HNY, Organizational Ethics, and Justice

It is New Year’s Eve and I’d love to wish everyone a happy one but we all know that for many it will be not be a happy one this year but I hope that we can work through 2021 toward making it so that 2022 has a better chance of being happy for as many as possible.  I’m not intending to publish anything here just for the sake of adding content.  This means that during an off election year I may post stuff frequently OR sporadically depending on the environment at a given point in time.  There will always be important things that could and maybe should be talked about and analyzed but, too, there needs to be time for observation and reflection, as well as space for others to contribute to discussion. I do have one topic I’d like to broach right now apart from my New Year wishes.  

During one of my Public Administration courses I had one of the professors who really acted as a mentor.  One thing I remember distinctly and have recalled and considered many times since then is a point that he made about police.  The main book that we were using in this course was a textbook written by him and a peer of his who was a Chinese scholar.  This was a great combination – to have the insight of a scholar from a country 1) with which we had a somewhat contentious relationship and 2) whose human rights abuses were publicly known. So the fact that the point that I remember that was made by this professor was drawn from this collaborative work makes it more meaningful in my opinion. 

The point was simple.  Well, it was but it was also reliant on two other related points made in the same course. The first preliminary point was about organizational ethics. It is more specifically about ensuring that your organization does not become dysfunctional or even better yet that it is working toward continued improvement.  In order to do this, you must guard against “The Slacker Effect”.  There will always be a few slackers in an organization – it is unrealistic to imagine that there can be zero.  But the main thing to remember is that this gets unmanageable when the percentage reaches double digits – you want to keep it very low.  And this is crucial because the tendency will always be for this percentage to grow as people naturally say to themselves, “He/she doesn’t do any work and still gets paid – why should I do any work then?” So this tendency needs to be managed in one way or another, otherwise your organization ceases to produce enough to be viable.

The second point about general organizational ethics and health was about favoritism (and to be honest this was a topic in multiple classes).  This is regarding favoritism in hiring decisions.  This is obviously a big problem. I once said something to the effect that a blindfold is the greatest justification.  When I said this I was thinking about people saying to themselves (while they are justifying something) that “others are doing it so it is o.k.”.  Looking just at what others are doing is often a way to turn your back on looking (the blindfold) at an analysis of cause and effect. Or as my dad used to say, if someone jumped off a bridge would you do it too?  But on the academic side of the subject, the point is that you absolutely need to make sure in hiring that you are hiring the most qualified individuals for positions – the ones that will lead to a betterment of your organization. 

Of course ‘most qualified’ can be justified or ‘tweaked’ in about every conceivable way so this is obviously dependent on the integrity of the decision maker(s).  That said, one consideration is whether the hire is internal or external to the organization – by too frequently couching ‘most qualified’ in terms of how well the individual already knows the organization (because they are somehow ‘internal’) you are not bringing diverse/new/valuable/possibly even better ideas inside. The mix of internal and external hires should be well-proportioned. 

So back to police.  From the outside, it is clear that organizational ethics in police forces consist of some specifics that may not exist elsewhere.  Being a supremacist may not be as common in other sectors of society, personal safety is a much smaller consideration elsewhere, and an environment with the potential for a clear and present abuse of power is seen nowhere as clearly as it is in the Justice Department. 

That said, organizational ethics and organizational health are imperative in police forces just as they are elsewhere but I would say that they need to be publicly visible in an abundance as a result of these additional factors. 

So the point that one of my favorite professors made, as I said, was simple.  It is that if the police (and without a doubt, on a more general level, the Justice Department) are not acting ethically, then there is little hope.  That is it.  That is the point.  But it certainly can help to give focus because if the department is ethical and healthy, then a large number of wrongs in society can be remedied. 

Injustice/Justice Graphic

One of the things that we do not hear nearly enough about as “resolved through the criminal justice system” is issues of sex trafficking and/or sexual crimes against children.  Highly vulnerable victims are the face of injustice seen in this graphic.  If the work isn’t done to have justice served by the justice department, we are not “no worse off”. Injustice is served and we are actually twice as impoverished as we should be.

The Value of Investing (really this is more exercise related)

Again, this is not a traditionally politically oriented/current issues related post.  Nonetheless, it is important.

Over the years I have done that seemingly stupid thing where I spent money on a piece of exercise equipment but then only used it a handful of times’.  But now that I am working from home, I can chip away at body parts throughout the day so I dug deeper and deeper in my apartment and pulled out some really valuable tools and ended up being really grateful that I actually HAD spent that money in past years.

I never spent a huge amount of money on anything (the ‘why’ goes without saying and it’s not because I’m cheap) so nothing I’m going to talk about costs that much.

I have been in progressive discomfort the last couple of years down my whole left side and toward the end of ‘on premise’ working I really had struggled in a real good amount of pain and had to be  away from home like this for 10.5 hours a day (I would categorize this as some amount of torture).  

So the first thing I pulled out was an inversion device because I wanted/needed to be able to do more movement than I would be comfortable doing on my feet, and with all of the nerve endings in between.  I remember I bought it at Gaiam when they had more exercise equipment.  So if I search ‘Gaiam’ and ‘exercise’ on google this is what it looks like. Inversion Exercise

I can use this mostly to stretch my legs more freely in different directions and this was a great starting point.  I remember I bought it because it was advertised as a way to get more blood flowing to your head, so surely that happens as well (and has to be done in short stints).  

Now that I’ve got my muscles stretched a little bit, it makes more sense to use the floor to stretch them further with the resistance of the floor – but I can still get on this at times and it does feel good.  

Other things I’ve progressively pulled out of storage (and I am finding a real good use for all of them) are:  

The second most important tool for me is this Gaiam Ab Ball (this is how I searched in Google and as of today there is one available on eBay).

The reason this is so valuable to me (I think) is that there is something really disconcerting to me to not have something to hold onto when trying to do a (or more than one) setup.  I don’t know why holding onto this 8 lb. ball helps so much but it does and Lord knows I need it.  

I have another smaller (5 lb.) weighted ball that I’d bought from Gaiam that I use to do Russian Twists for the side ab muscles (but I’m sure I’m not doing it quite right – yet…)

I am using little hand weights (10 lb.) to work some arm and back muscles with different movements.  

I had also bought this stepper from Gaiam eons ago – for a little bit of sweat anyway.

And today I recalled, found, and pulled out ankle weights so I can wear these while doing different leg movements and can feel the work being done by leg and hip muscles.

So these are all small things but with them together, about a weeks time, chipping away, searching for exercises or stretches for different muscles that I can feel need it, I can see and feel a little progress.

I do want to point out that stretching has been as important for me as repetitive movements and I read yesterday that most people make the mistake of not holding a stretch long enough – that you’re not really stretching your muscle unless you hold it for 30 seconds.  So this means that every time in my 49 years that I’ve stretched I really didn’t stretch anything – good to know.  


Native Americans Leading the United States or This Place Has Gone to Pot

Given the context, Native Americans are still blatantly and glaringly marginalized in the United States.  One thing I know is that there is no good reason that Native Americans shouldn’t, wouldn’t, and/or couldn’t be prominent in our public daily lives.  I do want to point out, too, that I meant the word daily – as in consistent and perpetual.  And I also meant the word public, as in broadcast for all to see. 

What interests me most about Native American culture is NOT what seems to be the only thing that interests many about Native American culture – a meat eating diet.  That is of no interest to me and it is very dated.  Vegan food markets are growing at very fast rates due to demand and there are certainly vegan Native Americans. 

Some Native Americans have become vegan, likely in response to the pressures on animals and ecology from today’s culture and today’s population.  As vegan Native American Linda Fisher (  is quoted as saying in, “The Indians of yesterday were true conservationists.  They understood the inherent dangers of overtaxing the earth and her creatures….”

So why can’t we do this?  Why can’t Native Americans be central, obvious and powerful leaders in this country?  It shouldn’t take more than a few years to affect this change and there have been hundreds of them (years).  We can start and complete many other initiatives and we can talk about all of our problems in a wealth of different ways but we can’t have really even seemed to broach the subject of Native Americans leading the United States much at all – we just can’t bring ourselves to even go there. 

There are sensibilities, commitments, and understandings that will be central to the work of Native American leaders of the United States that are missing without them.  This place has gone to pot. 

My Thoughts on Voting Machine Security

Acting fraudulently is apparently super easy – in short stints anyway.

