Archive for January, 2014

31
Jan
14

trouble

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While catching a ride to town, there was an interview on the radio that made me angrier by the minute with the state of the outer world.

“Has the world always been this bad,” I asked my neighbor (who was driving), “or are we less tolerant of it the older we get?”

She reckoned that it could all be chalked up to that “they’re trying to create one world government.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

One world government feels like it’s a long way from here.

Today it got up to 75 degrees. Tomorrow it’s supposed to get into the 80s. It’s finally coming to the end of the propane-burning season.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Billy Joel performing “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

30
Jan
14

inept parents

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I am coming to the conclusion that it is a dangerous thing to be a bad parent—at least for some people—but how bad you have to be to cross the danger threshold I cannot say.

Adam Lanza’s mother—the first victim of the Sandy Hook School shooter—was an incredibly bad parent. What could be a more foolish thing than to put weapons into the hands of a mentally ill person? She paid for her foolishness with her life.

Terry King was a control freak who was apparently in acute danger of being upstaged by the manipulations of Rick Chavis, an excessively permissive yet adult “family friend” who had an evil ulterior motive for seeing Terry out of the picture. I would (and have) placed my own life in the hands of Terry’s sons, and can only surmise that Terry must have been a very lacking father indeed for his boys to have been manipulated into murdering him.

Danny Eversole was a wife- and child-beater and sexual abuser who kept his youngest son Austin in constant fear for his life. One day in March of 2009, after 10 years of abuse that began when Austin was just 5 years old, this mild-mannered well-spoken boy did what any sane person would have done: he defended himself. The trouble is, Danny Eversole was dead, Austin was a minor and without rights, and the full story of how bad a parent Danny was was never introduced in court by Austin’s court-appointed attorney.

Danny and Meda Childress were the parents from hell. Danny was physically abusive, Meda was sexually abusive, and both were emotionally abusive towards their son David. He, too, believed that he was in danger of being killed by his parents and he struck first. Meda is dead, Danny is living on in San Antonio (in 2012 he bought a $92,000 house), and their son David is paying the price for their abusive run at parenting by serving a 40-year sentence in prison. What could be a more perfect outcome than that for Danny W. Childress?

Oh, and poor Colt Lundy. One of my readers told me there is a perception out there that I have thrown Colt under the bus, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have been told in no uncertain terms to keep my distance from Colt Lundy, and I am complying. I have been told that his biological father, Carlos Lundy, is the adult Colt most trusts in the world. Whether or not this is a good choice, I cannot say. The facts about Colt’s background are unclear to me, but I am not impressed with Carlos’ actions since he allowed his son to live in the household of a step-father who was reportedly physically abusive towards Colt and an abuser of drugs and alcohol. The fact that Carlos has filed bogus lawsuits in Kosciusko County IN against me  (rather than acting like an adult and enlisting my help for his son) does not inspire my confidence in his judgment or abilities as a parent.

I am sick to death of the capacity that the law allows for bad parents to make life awful for their children long after they have grown up. I was contacted recently by the aunt of a parricide who wanted the best defense for her nephew. Within days I had engaged one of the best criminal defense firms in the US and had gotten the interest of an international TV network in covering his story. Then, on a single day, a classmate of the parricide who had been forewarned of the murder was called in by law enforcement for an interview. There were allegations that the parricide had been subjected to sexual abuse by the father and that this fact would come out in the interview. This same day, the father withdrew his permission for all arrangements which had been made at his sister’s behest, preferring instead to work with local talent “that he trusted.” I have seen this ploy before: a surviving abusive parent pays for an inept defense for the child and allows the child to take the fall for family dysfunction that never sees the light of day. I am not saying this is the case in this particular instance, but my suspicions are aroused.

This is a dirty business, and I encounter parents all the time who have no right raising the unfortunates who are their offspring. But who am I to judge? Who am I to say that the kids I see would be better off if they were raised by someone else other than their natural parents? The foster care system offers its own threats to children. Kids can rarely specify a workable situation which would be better for them than the hells that they know. That is why there are so many runaways living on the streets, substituting one kind of victimization for another.

