Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Insider



Bernie Kerik is out of jail.  Remember him?  He is the former New York City Police Commissioner who almost made it to Washington as the head of the Department of Homeland Security before he was convicted of federal corruption charges.  Now, he's writing and speaking out about his experiences ("No one with my background or my success . . . has been on the inside . . .").
Kerik, having witnessed injustices firsthand,  is calling for prison reform and he is aiming to influence the Republican candidates for president.

With all of the brutal police stuff going on these days, the disclosure of his love nest for his affair with the hot publisher Judith Regan seems almost laudable.  (Make love not war?)

I wish Bernie good luck.  And, maybe if the Justice Department had prosecuted a few of those banksters who brought down the housing market, they could be joining Bernie in his quest for reform.




Sunday, April 19, 2015

First Responders








I’m in the process of moving some savings from one fund to another.  One thought keeps popping up:  “I hope I can still take some money out if I need it.”  Maybe that’s why I kept my dial tuned this morning to Bob Edwards’ interview with a Credit Union employee who survived the Oklahoma City bombing.  And, why I was so touched by the interview with  another Credit Union employee who flew in afterwards to help with the mess.

You don’t think of Credit Union tellers or managers as first responders.  And, maybe their duty wasn’t as dangerous as those who worked on “the pile.” But they took their share of lumps.  Survivors and family were cut off from their accounts while left with no identification and no records.  Their grief contained a lot of rage.  

When I think of Oklahoma City, I usually think of the Oklahoma Thunder and how they just missed the NBA playoffs.

Today, a distant but terrible thunder fills my mind.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When Birds are Prey




The Bulls play the Hawks tonight in the final game of their regular season.  It's been up and down for the Bulls this year.  Lots of injuries (among them you know who) and no one is predicting a title this year.

The Atlanta Hawks have had a great year.  A team without heavy star power, they didn't attract much attention until they kept winning and winning.  Now, they are the number one team in the Eastern Conference.  Their title run looked so bright  -- until now it looks very dark --  for a very ugly reason.

Thabo Sefolosha is one of the Hawks' best players.  He will miss the playoffs because he has a broken leg.  He didn't break it on the court like the Indiana Pacers' Paul George who returned to the active roster last week as a hero.  Yet, the Pacers and the Hawks are united in the ugliness.

New York Nightclub.  4 a.m.  Fight.  Stabbing.  Not words that lead to a good outcome. This time, Pacers and Hawks players were on the scene.  How about the word "Police"?  Have we come to the point where, when we see that word,  we shudder at what we suspect will come next in the news story?

Sefolosha claims that he was a bystander and that the police broke his leg.  Apparently, there is video showing him being hit.  The NBA and especially the NBA players' union are investigating.  We won't know anything more for awhile.

What we do know is that the Hawks are crippled.  I hope they overcome the loss and beat everyone in the East.

Ultimately, I want the Golden State Warriors to win the title.  After all, their great three point shooter, Steph Curry, is managed by the Bulls' great three pointer, Steve Kerr.  It's enough of a connection for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Over and Outer




When you get to be an oldster you start thinking about stuff you may not be around to experience.  I joke that a  20 year warrantee is no inducement for me to buy that appliance.  So, I sighed when I read today that a chief NASA scientist predicts we will find alien life (or at least signs of it) within the next 20 to 30 years.  "We know where to look.  We know how to look," says Ellen Stofan.  Wow.

Before we get too excited, the NASA people also say they are talking about finding microbes, not creatures of our imagination.  Even so, we are on our way to somewhere.

Maybe when I return to the stardust from which I came, it will be ET waiting for me on the other side.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Away Games



Since Cuban baseball players have been flocking to the U.S., it seemed a natural that Major League Baseball would reach out to Cuba now that travel and other restrictions have been eased.  The NBA has beat them to it.

In just a few weeks, the basketball people are hosting a camp for Cuban youth.  MVP Steve Nash and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo are adding star power to the effort.

I am still hoping that eventually Cuba will be in baseball's expansion plans, but if the kids want to play basketball, that's okay too.

I wonder if there are many 7 ft. Cuban boys?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Creepy Times in Sleepy Town



Indiana:  you've stepped in it again.  You'd think our neighbors  would lie low for awhile after everyone was reminded that Indiana staged the last lynching.  But no.  

Until now, probably the first thought I had about Indiana was that it was boring.  I know there are islands of interest like beautiful Bloomington or architectural Columbus, but the rest?  Pretty lame.

I got to see the state on a trip to Huntington.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I. My man at the time was a structural engineer and avid bridge fan.  He loved studying bridge construction around the world.  So, when he discovered, in one of his journals, that a bridge was for sale for $1 in Huntington, Indiana, he decided it was worth a visit.

The catch, of course, was that the new owner would have to pay for repairs and upkeep.  It was the sleepy little town's entry into the big business of privatization.  They couldn't have known then that they were just years ahead in this national trend.

Gerry didn't buy the bridge.  And, we didn't see the billionaires who were creeping up behind us.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Good Will



When Dean Smith died I wrote about his outstanding life -- as a basketball coach at UNC and as a human being.  He championed civil rights in the south when it was unpopular and dangerous.  He stayed in touch with his players long after they graduated.  Some of them say they consulted "Coach" before making any big life decisions because they trusted him completely.

Now comes some more good news about Dean Smith.  In his will, he has left $200 to each of his students who earned a Varsity letter at UNC.  He encouraged them to enjoy a great dinner as his treat.

One of the moments in my life when I felt the most pride was learning that my son's high school English teacher had left money in his will to Bill -- recognizing him as one of his favorite students.  Bill used the gift to take his high school buddies to an NBA game.