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A short discussion of time.

In Entertainment, history, Literature, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Science, sociology, Technology, Uncategorized on January 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

DIH LOGOTime is a concept, at least on Earth, unique to humans. No other creature has a sense of time nor do they seem to miss it. When deprived of its constant ticking, however, humans do indeed miss it – sometimes to the point of madness. People can go insane without the ability to follow the hands around the clock, chasing them as if to pursue food or shelter.

But time simply doesn’t exist. With all due respect to clock makers and the people who force you wait incredulously for an hour after arriving on punctually for a doctor’s appointment, time has no basis in reality; none, whatsoever. Oh sure, early man followed the sun up and down and watched moon phases to generate a calendar with which he soon began measuring the march of days. But he (figurative “he,” not intended to slight the fairer sex) is the only creature on the planet that has done so.

Contrary to the beliefs of theoretical physicists and science fiction fans, the “space-time continuum” is, for lack of a better word, hooey. Time travel will never be possible, forward or backward, regardless of whether one climbs into a souped-up DeLorean or a Frigidaire. It’s just impossible to physically move through a “concept.”

GLD_DIH_JAN15_TIMEThe great physicist, Albert Einstein, couldn’t have said it better when he theorized that time was relative to the position of the spectator. Time exists only in a single instant and even then only in the mind of the observer. There is no yesterday; no tomorrow. Man has no future and no past.

“History,” as it is referred to, is merely the recorded experience of one onlooker in a particular moment, captured in human memories, cave paintings, crayon, photos, writings, and now selfies. One cannot pass to and fro through history and every moment is affected by whom or whatever is present at that instant, without exception; otherwise referred to as “causality.”

For creatures with such a self-confident understanding of the passage of time, human beings certainly spend a great deal of it wastefully, ignoring the precious moments that can never be revisited or repeated. Mankind can be so caught up in his own affairs that important lessons whiz right by his primate-anchored brain cells, forcing him to forget to learn from his recorded past.

In youth, human beings tend to feel, somewhat accurately, that time is endless. In fact, since it is nothing more than a concept, time is endless, but the lifetime of the person is what turns out to be far more limited.

Young people burn up their early years in the ridiculous pursuit of high school glory, good grades, the first of a string of hopeless romantic partnerships, and, eventually, trying to get into the latest night spot by claiming to be older. Sadly, none of these efforts generally result in a fortunate use of time, mostly ending in yet another suitcase on the ever overstuffed baggage cart of life.

As the cart grows, letting go of some of that baggage is something with which humans have an incredibly difficult time. Resolving the past often requires thousands of dollars and hours on the analysts couch, but to no end. Life is cumulative, but time isn’t.

Eventually, humans created machines to measure time’s conceptual passing. Clocks are designed to offer a graduated visual representation of the passage of conceptual time based originally on the movements of the sun. In reality, it was the movement of the earth that was being marked.

Clocks and calendars are man’s way of trying to wrangle time to behave the way he wants it to. The fact is, since he created the idea of time, he has had complete control of it all along but never realized it.

Whether it’s being measured or not life goes on. Human beings would be far happier if they spent less time wallowing in the past or worrying about the future.

As hair turns grey and bones go brittle, the clock continues to tick down the conceptual passage of time. But real or not, the most important thing anyone can do is try to appreciate that one, amazing, wondrous moment of time within which everyone exists.

 

The Jamestown Comet.com Publisher / Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

Jamestown communications firm adds IT services

In Business, Dayton Ohio News, Local News, Media, Technology, Uncategorized on January 7, 2015 at 7:35 pm

JAMESTOWN, OH – Jamestown-based marketing and PR firm GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing has announced it has merged services with its sister company, Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd., as of January 1, 2015 under the new name, GLD Enterprises Communications. The move combines on-site IT and computer support with the firm’s current line of business communications services.

Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. was founded in March of 1998 by Jamestown, Ohio entrepreneur and author, Gery L. Deer. The company provides a wide range of technology support for home and small business users including computer repair, mobile device service, anti-virus and Internet security, document management and digital integration.

Shortly after the IT support business proved to be successful, Deer created a second start-up focused on entertainment and marketing that eventually became, “GLD Enterprises.” Both companies have operated simultaneously, but separately, until some market research indicated how much clients would benefit by the unique blend of services.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

Writer, Entrepreneur Gery L. Deer, owner of GLD Enterprises Communications.

“Without our technology to provide us with a means of exchanging information, the rest of our communications material is pretty useless,” said Deer about the pairing of seemingly very different businesses. “We already provide both levels of service to many of our clients. Now it will be more convenient for customers to take advantage of everything we offer.”

Deer noted that his company was one of the first in the area to offer on-site computer service and has never been a marketing arm for a retail company like many of its competitors.  “My goal has always been to make the technology suit the user, not the other way around,” Deer explained. “Most tech support people have stuff to sell and do their best to shoe-horn hardware and software into a user’s life without much regard for how it is used or the needs of the customer.”

Until now, GLD Enterprises has primarily serviced the commercial communications market. But Deer explained that, “By adding the Deer Computer Consulting line of services, we are able to expand into the residential base as well. This adds another revenue stream to our business and allows us to better support our customers, all under one roof.”

According to Julie Hicks, GLD Enterprises business development manager, “Current customers of Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. will remain so with no changes in service or rates. And, as always, we will still come to you.”

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of "technology support" to the company's offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications updated logo. The red circle signifies the addition of “technology support” to the company’s offerings.

GLD Enterprises Communications has no store front but operates only as an on-site support service and there are no plans for a change. “Excessive, unnecessary overhead kills small business and the consumer shouldn’t have to pay for the business owner’s extravagance,” said Deer, who is also a prolific business writer and the resident consumer expert for the WDTN-TV2 daytime television program, “Living Dayton.”

A full list of the company’s services is available online at http://www.gldenterprises.net or by calling (937) 902-4857.

 

 

 

 

Xenia rock band to open for national headliner, Bobaflex

In Dayton Ohio News, Entertainment, Local News, Music on November 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody's in Dayton.

Desalitt will open for Bobaflex Dec 5 at Oddbody’s in Dayton.

At 7PM on Friday, December 5, Xenia hard rock band, “Desalitt,” will take the stage at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton to open for the national headliner group, “Bobaflex.”

Founded in 2008 Delallit features “Blazin” Dave Anderson on drums, Greg Crawford on rhythm guitar and lead Vocals, “Gravy” Shannon Ligier on bass and singing back up, Shug Hanson on vocals, and Nick (Samson) Starns on lead guitar. The group performs a variety of covers as well as their own original work. This is not the group’s first time appearing with a national headliner.

“Being from a small town, it is not every day you get to do something so amazing like open for a favorite national band,” says lead guitarist and Desalitt manager, Nick Starns. “I’ve been a musician for 15 years and counting and love every minute of it.”

Starns is fully immersed in the musical endeavors of his group, which also hosts an annual summer music festival in Jamestown benefiting local charitable causes. “The last 9 months with Desalitt has truly been outstanding for my musical career,” he said. “All that’s left is to start touring with a national act and I can begin to get paid for making/performing music. If Cecil Caudill was still around, he would tell me to keep rocking, so I’m gonna rock the stage for him and all of our fallen Brethren in Music.”

Local fans can take advantage of bus service to the show as well. Desalitt has fan buses available to ride to and from the show for $8 with pick up in Jamestown at 5:30 PM from Greeneview Elementary on SR 72 North, and at 6:00 PM in Xenia at the Old Kmart Parking lot. Riders are asked to arrive early as the bus will leave on time and no refunds are available.

Fans are asked to RSVP for bus service in advance via www.desalitt.com, the group’s Facebook or Reverbnation pages, or email nick@desalitt.com or call the Desalitt Hotline (937) 347-7377. Presale tickets for the Oddbody’s Music Room show are $10 for ages 18 and up (through the Desalitt Hotline), $15, at the door.

