16 Oct 2017 Detour to Keene

Hello to you, how are you doing? I have been feeling disconnected the past couple of days and it’s probably just the difficulty I am having synchronizing to Kyle working night shift. I really had hoped he wouldn’t get this shift again. He’s the infamous “low man on the totem pole” and one of the youngest people they have there, so he gets night shift.

Yesterday we took advantage of our time together to make a trip to Burleson. We wanted to see if Half Price Books had anything for me and to pick up an inexpensive pair of slip on shoes for Kyle to wear at work. Since we’ve been here, Burleson has become our favorite town. Pretty much everything we ever need is there and we don’t venture much further unless I have an appointment or we absolutely have to! Driving here in our part of the state is one word – awful. Thank you Burleson for being wonderful!

So I dug around in Half Price Books for quite awhile to try and find something to read. I almost bought a book called The Particle Zoo (https://www.amazon.com/Particle-Zoo-Search-Fundamental-Reality/dp/1784298670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508160429&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Particle+Zoo)  but decided to put it back.  I may return to get that one at some point. There were several other books that caught my interest, as if often the case when you go into a treasury of a store like this. I ended up with two. A book of children’s poems, “Favorite Poems Old and New” Selected by Helen Ferris and Illustrated by Leonard Wisegard and “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

I had sent Kyle into Academy Sports to find the shoes but all he found was either way too expensive, uncomfortable or a decent price but none in his size. We tried Kohl’s and it was the same story. Ultimately we found what we wanted in the new 5 and Below Store lol. What we have figured out when it comes to buying shoes, it really doesn’t matter where you buy them, they are all the same. They are not made to last. The price for them seems to be driven by the cost of the name of the store selling…or how much they are paying for rent lol! We have paid $60 for shoes that last less than a year and $5 for shoes we are still wearing. Shoes are definitely one of the things in our world made with planned obsolescence. It’s been so long since I’ve had a great pair of shoes!

After standing in line at yet another store that has 5 checkout lanes but only one or two people to run an entire store (comic Sebastian pops in my head, “Has there ever been 5 cashiers at this store?!!), our “public meter” was pinged. We headed home. We seemed to be well on our way until all the sudden break lights happened and the inevitable crawl and lane changing crap people do with their impatience at being obstructed by some sort of inconvenience.

We decided to get off I-35 and take a detour through Keene.

It was a much more scenic and peaceful drive going this way. We enjoyed the more relaxed pace, talking to each other about random things and taking in the fallish looking trees on either side of the road. This is Texas, so we don’t get a real fall. The kind with brilliantly colored leaves and all that – the fall I miss from childhood or from when we lived on the east coast.

It wasn’t until we got into Keene and Kyle mentioned it, that I fully realized what we went through in this town 3 years ago. It was almost a week to the day (19 Oct 2014), my friend Suzan Michelle Mize Sullivan died at the Town Hall Estates (http://www.americanreligious.org/town_hall_estates_keene.html).

As we drove by the building, so many memories flashed through my mind! Kyle and I had never been through something like this – losing our friend the way we did! We both felt so utterly and completely powerless to stop what happened to her! What we experienced of her life and death has become for us a prime example to us of how awful the “system” can be.

It’s not all tears for our friend Suzan, (we called her Michelle) though.

As I look across the street these days, at the house she and Carroll shared, I think she’d be so happy! People she loved so much (her oldest son, his wife and grandkids), gave her entire life for, are living there now and continuing to make the place home. I don’t see her in my minds eye or dreams like I used to. I am hoping this year will be free of any broken glassware or other strange occurrences in our house as the anniversary of her death nears.  I hope she is at peace wherever she decided her heaven was to be!  I will always miss her.

https://saymber.com/2015/10/19/19-oct-2015-the-last-blue-bowl-a-visit-from-a-lost-friend/ – a bit about what I’m referring to with strange happenings when the anniversary of Suzan’s leaving us nears.

Sometimes detours aren’t simply detours…..are you paying attention?  Is the traffic jam and your choice to find a path around it just mere coincidence?  

A sampling of poems from the poetry book:

 

A Book – poem by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toil;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

 

Fireflies – poem by Carolyn Hall

Little lamps of the dusk,

You fly low and gold

When the summer evening

Start to unfold.

So that all the insects,

Now, before you pass,

Will have light to see by,

Undressing in the grass.

But when the night has flowered,

Little lamps agleam,

You fly over treetops

Following a dream.

Men wonder from their windows

That a firefly goes so far –

They do not know your longing

To be a shooting star.

 

 

 

Advertisements

11 Oct 2017 Today’s Youth are Depressed, Here’s Why (Thoughty2, You tube), THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization (Bright Insight, You tube) and Evening Star (Poem by Edgar Allen Poe)

Hello to you.  It’s 9:28 pm on this Wednesday evening.  How are you?  I’m doing better after Kyle and I were able to talk with our neighbor about the fence, dog and poop situation this evening.  Sounds like chicken wire will be the solution until we can all afford to replace the fence entirely.  Works for me!  It made me feel better to be able to apologize for the outburst this morning and get things sorted out.  All he heard was yelling and wasn’t sure what was going on.  It had been bugging me all day!  I don’t like being mad at people or having unresolved conflict with people.

So this evening Kyle and I were able to squeeze in part of another episode of the Living and Dead BBC One program…make it last as long as we can lol.  We also did our You tube channels scan for stuff to watch and came across this very insightful video from the Thoughty2 channel about why the youth of today are having so much trouble with depression.  It ties in nicely to the links I shared on my previous post today about Smartphones and their effect on young people’s mental health/self esteem and suicide related issues.   This video addresses a lot of things people may have not considered when making harsh judgements about young people of the past couple of generations.

Today’s Youth Are Depressed, Here’s Why…

Thoughty2

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – Are You Lost In The World Like Me? (Official Video) – this little film sums it all up so well….so sad but true.

This is a video I saw yesterday that was very interesting to me too.  It inspired the chalk drawing I did of the Sumerian and the Reaper.  I have found the story of the Sumerians quite fascinating and kind of crossed paths with some of their history, specifically their language of the cuneiform, when I was trying to get some closure on the character Vanessa Ives from the show Penny Dreadful: https://saymber.com/2016/09/20/20-sept-2016-vanessa-ives-of-penny-dreadful-and-lilith-cuneiform-sumerian-language-finding-mementos-of-your-past-revisiting-harsh-lessons-of-farm-life-and-death-as-a-city-girl/

THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization

Bright Insight

Published on Oct 5, 2017

How is it possible that the Sumerian’s ONLY get 1-3 Sentences in the Textbooks? The world’s FIRST human civilization that dates back 6,000 years, that created our modern system of time, the calendar, writing, agriculture, and everything else is not required learning in school. This video outlines what the Sumerian tablets/records.

Here to close…this beautiful poem by Edgar Allen Poe that I have never read before:

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/evening-star/

Evening Star – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

‘Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro’ the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
‘Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass’d, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

Sending hugs, love, hope and all the good I can muster through the wires to you…..please do pass it along 🙂 

9 Oct 2017 In the moment, Poem (California on fire again) and revisiting the past (can be painful!)

9 Oct 2017 – drawing I did today…The Amnesiac’s. I was thinking about how it seems like we keep forgetting things that are important.

Hello to you.  It’s Monday evening as I start to write to you.  How was the day you just lived today?  How are you doing in this moment?  What is everything in your “now?”  For me it’s drinking coffee that is a tad bitter but I’ll keep drinking it because I don’t want to waste it.  Link and Spot are on edge because I was just outside and rang the doorbell like an asshole after walking Kyle out and looking for gecko’s….only found one.  Ever since we put up the new siding…less gecko’s.  May is meowling again about who knows what and it drives me crazy….sounds like a baby crying.  Almost impossible for me to ignore her even if I try.  I am in no physical pain, comfortable temperature and there is an annoying smudge on my glasses again.  I hear the random pinging of raindrops on our metal siding which is a good thing.  I’m grateful for this moment I am in and grateful to have this cyber place in which to express my random “stuff.”  I’m grateful for whoever you are reading this, for your taking a moment from your busy world to visit me.

I have some quiet time to myself so this is going to be long lol.  I’ve finally resolved to myself that brevity is never going to be my thing lol!  If you don’t have time right now, please come back when you can.  There is something for you here. 

Yeah…..so I wrote this little poem today.  It’s not positive, complicated or even very eloquent….just one of those poems that started to come in while I was doing something else and I jotted it down.  Then I saw on the news later that California is burning even more so than normal…..sigh.  (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires/index.htmlFast-moving wildfires kill 10, spur evacuations in Northern California By Ralph Ellis, Joe Sterling, Paul P. Murphy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 7:48 PM ET, Mon October 9, 2017)

9 Oct 2017 – Jackie Wygant poem

I hate you

You hate me

I hate me

So it goes

Through our family tree

Barren seed in fallow soil

A life

Of blood, sweat and toil

Where is the love we once knew?

Is it only ember and ash now

Against the darkening red, white and blue?

It’s weird sometimes the random things that I will pick up and they end up in poems, writings and my art.  Guess that’s the way it’s always worked for me.

Today I found something out about myself.  It’s now not an easy thing for me to look at pictures from the past….just as bad as reading my old journals.

Kyle was sleeping and the internet was off so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some old photos from 2009 when we still lived in Newark DE and some since we’ve been here.  This turned me into a mass of sobbing wet tears.  What happened that really set me off was I saw video I had taken of our kitty Amber when she was still here and our Spot during one of the visits from the squirrel.  The furniture in our house was different.  We still had the pergola which the squirrel has sorely missed since its removal.  We still had our old back fence!  In just a short little video I saw how much time had gone by and all that was changed….missing.

5-march-2015-my-sunbeam-kitty-amber-alvarado-tx

Part of my current resentment at our remaining cat May is May has never loved me like Amber did and she’s still alive and Amber isn’t!  It’s so hard for me to get over that!  Amber was the kind of cat that was more like a dog than a cat in her personality and behavior.  She got that way after we got our cocker spaniel Sam.  She was smart enough to figure out that if she was going to get any time with me she had to become more like a dog.  So she did!  Amber was a big part of my heart.  I used to hold her when she’d come visit me on the toilet and just hold her and start crying I loved her so much.

Yeah…..but I think Amber has found her ways, through perhaps the ashes we spread about the yard, to find her way back to me.  Whether it be a positive or negative insect interaction…..sometimes it seems very personal lol.  Like a fragment of Amber making herself known to me whether it be a fire ant bite or a butterfly randomly flittering through my hair.  Amber isn’t the Amber I knew….she’s much more and that comforts me some.  It’s just when I go back looking for what she was and isn’t anymore that hurts so bad.

What happened to me today reminds me that we must be careful going back for what we have lost.  We can be reminded how much it hurts that we can never get any of it back.  Even if we can get something back from our past,  it can never be exactly as it was.  Kind of like it was for me after joining the military and going home to visit.  I wasn’t the same person even if the people and places I left behind were much the same.  Going backwards on anything can sometimes open wounds that had finally closed.  I am reminded of this today.  Sometimes I go back to things better left in the past.

I don’t want to forget the past ever happened.  I don’t want to forget the people, animals, places and things that made me the me I am now.  I just really had it hit me today looking at those old pictures and videos that I don’t want to emotionally torture myself in my present with facts  and parts of history that are fixed….set….unchangeable.

There will never be another cat exactly like Amber in my life.  There will never be the exact version of any other person, animal, place or thing that I loved after they have left this physical world or been destroyed.  For as long as I live and can retain my memory, they will exist in my mind, heart and even my soul.  Even fragments of their existence, rejoined with the energy God of my understanding, will remain in the air, the water, the food, my sleeping and waking world …but they will never be them again.  They are part of my past and I cannot get them back again!

This was taken during a visit to the San Francisco CA Zoo in *cough* Nov 1987! The note on the wall behind me, “This bench is reserved for primates only” is appropriate lol!

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Beebe – the first time I saw this was when I visited the San Francisco Zoo:

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.

  • The Bird (1906)

I feel like my little blurp here could be a bit of a cautionary tale of the direction I see us going in this country….in this world.  I see a fading mass of people trying to take those newer on the scene kicking and screaming back to the caves by the hair without Wi-Fi.  Why?  I think, speaking as someone who can be averse to change, because it’s comfortable, it’s safe, it’s familiar, it makes them feel like they have control over something and it means not having to change.  This world is changing so fast!

This is an ironic observation as I live in a world of people who seem to thrive on change and new external stimulation!  Kyle and I notice this especially with video games and how the industry seems to have such a hard time “feeding” gamers with new content.  As soon as new content is released, people eat through it like a bag of chocolate and get pissed and act like addicts going through withdrawal waiting for their next “hit.”

We want change but we want to control the how, where, when, why and what of it happening.   For many, and this is the case for myself, not having any sort of input or control over changes like those coming from our government,  that affect me and those I love,  has left me feeling quite powerless and angry.

I  cannot really get to mad at my parents, teachers and other role models in my life for all the dirty secrets I’ve found out about my country and the world since my growing up years.  I’m finding out from personal experience that history is a contextual thing.  It’s also a matter of perception…your experiences, your background, your family, your education shape your perception of the world and how you live in it.

Depending on where you are in time and what you know at that time, determines how you live in that segment of history.  What was acceptable behavior for white people in the context of history going on during the time of slavery isn’t what should be going on in our current times in the context of modern history….why? Because we know better!  My parents and all the teachers through my life probably didn’t know or realize half the things that have come to light in our current times.  Now we do know what was and is still yet going on.  Are we as a world going to just keep revisiting and repeating the past or finally let go, let God and move the fuck on?!!

I think we have a lot of people in this world who feel powerless in our times.  So they are clinging on to whatever they can to give them some sense of stability…certainty.  Many are choosing to hold on to history, be it positive or negative, to have some sort of certainty, identity, purpose and meaning .  I am living in a country that makes it seem like you have to go on America’s Got Talent or something to be worth a shit…to have value.  If you have ever watched that show, you have seen the lengths people will go to be worth something.  They will nearly kill themselves!  It feels like you have to “be something, someone or connected to something or someone” in order to have any sort of self-esteem.

People are still not being taught how to light their own fire inside.  They are still being taught in every conceivable way that they must seek their value and worth outside of themselves – other people, places and especially things.  It’s a lie perpetuated all the way back to the first real fire I think!

