Adventures In Early Voting

Today, it’s up early and off to the local branch of the pubic library to exercise my franchise as an American citizen to vote (early, but not often) for, among other things, the next President of the United States.

I’ve been planning on voting early for over a week, but every time I’ve driven over to the library, the line of people waiting to vote has extended out of the main entrance and snaked along the sidewalks leading to the parking lot.

It sort of defeats the whole purpose of voting early if you have to stand in line to do so. Not to be deterred, I’ve decided to circumvent the need to stand in line by being at the library before the polls open this morning.

I just pulled in to the library parking lot. It’s 6:30 a.m. and not surprisingly, I am not alone. There are already six or seven other cars here.

In the predawn gloom, I can see shadowy figures nursing steaming cups of coffee. I decided against coffee this morning just in case there might be any delay in getting into the voting booth. Standing in line in 42 degree weather after drinking a big cup of coffee doesn’t appeal to me at the moment. Well to be honest, at my ever advancing age, the consumption of java leads fairly quickly to the desire to find a restroom. A situation I’m inclined to avoid until my votes are cast.

It’s now 6:45 a.m. and I’m beginning to see folks headed toward the library entrance. Time to move out. I’m a little surprised to find that there are already about 20 people ahead of me in the line. I’m not sure where these guys were when I drove past this door a few minutes ago, but I’m glad that I didn’t linger any longer in my car.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s 42 degrees this morning, but I failed to point out that there is also a 20 mile per hour zephyr continually blowing across the front of the library. To make matters worse, a 20-something couple just walked up behind me. That in itself doesn’t pose a problem. They might even provide a small wind break if I can get them positioned properly. The concern is that the guy is dressed only in a t-shirt and cargo shorts.

My worst fears have just been realized. “Whiney-Man“, for that is what I’ve just named the t-shirt and cargo short clad individual sniveling behind me, has started to complain. “I’m cold! Why is it so cold? Why don’t they open the doors? I don’t like this!” Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. And there’s still15 minutes to go before the doors will open. Give me strength!

It’s now 6:59 a.m. The poll supervisor has been standing, warm and cozy, just inside the library’s double doors for the last few minutes smiling out at us as he watches the time display on his iPhone. Obviously, he’s operating under strict instructions that the doors must not be opened until exactly 7:00 a.m.

What’s he doing? Why doesn’t he open the door? This isn’t fair! I’m cold! Why is it so cold?

Yes! Thankfully, the doors have finally swung open and I’m headed down the hall to the room where we will be allowed to vote. There’s nothing more to do but show my ID, sign the necessary document avowing that I am who I am, obtain the card that actuates the electronic voting panel, and cast my votes.

Okay, I’ve proceeded to position #2 at the first table and handed my driver’s license to the very cordial lady sitting here behind the computer. I mentioned that she is very cordial, but I may have failed to point out that she is also very slow. Glacial is far too rapid a term to apply. As I’ve been standing here waiting for her to confirm my reality, the ladies staffing positions #1 and #3 have each confirmed and ushered four other voters on to the next stop in the process.

30 or 40 key-clicks and two or three mouse actuations later, I’ve received the form needed at the next station and I’m about to receive my voting booth card.

I’ve made it to the voting booth, if you can call it that. I miss the old days when you actually stepped into a booth, pulled a lever, and the curtains closed behind you. These days, privacy is only ensured by the small panels which somewhat block the view of those voting at the computer terminals on either side of you. Actually, I’d be happy to tell anyone who wants to know how I voted, but I understand the need for secret ballots.

I was a little surprised at the short length of the ballot this time around. There were not that many offices being contested and only two local initiatives to be decided. I worked my way down through the ballot relatively quickly, checked the appropriate boxes, confirmed my selections, and submitted my ballot.

Now it’s time for me to head home and put my hands around that big ol’ steaming mug of Joe that’s awaiting my return. Hopefully, Whiney Man had no major issues with casting his ballot and is on his way home to find some long pants and, perhaps, his misplaced common sense.

May God bless and protect our representative democracy, our right to vote, and the greatest nation on the face of the Earth – the United States of America!

Sharing The Road vs Reasonable Compromise

I have a question that I’d like to pose regarding runners. In particular, a question regarding the criteria which they apply when it comes to planning their training routes.

