Justice is a fallacy. A fallacy is a flaw in reasoning.
Justice is an ideal. Ideals are models for imitation. An Ideal is the conception of something in its absolute perfection.
Absolute perfection does not exist.
Perfect Justice does not exist.
Last night, the grand jury decision to not press charges in the case of Michael Brown – the black 18-year-old who was shot and killed in Ferguson on Aug. 9th by white police officer Darren Wilson, was announced live on national television.
My social media network immediately began to blow up after the announcement, with mostly– expressions of anger and distrust; and only a few in support of the decision. For most of my friends (and the people I follow), it was about the seeming lack of justice and ongoing racism in this country.
At 1:30 a.m., Police Chief Jon Belmar announced at a briefing that at least 12 buildings were set on fire, two police cruisers burned and reports of bottle throwing, broken windows and gunshots were widespread. The police responded with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas aimed to disperse potentially unruly crowds.
It was reported that the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days and heard more than 70 hours of testimony from approximately 60 witnesses, three medical examiners and other experts on blood, toxicology and firearms.
Ferguson is just a match re-igniting the fire that is racism in America. This is not the beginning of something new– it is only another episode in the long, ongoing battle of inequality and racism, sparked by distrust and a long history of violence.
As long as there is the perception of racism…
Then racism is real.
They are destroying their very own community. They are hurting their neighbors and themselves. Unfortunately, for many of them, this is the only way they know how to be heard.
Treat people like animals and they’ll eventually behave like animals.
The American Justice System is not perfect. It’s certainly not absolute perfection. But, it is the system we have. It works in theory. But theory in itself is a test. A test that at times, America seems to be failing.
I think it’s important to draw a line between the justice system and the the issues it is forced to try and reconcile.
Any unlawful act creates a situation in which there will never be complete justice for all. Not to mention all the legal acts that unjust.
A friend of mine on Facebook shared this:
The West Wing Season 7, Episode 8- Undecideds Written by Debora Cahn
Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits)
You know, I find myself on days like this casting around for someone to blame. I blame the kid, he stole a car. I blame the parents, why couldn’t they teach him better. I blame the cop, did he need to fire. I blame everyone I can think of and I am filled with rage. And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame, compassion for the people I do not understand, compassion. It doesn’t always work so well.
I remember as a young man listening on the radio to Dr. King in 1968. He asked of us compassion and we responded, not necessarily because we felt it but because he convinced us that if we could find compassion, if we could express compassion, that if we could just pretend compassion it would heal us so much more than vengeance could. And he was right: it did but not enough. What we’ve learned this week is that more compassion is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And we are all, I think everyone of us, are tired.
We’re tired of understanding, we’re tired of waiting, we’re tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to try to make them safe seem to fail. We’re tired. But we must know that we have made some progress and blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that.
Blame will not rid our streets of crime and drugs and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools or our families or our workforce. Blame will rob us of those things and we have had enough of that. And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better.
God bless you. God bless you and God bless your children.The West Wing episode 7.08 “Undecideds”, original air date 4 December, 2005 – See more at: http://westwingwiki.com/2014/04/season-7-episode-8-undecideds/#sthash.z0J1gg11.dpuf
Lip service in this country must end.Eyes must be opened.The blind faith of justice revealed.Positive action needs to occur.Otherwise, the violence will never stop.
Last night as Cash climbed up on the bed, he did something he hasn’t done in a while.
I don’t mean he laid against me– he does that every night, or, for at least part of the night. After he did his little spin around in circles, deciding where to land, he sat against my side and then inched his way down between Michael and I, until he was laying and his head was nuzzled against mine.
At first he lays with his shoulder on my arm and buries his face in my pillow. I wrap my other arm around him, snuggling until he eventually signals (shifting around) that I need to pull my arm out from under him so he can be truly comfortable. Then he takes a deep breath and sighs and falls asleep. I love that so much. He slept by me all night like that. Snoring softly next to my ear.
Cash was never a snuggler. Not much of a licker (kisser) either. That was always his sister Roxie’s job. Roxie would spend five minutes every night licking my face before digging in the blankets, flopping down and snuggling. Cash would just climb up on the bed and lay at my feet. It was the same thing every night.
And then Roxie died.
I’m not sure if it was out of his own grief and feeling of loss or maybe a need for a greater connection– but all of a sudden Cash was snuggling. For the first six weeks after Roxie died, he snuggled every single night.
