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My Two Cents Worth

by Joseph Andalina


2018

April

Emma, Hogg, Parkland, and guns

The menace at the high school in Florida has created a world of anger, fear, disgust, and a disappointing evolution of fighting amongst ourselves.

As is usual in this country, the press, media, and politicians find tragedy as a way to point fingers at those who disagree with each other’s opinions.

The killer here has been arrested and will get his due. But the frustration that lingers points the finger at the officer who was at the school and did nothing to help those kids.

The officer was suspended, and then resigned from his career after it was learned that he stayed outside during the high school shooting while 17 kids and teachers lost their lives.

It is right to question this officer’s actions. Try as I may, I cannot defend this officer’s actions. Firemen run to fires. Cops run to gunfire. He didn’t.

The whys will be answered but in this wake, the students have gone viral on the internet, newspapers, and the telly. Protests and more protests demanding new gun laws and restrictions.

Emma Gonzales, an outspoken critic of the NRA is more rational than David Hogg, who comes across as a profanity-laced bully. They blame all us stupid people who own guns and those who belong to the NRA and believe in the Second amendment. They are children, however, and will only learn over time that screaming and name-calling will accomplish nothing. Just crazy kid stuff to many, but their emotions are real.

Their naivety and immaturity shines through, even after sympathizing and understanding their desire to have mass murder eliminated at schools. Who doesn’t want that? But the vile finger pointing won’t solve the gun crisis now or in the future.

Guns are here to stay. Some new laws will invariably arise but little can be done with an asshole bent on mayhem.

You cannot deter them all but you can prepare them for future events. It will take the right training and the right cops to protect the schools, where our most vulnerable reside.

We protect courthouses, state and federal buildings, stadiums, train stations, airports, and others, why not schools? Dismantling the NRA, the Second Amendment, and other civilian rights will not stop people bent on carnage.

I hate to sound like a cliché, but really, a good cop with a gun is the only answer in our schools until a culture change ever takes place. And by that, I mean people being nice to each other. Like that’s ever really going to happen.

Police who will defend the schools with the mindset, proper training, and community support will prove over time to be the only answer. So let’s get it going.

Vita é bella.


Back to the Future
Having spent the winter in Paradise, I am now back to reality in good old Illinois. While in the Land of Sunshine, I walked a lot, visited zoos, aquariums, many nature parks and islands taking photos of all sorts of critters on the beach.

As most of you will agree, the ocean is calming, reflective, and mesmerizing. Walking the soft sand, you see a lot of creatures, both alive and washed ashore. I got pictures of a Great Blue Heron catching a two-foot Bonnet head shark. It took 30 minutes before he could get it swallowed. I will never see that again.

All kinds of shorebirds, crabs, and fish, too. Any my favorite, sea turtles. Chased a 6-foot black racer snake, but it got away. Probably good because I didn’t have my gear and was barefoot. I would have gotten bit a few times and I’m sure it would have let loose a lot of foul smelling you know what, too. Defense mechanism. But I got a picture!

Collected many shells, and the carapaces of various sized horseshoe crabs. Saw moray eels, stingrays, and of course, dolphins. Simply wonderful.

I did not watch much national news, preferring to view hockey, or read, or walk my dog. It’s all just noise anyway. Disruptive and irritating.

Trump makes America great Trump and Stormy Blah, blah, blah

But piercing my balloon was the local news and the never-ending reporting of murder and mayhem that goes on away from the fun in the sand and sun. Sadly, people like I wrote earlier, are the “same all over.” They like to kill each other here, too. Robberies, assaulting and crashing into each other is quite normal, if not excessive.

But we can outmaneuver the noise if we try. I tried, and for the most part, was successful. I strongly recommend that you spend some time on a beach near an ocean—anywhere. It is life affirming and the waves can be very, very calming.

Now I’m home, and all I hear is Rahm and Rauner and the 2018 elections, something I did not read or hear about in the land of Disney.

But you know what?

Vita é bella — sensa!

March
No more unions?

Yes, that’s the fear running rampant as the decision of the Mark Janus vs AFSCME is expected this June. Oral arguments were heard in late February after final briefs were filed earlier that month.

Conservative Republicans are already partying, sure that President Trump’s appointment and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch will be the swing vote needed to destroy unions over forced, or “fair share” union dues.

So stupid. You would think that the simple answer is to pay the fair share and benefit from the collective bargaining process, or “cut” the lone worker who is only a child support specialist, a non-salaried state employee.

He and a few like him are really no big deal. It shouldn’t affect any union to ignore this limited job specialty. But the Right-to-Work Legal Defense foundation and the Liberty Justice Center have jumped on board claiming “forced dues” violates the First Amendment rights, or free speech. And now the union is forced to fight over something that is, in my opinion, meaningless.

I think this is a real stretch, but I have seen courts argue the merits of a case by simple word placement, such as verbiages of “a,” “and,” “other,” and similar type sentence structure that can change the meaning of a sentence or paragraph. So with this sort of free speech interpretation its anyone's guess.

It’s not surprising that Republicans are overjoyed with having a potential swing vote conservative judge on this one.

But will SCOTUS really impact 5.5 million workers in 22 states without right-to-work laws and rule against labor?

You betcha!

Stay tuned.

Vita é bella.


