Presumption of innocence

Bea and I spent the weekend with friends down in Tampa Bay, while we were super busy having more fun that should be allowed in just a long weekend we also followed the Casey Anthony Trial. Every time we had a chance we would watch some of the trial or one of the summaries. It looked like it was going to be a slam dunk and the evidence did not look all that circumstantial… however we were wrong.

When we heard that she was innocent on the greater charges, I was not upset. My wife was a little outraged and we talked about it a bit. In reality, the system is not broken and the more we discussed it the more we realized that in reality there seems to be a lot of information missing. You cannot convict people without due process and specially actual evidence. I am not a judge nor jury so I have no idea… does she seem guilty… yes, but I am not in a position to actually make that call.

Latin Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

(the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty)

My friend Daniel had a similar reaction to the verdict, and even though people try to “call him out” by bringing up a cause he and I support (I actually picked up the cause thanks to him) the WM3. It is a actually an example of what can happen if circumstantial evidence is given more power than it should.

Being a juror is not an easy job, and we should not be outraged at them. Lets not approach this situation like celebrity gossip, but rather like what it is, the loss of a life. I do hope that those responsible are brought to justice CSI style. While that lady might not be the perfect mother, right now there was not enough evidence for her to be put in jail. If she is involved directly or indirectly her own conscience might be the only judge and jury right now. Lets hope that the lessons that come out of this is that the system will do everything it can to find the true perpetrators and not just another celebrity inflation like the OJ Simpson trial debacle.


Ideologies, much like the bible are often misquoted. American culture is supposed to be all about the individual and individualism, but if you dig a little to were the term “self-reliance” come from, you will find that it has a lot to do with a speech by Ralph Waldo Emerson where he enunciated the tenets of Transcendentialism. It really cracks me up when people talk about politics and America but know so little about a country that in reality does not have that many years in history. Historically Americans fight the institution, but it seems like as a society they love to live in the now and learn from past mistakes.

I see being selfish as one of the things that hurts this society the most. I also see the misunderstanding of self reliance as kind of a symptom.

I have managed to have a lot of military people in my circle of friends. My first experience with someone that had just left the military was horrible. I worked with a guy who just got out and he seemed to have the maturity of a 16 year old and the work ethic of someone that just got out of a prison camp. While the guy had no authority in the computer lab he wanted to institute new rules and regulations about doing a job that involved simply helping students and delivering cows (computers on wheels).

As I got older I met more and more people that were involved in the military life, and like with any other label this society has I learned that there are varying degrees of what you get out of it or how much it really changes you. One thing that is a common theme is that they understand cooperation and goals better than most people. You would think Corporate America has the concept of “teamwork” on lock-down but it could not be further from the truth… finger-pointing and “CYA” but that is for another day, another post.

I have great conversations with the people that have served this country and another common theme is that they don’t understand why the country is going to the crapper… and I often feel like saying, well its because its all about how much do I have and how much more can I consume. I don’t like arguments that don’t change the situation so I keep it to myself. I do feel a little bit guilty that so many are fighting for “freedom” but in reality this country goes more and more towards the complete consumerism that is satirically displayed in the movie idiocracy.

I am at a point in life that I agree with the sentiment of Emerson that “moral intuition is a better guide to the moral sentiment than religious doctrine.” The truth in morality is always intuitive or there would be no people in position of power with their hands in the cookie jar. I wish that people realized that to help our society we have to help others and quit this rat race that leaves everyone a loser.

Well Done Osama

After the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced there were many emotions floating around. From the sadness of some at the display of disregard for human life, not just of the people that died in the raid but the reminder that so many have lost their life to terrorism, to the joy of many in America for what it feels like a closed chapter.

The most important thing to come out of the story of his death to me was that he had very clear plans on how to further hurt our way of life. That he planned on starting racial tension by making the face of terrorism even more multicultural. Every time I hear the song by the Black Eye Peas, where is the love…

I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

… it truly makes me pause and think of that word, terrorism.

I say good job Osama. He managed to start an economic downturn that snowballed into a recession. I am no economist and I am sure that the bubble with housing, hedge funds and everything else that smells of pure greed would have exploded like the dot com bubble did, but you cannot deny that after 9/11 our economy suffered. He also managed to make it impossible for you to have a good travel experience. I had traved a lot before but since then it feels more and more like caddle herding. He managed to make Islam more known as a religion for all the wrong reasons. Good luck trying to disassociate muslim extremist from terrorist in your head.

Just think of how much life has changed since that horrible day. I know it really changed mine and it made me realize that I was not safe from terrorism at all by living in the US. I also think that our media has become a big propaganda machine thanks to all of this. More and more people are just ruled by fear than ever before. More people are addicted to the drama. I sure hope that Osama being dead is truly going to make us realize that the more we don’t “stand united” the more we will be pray of those that just want a herd full of scared sheep.