Put simply, why is it that some runners apparently feel compelled to run in the road? Especially on thoroughfares which commonly experience heavy automobile and truck traffic?

Now before anyone accuses me of being a short-sighted curmudgeon (or even worse), let me explain that for many years, I was a runner myself. A combination of a hip-injury and a blown-out Achilles tendon forced me to find other ways to exercise.

Just this morning, I again encountered a jogger running into the face of on-coming traffic on a heavily traveled, somewhat narrow, two lane road which is paralleled on both sides by perfectly good, well maintained sidewalks.

By the way, the roads to which I’m referring, do not have bike lanes. I wish that they did, but unfortunately those innovations have not yet captured the attention of the traffic engineers who design the roads in my neck of the woods.

Do runners have a right to run in the road? Absolutely. Unfortunately, some of them also demonstrate their right to practice, what seems to me to be, an inexplicable lack of common sense when it comes to ensuring their personal safety.

So what is it? Do they take the description “road runner” too literally? Do runners find the undulations on sidewalks necessitated by driveways and crosswalks unacceptable? Or is it a determined insistence to exercise their right to share the road?

Having known a co-worker who was tragically struck by a car and killed while riding his bike has perhaps made me overly sensitive to the risks taken by runners, as well as cyclists, when it comes to sharing some roads with cars and trucks.

Avoiding areas experiencing heavy traffic, utilizing available sidewalks, and remaining healthy and fit to run another day just seems to me to be a very reasonable practice for those who enjoy a good run.

Don’t challenge cars to a race. They almost always win!

Be safe out there.

Goodbye Old Friend, Time To Find Another!

Horror of horrors!

I knew something was wrong.  Even in my “not yet fully awake” state, I sensed that all was not well as I stumbled downstairs in the early morning darkness.

Then it hit me.  The aroma of freshly brewed coffee was not gently caressing my nose.

Oh geez!” I thought, “Did I forget to set the timer on the coffee maker again?

Flipping on the kitchen light, I looked over at my trusty Starbuck’s Barista drip coffee maker. This wonderful device had been a much appreciated Christmas gift from my oldest son and has been continuously brewing my “Mornin’ Joe” for over 13 years.

Yep“, I thought as I saw that the water reservoir was still full. “I forgot to set the timer again last night.

I walked over and pressed the brew button.  The red light came on, but as the seconds passed, I was not met with the babbling sound of heated water beginning to flow over those anxiously awaiting coffee beans.

Not good.  Not good at all!

When several more attempts to jump-start the coffee maker proved unsuccessful, I realized that my old reliable friend had regrettably brewed its last pot.  But of more immediate importance, I had no means for obtaining a very much needed caffeine shot!

A quick trip to my friendly neighborhood Starbuck’s was to provide relief for my little addiction later in the morning, but I also began to realize that I was going to have to obtain another coffee maker.  And obtain one soon!

Another quick trip, this time to, and I was scrolling through page after page of “Coffee Maker Reviews” offered up in response to my query.  What a world we live in with information on virtually any topic available at our fingertips!

But I learned something.  I learned that there are apparently far more people out there in cyberspace who are ready to post scathing negative product reviews, than there are satisfied consumers willing to share their positive experiences.

I could find no coffee makers having all the features that I was looking for which hadn’t managed to disappoint or, in some cases, totally ruin the lives of multiple disgruntled reviewers.

I knew I was going to have to go it alone!  Driven by my insatiable need for a quality cup of java, I did something totally alien to me.  I went shopping.

It didn’t take very long.  I planned a route that took me from the local Walmart to a Super Target and finally past Lowe’s. I’m happy to report that the expedition ended successfully with a new 12 cup coffee maker safely ensconced in the appropriate spot on my kitchen counter.

And I might add, it brews a very smooth cup.

All is once again well with the world.

Has Winning Also Become an Entitlement?

As I’ve mentioned a few times, one of my vocations is that of sports photographer. Being down on the sidelines, close to the action allows me to see and hear things going on during games that those watching on TV or even from the stadium seats often miss.  Sometimes, this access to the nitty great, so to say, gives sports a completely different look and feel.

Yesterday, I was covering a high school state championship tournament.  It was a two-day double elimination event involving 56 teams, playing in six different classifications, A through AAAAAA.

