Current penalties for violent crimes are too lenient.  In the case of any violent crime committed that could have been met with deadly force during its commission, victims of these crimes ought to have the option of applying that deadly force to the guilty defendant as an option after trial.  In other words, for the crimes of rape, home invasion, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and car-jacking, to name a few, after a trial in which the defendant is found guilty, the victims should have the lone decision-making authority to impose the penalty of death.  In states where the death penalty is unavailable, then life without parole would be an option, exclusively decided upon by the victim.

A large part of the problem in our current system of incarceration is the fact that the conditions under which inmates serve their sentences are not uncomfortable enough to serve as a deterrent.  Additionally, any actions aimed at rehabilitation, mental health help and education are either non-existent in some cases, or poorly managed in others.

When a criminal is facing the prospect of going to prison, that ought to invoke in him fear and terror sufficient to be of nightmare proportions.  For starters, no gyms, no weight-training, no television.  Meals are designed to be minimally sufficient to maintain basic levels of health and nourishment, no more.  Every inmate begins their sentence assuming the most intense depravations and the minimal existence.  Working opportunities, good behavior, availing ones self to mental health counseling, education, self-improvement, skill-set-development, all of these opportunities come to inmates only after they demonstrate humility, contrition and compliance.  Until this happens, those non-compliant inmates receive the barest of minimums and enjoy only human rights and not civil ones.  It is the greatest of insults that prisons cost taxpayers anything.  Prisoner work needs to pay for prisons not the law abiding.

As long as criminals are not deterred from a stint in prison because doing the time is not as miserable as it could be, there is no incentive to stay out.  Once prison is known to be a nightmare experience, this alone will act as a deterrent.  For those caught up in the system, we either keep them locked up if they refuse to comply and improve, and we take those who do cooperate and actually make inroads in rehabilitation as they earn-back those things free people take for granted.

Criminals may make stupid mistakes and take stupid chances, but they do not lack of the instinct for self-preservation.  When today a car-jacking or a home invasion criminal gets released without bail, what message are we sending?  If those same criminals understand that if they get caught, their victims could take their lives or send them to prison for the rest of their lives, you can bet that criminal decision-making will change.

Some years ago a national campaign against crime used the then-popular catch-phrase, “Take a Bit Outta Crime.  How about we start taking a bite out of the criminals?


My View

  • Mankind is not perfectible, only God.  The pursuit however of that perfection is our noblest obligation.
  • The things and ideas we decide to reject in life are every bit as important, even life-changing, as those things and ideas we choose to accept.
  • Rejecting your chance at learning means accepting your future as a fool.
  • The ability to read is different than the love of reading.  Only by fostering and gaining that love can the entirety of the world be truly opened.
  • Anything worth hearing was first written and writing gives the author immortality.
  • Failure is the finest teacher of what is success.
  • If you aren’t willing to participate in determining how our world works, hold your complaints for others who could also care less.
  • Whether or not your past hurt you or helped you, what you do today determines your future.
  • Authentic friends tell you the truth, hold you accountable and support you based on righteousness, reality and reason, especially in times when those words sting.  Faux friends comfort you when you’re wrong and walk you down the easier path by never making you think.
  • The true demonstration of overcoming adversity is the fact that every decent man had to reject what 1000 fools were telling him.

It’s the driver not the car..

In the late spring of 1972, high-school buddies Allen Hopkins and Mike Sturdevant picked me up at my house in order to go on a little road-trip to inspect a motor for sale.  “Hop” as we called him was a “gear-head” and a Mopar fanatic and he had knowledge of a hemi-engine for sale somewhere up near Greene, NY. So the three of us piled into his 1966 Plymouth Belvedere and headed up NYS Route 12 to go and see if this motor was anything Hop wanted.

As we neared the village of Greene, a small sign caught Hop’s attention.  “Look at that, a rally, let’s check it out on the way back.”  Now I do not remember anything about that engine we were originally going to see, but I do have a vivid recollection about that rally.

As we headed back, Hop was clearly into the planning mode.  As he discussed this, it became clear to me that Hop had no interest in observing this event; he was going to compete in it!

