Tag Archives: America

An Addendum on Yesterday’s Crazy

As of this writing, the #BoycottTarget petition has gathered 975,444 signatures.

Quite the statement.

Really want to make your voice heard? Make sure to start shopping at their competitors. Start with “Mom and Pop” businesses. Support your local shops. If you need to go big,: Hobby Lobby. WalMart. Aldi. Academy Sports. Cabela’s. Toy’s “R” Us. Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Dick’s Sporting Goods. Publix. Trader Joe’s. All businesses that have a reputation for being “family friendly”.

We cannot count on the “powers that be” to advocate for our safety. We need to do it ourselves. Put pressure on places like Target* by shopping elsewhere. Don’t enroll in universities before checking their policies thoroughly. Do your research. It’s election season. You have to be ready to back yourself up practically every time you post an unfavorable opinion (read: not something the MSM or the liberal left would agree with) on Facebook.

Gandhi-great-quote

*Target started jumping the shark a few years ago, after there was a massive leftist outcry following a donation by the company to a politician who did not support gay marriage. They’ve been “atoning” for this mistake ever since, with massively public displays of affection for the LBGTABCQMXYZ crowd, eliminating gender-specific sections in their children’s clothing and toy departments, and demanding that guns not be carried on their premises, despite a very legal right to do so by those holding concealed carry permits. (Massachusetts has an open carry law, though most people don’t take advantage of it because of the Chicken Little effect it would cause; would they prefer that right be exercised?) Anyway, Target is not the only company pushing this dangerous gender-neutral nonsense. Starbucks and Barnes and Noble have also joined up to shoot themselves in the foot. As of midnight on Friday morning (when I’m updating this, because my stupid radiatiors sound like they’re possessed) the #BoycottTarget petition has reached 1,002,916 signatures.

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Filed under culture, current events, education, humanity, men and women, politics, War on Women

Teacup Children and the Socially Impaired

Since the mid 1980s, a trend has been developing that has me severely worried for my generation. Lately, that trend is coming to a head and I’m afraid that we as Millennials are not going to be able to handle the inevitable.

I couldn’t put my finger on the cause. It could have been one thing, or several. It could have started way back in 1974 when Timothy O’Bryan’s father slipped a cyanide-laced Pixie Stix into his Halloween bag, killing the child and frightening parents into thinking there were child-hating maniacs handing out candy for decades. (How many of you weren’t allowed to eat your candy until your parents checked it first?) Maybe it was when Mary Kellerman, aged 12, became the first victim of the Chicago Tylenol murders. Perhaps it was the Satanic daycare sex-abuse hysteria of the 1980s and 90s. Whatever it was, it led to the rise of “helicopter” parenting, the practice in which parents hover over their children to ensure the child never fails, is never allowed to fall, never allowed to take risks or experience pain.

These are the parents who won’t let their child ride a bike without knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a helmet.

They are the parents who made sure the monkey bars and the swings were removed from the playgrounds to reduce fall and choke hazards, and there isn’t dirt or grass under what remains, but several inches of recycled shredded rubber or mulch.

If their school system still uses traditional grades, and Johnny gets a poor grade on a test, Mom and Dad will be in the next day to negotiate a better one, or finding out why the teacher didn’t teach better.  Often, Mom or Dad will just do Johnny’s work to make sure it’s done right.

Afraid to let them out of their sights, parents schedule as many after-school activities as possible. From t-ball to soccer to dance, everyone gets a trophy just for existing. There is no concept of “winning” or “losing” and thus no chance to fail in a fairly safe environment. Where there is no chance to fail, there is no room to grow. No internal motivation is developed. Children learn to depend solely on external motivators, a trait which will not serve them well in the “real” world. One would think it ludacris for a parent to accompany her grown child to a job interview or complain to the dean of students about a test grade, but it happens.

An argument between friends or classmates is immediately sorted out by teachers or parents. Children don’t learn crucial social skills, and often any conflict is immediately labeled “bullying”. What children DO learn is to quickly manipulate the system to their advantage, crying “wolf” (or “bully”) to gain attention from adults.

This lack of social skills leads me to my other big worry: the millennial generation today doesn’t have any. For that, I can go back to 1992 and IBM. Most 20-somethings today could barely remember their home phone number then and were too busy memorizing their colors, numbers, and ABCs, but that was the year IBM introduced the first smartphone, nicknamed “Simon”. Since then, we’ve all gone downhill, and it’s been well-observed that most people under the age of 35 are lacking the basic skill to carry on a conversation. It’s difficult to sit through a dinner with someone who is constantly checking their phone for email, texts, Facebook, etc. Eye contact is impossible – many can’t maintain it. When our eyes are glued to a screen all day, we forget what real interpersonal contact is like.

