Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Category: Politics (Page 1 of 8)

Free Speech, the NFL and More

I hadn’t planned on writing this post. After all, you can’t turn on the news this morning without seeing what happened at the beginning of the NFL games yesterday. The story isn’t over, either, because there is another game tonight. But comments by Pittsburg Steelers coach Mike Tomlin force my hand. His attitude, combined with the events — or non-events — at UC Berkley over the weekend, are indicative of a problem in this country that the media refuses to cover. Very simply put, free speech is approved only so long as you are doing or saying what the “cool kids” approve of. In this case, the cool kids are the media, Antifa and the like.

We saw a perfect example of someone doing what he felt was right yesterday. Steelers player Alejandro Villanueva came out of the tunnel and stood, hand over his heart, during the playing of the National Anthem. He was the lone Steeler to take to the field. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, had the courage to stand in respect and in support of the flag he served and the country he loves. None of his other teammates can say the same.

Not that they had the choice. Coach Tomlin made the call they wouldn’t take the field until after the Anthem was played. Here’s what Tomlin (who, along with several of his coaches, did take to the field and stand for the Anthem) had to say:

We’re chasing something special here in 2017 and we’re not going to play politics. We’re football players. We’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.

People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t have to be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That’s our intent.

Now, at first blush, this seems reasonable. However, look a little closer. He says they aren’t going to play politics but that’s exactly what they did. It was a political statement made in response to President Trump’s comments about firing those players who don’t stand for the playing of the Anthem. There’s no way they would have responded in the same way had it been anyone else to say what Trump did. they might have given the reporters a soundbite but that would have been all. No, this was exactly what Tomlin claimed it wasn’t. It was a political statement. But there’s more.

He goes on to say people shouldn’t have to choose. But isn’t that exactly what he, and the rest of the coaching staff, did for the players? They chose to make a statement by staying inside the tunnel, a choice that was not unanimous. In fact, I have yet to find out how many of the players actually voted to remain off the field. Was this a case where the few made the decision for the many? Even if it was a majority, that took the decision away from those who, like Villanueva, wanted to pay respect to the flag and the anthem.

But there is another quote, even more telling, that came from Tomlin later.

When asked by a reporter about hero Alejandro Villanueva coming out of the locker room to stand for the national anthem, instead of staying inside like the rest of his teammates, coach Tomlin said, “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”

That doesn’t sound like he’s willing to let his players make a decision, to make a choice. Will any of us be surprised to find he disciplined Villanueva for not standing down? If so, he will have simply proven the double-standard that is so evident right now when it comes to the topic of free speech. And no, I’m not talking about “freedom of speech” as guaranteed in the Constitution. I’m talking about the ability to say what we want, as long as it doesn’t violate the law, without fear of reasonable reprisal.

Yes, an employee has to consider how what he says or does reflects on his employer. If he does something that reflects negatively on his employer or that could negatively impact the brand, it is reasonable that he will face reprisal from the employer. However, the key is “negatively impact”. Standing for the National Anthem will not reach that threshold. Now, it is debatable if kneeling for it will. Considering the decline in rating for NFL games, it can be argued that it does. However, that is for the bean counters to decide.

What is so troubling about what happened Sunday is that there were those who wanted to show their respect for the flag, for the anthem and for this country and were not allowed to do so by their coaches. How dare they! If you say in one breath that the NFL isn’t going to play politics and then, with the very next, do something like that, you are worse than those you condemn.

Like it or not, those players who choose to take a knee can do so. I don’t have to like it but I won’t attempt to stop it. I will simply make my feelings known in ways that can impact their bottom line. I won’t buy their jerseys. I won’t go to games they play in. However, when management inserts itself into the equation and claim politics isn’t involved, I will call bullshit. I will turn off the TV when their team is on. I won’t buy from the businesses advertising with them. Since I have no doubt Roger Goodell, head of the NFL, will do anything about the situation, I have no qualms about tuning out. I will also recommend the Pentagon and other governmental agencies withdraw any financial support, through ads etc., from the NFL as well. After all, why should the NFL benefit financially when it won’t take a stance to allow all its players to have a voice in this issue?

If Tomlin wants an all or nothing proposition, I’m more than happy to give it to him.

On Amazon, Clinton and Reviews

I’ve made no secret of how I feel about Hillary Clinton’s latest book being published on 9/12. I’m not a fan of Clinton to begin with. But for her to have a book come out on the anniversary of the Benghazi attack went beyond the pale. I don’t care if it was her decision or her publisher’s. It was too much. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about Amazon’s removal of 1-star reviews of Clinton’s book, What Happened.

I don’t know a single author who hasn’t at least considered asking Amazon to remove a review at some point or another. It is no secret that indie authors feel helpless when it comes to having reviews that attack our work and which we feel are from people who haven’t read the book. Nor is it any secret that many of those complaining about Amazon removing reviews from Clinton’s book have been vocal in demanding Amazon remove 1-star reviews that attack books by authors they support.