Heck, even H. Brooke Paige, who cannot even bring himself to think about logical solutions to problems if they may not benefit the status quo, dared to run as a Democrat previously.

Of course Donald Trump didn’t win – either time.  That goes without saying.  

But is it impossible to switch votes in a Dominion Voting Machine as officials have been quoted as saying? 

The fact that he is appealing to the fact that they couldn’t get the switch by ‘local officials’ or ‘poll watchers’ in his argument means what we already know.  And that is that we do not have nearly enough control over our votes ourselves.  


If I Can Tell You [Are Interacting with me with Ulterior Motives I May Twist you up]

2006 is a landmark year for me.  This is because something happened that so shocked me to the core that I became hyper-conscious of happenings in my environment in the immediate succeeding years.  I had a dog (Winky Dinky, no really her name was just Wink) who had a litter of puppies.  I had no intention of keeping any of the puppies myself but I’d also had enough experience with people with ill will to know that I had to try to guard against them when seeking new parents for the puppies.  I was not asking for any money for the puppies, even though I’d spent a good amount of it on them. I was intent on not asking for money for them because love and care in no way equates to money and we, as pet owners, already have to spend way too much on them. 

So I composed a letter and asked prospective read it first.  In this letter one thing I made clear, by it being the only thing that I emphasized not once but twice, that I didn’t want them to be crated.  For me, this was statistically and given communication limitations that would exist in the decision making process, the easiest/best way that I could weed out those that may not really care enough about this living being that I would transfer to them.

And ill-willed people actually showed up before the puppies were even born.  Bob Kiss was running for mayor.  I was so enthusiastic about the prospect of Bob Kiss serving as the mayor of Burlington that I helped to work on his campaign (nothing huge, just literature drops – but important to the campaign and a choice I made of what to do with my time).  On election night I went to Sweetwaters, where volunteers were invited, to wait for the results. 

Anyone can volunteer for a campaign.  They may truly care, but, too, they may not.  I believe this happens a lot – and almost always in left-leaning campaigns – moles and disrupters. 

A woman made herself visible and friendly there.  I was a alone so it was nice to have someone to chat with who also seemed to be alone and was about my age.  She didn’t even necessarily have had to have been a past campaign volunteer – no one was checking credentials, you just showed up. 

At about the same time I had a new neighbor who was also about my age (in relative terms).  Again, it was nice to have someone to chat with in my neighborhood (this was what was going through my head).

Cut to soon before Wink had her puppies.  Over the course of a week I’d made a few dinner engagements with these two individuals – entertainment is easy if you appreciate food.  The first was at the female’s house. Wink was heavily pregnant.  The three of us and the dogs (I also had a beautiful, caring, and special dog named Angie) went for a walk in the woods along a brook per her suggestion.  During this walk she made sure to point out a pile of branches and said that she’d buried her dog there – that that is how you’re supposed to do it because it keeps the scent away.  She also tried more than once to get me to let my dogs walk/play in the brook.  Given safety concerns there was no way I was going to do that and I was surprised that she chose to try to push that. 

After eating we were sitting across the coffee table chatting – the male and the female on the couch, me and my dogs on the other side.  We weren’t there too long, maybe at hour, but at the end of this time the female laughingly said something about what my dogs looked like.  I looked down and I was surprised to see that they were both sitting very close to me on either side and that they were both looking across the coffee table with squinted, untrusting/suspicious looking eyes.  I’d never seen either of them look like this before – it was very abnormal expressions for them and it was the same expression on BOTH of their faces! They were being very still and quiet but not letting their eyes leave their intended direction.  This was a great moment to capture as a “Oh I guess it’s time to go” moment.  

We scheduled another food item meeting at my house in what ended up being one or two days before Wink had her puppies.  The female wanted to take my dogs for a walk.  I didn’t want to let my dogs alone with her and I insisted that I go as well.  It wasn’t a long walk but the last block or two she said that we should run it – she seemed to tend to present herself as motivational. Since I did want to get back to my house I didn’t think much of it we all ran.

During that moment and also during the walk by the brook a few days before, I’d forgotten that I’d learned/heard/read that you really need to limit the exercise of your dog in the last part the  of pregnancy.

