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Happy Pi Day To All

Photo courtesy of dvo.com

3.14.14  Oh boy… next year we do it up right…   π

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Award For Delaware's Most Influental P/P/or T of The Year
The Golden Flush Award
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Usually this is an after thought…” Oh, wow, year’s over, let’s get a person of the year”…  And then once we elect one,  we go… “holy crap… we totally forgot so and so….”

So to try to stir up some old simmering coals of memory, both mine and others, and perhaps even to (heaven forbid) get some debate going in the blog sphere, I thought I’d make an initial run on Thanksgiving Week, and then add people into the nominating category as others mention various ones I should kick myself for forgetting.

It will also force me to review the year which is something I rarely do… because face it, as a human being, I am slave of the moment….  If I did this last year, come December 14th the entire world would have been turned upside down and all the old priorities of 2012,  would in one day become trivial….

And so starting early gives me the chance to make the argument for each of those I decide to enroll with your kind recommendations included….

Julius Cephus:  Particularly this one man organized and stopped an end run around the Port of Wilmington.  The Kinder Morgan deal did not go through, and the Wilmington Port is bustling like never before…   Kinder Morgan was to strip the union of power, and drop the rates of pay, further dampening the economy of Wilmington proper.  It was also the first defeat of a Lavine-Markell development project, .. Fisker and Bloom had gone forward without a hitch.  Julius and other’s push back resulted in a General Assembly motion that stated they, not the governor, had final approval. It was the first time we were exposed to the current Governor’s manipulations.  They were to play a significant part across this year’s tapestry.

Steve Newton:  A blogger who has written infrequently, but effectively. His piece on SB 51  is what alerted us to the end run being performed by Dave Sokola on lowering the current standards being used for educating teachers.  It is brilliant.  It took an evening of reading the legislation line by line and cross referencing  it with Steve’s analysis, to understand the huge negative impact this bill would cause.  By the time this was done, the Bill had already passed the Senate unanimously without comment, and with an friendly amendment added that was voted upon without even being read.  Some public outcry was mustered within the House, both in committee and on the floor, but under the Governor’s direction, the Speaker of the House, pushed the bill to the floor before significant outcry could be mustered.  Only 4 House members were not on record for it’s passing.  Our educational schools now have to water down their teaching standards to meet the new law.  Steve also has brought the Highmark story to Delaware.  His research in the increase of medical costs in Western PA as a result of knocking out competition by unfair practices, leads one with a cold chill of what to expect in Delaware’s future.  We are already there.  As an insurer, Highmark is only paying medical claims in its own affiliated clinics.  As the new Blue Cross/Blue Shield owner, that is a huge percentage of Delaware’s residents.  None can go to any other hospital.  He has properly fingered Karen Weldham Stuart for not catching this prior to implementation.  Without Steve, this would have passed unnoticed.  The News Journal still has not once mentioned the takeover of Delaware’s health field under one owner.

Ernest Lopez.  If Kennedy were still writing Profiles of Courage, he should include this man.  Ernest Lopez is a conservative, and voted with Libertarian values to pass the gun legislation recommended by Markell and Biden.  Reflecting the views of his district, instead of taking the threatening message sent to him down from the NRA, he voted for his district.  A very vocal minority, who is always vocal, and always in the minority, swore they would unseat him.  He disregarded their idle threat, and voted both his and his constituents conscious.  A major billboard was put up to call him out.   His vote caused the passage of us now requiring background checks at public gun sales.  Now a certifiably insane person cannot slap cash and get a gun.  It is a no-brainer, and Ernie was the only Republican with brain enough to even know what a no-brainer is….

Cathy Cloutier:  her vote allowed gays to marry.  Again, she is a Republican who said enough is enough… Tired of voting against her conscious just so Sussex County would not flip over to the Democrats, she finally did not toe the line and voted along the lines of her own constituents, all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.  In doing so, she went against the entire grain of her party, who firmly feel that gays are second class citizens, even though most Republicans in office are closeted gays.