We pulled into what was ordinarily the Green airfield, but today was the site of the auto rally.  As we approached, a gaggle of BMW coupes, a few Corvette’s and a variety of British sports cars were either parked and waiting or on the track competing.  A small set of bleacher seats oversaw the rally layout, defined by plastic, orange pylons, strategically placed over the tarmac forming a serpentining lane of obtuse turn angles, switch-backs and abrupt angles, all designed to test the handling and dexterity of car and driver.  The track layout made its way around a circuitous route that ended where it started, allowing one car at a time to be timed with a stop watch, start to finish.

The announcer had a public address system and was located behind the bleachers in a small, elevated box-like room, delivering a turn-by-turn analysis and comment about each car and driver as they completed the course.

After parking the car, the three of us were wandering around, looking at the cars and watching the competitors navigate the course.  I saw Hop talking to the men at the start line and all of a sudden, he was gone!  Mike and I watched as he got into the Plymouth and took off for the highway.  We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders, not knowing quite what to think, but decided to watch the festivities and see what would happen next.

As we sat on the bleachers, twenty-minutes later Hop rolled back into the parking lot and made his way over to us.  “What was that all about?”, I asked.  Hop replied, “Had to put extra air in my tires and get a quart of oil.  Now I need to find someone to lend me a helmet.”  I said, “Are you shitting me?  You’re gonna run the Belevedere through this course?  Hop was already searching for a helmet as the words were leaving my lips.

I glanced over at the men who looked like the guys running things and you could see the big story was this helmet-less kid entering the contest in the antithesis of a sports car.  Hop came back, sporting a helmet and heading for the car, we followed along, wondering what in the hell he was going to do.  He opened the truck and got out a tire iron and began taking the hubcaps off the wheels.  “Don’t wanna have to go find them scattered in the weeds”, he said.  When Hop put the helmet on, Mike and I burst into laughter.  His size 8 head was hugged quite tightly by this size 7 helmet and it was just plain funny.  He looked like a cartoon character.

We had been looking at the clock, which was located just over the top of the announcer shack, and we were noting the various times; 2:45, 2:42, even a 2:39.  As it became clear to the crowd of spectators that Hop had entered his big 4-door-Plymouth, a din of excitement mixed with laughter began to build in the group.  Hop got into the car and pulled into line behind a black BMW which was behind an MG, as they nervously waited their turn.  We found out later that the entry fee included for each competitor three trips around the course, culminating with each driver’s fastest time.  Because we had arrived late, Hop had only one lap in which to compete and he was to be the last driver of the day.

Bright orange plastic cones outlined the road-course that meandered over the cracked, tarmac surface of the aged and little-used airport.  As the circuit ended where it began, just before the finish-line, a series of cones about one-hundred yards long indicated the end of the line by being spaced ever and ever closer together as the finish line appeared.

The BMW crossed the line, 2:41, not too bad, but it appeared that the 2:39 was the time to beat.  Hop and the MG nudged up one car-length and then the MG shot off and down the runway as Hop waited.  The MG had a mechanical failure of some type about half-way around the track and the flaggers were busy getting him off the roadway as Hop began to nervously rev the engine of the Plymouth.  Once the all-clear was indicated, Hop was given the count-down, three-two-one, GO!

You could hear the big 4-barrel carburetor gulp gas as he lumbered down and out of the start-gate.  Spectators were laughing and carrying-on as Hop burned around the little track, tires screaming, motor racing, but he was making amazing time.  Out through the worst of the switch-backs, through the off-camber turns, it was obvious that Hop’s driving skills were making up for whatever he didn’t have in terms of the ideal car.  As the land-yacht headed towards the finish-line, Hop mistakenly began to serpentine the Plymouth in and out of the finishing line pylons, thinking this was a part of the course!  He did so successfully, never touching a single piece and when he crossed the finish line, he had beaten the best time by full 6-seconds!  2:33 and with it the trophy, even after showing off his skills needlessly doing a slalom run at the end.

All of the hoity-toytee’s stopped laughing and no one would even talk to us.  It was great.      

