Law: Groveland Four Exonerated!

https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2021/11/23/groveland-four-exonerated-by-florida-judge-over-70-years-after-being-falsely-accused-of-rape

What people need more than anything is a sense of justice.
-Barack Obama

(I realize that the real injustices can’t be undone. We can’t go back in time. But many people- including me- called for total exonerations. So, the outcome, this justice, can provide a “sense of justice” and is something worth praising, and maybe this will become a precedent, or a roadmap, for future pardons and exonerations for other “known” injustices that are based on clear and convincing evidence of such injustices or unfairness- including any convictions obtained, punishments given, or actions taken, without fair trials, or where justice was, in some way, thwarted.)

Fed: Bostic

I find Raphael Bostic to be the most interesting and most clear-speaking of the Fed Presidents (my opinion). To me, Mr. Bostic is the most thoughtful member of that group. He always offers extra-value in his comments. If I could have lunch with one Fed president, it would probably be Mr. Bostic. And like Mr. Bostic, I never liked or bought-into the term “transitory” with respect to inflation. I prefer his word “episodic”. We are in an “episode”. Whether it’s transitory, or how long it lasts, is unknown. Of course, if we go by the television business, the word “episode” is not a series. It’s just one show in a series; a one-off story of a larger storyline- which, of course, means that it is not permanent. Time will tell.

Mr. Bostic could be the right person for the bank supervisor position still to be filled. (I don’t know anything about that process, or if he’d even want that job over his present position; it’s just an observation.)

He also praised the President’s decision on re-nominating Jay Powell; and I agree with the praise, and with the President’s reasoning. It’s the continuity, track record, closure of the issue, trust across the board, and the attempt at a non-partisan sentiment (even if, partially, for political reasons, it’s a good thing), that are all important- and that are all vital at this moment.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-11-23/bostic-faster-taper-would-give-fed-more-optionality-video

RADical Hope Foundation

I think this project is going to be phenomenally successful. It will probably even go beyond college students, eventually. The statistics on mental health issues are shocking.

On a related note, we all have to play a role in solving issues- if not in our society, then, at least, in our communities. Our “give” has to, at least, challenge our “take” in life.

And I live my advice. I’ve put in a lot of study, and time, and effort, to advocate for children without fathers, and plan to do more in the future; I worked in a cancer hospital (not easy); and I volunteer with seniors- and more. I do my part as and when and how I can.

It isn’t just about donating money and going to a dinner or gala. Money helps, for certain. It helps with research and resources. But you have to really get your hands dirty with thought and labor. That’s the difference-maker.

You have to step back and look at your life and say- do I give? Do I help? Am I a participant in trying to improve the lives of others in any manner? If not, why not?

And I certainly appreciate that “time” is a constraint. I know that I am often overwhelmed with responsibilities and I flip back-and-forth from things in the middle and have to re-start, then lose track of what I did and when, and have to start all over, etc. Time is always the challenge, especially with limited resources. But if you just sit down for a few minutes, and decide on an approach you want to take to an issue, it only takes a small amount of time each month to contribute to your community. If you’re a good writer- write. If you’re a good researcher- research issues and share analyses and ideas. If you are good with people, work once a month in a soup kitchen or hospital. If you love the outdoors, join an environmental organization or volunteer at a local city park. Or, there are so many other ways to go about it.  

Pick one thing you care about and that you think is important and get your hands dirty. A life based on serving yourself and your own needs will not be a fulfilling one. There has to be the “giving” dimension.

What is that for you?

Shark Tank: Catching Sharks – Reading Can Equal Feeding

Shark Tank is a lot of fun for those interested in business and commerce. If you watch the program, you can see that many of the entrepreneurs know so much about every Shark before entering the Tank. Many of the entrepreneurs prepare for the show by reading about the Sharks’ business and investment backgrounds and philosophies, favorite foods/any allergies (you don’t want to target a Shark that is allergic to your product), favorite travel spots, hobbies (some Sharks always say they need to have passion for things in which they invest, so the entrepreneurs need to know their passions- like Robert for car racing or Daymond for fishing), every investment made over the years and the histories of those transactions, best investments, worst investments … they go into the Tank prepared, well-read, and informed with everything out there, just in case any opportunity arises where information can be used to get a result or make a connection, or get an angle. Most of the entrepreneurs do meticulous homework on each Shark by reading all of the available information, such as magazine articles, interviews, websites, going through tweets/Twitter feeds, reading blogs, work histories (Kevin claims to have had a past job that seems to suit every occasion), websites of companies the Sharks financed, watching past Shark Tank pitches online that succeeded or failed, etc., so that they know exactly what they are talking about and how to approach things, based on their respective goals.  