Then little by little, he did it less often. Or, not for the whole night at least.
I miss it. Every night I hope he’ll snuggle– but now when he does, it’s even more special. It warms my heart and fills me to the brim with contentment.
Just a boy and his dog.
I never really knew Cash before Roxie died. He was always aloof, letting Roxie take all the attention. She never asked for it– she took it. Like Cash does now.
After Roxie was gone, we had a lot of time alone together– Cash and I. He followed me everywhere, never wanting to leave my side. That’s when I started trying to go to the gym or grocery shopping, only early morning, while he and Michael were still sleeping. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being in this house alone.
Whatever room I’m in– Cash is there. He helps me with whatever I’m doing. If I go outside, he wants to go outside. If it’s wet or cold– things he never particularly cared for before; he’d rather be outside with me, than inside by himself.
There’s something about the look in a dogs eyes when you really get to know them. I can tell when he’s happy, sleepy or distressed. He has good days and bad days, as do I; and we seem to be able to comfort each other.
Sometimes Cash will just sit and stare back– talking without words. Other times, he’s laying next to me, head in my lap.
We connected in a way I never expected we would. I couldn’t be more grateful for this time we’ve had to just– be. Co-exist. A boy and his dog.
It took a lot of thought and consideration before we were sure we wanted to try to bring home a furry companion for Cash. We weren’t sure he’d be able to handle the energy of a puppy; and were even less sure he’s be tolerant of a rescue dog’s baggage.
We took the risk with Belle and Dudley– and it’s worked. Cash get his exercise, playing with toys like he hasn’t done in years. He let’s Belle snuggle up against him while he sits as proud protector.
With the puppies, he seems to be pretty content to let them have the bulk of the attention; knowing he’ll have his time.
They have their crates– he gets the bed.
And we always find our moments throughout the day that it’s just he and I. I make sure of it. If for some reason I wait too long, he reminds me.
Maybe because it took so long to get here is what makes our bond so special.
I enjoy it. Love it. Treasure it.
A boy and his dog.
What was it about the parade?
As a kid, it was all about the balloons. As I got older, it became more about the chance to get a glimpse of current and upcoming Broadway performances.
The parade has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have memories of watching it on TV in different houses and at different times in my life. It’s always been a tradition, no matter where I am. Finally, as an adult, I actually got to experience the parade live. Three times, actually.
There’s nothing in the world as exciting as spending the holidays in New York City. There’s also no place in the world that’s busier.
Michael and I have spent multiple Thanksgiving weeks in NYC; on our own, with family and with friends. The biggest thrill for me was having the chance to fulfill that childhood fantasy: seeing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, up close and personal.
If crowds aren’t your thing, it might be a little difficult. I just recommend you avoid areas like Columbus Circle, Times Square and Macy’s itself, unless you are connected and have a reserved viewing spot. It’s crowded all along the parade route, but if you set out early and bring along your patience– it’s an unbeatable experience.
One of my most memorable experiences was in 2008, when I went to the balloon inflation on Thanksgiving Eve. Years ago, the inflation took place over night in Central Park. People could wander through, all night long and watch all the workers; busy readying the balloons for their big flight. In more recent years, it has become an event and they started inflating the balloons earlier in the day– so families could bring their children to witness the magic coming to life.
This year the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation takes place Wednesday November 26th, near the American Museum of Natural History, from 3 to 10pm. You enter at W 79th Street at Columbus Avenue.
The later you go, the more the balloons will have taken shape. It’s also more crowded (later). You walk along at your own pace and are sure to get a great, close up view of some of your favorite balloon characters.
I’ve heard (and read) of many people having good and bad experiences; but all agree, it’s one of those things you must do at least once.
I loved it and would do it again.
( I took all the photos featured here during the 2008 balloon inflation.)
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months looking at pet insurance and seriously considering the pros and cons of it. With two new puppies in the house and having gone through added medical costs in the last months of Roxie’s life, I decided I really needed to investigate the pet insurance options.
Pets are an investment. Pets are expensive to care for; they become valued members of our family. So how can we best protect them and be prepared for emergency situations?
Pet insurance seems like an easy solution, right? Well, maybe. It’s not as affordable as you might think. It also doesn’t cover everything you’d hope it would. In fact, reading through some policies will leave you scratching your head, wondering exactly what it does cover.
