All posts by Larry Chapman

Retired educator, historian, writer, blogger, teller of tales including the occasional lie, saltwater angler, traveler, political junkie, technology geek, optimist, pessimist, wanna' be chef, and lover of independent thinkers. 2011 recipient of the Professor Irwin Corey Foremost Authority Award and resident curmudgeon of Worley Mill Rd. north of SCPower's sub-station.

Drugs; The Great Equalizer

By whatever name they’re called there are 3,142 counties in the United States. Every single county in the U.S. registered an increase in drug-related mortality between 1980 and 2014. And that rise was statistically significant in 99.8 percent of counties.

The tragedy of these facts and figures is that the obvious failure of what has become known as the War on Drugs can be traced at least back to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The war got heated in 1971 under Nixon and again in the 1980s with Reagan. 

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A Nazi lives in the Bronx

Most likely you’ve never heard of Jakiw Palij and there’s no reason you should have. Palij has lived in America since 1949 and today is the last known Nazi war criminal living in this country. He was once granted US citizenship but in 2004 a federal judge stripped him of that and ordered he be deported. He is still here and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has no plans to boot him out because no nation wants him.

Another name you’ve probably not heard is Miguel Perez Jr. , Perez was in America on a permanent green card, joined the US Army and did two tours in Afghanistan. When he returned he was diagnosed with PTSD and possible brain damage. He was charged with cocaine possession, had his green card stripped, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. After serving half his sentence he was turned over to ICE and has since been deported to Mexico leaving behind his parents and children who are all US citizens.

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American justice isn’t blind, but it can be visually impaired.

On last night’s news there was a story about a convicted felon, a black woman, who mistakenly thought she was permitted to vote in last year’s election. She found out later that Texas felons lose their right to vote and she had unwittingly broken a law. This past week a Texas court sentenced her to five years in prison. As a follow-up NBC cited several examples in which the felon was a man and got off with probation and/or a small fine.

This story reminded me of something that took place around Greenfield back in the 1960s. I was living in California at the time so I only knew what was in the local papers my parents sent me on occasion.  It’s also been so long ago I don’t remember all the details.

That said, the story basically involved an area farmer who got involved in a check kiting scheme and before it was over the total dollar amount exceeded a million dollars and several area bank officials got more than a knuckle cracking.

When it was finally settled my parents sent me the local paper and the lead story stated that the farmer ended up walking out the door a free man. The irony was, immediately following this story was a short story about a local woman who was found guilty of writing a bad check and she sentenced to jail.

These are just a couple more examples of American justice not being totally blind. Too often justice turns its blind eye away from women and minorities.

Liars and Those Who Teach Liars to Lie

Unless he was lying Donald Trump was in Ohio yesterday. Like anytime he appears in public he told a large number of lies and distortions. He said work had begun on his precious Mexican border wall. It hasn’t. What he said was new construction was actually some repairs being done to an old wall.

He seemed to take credit for the initial success of the new Roseanne show. He took credit for all economic improvements and said we had never had an economy this good. Well, others get most of the credit and yes, we’ve had economic periods far better than what we now have.

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VWs for all my Friends!

Remember when Volkswagen got caught cheating on the pollution numbers about its diesel cars? Well, they had to recall about 350,000 cars, most of which are sitting on giant parking lots all across America waiting for some decision on what to do with them. In the meantime they are being fully maintained to keep them sellable. Could there be some great car deals in the months ahead?

Thoughts About Implants

With Stormy Daniels being in the news so much it’s been difficult to not occasionally think about breast implants. I don’t have a problem with women getting breast augmentation, especially when related to reconstruction following cancer and other medical issues.

I can’t claim any expertise on the subject but I am capable of detecting examples where the consumer went overboard. Stormy Daniels is certainly one example of too much being way too much. There’s just too much of what nature didn’t intend.

Being a man in today’s world leaves me wondering how much I’m permitted to talk about boob jobs and it’s a subject I don’t usually wander into. However, on one occasion I did get invited to join a discussion and got to ask a few questions.

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Roller Coaster Days

For at the past week life has been like an emotional roller coaster. At one moment I find myself elated and confident about my nation’s future, followed by my cart roaring out of control down the steel tracks and I am screaming at the top of my voice.

On the down side the nation’s pseudo president hires an ideological war hawk, John Bolton, to head a department charged with providing for our security. Bolton has a life’s track record of favoring war over peace. He has openly called for the unilateral preëmptive nuclear strike by the United States against North Korea and Iran. Seeming ignorant of the cost in human lives to our allies in South Korea and Japan. Also of the loss of tens of thousands of American military person stationed in Asia.