I firmly believe this is what has given rise to the #YesEveryWoman and #ThatsWhatHeSaid, as well as videos in which people with hidden cameras walk around for hours and record the reactions and statements of others. As human beings, we have lost the ability to interact properly with each other. We have become so used to hiding behind a screen that we have become incapable of just being.

The world of social media means never hearing emotion. You read what is written without hearing the reflection or intent. How many conversations have spiraled out of control because something was misinterpreted? Have we become completely desensitized to others’ emotions and feelings? Has that lack of seeing and hearing someone’s reaction allowed for the rise of disrespect, whether real or imagined, between the sexes?

Not too long ago, what is now considered “catcalling” was thought of as a man getting his act together, taking the plunge, and saying hello to a lady. Sadly, today’s society is severely lacking in ladies and gentlemen equally, but unless your friends had sisters, sometimes randomly addressing an attractive stranger was the only way to meet someone. Often one ended up saying something incredibly stupid as he stumbled over himself in his nervousness, hoping that in the approximate 12 second window that he had to make a good impression that she would either be willing to continue the conversation or let him down gently.

To the men out there, you kinda stink at this these days. Women, you’re pretty bad at it yourself.

Men: The way to get a lady’s attention is NOT to make any blatant sexual comment. Just, no. Don’t even go there. Do not touch or follow a woman without her permission – that’s illegal. Say hello, or something funny, or compliment her.

Women: If a man, stranger or acquaintance, says hello or compliments you, it is polite to respond “hello” or “thank you”. If you don’t wish to converse, that’s all you need to say. “F*** you” is not appropriate. If you think you’re in danger, or if you’ve been grabbed or touched in any way, scream and call the police.

Everyone should have a few fall-back subjects to talk about that don’t involve television shows and Buzzfeed lists. Read a book or two. Have informed opinions on national politics and stay current with current events. Find a hobby. Start challenging yourself to put the phone away one day a week (or if that’s too much, one day a month) and dedicate that day to one of those things.

It’s time to put on our big kid underpants and learn to be big kids, without holding Mom and Dad’s hand or the equivalent – the smart phone. Let’s learn to be people, not robots.

free range

I highly recommend the article The Overprotected Kid for more on helicopter parenting, bubble wrapped kids, and how one community is trying to give kids a new chance at childhood.

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Filed under family, men and women

Missed it by *that* much…

I work in the public school system. (I know, I know…). In the People’s Republic of New England, as well as across the United States, there is apparently a new thing this year that requires schools to collect racial and ethnic data on every student in the building. This is not optional. Don’t worry, assures the paper, all information will be kept confidential.

Given the current flux of people moving around in this country, legal or not, I suppose I can see why, from a statistical standpoint, why that data might be wanted now rather than waiting until the next census is taken. Here’s my problem, though. In post-racial America*, the only racial/ethnic data that the government is interested in is whether or not a student is or is not Hispanic. If the student is not Hispanic, they would like to know if he is of Asian, African-American, American-Indian or Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander descent. For all others, please just check “white”, because, well, screw you, Europe. As I’m going through these sheets, some parents have checked off multiple ethnicities and races because, well, again, post-racial America, y’all. The problem is that the computer only accepts one answer for each student. So when I’m staring at a kid’s sheet that looks like a multiple choice test, it’s been suggested that I look at the kid’s picture, decide what race/ethnicity he best represents, and go with that. (Though being the federal government, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if it turns out the schools get more money for having more minority students.)

Here’s the kicker. Go back to the “about” page and take a good look at that photograph. Blonde hair, hazel eyes… gotta be some brand of European, right? certainly couldn’t check off any of those boxes indicating I was a racial minority. Well, except, I could. Enter Exhibits A and B:

emma and molly

These are my cousins, and for privacy’s sake, even though they gave me permission to use this photo and I blocked their faces, we’ll call them Sandy and Olivia. Sandy and Olivia are sisters, and they are the closest thing to blood sisters that I have. Our fathers are brothers, and our mothers are sisters. Yes, brothers married sisters. It’s not nearly as confusing as it sounds. We’re talking pretty much same exact gene pool. Anyway, Sandy looks like me, with the blonde hair and dark eyes. Just like our mothers’ side of the family. Olivia on the other hand… well, face it. Anyone could, and understandably would, look at her and think she’s Latina. Nope. Half-Polish, quarter Slovak, and a quarter Scots and Irish. Ever hear of the black Irish? Yup. Bunch of Spanish traders come up the western European coast, decide Ireland is as nice a place as any to settle down (or at least find a warm bed on land for a night or two), and voila! The black Irish are born. You can find us in Scotland, too. Olivia is living proof of that.