Bethany Hall Long:  on the same vote, made a viable personal decision, and also voted for the legalization of gay marriage. Unlike Cathy’s vote, this was accomplished at great personal sacrifice, for all of those in her personal life, were solidly against this policy from taking effect.  In voting for what was morally right, she had to contend against those whose influence she could not escape.  She went with the correct vote, over the easy one.   As a result, Gay marriage is now legal in Delaware.

Paul Baumbach:  gave great ammunition against the fight for SB51, and later against HB 165. Both bills which will damage Delaware’s education for years to come.  He was one of the four who put up a fight on the House floor.  Paul also arranged for the meetings in Newark to discuss the new Power plant that figured in this past week’s election.

John Kowalko:  also was against SB51, HB 165, as well, being against the power plant.  In fact, John was the first person to sound the alarm over how big the power plant would be.  Without his big voice, it may have slid through unnoticed.  The power plant has defined northern Delaware politics since September.

Kim Williams;  responsible for HB 40 which investigates Charter School’s meddling into our educational systems.  She was as an acting state representative, allegedly refused entrance into a committee hearing on education, for fear she might say something damaging to the bill being rushed through….  She brought to the public’s knowledge, that the Charter School bill was drafted illegally without public input, and the charter group constructing it, was also under FOIA, to which the private group denied.  The Attorney General backed up her assertion, that the bill was formulated illegally but their decision was moot, because the bill was passed both houses anyways.  Kim Williams also in the HB 40 task force, led the group to realize that charter schools unlike public schools, do indeed filter those entering charters to weed out those who might lower their test scores….

Mark Murphy, Rodel, Sweeney, Hefferman, and the Fake Educational Reform Establishment:  I almost purposefully did not post this.  Although the first person’s name is usually followed by explicatives whenever mentioned, it is unlike Voldermort’s, still getting mentioned.  Mark Murphy was not put in his position based on his ability. He was placed there for his loyalty to the cause of  corporatizing public education.  Markell pulls the strings, Murphy figures how to get it done…  It is hard to make a puppet the most influential person of the year… So I was going to skip him… But at the last minute, remembered that every time  he or anyone of these make an op-ed, it resonates as gigantic news. The entire community rises up to counteract each op-ed, usually with the word “lies” thrown liberally about…. So, they do exert an influence.  I looped all of them together, as the group of liars in a Greek play, who stand on the stair steps and taunt the protagonists.  Well,… they are part of the play…….

Dan Short:  Sometimes villains get noticed too.  Primarily a single issue candidate, who personally supports the NRA, he actively campaigned and organized to create enough backlash so Markell’s gun laws could not get enough votes…  Without him, there is a possibility that all four of Markell’s gun control pieces of legislation would have passed both houses of Delaware’s legislature. Dan Short should be given the credit for stopping them.

John Sigler: Single handedly by his very brief tenure as the re-elected head of the Republican Party, he pointed out through his pigeon shooting, just how inept the Republican Party was at everything else.  With his leaving, all fissures cracking the Republican bedrock, were impossible to ignore.  Blogs split. The IPOD’s split. Former candidates of the same party just months earlier, now not talking to each other. The Delaware Republican Party is dead; no it is past dead.  More dead than a pigeon shot inside a box by John Sigler, former head of the Delaware Republican Party.

Nancy Willing: Her blog, the Delaware Way, is the go-to site for local information. Whether about Dover, about New Castle County, about any of New Castle County’s associations, Nancy combs all sources and puts them down in aggregate form. Heavily involved in the Power Plant controversy, The Delaware City Rail Yard controversy, Barley Mill controversy, the Woodlawan controversy, the Kinder Morgan controversy, the Charter School Controversy, the Common Core Controversy, Nancy has who is saying “what”, and links to “why”. One can expend less energy by using her blog to follow all the stuff the News Journal neglects, in a few quick empty steps.