Unfortunately, navigating your way through the various policies, coverages and fine print is as complicated for pet insurance as it is for human health insurance. Many options, deductibles, varying premiums depending on the coverage; lots of exclusions and vague language that suggests many of the policies won’t pay out– at least, not the way you would expect. You don’t always get what you pay for.
A Financial Decision
The idea of pet insurance sounds like a good investment… but is it worth it? It’s always a good idea to educate yourself before making such an important financial commitment, no matter how logical it sounds to you initially. Do the numbers, compare and read before you sign.
Coverage could be the best way to go for people on a tight budget, that might not be able to afford a large unforeseen expense. It’s also a good option for people that, by making a monthly payment, will give them a sense of security and peace of mind.
For people that can afford an immediate and unexpected outlay of cash; coverage may not be beneficial. Especially, if your pet lives a long, healthy, incident-free life.
There are two main options to consider first: pet insurance and/or a wellness plan. These are two different protections that do not cover you for the same expenses. Some companies offer one or the other and some offer both options– charged separately. Pet insurance starts with a chosen deductible amount and can cover medical care, surgeries, emergency procedures and some medications– BUT, what is covered depends on the individual policy. A wellness plan does not carry a deductible (in any of the examples I have found) and can cover many of the reoccurring, yearly costs of preventative care. These can include: health check-ups, vaccinations, heartworm, flea and tick preventatives, spaying or neutering, and sometimes even discounted grooming services. All plans are different, as are the costs. Many I found are $25-$40 a month per pet.
Most companies offer plans with deductibles of $0, $100 or $500. The better the coverage, the more it costs. Most companies do not cover preexisting conditions. Yearly wellness and preventative care are not covered by any of the pet insurance policies, from any of the companies I researched. When looking at insurance, make sure you read the complete policy to be sure all your concerns are covered. There are many exclusions you would expect to be covered. Several companies also provide additional coverage (riders) for more specified health concerns, adding to the cost of your plan.
The least expensive plans I could find, providing what I would consider average or basic coverage, was just over $2,000 a year, with a $500 deductible, per pet. Policies easily climb in cost up to around $6,000 a year.
In the long run, most pet owners do not benefit from the coverages. In some cases, the policies are written in a way that the companies could legally avoid any actual payout. It’s legal– but I still consider it a scam. Negligence is subjective. Most policies will not pay for services that are needed as the result of what they consider owner negligence. Many accidents and incidences such as the ingestion of foreign objects, could easily be classified as negligence.
I also found that, except in the most extreme circumstances, most people pay more for insurance coverage than if they paid for medical care out-of-pocket. In most of the cases, this costs pet owners $2,000-3,000 more annually for the insurance, even if minor unexpected medical services were needed.
One of the main benefits of a wellness plan is that you pay a monthly premium that spreads the costs of preventative care over the course of the year as opposed to all at once. On average, the cost of a wellness plan is pretty much equal to what you will need to spend each year on your pet anyway. Some wellness plans offer discounts for multiple pets so there could be a savings there. If you have a wellness plan that covers all office visits, you might find you are more likely to be proactive regarding any early signs of possible illness.
Insurance is a gamble. You put out a sum of money now, in the hopes that it will pay off (protect you) in the future. If you carry insurance, pay monthly premiums and actually need medical treatment, then it’s could be worth it.
Important to Note
I’m purposely avoiding too much discussion on specific companies. I recommend doing a review and complaint search online before you commit to any company.
I do have to point out that where most policies’ deductibles cover annual costs, Trupanion’s deductibles are per incident. I did not even notice that fact until it was pointed out to me in one of the articles I read. Each accident, illness or incident would require you pay a deductible for each, prior to insurance paying for anything.
I found a really good article in Consumer Reports you should look at before purchasing pet insurance. It will help you along the way, give you some idea of what to look for; and help in deciding whether this is the best decision for you and your pets. It compares several polices and gives several incident scenarios that might help you decide.
If you are disciplined enough, you might want to consider putting a certain amount aside each month, maybe opening a savings account; to accumulate funds in case of an emergency or to cover future expenses. There’s always the risk you might be tempted to use the money elsewhere; but if you end up not needing to use the funds over the lifetime of your pet– the money is still yours.
I also found a company called Pet Assure that offers a 25% discount program, for an annual fee, on all services. They have rates for individual to unlimited family pets– which could provide a huge savings. There are no exclusions with this plan. The program does require services through participating facilities. There may be other programs out there you might want to look into providing a similar savings.