Technically, then, I could just as easily mark “Hispanic” on my own theoretical ethnic/racial sheet as I can “white”. Not even “Caucasian”. Just “white”. I have Spanish ancestry, after all. We melanin-challenged individuals are so discriminated against.

 

*If we’re in a “post-racial America” as was much hailed with the election of the first half-black president, why are we even wasting trees on all this? And trust me, it’s a lot of trees, judging by the stacks of paper on my desk.

 

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When “Never Forget” becomes “We Don’t Want to Remember”

Ask any adult today, say anyone aged 20 or older, give or take a few years, and they will be able to tell you where they were on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Quite like how most of our parents will tell you where they were when they found out Kennedy was assassinated. We remember where we were, what we heard, what we saw on television. We heard the patriotic music and felt the swells of pride when we saw the Stars and Stripes waving in the wind. Younger children and teens felt slightly more grown up if Mom and Dad let them listen to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” unedited, and we cried when we heard “God Bless the USA”. As a nation, we swore we would never forget the site of those burning towers, the shock of the Pentagon, or the burnt debris field in Pennsylvania.

For the last 13 years, wherever I have gone to school or worked, if I was there at 08:46, everyone dropped what they were doing for, if nothing else, a moment of silence for the victims of that terrible day. (The first plane hit Tower 1 at that time.) This morning, I said something about how I was surprised that the school was not having a second moment of silence at that time inremembrance in addition to the regular silent moment we have every day when school starts at 8:00. Another staff member told me, “What does it matter? These kids weren’t even born yet or were, at most, a year old. It ain’t our job to teach them.”

Granted, we have administrative positions, but I beg to differ. We adults in the building were certainly all alive, and living in the northeast corridor, our small city lost natives on the planes and in the towers. No one who signed the Declaration of Independence is alive today, but we all celebrate it each year. Ditto Memorial Day, established officially in the 1860s after Lincoln’s assassination. Ditto Veteran’s Day, and I’m pretty sure there are no surviving Veteran’s of WWI (The day is celebrated on the day the war ended) – we get a whole day off from school for that.

“What does it matter?”

It matters because we are still fighting against the evil that, within a matter of hours, killed 3,000 Americans in the most cowardly way. Make no mistake. These people are evil. And they will get their comeuppance one way or another. For the children who weren’t born yet, or are too young to remember, we need to remember for them, so that they too may honor the victim’s memories, and honor the soldiers who have died to keep us safe, and those who continue to serve, sacrificing everything to that people who thing “what does it matter” can sleep soundly tonight.

groundzerocross

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. -A. Lincoln, November, 1863

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Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight

“I was watching the Weather Channel because I was going to fly down south when Hurricane Floyd was out in the Caribbean and so this is what they said, the information: Hurricane Floyd would be hitting the coast of the United States in five days and that it would hit somewhere, somewhere between Miami and New England. Why did they bother… why the f*** open your mouth? Why not just say Hurricane Floyd is coming… we’re going to go to a commercial.” -Lewis Black

If you have a statement to make, what’s the best way to go about it? Do you throw a temper tantrum, complete with curing, kicking, and shrieking like a ban-sidhe to get your point across? Or do you calmly present your points, provide examples and counter examples, to win your opponents over to your way of thinking? In an argument, which type or person would you rather deal with?

Last Saturday, 9 August 2014, two young men in Ferguson, Missouri were stopped by police. A scuffle ensued, during which eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. At the time of the incident, those were the only facts that anyone -media, family and friends of the deceased knew for certain. As such, those should have been the only facts reported on.

However, the media chose to seize on the fact that the deceased was black and the officer who shot him was white. Despite living in a post-racial utopian society brought forth by the election of B. H. Obama, a candlelight vigil for the deceased rapidly turned into a violent free-for-all in which many citizens felt free to riot in the streets and loot and destroy local businesses in the name of “justice”.