Two of Wink’s five puppies were born stillborn and another was very ill and fighting for life (which cost me about $500/$600 in vet bills – I didn’t intend to spend that money but given my remorse and deep sadness of the death of the two puppies there was no way that I wasn’t going to do everything I could to help ‘Noddy’, which was his name, to survive and he did . 

I put a lot of time and effort into the letter I wrote for prospective owners. In writing this, I was still working with all of my might to ensure a happy, healthy and full life for Wink’s surviving puppies.  I’d also said that I was looking for owners who would let the puppy and mother meet again on occasion.  The new owner respected the soul of these beings and their connection. 

Given that I’d explicitly asked them to read it (and it was short and to the point), if they still said they wanted a puppy, that meant that they knew that I believed that they agreed.

The first puppy went and it broke my heart.  The morning of the day she went I found her behind the washing machine, which hurt me more wondering if somehow she knew – this flock of puppies were not introverts and they were always ready to interact. 

The second puppy went. 

As I’m about to tell the rest of the story, I’m now realizing/recalling that there was a third individual that popped up in my life at this time who lived in an apartment across the street from the new male neighbor.  I sort of recognized her from high school but she was not someone I’d ever talked to before.   But soon before this she’d started a conversation with me on the sidewalk – the subject of the puppies came up and we became a little friendly. 

I am a friendly sociable person.  It’s a commitment that I still haven’t given up.

The morning the second owners came to pick up Noddy this second ‘new acquaintance neighbor’ showed up on the sidewalk at the time that the owner(s) was there to pick him up.  At this point I was pretty comfortable with the first owner and Lola.  However, I was a little uncomfortable with the second owner.  There were little things, one of which was her 12ish year old daughter saying to me when they came to meet him “What you have to understand…” – I don’t recall what came after that but I don’t think that was the point of the comment anyway. It was abnormal language, tone, and mannerisms for someone of her age to use to an adult in that context – she was told to say it like she did like she was the one that was the teacher. 

But I didn’t really get much of a chance to talk anymore with the mother before she took Noddy away because of neighbor #2’s imposing presence. 

Puppy #3 was going to go to a friend of the owners of puppy #1.  Then puppy #1’s owner(s) wrote me and said that they’d been crating her.  And soon puppy #2’s owner(s) said that they it would be difficult to find the time to let the puppy meet his mother on occasion (due to child duties) but that she was ‘willing’.  I didn’t write back.  I don’t think she ever intended to, just as I don’t think puppy #3’s intended owner(s) ever really intended to take him either.  

And the 2nd neighbor had asked if puppy #3 could stay over for the night (mind you she was being super friendly and kind at the time), I said ‘sure’ – the puppies were so super cute, you couldn’t not love them.  The following morning I woke up with a really terrible feeling about it I paced and paced and waited until a reasonable hour and called her at 8am and asked her if I could pick him up.  When I did, her daughter said, “He KEPT falling off the bed.”  Though some dogs are afraid of the vacuum cleaner and others are not, Lester was a confident dog but he was absolutely terrified and mortified of/with it.  I wonder what happened that night.  I’ve since learned that she had some bad drug problems.  I recall having said to neighbor #2 something to the effect of why would she sit with rotting teeth in her mouth (because her front teeth were and she would regularly smile and converse like nothing was amiss) – and a look came upon his face like “how DARE I say such a thing”, when purportedly he didn’t know her – it was a very odd look to see come over his face given how the conversation had been  going.    

Oh also, the child (only daughter) who came to look at puppy #1 looks nothing like her real daughter, saving the hair color.

As I was absorbing all of this the time was approaching for puppy #3 to be picked up. 

It was clear that actions were being taken as a concerted effort and that exact timing was a big consideration.   

I left the house with puppy #3 at the time that he was scheduled to be picked up and I kept him even though I couldn’t afford to and was in no way prepared to – I wouldn’t dare to trust him with anyone else at this point..  Puppy #1’s owner had said that puppy #3’s father worked in selling water rights or something like that that she didn’t understand. 

I was well known to be closely involved in Environmental Justice issues at the time and the whole situation was torture.  I was walking around in a state of shock for months.  I said to myself many times, “This is what it feels like to have a child kidnapped from you.”