Here’s my view. If Amazon removed reviews that did not address the contents of the book but were simply attacks on Clinton, fine. I have no problem with that. My issue will come if they don’t apply the same standard when other authors want reviews removed for the same reason. As an author, I can’t support reviews that don’t discuss the contents of the book. As a reader, to be honest, I don’t want to read those reviews either. If you don’t like Clinton — or Trump or anyone else — then take to social media or your blogs to post your opinions of them as people. Don’t clutter up review pages with those attacks unless you have read the book and the attacks are germane to the book’s contents.

I will also admit to being disappointed in some people who are up in arms about Amazon’s response to those reviews when, not that long ago, they were calling for the same action to be taken with regard to reviews of books by conservative authors. That sort of double-standard does not sit well with me. Now, if Amazon is applying a double-standard as well, then it needs to be held accountable.

And this brings up my next point. Amazon is a company, a very large one. When you have a problem with it, understand that the first level of customer support you get probably won’t be able to help you. It doesn’t matter if you are complaining about formatting going wonky on a book you just uploaded or with the removal of reviews. If, as an author, you think you are being unfairly attacked in reviews based on your political opinions and not on the content of your book, don’t just stop at that first phone call or email or chat. Go up the chain of command. It isn’t difficult at all to figure out how to send an email to Jeff Bezos. And trust me, sending an email to his office gets you a response just about as quickly as sending a complaint to the FCC will get you one from AT&T — pretty damned quickly.

Is it an instant response and is it always the response you want? No, but it is better than taking to social media to whine because you didn’t get your way.

Anyway, back to Clinton and the reviews disappearing. I want to see Amazon apply the same standard to all books and I hope they will moving forward. But, for those of you who are upset because reviews by people who 1) hadn’t read the book and 2) were attacking Clinton and not the contents of the book, ask yourselves this: would you want those reviews to stay up if it were your book? Or would you want Amazon to take them down?

Amazon, for your part, you need to be fair in the application of this rule. If you remove such reviews for Clinton’s book, you need to do the same for Milo’s or for Trump’s or for any other book where reviews do not address the contents of the book. If not, then you deserve any criticism about your double-standard.

Now, I need to get to work. Otherwise, I will be tempted to get hold of a copy of the book just so I can review it. Hmmm, maybe I should. I haven’t done a good snark review in a long time and from the excerpts I’ve seen, this book is rife for it.

A Snippet and a Share

Just a quick post this morning. On the writing front, I finally have the opening of Light Magic figured out and the book is progressing nicely (fingers crossed). I should see the updated cover for the expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes later today. I’ll share as soon as it’s in. This is also my day blogging at Victory Girls. Today’s post is about the latest Rasmussen poll, what it shows about how American voters now view Hillary Clinton and my thoughts about her latest book being released on the 5th anniversary of the attack on our Benghazi compound.

Light Magic has taken some twists and turns since I started visualizing it. The book I thought it would be will actually be the next on in the series. This one will introduce a new main character as well as bringing back some of the favorites from the other titles in the series. Here’s a very brief — and rough draft version — snippet.

Mossy Creek, Texas.

Nothing but a small dot on the map. Or, as I like to think of it, a pimple on the butt of an otherwise great state. So why was I returning to a place I last saw a lifetime ago? Because I gave my word and, while I might be a screw up where most everything else is concerned, I try to keep promises I make to people I care about. But this might prove to be too much, especially for someone like me.

One thing’s for sure. Neither Mossy Creek nor I will be ever be the same.

Now I’m off to write some more. Until later!

 

Is there a gasoline shortage?

Early yesterday morning, and I do mean early, I switched on the news as I made my first mug of coffee. This is my morning ritual of sorts. News, coffee and then checking the headlines of the local papers before moving onto national and international news. Needless to say, much of what I heard as I went through the motions of making coffee had to do with Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. That was expected. Harvey’s aftermath is going to be with Texas for a long time. What surprised me, however, was news that gas prices had jumped more than a little. At that point, they had gone up a minimum of $0.20/gal. As someone who’s spent most of her life in Texas, I know how important the Houston and Gulf Coast areas of Texas are to the petroleum industry. Had Harvey pushed us into a gasoline shortage?

Dallas Gas Line

A 7-Eleven employee tries to keep order as cars in West Dallas stream toward gas pumps, trying to fill up amid a panic in Dallas-Fort Worth about rising prices and shortage of fuel in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on oil production on Aug. 31,. Brandon Formby

Having lived through the gasoline rationing of the 1970’s, I knew what a shortage could be like for those of us in the Lone Star State. Texas is a wonderful place to live — except when you can’t find fuel. Many of us drive 50 miles or more each way to work on a daily basis. Mass transit in most areas is minimal at best. Add to that this is a holiday weekend and more cars will be on the road. So…off I went to find the car keys to check to see how much gas I had in the tank.

Half a tank. That would be enough to get us through the weekend but not much further. It was also where I usually tried to fill up. That’s a habit born of years of having a family member with a critical illness, of having friends ill as well, and never knowing when I’d be called out. So, off I went to dress and go fill up before everyone on their way to work decided to do the same thing.

Several of the bureaucrats have said not to worry as long as you have half a tank of gas. I’ll admit to laughing, albeit a bit hysterically, at that. Obviously that person has never been stuck in traffic in Dallas. I’ve burned through close to half a tank stuck on 635 more than once. So pardon those of us who have lived through this before if we know better.

With the news still playing in the background, I started hearing of stations in the DFW area reporting they were out of gas and didn’t know when their next delivery would come in. QuickTrip was recommending their customers download their mobile app where they kept fuel status for their stations up-to-date. So I checked and, yep, the station I usually go to was dry. Another station, only a little further away had gas.

Off I went, not wanting to wait any longer and run the risk of that station running out as well. By the time I got there, the station was busy but not much more than usual on a work day morning. When I went inside to pay (which is one reason I don’t normally go to that station. The printer at the pumps always seems to be broken), the clerk checking me out said they were down to 700 gallons and didn’t know when they would get more. Word from Corporate was they would try to keep the stations along the highways stocked but even that was iffy until the situation along the coast eased up.

You can imagine my response when, later in the day, I saw Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton saying there is no fuel shortage. He put the blame on consumers panicking and trying to fill up when they really didn’t need to. Now, while this might technically be correct, there is more to the story than he admitted. I understand he needs to put a positive spin on the current situation, but Texans have “been there, done that” before. We know how storms like Harvey can impact the fuel industry, and do so for a long while.

One thing Sitton didn’t take into account with his statement is the fact stations and their corporate offices were already letting consumers know they weren’t getting fuel deliveries as planned and that it would impact supplies at least over the weekend and possibly long. Then you have to look at the fact that, while we knew prices would climb over the Labor Day Weekend — they always do — they don’t climb as much or as quickly as they did between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. People tend to think about their pocketbook in situations like this and that is exactly what happened yesterday.

In this situation, the problem isn’t that there’s not enough fuel. The problem is getting fuel to the stations from the refineries along the coast. The problem is making sure pipelines and transit ways — be they roadways, rail or water — are passable. Or, as one reporter put it this morning as he sat in a boat in the middle of a flooded area, “Beaumont doesn’t have a water shortage. It has a problem with getting drinkable water.” Yes, there is plenty of fuel. The problem is getting it to the stations right now.

Seeing stories in the media about how Texans are panicking aren’t helping the situation. Are there some folks filling up who don’t need to? You bet. But guess what? Anyone who has ever lived through a fuel shortage, especially one where price are increasing on a daily basis, would as well. That doesn’t equate to panic. It equates to us having been there before and understanding that the distribution chain isn’t going to be back to normal in a day or two.

Yes, it will improve as the waters recede. But all the tanks where the fuel has been stored will have to be checked and the fuel tested before it can be shipped. Then the distributors are going to have to find the trucks to move it from one place to another — and trains, etc. A number of those trucks, etc., have been damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters. Others will have to be checked to make sure they weren’t too badly damaged and can safely haul the fuel from Point A to Point B.

As for today, I just checked the QuikTrip app on my phone. Of the 10 stations located within 10 miles of my home, 6 are out of gas. The price for unleaded is up to $2.65/gal. That is almost $0.20/gal more than I paid yesterday morning. Yet, as I sit here writing this post, the news is telling us that there is no problem getting gas and prices really aren’t going up all that much. If i have to choose between believing what the bureaucrats say and what I’m seeing for myself, I’ll believe what I see.

http://www.papercitymag.com/culture/texas-gas-shortage-absolute-panic-drives-fights-long-lines/

Paper City Photo. Article by Chris Baldwin.

There might not be a true “shortage”. But, when you can’t find affordable gas, or any gas, for your car, you really don’t give a flying rat’s ass if it is a shortage or a distribution problem. No gas means no gas. All we can do is be smart with our driving over the weekend and keep an eye on the local stations, refilling when we need to. This situation will pass. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

#Harvey,#Writing: On Writing and Harvey

This morning’s post will be short and sweet. Like many people around the country, especially here in Texas, my thoughts and prayers have been with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The images coming out of the Houston area, as well as Louisiana, have driven home how truly minor so many of the problems we tend to complain about really are. That includes the occasional whining this author makes about her evil muse. The writing happens, whether it is what I want it to be about or not. I have a roof over my head and I can — and have — made contributions to the relief effort.

On the writing front, the expanded version of Vengeance from Ashes is almost finished. Unless something jumps out at me today, the final count of new chapters will rest at four. There have been some new scenes included as well. I haven’t done a final word count, but my guess today is that it will come in somewhere between 15,000 – 20,000 additional words. These additions don’t change the plot of the book — or the series — any. They do, however, add to the story and, I hope, make it better.

Hopefully, I’ll be sending the new version out to my beta readers this weekend.

On the Hurricane Harvey front, Harvey continues to wreak havoc on the country. There is the potential for flooding today going all the way up to Ohio. The Houston area continues to suffer flooding and other issues related to having too much water in too small an area. We are also starting to feel the related problems such a natural catastrophe can wreak on the rest of the state and country. Gas prices in the DFW area have jumped $0.20 or more per gallon. Some gas stations have already run out of fuel while others find their supplies being  rationed by the corporate offices.

As an example, the Quiktrip I usually patronize, especially if it is before dawn (this lot is very well lit), ran out of gas last night. The store I went to this morning was down to approximately 700 gallons and the lines were starting at most of the pumps. It won’t be long before it, too, is out of gas and they don’t know when they will get a new supply.

But higher gas prices aren’t the only new development on the Hurricane Harvey front. The Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby suffered several explosions today. A crew had been left to monitor the plant but they had to be evacuated as the floodwaters rose. While the chemicals involved aren’t toxic, at least that is the last report I heard, they are irritants and some several people, including first responders, had been transported for treatment

There have been other, less serious ways, Hurricane Harvey has impacted the state. The preseason football game between the Cowboys and the Houston Texans has been canceled. The Texans had already been practicing in Frisco because they were unable to return home to Houston. The game had been moved here as well because of Harvey. However, when they got word yesterday (iirc) they could finally get home, the decision was an easy one for all involved. The game was cancelled so the team could finally be with their families and see what they were dealing with. I will say,

We have, as a friend said a few moments ago, an interconnected economy. That means the impact of Harvey is going to be felt in many ways — beef prices because of the number of cattle killed in the flooding, prices of foods made of various grains grown in Texas, prices of items that come into the Port of Houston (and other impacted ports) that have either been lost in the storm or couldn’t come ashore. The list goes on.

We will recover but it will take time. It will also take patience and understanding. Most of all, it will take hard work. So this morning, I’m saying an extra prayer that calm heads prevail and Mother Nature decides to give us a break for awhile.

#Victory Girls: Trump, Harvey and Texans Overcoming

I am excited to be part of the Victory Girls blog. The women I blog with come from all over the country and aren’t afraid to give voice to the conservative point of view. To be included with them is an honor. While I will still talk politics here, most of my posts about politics, President Trump and similar topics will take place over there. But don’t fret. I’ll announce those posts here and on Facebook. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to check the blog out if you aren’t already familiar with it. I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

While you’re there, my first post is now live. As a Texan, it was only natural for that post to be one about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, about President Trump’s visit to the state yesterday as well as notice that the Department of Transportation has already freed up monies to help repair roads and bridges damaged by the horrific flooding in Harvey’s aftermath.

President Trump Briefed on Harvey

President Trump and Melania, his wife, listened during a briefing on Tuesday about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with local leadership and relief organizations at Fire Station 5 in Corpus Christi, Tex. (Photo Credit: DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

I was even good. Hey, it was my first post after all. I didn’t laugh at the reporters and social media mavens who were appalled by the First Lady’s high heels as she left the White House yesterday. I didn’t point out the very appropriate white tennis shoes she wore when she and the President landed in Corpus Christie. I didn’t even tell them to get a life when they got all butt hurt over the President’s ball cap or made fun of the cap Mrs. Trump wore. If that is all they can do, well, it shows how pathetic mainstream media has become.

Now I hear a cup of coffee calling my name. Until later!

What say you?

A little more than a week ago, Justine Damond was shot and killed by officers responding to a call about a potential sexual assault. Unfortunately, it is all too common to pick up a newspaper or see internet headlines and seeing a police-involved shooting. But this one, in many ways, illustrates a problem — several problems actually — with the current state of not only police training but the public’s confidence (or lack thereof) in the police.

Justine Damond, an Australian currently residing in Minneapolis, did what any law-abiding person should do when they think a crime is going down. She called the police. She not only called once but she called at least twice because it was taking so long for a unit to respond and she was worried. You see, she heard something near her backyard that made her fear a woman was being assaulted.

On her last call, she was informed the police were almost there. That’s where things go from real to surreal.

The police unit nears and Damond goes outside. As she neared the squad car, a shot rang out and she went down.

Damond, who was (iirc) in her pajamas and who was unarmed wasn’t shot and killed by the suspect. Nor was she shot and killed by a well-intentioned neighbor. No, she was shot and killed by one of the two officers responding to her call for help.

What makes this case even more of a head-scratcher is that she was approaching the squad car from the driver’s side. However, instead of the driver pulling his service revolver and firing, the shot came from the passenger in the car. This officer unholstered his weapon, aimed across his partner and opened fire. My first thought in hearing this was that his partner would be lucky to get out of that with little to no permanent damage to his hearing. The second was to wonder what the officer saw that his partner, the man closest to the supposed threat Damond presented, did not.

