RE: The Horrific Events in Las Vegas

RE: The Horrific Events in Las Vegas

It was a tragedy, a senseless massacre of innocent people by a Caucasian American man (White male)  with multiple weapons including what reports indicate were legally purchased guns designed for military use that had been modified to fire in a more aggressive fashion. According to accounts, several individuals involved with the musical performance were armed, legally concealed carrying. Given the nature of the public event, there were a number of armed law enforcement officers present as well. General public labeled “good guys” with guns did not stop this assault, and neither did any laws on the books or stricken from the books.

I’ve never had a history professor in any of my departments who were and are not aware of massacres on US soil that saw more casualties. Even if the courses we teach do not pertain to the time frames or subject areas that include for example the Lakota Indians at Wounded Knee on 29 December 1890 or the black men and women in Colfax, LA, on Easter Sunday, 13 April 1873, we know of these horrific events.

Heck, right now people in the general public and politicians are still arguing about the removal of the Battle of Liberty Place monument which is the marker for approximately 35 deaths on 14 September 1874. How is that relevant some ask? It was the same white supremacists’ groups who killed approximately 150 black men and women in Colfax up in Grant Parish on Easter Sunday the previous year who carried out the attack on Liberty Place in New Orleans. The monument first erected in 1891 to “honor” this event had an inscription advocating white supremacy added in the year 1932.

I and I assume most people are aware that even more people were murdered on our soil on the morning of Tuesday, 11 September 2001 without a single shot from a gun being fired.

These deaths are not the price of freedom as one well-heeled media personality is spewing. They are not “understandable” or “acceptable” losses as another well-heeled perpetrator of hate beneath a cloak of religious love contends.

Likewise, these deaths that take place because of violence at mass events are no different from the single lives lost every day on any street, any city, any town, any clod of soil.

WHY? I have too many words but as John Donne articulated: “And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness”  [Meditation XVII].

A senseless death, no matter the cause or place, is a tragedy. It should not be justified or explained away. It need not be our family blood or that of a friend or colleague. It matters not the color of the skin, gender, heritage, for the blood remains red and is the life fluid for us all even when the vessel from which it flows has an external appearance that is ever so different. All are different yet same.

People attempting to justify or dismiss for whatever reason really don’t have a clue and that concerns me because I believe that is part of the problem.

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Why Senator Jeff Flake, AZ?

Dear Senator Flake,

Healthcare is a complex issue that requires bipartisan efforts.  We cannot address the myriad of components in any single forum.  No plan or system will be “perfect” for everyone.

Like most legislation, ACA consists of positives and negatives.  Some people have benefitted from the law and others have not.  If ACA remains the law of the land, several parts need substantial revision, some need elimination, others need minor adjustment, and new sections need inclusion.

If ACA is repealed, any replacement needs to address a substantial portion of the numerous issues concerning healthcare.

My question Sir, is if you know that this Graham-Cassidy bill could allow states to undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions, what should give you, me, and citizens of your state and this country confidence that these protections will not be undermined?

In your interview on MSNBC, you cited some logical reasons such as 1986 with welfare reform.  You also state that in reality no governor or state legislature will deny protections even with waivers because of the political repercussions such an action would bring.  Whether de jure or de facto such an implementation would be disastrous for the elected official in a logical and rational environment.

  • Senator Flake, are we currently in such a logical environment?
  • Sir, did you expect a President of the United States to take to social media and brand you as toxic?
  • Would the Leader of the Free World feel it necessary to publicly refer to you as Flake Jeff Flake in a logical and rational political environment?

Sir, do you still believe in the statement you made on Twitter concerning the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

I’m not asking or debating whether a pardon for the individual is warranted.  I’m asking about the process by which the President undertook?

Senator Flake, in your book, you wrote that Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade.  Shouldn’t the same apply to healthcare?

You wrote of the priority being to deny President Barack Obama instead of advancing a conservative policy agenda.

Can members of your party honestly say that supporting Graham-Cassidy is about promoting a conservative agenda when the so-called skinny repeal failed?

Or is a vote for Graham-Cassidy, regardless of what may or may not be in the bill, without CBO scoring, with limited discussion and debate, merely a vote because repeal has been GOP promise?