Anyhew….

Kyle and I watched this tonight and I thought John did a really good job on this very sensitive subject in our country – confederate monuments.  I didn’t know that a large majority of monuments in our country that depict Confederate themes were erected decades after the Civil War was over, meant to be the middle finger of sorts towards minorities and many were dedicated by members of the KKK!  I think these statues should be put preserved, as John suggests here.  I think they should definitely be put in museums with background information and historical context provided.  I think destroying the statues would be not much better than what everyone has gotten upset about ISIS doing.  It isn’t a good idea to erase history…especially history we really shouldn’t repeat!  I feel like people should be able to choose to go to a museum and view them versus not having a choice about being subjected to them in sometimes unavoidable public places.

Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

We can only go forward and through….that’s the only way to survive the callous master that is Time.

 

7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

Hello to you. How are you? I hope your doing well. I had a fun dream last night of costume shopping. The parts I found, after opened kept being used or dirty. I just couldn’t find the right one. Then I remembered I could sing like Tina Turner and started singing one of my favorite songs she’s sung, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

I’m so in love with you Whatever you want to do Is all right with me ‘Cause you make me Feel so brand new And I want to spend My life with you

Since, since we’ve been together Loving you forever Is what I need Let me be the one you Come running to And I’ll never be untrue ooh baby

[Chorus] Let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, Happy or sad Good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody tell me Why people break up? Turn around and make up I just can’t see You’d never do that to me Would you, baby? Staying around you is all I see Here’s what I want to do

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

This morning, after scanning some headlines, I see the tide has risen again for anti-gay sentiment around the world.  What I suspect is all of these petty and divisive tactics are just another distraction technique by the “powers that be” as they make arrangements for WWIII.  If we are divided and angry we will be more likely to be compliant to their plans.  The Rainbow Raids in Egypt just the latest overseas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/rainbow-raids-egypt-launches-its-widest-anti-gay-crackdown-yet/ar-AAsZZuj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Rainbow raids: Egypt launches its widest anti-gay crackdown yet

Sarah Hegazy has been jailed, beaten by inmates, and could face a life sentence in an Egyptian prison if found guilty of “promoting sexual deviancy” and other charges tied to her alleged crime: waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.

The crackdown comes as Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, is under fire for its human rights record and the United States has withheld some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Hegazy, the only woman rounded up in the three-week-old campaign, says police goaded her cellmates to abuse her during her first night in prison, where she is being detained for 15 days and interrogated by special prosecutors who usually focus on Islamist militants.

“This is the game they (police) always play, especially since she is a girl. They incite the other detainees and say ‘this girl wants men and women to be gay’ so they harass her. I saw scratches on her shoulder, she looked very disheveled and exhausted. She was beaten,” said Hegazy’s lawyer Hoda Nasralla.

A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

Lawyers for other detainees said their clients faced similar treatment. Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.

At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says. Judicial sources do not deny the examinations take place but say they are legally carried out and are not a form of abuse.

Egyptian authorities do not deny going after gays and an investigation report provided to Reuters by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) openly refers to the police’s campaign on homosexuals.

Police, state-aligned media, and the religious establishment all see it as a public duty to combat the spread of homosexuality.

Ten men have already gone on trial during the recent sweep and received jail sentences from one to six years.

MEDIA BACKLASH

On Sept. 22, at a concert packed with 30,000 people headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concert goers raised a rainbow flag and, within hours, the image went viral.

Almost immediately local media, dominated by state-aligned television personalities, began a campaign against homosexuals, saying they were receiving foreign funding, and hosting callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt’s media regulator then banned homosexuals from appearing in the media unless they were “repenting”, calling homosexuality a “shame and a disease that should be kept under wraps, not promoted” in order to protect public morality.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said it would stand against gays in the way it stands against Islamist extremists. One church organized an anti-gay conference.

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the State Security Prosecution, which normally investigates terrorism and other national security threats, to investigate the flag incident.

At least four people, including Hegazy and 21-year-old Ahmed Alaa, were arrested for allegedly raising the flag although one man has since been released.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men – a common tactic in Egypt – to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.

At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case, which drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.

But the current wave has already surpassed that incident both in numbers and in state action, with defendants facing much faster trials than usual, said Dalia Abd Elhameed, EIPR’s gender and women’s rights officer.

No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record.

Washington denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a further $195 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U.S. sources told Reuters in August.

Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.

It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U.N. expert on anti-gay violence and discrimination. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U.N. General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.

Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.

EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said. Many of these cases went to court where the average sentence was around three years in jail, although in some cases it went up to 12.

Sisi has been criticized by the Brotherhood as being anti-Islam, and rights groups say tough treatment of the LGBT community is a way to counter that while diverting attention from the country’s tough economic conditions.

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear. Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest.

Some are considering leaving the country.

But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger.

“I don’t feel comfortable just being myself. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.

A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.

They posed as police officers at some point, playing on a common fear for gay Egyptians, before stealing items from his flat. The man says he later felt going to the police was almost as traumatic as the incident itself.

Police records show officers create false dating profiles and set up dates only to arrest the men who show up. Sometimes they tell the men to bring condoms then use them as evidence, Abd Elhameed said.

“There are people in the Interior Ministry who take our money as taxpayers to engage in sex chatting with people then arrest them. It is as ridiculous as this; the evidence sheets include nude photos and erotic chat transcripts.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

A part of me understands it and a bigger part of me does not accept it as rational behavior to be hating anyone for trying to be who they are. To me targeting a vulnerable population like the gay population is the stuff schoolyard bullies do to make themselves feel better.  As an empathic person, I often find myself trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Lately, it’s been trying to understand why it seems there is so much hate on the part of some white people, white men in particular, against anyone who is different than they are.

It occurs to me the conversation I had on the way home with my father-in-law after we went to the State Fair and the topic about the NFL kneeling issue came up. From my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s perspective, both of them upper middle class and white, the NFL is a business and no place for such protests. People watch football to escape such things. Well I came back to that with, “If you put yourself in the place of the these mostly black athletes who’s people are being treated the way they are….” The comeback from my father-in-law was swift. He said he felt that these guys were making millions of dollars, what do they know of oppression. I retorted that many of them come from the places the people they are kneeling for came from….it was there only way out. He didn’t agree with me, he said that as a white tax payer it’s not his doing that this is going on. I could tell the conversation was only going to escalate to an ugly place so I didn’t say anything else. I knew mentioning that his tax dollars are paying for some of the law enforcement who are shooting unarmed black men and paying for politicians who are constantly putting together legislation like banning immigrants, building walls and anti-tay bathroom bills wasn’t going to end well. In my estimation, something was lacking from my father-in-law in this conversation and it was empathy. In our short conversation, he just couldn’t and didn’t want to try and understand the people we were talking about.

My parents, also white, are much the same. I grew up with and am still surrounded by a great degree of intolerance, even hostility on the part of white people when it comes to anyone who is different…meaning not straight, not church-going, not white.

I love my family but have spent most of my life agreeing to disagree with them about issues such as this.

