because it was early in the morning of February 23, 2019. I made a trip into a branch later that morning, where I was about to get a lesson in bank mathematics, a Fifth Third better.

I was told by a friendly bank representative that the check had been flagged by the system and had an eight day hold on it, but that the check funds would be available on March 5, 2019. But what about the $1,350 that was in the account previously? I was told that the bank’s computer had treated the check as bounced, and, therefore, it had been charged back to my checking account.

My checking account balance was negative $3,300 because the current balance prior to the deposit of the $4,650 check, $1,350, was less than the charged back amount, $4,650. And, indeed, 1,350-4,650=-3,300. Therefore, I’d get my money back on March 5 when the hold was lifted. The effect of the hold is that I have no money and will have none until March 5. This is despite that I actually have almost $6,000 in the checking account at Fifth Third Bank.

In the meantime, life is happening. I was on fumes in the car, with no money to get gas. I was out of several important prescriptions that I needed, with no money to get them. Thank God for my soon-to-be ex-wife, Carol, who loaned me enough money to get several of my prescriptions and a full tank of gas.

In the meantime, I was able to talk to someone in the local Fifth Third branch in Kroger on Monroe St. on February 23, 2019. This well meaning bank representative politely explained that bank mathematics was hard to understand sometimes but that everything seemed to have worked correctly on the night of the deposit.

I told the Fifth Third Bank representative that the result was unacceptable, unfair and possibly illegal, and I asked to be put in contact with whatever department handled taking holds off of accounts. He told me that he didn’t know who had the authority to remove the kind of hold that was on my check (he said that no one in Toledo had the authority to remove such a hold), and he suggested that I contact customer service, but since customer service was closed on sundays, I’d have to wait until Monday, February 24, 2019. I have a meeting with another bank representative on Monday, February 24 at 2, so stay tuned for updates.

However, it strains credulity to assert that I lose access to the money that was in the account just because I deposited another check. It seems to me that the correct answer should be that while you may not get access to the funds in the deposited check until the hold is lifted, you shouldn’t lose access to the funds that were already in the account. But this may make too much sense for bank mathematics. In the meantime, I have no money. Banking, a Fifth Third better? Not hardly.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment