Friday, January 22, 2010

Corporate Political Contributions

I watch too much TV. I admit it. I really like watching courtroom dramas.

And if there is one thing courtroom TV shows have taught me is that if a lawyer, juror or judge is involved in some personal way with a case, that person has to step aside.

The Supreme Court just ruled that corporations can give and give large amounts of money to political campaigns. Now while I think that is not a good idea, the Supreme Court thinks it’s fine and dandy.

Who am I to argue with the Supreme Court?

Now in my opinion, since companies can give large amounts of money to campaigns, we don’t want any signs of our politicians appearing that their votes are for sale.

We need a new law here....

To avoid looking improper, if a politician accepts campaign money from a company, they should not participate in any way in voting for or against a law that might affect that company. Further, they should not even voice an opinion regarding that law while it’s being debated.

This non-participation period should run for at least two full terms from the time of the contribution and one term prior to the contribution.

Just a thought.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Refection on MLK Day

Buddy’s dad here.

Monday was a national holiday here in the US honoring the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let me start by saying that I’m an old guy, a child of the 60’s. I was 10 when Dr. King was murdered. I remember hearing the news broadcasts that he had been shot in Tennessee and the police were looking for a man driving a white Mustang.

It was over 40 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday.

When I was little, I remember Iris, the first African American student to go to my elementary school. She was a pretty girl who came into my third grade class. I don’t remember any protests or issues at all. She was just there one day. We all played together at recess and ate at the same lunch table in the cafeteria. She was another kid, really no different from me.

The next year, another African American student entered my class and soon the schools were fully integrated. The county made the former black high school the middle school and I went there along with all the other seventh graders. From a kid’s perspective, all seemed to go pretty smoothly.

As a kid, I watched the nightly news with my parents. I saw video footage of riots in the streets in big cities. There were marches on Washington, fires and violent protests in cities that seemed so far away.

But it wasn’t just the African American community that was protesting. College kids were protesting the Vietnam War. There were people protesting at the presidential convention in Chicago. Women were protesting demanding equal rights. It seemed like everybody was upset about something.

There was violence. Every night on the news showed more: film footage of the carnage in Vietnam, footage of various protests, cities with whole blocks burned during riots. It seemed like it would never end and it was scary.

I seem to remember hearing Dr. King’s I have a dream speech broadcast on TV one night. It could have been a film shown in school, but I don’t think so. If you’ve never heard it, I would encourage you to listen to it on the web. It’s amazing.

Even as a little boy, I understood what he said. I heard the truth he spoke. I heard the passion in his voice. His words brought clarity to a frightened little boy that prior to those words didn’t understand why all the adults were fighting.

To say Dr. King was a great man may be the understatement of the century. He was a leader who could express the injustice we felt in our hearts. He could stir passion in his listeners and prompt people to try to right wrongs. He didn’t listen when people told him to be patient; that justice would come in time. He promoted peaceful protest and led people to take charge of their lives and their futures.

He is someone that I wish was here today to lead us. His wisdom could help this country in so many ways now.

Back in 1968, a murderer robbed the people of the United States of one of its most valuable thinkers of the twentieth century. We so need him today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Wren

Monday was warm, even fairly early in the day. Sun shown through the bare branches of the few trees that dotted the parking lot of the shopping center that housed Brueggers Bagels in North Raleigh.

We sat at the table beside the big plate glass window in the front of the bagel shop. A little brown wren caught our eyes as he stood on the sidewalk watching the world go by.

He stood there as cars pulled into parking spaces. He stood there as people passed by. He even stood there when a man walked his dog (on a leach) just a couple of feet from him.

His head turned from side to side as taking it all in. He watched the people, the dog and the other birds. He didn’t seem phased by all the hustle around him.

This was his place and his time. The wren would duck under a sidewalk table from time to time to snatch a crumb, but for the most part, he just stood watch.

Most of the people didn’t even notice the wren. They were too busy shopping or talking on cell phones, but the wren saw them. And silently, he stood his ground and watched.