My dear Grandma Carol Becker and I – she was one of my Moms and is such a huge part of who I am today

So how did I end up the way I did? Being different, being bullied in school, being the “other.” When you go through hard times or are treated differently for being who you are, in my case as a child being overly sensitive and poor, you learn empathy almost as a self-defense mechanism!   I can remember walking home from grade school and having white male classmates hurling snow balls at me and calling me names.  I credit the greatest part of my empathic ability to having two people in my life, my Grandparents, especially my Grandma Becker, who fought for unity and equality for all people that “saved me” from ultimately becoming an angry, hostile, racist white bigot.

The emotion of fear can either motivate you to great empathy and love or it can also push you to hate, hostility and even violence.

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich – which remains incomplete because of it’s perceived pro-gay message: https://globalvoices.org/2017/05/12/diversity-interrupted-anti-gay-crusades-mar-ukraines-tolerant-facade/The incomplete monument serves as a conspicuous reminder of Ukraine’s unfinished battle against homophobia—a problem that has been accentuated by a recent spate of homophobic attacks.Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Façade – “

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This article does a fantastic job of possibly explaining why empathy is lacking in many white males.  Fear seems to be at the core of anger….lack of empathy:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/angry-white-men-wcz/

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

Instead of ignoring the anger, put it to a positive use.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There is something very wrong with (and for) many white men in America. They are so damned angry.

It is a phenomenon that is distinctly un-lovable, and yet love may be the most effective response.

As a member of that cohort, I get it: every rule we were taught growing up has changed, every promise that was made has been broken. How we interact with women, privilege and all that it manifested for our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers, and everything it meant in terms of being a man, a provider and protector…. Gone.

The problem is the role of virile alpha male provider/protector is hard-wired into our brain. It is our very definition of “manhood.” Faced with uncertainty and change, the response of circling up protection around what we “know” and responding aggressively against the unknown, is second nature.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline.

Being AGAINST something focuses that energy like a laser, whereas being FOR something diffuses positive energy into an array of options. This is why right-wing talk radio works and attempts at liberal talk radio have failed miserably. Conservatives have bulleted talking points that are relentlessly AGAINST something. Even when they say they are “pro-life,” the focus is so narrow, that it comes down to being AGAINST abortion and nothing more. They’re AGAINST “Obamacare,” but press them for an alternative and you get a look of canine puzzlement. Progressives, meanwhile, want to include everybody and can’t seem to herd the cats. Applied to light, it is almost literally the difference between generating heat and illumination. Negativity feeds on its own energy.

The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline. As in pre-WWII Germany, racism whispers in the ears of white men, “It’s not your fault you can’t provide for your family, that you’re not going to do as well as your father did; it’s THEIR fault!” and it points it’s bony finger at women who’ve gone to work (“because if you were man enough, she wouldn’t HAVE to work, taking a job away from a man.”), Or at immigrants. Or anyone else who is “different.”

It’s easy to feel bowled over by the laser-focused blast of anger and negativity, or feel the need to match it in kind. The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

I get it. Angry white guy is exhausting and distinctly unsympathetic. There is much to hate about hatred, but that can only yield more of the same. If we can bring ourselves to recognize bigotry, gun culture, misogyny and white male rage as merely the outward symptoms of a very real fear, we can meet fear with empathy, compassion and even love.

◊♦◊

The solution is found in realizing that our fathers’ definition of what is to be a man doesn’t work anymore and we haven’t filled that void. Packing a sidearm for a Starbucks run and curtailing the rights of others doesn’t make one a man, it makes one a frightened bully.

Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose.

A man is someone who calls fear by its name and leans into it anyway. He is not owned or diminished by it. He realizes that evolution favors not the strongest, but the most adaptable. He realizes that complicated times demand agility. He applies his solution-finding skills in new and innovative ways, as his forefathers did before him.

Angry white men are in their final throes because they refuse to find a way to adapt and evolve. Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose. That’s why we’re seeing terrorism, fascism and a spike in suicide among working class white males. It’s a fine line between offing oneself and making it a political statement by taking others with you.

Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from a very insightful article I found in my quest to try and understand where the hate is coming from towards gays and minorities.  The part I’ve shared, is very resonant to what I have observed going on with young people as I’ve grown up.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

(A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays.)

Social Powerlessness

In contemporary American society, young people–from the poor to the upper middle classes–are systematically neglected and devalued. Lacking access to meaningful, challenging experiences, and sensing a declining potential for success in today’s increasingly service-oriented economy, they are often frustrated, discouraged, and socially alienated . Young White males in particular face the contradiction of being taught to expect hegemonic masculine power while being denied any real access to it. This contradiction fosters “power- seeking, adventurist recreational activities at the expense of others who also lack power within the social order,” such as women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. Trapped in a temporal vortex between devalued adolescence and adult male privilege, teenage males are given tacit permission to engage in a certain degree of rowdiness and aggression, under the auspices of “boys will be boys.” This is particularly true for young men from more privileged strata, such as the fraternity boys discussed earlier, for whom peer group dynamics and thrill seeking often lead to exaggerated displays of masculinity regarding which society largely looks the other way.

However, if violence becomes a pervasive way of life and endures into adulthood, the scale tilts from socially excused to maladaptive. Eric’s aggression, which led to 3 years behind bars and cost him an education, is illustrative of a violent lifestyle that falls outside the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Describing how he drank and fought his way through adolescence, Eric said, “I used to beat people up, just to beat them up. When I ran out of people I didn’t like, l’d beat up people my brother didn’t like.” Of his assault on the businessman, he commented, “I got satisfaction out of kicking the guy.”

Eric’s masculinity has the exaggerated quality of masculine protest , in which violence is employed as an overcompensation for perceived weakness. Connell (1995) views this protest masculinity as a social, rather than individual, practice. In what he labels marginalized masculinity, economically and socially disempowered men like Eric “claim the potency that European culture attaches to masculinity” through a facade of power when their actual circumstances provide “no real resources for power”. In other words, males who incorporate the gender-norm expectations of hegemonic masculinity yet cannot realize these expectations due to their economic or racial status may act out in extreme manners, often with homosexuals as their targets.

This is by no means to imply that the majority of men from lower-class or racial minority backgrounds respond to poverty and oppression with hypermasculinity and violence, even in the most compelling of peer group situations. In most cases, a predisposition is engendered through childhood socialization involving not only poverty and social oppression but also violent victimization and exposure to violence . Eric, for example, experienced not only childhood violence but also parental abandonment, alcoholism, and death. And when Andrew was a child, his sadistic father routinely beat him with weapons while verbally deriding him. Andrew said it had taken him many years to learn to control the violent impulses engendered by this paternal abuse.

One of the hallmarks of the marginalized masculinity that may develop out of childhood poverty and violence is a preoccupation with a masculine front, or the protection of reputation and pride. Recall Eric’s explanation that his relative’s gay friend deserved punishment for disrespecting him. And although the businessmen whom Eric and his friends assaulted “didn’t even know it was coming,” among Eric’s peers the assault was far from surprising. For them, the men’s eye contact, laughing derision, and profanity were provocative challenges requiring physical response. Indeed, cognitive research has identified sets of norms, rules, and expectations that are shared within subcultures and lead to this type of predictable, even ritualized, social aggression.