Is political party and reelection truly more important than the country?

Apparently, the President thinks so based upon his tweet this morning.

Sir, if there are reasons to believe that elected officials will, in fact, work for the best interests of all constituents, citizens, and country even if it means opposing their political base who is focused more upon the short term and not the long term, would you please enlighten this professor of history?

I never imagined seeing any White House rejecting the authority and validity of our own intelligence findings regarding Russia and labeling that as hoaxes created by the Democrats and perpetuated by the media.

Would a former US Senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, have argued the same?

 

…and I Live on Maple Street Immigration Scapegoating

With an update regarding the WH press briefing on 2 August 2017 and the RAISE Act.

LAB Louisiana Boy

Given the remarks today by Stephen Miller today at the White House press briefing where he spoke about Trump administrations support of the RAISE Act sponsored by Tom Cotton and David Perdue, I thought once more about the Monsters on Maple Street.  I do not see such a difference in temporary workers such as the doubling of the H2-B visa applicant maximums if indeed legal immigrants posed such a threat to US workers with similar skills.  The US Department of Labor website currently has advertisements for H2-B workers for the “Southern White House,” Mar-a-Lago.

https://lcr-pjr.doleta.gov/index.cfm?event=ehLCJRExternal.dspJobOrderView&frm=lcjr&task=view_job_order&view=external&lcjr_id=116833

Is the White House suggesting that Americans do not have the skills to work in restaurants as servers and cooks or to do basic housekeeping?  Mr. Miller tried the seasonal argument, and yes these positions are seasonal but how do people get on the job training to move from part-time or seasonal to full-time?  If…

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Fake News, CBO scores, Bama fires Saban, and other Gumbo fixings sans the Roux.

In modern vernacular “fake news” means anything the reader or viewer doesn’t like. For example, “Saints Lose and Dirty Birds Win” could be classified as “fake news” if I accepted the modern popular definition.

I reckon that LSU won the College World Series and Nick Saban has a losing record as coach and will likely be fired are reality since mainstream media reports the opposite along with people who went to Omaha or who have watched Bama roll for quite a spell.

At some point while I wasn’t looking, predictions and opinions became the same as reporting news.  The distinctions have been blurred, but doesn’t it seem like fewer and fewer today recognize the difference or even care?

Instead, if one agrees then it is real news or if they disagree it is apparently “fake” instead of just being inaccurate.

Makes one wonder if Dewey really beat Truman and served as President. Did Foreman win the Rumble in the Jungle? Mike Tyson never got busted by Buster. OJ must still be running through airports for Hertz, so the white Bronco chase must have been filmed on the same stage as the moon landing. With my very own eyes, I forgot that I witnessed the New England Patriots a few years back win the Super Bowl to become the second NFL team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. To suggest otherwise is: FAKE, FAKE, FAKE by those dastardly dirty rottens of MSM.

The above is ridiculous, but if I chose to give a fancy little spin or chum the waters with a little bait to create a feeding frenzy, a significant number would believe.  It’s both sad and scary.

Fake and mistake rhyme but that’s it. Prediction after-the-fact is quite easy but before-the-fact ain’t as easy. Opinion and who are connected directly.  When an eyewitness or anyone is giving an account of what is happening their perspective matters as to what they can and cannot see.

CBO scores are not an absolute science. They’re assessments based upon a multitude of variables. Whether proven right or wrong, the thoroughness of the methodology to derive that score is the most important factor to determining worth. It’s not fake. It’s a prediction. In the 43 years of existence, one really must cherry pick to label the CBO as partisan. Even when people try, they often neglect the fact that it is the majority party who appoints the director and all staff serve at the pleasure of the director.

It’s not a perfect system, but it has proven better than the OMB in the role it plays. The problem is that too few people have any idea about who or what the CBO is. Reading a WAPO opinion from two WH staffers ahead of the CBO score on the latest Senate health bill is evidence of the ignorance. The assessment from the CBO may prove incorrect, but it is not “FAKE NEWS” and is not partisan.

One of the better overviews which sadly I have never seen cited in the click baits, partisan press, or by the vast majority of pundits because it requires some actual reading comprehension is this working paper from the Hutchins Center back in 2015.