I tried to call a lawyer but the call instead went to a jewelry store downtown which had a number so different from the one that I called that it would have been impossible to have mistakenly hit all of those keys wrong. 

Six months later I filed a report with the FBI.

2006 was also the year that Scudder Parker ran for governor and I worked on this campaign as well.  He had immense support – people loved him and were looking really looking forward to the relief that would be felt when he was installed as governor. 

Mister Jim Condos

Let’s be clear.  I’m not a fan of Jim Condos’ in the least.  I think he is almost are far removed from the face of Democracy as you can be.

Democracy is now decided at the kitchen table (or something to that effect) of every household (hopefully) in the country.  And I wonder how many people believe that 70 million people voted for Donald Trump.  Quite a few less than that again.  

Talking about realities will continue to happen – though it may be painful for some.   From Vermont Business Magazine (11/10), he would like us to feel proud of ourselves.

Condos Quote in Vermont Business Magazine - see image description.

A Wandering Eye

I remember the first time I saw Celine McArthur on WCAX – In relative terms, and years removed, it didn’t seem long after our best local station was bought out – when the web page or maybe it was their facebook page, immediately went from primarily providing content to being loaded with strange ads for platform shoes and shower seats. (I definitely remember the shoes anyway – in any case it was weird, crass, classless, and disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, I am a little grateful that they stopped doing that.)

I’ve never felt like Celine McArthur was a quality newscaster at all – she may be seen as a quality newscaster elsewhere (and surely by some, if not a number here).  When I see that she is on – and I’ve done this from the start – I more often than not choose to leave the room. 

According to this really very strange Seven Days article from February, really, in real life, in person, she’s ‘fast-talking and charming”.   Assuming they didn’t meet behind closed doors, my description without going back to look – would be fast-talking, with a disconcerting cross between a low tone and a nasal tone, and with more of a political persona than anything else – she always seems to more be ‘elsewhere’ really. 

The article is talking about her necklace – no shock that that subject matter got approved really – presenting her as a victim, losing her job to a buy out and all, but also as a sort of martyr and maybe even a super hero – and clearly a winner (since she won an Emmy). 

As a reporter, putting too much effort into presenting ‘yourself’ is really poor taste (doing so as a close affiliate is the same exact thing).  It’s like that (I think early 80s maybe) UVM yearbook that I saw where the editor started the book with a large ‘meet your editor’ spread – errr, look around, we don’t do that here and there’s a really good reason for that. 

Celine’s ‘partner’, Freddy Wheeler, who is now in Israel, shows his coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, here, which doubtfully won any awards. Seemingly, he’s not entirely welcome by law enforcement but at least they’ve made eye contact. 

At least this is better than when Kurt Cobain died in 1994 and this photojournalist,, from the bushes maybe, couldn’t do much more than get the broadside of one but, still no really, maybe next time Celine should help Freddy with her law enforcement contacts. Cobain Death Driveway

The Evil of Face Masks and Mike Pence’s Love for Federalism

Do you think that Evil is an inappropriate word to use? And, if so, why? The bigger question might be, “Are you in a decision making role”? It is not inappropriate to call forcing individuals to put a mask over their mouth and nose when in public evil.  

Do I have to give you specifics of why I think it is Evil? NOPE! Do I have to confirm that I have heard the public health announcements? Nope.

I do think that critical analyses of the Covid-19 pandemic period should be organized, welcome, and public.   

I do also think that Donald Trump’s hoped election (or course there were no actors because it never happened) actually sought to use it and the mask ‘question’ toward their end.  How would they find the smattering of people to stand behind him, even if paid, if they were not assured that they could be masked?  

Regarding Mike Pence and his love for Federalism: See this article By the way, in this article, the comment about Trump employees’ roles in the ‘Way Things Went’ is three paragraphs up from the heading ‘Anger and Death Threats”.  

The addition of Mike Pence’s comment about his love for federalism seems quite purposeful but what is funny about it?  The purpose of federalism is to ensure a balance of power.  To allow people to have greater control over what affects them locally.  

Does this mean that the locally powerful should be able to maintain, by any means necessary, an imbalanced power structure at the local/state level?  

The purpose of federalism is not to coordinate power between the branches (and of course elements of the private sector) to meet individual’s (not the public’s) desired ends.