Studying a group of economically and socially disenfranchised White youths similar to Eric’s peer group, Pinderhughes (1991) found perceived powerlessness and victimization to drive their ritualized social aggression against both homosexuals and African Americans, whom they perceived as “taking over”. In these situations, power and violence are in a sense opposites, for “where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears when power is in jeopardy” (Arendt, 1969, p. 56). Thus, whereas violence is often seen as an expression of power, in Eric’s case it can be alternatively conceptualized as a response to real or perceived powerlessness, wherein affluent, presumably gay men wearing expensive clothing symbolize undeserved “special rights” for minorities. …

 

 

5 Oct 2017 A skim over the headlines and what it shows me

Hello to you.  It’s Thursday morning yet as I finish compiling all of these articles.  I did it because I had to find some healthy way to channel the energy in the generally shitty attitude I have about this world right now!  My neighbor asked me how I was doing yesterday after she brought us half of a delicious cake she had made and I was honest with her.  I said tearfully, “Not very good, I am just pissed at the world right now!”  I know I’m not alone in how I’m feeling.  I got a letter from one of my pen pals yesterday and she even said that she and her family have tossed around the idea of moving to Canada, anywhere but here,  until this bullshit is over.  It doesn’t matter where you go now though really.  Look at what happened in Germany’s recent elections!  

http://www.turkishny.com/taha-meli-arvas/160-taha-meli-arvas/253745-germany-elects-nazi-sympathizers-while-the-krg-wants-a-better-deal

Germany Elects Nazi Sympathizers, While the KRG Wants a Better Deal

On Sunday, German voters gave Chancellor Angela Merkel a resounding vote of no-confidence. Nearly 66 percent of Germans voted against Merkel and her Christian Democrats Union, their worst showing in nearly 70 years. Despite losing a quarter of her supporters, Germany’s arcane electoral system will allow Merkel to become chancellor for a fourth term. The remaining votes were split between several smaller parties, including the “Alternative for Germany” party, or AfD. The far-right AfD is known for being a party that has morphed into one of Nazi sympathizers and radical xenophobes from its humble anti- “common currency” beginnings.

The powers that be have been massaging this game for quite some time and with few bumps to impede their progress, are putting all the pieces in place we swore would never happen again after WWII.  They have got plenty of desperate and ignorant fools to help them do it too!  

So anyways. 

I was curious to see what was going on with regards to things besides the rising gun debate, which I’m happy to see this morning that there is sensible stuff going on – the Democrats and Republicans at least agreeing we don’t need bump stocks being added to guns to make them more deadly to shoot. 

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/05/republican-proposes-ban-of-bump-stocks-used-in-las-vegas-shooting/

 Republican proposes ban of “bump stocks” used in Las Vegas shooting

“A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’'”

Matthew Rozsa10.05.2017•8:33 AM

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida announced that he would support a ban on “bump stocks,” devices that allow semiautomatic guns to fire more rapidly. The Las Vegas mass shooter reportedly had two bump stocks in his Mandalay Bay hotel room.

“I definitely think we need to revisit the issue of gun safety. A question that I have started asking around here is, ‘Why are these bump stocks legal?’” Curbelo told WLRN, Miami’s NPR affiliate. After noting that bump stocks are “a blatant circumvention of the law” banning automatic weapons, Curbelo argued that “I believe this presents an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to finally come together to build consensus around common-sense gun policies.”

He added, “Right now the best candidate for a common denominator is to focus on these bump stock devices, which are so deadly and so potent.”

Curbelo has advocated gun control policies in the past, such as a bill he filed in 2016 that would have banned people from owning guns, who were also prohibited from flying. The difference here, though, is that there are other Republican congressmen who feel the way he does about bump stocks.

“I think they should be banned. There’s no reason for a typical gun owner to own anything that converts a semi-automatic to something that behaves like an automatic,” said Rep. Bill Flores of Texas to The Hill.

With just a skim over the internet looking at key issues going on in this country, I can see where President Trump and the GOP is focused and where they are not.

I have not put the entirety of the articles here, please use the provided links to read the articles if you wish to read them in their entirety.

Overall, what I see is President Trump, his cabinet and the GOP seem to think it’s more important to fund building walls and the war machine than it is on the people and the programs the people of this country desperately need.   It would appear as long as you are in line with the Fuhrer’s in Chief’s *cough Trump’s agenda, have corporate/lobby funding, are championing corporate interests and don’t get caught hitching rides with oil barons you are gtg…..these people have sold their souls and our country and seem to have absolutely no remorse for doing so. 

As Jimmy Kimmel said the other night after the Vegas shootings , “It’s like somebody has opened a window to hell!” Yeah Jimmy, they have. 

4 Oct 2017 Jackie Wygant outdoor chalk drawing Jimmy Kimmel’s Window to Hell Alvarado TX

These are just a fraction of the headlines I could have listed here…..there are just so many:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2017/09/28/59533ed8-a4b8-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html?utm_term=.7fb38933e5b6

Zinke took $12,000 charter flight home in oil executive’s plane, documents show

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke chartered a flight from Las Vegas to near his home in Montana this summer aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives, internal documents show.

The flight, along with private flights during a trip to the Virgin Islands, could propel Zinke into the growing debate over the costs of travel by Cabinet secretaries, some of whom have chosen expensive charter jets and military planes at high expense to taxpayers over the cheaper option of flying commercial.

https://hotair.com/archives/2017/10/03/pence-chief-staff-hey-whos-purge-gop/

Pence chief of staff: Hey, who’s up for a purge in the GOP?

Old and busted: Ambassador Mike Pence. New hotness: Inquisitor Mike Pence? Politico got its hands on an audio recording of the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, meeting with big-ticket GOP donors to plan for the midterms. Rather than follow Pence’s public signals for intra-party unity between Trump loyalists and everyone else, Ayers told donors that they needed to conduct a purge that will eject any Republicans with insufficient loyalty to the president:

But Ayers reserved his harshest criticism for congressional leaders and members who have not offered full-throated support for the president.

“Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers said, according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by POLITICO.

Did that sound crass? Not as crass as what followed:

One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House.”

“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, number one. And number two, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”

http://federal-budget.insidegov.com/l/120/2017-Estimate

2017 United States Budget Estimate

GDP: $17T

Total Receipts: $3.21T

Total Outlays: $3.65T

Total Surplus or Deficit as Percentage of GDP: -2.6%

* Note: Budget estimates are based on projections from the Obama Administration. To the extent feasible, the data have been adjusted using chained 2009 GDP to provide consistency with the 2015 Budget and to provide comparability over time.

2017 Key Facts

The U.S. government is estimated to collect $3.21T in tax revenues and spend a total of $3.65T in its 2017 budget, resulting in a deficit of $443B. The deficit is expected to be 2.6% of its total estimated GDP of $17T that year.

All numbers are adjusted for inflation.

total revenues

$3.21

trillion

total spending

$3.65

trillion

total surplus/deficit

$-443

billion

total surplus/deficit as % of GDP

-2.6%

GDP

$16,985,900,000,000

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-panel-approves-dollar10b-for-border-wall/ar-AAsUDwd

House panel approves $10B for border wall

The House Homeland Security Committee approved Wednesday a border security bill that includes $10 billion for a border wall.

The Border Security for America Act, proposed by committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was passed along party lines, 18-12.

