Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Sea Change

The phrase in the title has the connotation of a radical change in a situation. It comes from The Tempest:
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.
I've been stalled on the revisions for several weeks, only sporadically making progress. I filled the time with some organization and housework, as well as clearing up some financial paperwork.

The rest of the time, I've been reading on the web. A lot of bloggers/magazines are changed, or gone completely. The focus of many has shifted from longer, more philosophical pieces, to shorter, link-laden posts. Frequency has diminished, as well.

Similarly, except for the most fervent partisans, use of social media has dropped. Many are checking in only to upload pictures and memes, and interact with offline friends and family.


One consistent finding is that the writers are moving away from their previous outlets, and dedicating more time to book publishing. The number, and percentage, of former bloggers who've made that leap to various indie publishing formats is high.

I think our previous use of persuasive media for political/social/cultural activism may be, for now, ending. I don't know what, if anything, will replace it. But, for both Red and Blue partisans, the fervor to express their opinions may be lessening.

I like to think it's a natural ebb and flow. Nothing lasts forever, and it very well may be time for a change - not just for a society or community, but in personal terms, as well.

I've done that before, at pivotal times in my life. I've made a deliberate decision to 'check out' of the madness, and step into a new phase of my life. I did so at certain times - after having children, after a move, when dealing with family issues/problems, and when just in need of mental cleansing and rehabilitation.

I'll still keep posting, at least once a week, and as something catches my attention. But, I, like so many others, just need a temporary break.


Sunday, December 03, 2017

So, Why Didn't the Dems Care About THIS US-Russia Action?

Never mind, I know the answer - and it clearly shows the partisan nature of the current 'investigation'.

Ted Kennedy, WHILE A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, made overtures to Russia, to sabotage Jimmy Carter's re-election in 1980. This was in the news WELL before Kennedy's death - and never investigated, or prosecuted.

Although this has been reported many times, somehow - SOMEHOW - Progressives never seem to notice.

Funny, that.

So, no, I'm not all that concerned about the possibility of Trump having directed staff to contact Russia, IN THE PERIOD OF TRANSITION - a perfectly legal, and reasonable, thing to have done.  I am concerned about the massive effort that has been undertaken to try to twist reality and inflate relatively minor offenses to build a psuedo-case against Trump.

While ignoring both Kennedy's actions, and the illegal, and potentially treasonous actions of HRC.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The New Civil War

Much of the hostility is based on the refusal of the Ruling Elite and the Media (but I repeat myself) to disregard their prejudices against Southerners and Rednecks, but to, instead, make that the central starting point of any political discussion.

As Jake said in "Sweet Home Alabama",
Just because I talk slow doesn't mean I'm stupid.
For the Ruling Elite, the opposite is a Fundamental Act of Faith. I'm relatively immune from that bigotry, as the daughter of a WV expatriate. I saw the blatant, rude assumption of intellectual and moral superiority first-hand in my childhood.

I asked him, once, if it didn't bother him to be slighted. He smiled, and told me, that, yes, it was irritating, but that he got even. He took special pleasure in getting into a poker game with bigots, and playing the rube.

My dad was especially good at math, particularly probability. He cleaned up in those matches.

Read Chicago Boyz for a long essay on the still-simmering War, which has moved from Slavery and Jim Crow to its essence - the right to determine one's own destiny.

Once of the comments (don't skip them) brought up a facet of the Original Civil War causes that I didn't know - or had forgotten:
The North and the South became VERY different societies and cultures, that fought a Cold Civil War for decades before the hot one, not unlike today. The issue of slave -v- free states was an issue in and of itself; but it was also a proxy for political power.
Up until the Civil War, the only sources of tax revenue for the Federal government were excise and import tariffs. The South sold its agricultural goods overseas. The world monetary system was not up to transferring money except in the form of cash, so Southerners would buy goods overseas and ship them home. The South paid over 60% of the taxes supporting the Federal government. The more numerous Northern states spent the money, on the North and West. The argument over slave and free states was also an argument over who the new states would side with in control of the treasury. Cold Civil War. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

So, THIS Is the Point Where It Should Stop

There is a coffeehouse in the Boston area where the 23-year old daughter of the owner posted some cop-hostile comments on Facebook. The over-the-top response to that has, apparently, led to the shop having to close down, due to lack of customers.

The mother, horrified about the comments from her daughter, immediately insisted that she take down her comments. She also reached out to the local cops, to assure them that they were welcome.

Too late. The online mob had already gotten some people with nothing better to do stirred up. Protests gathered at the business, customers stayed away, and the business went down the tubes.

The comments to the story in the Boston Globe are varied, passionate, and copious.

So, what is the take-away from this?