Triple Axel anyone?

The Olympics are here. Some of you love it, the joy of winning, the agony of defeat sort of thing. In my useless opinion, it’s become political, satirical, and comical. Oh, the athletes all want to win and try hard, but the soap and sob stories get in the way.

And these warriors of the snow do pretty well for themselves, making the sacrifices for doing what they want to do for a living very worthwhile.

Unless, of course, you’re looking at the devil Larry Nassar himself. Those kids have and always will have grit to endure that and push beyond to perform at the highest level.

But most of this..... Zzz – snore.

The best thing I have ever seen about ice skating is that fat guy, a Sumo wrestler doing his signature “baby bird” move in those Geico commercials. Now that is exciting.

Watching a sensual ice dancing routine, I fell asleep. A triple axel routine, which is named after a Norwegian, that a Viking originally performed on a British head during their raids and conquest of that country. Then I believe it had something to do with a "ax to the ankle".

And, then there is the mighty toe loop routine, or the flip, or the Lutz. Strong stuff I’m sure. And of course, the Salchow. If I can’t pronounce it or spell it, fuggedaboutit. But people breathlessly watch it like a three-car accident with injuries only with commentary. It goes like this — he/she just toe-looped her lutz while she flipped on her axel and fell on her Salchow! And she had a wardrobe malfunction.

Give me the fat guy and the baby bird. On top of this wildly entertaining stuff, there is no NHL hockey.

Has-beens and youngsters now compete like 1980, Miracle on Ice stuff. I guarantee that ain’t happening. It’s once in a lifetime and the thrill is gone this year. Except for the women who went for gold and finally got it. Great game and their pride shines.

So I don’t watch anymore, especially after reading about the dog farms in Korea. Yeah, they keep and breed dogs in concentration camps so folks can eat them.

Just like we do with cows, chickens, and pigs here. (Full disclosure, I have been a vegetarian for 35 years, so I don’t eat any of that stuff.) To each his own. But dogs? Rin-tin-tin, Lassie, Benji, Eddie, Skip, Marley, are all rolling in their graves.

It’s not enough to say “All dogs go to heaven” so it’s okay. It’s not. So you go in and see that a St. Bernard goes for however many yen a pound. The dog is slaughtered and you get your St Bernard flank steak. Even Andrew Zimmern would be shaking his head — maybe. But like he says..if it looks good..eat it. But somehow a gutted Old English Sheepdog would not be on his menu. So no Olympics for me and this whole dog meat thing put the remote in my back pocket.

Well, by the time you read this, it will be March 1st and the games will be over. But wait…this just in. Another Viking, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo just won the Cross County Men’s Sprint In the Cold and Snow Classic. See, they ain’t done taking over the world.

In closing, you may ask what in the hell this has to do with cops, labor or pensions?

Not a damn thing!

Vita é bella.

2018

February

Horrors in our midst

Be warned

January

So much to look forward to…

People are the same everywhere

2017

December
'Tis the Season
Heartless

November
Not making America great
Always in November

October
Second time the charm
Good, Bad, Lousy

September
More on pensions

August
Politics and Anxiety
Shark Week and OJ

July
Budget time
Don't be hatin'

June
Ho Ho Ho let's call the whole thing off
The stuff of nightmares

May
To be on the right
The "Code"

April
Second happiest time of the year
Our political process in progress

March
Does it pass the smell test?

2016

December
We have no answer to evil
Merry Christmas

November
I am Angry
Creep or Crook

October
The devil is out there
Gentlemen

September

Next time you need a cop, call a gangbanger
Id est Quod id est

August
White Priviledge or anti-cop?
Influence peddling

July
Over until next year
More cop hating

June
Crazier than ever
Memorial Day

May

Turning into a joke

Giggle, snort, smirk

April
How bad is it, anyway?
Rauner loves unions

March
Et tu, tampon?
The president is coming (later)

February
The death penalty in 2016
The cavalry is not coming

January
It’s all good in 2016
A cowardly approach to Jihadism


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2015

December
World is going to Hell
Merry Christmas

November
Those evil school resource officers
Going too far — again

October
Another not-so-bright spot in Illinois politics
Cops not feeling joy

September
How ironic
More good guys getting killed

August
It gets better every day,
Another sad cop story

July
The aftermath
Two of my favorite things

June
Illinois is broke..and Rauner Is not anti-union. Really?
Would you?

May
Disgusting
Are cops still paramilitary?

April
Spring has sprung
Rauner, "The Bruce" at it again

March
Two Good Guys Shot
For those who may doubt...
Useful idiots
Didn't take him long

January
Random thoughts on the New Year
Militarized police? Yes, please.

2014

December
Did Christmas come early?
Make sure you have a Merry Christmas

November
It's over
A funny thing happened...

October
Rauner vs Quinn
It's time

September
Militarization of police
Cockroaches

August
Rich man, poor man, union man.
The happiest time of the year.

July
Privatization: The future
Illinois and United States: Supreme Courts rule on benefit cuts.

June
Do you feel sorry for them?
No more quotas for you

May
Illinois is broke
Yes, Santa comes in May, too.

April
The choice is...
It's in your face now

March
Legislative issues of 2014
For those who may doubt...

February
Who ya gonna call?

January
My wish for 2014
It's cold!

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