For more information and a complete schedule go online to www.desalitt.com.

E-commerce shoppers beware price steering

In Economy, finances, Holiday, Media, National News, Technology, Uncategorized on November 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

DIH LOGORecent surveys suggest that nearly 60 percent of shoppers will do their holiday buying online this year. That’s probably not too surprising to most people.  But did you also know that many e-commerce websites actually adjust pricing based on your personal information to get the most money they can from each shopper? It’s called “price steering,” and it’s perfectly legal. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say Bob goes online to buy a hammer using his smart phone. The e-commerce hardware site offers the item for $10 with a $2 shipping charge. From his desktop computer at work, John looking up the very same hammer on the same website, but his price is showing at $15 with a $5 shipping charge. The cost variation is based on data collected from each buyer’s Internet device.

Whenever you visit a website it leaves a “fingerprint,” on your computer, smart phone or tablet in the form of cookies, browsing history, and so on. For our example, let’s say Bob and John live in different parts of the country, work in different occupations, and have individual buying habits, so their computers, smart phones and other devices portray a very different “electronic personality,” or “E.P.”

The E.P. information is used to “steer” each buyer to the same product but with different pricing based on the collected data. That level of electronic tracking might sound a bit distressing, but it’s really been going on for quite some time.

Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. recommends checking e-commerce prices from different devices.

Deer Computer Consulting, Ltd. recommends checking e-commerce prices from different devices.

Internet users receive a plethora of personalized information every day. As they go about their day-to-day activities, complex programming is used to sift through online profile data and previous online activity, constantly processing it through something called a “personalization algorithm.” If you’ve ever wondered why Amazon knows that you like country music or white tigers, and constantly offers you products related to those things, that’s how they do it.

A similar process is used at grocery and other retail stores, using a combination of product placement and special pricing. I often refer to it as “the milk effect,” because dairy products, meats and other essentials are positioned in the back of the store and shoppers must pass a myriad of floor and end cap displays to get to them.

This “steers” the shopper past all of the sale items, incidentals, and virtually everything else, as they make their way to the household staples. Unlike price steering online, however, this practice is fairly transparent and has few components to allow unique pricing adjustments for each buyer.

User data collection and manipulation may provide many people with better pricing but it can also be used to force others to pay more. A recent study by researchers at Northeastern University brought into question the level of transparency offered by popular e-commerce sites and price steering practices.

Price steering actually hap­pens every day and is well-advertised. In a standard retail setting, for example, senior citizens might get a dis­count at the movies or a col­lege stu­dent pays less for books. And, according to the university’s website, authors of the study note that there is nothing inherently sinister in the processes.

But before you click “buy now,” it’s up to you to make sure you’re getting the best possible price online. Here are a few simple tips to help.

First, clear the browsing history on your device and turn off tracking cookies. Websites can’t access your history if there’s nothing there to see. Be aware, however, that some websites require that cookies be allowed or the site will not work properly.

Next, view the website on different devices. Some of the data collected can tell retailers that you are using an expensive smart phone and may be more inclined to pay more at checkout.

If you’re a regular user of a particular retailer’s website, log out and log in as a guest through another device. Sometimes guests are provided with lower pricing to entice them to buy.

Finally, scroll around, making sure to check the very bottom of the web page. Lower-priced products may be displayed elsewhere besides the top of the page. Do your homework, get the best price and enjoy this holiday shopping season.

(TUNE INTO WDTN-TV2’S LIVING DAYTON AT NOON ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 28TH FOR A SPECIAL SEGMENT ON THIS TOPIC PRESENTED BY DEER IN HEADLINES AUTHOR GERY L. DEER.)

