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From a friend of a friend. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

“There will never be a President who does everything to everyone’s liking. There are things President Obama (and President Clinton) did that I do not like and conversely there are things I can point to that the Presidents Bush did that I agree with. So I am not 100% in lock step with the outgoing President but have supported him and the overall job he did.
And, if you recall, during the Presidential Campaign back in 2008 the campaign was halted because of the “historic crisis in our financial system.” Wall Street bailout negotiations intervened in the election process. The very sobering reality was that there likely could be a Depression and the world financial markets could collapse. The United States was losing 800,000 jobs a month and was poised to lose at least 10 million jobs the first year once the new President took office. We were in an economic freefall. So let us recall that ALL of America was suffering terribly at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency.
But I wanted to look back over the last 8 years and ask you a few questions. Since much of the rhetoric before Obama was elected was that he would impose Sharia Law, Take Away Your Guns, Create Death Panels, Destroy the Economy, Impose Socialism and, since you will agree that NONE of this came to pass, I was wondering: Why have you suffered so?
So let me ask: Gays and Lesbians can now marry and enjoy the benefits they had been deprived of. Has this caused your suffering?
When Obama took office, the Dow was 6,626. Now it is 19,875. Has this caused your suffering?
We had 82 straight months of private sector job growth – the longest streak in the history of the United States. Has this caused your suffering?
Especially considering where the economy was when he took over, an amazing 11.3 million new jobs were created under President Obama (far more than President Bush). Has this caused your suffering?
Obama has taken Unemployment from 10% down to 4.7%. Has this caused your suffering?
Homelessness among US Veterans has dropped by half. Has this caused your suffering?
Obama shut down the US secret overseas prisons. Has this caused your suffering?
President Obama has created a policy for the families of fallen soldiers to have their travel paid for to be there when remains are flown home. Has this caused your suffering?
We landed a rover on Mars. Has this caused your suffering?
He passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Has this caused your suffering?
Uninsured adults has decreased to below 10%: 90% of adults are insured – an increase of 20 Million Adults. Has this caused your suffering?
People are now covered for pre-existing conditions. Has this caused your suffering?
Insurance Premiums increased an average of $4,677 from 2002-2008, an increase of 58% under Bush. The growth of these insurance premiums has gone up $4,145 – a slower rate of increase. Has this caused your suffering?
Obama added Billions of dollars to mental health care for our Veterans. Has this caused your suffering?
Consumer confidence has gone from 37.7 to 98.1 during Obama’s tenure. Has this caused your suffering?
He passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Has this caused your suffering?
His bi-annual Nuclear Summit convinced 16 countries to give up and destroy all their loose nuclear material so it could not be stolen. Has this caused your suffering?
He saved the US Auto industry. American cars sold at the beginning of his term were 10.4M and upon his exit 17.5M. Has this caused your suffering?
The deficit as a percentage of the GDP has gone from 9.8% to 3.2%. Has this caused your suffering?
The deficit itself was cut by $800 Billion Dollars. Has this caused your suffering?
Obama preserved the middle class tax cuts. Has this caused your suffering?
Obama banned solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. Has this caused your suffering?
He signed Credit Card reform so that rates could not be raised without you being notified. Has this caused your suffering?
He outlawed Government contractors from discriminating against LGBT persons. Has this caused your suffering?
He doubled Pell Grants. Has this caused your suffering?
Abortion is down. Has this caused your suffering?
Violent crime is down. Has this caused your suffering?
He overturned the scientific ban on stem cell research. Has this caused your suffering?
He protected Net Neutrality. Has this caused your suffering?
Obamacare has extended the life of the Medicare insurance trust fund (will be solvent until 2030). Has this caused your suffering?
President Obama repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Has this caused your suffering?
He banned torture. Has this caused your suffering?
He negotiated with Syria to give up its chemical weapons and they were destroyed. Has this caused your suffering?
Solar and Wind Power are at an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?
High School Graduation rates hit 83% – an all time high. Has this caused your suffering?
Corporate profits are up by 144%. Has this caused your suffering?
He normalized relations with Cuba. Has this caused your suffering?
Reliance on foreign oil is at a 40 year low. Has this caused your suffering?
US Exports are up 28%. Has this caused your suffering?
He appointed the most diverse cabinet ever. Has this caused your suffering?
He reduced the number of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Has this caused your suffering?
Yes, he killed Osama Bin Laden and retrieved all the documents in his possession for analysis. Perhaps THIS caused your suffering?
From an objective standpoint it would appear that the last eight years have seen some great progress and we were saved from a financial collapse. Things are not perfect. Things can always be better. We are on much better footing now than we were in 2008.
I look forward to understanding what caused you to suffer so much under Obama these last eight years.”


