Sunday Stealing: Inspires

death penalty

Psalm 100Here’s another Sunday Stealing from SwapBot. Happy Pentecost for those who observe. I have my red shirt. 

1. What inspires you the most?

People who can embrace selfless joy. There was a recent news story about a kid giving his dollar to a person he perceived was needy. And he gave it away because it made him feel good inside. One tries to do this, but I’m a flawed being.  

2. How do you think the world will change in 20 years?

I’m trying to figure out whether global warming or the loss of democratic values will do us in first.

3. Cats or dogs and why?

I’ve had many cats but only one dog. Dogs are more loyal in general, though my dog bit me. Cats don’t require being walked when the weather is bad. 

4. What is the funniest memory from your childhood?

When I was in third grade, kids played Keep Away with my hat during recess. I got so angry that I left. What’s funny is that all of my friends tell me I hopped a Crowley’s milk truck and went home. I believe the going home part but I have no independent recollection of the milk truck. 

5. Where do you not mind waiting?

If I have a book or magazine, waiting is not onerous. 

Ma Bell

6. What was the best thing before sliced bread?

The telephone. Imagine talking to people from far away. Only vaguely related, I still remember most of the old area codes in the United States that have 0 or 1 as the middle digit, such as 201 (NJ), 202 (DC), 203 (CT), 212 (NY), 213 (CA) 301 (MD), et al. The newer ones I don’t really know at all except 432, which is Cleveland, TN.

7. What product would you stockpile if you found out they weren’t going to sell it anymore?

Those picker-upper devices that I use to pick up small things from the floor without bending my terrible knees. 

8. What do you get every time you go grocery shopping?

Bananas and blueberries. 

9. What do people do too much of today?

Kvetch too much about what somebody who is not setting policy – a social media influencer or a football player (Aaron Rodgers, Harrison Butker) is saying about whatever. I disagree with many of their views but don’t feel compelled to discuss them ad nauseum. (Compare this with people like Brett Favre enriching himself at the government trough.

10. Are you a GoodWill, or any second-hand store customer?

I have been a Second Hand Rose – my current office chair falls in that category. I did purchase three compact discs recently for two bucks. I am more likely to offer items for free cycling than acquiring them 
Capital punishment

11. How do you feel about the death penalty?

I’m against it for several reasons. “The death penalty in America is a flawed, expensive policy, defined by bias and error.” “A 2014 study estimated that at least 4% of those sentenced to death are innocent… Since 1973, at least 190 people have been exonerated from death row in the U.S.” Income and ethnicity play an outsized role in who are falsely convicted for these crimes.

Beyond that, I wish Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was not executed in 2001.  In part, it was because of the reasons noted.

12. Are there brands of certain items that you will ONLY buy that brand? Ie paper towels, ketchup, etc.

Cheerios. On two occasions, I bought the knockoffs, and they tasted like cardboard.

13. What are some things that you will buy the Store brand, and find the quality to be great?

Paper products: TP, paper towels, napkins

14. What is a Name-brand item that really disappointed you recently?

I purchased a BoiFun device to play compact discs and watch DVDs. But it then ceased to work. Moreover, I had bought one for my wife, which she didn’t use. When I tried, it didn’t work at all.

15. Do you wear glasses or contacts?

I’ve had glasses since I was five or six. But I’m not a contact lens kind of person. 

Condolences to David Kaczynski


In my news feed, I read that the guy identified as the Unabomber, who conducted a bombing spree that spanned nearly two decades, killing three people and injuring 23. had died, apparently by suicide. I immediately thought about his very decent brother, David Kaczynski.

The first time I saw David was about a quarter-century ago at my current church. He was the person who turned in his brother Ted to the authorities.

This 2003 article in the Cornell Daily Sun captured a similar gathering that David had brought together. “Gary Wright… was hit with 200 pieces of shrapnel in February of 1997 by one of [Ted] Kaczynski’s bombs…”

“Bill Babbitt talked about his brother, Manny Babbitt, [the Vietnam vet] who was executed in 1999 for the murder of Leah Schendel” after Bill turned in HIS brother. He believed Manny would be “spared a death sentence — a promise the police” couldn’t keep.

For me, the most compelling speaker was Bud Welch. His “23-year-old daughter, Julie… was killed on April 19, 1995, in the Oklahoma City Bombing… In the days following the crime, Welch said he saw no need for a trial at all. Now, he says he was ‘temporarily insane’ for eight or nine months… He said his views changed slowly, and he realized that [executing] Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would be an act of vengeance.”

Moreover, Bud Welch became friends with Timothy McVeigh’s father and realized the elder McVeigh, too, was a victim of the heinous crime. I wrote about Bud a few years ago.

Tragedies united these seemingly disparate gentlemen in a common cause: to fight the death penalty. It was a remarkable evening.

Radio silence

From The Business Insider: “In 1995, The Washington Post published a 35,000-word manifesto written by the Unabomber, whose real identity at the time remained unknown, about how technology was destroying humanity.