  1. If you are planning to start a business, or already have a business, make sure that your entire extended family knows that political/cultural/social commentary that is controversial, and could be linked in ANY way to the business will result in immediate expulsion from the family.
  2. Have what is called in the South a Come-to-Jesus moment with all Liberals in the family. Introduce them to the foreign concept that ALL people, even those who disagree with them, have a right to express non-violent opinions. Those opinions may be discussed - in civil terms, and with logical arguments - but may not be responded to with threats against their person, livelihood, or home.
  3. For that matter, this is a case wherein non-Liberals of passionate conviction need to be confronted with the same concepts.
  4. For those too lazy, or deliberately stupid to get the point: Political/Cultural/Social disagreements are not to be used as excuses to enforce one's opinions with violence or threats.

I find myself asking the same question that many asked themselves at the start of the Civil War (otherwise, and perhaps more properly, known as the War Between the States) - how the hell did we get to this point?

The answer: Over time, and with relatively small breeches of the common decency. Those violations of protocol on public expressions of controversial opinion built up over time, until some parts of society cannot be in near proximity to other parts without feeling the compulsion to scream, rage, throws things, and physically attack.

I do have to say that, although much of this escalation is the responsibility of Liberals/Progressives/Leftists, the extreme Right also holds some blame. Consider the timeline:


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This Really Stinks - of Collusion

The trouble with propaganda and 'Fake News' is that a lot of people - including me, in the past, will say:

No Smoke Without Fire

The dossier, and the allegations connected with it, were used as an excuse to dip into Trump's business practices. The opposition's steadfast belief that all businessmen were crooked was the rationale for getting the ridiculous allegations out there. They planned, all along, to fan their base's appetite for 'getting him' by providing a flimsy rationale for calling for an independent prosecutor.

They expected the original claims to be dismissed, but, they anticipated that the IP would manage to dig out some other juicy stuff that would keep the investigation going, until they could find any behavior that they could hang an impeachment charge on.

Trump is no angel. However, he is probably no worse than other developers, who do not work with, nor employ, saints. This is a guy who has to work with:
  • Trades unions - some of which have mob ties
  • Sub-contractors - some of whom have shady hiring practices, employ illegals, or play tricks with the money
  • Government officials - at least one or two of whom are likely looking for a good bribe. Or handout. Or favor. Or political donation.
Given that, it would be amazing if they didn't find one or two questionable actions, either by Trump himself, or his company.

However, what has happened must give all of us Deplorables a belief in a kindly God. Just about all of the actual shady dealings and criminal actions have turned on Bill and Hill, and their Clinton Foundation. The deeper they dig, the more that is found that rebounds back on them.

So, pop the corn, settle in, and enjoy the well-deserved retribution.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I've Apparently Hit the End of the Internet

It's a new day, and I've run out of sites to see. I'm bored with my usual, have MUCHO work to do, preparing for my trip tomorrow, and really need to get moving.

So, I'm going to be offline for a few days. IF I find the time, I MAY write, and schedule a few posts - probably short - for the next week.

I want to be able to:

  1. Finish the revisions
  2. Plan out the next book, before NaNoWriMo starts. Shockingly, it's less than 2 weeks away.


A Round-Up of News and Miscellany

I've been wandering around the web working VERY hard, honest. And, I've somehow managed to find some interesting links:

Sharyl Atkinson's new book - The Smear (with a much longer subtitle that I don't want to bother about right now).

The reviews I've seen are good. I'm on the wait list for an e-copy at my library. I have reading a-plenty for my trip to Cleveland this week (mostly family-related). I've checked out some of D'Souza's works, including his most recent, Stealing America.

I saw a 3-part interview with Bill Whittle, and it was riveting. Here is a link to the first part.

The Progressive Media Meltdown continues.

You may not have been aware of it, but - did you realize that you Deplorables are just not Smart Enough for the Progressive Stars? They don't want you in their audience, and have said so.

Naturally, this means that you will be limited to Pat Boone records and Hee-Haw re-runs, because you will have no other choice. Until you cave in, and abandon Trump and his allies.

Because, there are NO alternatives to them.

Oh, really?

Where's Waldo? has nothing on this guy.

The LEAST lucrative college majors. Mine was worse - History. Fortunately, I had a husband who advised me to minor in a subject that I also liked - Science - with my coursework being spread out sufficiently to qualify me to teach General Science. I later took more Chemistry and Physics courses, which led me to teach those subjects.

One caveat: I majored in History, but my specialty was analysis of quantitative data, which I did well enough that a professor had me assist him in a class teaching students about databases and quantitative analysis. I was the tech assistant, and learned both dBase and SPSS.

That was quite useful to me, as I was able to get several jobs with that expertise.

Valedictorians - not as successful as you might think. It's one of those things that drive women CRAZY (OK, crazier). They often get better grades than the guys, yet see those same men stepping into better jobs, promotions, and success.

