Author Archives: Ken Carman

Inspection- Our Media is Driving Us Mad

by Ken Carman

 Our media is literally driving us mad.
  I can hear it now…
  “You mean the liberal media? …the right wing media? …media owned by big biz?”
  No, just “the media.”
  The fact I even have to go where I have to go next shows the sickness our media has infected society with. But if I had to blame one side or the other, yes, I would blame the right: but not for the reason you might think, or as much as some on the left would demand. And not “blame” because there’s any specific skew: you can’t have media without at least some skew because humans have opinions, prejudices, points of views and directions they prefer to look. Reporters have editors and program directors, editors and program directors have bosses, bosses have owners and influences, and demands, don’t stop there.
  Yes: there always will be some “skew.”
  No, the reason a lot of the blame is pointed at the right is their insistence, years ago, on dismantling objectivity. I remember the arguments I had quite well, on debating sites, in the classroom: everywhere. Mostly “arguments” with folks on the right, but some on the left bought this “all or nothing” nonsense.
  I remember the blank stares I’d get when I’d respond to a supposed “logical” debating point… Read more

Inspection- A Turn-er for the Worse?

by Ken Carman

  The raw sore that is the recent shooting in Las Vegas reminded me of a column I wrote a while back. I tied together what I keep getting told not to tie together, but I shall continue to do so. We need, at a bare minimum, to be aware there may be a bigger picture we’re missing in the recent mini-massacre.
 The only reason it didn’t turn into less than “mini” is authorities arrived too soon for plans, and were too clever: Jerad and Amanda Miller had had hundreds of rounds of ammunition with them. Imagine if all it really did take was “a good guy with a gun.” But this proves it often takes more than that. This time we had two of them.
 With a very sad emphasis on “had.”
  To review, after a couple dropped off their cats at a friend’s so they would be taken care of they went into a restaurant and murdered two cops: armed professionals. Unlike too many armed Americans, the two policemen had training: but to no avail. Their training with weapons still didn’t save them. Then the couple ran to a WalMart and murdered a bystander. Eventually the couple committed suicide. They had obviously been anti-government types who, rumor has it, spent some time with the crew “defending” Bundy’s “right” not to pay taxes, and his “right” to not recognize the federal government. They also added a swastika and a Don’t Tread flag to the murder scene: flag draped over a murdered policeman.
 Meanwhile Indiana seems interested in making it easier for citizens to kill cops. More on that later.
  Once again we will be told this is just two people and that certainly other anti-government groups, or anti-government talking heads, had “nothing” to do with any of this no matter how suggestive, how encouraging, or aggressive their rhetoric may have been. We will be lectured that this is a case of personal responsibility and asked why we insist on blaming others… disregarding the fact that “personal responsibility” is exactly what many of those who use these talking points are trying to avoid like the plague.
 To address them directly, if you’re so damn sure words mean nothing, have no affect, then why don’t you shut the hell up?
 Of course you won’t. I don’t expect you to. I wouldn’t insist you do. But your own insistence on mouthing off all the time, trying to influence others, means you don’t mean this crappy talking point that what you spew can’t translate into something you might be partially responsible for. Words have affect, and people should be held responsible for what they say. Otherwise some of the worst, most evil, humans in history would mostly blameless.
 However leaving those who talk up hate blameless is certainly a talking point that can encourage others to go on the rampage, much like any cheerleader encourages others…
 Hmm… Sean, Rush and Bill in skimpy cheerleader outfits. There’s a picture I wish I won’t have trouble getting out of my head.
  But, you know, maybe they have a point if part of what they really mean there’s a bigger picture here… Read more

Inspection-A Smart Person’s Guide to a Few of the Latest Idiotic Talking Points

Coal and Carbon

by Ken Carman

 The talk show topic: the new EPA rules, carbon and coal.
 The talking point: “Well it won’t make a difference. The Chinese will just buy the coal and the pollution will be just as bad.”
 OK, there’s an element of truth here for sure. China is certainly not the best neighbor on the globe, and pollutants do travel on distant winds. But let’s take the specifics out of the mix for the moment…
 Why does this remind me of some kid saying to his parents, “But my friend Dean doesn’t have to eat his spinach!”
 Maybe Dean should be eating his spinach, but that’s beside the point. If eating spinach is good for junior, then he should be eating it. How permissive Dean’s parents are is beside the point.
 And if cutting down on carbon is good, no matter what China is doing, we should be doing that.

At the Point of a Rhetorically Empty Gun
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Inspection- Getting a Charge Out of the Sun

 This column was inspired by a Thom Hartmann program that featured a spokesperson from SAE Group talking about solar power

by Ken Carman

 I am a supporter of solar, and having a house off the grid in the Adirondacks I know it’s not as “far in the future” as some would like to insist. Indeed we should have more of it now by now in this country, at least as supplemental power.
 It’s not just some “tree hugger’s” radical left wing fantasy. And those who just say solar is far ahead in the future always make me suspicious: for that is the best way to make damn sure it’s far in the future, if not kill it entirely.
 Yet, when it comes to solar I find discussions that are less cynical of solar often equally disappointing and bothersome. Read more

Inspection- Memorial Day

 The lyrics at the end are one verse from a song I wrote for my mother who died when I was young. But it very well could be used by those who have lost love ones in war, serving the country, or trying to make it better. Their spirits will always be with us, inside and how we see the world around us. Though few may remember, they made a difference.


by Ken Carman

 I never went to Nam. I was draft-able for a year, but my number never came up. I probably would have had a desk job at best: due to an accident when I was a kid. I’m missing part of my left foot. But, considering my politics at the time I would have gone.
 Yes, people change, and they don’t necessarily become more conservative, or liberal, or more anything. Life just changes us. I have always felt those who claim they haven’t changed are either lying to themselves, or are missing something in the maturity department. For pretty much by definition life is a learning process. You don’t learn, you don’t mature.
 I used to perform Memorial Days at some campground when I was on the road and I was touring more. When the show was over I would often go to a graveyard and sing songs I’d written over the years to the veterans, and other folks who were there. They’re a great audience, and having worked part way through school in cemeteries I still find cemeteries peaceful places. There’s one specifically I used to enjoy in the Berkshires near Chester that overlooks the mountains off of a very curvy filled part of route 20. Below that: Walker Family Campground. I performed there many, many times.
 Memorial Day, of course, is for honoring our vets, alive and gone. Read more

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