As we piled into the car and rocketed out of the airport, I held the trophy out of the back window as we waved good-bye to the brave men and women who made up the membership of the local sports car club in Greene, NY., now 50-years a memory of the day when a very confident 20-year-old gear head named Hop taught “the grown-ups” a valuable lesson about the importance of the driver’s confidence and ability over the quality and price of the car.


How MSM Shapes, Not Reports, the News.

Traditional, old-school Main-Stream-Media, (MSM) has a decidedly liberal bent.  If this were not so, Fox News and the vast majority of talk-radio outlets would not be surviving and competitive, let alone dominating ratings in key categories and time slots across a wide array of demographic types.  Clearly, there was a pent-up demand for news and information sought from a dramatically different perspective.  The modern iterations of media, outside of this fossilized formula from the past, identified that demand and now successfully fulfills it.

What follows are three local examples of the MSM shaping and manipulating the narrative as opposed to simply and honestly reporting.

The recent shooting in Buffalo was allegedly carried out by a local young man here in the Broome County area of New York.  In reporting this incident on local television, the exact location, including photos and video of the suspect’s parent’s home address were broadcast to the public.  Additionally, the local gun store where the suspect purchased the firearm was photographed and videotaped showing the name of the business and identifying the street address.

There is absolutely no news-value in identifying the address of the suspect’s family or the location and name of the firearms dealer.  In doing so, this forced the family to go into hiding and actually relocate, putting those people’s lives in danger.  The gun dealer was forced to shut down his shop for more than a week as threatening and menacing acts disrupted his life and business.

Any family enduring the horror of living with the realization that one of their own children or siblings did such a heinous thing are not the appropriate targets for the media to put at risk of their safety and even their lives.  By doing so, the media was leveling on them a kind of misplaced punishment they have no right to wield.

Reportedly the gun dealer acted lawfully in making the transaction with the suspect.  Upon what theory of decent journalism did putting him and his business at risk rest upon?

And finally, the MSM has been incorrectly using the term, “assault weapon” for years in describing what is a civilian version of a military rifle.  Although the two firearms share similar cosmetics, the military version is more lethal while the civilian version is no different, in performance, than any other traditional hunting and sports rifle.  A purposeful misrepresentation repeated millions of times by searing the word “assault” into the consciousness of people who are less than adequately informed creates a mind-set of conclusion based on lies.

This illustrates that the MSM has an undeniable bias against guns and that pathology drives their justification for doing whatever they can to vilify and mis-represent the facts as they truly are.  This, amongst a host of other shortcomings explains why the reach, value and credibility of the MSM is so incredibly strained by the exposure they have finally had to face in the sunshine and the fresh air that is the truth offered by the new media.


Preventing Shortages..

The recent baby-formula crisis has exposed a seriously uncomfortable fact about modern American maternity.  According to Dr. Ruth Petersen of the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC), “Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies and mothers. It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition…” yet nearly 20% of new-borns are never breastfed.

CDC guidelines recommend that mothers breastfeed their infants for the first year yet only 1-in-4 are exclusively breastfed even in the first 6-months.  Breastfed children enjoy lower rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, ear, respiratory,  gastrointestinal infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (SIDS).  Mothers benefit by lowered risks of ovarian and breast cancers, diabetes and high-blood-pressure.  Low rates of breastfeeding add more than 3-billion dollars to health care costs annually.

Not every mom is able to breastfeed, but the majority can.  Given the overwhelming and uncontroversial benefits to babies, moms, and to societal costs and benefits in general, it is a mystery why a greater emphasis and importance isn’t attached to these facts.  Perhaps the shortage of baby formula will serve as a wake-up call to parents that breastfeeding is not only the best choice but the surest assurance of nutritional outcomes you control.


Solo Cup Salvation

In response to a former student killing 10 people in Buffalo, Susquehanna Valley students formed the phrase “SV loves Buffalo” using colored plastic cup wedged into the chain-link fence in front of the high school.  Salvation-by-solo-cup can’t assuage guilt-by-association.  This trite symbolism mocks and trivializes a tragedy and the educators advising these kids should have known better, but hey, this might take the focus off of their own shortcomings.  Better efforts might include asking school officials when they first knew this former student was unstable?  And how many others noticed problems but said nothing?