drone man.jpg

To friends on the left, if we all want to truly move forward, passionate rhetoric aside, we have to take a li’l ol’ reality check. I voted for Obama twice, and he did a lot of things that I thought were good and positive. I don’t need to go down that list right now, because you’re well aware of them. But for things to change we lefties must admit some of the horrible shit Obama pulled:
– he removed more undocumented immigrants than any administration in history, including breaking up families.
– he approved the extrajudicial assassination of at least two american citizens, one of whom was a 16 year old kid from Denver.
– his drone program has killed tens of thousands of civilians, most of which were targeted (weddings, funerals); these are war crimes for which if he wasn’t the president of a superpower he would have been charged by The Hague.
– he used over 270 Executive Orders to circumvent congress, almost as many as W. (sure, this was in the face of unprecedented opposition, but the left is losing their minds about SCROTUS doing it.)
– he exercised the Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined, attacking whistleblowers at an unprecedented rate. He was no friend to the little guy trying to force accountability from government.
– he refused to pursue war-crime charges against the neocons in the W administration, in the face of overwhelming evidence.
– he continued the string of horrible trade deals that helped decimate industry and the loss of millions of jobs.
– after the Wall Street corruption that caused the financial meltdown of ’07 and ’08, he put two of the architects of the meltdown, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner, both from Goldman Sachs. They not only refused advocating for restoring Glass Steagall, but they refused to pursue accountability from those responsible for the meltdown. The same trading practices that led to the meltdown have continued, unabated.
All of this from a former professor of constitutional law. He knew exactly what he was doing. This is what scholars like Cornell West and Chris Hedges refer to as neoliberalism, which is part of caused the populism that drew people to Bernie and Trump and pushed voters away from the establishment Dems and Repubs. I support all of the protests in the streets right now, but had Obama been a Republican, there would’ve been the same protests. But since it was a Dem, crickets. Like I’ve said to friends on the right, the only way to fix a problem is to admit there is one. Same for the left. It’s critical for us to acknowledge these if we want to move forward.

1 Motor Home

4 50 yo fathers:

1 HS coach – Dave Anderson

2 of his athletes – Me (St. Frederick’s 81-84), Doug Ross (Neville 88)

1 cool cat new trackhead – Rob Mroski
11 days in Eugene, Oregon for the 2016 Track and Field Olympic Trials

Day 0

Day 1


Day 2 

Day 3

Day 4

Off-Days (Tues and Wed)

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

On this 10th anniversary of America’s worst natural disaster, I thought I’d share a personal experience.   In October of ’05, just six-ish weeks after the storm, I travelled from Durham to New Orleans with a group of documentarians from the Ctr for Doc Studies at Duke, along with a number of Katrina victims who had been evacuated to North Carolina and were going back home for the first time.  I became friends with a young husband, father and high school history teacher named Robert who had been separated from his family after being forced at gunpoint onto different buses outside the Super Dome.  He ended up in Raleigh and his wife and child had been flown to Kansas City.  It took them almost a month to locate each other and reunite.  As a family, they settled in Durham until they were allowed to return to New Orleans. His wife and daughter stayed in Durham while he traveled back to see what had happened to his home. (Among many misconceptions, the city had one of the highest levels of home ownership in major US cities by African Americans.) He knew that his home was most likely trashed from wind and water, but his plan was simply to see his house, look inside to see if anything could be salvaged, assess what his next steps would be and, most importantly, drink a beer on his front porch.  He just craved that simple act of normalcy. I started filming as soon as we stepped off the bus at Louis Armstrong Park – spookily desolate – then immediately set off down debris strewn downtown streets for the Super Dome, which upon arrival, we saw it had been completely fenced off; the repairs were well underway.  He then took me on his journey home, re-tracing his family’s route back to his house in the Bywater neighborhood, not far from the Lower 9th.  We stopped at a bar in the French Quarter. The bartender said that her bar didn’t flood, had never closed, and had only lost power for a couple of days. She said a lot of journalists and cops used the bars in the Quarter as places of respite from the waters. She gave us two Dixies on the house and he took off, leading me on his journey.  As we moved out of the Quarter, he started to point out the water line on the buildings. Step by step, the line got higher and higher. He showed me how he, with his daughter on his back and his wife at his side, stayed close to the walls, what window sills they rested on, and where they left the old spare tire that they floated through the waters, a makeshift mini-boat they held onto after leaving their house.  His excitement grew as we hit his neighborhood, then his street, then his block.  He pulled the beers out of his backpack and handed me one, saying “can’t drink alone, man.”  Then he stopped at some cement steps with a street number painted at the bottom – I can’t remember what it was. At the top of the steps was a pile of bricks, wood and some debris. The house was gone.  He had never been told, never had the chance to save any heirlooms or family photos, never had the chance to say goodbye.  We sat on the steps and drank the beers anyway.  After a while – no idea how long, he walked me back through the city to the park, and the waiting buses. He stayed in New Orleans and, to my knowledge, is still there.  I handed the footage I shot – his story – to a representative of the group with which we were collaborating and jumped on a bus up to Monroe, La to see my dad; my mom had died about six or seven months earlier.  I have no idea what ever happened to that footage, and never heard from or saw Robert again.  It’s my deepest hope that he and his family are healthy and were able to rebuild their home and their lives.