Where this entire incident is troubling is two-fold. The first is that the officers’ body cameras were not rolling. Now, this might be departmental policy. I’ve read that Minneapolis police aren’t required to engage their cameras until they get out of their squad cars. If so, it is a foolish policy. Those cameras, as well as their dash cams, need to be rolling as they near a scene. Any cop with more than a month’s experience on the job will tell you things can and do happen before you arrive at the address where a call originates from. It can be as simple as seeing the suspect walking down the street to getting a better picture for later (as in for court) about what the cop is walking into and what helped form their judgment and caused them to act a certain way.

In this case, we are missing all this. The driver of the squad car said they heard a loud noise and that startled them. Unfortunately, there is nothing to back him up on that. And, to the best of my knowledge, that includes his partner, the shooter. As of last night, when I last searched out information on the case, the shooter had yet to make a statement. Oh, he apparently talked to a friend who said he was startled when Damond came running toward them. But that has been all I’ve seen where the shooter is concerned.

And, frankly, if he was startled by a woman running toward him in her pajamas, there were still steps he should have taken before shooting her. He should have ordered her to stop and hold her hands where he could see them. He should have told his partner to move the car. Those are just two things. But, to the best of my knowledge he did none of them.

Now, according to the friend, he is upset because he is being thrown under the bus by other cops. Perhaps, then, it is time for him to give a statement and tell everyone his side of the story. Otherwise, all we have is conjecture.

Oh, and a supposed witness who may or may not have seen the shooting. The witness most definitely saw what happened afterwards and can testify about the demeanor of both officers involved.

This is a tragedy that never should have happened. I am a supporter of cops and all first responders. However, I look at situations like this and wonder if it was poor training, poor trigger discipline or what that brought about this situation. Sure, Damond should have waited for the cops to tell her to approach but she did what I’m sure any number of us would have done, especially after having to wait for the unit to arrive. She ran forward to, presumably, tell them why she called.

And she paid for it with her life.

It is situations like this that cause the public to lose confidence in our police. I applaud the Minneapolis mayor for asking the police chief to resign. Between this incident and others in the city, it was one step they mayor could take to show the public she was not going to sit still and wait for a repeat. However, it doesn’t bring back Damond. Nor does it answer the questions we all have about why the officer fired.

Worse, there have been stories alluding to the fact the officer has been involved in other incidents that bring his judgment or actions as a cop into question. I’m sure we will hear more about that as the case progresses. My fear is that we will learn this is a cop who should not have been on the street but was allowed to remain there for who knows what reason. If so, I hope to hell Damond’s family and fiance sue the shit out of the city and the cop.

There are a lot of good, reliable and caring cops out there. Just like we don’t see good news reported in the media, we don’t hear about them. That gives us a jaundiced view of our police forces and makes the job harder for those who are good cops. My one hope is if, as I suspect, this turns out to be a bad shooting, the cop feels the full force of the law. That’s not because of his sex or his race or his beliefs or anything except he is a cop and cops should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen in situations like this.

God’s rest, Ms. Damond, and I hope your family eventually finds peace. I doubt there can ever be any understanding in this situation.

Those poor kids

There are days I find myself praying this has all been a bad dream. Between the changes in schools where it is more important to make sure our children feel good about themselves than it is to make sure they learn the curriculum to political derangement syndrome (because it exists on both sides of the aisle), I find myself wondering what happened. What happened to the Can Do! spirit of the “Greatest Generation”? What happened to personal integrity and responsibility? What happened to common sense?

Very rarely has an article made me ask those questions as much as this one — and the one that came before it. I am linking to an archived version of the article because, to be honest, I don’t want to give this poor excuse for a mother one more click than necessary. Yes, I said it. She is a poor excuse for a mother. As the mother of a son, I feel for her two sons and what she is not only teaching them but doing to them.

Here is a woman who begins by calling her sons “strong and compassionate”. Then she goes on to describe how much they aren’t and how badly they have disappointed her. Oh, she tries to cloak it with maternal concern but it is there. This is a woman who wanted daughters and didn’t get them. The fact her sons have penises make them bad from the moment of birth. It is up to them to prove to her they aren’t like every other man.

Poor kids.

I have two sons. They are strong and compassionate—the kind of boys other parents are glad to meet when their daughters bring them home for dinner. They are good boys, in the ways good boys are, but they are not safe boys. I’m starting to believe there’s no such thing.

Wow, way to support your kids, Mom. Praise them and then pull the carpet out from under them. They are good but not “safe”. Not that she believes there is such a thing as a safe boy. But wait, maybe she explains why. Surely she explains what a “safe” boy is.

The next paragraph gives us some insight into the mother’s mindset. She is raising her boys in a “rape culture”. Those are her words. Then she goes on to talk about her previous article and how, after it went viral, her boys were suddenly confronted by her words. Their teachers and friends read the article and — gasp — talked about it where her kids could hear.

First of all, she claims she didn’t think her article would garner any real attention. Bullshit. To begin with, she wrote it for The Washington Post. Unless she lives under a rock, she knew she would have potentially thousands of people reading it. But she never thought it would go viral. Bullshit again. The very wording of the article was such that it would inflame in one way or another. I doubt very much she hadn’t hoped for it to go viral and more.