As long as I can remember, organized team sports have always been promoted as a means of developing character, integrity, and leadership skills in the athletes who play the games.  If this be true, and I’m sure that it is in the majority of cases, one would assume that these skills are mentored by the coaches and grow and evolve in the players as they engage in healthy competition and learn the benefits of fair play and being part of a team effort.

Back to the tournament.

In two cases after the completion of championship games, players from the losing team either failed, or refused to come to the dais set up on the field to be recognized and to receive their runner-up trophies.  In one case, the official representing the state high school athletic association was forced to walk twenty or so yards out to where the team and its coaches sat on the turf.  No one from the team stood up to receive the trophy or show any appreciation of having received it.

I watched this in a state of disbelief.  Sure it hurts to come that close to winning a state championship only to finish in second place.  But if those associated benefits of playing team sports are to be believed, this is the time to rise above defeat and congratulate your opponent, to recognize the level of your own team’s achievement, and to display the true essence of sportsmanship.

Apparently not in some cases.

I had to wonder what was going through the minds of those coaches as they tacitly allowed their players to so thoroughly embarrass themselves, their team, and their schools by refusing to participate in the award’s ceremony.

It did make me wish, for one fleeting moment, that I was the Principal of one, or both, of those schools.  I would have relished the opportunity to invite the head coaches down to my office for a chat on Monday morning.

Short of that, I just sat there shaking my head.  I certainly didn’t waste my time attempting to capture an image of this sorry display.

The World Turned Upside Down

I just realized that I have totally missed the anniversary of a highly significant day in my life.

Last Wednesday came and went without my even realizing that it was different from any other day.

Now that I’ve had time to think about it, this was probably the most healthy response that I could have possibly had on this particular date, October 17th.

Let me give you a little background. By late 2007, I had been employed without interruption for 31 years. On the afternoon of October 17th, I walked into my boss’s office for a meeting in which I was going to bring him up to date on the status of a number of projects that I was managing at the time.

As I handed him a couple pages of notes outlining what I was going to talk about, he set them aside and said, “Before we get into that, I have something I need to tell you.

Without getting into the nitty gritty, over the next few minutes I learned that my current position was being eliminated, that my services were no longer needed, that there were no other positions in this company which employed over 40,000 souls worldwide that I would be qualified to fill, and that the only option available to me was to accept early retirement.

At that moment, I had no inkling of the unrelenting sense of confusion, isolation, and loss that were to become part of my daily walk in the weeks and months ahead.

Likewise, it is impossible to convey the degree to which disbelief engulfed me as I walked out of the building after the meeting ended. I felt disembodied, separated from and unaware of my surroundings.

By the time I arrived home, disbelief had morphed into a state of extreme agitation which made it nearly impossible for me to sit down. I paced through every room in the house. And then paced in the front yard. Finally, I paced in the garage waiting for my wife to arrive home. How was I going to break this news? What was I going to say?

My state of nervous energy was not fueled by anger at what had just happened to me as one might expect, but rather by a deep and painful realization that at that moment in time I had no idea how I going to be able to meet my responsibility, as father and husband, to support my family. As I was to learn in the days ahead, these thoughts and fears would remain my constant companion for many months.

Within a few days, I discovered that I was not alone. Eventually several hundred of my co-workers also found themselves unemployed. Most of them were called to an unannounced meeting where they were informed by a consultant, whom they had never met, that their employment had come to an end. They were then unceremoniously walked, by two equally unfamiliar security men, to the front door.

For reasons that I was never to learn, I was allowed to continue working until the end of the year and thus was spared the added humiliation of being brusquely escorted out of the premises.

In the intervening years, many things have changed in my life. We’ve learned to get by with less. I’ve changed my working-life/career model to one in which I now pursue multiple streams of income, rather than relying on one. I’ve started a small business and I maintain a part-time seasonal job as well.

Throughout my corporate career, I was constantly reinventing myself by accepting jobs in a variety of disciplines and functional groups. My post-corporate working life has proven to be just another in that series of on-going reinventions of self.

The best news is that the sun did rise on each of the days immediately following my unexpected exit from the corporate world; as it has done every day since.

My family is still together and in some ways they, and I, are perhaps stronger than ever.

Life goes on.

Based On A True Story . . . . Yeah Right

I was channel surfing Saturday afternoon in between watching college football games when I came across the last 30 minutes of the 1962 movie “The Birdman of Alcatraz” starring Burt Lancaster in the title role.