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

The creative process cannot be quantified

In Books, Children and Family, crafts, Entertainment, Local News, National News, Opinion, Print Media, Technology, Uncategorized on November 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

If you haDIH LOGOve any friends who are aspiring novelists and you haven’t seen them for a while, I may know why. November is National Novel Writing Month, a time when writers – hobbyists and professionals alike – forsake virtually everything else in life to get down at least 50,000 words towards a completed novel in just thirty days. As executive director of the Western Ohio Writers Association I am, like many of our members, one of the anticipated 400,000 worldwide participants in the event. But attempting to pen a full-length novel in under a month is not for the faint of heart.

“NaNoWriMo,” as it’s known for short, is a non-profit organization started in 1999. In 2013, more than 310,000 participants signed up, spanning six continents. In the 2014 official press release, NaNoWriMo Executive director Grant Faulkner said, “Every year, we’re reminded that there are still stories that have yet to be told, still voices yet to be heard from all corners of the world. NaNoWriMo helps people make creativity a priority in life and realize the vital ways our stories connect us. We are our stories.”

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Given their commitment to the encouragement of writers as a whole, the NaNoWriMo folks certainly seem to want to keep people motivated and working and that extends beyond the November event. The organization also promotes youth programs, writing camps and other writing-focused activities throughout the year.

NaNoWriMo’s organizers insist the purpose of the 30-day novel challenge is to inspire and motivate authors to actually finish something, a common barrier for new writers. To hit the goal, writers must pen approximately 1,667 words per day, regardless of quality. But the “just keep writing” approach doesn’t sit well with some and there are those who say that it instead may be more counterproductive than helpful.

Opponents believe that the idea of such incredible pressure of deadline and competition undermines the inspirational process; robbing the author of the creative time necessary to be more selective of words, phrasing and flow.  Classic American author Mark Twain might well have been in agreement with this thinking.

In a letter dated October 15, 1888 to English minister George Bainton, Twain wrote, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

nanologoBut those who are regular participants seem to really enjoy a process that they say gives them the opportunity to stay focused and inspires a bit of healthy competition. Throughout the month, each writer updates a public profile on the NaNoWriMo website which includes word count to date; a practice largely appreciated as one of the most motivating aspects of the exercise, or the most discouraging, depending on how you’re doing.

Whether you are a writer or a reader, this is probably a good time to point out that the creative process is not something that can be qualified or quantified. It is different for every artist. While there are people who are proficient with grammar, punctuation, style and general mastery of the English language, there is no such thing as an “expert” writer. Most successful authors – and not just in the commercial sense – will insist that good writing cannot be taught, it has to be practiced and that the creative process is ongoing.

It may very well be that a 30-day novel, after editing and revision, could end up the next New York Times best seller. It is just as probable that another manuscript, in the works for many years, might turn out to be the worst 300 pages ever put to paper. It’s really a coin toss.

Truthfully, the process really doesn’t matter. Although the value of art rests with the audience, its quality depends on the talent, determination and hard work of the artist (writer), rather than the method used for its production. As for those of you typing your way to 50,000 words this month, we who are grateful to get out 700 words every week salute you! Good luck.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and executive director of the Western Ohio Writers Association. More at westernohiowriters.org.

Space flight really is rocket science

In history, National News, Opinion, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on November 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

DIH LOGOBy now, most have heard about the failed test flight of Virgin Galactic’s “SpaceShip Two,” which crashed in California’s Mojave Desert on October 31st.  One of the spacecraft’s pilots died in the crash, the other critically injured. While this is Virgin’s first fatality during the development of their “sight-seeing” spaceship for the super rich, perhaps it is just another sign that the pursuit of more money and fame may not be adequate reasons attempt another small step for (rich) mankind. Space travel really is rocket science, and then some.

After a successful flight and ocean landing in July of 1961, astronaut Gus Grissom’s Mercury space capsule sank after a premature detonation of explosives blew the hatch. Grissom managed to escape, only to die six years later in a fire during a “plugs out” test of the Apollo 1 capsule on the pad at Cape Kennedy. Astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee also perished in that tragedy.