It was one thing to agree to be written about in relative obscurity, and quite another thing to have my words intrude on their daily lives.

Well, duh. Not that she seems to care since — another big DUH! — she is once again writing about her sons in an attempt to justify her position. Poor kids. Mama’s more worried about showing her Woman Card in public than in making sure they are all right.

In the next paragraph, she talks about how her younger son is angry at her. Of course, the son has never said he is. She goes on to say he doesn’t understand why she lumped him together with his older brother in the essay. Of course, he hasn’t said that either I assume. But she knows he is angry and misogynistic. Why? Because he has been visiting conservative websites. “places where he can surround himself with righteous indignation against feminists, and tell himself it’s ungrateful women like me who are the problem.”

Guess what, lady, you are the problem. Not because you’re a feminist. Sorry, Feminist. But because you don’t give a flying fuck about your sons’ emotional welfare. Because you won’t sit down and think before you hit the enter button. You obviously don’t give a damn what your crusade to paint your sons — children you are supposed to love and protect — as evil simply because of their sex. I can only imagine the sort of ridicule you have opened them up to at school and elsewhere. I wouldn’t blame your kids one bit for being “angry” with you.

Hell, lady, I’d be furious and plotting my escape from your grasp as soon as I legally could. I’d even be taking notes and recording everything I could in case there was enough to build a case to bring in CPS to take me away from your sick grasp.

Is it my job as his mother to ensure he feels safe emotionally, no matter what violence he spews?

Once again, she throws out a statement like this — remember her earlier statement about there being no “safe” boys? — without any evidence of what this “violence” might be.

When I hear his voice become defensive, I back off but question whether I’m doing him any favors by allowing his perception of himself to go unchallenged. When I confront him with his own sexism, I question whether I’m pushing too hard and leaving him without an emotional safe space in his home.

Why am I picturing her taking on a passive-aggressive stance where she does anything but back off? If there are any micro-aggressions going on in that home (hell, who am I kidding? Aggressions of any sort), I have a feeling they fall directly at her feet. Dear God, if a child can’t have a safe emotional space in his own home, what hope does he have?

As I said before, I feel for these boys.

As a single mother, I sometimes wonder whether the real problem is that my sons have no role models for the type of men I hope they become.

Thank God. The poor kids have enough to put up with Mommy Dearest.

But when I look around at the men I know, I’m not sure a male partner would fill that hole.

No, because you want to make your sons into daughters and most men, real men, wouldn’t put up with that. They would, however, teach your sons how to be gentlemen who respect women and honor them. But that wouldn’t fit your agenda one bit, would it?

It goes on. Dating is a “necessary evil” because she is starved for adult conversation. I guess she hasn’t figured out that’s what friends are for. You can find friends by joining a church or volunteering, by socializing with people in your neighborhood. But no, you “date” for conversation. Wuh?

Then she comes back to what is blurbed at the top of the article. If feminist men aren’t safe, then what man is? And why? We don’t really know. All she says is this, “But, feminist or not, the men are no different from the men anywhere else….”

What. The. Fuck?

Here is a woman who hates men. She lumps them all together and condemns them simply because they are male. She gives no examples, soft or hard. Then she doesn’t understand why her sons have an issue with what she says. Dear sweet merciful heaven, those kids are so fucked. I can only hope they get out from under her roof as soon as possible.

Keep reading though, just in case your blood pressure hasn’t risen enough. She manages to hit one more hot button for all the right thinking folks out there. She notes that a white person can’t grow up without becoming racist — yep, you read that right. In fact, she said it is “impossible” for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas.

But it even gets better. She says her sons and “most” progressive men she knows won’t rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. By implication, she means that all non-progressive men and even some progressive men she know WILL rape such a woman. What a sad, sick opinion of people she has.

Here is perhaps the worst thing she says when it comes to her sons: I love my sons, and I love some individual men. It pains me to say that I don’t feel emotionally safe with them, and perhaps never have with a man. . . .

She doesn’t feel “emotionally safe” with her sons?

These are kids. Kids in school She doesn’t claim either of them are abusing her physically or doing anything other than being male. My heart breaks for these boys.

If I had anything to say to them it would be this:

Don’t listen to your mother. You have worth as a person and that worth, or lack of it, isn’t based on your sex. It is based on who you are. Never let anyone denigrate you because of your biological plumbing. And, please, don’t judge all women by what your mother has done to you. Grow up to be loving, caring gentlemen who are proud of yourselves and who respect women. Be your own persons, not the cardboard caricatures your mother is trying to force you to become.

As for the mother, I’d like her to spend a few minutes in the shoes she’s made for her sons. See what life is like for them. Not that it would help. In ten years, she will be wondering why at least one of her sons left home and never talks to her. And no, she will never admit she might have had a hand in it. The cause will be because of the appendage hanging between his legs.

All I can do is think about my son and how proud I am of him. He is a responsible, respectful young man. I think I’ll finish this post and then let him know just that.