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When is Enough Enough?

There is some debate about the total number of guns in America with the consensus being above 300 million. The number of guns isn’t too different from the number of people, including children.

Adding to that is the millions of guns that continue to be manufactured in America every year. The chart below shows the numbers from 1986 through 2013 and one can easily see that the gun makers are on good times. In fact, the times are even better. Last week I heard the most recent report stating total manufacture in 2017 was in excess of fourteen million.

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Questions & Thoughts About the NRA

As I begin this blog it is Saturday, March 24, 2018 and all over the world people are gathering in protest of gun violence. The subject cannot be addressed in America without mention of the National Rifle Association and answering several important questions about the organization. Following is a small list of questions that we as a nation should be addressing:

  1. Should the NRA be a tax-exempt organization? The subject is complex but for simplicity, is there any reason for the NRA to be tax-exempt? The concept implies that some charitable activity is taking place, that somehow society is being served by the institution’s activities. We all know of the Salvation Army’s work during  troubled times and probably don’t question their tax-exempt status. What does the NRA do that resembles the work of the Salvation Army?
  2. Should trying to influence politics threaten tax-exempt status? If organized religions become involved in influencing the political outcomes in America, should they lose their tax-exempt status? Is the same true of the NRA? In 2016 the NRA spent tens of millions trying to influence political outcomes. They gave over $30 million alone to the election of Donald Trump. In the eyes of democracy, the collective donations of such groups far outweighs what the American people can bring forth. Should this be more tightly regulated?
  3. In 2011 Stephen Colbert wanted to show just how simple it is to raise money and play with the outcomes of American elections. He announced his candidacy for President of South Carolina and hired a lawyer to advise him about creating a tax-exempt “super”

    PAC to raise money. This short video clearly demonstrates the    system as it exists. Should these doors be slammed shut?

  4. The NRA likes to claim that it was founded to improve the marksmanship of the American rifleman and thereby help create a better prepared military. It also claims it was founded to fight against the effects of slavery and the power of the KKK. While these claims may have some merit they are certainly not the guiding spirit of today’s NRA. I would argue that well over half of all NRA efforts are aimed at promoting and protecting gun ownership and protecting the interest of the gun manufacturers. How do you feel about this?
  5. The NRA likes to claim that it was founded to improve the marksmanship of the American rifleman and thereby help create a better prepared military. It also claims it was founded to fight against the effects of slavery and the power of the KKK. While these claims may have some merit they are certainly not the guiding spirit of today’s NRA. I would argue that well over half of all NRA efforts are aimed at promoting and protecting gun ownership and protecting the interest of the gun manufacturers. How do you feel about this?
  6. 501 (c) 4 groups are not required to reveal their sources of income. Should this be changed?

This list is certainly not all inclusive. There are many more questions that need to be discussed. Feel free to ask your questions and leave your comments below.

 

 

 

Stinking Turds & Being Guilty

Midnight Express was a powerful film released in 1978. The story was about an American being arrested in Turkey where the onus was on him to prove his innocence. The exposure of the Turkish legal and prison systems was so great it almost destroyed that nation’s tourist industry.

Most Americans strongly support the idea that the burden of proof lies with the government. That a person is innocent until proven guilty. Turkey is one of several nations where the opposite exists.

While I’ve always supported this basic premise I may be changing. Frequently TV cops and lawyers justify incarcerating someone by arguing,  “well they may not have done this crime but they’ve done enough other things.” I so believe that Donald J. Trump and members of his family are so guilty of plural crimes I find myself increasingly willing to turn away from this innocent crap. There seems to be so many stinking turds in the Trump closets that somehow one had to be placed there by someone named Trump.

To paraphrase a familiar phrase, “Lock ’em Up!”

BJs are OK Today

I remember being one of those loyal Democrats who for a short time tried to support Bill Clinton getting blown and enjoying a fine smoke afterwards.

When the red sphinctered Republicans accused him of having sex with that woman I pointed out that even Eisenhower got his socks knocked off a few times while overseas. There’s a long history of presidents having sex in places other than the second floor of the White House.

There’s also a long history of men lying about their sexual exercises to keep their wives happy and in the dark. When the GOP finally got down to asking him if he had engaged in sex with Monica, Clinton messed up by saying it depended on how one defined sex. That’s when I stopped supporting Clinton and the aroma of family valued impeachment heat wafted over the great DC Swamp. Well, the self-righteous impeached, the wise men of the Senate refused to convict, and William Jefferson Clinton became member two of the Andrew Johnson Boys Club.

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