Amy Roe:  a head of the Sierra Club, who emerged from nowhere to lead the fight against the power plant, and give quite a run against the establishment candidate.  Becoming the face the anti- power movement could coalase behind, she gave the anti power plant movement both dignity and grace.  Coming up short only 115 votes, she has awakened Newark now politically as never before…  The power plant if it goes forward, now has a strong group of Newarkeans against it.  Hopefully they will be monitoring it regularly and helping authorities keep in in compliance with all local law.

Tom Gorden; although much quieter than his first term in office, Tom Gorden is rapidly rolling back the privileges the previous Clark administration handed over to our state’s top developers. The Barley Mill plaza which had a green light, is now parked at a red. In a big sea change, though handled quietly, community groups are now no longer persona non grata in county government. It is no longer accepted as a matter of course that the Woodlawn Trust will be gobbled up by developers. If enough fight can be mustered, it can be stopped. Furthermore, with Tom there is closer coordination with the City of Wilmington, than we have experienced anytime in our lifetimes. In the county, local policing has been stepped up, particularly in neighborhoods prone to crime…

Dennis Williams: Came in with grand expectations, which looked deliverable for a while. The tide is turning and his relevance on this list, is because every day, the headline reality in Wilmington’s streets, brings his electioneering boasts back to haunt him, like a sizzling hot branding iron.  Time, Dennis, to say “Damn the torpedoes… Their punk asses are going in jail no matter which blowhard on City Council spouts off,before mine gets tossed in jail for impersonating a mayor..”

Alan Levin:  Jack Markell’s second in command, he was instrumental in defending Markell’s position on Kinder Morgan and the port, as well as the new power plant for the data center. He also had a hand in keeping Dole in Delaware, and worked to slip the power plant past a slew of unsuspecting Newark City officials.

Jack Markell: had his hand in everything.  He was behind Kinder Morgan’s takeover.  He was behind SB 51 and HB 165.  He was behind the illegal charter group, requiring HB 40. He also was the driving force for the four rational steps to gun legislation, 2 of which were passed. He was also the driving force behind the passage of gay marriage, signing the bill in the chambers just moments after its passage. He also supported the transgender bill in its travels through the labyrinth of Legislative Hall. He as behind keeping Dole in Delaware. He was behind changing an icon in Millsboro away from pickles, over to poultry. He pushed the bill to curtail Flowers. Despite your opinion over whether these were good or bad, they still showed a ubiquitous and wide reach across the state of Delaware. Seems like nothing got done that didn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

John Young: As head of Christina board, John Young led the board in standing up to Mark Murphy and Jack Markell, by refusing the RTTT funds slated for his district. Although some hired fools, (Jea Street) tried to paint Young into a corner, it served the opposite purpose and gave Young a platform. For the fist time, Common Core was getting publicly bashed. For the first time, many were finding that aligning themselves blindly to this sham of improving standards, was probably going to hurt them politically in the next couple of years. It was the fist salvo back, so the damage estimates were not high, but it did open eyes of many who had been on the sidelines of all educational issues, making them also become vocal in fighting Common Core. His blog Transparent Christina has channelled a lot of detailed information into the Delaware market, and had made Common Core an apprehension, instead of the savior it was supposed to be….

Kilroy: Kilroy has always been haranguing over education. In fact he was doing such a good job I left that issue alone for years, because other issues for me, like the economy and elimination of guns from the hands of the mentally ill, were more important. But as the issue has shifted back into the limelight, Kilroy’s hard hitting is making its mark… Kilroy is blunt, and right now, that is the language that needs to happen. Blunt descriptions of what takes place in the stratosphere of he academic field…. Kilroy often breaks stories before the News Journal, especially ones embarrassing to the Murphy/Markell cartel of education. If you have read Kilroy over the past couple of years, you would already know that Common Core is not the panacea we have been promised. It is a power grab for taxpayer dollars, financed by Wall Street itself…. If you think otherwise, you haven’t been reading a balanced reading list….
====
That is what I have so far. In retrospect I am surprised that education has played so much, as even I have only come to that topic lately… But if one looks over the News Journal op eds, education really did dominate the discussion in the 2nd smallest state this year….