If only it were so simple that anything reported that we did not like were in fact fake.  Credibility for any given source seems to depend upon whether one agrees with the source.  Legitimacy is based upon if one’s confirmation bias is supported.

That’s one of the problems that limits possibilities for solutions.

Educators and educational institutions are being discredited.  In the work force, in some respects at least the focus has shifted to using specialized tools before even trying to understand the problem.  Need to do something, and there is an app for that.  New doesn’t necessarily mean improved, but are we losing that ability or desire to think for ourselves?

Food for thought…

An Aside:

I have never sought or accepted any payment or donations for this blog.  My position hasn’t changed, but I wanted share some good news.

After 10 years of marriage, my wife and I are in the final stages of adopting a son from an international orphanage.  We would most appreciate your thoughts and prayers for our son and us as soon-to-be parents to more than fur babies.  I hope that people read and follow because you either gather some information or at least see something that causes you to think.  We’re not conducting any fundraising with crowd sourcing sites or other means.  Nobody goes into the education field to become wealthy, but it’s a valuable reward when former students remain in communication or drop in unexpectedly to say that you made them think, believe, or made a difference.  Students, colleagues, peers, readers, and others have inquired so if anyone would like to make a monetary donation to help us with airfare primarily or other expenses associated with adoption, below is a link to a PayPal donation account that I have set up.  Any donation would be appreciated, but it is certainly not necessary to continue whatever connection we share.

https://www.paypal.me/LABLouisianaBoy

 

Want to Hear some Good Music?

Listening to some of my man’s covers.

LAB Louisiana Boy

It’s been a bit since we last posted, but the blog has not gone away.  Thanks to all who have messaged to ask about the lack of recent activity.  Work and life…what more is there to say.

One of the worst things about not posting is that I have not kept up with writings of others because that’s what I enjoy and more importantly where I learn on WordPress.

My original post contained a tangent about the election and education, but I just cut that out to emphasize the positive with this post.

I have no training or background in music although I did at one time build some really good speaker boxes for cars and trucks.  One in particular I remember resulted in not only incredible sound from the 6 X 9 speakers but a good back message from the 10 inch woofers housed within.  Ah youth….

Still I know music that I like…

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US Home Filter Review

My regular readers are familiar with my fondness for many things past.  I’m nostalgic, but being trained as a history professor often provides the necessary balance between sentimentality for the past and the realities that remain clear when everything is considered within context.

Regardless of our upbringings or ideologies, I think that at times we all lament what I’ll term an erosion of customer service in our retail transactions.  My colleagues over in business divisions have several metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to gauge levels of customer service.  Me, I’m just the barefoot boy from the fields who wants someone who knows their products and can offer recommendations when needed, stands behind the quality of their products, seeks to make their profit from repeat business, and considers customers as people instead of a just a source of revenue.

Admittedly I miss the locally owned “Mom and Pop” stores with which I grew up.  Chains could often operate in the same fashion with a superior level of service.  For those back in Louisiana or the Deep South, who at some point doesn’t yearn for the purple, the “Personally Yours” from the K&B Drugstore in your neighborhood?  It wasn’t just the quality of the locally produced K&B ice cream, but the reality that you had cashiers at the pharmacy checkout in the back and on both sides in the front.  If lines started to form, a clerk from the floor or a manager would open the additional checkouts.  Need assistance on the floor, and there was a clerk either on that aisle or the next along with a manager near.

I lucked into finding similar customer service at a company through the unlikeliest portals, Amazon.

That company is US Home Filter which is the online division of Midwest Supply Inc., located in Belton, Missouri.  Midwest Supply is a family owned company established back in 1928 and today is a distributor of air filters that they manufacture and ship from their facilities near Kansas City, MO.  You can read a brief history here from their website.

Now I’ve never been to Kansas City so I haven’t seen the manufacturing facility or warehouse firsthand.  I’ve never met an employee face-to-face.  In fact, my experience beyond the product itself is from an email exchange and a single phone call from the company.

Why then am I writing a review of this company, praising their customer service, and recommending their products?

Let’s start with the last part first.