The bill now heads to the House floor amid debate over whether border security provisions should be attached to potential legislation to protect recipients of the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/18/us/politics/senate-pentagon-spending-bill.html

WASHINGTON — In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/03/555166767/lapse-in-federal-funding-imperils-children-s-health-coverage

Congress finally seems ready to take action on the Children’s Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed Sept. 30.

Before the deadline, lawmakers were busy grappling with the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families.

CHIP, which has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, helps lower- and middle-income families that otherwise earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid. Besides children, it covers 370,000 pregnant women a year. Like Medicaid, CHIP is traditionally paid for by state and federal funding, but the federal government covers most of the cost.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee posted its bill just before midnight Monday. It mirrors the Senate Finance plan by extending funding for CHIP for five years and gradually phasing down the 23 percentage point funding increase provided under Affordable Care Act over the next two years.

http://educationvotes.nea.org/2017/10/04/public-service-loan-forgiveness-thrust-peril-trump-devos-budget/

Public Service Loan Forgiveness thrust into peril by Trump-DeVos budget

Greg Cechak is a 31-year-old sixth-grade teacher in Pennsylvania, who owes about $80,000 for his state university education. He and his wife, another public school teacher, also are the parents of two small children, who he worries he’ll never be able to send to college because he’ll still be paying off his own student loans.

The light on the horizon for the Cechak family—and more than 600,000 additional teachers, firefighters, and public-service employees—is the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which hopefully will erase the majority of his federal student loan debt after Cechak has paid 120 on-time monthly loan payments.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of PSLF, but the program recently has been thrust into peril by the Trump-DeVos proposed budget, which would eliminate PSLF. In response, a congressional caucus dedicated to protecting PSLF was formed this fall by two Pennsylvania Republicans—U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, and thousands of NEA members have called on Congress to protect PSLF.

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-05-23/donald-trump-and-betsy-devos-budget-would-destroy-public-schools

President Donald Trump released his administration’s first full budget Tuesday, and the reactions from Capitol Hill make it look like it’s dead on arrival. That might be true, but it shouldn’t make those of us who work to improve outcomes for students any less concerned. As former Education Secretary Arne Duncan said whenever he talked about President Barack Obama’s budget proposals, budgets reflect our values. And when it comes to education, the values of Trump and his education secretary Betsy DeVos couldn’t be clearer – private schools deserve money, and public schools and vulnerable students don’t.

At a high level, the outlines of Trump and DeVos’ education priorities became clear in March with the release of the administration’s so-called “skinny budget.” As a result, much of what is in today’s full budget isn’t surprising. The proposal would cut the Education Department’s funding by more than 13 percent and slash overall funding by almost $11 billion, including eliminating $2.1 billion in funding for teacher professional development and support, which could pay the salaries of more than 35,000 teachers, and $1.2 billion for after-school programs, which support working families and serve 1.6 million students.

At the same time, Trump and DeVos would push over $1 billion of new money for private school voucher schemes and other school choice programs. In essence, states and districts will have to enact DeVos’ preferred school choice policies in order to recover some of the cuts to longstanding programs.

http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/353905-dems-release-own-infrastructure-principles-in-absence-of-trump-plan

Dems release own infrastructure principles in absence of Trump plan

A group of House Democrats released their own set of infrastructure principles Wednesday, as the White House has yet to unveil more details about Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure package.

The New Democrat Coalition laid out three major steps Congress should take to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure: fund it, fix it and foster it.

The group prefers to use the revenue from repatriation, or taxing corporate earnings stashed overseas when it returns to the U.S., to upgrade U.S. infrastructure. They also want to see robust, long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2017/10/04/trump-administration-denies-endangered-species-protection-pacific-walrus-and-two-dozen-oth-25-specie/732704001/

From walruses to turtles and woodpeckers to toads, the Trump administration Wednesday declined to list 25 species as endangered, noting that extra protection “is not warranted at this time.”

Of particular concern to environmental groups is the Pacific walrus, which had been considered a candidate for the list due to the dramatic loss of its Arctic sea ice habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which determines which species can be classified as endangered, reported that it can’t say with certainty that the Pacific walrus is likely to become endangered, despite an extensive loss of Arctic Sea ice due to global warming.

“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperiled wildlife,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species.”

Ahhhh some sense?!!  Whew!

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/03/gop-leader-shelves-nra-backed-silencer-bill/

GOP leader shelves NRA-backed silencer bill

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders called for unity and prayer Tuesday after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, but offered no new legislation to tighten gun laws and said a bill to ease regulations on gun silencers would be shelved indefinitely.

“We are all reeling from this horror in Las Vegas,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at a news conference. “This is just awful.”

Ryan said there’s no plan for the House to act soon on a National Rifle Association-backed bill to ease regulations on gun silencers. A House panel had backed the bill last month and lawmakers were expected to move ahead on the measure.

The bill is “not scheduled right now. I don’t know when it will be scheduled,” Ryan said.

 

 

 

4 Oct 2017 It’s time for people who want to own guns to do some soul searching

Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

Hello to you. How are you doing? I wish I could say I’m doing well but I’m not. I’ve had a couple of days to process this latest act of terror in our country, carried out by one of our own people by exercising his 2nd amendment right on a bunch of innocent people.

What came to me this morning is the concept of supply and demand when it comes to guns.

People want, buy, collect and even steal guns….so there are more guns. Pretty simple.

The people of this country, even the law abiding gun owners, which until Monday, the Vegas shooter was, are partially to blame for there being so many guns.

To say, as a gun owner  your not responsible for what keeps happening is kind of like blaming Shoe manufacturers for there being so damn many shoes. If you didn’t buy shoes, do you think anyone would be making shoes?

After something like what happened in Las Vegas on Monday happens we want answers, we want justice, we want more laws, we want something to close the hole somebody like this guy shot into each and every one of our souls by doing what he did. We want things like this to stop happening and yet they don’t! Why?!!

What happens when you make and put a tool, designed purely for killing and destruction into the hands of a mentally incapacitated individual be it the temporary condition of passion (losing a job, infidelity in a domestic situation, road rage, the neighbors dog barking, pissed off at the boss) or chronic? People and animals die.

Kyle was talking to hunters at his job yesterday about why would hunters need silencers on a gun? You know what the answer he got? “Because it’s cool.” Yeah very sportsmanlike you going up to a deer with a silencer!

Can you imagine how many more people would have died in Vegas had this man had silencers or even muffling devices on the guns? Listening to one of the hero’s who was there driving dying people to the hospital, a marine, there was no way to fight back. Even if you had a gun, you couldn’t have defended yourself from an aerial assault like the people in Vegas went through. So running to the gun store to defend yourself against people like this isn’t doing anything but driving up the money in some gun makers 401k!

Now they want to go after Hotels and better crowd security to fix this problem. This isn’t a hotel problem or even totally a gun problem, this is a PEOPLE problem.

We have a country full of people who for so many generations have been taught by every institution to include churches and our own homes that revenge and fighting back is ok. When you are wronged, rather than do what the God you proclaim to be your savior tells you and turn the other cheek, you pull out your Bible and your gun and start shooting. You may say that isn’t so in your household but I ask you to take another look. If you support self defense by bearing arms, endorse war and things such as capital punishment, you believe in revenge and are modeling it for your children and anyone who knows you.  If this man had lived, I guarantee you the entire country would have demanded the death penalty for him.