To go into the Tank and say things to any Shark that is contrary to a Shark’s respective experiences or beliefs or philosophies or values can be a crucial error- particularly if that is the Shark you are most targeting for an investment. To not do their homework by reading-up, it shows the Sharks that an entrepreneur is willing to operate in a void or in willful ignorance, or by guessing, or with not being laser-focused on knowing and understanding their target audience- which is crucial in todays’ ultra-competitive business environment. In fairness, expecting the entrepreneurs to just read and understand their audience (the Sharks) is not expecting too much. How can an entrepreneur ask someone for hundreds of thousands of dollars and not know what interests or motivates the investor and what their respective business goals and activities are, and what they can glean from that? All of this can be useful information in a business transaction and it’s all available out there. When it comes to catching a Shark- reading can equal feeding.

An entrepreneur showing the Sharks that they took the time to study and understand them appears to stroke the Sharks’ egos, a bit, too (especially Mark, he loves to get quoted, or to hear that someone learned something he likes), which can’t hurt when asking for their money.

A Misalignment of Interests When Peace is a High Value

If you watch Shark Tank, you’ve heard the Sharks often talk about “alignment of interests”. The idea is that, as an investor, you have to have the same ultimate goal as the company or person in which or whom you invest. As a simple example, if an entrepreneur owns a restaurant, and his goal is to open two more just like it, he or she asks the Sharks to invest in the new restaurants, but not get an interest in the existing restaurant. So, the new money is only for the new venues. The entrepreneur points to his successful restaurant as the example of what and how the others will operate.

The Sharks point-out that the entrepreneur’s goals include continuing to manage his or her successful restaurant, while building the others. But a restaurant takes a lot of time to keep running well. So, the Sharks may point out that they’d be misaligned in interests, because the Sharks want all of his or her time to go to the new venture- the one with their money.

So, let’s look at this idea with respect to politics.

Once a candidate wins office, his or her job- as mayor, governor, president, congressman, or senator- is now different that his or her job as a candidate. As a candidate, his or her job is, largely, to get the votes of his or her party (and, in some cases, ideally, some votes from the other party- at least, in days of yore), and some independent voters. But once that candidate wins, the job changes. The job, now, is to represent “everyone” in the respective city, state, district, or nation (depending on whatever the position is).

But there is an inherent problem.

Re-election.

So, citizens and their representatives or leaders have misaligned interests.

And this is even true even of citizens in the same party as the official.

Why?

Even if constituents want the same things as the elected official, as citizens, we are entitled to a leader or representative who represents all the people in our respective city, state, nation, or district. This is the real job description.

Perhaps, in any given case, you don’t care much, if your party is the same as that of the elected official. But you should care. Because when people in your community feel that they have no government representation, that’s when division and resentment and frustration festers.

And that, slowly, eats into the soul of a community or society.

The job of governing is not to promote values- the job of governing is to reflect values. Promoting values means certain values should prevail and govern, despite whatever values exist. Reflecting values means that any fairly-large group of people who share a common value or values should have those values acknowledged, and, at least to some degree, represented.

Consider that when we attempt to preserve a personal value through governing and legislation while ignoring the personal values of other large groups of citizens, it compromises peace. So, a value is preserved- but another value is forgone: the value of “peace”.

Americans have forgotten that peace is a noble value for which to strive. You don’t hear a lot of, or any talk about “peace” in today’s discourse; neither as an idea, nor as an ideal. And while peace-through-strength works with adversaries, it’s only through respect that peace can be maintained or gained with allies (or hopeful allies). Peace is the most nonpartisan issue of all. Our system was designed with the best way to achieve it in mind- through representation and a voice in affairs, for all. Putting peace above all other values would be nothing more than a return to the way things once were- and are supposed to be.

You may not think that politicians want or can benefit from peace- but if the voters prioritize it, and demand it- then the politicians will have to run on it, and then execute on it. The voters determine the values. The voters approve of or disapprove of the processes. It’s always up to the voters, in the end.