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Riots-in-Ferguson-mikebrown3

In case anyone had forgotten, rioting and looting are crimes. Yes, we have a Constitutional right to protest, but it must be done peacefully. I’m failing to see anything peaceful about arson, robbery, destruction of private property, et cetera. The gentleman pictured above must have an inkling of that as well, as he has covered his face from the security camera. The police responded in kind, using smoke canisters and tear gas to push back the crowds.

Here is the very, very simple reason why this post is entitled “You Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight”. Ferguson is burning. These people, and for the ones doing the rioting and looting, I am using that term very, very loosely, are out for blood. We saw this in 1992 with the Los Angeles/Rodney King riots, and we saw it again in California in the 1990s when a group of bank robbers out-gunned local police departments. The robbers had Kevlar vests, AK-47s, grenades, mortars, you name it. The PDs had their regular side-arms and… that was it. They were hopelessly out-gunned by these bank-robbers. They were screwed. It took hours to get them properly armed. They needed that riot-gear, those heavier weapons, the armored vehicles. Those cops, because the local populace was afraid of their cops carrying an unnecessary show of force, were in serious danger when the bad guys (who don’t give a damn about unnecessary shows of force) showed up with a rather impressive show of force.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I started this with a quote from comedian Lewis Black. It illustrates the absurdity of the news these days. Even when there is nothing to report on, they will report on it, often whipping the populace up into a frenzy. That is exactly what happened in Ferguson. Various news sources took what little information they had, added every rumor they’d heard and a few they just made up, and spit it out for public consumption. A week later, we have everyone from the POTUS to Al Sharpton playing the race card (again), two police units that are having a very hard time getting their job done, and a city aflame.

One can’t help but wonder if all this couldn’t have been avoided if the news media hadn’t just reported on the basic facts and let the police departments do their job?

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Obama’s Motorcade Trumps Woman in Labor

America, we have hit a new low. According to the LA Times, a woman in labor was prevented from crossing a street in order to get to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center because President Obama’s motorcade would be passing through.

His Imperialness was on his way to another fundraiser with the Hollywood Elite.

Let that sink in a moment. A young woman in black yoga pants and a white tank top sitting on a backless bench at what could be a bus stop. One arm wrapped protectively around her belly, the other braced on the bench. Her body, which has been working on forming this new little human inside of her for the last nine months, has kicked things into high gear and said, “Ok, it’s go time.” She’s having contractions. She’s in pain. She is right across the street from the hospital, and unnamed “authorities” are preventing her from entering, even on foot, because the POTUS will be driving by at some point on his way to rub elbows with Kerry Washington and quip about how Usher put him to shame on the dance floor.

“If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.”  -Lewis Black

Whenever I feel like my mind might explode from the sheer stupidity of the world, I think of that line. It’s from his White album, and while I highly recommend it, it’s NSFW, children, and other delicate ears.

Have we really sunk so far? That not a single person would take action? In a land where people protest capitalism on Wall Street, not one man or woman would do the right thing, push past the cops or Secret Service or whoever, and get that woman to the hospital? They would take pictures and tweet about her plight, but no one would help her. Just as sadly, the “authorities” (it wasn’t specified if they were LAPD or Secret Service or military) would not do the right thing either.

I’ve mentioned before that my brothers are cops. They come from a long line. Uncles, a grandfather, cousins… I cannot imagine any of them putting up with this sort of nonsense, be it because of the president or the Queen of England. I can’t imagine this happening because of any other president, either. Pick any president who ever took part in a motorcade. Any of them. I think they’d be furious to hear that this happened because they were in town. Obama probably won’t even notice.

Not many things are completely unbelievable in this day and age. This though? Wow.

 

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Filed under men and women, politics, pop culture

Bono: Not Just for Music Anymore

This clip was featured in Dinesh D’Souza’s new film “America: Imagine a World Without Her”, which I saw this evening. I can’t recommend it enough, for liberals and conservatives alike. It tackles many of the things that people say are “bad” about America, and why we shouldn’t be proud of our great nation, from the early treatment of the aboriginal population, to slavery, to our current foreign policy, and capitalism. The film interviews people who have a stake in each of those opinions, and then reviews each of them from a historical perspective, speaking with historians, economists, scholars, military veterans, and more.

And then, there’s Bono, who really just summed up everything.

 

 

America. I can’t live with or without you? Scratch that. Just can’t live without her.

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