You did what?

I’ve written a lot this year about consequences. It seems there are a number of folks out there who simply don’t consider the consequences of their actions. It doesn’t matter if those consequences are direct to the person involved or indirect and aimed at someone else. Sometimes that lack of concern about consequences comes from carelessness, from simply not thinking through what they are about to do. Other times, too many times, it is because the person involved simply doesn’t care. They are entitled, you see, at least in their own mind.

What has me thinking about it again today is this story. It’s a simple enough story and one that should have been one of those feel good stories the news all too rarely covers. Simple really. A teen is making money by working at a food kiosk at the local mall. While on duty, a police officer comes up and orders a cookie. The teen recognizes the officer, who works at the mall, and wants to do something nice for him. So he buys the officer the cookie. It’s his way of telling the officer that he appreciates all the man, and those like him, do.

Pretty cool, especially when you consider the fact the young man paid full price for the cookie instead of using his employee discount.

Fast forward to the next customers. They’d been behind the officer in line and saw what the young man did. Instead of thanking him or commenting about what a nice gesture it had been, they did the opposite. They wanted a free cookie too. When they didn’t get it, they did not go gently into the night. They caused a commotion and, if I remember correctly, at one point it looked as if one of them might actually try to get into a physical confrontation with the teen.

Because they wanted a free cookie too.

Because they were special. Or entitled. Or just selfish pricks.

It doesn’t end there. The young man was called onto the carpet by his employer and suspended. Fortunately, his mother wasn’t about to take it lying down. She posted what happened to social media and pressure was put on the employer, Great American Cookies at Katy Mills Mall. Great American Cookies has backed off the suspension, saying finally that the young man did nothing wrong. Corporate has issued a statement in support of police officers.

But what would have happened had the young man’s mother not taken to social media? It was easier to suspend the young man than it was to fully review the situation and come to an informed decision. Sounds familiar, especially this weekend.

In another case, this one involving a public personality, consequences should come to bear. Early last week, police issued a statement laying the fault for a fatal crash directly at Venus Williams’ feet. No charges, fortunately, had been filed yet but the public statement was out there and being carried by every major news organization and sports channel.

Then, several days later, the police are having to backtrack and basically retract their initial statement. They had seen another video of the crash, one from a different angle. This video apparently shows Ms. Williams was not at fault in the crash. In fact, the video shows she had the green light.

But, in the rush to lay blame in a somewhat high profile case, the police also rushed in the collection and processing of evidence. Whether it was for political reasons or something else, they accused a woman who now, looking at the evidence, was not in the wrong. Will there be consequences? There should, and not just civil consequences coming from whatever action Ms. Williams might take against the police department.

There should also be employment consequences for those involved in making the hasty judgment and releasing it as a proven fact to the media. There are times when the police should simply say, “we are still investigating and will update you once we are through.” This was one of those cases.

It is not an easy decision, especially when the locals and the media are demanding fast action. They forget that real life isn’t like cop shows on TV. DNA results aren’t returned in mere minutes. Every cop shop does not have a fully equipped forensic lab and more. Evidence isn’t always processed in the local police station but is instead sent off somewhere else where that evidence joins the long line of items to be tested and reported on.

It is a situation the local cops in the town where I live face right now. Two weeks or so ago, a young teen girl disappeared. Several days later, she was found dead in a landfill a few miles away. Our cops have been doing exactly what they should. They have been investigating the case, asking for help from other agencies when needed and keeping their mouths shut in public. The police chief has been hammered because an Amber Alert wasn’t issued when the girl went missing. Never mind the fact that her case didn’t meet the legal criterion for such action to be taken. The criticism continued.

Others have complained because the cause of death has not yet been released. The truth is, as confirmed by the police in a short statement yesterday (maybe the day before), the ME hasn’t yet concluded what the COD was. They are waiting for tests to come back and that may take another month or more. Until then, or until more evidence is uncovered, the police will not be making any further statements. They do this out of respect for the family and because there is no sense to fuel media speculation.

Will there be consequences for this action? Possibly because, while the police chief is hired by the city manager, both he and the city manager basically hold their jobs at the behest of the city council. If the politicians decide the only way they can stay in office is to sacrifice someone, they might do so. Fortunately, our city council isn’t that mercenary. They really do have the best of the town at heart. So the only consequences I foresee right now are a demand that we find a quicker way to process evidence and find out why people died.

Three different situations, three different sets of potential or real consequences. In the first, a very real example of someone’s sense of entitlement negatively — and needlessly — impacting another person’s livelihood. In the second, an example of where the “need” to reassure the public that the police are working quickly to determine responsibility not only backfired but could be said to have negatively impacted a celebrity’s earning ability. I don’t think there was any malice involved, just a lack of foresight and a backbone. In the third, we have an example of a police force accepting the consequence of having public questions and some doubt leveled at them instead of potentially damaging any case that might arise out of the investigation. Looking at all three, I would much rather take the last example than the previous two.