Wake Alumni Mag article 1999

My father was a fighter pilot. His life before was lived to make him one. His life after was always in its shadow. It was a time he was able to take complete and total control in the world around him. No alcoholic mother beating him, no economic depression smothering him, no prick colonel oppressing him.

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There was little difference, to him, between flying an F86 hunting Soviet MiGs in Korea or driving a Jeep hunting rabbits in Oklahoma. He was a fighter pilot. The same instincts held true no matter what he did. An uncanny ability to pinpoint telltale signs of his prey when those around him can’t see a thing, an ability to focus on the job at hand regardless of his surroundings, and an amazing ability to tell exactly where he is without the use of a compass or map.

This latter ability possibly came from his need to always be aware of where he was based on where he had come from.

As the son of a fighter pilot, there were clearly defined boundaries that were expected to be respected, and in my early life I followed these religiously. I accepted the military haircuts, the standing straight chin up when addressing my father, the yes-sir, no-sir snap responses. And I followed the military chain of command. No matter how strange, illogical or idiotic the request, I responded quickly and deliberately, never questioning neither the order nor who was giving it.

But a family is not the military, and a son is not a soldier. As I grew into manhood, it was inevitable that I would question both.

When I was sixteen, I found myself with more autonomy than I had ever experienced in my life. My brother had been in college in Virginia for two years already, and my sister was beginning her freshman year at a college a few hours away. I was the only child in the house, and my father, now ten years out of the Air Force, was travelling more and more as a wholesale jewelry salesman. He would be home only every other weekend, sometimes for only a week in any given month. And that was OK with me. I was able, for the most part, to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.

Once we became civilians. I grew hair for the first time, and sometimes I would respond with a simple “yes”, minus the “sir”. He didn’t like it, but he begrudgingly accepted it, so long as all those actions were not aimed at his authority.

My mother didn’t care much for the military life. While this didn’t help her relationship with my father (who had reluctantly given in to her pressing him to get out of the service), it certainly made my life considerably more enjoyable when he was away travelling.

However, when he did come home, it was a different story. He would not tolerate any cracks in the wall he had built between himself and the family, although it was crumbling all around us. No matter what, there would be respect for the officer in charge.

When my father would return from a sales trip, he would arrive at about nine o’clock on a Friday night, and as we greeted him (mother first, children second © youngest to oldest) he would ask, “What’s broken this time?”. We would tell him about the leaky faucet or the short in the light fixture. And then we would tell him how things have been since we last saw him. Then on Saturday, we all knew that there were chores to be done. And while the afternoons were ours, the mornings were his.

One weekend, my father had returned from a two week sweep through Kansas and Oklahoma. That Saturday morning he woke me early, even though I had been out late with friends doing things my father expected of a guy my age, doing things he did when he was my age, but doing things he would still have kicked my ass for regardless of my age. I was hungover, felt like crap, and didn’t see why he couldn’t just fix the leak without me for once.

“Get up”, he commanded. I just turned over. Without hesitating, he walked up to the bed, pulled off the covers as he had done a thousand times before, calmly saying, “I said, ‘Get up'”. He then exited to his paper and prune juice awaiting him at the table.