If you’re not familiar with this flick, it’s the story of Robert Stroud, a real-life convicted murderer who spent 54 years of his life serving time in the McNeil Island, Leavenworth, and Alcatraz Federal prisons.

While serving his life sentence, Stroud found a nest of sparrows in the prison yard, which he took into his cell, where he succeeded in raising the birds to adulthood.  To make a long story short, he continued to raise birds during his time in prison and, based on the experience he gained, wrote and published two books on ornithology.

Lancaster portrayed Stroud as if the convict’s years behind bars had rehabilitated him into a saintly philosopher-humanitarian.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Stroud was one of the most violent and unrepentant criminals in America. While serving his initial sentence after being convicted of manslaughter, Stroud assaulted another inmate with knife and eventually killed a prison guard in a separate knife attack.

During a particularly memorable parole hearing, he actually told the parole board that he hoped to be released from prison because he still had a lot of other people who he wanted to kill.

By the way, while serving time at Alcatraz, Stroud was not allowed to have birds in his cell.  No pets of any type were permitted on the Rock.  All of his work with birds had occurred while he was in Leavenworth.

Wouldn’t that make him the “Birdman of Leavenworth“?

All of this causes me to question that phrase which Hollywood often tacks on to it’s productions: “Based on a True Story“.

In the case of Robert Stroud, he was a prisoner, he did serve time at Alcatraz, and he did work with birds while in prison; but very little else of the story presented on film has anything at all to do with truth.

A few months ago, Hollywood released another movie, “Lawless” starring Shia LeBeouf, which was heavily promoted with television commercials purporting the film to the based on, you guessed it, a “true story“.

One evening after viewing yet another commercial advertising “Lawless“, I decided to do a little research and find out just what specific truth this movie was based upon.

It turns out that the movie is the adaptation of a novel.  A novel?  Unless the world of literature has redefined some of its basic terminology, a novel is a work of fiction.

I continued my search for the “truth” behind the movie and learned that the author of the novel had based his work on often told family stories concerning his grandfather and two uncles who had been bootleggers during the Depression.

Once again, I guess you could make an argument that the movie was “based on a true story”.

I’m willing to accept that the author did have a grandfather and it’s not beyond question that he could have also had two uncles as well.  But the rest of the story?  Well, your guess is as good as mine.

All of this makes me wonder why “King Kong” wasn’t billed as being based on a true story.

After all, we all know that gorillas are real.

My Kindle and I

Up until this past January, if asked, I would have described myself as an avid reader. I’ve enjoyed reading since my youth and have from time to time felt an almost visceral need to read a good book if I had not done so in a while.

When that occurs, it’s as if my mind is begging for the exercise of absorbing a good story.

I’ve also always been a bit of a geek when it comes to digital devices; PDAs, smart phones, computers.  But it took a while before I was willing to make the leap from reading real books; you know, the kind with pages made out of paper that you turn with your hand, to the electronic variety which can be read on a digital device.

I first put my toe into the digital reading pond about two years ago when I downloaded e-reader software and read a couple of books on my computer.  I found that I wasn’t a big fan of this style of reading, primarily because it wasn’t always convenient to take my laptop computer along with me in the event that I found myself with time to read a chapter or two.

Then I discovered that Kindle software was available for the iPhone.  Taking my iPhone along with me wherever I went was an absolute no-brainer.  After all, I had already been emotionally, if not physically, joined at the hip to my smart phone for a couple of years.

I managed to read two or three books on my iPhone before I became frustrated with the small screen size and with constantly running the phone’s battery down.  But I was definitely starting to warm up to the idea of electronic reading and I realized that it was time to purchase a Kindle.

I bought my Kindle Touch this past January, which brings me back to my opening statement in which I described myself as an avid reader.  If that was the case before I began reading on the Kindle, I guess I would have to describe myself now as a voracious reader.

Why?  Because in the ten months that I’ve been reading with my Kindle, I’ve read 31 books cover to cover; fiction, nonfiction, history, biography, mystery, sci-fi, you name it.

I’m confident that in my most “avid reader” days, I never knocked off 31 titles in ten months.

Miss Sexton, my 10th grade English teacher, would be simultaneously incredulous and overjoyed to learn of this feat.  I wonder if I can find her on Facebook?