We made this problem and until we change our minds, hearts and souls about all that is tied to the owning of a gun, nothing will ever change no matter what we do or don’t do.

Ask yourself, those of you who own guns, “Why do I own a gun(s)?”  Ask yourself, if you were to kill someone in self-defense and found yourself enjoying that, who is going to stop you from becoming like the people you are defending yourself against now?!  Ask our war veterans with PTSD about that!  How do you shut that off?!  I asked my neighbor this question after she went out and bought a gun to protect herself in her shop here in town after there were a bunch of armed robberies in Walmart parking lots.  She couldn’t answer me. 

This is what my NIV Study Bible says about Revenge and Love for Enemies and I’m pretty sure it says much the same thing in most gun owners Bibles.

I looked and the Concordance of my Bible there is nothing referenced about Self Defense, about 2 passages about Revenge and for Love and Forgiveness…5 pages.

Luke 16:13: No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

If you buy a gun, for whatever reason, you are saying with your financial support that you endorse the continued manufacturing of guns and all the activities they are used for which includes mass shootings.  I know you don’t want to hear this you law abiding gun owners, but it is truth.    Just because you aren’t using guns to go out and harm people or yourself it doesn’t mean you won’t and other people are!  When you make anything and put it out into the world like we have with gun, unless you exercise extreme controls over such a thing, you no longer have control of it.  Our latest shooter was “law abiding” until he wasn’t!  He was like most other law abiding gun owners in this country until something in his head and heart stopped working right.  Think about that before you join so many others that caused gun stocks to rise in this country by running to the gun store to get yet another gun or stock up on ammunition because of this! 

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/02/investing/las-vegas-shooting-gun-stocks-sturm-ruger-american-outdoor-brands/index.html

Gun stocks up after Las Vegas shooting 
by Paul R. La Monica   @lamonicabuzz
October 2, 2017: 3:12 PM ET

Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) were up 4%, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, gained more than 3%. A company named Olin (OLN), which owns the Winchester brand of ammunition, rose 6% to an all-time high.

 The stocks have tended to rally in the immediate aftermath of mass killings, which sadly have become more routine.

The Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016. San Bernardino in December 2015. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.

Investors had bet that these massacres would lead to tougher gun control laws, especially because of tough talk from President Obama.

To close.  This scene from the movie Grand Canyon, a movie made back in the 1990’s has always stuck with me, especially in regards to the gun issue.  I couldn’t find the full scene with the complete dialogue:

Grand Canyon Its not supposed to be like this scene

This is the actual dialogue from the movie since I couldn’t find the complete video clip.  This is at the beginning of the movie when Danny Glover, a tow trucker operator comes up to rescue Kevin Kline after his car runs out of gas in a bad part of town after a basketball game. A carload of gang members has gotten to Kevin Kline first and Danny has to negotiate with the gang’s leader to get Kevin’s car (and Kevin) out of there safely.  Is this conversation the answer as to why so many people want to have guns?  Respect?!  I don’t think gun ownership today is just about being a “Sportsperson” anymore…….was it ever?

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/g/grand-canyon-script-transcript-kasdan.html

Gang: Yeah, man, what’s goin’ down? This is fucked up.

Glover: Get in the truck. You’ll ride up with me. – Are you the one I’m talkin’ to? –

Gang: Hey, we all decide what goes down. – So don’t fly that shit. – Yeah, man, fuck you!

Glover: Am I talkin’ to the right man? That’s what I thought. Look, I gotta ask you a favour. I gotta ask you to let me go my way here. Now, this truck is my responsibility. Now the car’s hooked up to it, I’m responsible for that, too. Any shit comes down now, it’s my ass. You follow me?

Gang leader: Do you think I’m stupid?

Glover: Just answer me that first and then we can talk. I don’t know nothin’ about you, you don’t know nothin’ about me. I don’t know if you’re stupid or some kinda genius. But I do know this: I gotta get outta here and you got the gun. So I’m askin’ you a favour for the second time. Let me go my way here.

Gang leader: I’m gonna grant you that favour. And I’m gonna expect you to remember this if we ever meet again. – Yeah. – But first… you gotta answer one more thing for me, and you gotta tell me the truth. Are you askin’ me a favour as a sign of respect… or are you askin’ me a favour cos I got the gun?

Glover: Man, the world ain’t supposed to work like this. I mean, maybe you don’t know that, but this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to be able to do my job without asking you if I can. That dude is supposed to be able to wait with his car without you rippin’ him off. Everything’s supposed to be different than what it is.

Gang leader: So what’s your answer? You don’t have the gun, we ain’t havin’ this conversation. That’s what I thought. No gun, no respect. That’s why I always got the gun.

29 Sept 2017 Maria (heroine in Puerto Rico nursing home), Bugs scent tracking me in my dreams and Painted Rocks of Kindness

Hello there….how are you doing in your time and place as you visit me here? I hope you are well. I honestly don’t know how I’m doing these days but trying to get back to a hostility-free heart center! It’s hard for me these days! I am comforted to see some of my recent, very loud, prayers kind of being answered. For example, I mean kind of answered by seeing reports that our government is actually more aggressively trying to help Puerto Rico.  Unfortunately,  the stuff is just sitting on the tarmac in containers and not getting to those in need now! Hopefully the General our President has sent to deal with it can get some stuff moving.  This story from ABC News was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.  It was of nursing home worker Maria doing everything she can to take care of people in her care after the storm, ironically bearing her name:

Nursing home worker not giving up on her patients :

So apparently my recent and on-going battle with the ants trying to take over our house has seeped into my sub-conscious…dreams.  Yeah, the diametrious earth project didn’t work as well as we hoped after all!  Doesn’t seem to work on ants as well as other insects it seems.  I’m about to give up chalking on the patio because of ants and mosquitos biting me! I have to wonder, is this God’s answer to my prayer about what to do with my art?! May be the God of my understanding has a fucked up sense of humor too!

Yesterday we had the blessing of rain.  I had to wait for the patio to dry out before I could go out and draw. Well when I did, the ants just started coming for the house again. I saw a bunch of them even start gathering behind me when I wasn’t looking! When they attacked the laundry basket, they primarily went after my clothes. Am I being scent tracked by these bastards lol?! Is it the Lithium or something else? Do we have an ant version of the movie Mimic in the process ?! ZOMG! I don’t wanna be an ant queen lol!

Mimic: The Director’s Cut – Trailer

Anyhew….I had a couple pretty vivid and creepy dreams about this!

The first dream started out pleasant. I was in some beautiful nature spot with my Mom Dianne. From what I remember we were on a beach with white sand. All the sudden we heard explosion sounds and saw white plumes of smoke in the sky. The second time, when we looked in the clear blue sky, the smoke was in the shape of the fruit of life and then there was dust blowing in our eyes.  (the other day I broke apart the fruit of life I had made with dirt balls and kicked it into the yard in anger….hmmmm…almost forgot I did that but apparently my subconscious didn’t!)

30 Aug 2017 Jackie Wygant Fruit of Life from grass mud and water Alvarado TX

There was a brief dream about worm and or larvae type creatures with mouths a lot like creatures you might see in an Aliens movie chasing me! Gross! (this is from me going to empty our bio waste bucket and finding two small larval worms in it!)