“The time following the manifesto’s publication was emotionally taxing for David. ‘We never found anything conclusive,’ he stated, ‘for me, it was like a roller coaster. I thought, ‘Am I crazy? A suspicion does not make him the Unabomber.'”

David “remembered Ted as a loving, caring, older brother figure, not a terrorist. He recalled telling himself, ‘I grew up with this man; is it possible I grew up with evil in my own family but was too blind to see who he truly was?'” Ultimately, David made the agonizing decision to turn Ted over to the FBI.

Wikipedia: His brother’s confrontation with the death penalty later motivated David Kaczynski to become an anti-death-penalty activist. In 2001, Kaczynski was named executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty [now, New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty].

“While the mission of NYADP originally focused only on ending the death penalty, under Kaczynski’s guidance in 2008, it broadened its mission to address the unmet needs of all those affected by violence, including victims and their families.”

David’s “decision prompted Ted to cease all communication with his family, including rejecting all of David’s attempted correspondence during his imprisonment.” So I can imagine that David is mourning Ted’s passing because Ted was his big brother, not just the Unabomber.

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Walter Ayres: Pope Francis and the death penalty

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The anthem of the Republic of Tyva in the Russian Federation

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Vasily Kalinnikov – Bylina, an overture

“Africa” le Toto as Gaeilge

Summer Wind- Willie Nelson

I greet my country -Ahoulaguine Akaline featuring Bombino

Feel The Love – Rudimental, featuring John Newman

In the Mood – Glenn Miller (see Sonja Henie!)

Stand By Me – Bootstraps

Fur Elise – pianist Lola Astanova

The Place Where Dreams Come True and End Credits – James Horner, scoring Field of Dreams

Coverville 1227: Cover Stories for Kate Bush and Rush and 1228: Cover Stories for Whitney Houston, A Flock of Seagulls and The Go-Go’s

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly); Cover by Sina

1-2-3 – The Electric Indian

My Dearest Ruth – Patrice Michaels (from Notorious RBG in Song)

The niece Rebecca Jade will be singing at five Sheila E shows this month, in Michigan and the Northeast

How the Beatles unravelled: Hunter Davies, the band’s official biographer, recalls the tensions that led the Fab Four to split

The Top 60 Female Artists of All Time

F is for Forgiveness

Bud Welch, whose daughter died in the OKC bombing, developed a bond with Bill McVeigh, Tim’s father.

forgiveForgiveness is “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” Forgiveness is not always easy.

About a dozen years ago in Albany, NY, I witnessed an extraordinary event: four men touched by violence, coming out to speak against the death penalty. Bill Babbitt, seeing his mentally ill brother Manny, who he had turned in to the authorities, executed for murder; David Kaczynski, who turned in HIS brother Ted, the Unabomber; Gary Wright, who himself was almost killed by Ted Kaczynski; and Bud Welch.

They all had compelling stories, but Bud’s moved me the most. In April 1995, his “23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie, was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City along with 167 others… In 2001 Timothy McVeigh was executed for his part in the bombing.”

Bud Welch’s story shows up in that Jesus for President book I’ve been reading:

He said he went through a period of rage when he wanted Timothy McVeigh to die. But he remembered the words of his daughter, who had been an advocate for reconciliation against the death penalty. She used to say, “Execution teaches hatred.” It wasn’t long before Bud had decided to interrupt the circle of hatred and violence and arranged a visit with McVeigh’s family. Bud said he grew to love them dearly, and to this day says he “has never felt closer to God” than in that union.

He decided to travel around the country, speaking about reconciliation and against the death penalty, which teaches that some people are beyond redemption. And he pleaded for the life of Timothy McVeigh. As he worked through his anger and confusion, he began to see that the spiral of redemptive violence must stop with him. And he began to look into the eyes of Timothy McVeigh, the murderer, and see the image of God. He longed for him to experience love, grace, and forgiveness. Bud believes in the scandal of grace.

Read about how Bud developed a bond with Bill McVeigh, Tim’s father, HERE.

Bud’s narrative I also found on a page called The Forgiveness Project, which uses the process of restorative justice to try to heal both the victim and the perpetrator of wrongs.

Similarly, I came across Project Forgive, which was initially sparked by a different kind of tragedy, a man’s wife and two children being killed by a drunk driver.

The Mayo Clinic notes that forgiveness is good for your health. Forgiveness can lead to:
Healthier relationships
Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Fewer symptoms of depression
Stronger immune system
Improved heart health
Higher self-esteem

But as I mentioned at the outset, forgiveness is not always easy…

abc 17 (1)
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Welcome to the Inauthentic Paper Detector. “Paste any text in the textbox. The chance that your submission is a human-written authentic scientific document will be output. Text over 50% chance will be classified as authentic.” Here’s the paper about it. Everything I write is inauthentic.


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