I can’t really put my finger on the difference between reading a traditional book and reading the same book on a Kindle, but for me there just seems to be something effortless about the experience of reading on a Kindle.

One of the more surprising aspects of reading with the Kindle is that I have not missed the physical act of holding a real book and turning the pages by hand as I read.  I very quickly warmed up to using a simple tap or sweep of my finger to turn to the next page.

I was a little concerned about the availability of books for the Kindle, but as anyone who has one can tell you, between the free books available from Amazon and the books that I can check out on-line from my local library system, I’m not worried about having enough to read.

I’m hooked.

Little Women With Big SUVs

What is it about the people who drive those great big, gas guzzling SUVs?

I don’t know what your personal experience has been, but in the little slice of suburban heaven that I call home, there seems to be a principle at work that goes something like this:

The larger the automobile, the less likely that the driver will pay any attention to other vehicles on the road.

I drive a Honda S2000.

It happens to be the type of car that I lusted after when I was 18 years old, but I had to delay the satisfaction of that particular automotive craving until I was closer to 50. I’ve been driving it for over 10 years now, so I’ll admit to being somewhat biased since I’m used to a smaller vehicular footprint than most drivers.

The largest vehicle that we, as a family, ever owned was a Chrysler minivan. Don’t ask me why we ever bought one. It just seemed like the thing to do during the 80’s if you had two young boys, so we drank the Kool-Aid too.

The automobiles that I’m talking about are the ones which probably are required to pull into those truck weigh stations when they are driving out on the interstate highways. The Chevy Suburban, Tahoe, and the Ford Expedition are the best examples that come to mind.

When you’re at the dealership signing the final papers for one of these monsters, I wonder if the salesman quietly slips you a manual under the table that lists the special and confidential “Rules of the Road for SUV Drivers“?

If not, where do the drivers of these vehicles learn:

  • You are permitted to merge into any lane, to the right or to the left, regardless of whether another vehicle occupies that space.
  • You are relieved of the responsibility of coming to a complete stop before making a right turn at a stop sign or traffic signal, regardless of whether another vehicle is already passing through that intersection.
  • You are permitted to continue through any red light so long as you do so within 10 seconds of it having turned red.
  • You are a very special person and thereby granted right-of-way over any, and all, other vehicles on the road; regardless of the circumstances.

I’m sure that there are more of these rules, but those are the ones which I see applied with amazing consistency by SUV drivers.

I think I’ve also identified another axiom which applies to the drivers of these mondo-land barges.

There appears to be an inverse relationship between the physical size of the individual operating the SUV and the amount of attention which they pay to any other drivers who may be attempting to share the use of the roads with them.

Case in point, when I see a minuscule woman behind the wheel of a Suburban or Tahoe, I generally attempt to find a convenient parking lot to pull into until she and her vehicle are well out of sight.

If I notice that the petit woman driving the monster truck bearing down on me happens to be wearing a skimpy tennis outfit, I simply drive on to the shoulder immediately until the crisis has passed.

Sometimes it’s best to simply concede and live to drive another day.

It’s Good To See That Sportsmanship Is Still Alive

I was sitting at home last night watching Game 5 of the National League Championship Series pitting the San Francisco Giants against the St. Louis Cardinals.  Seemed like a perfectly good way to spend a Friday night to me.

I grew up playing baseball, idolizing the likes of Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and Eddie Mathews, collecting baseball cards, and watching Dizzy Dean and PeeWee Reese broadcasting the ‘Game of the Week‘ in black and white television on CBS.

You might say that I’m a bit old school in my appreciation of the game of baseball.

Somewhere around the 5th inning in last night’s game, Buster Posey, the Giants catcher was at the plate.  Posey, who can easily plant a hanging curve ball deep into the left field bleachers, took a wicked swing at a fastball thrown by the Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn and fouled it directly into his left shin.

Let me tell you, that hurts!  I’m not ashamed to admit that if I struck a 95 mile per hour fastball with a hardwood bat causing it to slam into my shin bone, it’s likely that a little mist might begin to appear in my eyes.  Of course, it’s also highly probable that I couldn’t see a 95 mile per hour fastball in the first place, but you get what I mean.

The point of this story is what happened next.  Posey, in obvious pain, hopped out of the batter’s box.  Immediately Yadier Molina, the Cardinals catcher, came out of his crouch position behind the plate and appeared to be intent on walking out to the pitcher’s mound, but after taking a few steps he turned around and slowly came back to the plate.