Other terrible accidents followed during America’s “space race” to beat Russia to the moon and meet President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man there before the end of the decade. America did finally put men on the moon, several times. But, as space travel became more complex, the dangers increased exponentially, and so did the cost of human life.

Space flight is hard! It should be left to the experts.

Space flight really is rocket science!

Famously re-created by Ron Howard on film, Apollo 13 was, in short, a miracle of human survival. By all odds, three guys trapped in a freezing pop can, 240,000 miles from Earth, should never have been able to make it home. Fortunately, thanks to the skill, ingenuity and experience of the crews both in space and on the ground, the movie managed to get a real-life happy ending.

More than two decades after the Apollo 1 catastrophe, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, marking the first time a civilian had died in a space travel accident. In February 2003, the shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry over Texas after insulating foam from the main fuel tank had damaged the heat shield as it left the launch pad.

No matter how far technology appears to have advanced, space flight is now, and will always be, experimental. The engineers and pilots at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) learned a great deal from the catastrophic failures mentioned earlier. But as more, privately developed, manned space flights are attempted, it is important to keep in mind that all of these disasters happened under the watchful eyes of some of the smartest, most experienced aerospace experts in the world. Yet people still died.

At our present level of technology, space flight is not something that should be left to over-privileged billionaires with fancy English titles. It’s dangerous, expensive and the drive for national security and scientific achievement does not exist in these endeavors. Virgin Galactic’s efforts are about money, pure and simple. Upon further reflection, however, cash may not be any less a humanitarian reason to get into manned space flight than beating the Communists to the moon.

After mothballing the last of the space shuttle fleet, America seems to be all but out of any residual space race that may still exist. Massive budget cuts enacted by the Obama administration have stripped NASA to its bare bones, its government money now subsidized more often by private companies using facilities and personnel to launch communications satellites. Without the space shuttle, the International Space Station depends more and more on private industry – and the Russians – to remain manned and supplied.

Lacking a more pressing need to funnel billions of dollars back into government-sponsored space flight, private organizations will eventually be the only way Americans go to space. For more companies like Virgin to get involved in the endeavor, however, there would need to be some kind of return on investment to motivate them.

Perhaps one of the space probes will find gold or platinum on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons, inspiring a space-age gold rush. Until that happens, people should probably keep an eye open for more rich kids’ toys dropping out of the sky.
The Jamestown Comet Editor/Publisher Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at gerydeer.com.

Zombies, the lamest monsters

In Books, Entertainment, Movies, Opinion, sociology, television, Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 at 11:28 am

DIH LOGOHalloween is upon us and, once again, zombie-mania continues to reign supreme. From so-called, community “Zombie Walk” events to AMC’s season premier of the “Walking Dead” boasting the highest-rated cable television show in history, Americans certainly seem to be zombie-obsessed. But why; what is it about an animated, decaying corpse that seems to capture people’s imaginations and gets them to shell out millions of dollars in search of the next big zombie fix?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word, “zombie,” has its origins in West Africa, but the concept of the animated corpse most likely comes from Haitian folklore. Legend suggests that the dead are raised by magical means to walk the earth again and do the bidding of the one who performed the revival ritual, as a sort of creepy slave.

Zombies first appeared in American popular literature as early as 1929, then shortly after, actor Bela Lugosi, famous for his portrayal of “Dracula,” starred in the film, “White Zombie,” which introduced the familiar personification of the creature. The modern American zombie pop-culture most likely took hold after the release of George Romero’s 1968 film, “Night of the Living Dead,” although they were never actually referred to by that word in the movie.

zombiesZombies in modern tales aren’t usually created by magic, but science. Today’s authors have penned a more realistic origin for what has become known as the “zombie apocalypse.” In most current story plots, a rogue virus escapes to the population, infecting everyone and turning them into, essentially, zombies. Instead of one or two slave zombies on the loose, entire populations of walking dead murderously meander across the globe, destroying civilization as they consume the living for sustenance; right, whatever.

