Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shorter Republican Response to the SOTU Address...

"You losers are all going to be living on catfood for the rest of your lives so you might as well do that under Republican rule, and besides, while trying to stave off the 2nd Great Depression the black guy added 2 trillion to the 12 trillion dollar deficit we had so lovingly created."

Rep. Ryan (R-Dumbshit-Wisconsin)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Manic Thursday...

I worked in Jamestown today at the James River Correctional Center. This is part of my contract with the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. What this really means is I provide the primary eye care to all inmates at the ND State Penitentiary, Missouri River Correctional Center, James River Correctional Center, and Youth Correctional Center. The only State inmates I am not responsible for are the female inmates, who are housed at the Women's facility in New England, ND.

I have been doing this for about 15 years at NDSP, about 10 years at JRCC, and about 6-7 years for YCC and MRCC. Needless to say I have examined many of the state's notorious and famous criminals, but mostly what I see are the dumb guys (and kids) who let alcohol and drugs affect their decision-making ( or just as often, lack of decision-making). A vast majority of these people - fellow citizens, by the way - are not evil or cruel or even very unusual. They almost always, though, are unwilling or unable to think through the long term consequences of their actions, and show little, if any, regard for the welfare of not only their fellow citizens, but even their own.

As a former educator, I can see so many patterns being repeated. As a parent I see so many obvious signs of abuse and neglect. As a citizen and taxpayer I see so much waste: yes, money, but also talent and the human resources, including many of the inmates own talents.

What got me thinking about this was a discussion between NY Times columnist Bob Herbert and Rachel Maddow on her show tonight. What Mr. Herbert contends, and with which I agree completely, is that our society is in true denial about how violent a society we are, and we basically ignore every run of the mill shooting, stabbing, suicide, spouse murder, etc. and then pay a little lip service to the BIG ONES like Virginia Tech and Columbine and Tuscon and say "that was a freak thing, Thank God that doesn't happen every day, we're so lucky to live where we do." All of which allows us to neatly tie up the package of violence and say "It's not much of a problem."

Guess what? It is a huge, enormous everyday fact of life that a citizen of The US is more likely to be shot to death in this country than anyone anywhere else on Earth including such notorious bastions of liberty and lawlessness as Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanis were statistically safer under Taliban rule than Americans are today in the United States of America. Where is the outrage? Where is the empathy for our fellow man? WHY do we not only condone but LOVE violence so much?

I know there is no neat answer, but our leaders and our fellow citizens are not even thinking about the questions, let alone the answers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Family Vacation

So we packed up the boys and drove to Red Lodge, Montana for three days of snowboarding and relaxation. The weather was fairly warm but windy, and they hadn't had any new snow in 3-4 days. We didn't get any snow while we were there so we dealt with some pretty icy runs. Hunter spent most of his time with high school classmate and fellow soccer player Chris O, and Luke and Will spent time with Ben O. I did my usual cruising and avoidance of any super busy or super hard runs. No mishaps except a trifecta where I fell getting off the chairlift three times in a row and then not again all weekend. We rented a house near the golf course which we split with our friends the Ottemillers. Everybody had their own bed and lots of space to spread out. We grilled three nights and had great breakfasts every day. There was an outdoor hot tub but no cable TV or Internet service so we spent some of the free time watching movies. Tami had the lousy job of running us up to the mountain and then finding something to do (in addition to doing lots of laundry) until it was time to pick us up. She skied part of a morning the last time we were there, but that ended when some kid on a snowboard ran her over from behind. This year she decided to skip the possible injury altogether.