The ONLY possible explanation is that the system is rigged, right?

Wrong, as the video explains. Success at the highest levels is often tied to breaking the rules, which is NOT a trait that will mesh with high grades.

Another trait of many men that succeed - especially those joining frats - is high social intelligence - People Smarts, as it has been called. The more daring, the more adventurous, and the more willing to break rules a guy is, the more he is admired by the brothers.

In contrast, sororities are all about conformity, not opposing the other sisters, and not getting too much attention.

YES! The  Russians WERE bribing American politicians!

And, finally, just one more Weinstein story - from someone who saw, and didn't speak out. He admits his complicity in keeping quiet, but says that the full story wasn't known at the time.

He challenges all the people who knew about this to come forward, and - maybe - make up for their past ignoring the problem.

Expect a stampede of confessions from those who fear being outed for their 'playing dumb'.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Harvey's Victims Didn't Talk - And, Why I Didn't

One reason that women hesitate to bring these sexual harassment incidents to public attention is that they know the world will judge THEM for it happening.

Like it's their fault, as Donna Karan said (and, later, semi-retracted):
Karan, who is also a friend of Weinstein’s, told the Daily Mail that he was “wonderful”.
Karan said women must consider if the way they dress suggests they are “asking for it”.
“I think we have to look at ourselves,” she said on the red carpet at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles.
“Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.
“I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”
Karan said women who dressed provocatively were asking for trouble.
“You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”
While her point about unnecessary body exposure has SOME merit (I do think that women in the workplace should display no more cleavage than the average man does in business settings), the fact is, women in the entertainment industry and many service jobs haven't the control over how much skin they want to show. Either they are required to wear uniforms, or they are given specific instructions or the actual clothing (as, in the case of Weinstein, whose wife dressed many of the women).

It's generally expected that they will display cleavage and legs, and wear their clothing fitted VERY tightly.

That is the standard. And, because it's the standard, it should occasion no more attention than the co-workers in a pool give to the sight of a person in a swimsuit. Unremarkable, and not to be used as an excuse to hit on a person.

So, why didn't they leave immediately, or - failing that - run right to someone in authority, either at the company or the cops, to report this abuse?

ONE answer is that a few of them, having seen the choices, cynically decided to, at least, get something for their willingness to go along with the abuse and shut up. That something may have been money - there are at least 8 known payouts. That may have been career advancement, by getting parts or promotion of their work.

This leaves out a more common reason - that the woman, having been disrespected by a predator, tends to blame herself.

It happened to me.

I was working as a bartender. I was about 26 or 27, with a kid at home. I tried to dress in nice clothes, but I've never been all that interested in revealing outfits, even to enhance my tips. I dressed in slacks and non-revealing tops.

I worked there about 3 months. The bar was owned by a husband and wife. I knew her, and liked her. My husband had gone to high school with him, and knew his wife, as well.

He was a problem, almost from the beginning. I came to dread the days he would arrive near the end of my shift, to cash out the till (he and his wife shared that task). While he was there, he was fond of getting behind the bar, and managing to brush against my body as he walked around. This was in full view of the customers.

At first, I thought I was imagining his intent. I couldn't think why a man married to a REALLY pretty girl - better looking than I - would care about trying to hit on other women. I tried to avoid him as much as I could.

After a while, he upped his harassment. I would be cleaning tables and serving drinks, and he would grab me, and try to pull me into his lap. He would run his hands up and down my legs, while I tried to get away. He'd grab my arm, his fingers brushing oh-so accidentally against my breast.

I really needed that job. I tried to keep out of his way.

The final straw was when he started to make excuses to get me into the kitchen, out of sight of customers. I'd be cleaning up, and he'd be tending bar, and he'd say, "Go into the kitchen and make us a pizza." When I did, he come in and try to fondle me. Out of sight. With the music on loud, so anything I did would not be likely to be heard.

After 3 months trying to keep working, I gave up the effort. I quit, and did not return.

It was months before I told my husband why (I just mentioned the handsiness - I didn't tell him how frightened I'd become). When I did, he asked why I waited.

My only answer was that, at first I thought I was misinterpreting his intent. Later, I was embarrassed about my failure to stop him - like anything I said or did would have changed things. I didn't want to interfere with my husband's friendship with that guy.

I know, I know - naive, right? Should have walked out right away.

It's taken me until now to acknowledge that it wasn't my fault. That, by not saying something, acting on my outrage, I wasn't complicit in allowing him to continue.

I'm sure this wasn't the first time he took advantage of his position as the boss. Nor the last. But, I didn't know that - then.

Why am I talking about this now?

Because I want people reading this to put the Weinstein abuse in context. Many women could have been his victims. Including me, or other women you know. Maybe your daughter or wife. Or mother.