Really, except for the fact that they’re pretty gross to look at and can sneak up on people, as far as monsters go zombies are probably the lamest (pun intended) and least scary creatures ever dreamed up. Think about it – re-animated dead people, hobbling along with one foot dragging behind them and moving so slowly, any granny on a walker could whiz past. What’s scary about that?

These monsters have no motive for being bad and there is no end goal or desire for world domination. They’re just hungry. They wander the night, aimlessly, hoping only to happen upon a fresh brain to consume.

And would someone please explain why they even need to eat anything? They’re dead! What possible nutritional value could there be in anything for a zombie? And why are they bleeding always? Does it need to be pointed out again, they’re dead – there shouldn’t be any blood pumping.

Add to that killing them is really a piece of cake, depending on which version of zombie lore you adhere to. In the modern, “Walking Dead” style, all you need to do is smash in their heads or decapitate them or something. But, according to Haitian lore, the goal was not to destroy them but to release these poor souls from their magically-induced, wandering purgatory and there were several methods available to do that, like pouring salt on them.

In any case, zombies are just not all that intimidating compared to vampires or werewolves (ignoring the Twilight-styled, sparkling, Calvin Klein model types). And yet, inevitably, story protagonists nearly always get caught by the marauding zombies and get their brains eaten. Really, how dumb does someone in a monster movie need to be to actually get caught by a crippled, decaying dead guy?

So, here is the best possible advice for escaping zombies – run! Or, just walk fast; it’s not that hard to get away from zombies. Just be sure to sacrifice the comic relief character first, giving you extra time (not like you need it).

If for some reason the zombie gets too close, and yes, that will be because you are really, incredibly stupid, just grab the arms and pull them off – how hard can it be? They’re dead and decaying, right? Hopefully the zombie fascination will diminish soon, leaving room for even more ridiculous obsessions, like brooding, teenage werewolves. Oh wait, that’s been done already too. Oh well. Happy Halloween!
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is a production of GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. More at gerydeer.com.

 

Gainsay of Gaza school bombing not anti-Semitic

In history, National News, Opinion, Politics, sociology, Uncategorized, World News on August 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

DIH LOGOThere’s an inherent problem with “political correctness” when it extends to speaking out against bad policy or horrific acts against the innocent. When the super-sensitive “left” can’t accept that people can dislike someone’s opinion without literally hating them, any hope of long-term, productive dialogue or constructive discourse is totally squelched.

When President Obama was elected, people became so obsessed about his being our first African American president, that to even mention a disagreement with his policies labeled one a racist. Naturally, that’s ridiculous. But, for the majority of his first term anyone who argued against him was considered to simply be hateful and bigoted.

We’re in a similar, uncomfortable, situation now with the problems going on in Gaza and the alleged bombing of civilian targets by both Israel and Hamas. There is no question that what’s going on there is terrible and it’s a given that Israel has suffered its share of problems in its short existence as a nation. But, criticism of their tactics in the current conflict does not make one anti-Semitic.

Because Hamas is seen by many as a “terrorist” organization, it is therefore more acceptable to criticize them publicly, but that’s not the debate. It’s not anti-Semitic to state, “It’s wrong for Israel to bomb civilian targets and kill innocent people, including children.” Anyone who thinks that it’s ok to bomb kids regardless of the purpose may be hinging on sociopathic mentality.

Many United Nations officials condemned the bombing of a UN-run school in Gaza, including  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seen here.

Many United Nations officials condemned the bombing of a UN-run school in Gaza, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seen here.

After a United Nations-operated school was bombed in Gaza City last week, killing 20 and wounding dozens, including children, The Washington Post reported that the U.N. officially condemned Israel for the bombing with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl saying, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces. This is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”

There are, of course, those who have accused the U.N., as an organization, of being anti-Semitic since its inception, but this is not an indication of that. This is a statement from the commissioner-general communicating that the world group disagrees with the Israeli tactic and would prefer they try to find a peaceful solution.