America was built on diversity. The word “America” nearly means “diverse”. So, the fact that we have diverse wants and needs only reinforces why we are all here in the first place. All decisions should acknowledge this and honor this (even if they can’t always serve this). Every policy or legislation should, at least, acknowledge the desires of all large groups, if for no other reason, than just to create goodwill by reflecting awareness, using active listening, and showing respect, to encourage peace in a state or nation, which, again, is as important a value and condition as any other.  

Legislators and leaders should exhibit respect for opinions and feelings of all fairly-large groups of people in their respective processes, even when they don’t have to. One side can pass a law or a policy without carelessly offending the other side- and, certainly, without purposefully or recklessly doing so. It doesn’t mean that they buckled. It means that they have respect for a portion of the state, or nation, or district, or city, and want to express that. People need to hear that (if not feel it). It’s a lot about “process” and not about substance. The way that things are done, and presented. But, to be sure, there is substance involved in not going too far in ignoring or dismissing the wants and needs of a segment of constituents.

The fact of the matter is that steady compromise, with peace, is better than swings back-and-forth (or left and right) of power, without it. In the end, we net-out, roughly, the same outcome. In the former scenario, we all get about half of what we want at any given time. In the latter case we get most or all of what we want, but only, roughly, half of the time, until power shifts back the other way, and then things are reversed. I guess that one could say that it all comes out in the wash. And that’s, probably, the simple reality of it. So, if, in sum, one way or the other, over time, we get about half of what we want any way that it’s sliced, it’s worth asking, “Which way also allows for the most-steady flow of peace?”.

Society evolves, times evolve, people evolve, and a nation evolves. This nation has always evolved. And should always evolve. As a pandemic moved to a vaccine and to a safer society for most, attitudes, practices, policies, and politics also have to evolve from those of a virus that separated us to a policy of moving back together, proverbially, symbolically, physically, socially, and societally.

Times change. We can change, too. And we don’t have to change our values to change how we engage and work with each other for a better, safer, more consistent, and more peaceful nation.

The moment of emotional politics has passed. The moment for balance and harmony in politics has emerged. But it has to come from the people- and it has to come from both sides (meaning, the majority of Americans). Of course, unless both sides adopt the ideas of respect and consideration for all constituents, then the goal would be impossible to reach. It demands the acceptance, embracement, and decisive effort of the majority of citizens. We’d have to demand, and ensure, that our elected officials- of both parties- show more respect for their constituents of the respective other party in governing and in legislation. Again, because it brings more harmony to us all.  

Preserving one’s own values without sacrificing another’s dignity is possible. These are not mutually exclusive principles.

Term limits are not an answer, because they are not going to happen where they have not happened, heretofore.

As for the element at the center of it all- “re-election”:

That always depends on the values of the voters. If the voters value the things I have discussed here, then the representatives and leaders will have to serve those principles and voters. Their re-elections will depend on their success at servicing all the people, with dignity. If the voters of a particular party demand that they want a more balanced and peaceful society as the most important and highest value, then service to that principle will be the basis for re-election in any district, state, or the nation. People vote their pocketbooks- but people vote their values.

These concepts are not just about moving to the center. That is too generic and too political of a description. It is about embracing the values of peace and harmony, equal to, or above, all else, and the constitutional idea- or ideal- of representatives and leaders serving all of their constituents as the best path to a peaceful society. This is all up to voters. If voters value more evenhandedness across the board, than our representation will reflect that.

It all depends on the values of the voters. The voters decide. Getting re-elected can mean that one has represented and led all constituents as best as a person can- if that’s what the voters want. They- we- have to decide where on the list of values “peace” falls.

Seniors Love a Party!

A big birthday event at the Senior Center at lunch hour. Seniors love parties- as much as young people. And why not?

I’m learning that the Center is a form of therapy for many. While many people come for socializing and fun, others are re-emerging after long periods of isolation and loneliness and boredom during the pandemic. It’s a safe place where people can return to more normal and regular behavior and activity. And then there are those who join the Center immediately following a spouse’s death (after mourning). It gives them a place to re-boot, to start social interactions and create a path for their new reality. I think that helping these people will be especially gratifying.

And seniors are great judges of character. Today I got called: “great”, “nice”, “harmless”, “sweet”, “very helpful”. Great adjectives! 😊 It’s like grade-school. And they are the adults.

Pics from the b-day party, below.