Air filters for air conditioning, heating systems, and heat pumps such as we have up yonder here in Maryland are one of those essential products that is easy to neglect.  Even the best industry jargon will not induce visions of excitement, mystery, or intrigue by replacing a filter.  Now failure to conduct such routine maintenance will likely result in some type of horror from the costs and hassles associated with repair or replacement, but I purposely try to avoid that genre in life and my reading and viewing habits because sadly history has ample non-fiction examples of horrors that negate any want to immerse myself in fiction.

Like most people, my goal with an air filter is a quality build, expected performance for a reasonable period per run time and conditions, and an affordable cost.  I haven’t conducted any tests to validate the MERV ratings on these or other brands.  I can only tell you that the US Home filters appear to capture similar levels of dust and particles as other brands I have used.  The physical construction is as good as, if not superior, to the “name brands” one sees in retail outlets such as Home Depot, Ace, Lowes, Target, WalMart, or your local hardware store.  The cardboard frames are strong and solid.  The pleated material of the filter is consistent throughout the entirety of the frame.  A backing of galvanized metal adds rigidity and prevents the pleated material from becoming deformed by the air flow.

You can read Amazon reviews for size and MERV ratings of the filters I have purchased at the links below.  Combined as of my typing there are approximately 200 ratings for the MERV ratings in this specific size with the average being 4.6 stars out of 5 stars.  Statistically any ratings that are not a 4 or a 5 would be outliers if one were graphing a curve.  I’m not the only consumer who has a high opinion about these filters in terms of quality and cost.

For additional information about the various types and sizes of filters they manufacture, please refer to their online website linked here and below.  I should note that the size I need is not found easily on most brick and mortar store shelves, but it’s apparently a common size for many of the newer household sized systems.  As one can see from their website, US Home manufactures standard sizes for many different systems along with custom sizing options if needed.

I’ll let readers do their own pricing comparisons to other brands and manufacturers, but I have found my filters to be a good value when doing my own cost comparisons.

Now why am I writing this and praising the customer service?

Well I placed an order with Amazon, received the tracking information for the package, saw that the package arrived at the Federal Express distribution center near me, and then remained at that distribution center for days instead of going out for delivery.

When we purchased our new heat pump few years back, I ordered a set of filters from this same company through Amazon.  The package arrived quickly in a sturdy box that protected the contents.  The next time I ordered a set directly from the US Home website.  I believe their listed price was lower than the Amazon price at that specific time, maybe I had a coupon code, or perhaps I was in some type of anti-Amazon or major retailer mood.  I do not recall, but I do know that delivery went just as smoothly.

This time, however, it appeared that my air filters received a visit from Rod Serling at the Fed Ex center and entered into the Twilight Zone.  I’m not sure if they are enjoying that trek, and I doubt if Mr. Serling or Mr. Burgess Meredith from the remake will be providing some closing words for me to ponder per the meaning and fate of these filters.

Thus, I decided to delve into cyberspace at the US Home Filter website where I clicked the “contact us” tab in the menu at the top, typed my name and some brief comments to include my Amazon order numbers in their online form and clicked “submit.”

From there you never know if your message will reach its intended destination.  If it does, will it be filed in that recycle bin that has replaced the older fashioned filing cabinet on the floor that could be used as a makeshift basketball hoop for written correspondence, apple cores, or just about anything for that brief respite from work at your desk?  Inquiring minds want and need to know.

Well it wasn’t long after clicking that submit button that my phone began to ring.  Naturally I checked what the Caller ID displayed before answering.  “Midwest Supply,” who is that?  I don’t have time for a robocall but then the better half shouted “I think it’s your air filters,” and I answered the ring.

It wasn’t a robot, computer, gremlin, Twilight Zone regular, or even a voice informing me to hold.  On the line was a person.

It was Ms. Allison Roberts, the Operations Manager for US Home Filter.  She was friendly, polite, and apologetic.  Very quickly she informed me that another package of filters was in the process of being shipped to me directly.  She had contacted Fed Ex and even though the portal to the Twilight Zone was in the Fed Ex distribution center, she wanted to send another package because most do arrive at their intended destination without embarking upon their own side vacation.