Considering that the GPS coordinates of the school had been reportedly sent to Israel at least 17 times, at this point it’s Israel’s own actions drawing negative opinion and squelching sympathy for their cause. Still, it’s seen as distasteful to speak against the Jewish nation without being labeled racist and therein lays the problem.

Will it always be that with any minority or historically trodden-down group, negative opinion or public critique will draw for the speaker undo hatred or have them forever labeled racist, anti-Semitic or worse? Is political correctness always this blind, even in the court room? Yes. It always will be. Take, for instance, mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes here in America.

Statistics suggest that the vast majority of drug criminals in the U.S. are African American. Since there are often mandatory minimum prison sentences on the books for various levels of possession, sale and use of street narcotics, by the logic of some, which makes mandatory minimums racist. Are they? That’s a debate for another time, but the same logic is at work here as well.

There seems to be a belief among modern liberals and conservatives alike that freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, so long as you only say what they want to hear. Anything that goes against the grain on either side of the aisle will earn a swift retribution for the originator of the message. Oddly, it’s always been that way, but now, with social media, the Internet and an instant news cycle, there’s just more of a platform for argument.

Speaking one’s mind about an atrocity is the purview of any conscientious observer. Whether someone is doing so from a racial bias is another matter entirely. However, if those committing the atrocity expect sympathy in some way, it’s unlikely that they will achieve any of their goals by fueling the fires of hate through horrific actions, regardless of whether they believe it to be the means to the end.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer syndicated by GLD Enterprises Commercial Writing. More at gerydeer.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Border crisis will become a local issue

In Charities, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Local News, National News, Opinion, sociology, Uncategorized on July 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

DIH LOGOUnless someone is a true bigot, it’s hard to imagine why people don’t want to help the immigrant Mexican children being sent across the border without family, without supervision. But wanting to help is not the same thing as having the resources and infrastructure to do so properly, in a way that meets the ultimate goal which should be to see that the children have better life in America than they had in Mexico.

Unfortunately, people are so focused on the problem of the immigration process, they forget about what will happen once the kids get into the United States. Without a plan, infrastructure, money and personnel, it’s unlikely that these children will be living in anything less than squalor once they arrive and are processed.

Our government should do everything they can to help these kids, even if that means the best thing to do is to send them back home. Why? Because there are some vital questions still as yet unanswered. For example: Where will they live? Who will pay to feed and clothe them? Who will pay to educate them?

Each night in the United States, an estimated 611,000 people are sleeping homeless and nearly 50 million go hungry, according to the charity groups National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Feeding America. As unbelievable as it may seem in the most powerful country in the world, organizations such as these struggle each year to find the millions of dollars needed to provide food and shelter for people already living here, a great many of which are children.

(Photo NY TIMES)

(Photo NY TIMES)

When hundreds of immigrant children become thousands, they become refugees, not immigrants and caring for the kids will eventually land squarely on the shoulders of local government. The White House and congress might clear the way for an easier method of entry or grant them all amnesty once here, but then it’s the problem of Main Street U.S.A. to care for them.

Sure, there will be federal money – probably from new taxes that will overburden a still recovering Middle America – but it will be pennies per child, per day, leaving the remainder to be covered at the local and state levels. The current welfare system cannot handle such a fast influx of need, especially while still recovering from the stress of the recession.

Some local leaders, however, are welcoming the immigrants with open arms. Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley recently stated that she would welcome the immigrant children to the area. It’s clear that Mayor Whaley, who previously served on the Dayton city commission, does not realize that what happens in Dayton affects the outlying communities of the Miami Valley region, both socially and economically. None of these suburban areas have the kinds of resources necessary to handle such a massive issue.