If any runaway were to seek sanctuary here, there would be no attempt to return them to their abusive homes. This may put me in opposition to the law, but the law has got to be reformed.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to John Lennon performing “Mother”

29
Jan
14

dnr

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The other night I watched an old Frontline program about death in America. Most people, the program said, die in hospital where modern medical technology can keep anyone alive indefinitely, even if keeping the subject organism alive is the only point of the exercise.

Let everybody know. I am of sound mind, my health is stable, I am not depressed, and I love being alive as much as the next person. But when my time comes, I am prepared to go without extraordinary means being employed to forestall the inevitable. When it’s my time, please let me go without a fuss.

When I voice these sentiments to my friends, they inevitably say something like, “Oh no, Dan. You have so much more to do.” Well, I do, and I promise to keep up the good fight as long as I am able to. But when I fall, it is up to you to pick up the flag and proceed.

As a reincarnationist, my view of death is not the same as yours. I believe we are given a “freshie” sometime after we die. I am looking forward to this prospect as much and as confidently as you may be looking forward to an eternity involving clouds, wings, and a harp.

I don’t like your idea of eternity. I want to shit again in a nappy—and not as an old man.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Eric Burton & the Animals performing “It’s My Life”

28
Jan
14

knuckle-dragging in indiana

Daniel-Brewington-mug-shotApparently Dearborn County IN is competing for public assignation as the most repressive enclave in Indiana in its defense of the conviction and imprisonment of a blogger who freely expressed his thoughts about his treatment by family court judge James Humphrey in a 2008 custody case. Daniel Brewington had accused Humphrey of “child abuse” by separating children from their parent (namely him), but Brewington was tried and convicted of intimidation, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Rather than accept a plea and relinquish his rights of free speech, Barrington was sentenced to five years imprisonment, of which he served 2½ years.

Brewington was freed on September 5, just days before the Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an appeal of his case. The court has not yet issued a judgment, despite the fact that Barrington’s case has attracted the attention of a spectrum of amici from the ACLU of Indiana, to Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, along with numerous media, speech, and academic interests. Brewington’s case also drew First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh to argue on behalf of a dozen amici who feared that if the Brewington verdict were affirmed,  it would have a chilling effect on speech, opinions expressed in the media, and political speech.

I had not heard about this case until today, when a reader who is following my lawsuit in Kosciusko County IN sent me a link to a January 23th Huffington Post interview of Brewington. To learn more about the case from more of a legal standpoint, please refer to a September 25th article in the Indiana Lawyer by David Stafford.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to George Thorogood & the Destroyers performing “You Talk Too Much”

27
Jan
14

drones in the big bend

The outer world is relentlessly inserting itself in the pristine Big Bend region of far west Texas.

At the end of December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced six states, including Texas, that will develop test sites for drones. Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, and Virginia will also host the research sites as the Federal Aviation Administration seeks to introduce commercial drones into US airspace.

Texas’ eleven test site locations will be spread across the state, and Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi has won designation as the research headquarters for all Texas sites. They are the Big Bend, south of Fort Hood, outside College Station, and several in South Texas outside Beeville and south of Corpus Christi.

After a packed public hearing in late November, Alpine’s City Council unanimously voted to reject Texas A&M’s proposal to launch drones from the Alpine municipal airport. Alpine’s triumph, however, is more symbolic than anything else. Unmanned aircraft will still fly over the Big Bend region because the take-off and landing requirements of drones are so forgiving and there is a proliferation of airstrips all along the Rio Grande.

Members of Congress and other politicians lobbied intensely to bring the work to their respective states. Representatives were jubilant about the likelihood that the testing will draw companies interested in cashing in on the fledgling industry.

An industry-commissioned study has predicted that more than 70,000 jobs would develop in the first three years after Congress loosens drone restrictions on US skies. The same study projects an average salary range for a drone pilot between $85,000 and $115,000. The FAA projects some 7,500 commercial drones could be aloft within five years.