The problem isn’t firearms or background checks or magazine size or more laws that criminals ignore.  The solution is learning why so many are so mentally ill.

Plastic cup platitudes and feel-good laws that would have done nothing to address this tragedy are wasted efforts that ignore the real issues of a Godless society poisoned by drugs and a counter-culture that celebrates violence and evil.  Our kids are drowning in the filth of cyber-space and because the cure is too difficult, we ignore it until people are dead and then we feign outrage and go back into our anesthetized state of being, Godless, soul-less and clueless.


Taxpayers Thrown Under The Bus

When Covid first hit and normal life shut down, I found myself with more time to take daily walks.  When life slows you notice things, like the full-sized empty county buses running their complete, normal schedules with only a masked driver and rarely any passengers.  At first I thought this was an anomaly, soon to bounce back post Covid-panic-mode but over time, nothing much has changed.  I began to more carefully observe daily bus traffic.

Video taken over several months monitoring the 40 Route which traverses the length of Chenango Street in Binghamton saw an average of less than 3 passengers in each bus, hour after hour, day after day, month after month no matter what time of day.  Many times the buses were completely empty.  Ninety percent of the time, you could service the 40 Route with a motorcycle and a side-car.

Thinking this might be anomalistic to this route, I expanded my observations to the various other.  Same thing; buses routinely empty everywhere.  You can see this for yourself, just look inside these diesel-guzzling, forty-foot hulks of machinery, capable of seating 60 people, half the time empty, the other half with passengers that would easily fit into a Prius In a privately run business, it would take less than 24-hours for management to make the changes needed in order to shrink-to-fit.  That rapid reaction would be compelled by the reality of severely declining revenue and operational costs far exceeding income.

No such concern rests on the management team of a governmental agency.  In the case of Broome Transit, two-thirds of their income is subsidized via the taxpayers.  Those who ride the buses pay less than 6% of the actual costs.  Last years fare budget was off by more than 50% so what did they do this year?  Double that number.

In the real world of private enterprise, buses would be replaced with passenger vans to address the dwindling demand and to save fuel and maintenance costs.  In government, strong unions prohibit drivers from switching to the vans and routes are determined and unalterable without bargaining agreements.  No fewer than 16 of those vans sit quietly in the lot of Broome Transit.

When there is no competition and no profit incentive, there is no motivation to be efficient because the inefficiency has no direct bearing on the workers or the management.  What this situation models is little more than a make-work-program for the 100 plus employees that soldier on, even when the work is pointless with no passengers.

With alternatives like Uber, Lyft, and work-from-home situations becoming the norm, none of these realities seem to influence the we’ve-always-done-it-this-way mindset of an organization that faces no reason to be better.  Instead, we celebrate when Senator Schumer announces a $1.9M infusion of electric buses into the fleet so we can continue to move empty 40-foot buses silently down the road.

Not only are the taxpayers thrown under the bus, ironically they also pay for the privilege.



Various versions of a letter about growing old are making the rounds of FB, prefacing the topic as, “the 4th quarter”, or, “Then it is winter.” Or some other such poetic nonsense.

This 69 year-old has a slightly different take.

Time does seem to accelerate as we progress in our life’s journey.  And it is true, as a younger man, my thoughts were not on aging or changing, but in living in the moment.  If you truly concentrate on the here-and-now, you will mercifully be spared the contemplation of a completed lifetime.  Only in retrospect can one understand the concept of the quickening of human maturity.  Other “mature” sages try and share that wisdom with the young.  I say, leave them in their current bliss.  Their day will come, not by our suggestions, but because of their own singular paths and experiences.  I choose to leave it unsaid as a surprise for them to be enjoyed later, at the right time.  Another Birthday present.

While some wonder where their years went, I know where mine went; into my collective self today.  I am the sum of my experience.  Nothing has left me.  While my memory may fail the recall, my spirit collected all of it and stored it in me.  My eyes still look outward and my vision is the same today as in my youth, not as measured by acuity, but as in really “seeing.”  I see the world the same way, then and now, outward looking, avoiding the gaze into the mirror that reminds me of the changes in me, not because I’m ashamed, but because I need to overcome the physical by strengthening the certainty of my psyche.