US Home Filter was not at fault.  All jokes aside, something just happened to the package after it left their warehouse.  She could have asked me to submit another order, complete forms with either Amazon or Fed Ex, but she just wanted me as a customer to have the product I purchased and apologized for the delay.  If by some chance the original box arrives, I have another box of filters.  It was that simple.  She provided tracking information for the new package along with her direct phone number and email address if I had any questions or concerns.  It was such a quick yet thorough example of customer service that used to be the norm, and today I no longer take such basic expertise in that area for granted.  Sadly, I do not take it granted because I’ve become a kinder and wiser individual with age.  As Robert Frost might opine, I am no longer acquainted with the experience as I once was despite more frequent opportunities for our paths to intersect.

Somehow my conversation with Ms. Roberts evolved to the point where she told me a little about Midwest Supply.  I was unaware that this was a family owned business.  Yes, I am guilty of not doing independent research before my first purchase where I relied on price and customer reviews.  I reckon laziness and karma sometimes works in one’s favor, although I am not planning to push my luck in that area.

Ms. Roberts is the great-granddaughter of the founder, and she said that operations are beginning to pass from her Dad’s generation to that of she and her siblings.  We spoke a little about “Mom and Pop” stores, and she related a few experiences that she and her husband have had with contractors and other businesses.  Our exchange was similar to what one would have had if standing in your local neighborhood hardware store where both proprietor and customers knew everybody by name and at the conclusion of the visit reminded you to say hi from them to another family member.

Ms. Roberts provided customer service.  It was an online transaction, interstate from Missouri to Maryland, but it was like watching my Dad with customers in K&B or likely what she experienced with her parents and grandparents at the family business.  I’m guessing that the latest generation is expanding their business as they must to compete in today’s environment. It’s obvious by their years in existence that the business has enjoyed success through different eras.  Regardless of storefront size, however, the focus remains on a quality product and being able to deliver prior to, during, and after a sale.  Customer Service is that key; that bedrock just like it was when workers and customers knew and interacted with one another in multiple venues outside a specific storefront or facility.

For those back home in Louisiana, professors and mentors from grad school at Mississippi State, friends and colleagues from my stops in Georgia and elsewhere, former students, neighbors, readers, critics, Saints fans, and everyone else, when you need to purchase air filters, please take a look at US Home Filters.  They’ll be getting my repeat business.  Now if only I’ll be able to enjoy the breeze (filtered in this case) coming from my vents as the Brees (Drew in this case) led Who Dats breeze (no injuries, consistent, balanced offense,  and a Dennis Allen coached defense along with special teams playing well in this case) into and to win another Super Bowl.  Even if that doesn’t happen this upcoming season I anticipate that I’ll be cool or warm (depends on this MD weather — the past couple of days we have had Louisiana styled humidity) with filtration by US Home filters.

Wow, can you imagine what it would be like if our son’s first Super Bowl to watch had the Saints?  Yep, I have thought about that what if he becomes a Dirty Bird fan. I’ll adjust because I’ll still love him, but in the wonderful life I pray he has maybe instead of his guardian angel being named Clarence, Hokie Gajan could play the part.  RIP Hokie

Again, Jen and I appreciate all the words of encouragement, thoughts, and prayers in our adoption process.  We hope that you will continue as we are in the final stages before traveling to bring home our son.  While certainly not a requirement or expectation for readers or anyone, but because a few have asked if you would like to assist with either airfare or other expenses related to international adoption, I did set up a PayPal account that I have linked below for that purpose.  While I do not want to discuss adoption in any comments, as always please message me directly if you have questions.

If anyone would like to donate to assist us with airfare or any other expenses related to international adoption, I have set up a PayPal account that I have linked below.  Please message me with questions or for any additional information.

PayPal link to support LAB LouisianaBoy adoption

Campaign Promise Update for the Forgotten

Accomplishment is a subjective term.  Still, I question the ability of “experts” who are also touting the brilliance of 266 blank pages and people buying such to make it the #1 bestseller on Amazon.  Many of these experts argue that President Donald Trump has had “unprecedented” success in the early days of his administration.  White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer agrees with that assessment of the administration.  The forgotten individual is supposedly represented and championed unlike ever before in our history.

Yet it’s difficult to find anyone who gives specific examples that one can connect directly to this success. Stock market, jobs?   Obviously, there’s a seemingly unlimited scope of variables with some areas, but I have no issues giving whomever the president might be credit for favorable job reports and stock market increases.  Admittedly I am bothered more when whomever is president is blamed for unfavorable reports or problems in the markets.  Still, the imagery exists as to who gets credited and blamed regardless of their connections, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to meaningful involvement.