I may have forgotten some big ones. To reiterate, that is why I am posting this early, to catch those big mistakes as they get brought to my attention….

Accountable For Every Student's Progress

You asked for this. Please cut and paste at will.

Barack Obama
President of the United States.
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr President:

There is something you need to know. I would be happy to tell you in person or get a group of educators to discuss the problems we are having with pursuing your education policy. It is a situation where communication is key.

I want to be clear. We have the same goals. It is just that the methods being prescribed are steering us away from those mutual goals, instead of towards them.

Honestly. This is a case of middle management gone awry. This is a case I feel, where the top and the bottom are on the same page, but those in the middle, are not to be trusted.

As member of a school board, one that is struggling to do it’s best to bring a district from behind, who has achieved progress in a way sort of like you have on the economy where we both started so late and so far behind, that we are being accosted as failures though if one actually took time to account for our progress, as well as yours, we’ve both done a pretty good job… I think for your legacy, you need to hear from us….

We are in Delaware’s Race to the Top. Those of us here and in Tennessee are having the same problem.

The specific problem, is that you and those in the top echelon are not getting the truth. You may actually think we are making progress. As the person most accountable, I think you would want to hear that perhaps the glowing reports you are getting, are not entirely true. This is something obviously which cannot be passed up through the chains of commands, because it involves them.

Truth in reporting is the issue. The truth is that what we are being fed, is not working at the interface where student meets teacher. In fact, the pressure all are being put under to fulfill these arbitrary deadlines, inane quotas, and poorly thought out trackers, actually is taking away from the time we spend with students. I repeat it is a negative influence on the results expected….

We originally approached this with an open mind. We wanted to reform our schools too. But, somewhere up the ladder, things went bad.

The prime issue is that we are being force to follow a system poorly designed. When we bring concerns to the table, they are dismissed and we are treated as inconsequential, and dismissed, accused of being the source of trouble. Instead, we were simply trying to establish an environment of mutual respect, where problems can be discussed and probed, and workable solutions can be found, and tested before implementation. It’s as if someone designed the cooks line of a restaurant and put all the necessary tools on the other end from where they were needed. It seems to make sense to talk to those who actually will be expected to provide results during the planning stages, instead of wondering to use the example above, why all the food always took so long… It can be prevented if we can be part of the planning process.

Our concern is our students.

We sincerely would like to discuss ideas that can keep the good parts of these programs moving forward, and utilize all the tools that we, as highly trained professionals, can apply to this worthy cause.

As every leader should know, the truth will not stay buried. It always surfaces, even if it is after the implosion has occurred, even if it is found by specialists sifting through the wreckage to find the cause. Simply put, we would like someone to listen to us on the bottom: the teachers, administrators, parents, students, and particularly a school board…..

It could positively affect the entire campaign.

Sincerely:

All of the below……

kavips.

This is going to my hard core Republican friends. Why are you still supporting Romney?

1) You know he is not going to win.
2) You know as the election heats up, his Bain Capital experience will make Republicans untouchable for decades.
3) You can’t pin down where Romney stands on anything.
4) He tied his dog to a car.
5) He stands with black people and says “Who let the dogs out, woof, woof.”

Most of you are telling me, “I certainly can’t vote for Obama. I guess I’m not voting for President this time.”

Let’s say, just for argument sakes there was a presidential candidate out there who says to have good government you need: …………………

1. Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others.
Find out what’s what and base your decisions and actions
on that.

2. Always be honest and tell the truth. It’s extremely
difficult to do any damage to anybody when you are
willing to tell the truth–regardless of the
consequences.

3. Always do what’s right and fair. Remember, the more
you actually accomplish, the louder your critics become.
You’ve got to learn to ignore your critics. You’ve got to
continue to do what you think is right. You’ve got to
maintain your integrity.

4. Determine your goal, develop a plan to reach that
goal, and then act. Don’t procrastinate.

5. Make sure everybody who ought to know what you’re
doing knows what you’re doing. Communicate.

6. Don’t hesitate to deliver bad news. There is always
time to salvage things. There is always time to fix
things. Henry Kissinger said that anything that can be
revealed eventually should be revealed immediately.