When are we, as a people and as individuals, stop bulling ahead and take long enough to consider the consequences of our actions?

Another case of open mouth, insert foot

This morning, I saw a meme that made me smile. It basically said “I don’t think about what I’m going to say before I open my mouth because I want to be as surprised as everyone else.” Unfortunately, it seems there are far too many people who actually adhere to this mantra. Then, when their words come back to bite them in the butt, they don’t understand what went wrong.

The first instance of this that caught my eye over the weekend happened when I saw a clip from Tucker Carlson’s show. In it, Lisa Durden, a professor from Essex County College in Newark, went off on white privilege and more with regard to keeping whites off campus for the BLM commemoration of Memorial Day. (I think I got that right. You can check the clip linked above) Carlson called her on it, noting that what she advocated was just as bad as a whites-only gathering.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Durden had every right to express her opinion. But, as I’ve discussed before, we have to be aware of the very real fact that our words have consequences. In this particular case, she might not have mentioned her association with the college but she was on a nationally televised news program. It was reasonable to expect that either her students or fellow faculty members or college supporters would see the interview. The fact the college placed her on leave two days after the segment aired was proof of the negative impact her words had on her situation. Three days after that, she was let go.

In this case, the college has to weigh the good of the institution, as well as its students and faculty, against Durden’s right to voice her opinion. This isn’t anything new. Employers have always taken a dim view of anything an employee might do or say that could bring negative publicity to the employer. That is particularly true in the education sector. Today’s headlines are a perfect example. Not only do we have stories about Durden but there is another professor in trouble as well. On the local level, a kindergarten teacher has been fired for keeping her second job — that of porn actress. So, yeah, if you are working for someone else, you have to always consider if your behavior or your words are such that your employer could be negatively impacted.

The second professor to find herself without a job comes from the University of Delaware. Again, this professor, one Kathy Dettwyler, had every right to say what she did. She just wasn’t very wise to do so and especially not on social media. According to DelawareOnline, Dettwyler posted on her personal Facebook page that Otto Warmbier “deserved” to die for stealing a propaganda poster in North Korea. She went on to talk about white privilege, his parents’ failure to raise him right and more.

Now, I’ll admit, when I first heard about Warmbier’s trouble in North Korea, my first reaction was, “why in hell would anyone, especially an American, want to go there?” My second was that Warmbier was a dumb fuck for trying to take the poster. Then I remembered he was really nothing more than a kid and some of the less than smart — okay, downright stupid — things I did at that age.

But right or wrong, he didn’t deserve to die for what would, in most places on Earth, be a misdemeanor. It doesn’t matter what his skin color or nationality is. His death is a tragedy and something that never should have happened.

The University of Delaware, where Dettwyler was an adjunct professor of anthropology, has issued a statement saying she won’t be returning to the school as an employee. Prior to announcing that her contract would not be renewed, the university issued the following statement:

“The comments of Katherine Dettwyler do not reflect the values or position of the University of Delaware. We condemn any and all messages that endorse hatred and convey insensitivity toward a tragic event such as the one that Otto Warmbier and his family suffered.”

The fact she had made similar comments about Warmbier’s death in the comment section of an article in the National Review probably didn’t help her case any either.

Again, another instance of opening mouth and inserting foot all the way to the pink slip.

I’m all for freedom to say what you want but you have to remember that what you say reflects on more than just yourself. Those words you just spewed onto Twitter or Facebook, in an interview be it print or audio, also splash back on your family and friends, your business and your customers. If your words are inflammatory or contrary to common decency, the impact will be negative.

We’re not talking about whistle-blowers here. We’re talking about two women who got up on their soapboxes and spoke without thinking. Now I wonder how long it will be before they start attacking the institutions that released them. I also wonder what they had been teaching their students and this, my friends, is what bothers me the most. We have an entire generation where all too many feel they are entitled to do or say whatever they want and damn the consequences because the consequences don’t apply to them.

Then reality hits and they find they aren’t prepared for how much suckage that can be. That’s a lesson these two professors have learned the hard way. Hopefully, others will look at what happened and take it as a lesson in common sense. Unfortunately, I fear there will be those who will look at what happened and take it as a rallying cry to attack the universities involved for trying to “silence” the professors’ voices.

If the universities reverse their decisions, they very well may find themselves in the same circumstances as the University of Missouri after faculty member Melissa Clark called for “muscle” to help remove cameramen/journalists from a protest. Missou is suffering a decline in enrollment that has led to budget cuts, closing of dorms and more. Again, a perfect example of actions — in this case, more than just Clark’s but hers were the culmination — having consequences.

So, while the meme mentioned at the beginning of the blog is humorous and while it is all too tempting at times to say exactly what we feel and damn the consequences, stop for a moment and think. Ask yourself if you are ready to face those consequences, be they the lecture you’ll get at home or the loss of your job. If you can’t say yes and mean it, then keep your mouth firmly closed and move on. Or at least pause long enough to phrase your comments in such a way you speak with facts and reason instead of emotion only.

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