What could be cited as direct actions of success are 16 Executive Orders and hodgepodge of additional memoranda, but neither Spicer nor supporters discuss these.  Why not?   Among those was the rollout of a travel ban that did not go smoothly to say the least and quickly faced legal hurdles.  The justification for the immediate rollout was a safety argument.  It would seem, however, that the revised order would have been issued more quickly and without a 10-day delay before attempted implementation since it would have been too “dangerous” and counter-intuitive to announce and delay the first for even a 24-hour period.

New guidance for immigration enforcement has been implemented.  Instead of focusing resources to apprehending the most dangerous which sometimes required the cooperation and tips of those who have committed no crimes to provide assistance and information to law enforcement to help locate those who have already committed violent crimes, we have moved to a first-seen, first-apprehended practice.  Instead of talking a rifle and firing a couple of rounds at a target, we have begun firing shotgun shells at the same target regardless of distance in the hopes of multiple strikes by the pellets.  We might get more marks on paper, but we do not pierce the bullseye.  Also, anything near the target is often struck by the shot as well.

Financial advisors are no longer required to work in the best interest of the client paying for their services.  If that advisor receives an incentive to push a riskier investment or one that will likely result in a loss for that specific client, it is the client’s responsibility again to discover the motives of the professional.

Small interior waterways no longer have federal government regulations that would require specific businesses to divert runoffs and pollution from entering.  Responsibilities for cleanup and damages to the surrounding environment and wildlife falls upon those who want to enjoy that environment or say hunt or fish in that area.

If companies such as ATT or Verizon have their accounts hacked and the personal data of customers compromised, the FCC may not be able to demand accountability since the bar of expected security has been lowered to “reasonable measures.”  The chances that your internet searches will be available for purchase from the largest providers has increased tremendously.

Foreign companies can use eminent domain regulations to take private property from citizens for “just compensation” in the eyes of the business.  Rights granted by the Fifth Amendment and later expanded to provide protections from entities other than the government have been curtailed in the name of capitalism.  Despite promises on the campaign trail and more importantly despite provisions written into the disputed legislation from the previous administration, US products are not required for usage of this usurped land as for all intents and purposes foreign products have been grandfathered in.

We do not know yet what will become of healthcare.  If the current proposals do not pass Congress, the blame will be upon Speaker Ryan.  If the proposals do pass and prove disastrous the blame will be upon Speaker Ryan.  If we remain at the status quo, all efforts will be made to harm individuals with blame then being cast upon the previous administration and minority party.

We do not know yet of budget suggestions from the Executive, but we do know that one proposal to finance the construction of the border wall is to cut anti-terrorism activities and training for the US Coast Guard and the TSA.  FEMA and other disaster aid will also be cut to fund this wall.

We still do not know if Congress will ever pass any legislation as they have yet to do so.  Attention has been focused on potential Russian hacking and connections to control our government.  Attention has been focused not on the non-disputed results of the election and Electoral vote count, but to prove that millions of illegal votes changed the popular vote tally.  Attention has been focused on crowd size on inauguration day and that of various marches following inauguration.  Attention has been focused on merchandise with the Ivanka Trump name.

Perhaps accomplishments can be read in the #1 bestseller on Amazon, “Reasons to Vote for Democrats.”  The text need not be changed, and the title could be “Ways the Presidential Administration Has Assisted the Forgotten American.”  Many people argue that’s why they voted for Donald Trump, and political rhetoric aside forgotten remains forgotten despite what the experts spew.

Birth of a State Poor Sequel

1)  According to Donald Trump, Indiana born U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel allegedly could not rule impartially because of his Mexican heritage.  Donald Trump would settle that lawsuit against Trump University by paying plaintiffs in the neighborhood of $25 million.

2) President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for declining to defend the travel ban that numerous federal judges appointed by both different presidents have concluded as unlawful.

3) According to President Trump, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, nominated in the year 2004 and confirmed by a vote of 99 to 0, is a “so-called judge” who made a “ridiculous” ruling, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer called Robart’s ruling “this outrageous order” before later amending the statement with the deletion of “outrageous.”