Drones have been mainly used by the military, but governments, businesses, farmers, and others are making plans to join the market. Many universities are starting or expanding curriculum involving drones. The FAA does not currently allow commercial use of drones, but it is working to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015, although officials concede the project may take longer.

The growing use of drones has sparked criticism among conservatives and liberals who fear the creation of a surveillance state in which authorities track and scrutinize every move of citizens. “I just don’t like the concept of drones flying over barbecues in New York to see whether you have a Big Gulp in your backyard or whether you are separating out your recyclables according to the city mandates,” said Senator Rand Paul, R-KY. Paul has introduced a bill that would prohibit drones from checking for criminal or regulatory violations without a warrant.

Before we are too quick to accept this technological innovation and integrate it as normative of modern life, I think it is important to remember that the granddaddies of today’s drones, the V-1 rockets (which were also unmanned), were used for much more sinister purposes than the benign tasks being touted by today’s drone proponents. They were used by the Germans to not only deliver bombs, but propaganda meant to scare the daylights out of people… purposes that can easily be accomplished by today’s technology.

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46366t.

46370t.

46372t.

46373t.

55120t.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Bobby Darin performing “Blue Skies”

26
Jan
14

reflections

Living alone, I am occasionally guilty of some fairly screwy experiments, and the latest is trimming my beard “by feel” without the assistance of a mirror. As you may know, I have been living at Estrella Vista without mirrors as a kind of gesture to promote “anti-narcissim” in my actions: being totally focused on the needs of others, and not on one’s self.

I was happy with the result until yesterday, when I took a shower at the motor lodge and briefly saw myself in the bathroom mirror and discovered that my latest attempt at beard-trimming had been a disaster. It is a reflection of the politeness of people around here that nobody had said anything. I can only imagine that most people who saw me thought my non-symmetrical beard was a further indication of my eccentricity and not a Midwestern penchant for self-effacement.

Well, needless to say I resolved this morning that something had to be done. After some rummaging around, I found a rear view mirror that had fallen off my old sports car and set up a makeshift vanity on my desk and re-trimmed my beard.

I took it as a sign that this morning there was coincidentally a report on the radio about the opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of an exhibition on the history of vanities in decorative arts. Such excessive interest in appearances!

My lack of interest in how I appear to others is definitely counter-cultural; with a once-again-symmetrical beard, I hope it will not be viewed as pathological.

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narcissus.

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mirror 33.

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mirror 1.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Michael McDonald performing “Reflections”

25
Jan
14

redemption for everyone

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A couple weeks ago, a journalist friend told me she was working on a story about me called “My Friend Dan, The Parricides He Calls Family, and His Road to Redemption.” I wrote back to her that it should read “Their Road to Redemption,” because they committed the murders which society finds so hard to forgive.

But she had it right in the first place. Upon careful consideration, I realize it is through our work on behalf of others that we heal ourselves. I’m doing this work for me, not just out of the goodness of my heart—though that does play a part.

For me, this was driven home the other day when I was working on the Estrella Vista Trust, and included as a beneficiary the daughter of some people from whom I borrowed some money for a nonprofit venture but was never able to pay back. This unpaid debt has bothered me for more than a decade, and the inclusion of their daughter as a beneficiary of my current work makes me feel a little better.

One of my wisest and best correspondents with parricides uses his current devotion to their needs to work out the residual damage of abuse done to him as a boy. One of my most loyal donors uses his financial support of the Redemption Project to address the wrongs done to him in his life. It goes on.

Life for all of us is filled with regrets. As learning beings, we will always figure out better ways we would to do things today than we did them yesterday. A lot of us address these regrets with drugs, alcohol, and other things which cement regrets into monuments to failure. One man who tried to block my entry into today’s work has never grown up and begun acting as an adult. He is a control freak, just like his father. But others use these regrets as learning steps to assure we never make the same mistakes again.

To transform a regret from your life into growth and healing, please consider giving now.

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Make a contribution to the Redemption Project by clicking the link at the top of this page or clicking here.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Jens Wennberg performing “In Hindsight”