The Happy People

While some humans do make me feel like there is no hope, some others make this world an awesome place to live. It seems like it all revolves around not just being happy, but being able to achieve your goals. Accomplishment, whether big or small, gives you joy and that is the essence of happy.

Having a conversation with someone a lot wiser than I am, we came to the fork on the road about loving yourself. No, get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind. The other kind, the one where you wake up and look at the mirror and are happy to see the face staring back at you. The whole self-esteem thing, the whole relationship thing, everything in life and its interactions is about love… loving one another, loving yourself. But how do I do that?

To some people it’s just a simple reaffirmation, hey, I am awesome! To others it’s the thought that God is above them and loves them no matter what; they feel unconditional love from what cynics will call an imaginary friend. Many more rely on family or friends to give them permission to love themselves for who they are, and to some extent some in that group have to see shrinks to help them open that door. In the end its all the same, it’s all about love.

Some years back I realized I could not make anyone but myself happy. Learning that it was not my responsibility to make anyone happy was liberating in many levels. As I get older and more jaded than I would like to admit I am also learning that you have to love yourself too. While the internal part is obviously very different from person to person in not just how they receive love, but how they give themselves that daily affirmation; I have found a common theme amongst the people I have discussed this subject with. That is where the happy people show up.

I am not talking about my way of coping with life either. I am a positive thinker and try very hard to always see the positive out of every situation, but you don’t have to surround yourself with positive people. The happy people are the ones that you are glad to see and interact with. The people that make your day brighter even if is to complain about the same thing you complain about.

The wife and I were calling it magnetism after laughing at a particularly funny fortune cookie. You have to find the people that share your polarity and stop trying to get close to those that just repel it.

Maybe the 30s are when we start going through the culling of relationships in our lives; but it seems like a common theme lately. Most of our close friends have decided to just devote more time to the happy people in their lives rather than waste time on those that don’t bring much positive to it.

To sum it up, besides making sure that you love who you are (or who you are striving to be), it is also very important to your happiness to surround yourself with people that are happy with who they are. The more you see people comfortable on their own skin, the less work on all levels of relationships there will be. I just wish I had figured this out when I was a lot younger and the behavior of those around me seemed so erratic. I guess everyone has to just figure out how to live in their own skin.

Losing Hope for the Human Race

I had wanted to post more about the journey that my family is going through with my uncle having ALS, but for the first time since I started this blog I have felt like my privacy has been invaded. I’ve had plenty of stalkers in the past, but for the most part it has been people that have so little going on in their lives that somehow mine seemed better or more interesting to them. Those people are easy to ignore and avoid. However, the piece of work that I encountered through posting about ALS is not.

I get a phone call the Sunday after posting about my uncle’s disease. Finding my phone number is not all that difficult if you have a couple of brain cells that fire together and poke around my domain. One of my resumes had it on it so he contacted me.

I would give you the number and name the dude is using, but thankfully the ALS community is aware of this con man and I am not about to give him even more publicity.

He identifies himself and I am thinking, how does this guy know me? He is talking in a very familiar way, and wants to know how my uncle is doing. I don’t recognize the voice or the name and the dude starts using sales tactics talking in circles and asking me questions so he can answer them himself. My brain keeps going back to, how do I know this guy?

Then he starts to talk about how he has the CURE for ALS and its not a drug! its all in the power of thinking!


That is when I start getting irritated. I am not the most knowledgeable person about the disease but I do know quite a bit… not to mention that since the diagnosis I have researched quite a bit more.

I kept my cool and continued to be polite while I looked the guy up and his phone number online. I find out that he is a con man and that he promises people to teach them how to “think” terminal illness away, because they get sick and die simply because they are not thinking right.

I stop the guy in its track and ask him what is his pitch? What is he selling? and the guy switches to anger mode. He starts to use guilt saying that if I don’t want my uncle to be cured that is fine, but that I don’t need to curse at him (mind you, I never did that; even as angry as I was I kept my cool.)

I politely asked him to please never contact me again, and lucky for me he has not. He has however harassed many others in the ALS community and seems to want to treat a new disease every couple of years. I am guessing that is when he runs out of the money that he has scammed from his last round.

I could not believe that someone would actually prey on people with this much emotional distress, but it makes sense. People in families going through what we are going through are looking for hope, answers, a way out. There is a lot of garbage out there in the world, and some of it stinks more than other. I can only hope that since more people are internet savvy now, they look up people like this right away and find information before sending people like this one money.