7. Last, be willing to do whatever it takes to get your
job done. If you’ve got a job that you don’t love enough
to do what it takes to get your job done, then quit and
get one that you do love, and then make a difference.

Honesty. Integrity. Principal.

Sounds good so far. Let us say just for argument, he had chief executive experience. Let us say just or argument that he once ran a state, one of the fifty in this union. Let us say while governor, this is what he did…..

During his tenure, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax-increase in the state’s entire history.

1) He cut the rate of government growth in half,

2) Left the New Mexico state government with a budget surplus and 1000 fewer employees (without firing anyone),

3) Privatized half of the prisons in the state,

4) Brought a state-wide school voucher system to New Mexico.

5) Vetoed 750 bills (more than all the vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at that time, combined) with only 2 overrides, earning him the nickname Gary “Veto” Johnson.

6) In 1999, Johnson became the highest-ranking elected official in the United States to advocate the legalization of drugs.

7) Shifted Medicaid to managed care.

ISN’T THAT WHAT YOU WANT? ISN’T THAT WHAT WE NEED?

Can you not think of a better way to show your lack of enthusiasm over a wealthy capitalist buying his way to the top of your ticket, by voting for someone who has character, who does what you’ve always wanted, a doer, not a talker?

And to think…. you were simply just going to throw your vote away.

His name is Gary Johnson. He is the new party’s candidate for President.

Remember Republicans. It is your values that are important. If your party has given up and moved on from your values, don’t think you have to be loyal to the word…. “Republican”… What you have to be loyal too, is yourself. Always. Never lie to yourself.

You don’t need to waste your vote on Romney. You probably need to find more about this guy, Gary Johnson, and then throw your support behind him.

Don’t worry it is not one of the two parties on whose ticket he is running. Remember, at one point in time, the Republican Party was a once a third party too. One that went mainstream because of its core values, its principles resonated with everyday American People.

Here is the blog that has been quoted recently by the mainstream press, especially after the video went viral, and they had to scramble to cover up the fact they originally tried to whitewash the incident.

“DUMB COLLEGE KIDS”, the right wing pundits squeal…

Not so…

Try an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, who organized the peaceful demonstration.

Or try an Associate Professor of English, who was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground.

Or try Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien who was injured by baton blows.

or try Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, who was also struck with a baton.

I wonder how this child’s mom feels right now: One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Or the dad who was there, bedside, to welcome this bundle of joy into the world.

Or the Grandparents of these children… When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats.

What’s the point? What were you trying to prove, Mr Rogue Policeman? Ohhhhh, that you were sooooooooo tough… I bet all the women flock to you now, don’t they?

What were you trying to prove, Chancellor Katehi? That you have an iron will? Or that you didn’t care? You had to appease the wealthy donors. The tents were such an eyesore and had to be removed, even with the potential for a loss of life?

What were you trying to prove, Republicans? Cutting taxes. Underfunding institutions of learning. Trimming school budgets so the wealthy wouldn’t have to pay their fair share of the cost of living in American society…

Go ahead. Save them a couple of pennies…. Beat the student’s senseless.. Fill their lungs with pepper spray… Ram their lower abdomens with your batons. Make them unable to ever bear children…. Do it for your wealthy master. All so millionaires can save one more penny on the dollar they’ve already taken from us…

Oh, no… Wait… Why didn’t we think of that before… If you kill us all off now, you won’t get back your student loans we borrowed from you at those exorbitant amounts of interest you so graciously parted your money for….