Many of them might have reacted as I did - blaming themselves and failing to take further action. Don't believe me?

Why don't you have the women in your life read this, and ask them if they personally experienced similar harassment, or know someone else who did? I'll bet you'll be surprised at the responses.


Friday, October 13, 2017

There's a WHOLE Lot of Truth in This

First, my background:

I've known non-native residents in the US - both legal and illegal (mostly my students and/or their parents).

It's true that they generally aren't lazy and will work hard (those not involved in illegal pursuits, of course).

But, that's also true of many Americans.

So, why hire the illegals?

  1. They will work under-the-table. In fact, many of them prefer that - they get no access to benefits, such as Workers' Comp or collecting Social Security. So, why pay the money for a benefit they won't receive?
  2. They can be intimidated by threats of contacting the authorities - and I have an interesting suggestion on how to curb that further down.
  3. There are a lot of them, with few barriers to hiring, and few penalties for the boss if their status is discovered.
Note what he says about those who get displaced for the illegal workers. They COULD do the jobs, but they are rejected, because hiring them will put more demands/restrictions on the company.

If an American asks for time off to deal with a sick kid, you have to give it to her.

If an illegal worker does the same (assuming that she dares to), you tell her - show up, or you're fired.

My idea for eliminating egregious violations of alien hiring:

  • The FIRST time - warning and a fine
  • The SECOND time - fine and mandatory jail time for anyone involved
  • The THIRD time - strip the company employee/boss that made this possible of their citizenship, and deport them. I'm sure we can find a country that will accept them, in return for some aid.

See how THEY like being an illegal with no access to power, and no defense againse abuse.


Monday, October 09, 2017

It's Not Harvey They're Afraid Of...'s all the others, who will blackball them and destroy their careers if they talk about his predation. Let's not sugar-coat it - those others helped Harvey cover it all up, because they were, themselves, not standing there with clean hands.

Sexual abuse in the entertainment industry is a poorly-kept secret. Open discussion of it is virtually NIL.

They might occasionally talk about "The Hollywood System" of the earlier years, and acknowledge that the Casting Couch was a vital part of making the careers of many actresses - and a few actors.

Once one of these guys has gotten past his money-making and star-making prime, they're fine with piling up on him, finally telling their stories of his abuses, in order to knock him off. They just don't do it until there's not an advantage in keeping their silence.

Some bravery. Some concern for women.

Here's another take on the current scandal, and how our liberalizing of acceptable morality has put women - and some men - in uncomfortable situations.

So, what is Washington's response - you know, the guys who were ALL OVER Trump for talking about it?

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

And, BTW, they aren't going to give back the money - instead, they will pass on a piddly little fraction of it to OTHER Progressive recipients.


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Embracing the Pain

No, I'm NOT talking about 50 Shades of Grey-type pain.

I'm talking about NECESSARY pain - the pain that, over time, doesn't just tear you down, but builds you up.

I've done exercise programs in the past. My success has been directly linked to just one thing:
Would I endure past the immediate pain of muscle fatigue/sore muscles, or would I wimp out and quit?
That's it. That's 90% of the reason for any success or failure that I had. If I endured, I would lose weight and tone up.

If I quit, I would stay the same, or, even, deteriorate further.

At The Declination, Dystopic writes about the value of pain to humans.

Puerto is NOT just experiencing the problems caused by the recent hurricane. It is also experiencing the problems caused by their own government's corruption and incompetence. They have been given a lot of help - supplies and manpower. But, the island of Puerto Rico (ironically, the Rich Port) is - as a nation - mired in Poverty Thinking. All the money in the world will not lift them up, until they change their state of mind.

The people who invested in the island should NOT be bailed out - they should take a hosing. It's the price you pay for not keeping your eye on your investment, as well as not doing your due diligence during the background check on your borrowers.

Yet another reason NOT to just charge in and throw money around - it doesn't always get to those who need it, but is handed out to crooks.

Which states have the most food stamp recipients. Wonder no more.

An interesting article on welfare, and the numbers involved. The writers of the article come to different conclusions than I. One eye-popping stat is that 43% of the people receiving help had been collecting some form of aid for a LONG time:
Forty-three percent of people had been receiving benefits for 37 to 48 months. Roughly 30% had been on welfare for a year or less.
Some programs had more long-term participants than others. Nearly half of people receiving housing benefits had been getting them for three years or longer. In contrast, cash assistance was a short-term form of help for most, with just 10% of people receiving benefits for three years or more.
Another argument for the government getting out of the housing business.

More on how pain teaches life lessons.

That welfare lobster? NOT fake, according to Snopes. And, worse, not even consumed by the holder of the DBT card, but re-sold by her boyfriend.

More on welfare fraud - NOT an urban legend.

The kids may be learning from their parents' experience - Millennials may be better prepared for their retirement than first thought.