As expected, the democratic mayor’s comments drew a firm response from area republicans, led by Congressman Mike Turner. Turner sent a letter to President Obama signed by him and six local area leaders which states, “We are writing to express that our community does not support Mayor Whaley’s proposal and to further express that our community does not have the available resources to support such a proposal.” It goes on to point out that, while they are sympathetic to the issues related to the border crisis, the community is simply not in a position to offer assistance.

There is speculation that Whaley’s comments were little more than a publicity stunt, aimed at getting a sound bite on national news, which she accomplished without question. Others believe her intention was to gain more favor with Dayton’s large and ever-expanding Hispanic population. Only the mayor knows why she really made such a sweeping statement without discussing the concept with other local leaders.

These sentiments are playing out across the country in a constant battle. While there is an overwhelming feeling of obligation by most to help children and families fleeing poverty and abuse, there must first be resources in place to properly handle the situation without making it worse.

 

Jamestown Comet Editor Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. More at gerydeer.com.

 

ATVs are not toys for young children

In Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Health, Local News, Opinion, Sports News, State News, Uncategorized on July 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

DIH LOGOSince 1982, there have been nearly 400 Ohio deaths related to the operation of ATVs, short for “all terrain vehicles.” Like any other power machine, the ATV is a safe, versatile vehicle when handled properly by responsible adults, yet their operation is far too often given over to small children.

According to statistics collected between 1982 and 2012 by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been, nationally, 2,944 ATV-related fatalities of children younger than 16 years of age and 43 percent of them were younger than 12. The CPSC also states that children 16 and under comprised 24 percent of the total number of ATV related deaths.

Unfortunately, these machines are not being treated like the dangerous power equipment they are but instead as if they are children’s toys. It’s not uncommon to see very small children riding these powerful four-wheelers (and there are still a few three-wheelers out there). Any responsibility for accidents must be laid firmly on the shoulders of the parents as well as those legislators who can’t be bothered with increasing safety regulations on these devices.

Currently, age restrictions on ATV operations in Ohio are, in this commentator’s opinion, far too lenient, and logically inconsistent. For example, as of 2014, the Ohio law states that, “to operate an ATV on public lands, one must have a driver’s license or motorcycle endorsement. The Department of Natural Resources may permit a person at least 12 (years of age) to operate on Department land if accompanied by a parent.”

In the next section the regulations state, “No one under 16 may operate an ATV unless on land owned by a parent or accompanied by an adult 18 or older.” It’s as if, in one regulation, the legislators acknowledge the dangers involved in operating these machines and that people should be qualified, licensed drivers. But in the other, just having a parent there qualifies the kid to be behind the handlebars.

When children operate these machines there are two issues to consider: Experience and size. A licensed driver will have had some training and experience behind the wheel and be at least somewhat more experienced than someone who has never operated a motor vehicle. Arguing also that a farm kid can handle it because of tractors and other equipment is ridiculous too. There is a big difference between disking a field and popping wheelies down a hillside on an ATV.

Additionally, as stable as they may seem, to keep all four wheels on the ground, an ATV requires a certain amount of bulk in the form of the rider. Shifting the weight from side to side, similar to riding a bike, is necessary and aids in steering and stability.

A small child of 6 or 7 years old, and maybe 60 pounds on the outside, simply does not have enough mass or strength to control the machine, regardless of its size. Even the smallest of these vehicles is powerful enough to cause a serious accident if not properly controlled and no safety switch or oversized helmet can outmatch the common sense of not letting a little kid ride it in the first place.

The overturned ATV in the Crooked River.Liability is another major consideration. Without getting into the legal issues, it goes without saying that America is a litigious society and special endorsements are required on insurance policies to cover liability issues related to ATV operation. Even if there is insurance, the parents of an injured child can still sue the owner of the ATV or the property where the accident took place.

In the end, the question must be asked, “Is a few minutes of joy riding on an ATV worth risking the safety or perhaps the very life of a child?” For more information, download a complete copy of Ohio’s current ATV laws: OhioATVLaw

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at www.gerydeer.com.