So what?  Big deal, you might be saying.

Normally between pitches the catcher doesn’t come up from his crouch position.  Molina did so in this case in order to give Posey a few seconds to recover from the effects of the foul tip off of his leg.  He never intended to go to the mound. He was just killing time.

When play resumed, the camera was on Posey as he stepped back into the batter’s box.  As he was planting his feet to get ready for the next pitch, viewers could see him turn his head down to Molina behind the plate, nod, and mouth the words, “Yeah, I’m okay.”  Bravo Yadier Molina!

I mentioned earlier that I’m old school when it comes to baseball.  Well, I’m equally old school when it comes to my appreciation of demonstrations of sportsmanship.

Those few seconds of interaction between Posey and Molina probably went unnoticed by most who were either at the game or viewing it on TV, but to me it was a clear example of a level of sportsmanship that used to be commonplace in athletics, but lately seems to be unfashionable.

I’m a sports photographer.  I spend an inordinate amount of time in stadiums, ballparks, and arenas capturing images of high school, college, and professional sports.

It’s rare to see a defensive back extend his hand and assist the running back, who he has just tackled, up from the turf of a football field.  In basketball, the normal behavior for a seven foot center who has just blocked a shot is to scowl menacingly into the face of the shooter and flex his arms as if he’s some kind of comic book dark-side super hero.

Intimidation seems to be the name of the game and we’re teaching it to athletes at ever younger ages.

Too often athletes step over their opponents rather than helping them to their feet, kick a ball away rather than tossing it back, or lean a shoulder into another player as they are walking past each other.  It’s as if there is a belief that such actions produce an advantage on the playing field.

These, and similar, acts of unsportsmanlike behavior don’t improve the likelihood that one athlete or team will be able to dominate another.

By the same token, overt displays of sportsmanship don’t improve the chances of winning.

That said, I would prefer to see the spirit and practice of sportsmanship return to a place of preeminence in all athletic competitions.  To me, it’s simply the way the games should be played.

True Lies: Presidential Style

If I was asked to choose one word which I believe reflects the tenor of the 2012 Presidential Election campaign, I think that I would have to select “Liar“.

I’ve witnessed quite a few presidential elections. I distinctly remember watching the televised Kennedy – Nixon debate in 1960, but I can’t recall any election cycle in which the honesty and veracity of the presidential candidates was so frequently and publicly called into question, as in the current campaign.

Hardly a day goes by in which I fail to stumble upon a news article, a blog post, a television commentator, or an ordinary person in the local grocery store vehemently accusing one, or the other, presidential candidate of lying. This appears to be one of those rare examples of a truly bipartisan effort.

The accusations are not that the candidate in question used carefully worded phrases to sidestep an issue or to paint a particular situation in a better light. You know, the type of wordplay which politicians have been practicing since Hammurabi first ran for office.

No, these accusations are made with such fervor as to strongly imply that the candidate, in a loathsome and calculated manner, set out to intentionally deceive the public; while being fully aware of the impact of his actions.

If true, these allegations reveal a startling level of deceitful behavior on the part of the man who will be our next president; regardless of which candidate wins election.

In the last few years, political fact checking has turned into a cottage industry. It doesn’t take very long for an inquiring mind to discover which of these accusations are true, half true, false, and every shading of legitimacy in between.

What I find most troubling is that, in some cases, even after a particular accusation of lying has been thoroughly researched and found to be false, that same accusation continues to be repeated. It’s “Damn the fact checkers, full speed ahead!

When this occurs, it appears that the accuser isn’t interested in pursuing the truth as much as in engaging in the act of making an accusation or in blindly promulgating half-truths in support of a particular political doctrine. I find either alternative very troubling.

I wonder if this environment of finger pointing is some sort of delayed, knee-jerk reaction to Congressman Joe Wilson’s calling out of President Obama with, “You lie!” during the 2011 State of the Union address.

Or is it just a natural by-product of the highly polarized state of politics in the U.S.? Whatever its origins, I hope it’s something that we can correct, and quickly.

During the remaining three weeks of this campaign season, I’d like to suggest that everyone in the business of pointing accusing fingers would do well to heed the Biblical admonition to ‘remove the plank from your own eye before pointing out the speck in the eye of your brother‘.