Michael and I decided that at this point, neither pet insurance nor a wellness plan was the right decision for us. We might sign up for a discount program in the future; but again, at the current time it does not benefit or protect us financially, in a way that we need.
I hope this helps some people considering coverage. Coverage is a personal decision. Never let anyone pressure you into committing to a policy that makes you uncomfortable. The most important thing is that you do the very best you can to keep your furry family healthy, happy and safe.
I’m speeding right along with the November Writing challenge– staying on track with a blog a day and keeping up with my daily word count for the novel challenge.
I’ve picked up a number of new followers for this blog. (Welcome!) I’m finding it a lot of fun and sometimes pretty challenging to post every day. I hope my content continues to evolve as I explore different topics, getting closer to writing the blog I really want to write.
My current word count for the novel challenge is 32,633 words. I’m over halfway to the 50,000 word goal and still see this story going in so many different directions. I have a feeling I’ll be closer to 100,000 words before I’m done and ready to start editing.
Plot points are developing and the focus changing as I suddenly find secondary characters more interesting to write about. This free form writing has been really liberating and is pretty exciting. Sometimes I’ll go off in a direction and the words seem to pore out. When I’m done writing that day, I think, Wow, where did that come from?
The biggest thing is that I’m almost to the point where I feel comfortable saying, I’m a writer. I’ve loved writing since I was a kid but I’ve always allowed everything else to take priority over it. Stupid mistake.
I know I have a voice and stories to tell. Maybe I’m finally on to something.
A writer writes. A writer creates. A writer creates worlds where none existed. When a writer completes something. It’s theirs and theirs alone. That is, until it is shared. When it’s shared, the readers become owners and the ones that give it life. No two people experience the world of a novel the same way. It’s pretty fascinating.
From the moment I wake up every morning my head is full. A song is playing in my head, a current event, my to do list, a dream, a person, a thought, an idea, a wish…. and they all take their turns circulating through, sometimes going head to head– sometimes waiting for their turn to be the focus, front and center in my brain.
There are a dozen things rushing forward that I want to do, can do or should do… a dozen things I want to write about, each one lighting another thought or idea; that new spark taking me down a different road.
“Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams.”
― John Merrick
You can probably tell, I don’t get bored too often. I do sometimes get frustrated trying to balance my thoughts and activities with the time I think I have to do them. Many of my thoughts relate to creativity with the back of my brain being filled with hundreds, if not thousands of partially thought out, half-developed ideas. Ideas that I’m not ready to put down on paper yet. Eventually, though, I do want to get them out of my head.
How much can our three pound brain handle? I looked it up. Various sources claim we each have somewhere between 12,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. If accurate, those are some pretty incredible numbers.
My ideal (and unrealistic) solution would be to hook my brain up to a computer to output all my ideas into different files that I could sort, develop and then publish. I’ve found working on the novel and blog every day this month has helped me to get out of the habit of editing myself so much– as I go. My biggest challenge is getting the ideas out of my head first, fine tuning them later. I think so much faster than I type, so thoughts get lost.
My problem is that I like the details too much. If I can force out the original idea first, I think the important details will be triggered in my brain when I go back to edit and embellish.
I found a supposed, health site where people contribute their own diagnosis’ to people’s questions and there were some pretty interesting responses to this subject. Most suggested that if your head is constantly full of thoughts competing for your focus, you are either ADD or Bipolar. A few suggested it was a positive sign of a high IQ or high-functioning brain capacity. Suggested solutions beyond: seek medical attention, included: smoke pot or drink alcohol; drink caffeine; do yoga or meditate. I had to laugh.
I included the above paragraph, more for amusement than anything. I do want to comment though. That sampling of responses show, what I view as a significant problem in today’s society: label and medicate. Forget understanding, taking responsibility or control; don’t even try to change behavior or learn to harness it– make it a disorder and shove pills down its throat. That’s the answer to everything and it’s pathetic. I’m not putting down or trying to embarrass anyone that needs assistance. It’s just that in today’s society, there is no try when you can alter with medication instead.
Why do we have to consider thinking too much as a problem? Thinking sparks ideas, leading to innovations, actions and results. Not thinking leads to… well, what exactly? Not originality. Not creativity. Not solutions.
I’ll writing more on this later— but right now… something else is invading my brain. <wink>