Angry and bitter, I got up, got dressed and walked into the family room. He was sitting at the table watching TV, reading the paper. As I passed through on my way to the fridge, he dropped his paper and said, “I want you to go to True Value and pick up some solder and a couple of washers”, nonchalantly pointing towards the True Value. I stopped. He had pointed in the complete opposite direction from where True Value really was.

I said, “OK, you want me to go to True Value, right?”, and I pointed towards True Value. My finger was aimed at a place on the wall almost 100 degrees away from the point on the wall where he had pointed.

“Yeah”, he replied. “Go to the True Value and get that stuff. Get money from your mama.” He pointed again to the same place on the wall. I couldn’t believe it.

“Dad”, I said, “True Value is that way”, pointing to the place on the wall I knew stood between me and the hardware store. “The hell it is”, he said. “Just go to the damn store, boy.”

I stood still. He sipped his juice, raised his paper and continued reading. He knew I standing there looking at him. He was simply finished talking to me. I began to walk into the kitchen towards my mother’s purse. Then I stopped. I couldn’t let it go. I felt there was an injustice letting such a blatant mistruth pass, even though I was only the son.


“What”, he said, without looking up.

“Dad?”, I asked again. He dropped his paper slowly, looking up from his chair, a reserved look on his face.

“You want me to go to True Value, right?” I pointed to the same place on the wall that I had before.

“God dammit, boy”, he snapped, annoyed with this pest. “The God damned True Value is that way. Now stop it and go”. He sat looking up at me.

“Dad, the True Value is that way.”

He dropped the paper. “What the hell you talking about, boy. I’ve navigated my way through shit you wouldn’t believe. I think I know where the damned True Value is”.

“But it’s that way! You go that way down Loop Rd, take a left on Pargoud and it’s right over the railroad tracks! That way.” My logic was undeniable.

“God dammit, it’s that way.”

“It’s that way. I can prove it!” I rushed out, excited in the knowledge that I finally got him. I knew I was right and I was going to get him to say the words I had never heard him utter: “I…AM…WRONG.”

I fumbled around my room, got the map of the town, my Boy Scout compass, some masking tape, a pencil and a ruler. I ran into the family room, cleared the table.

“Point again to the True Value”, I said.

“Watch your tone, boy.” He pointed to the same place on the wall. His eyes never left my face.

I ran over to the wall, placed a piece of tape on the wall. “Here?”


I then ran over to my place on the other wall, sticking a square of tape in the middle of the ugly viking ship oil painting my uncle gave us.

I then hustled to the table, laid down the map with the compass and taped it down, being careful to make sure North was north and South was south. “Right?”

He nodded in agreement, eye brows dropping slightly.

I drew a dot where our house was, checking his agreement, and then drew a dot where the True Value was. Again he agreed.

I stood still. Not believing what was about to happen. Everything was in place for me to finally prove, without the shadow of a doubt, that I was right. And better still, that he was wrong. My skin began to tingle. The hair on the back of my neck stood up from the electricity. My father sat looking up at me. He was growing darker and darker. He picked up the paper. Sweat spots grew where he held it. “Go to the damn store”, he said in a quiet, deliberate, final voice. “Don’t push me, boy.”

I looked into his eyes. I have always heard the expression “like a cornered animal”, but never quite understood what it meant. But in that moment, I knew exactly what it was. My father sat looking at me not as his piss ant sixteen year old son, but as a challenger to everything he had ever been, to everything he was and to everything he still wanted to be. And he had never been defeated in a direct challenge. Never.

I stood still, ruler in hand. Everything was in place. Victory was mine. All I had to do was to connect the dots.

My father and I were silent, looking each other, eye to eye.

I couldn’t bring myself to move the hand that held the ruler.

My father raised the paper, continuing to read. “Anything else?”

“No sir”. I slowly walked to the kitchen, dug a twenty from my mother’s billfold, grabbed her keys and left. Instead of taking a right on Loop Rd., I took a left. I don’t know why. I guess I just wanted to go a different way this time.

A couple of weeks later, my father repeated his Saturday ritual. I got up, he was sitting at the table, reading the paper, sipping on prune juice. Without looking, he said, “Go to the True Value and pick up some galvanized ten penny nails. Get money from your momma.” His hand raised and pointed to a place on the wall. I followed his finger. It was pointed directly at my piece of tape, still sticking to the wall. Right in the middle of the Viking ship.