Disagreement, dissent, failing to follow quickly and without question, and one is demeaned, ridiculed, discredited, punished, and terminated.

One, two, three, examples of freedom such as history notes only with different names in describing the birth of an authoritarian or totalitarian state.

Words for thought:  First they came for…I did not…for I wasn’t…finally they came for me…and no one was left….

To Remember: Hashtag WeRemember

Totalitarian Authoritarian:  charismatic leader who promotes an aura of being a bigger than man; a divine savior and thus is not recognized as a tyrannical power; obsessed ruler who impose their will through fear and loyalty by rewarding those that collaborate with them and diminishing, demeaning, discrediting, and eventually silencing the voices of those who oppose the message of the leader.  Uses political parties and mass organizations to make people believe and do whatever is necessary to reach a goal.  Emotionalism unchecked and always in need of an enemy which can be real, perceived, or created when necessary.

Native American Indians, Armenia, Holodomor, Dekulakization, The Holocaust, The “Killing Fields,” Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur…

Marches, Tears, Terrors, Purgings, Repressions, Crimes Against Humanity, Classicide, Democide, Genocide, Politicide…

Blind, Deaf, Ignorance, Naivety, Willing, Unaware…

Lest We Forget……

#WeRemember

Whenever, Wherever, However…

By Any Definition, Classification, Descriptor, Name…

We Need to Care.  We Need to Think.  We Need to be Aware.

Lest We Forget…

#WeRemember

Meryl Streep: The Horror

Let me say that I do not watch award shows.  When a “famous” individual puts forth an opinion outside of their areas of knowledge or “expertise” I honestly don’t give that opinion credibility just because the person stating is well-known.

I just don’t understand the uproar about Meryl Streep.  She did not discuss political parties, policies, and did not call President Elect Trump by name although there were no doubts to whom she referred.  Before addressing the Trump incident she stated:

“An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”

Following a sentence about powerful acting performances, she continued:

“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.

And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we’re going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.”

What I read is that acting is different from being in real life.

Agree or disagree with Donald Trump, he says some things that people would be offended by if stated directly to them or perceived to be about them.  When those same things are said about another, then the feelings often change.  I’m not suggesting anyone here is a hypocrite, but I’m contending that to some degree we are all like a line from Hoosiers.  To paraphrase, there are 2 kinds of crazy:  1) a feller rips off his clothes and runs out in the street barking at the moon and 2) a feller does the same thing in my house.  The first doesn’t really matter, but the second….

Hopefully everyone agrees that people want and attempt to emulate others, especially those who are popular, have power, or who we want to be regardless of whether that feeling is realistic or wise.  My personal opinion is that we all have responsibilities and to whom much is given much is expected so the more popular, powerful, or better you are at anything means that you have more responsibility.  I may be taking out of context, but Charles Barkley was correct in that athletes should not be role models even though he was mistaken in that by being an athlete he had the responsibility to try and set examples.  It’s the same as me telling my child to do what I say, not what I do.

I read from Meryl Streep’s transcript that if someone powerful tries to bully then it gives others justification to do the same.  “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.”

I agree that we need a principled press, and I’ll add a free press.  Even before the US existed, we had the legal precedent on this soil that truth is a defense.

As far as her putting down on the non-elites, those who pay to watch her perform her job, I can see that interpretation if one stops reading after the 2nd paragraph.  Near the conclusion, however, this stands out more to me:

“Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.”

Didn’t she just say that it’s a privilege to just be an actor and those who have privilege sometimes need reminders that they have the responsibility of being empathetic to those without the privileges?  Now some may not believe that empathy is a responsibility, but I think it’s necessary to appreciate any blessings you have been given or have earned.

Personally I don’t any sticks or stones thrown by Meryl Streep from her soapbox, and if those words bruise or pierce the skin I think the person may have health issues.  Most Hollywood elites won’t know working class people, but the same is true for most politicians.  It’s the same with many in upper management or in upper administration in academia.  Even for those who worked their way up through the ranks, it’s too easy to forget where you started.  Often where you ultimately end can be decided from where you start.  We tend to forget that, and that is what should be outrageous to all.

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