Others bemoan tasks like showers, mandatory naps, aches, pains, loss of strength and the ability to “do things.”  I reject all such talk.  I may not shower every day, not because it’s a hassle, but because I don’t want or need to.  I nap if I want, but don’t need it.  Aches, pains, strength, I deal with it as I’ve always done.  Maybe the pains last longer, maybe the strength is not as it once was, but I make allowances and I power on.

As for regrets, the contemplation is a fool’s errand.  Any single change would have rippled across the consequences of all other choices and outcomes all would be forever altered, beyond who I am today.  I would not only take no such risk, but the thought of doing so is impossible.  I live in the here-and-now, not in the fantasy world of wish-I-did-something-different.

Last summer I rode my motorcycle out to Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual rally in the Black Mountains.  Afterwards I rode to Denver to see my kids.  I play squash, I ride my bicycle, I play tennis, (usually spotting my opponents 20 years) and still prevailing.  I kayak, fly-fish, deer-hunt and work full-time, enjoying a full social life and writing about life.

So please, don’t tell me about “old” cars “old” movies, “old” age, “old” friends I don’t want to hear it.  Today is now, right now for all of us.  Yesterday has expired and tomorrow can only be prepared for not lived in or experienced until hatched.  That leaves us with the here and now; the only time we actually control is this very this moment, nothing before and no guarantees for the next second.


How to Tell a Conservative from a Liberal

 Credit where credit is due.  Liberals give no such sway.  To liberals, conservatives are evil and wrong all the time every time.  It is a take-it-or-leave-it philosophy seemingly incapable of the parsing of ideas or the nuances of opinion.  The baby goes out with the bathwater in the black-and-white thinking of the modern liberal mind.

Conservatives, (for the most part) may intently dislike liberal ideas, but separate those ideas from the persona of the person espousing them.  In other words, you can hate the idea and love the person if you’re a conservative, but no such allowance is made when liberals assess the musings of conservatives.

The best example I can give today is the war raging in the Ukraine.  At the time of this writing, the invasion from Russia to their neighbor is into the 4th week and so far President Biden has handled the situation pretty well.  While we haven’t done nothing, we have given military munitions, (short of aircraft), needing to assist a democratic ally, yet appropriately temper our involvement and navigate a very treacherous landscape that I believe has been handled appropriately, given the gravity of the situation and the very real possibility of starting a World War.  For this, I will give the Biden administration kudos for a job, so far, well done in a very tricky and dangerous situation.

No one ever in the liberal wing of the political spectrum has ever, ever, ever given any acknowledgment to anything former President Trump has ever done, even when the doing was good, appropriate and clearly in the best interest of the country.

Clear thinking and level-headed conservative thinkers can see through the dense cloud of smoke that billows from the brains of liberals suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, that same smoke that boggles their minds and poisons the well of logic and common-sense in those liberals so affected.


At What Cost?

If Donald Trump was president today, Ukraine would not have been invaded, gas would be $2.50 a gallon, inflation would be negligible and no American’s would have been left behind in Afghanistan.  On Biden’s watch, the Taliban had a parade of terrorists wearing US fatigues armed with US rifles, loaded with US ammo and sporting US night-vision goggles.

Considering the trends when Trump was president, it is likely the stock market would be up, (like it was) unemployment would be at record lows, (like it was), and we would be a net exporter of fossil fuels not beholding to our enemies, (like we were.)

God bless President Biden, but he is barely functional.  Any rational observer can see his infirmities.  Trump Derangement Syndrome blinds the Biden sycophants to his obvious-to-everyone-else decline.  Comparing the unscripted Trump to the unscripted Biden is an embarrassing debacle.  Biden’s frailty and stumbling has emboldened our enemies while weakening our nation.

The blood of the 12 American soldiers killed during the haphazard desertion of Afghanistan as well as the hundreds and counting of dead Ukrainian civilians is rightfully a stain on the hands of America’s weakest and worst president in my lifetime, Joe Biden.