When The Whole Country is Going South, Look to the North, as In Northington
Photo Courtesy of Northington 08

It is hard to run a Congressional campaign… sometimes things go wrong…

But sometimes one does things right, and that in itself, is an achievement worth celebrating…

Jerry Northington has run a good campaign from his own bootstraps… Not only is it good, but running without the “backing” of the state’s primary neutral Democratic party, he has emerged as one who has the potential to ruin Republican Mike Castle’s dream of his last election…

And that, is what this years Delaware election is all about…

I don’t need to preach to the choir about how Mike Castle has voted the Republican line… I don’t need to preach to the choir about how Mike Castle has voted for the war of oil; I don’t need to preach to the choir about how having a Republican in the extreme minority of the House (it will be entirely Democratic) will affect our slice of federal money; I don’t need to preach to the choir about how having a Congressional Republican from Delaware, puts growth in this state on ice. No…. you all know that already.

You also know that the challenges we will face in the next four years, here at home, 200 miles away in Washington, and across the world, will require a new path to be taken. They will require new ideas to inspire. They will require smart people for a change…. smart enough to work out the details….

And what impressed me about Jerry… was his intelligence…

(Now don’t get all hot and bothered if you support another candidate…I’m refusing to make comparisons…You can discuss it among yourselves if you wish…)

Intelligence… that IS a relative term…..Let me explain….I (cough, cough) have been called on occasion, by misguided people, “intelligent” at times for some of the posts I have written here…. But… I would not expect Dave or Hube to EVER utter such a compliment (except perhaps at my funeral) …. for based on what they represent….(making the assumption they are intelligent too)… my ideas appear bunk… 🙂 But, without them, the blogosphere would fall like a thud, cracking our asses wide open like a seesaw that someone has jumped off too quickly. The world needs some type of balance. We need those guys for constructive dialog, just as they need us….

So real intelligence is the understanding that even though we put the best argument for OUR side up for debate, we NEED another side to debate against, in order to get what we need done…..

I know… it is a big concept to grasp….(come back to it later, will you?) The big guys get it…. I think Clinton got it mid term… I actually heard Newt a year ago in New Hampshire, and I think he got it too. Despite our distaste now for Carper, I know he gets it… and the reason Castle has won so big so many times, is that he gets it…

So let me tell you about Jerry….

First if you haven’t, you should check out the Congressional Primary Debate here.… You should, really… For we are talking about our strategy to navigate this state over the next ten years….

Usually since the beginning of this nation, an outgoing administration has set in place, plans that self perpetuate over several years before they become obsolete.. This administration, however, has been so preoccupied with day to day dilemmas, that they are leaving us with no future plan and an empty treasury starting January 20th……

We need to choose someone smart.

Why? For what happens in Washington, for those of you that do not know, is that a lobbyist shows up at your door with a pre-written bill, he wants you to sponsor it, you horse trade, and then you set your staff on bringing it to the floor… The bills are never read by Congressmen, maybe only by two staffers, and the rest is all hype. To really change Washington, we need smart people to say, “wait a second, why are you billing us for this…?” Dumb people, oh dear, will just rubber stamp…..

I am afraid to say that Mike Castle has become a rubber stamper,…. In his defense, if I had been there as long as he, as I got old I would probably evolve into the same… In the twilight years it just gets so hard to read reams of paper; the cocktail circuit is much more intriguing and fascinating…..

There comes a time, for an old general to retire…. His past victories though glorious, are meaningless if he leads us into one more battle that loses it all……..History is full of such generals who have stayed on a little bit too long…. The best way to preserve ones legacy, I think, is to walk away from it while it is still intact….

Jerry is tall enough to fill Mike Castle’s shoes… To be honest, he is the first Democratic candidate since Mike and Tom flipped, to do so…
In listening to Jerry, one gets the sense that we will do ok if he represents us… He is not harsh like the last candidate…. He is open and understands that he has been led down a miraculous path, one he could ever imagined would continue as far as it did…..

The only reason he is not yet considered a strong contender, is because so few people have gotten to know him… My sources and calculations show him winning on Tuesday… Soon more will learn how good a candidate he really is… We know he’s tough… His gentle toughness has got him this far… But what impressed me most, was that he is solidly balanced….He may not be the raving Liberal that some progressives want….

Unlike most previous candidates for that office, I sense he understands the need, that if America is to get better…. WE ALL HAVE TO GET BETTER AT THE SAME TIME… Conservatives too.

It’s time we had a smart person in Congress. And Jerry can, I believe, push a moderate form of Health Care that will cover all Americans, without busting the budget…. His focus will be on prevention… If a pill taken early costs $3 dollars and a surgery costs $30,000, preventive heath care makes sense…

My favorite line, and the one I think that pushed me to understand that this man has not only the smarts to represent Delaware, but the charm, confidence, and intelligence to make things happen ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, was this one:

“Ladies, and gentlemen, I’m a veterinarian… My medical experience…is that;… taking care of sick animals… We have known in veterinarian science, that the cheapest, most cost-effective way to treat a large population of animals…. is through preventative health care… We have known that for 100 years….. Now if we have known that, and we can accomplish it for animals….why in hell’s name,… can’t we come to an agreement, to do it for Human beings?”

Yeah, I think,……… he’s the one.

As Obama takes the stage of Invesco Stadium, and stands among the Doric columns staged in Mile High Denver, Republicans will begin saying Obama is acting out his fantasy of being just a celebrity, a mile high and and inch deep, an actor pretending to fulfill the role of the Presidency….

I should remind them, so was Ronald Reagan.

A movie star, an actor pretending to fulfill the role of a President.

America survived his reign, despite the fact that he was a Republican.  And if memory serves us correctly, there are a few Republicans still around who think highly of that man.

What’s done, is done.

We move on.

Remembering what we saw,

Wiser to what is needed,

In the Fall.

Because that……. is what we do.

After the funeral was over, I had some serious thinking to do. I had been one of the last to arrive, and was parked off to the side. So as the rest of the procession pulled out in groups of four or five, I stayed.

From this point on, it was all business. The last wavering thread of sentiment disappeared with the exhaust of the last car.

As if by magic, the casket appeared to descend. Apparently it hung, for suddenly one leaped into the open grave and bounced up and down. I could not help but remember the fine delicate carvings of pearl we had admired just minutes earlier.

The funeral directors huddled in the winter wind discussing operations, and then finally the hearse left as well. Two construction site pickup trucks, decked with emergency lights pulled up. Two men gathered all the flowers and stainless scaffolding that supports the casket above the grave, and placed them in the truck. The green Astroturf was then rolled, and also thrown into the back of a truck. Once done both departed.

Left only was the one person who had seemed out of place at the grave site service, dressed in overalls and knee high yellow neoprene boots. Expecting him to pick up a shovel, he walked instead a hundred yards, and climbed into the backhoe ubiquitously parked near any graveside service.

Deftly he raked the pile of soil over and into the grave. At various points, he tamped the loose aggregate with the full force of the mechanized machinery. Wham! Wham!

No sentimentality there. Just a job to do. Mysteriously be backed up, and drove down the road to an obscure forested plot of land. He climbed out and disappeared into the forest. After few minutes he returned, climbing back in and driving back to the grave site. The remaining dirt was now piled up four feet high above the casket. He turned the backhoe around, and with the front loader, filled the basket with the brown loose soil.

He carried it past me. I was alone. Minutes later he returned for another load. After he was gone I returned to the grave, said some words, and fought the winter wind back to my car.

As I started the ignition. I saw it had been twenty four minutes.

Anyone who as stood at the end of a birth canal, and welcomed a new soul into the world, would be humbled to know its over in such a short span.

I drove the long way out. Passing crypts, rich graves, poor graves. I wondered how much the family had shelled out for that coffin, which no one would ever see it again. I wondered how vain were those who chose to embellish their sites, and exactly what they were saying about themselves in doing so. I wondered if when the graves were first purchased, if those survivors had any inclination that another stranger’s gravestone would eventually abut theirs, as space ran out.

The funeral industry is a valid enterprise and I certainly do not wish to create financial hardship for what are mostly family businesses. But if one takes one’s own death, and looks at it analytically, the only thing that really matters is how we lived when we were alive, soul and body……..

For without the soul, we are just atoms, the same ones formed in some distant star……………..And now separated from the soul, they are free to move on to some distant purpose.