The one I remember the most, just before waking, was of going into a Veterinary type clinic. There was an aquarium with two cats floating in it, alive, getting some sort of wierd treatment. Then I was talking to a man at this place and for some reason I had brought one of my pillowcases with me and it was laying on the counter. All the sudden these bugs started going into the pillowcase and when I tried to shake them out, it got swarmed by a bunch more! I threw the pillowcase on the floor in fear and when I did, a bunch of all sorts of insects started to attack the pillowcase. I took off running outside. I was able to put my flying/floating dream skills to work and floated off of the ground….afraid to touch anything for fear of more attacks like with the pillowcase. People in cars were looking at me in shock as I floated above the ground past them.  (This is obviously from the laundry basket invasion experience!  I’ve had other waking experience with insects swarming the house since we’ve been here and when I was growing up in South Dakota.  One day we had an invasion of army caterpillars that took over the yard and started climbing all over our house!)

12 Sept 2017 – to include the side of the house and the ants found the small gap where we missed with the baking soda

1 Oct 2016 – this is a walnut caterpillar and the reason I have black poop pellets all over, a stripped and very sick pecan tree

Changing gears……Sorry about that, but blogging is part of my therapy, remember that! Read with caution lol! 

My friend and pen pal Lesley wrote to us yesterday….thank you so much! Her letters and those I get from my Mom are so precious to me for many reasons. A reason that occurred to me most recently is the knowing that after Les and my Mom are no longer here on this earth, I probably won’t get “real” letters anymore! Sad but true in our current times!

So in this letter, Les included a newspaper story about a new craze that is going on that I didn’t know about. As an act of random kindness, people painting rocks and hiding them in plain sight for others to find – kind of like the letters only more resilient of course.

The ironic thing about this suggestion? Is other people have also suggested I do this sort of thing through the years! They have encouraged me to put my art on rocks but I haven’t done it for several reasons. Financial reasons, my intimidation of paints and not having the rocks and supplies. I’m going to have to give this some more thought….there are few coincidences in such things!

Source: Internet – this is definitely what I want to see every morning when I wake up. We have a long way to go, but I can at least try to work on peace in myself and in my own home…the places I walk in my little circle of this world.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/communities/northeast/article/Painted-rocks-fad-meant-to-bring-happiness-12207358.php

In the mid-’70s, Americans bought into the pet rock fad, which disappeared about as quickly as it arrived.

A different kind of rock is creating a buzz, and hundreds of Metrocom residents are part of a new rock craze: painting rocks and leaving them in various public places.

Nearly 700 members of the Rocks-Cibolo, Schertz, UC, Marion, LO Texas Facebook group paint designs on the rocks and then place them out in public for others to find. The painted rocks range in designs from a simple red circle to sports team logos and popular movie themes. Rainbows, flowers and more intricate designs have also been used.

Leslie White and her son Toby, 6, were at the Schertz Public Library late last month, hiding a handful of rocks she had recently painted. While placing their rocks in various spots in the library courtyard, Toby found one that someone else had left, making the day a special outing for them.

White said she’s relatively new to the art form, having painted about a dozen since getting involved this summer.

“I paint anything that looks beautiful. I love color, so whatever makes me smile is what I think someone else would like,” said White, who started painting rocks after joining a community Rock page on Facebook.

“It’s a stress reliever,” she said. “It gives families something to do. It’s getting people moving, spending time painting rocks with their families.

“There’s so much negativity and hate going on right now, and it may seem like just a ‘stupid rock’ to some people. But maybe someone had a bad day and they go pick up this rock and … it brightens their day. It puts a smile on someone’s face.”

White and her son have designed and hidden almost a dozen rocks, which she said take anywhere from an hour to two hours to design and paint.

“On the rock group (Facebook page), we actually give hints to where we post,” she said. “We put clues. I usually take a close-up of where it’s at, and Toby likes to pose next to the rock. It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”

White said they share the excitement when someone posts a photo on the page of a rock they painted and hid, although most rocks are placed in plain sight, so they can be found and hidden again.

“Yes, we do get excited when someone finds a rock we painted. And I will post, ‘Hey, that was one I painted,’” White said, laughing.

jflinn@express-news.net

http://thekindnessrocksproject.com/home

What is The Kindness Rocks Project….

Goal #1: Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way…

Goal #2: Recruit every person who stumbles upon it to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness

28 Sept 2017 It is about race or Russian trolls?! (the NFL kneeler debate continues)

Hello to you today.  It’s 8:32 am as I write to you.  I hope you will bear with me on my subject choice again today.  After seeing Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died (RIP Hugh!),  I saw the headline about Russian hacker trolls behind the NFL Kneeler debate and felt myself get so frustrated!  What you have here as a final product is definitely not what I started off with…far fewer expletives in my narrative here lol!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmaker-russian-trolls-trying-to-sow-discord-in-nfl-kneeling-debate/2017/09/27/5f46dce0-a3b0-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html?utm_term=.72996fda22d6

Lawmaker: Russian trolls trying to sow discord in NFL kneeling debate

“Russian Internet trolls are trying to gin up even more controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, a senator said Wednesday — warning that the United States should expect such divisive efforts to escalate in the next election.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) made the assertion in a hearing with the heads of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center.”

This new headline feels like an attempt  to try and bury more of the embarrassing things going on in this country.  All of what is so eagerly being dismissed to Russian hacker trolls was here well before we even had the first computer!  Many Americans, who aren’t out burning football jersey’s on You tube, are really embarrassed about the direction this country is being steered into….back to.

 

Newspaper clipping about Grandpa Harold Becker and voter registration in Mississippi

 

As a prior Air Force Veteran of 16 years, someone who had a Grandfather who risked his life to help minorities register to vote and someone who has always cared about all people, I realize this whole thing goes way deeper than about a flag or a song.  Yes it’s not just about race and probably a lot about how unhappy many people are with President Trump and our government, but it is still about race and so much more shitty stuff going on in this country!

My SrA Below the Zone picture, United States Air Force

A segment of this debate, many of them living Veterans like myself,  want to say that these players kneeling during the National Anthem is offensive and disrespectful to our flag, our fellow Veterans and our country.  I would like to remind these offended folks that many of the people buried in Arlington National Cemetery and so many other graveyards like it all over the world are filled with people who died in combat believing at some point we wouldn’t even be having these sort of debates!  They died hoping we would finally have peace on this earth!  For the love of God, WHY CAN’T WE GET PAST THIS SHIT?!    Can we please evolve?!

*Does a Capt Jean Luc Picard Manuever and adjusts shirt……..

I saw this mentioned in a video recently – Capt Picard was always adjusting his shirt just before some shit was about to go down lol!

I am reminded, and it is easy to forget, that my fellow Veterans did not die to free anyone from the sting of condemnation or ridicule for exercising all the rights we have today…seem to have…hope we still have?  Anyhew….I digress.  It’s important to acknowledge to yourself that if you make the choice to kneel in protest, don’t be surprised or too hurt if your jersey goes up in flames on You tube.  If you fly a Confederate flag in your front yard or in the cab of your pickup truck, go right ahead!  Just don’t get butt hurt when your neighbor, who may be black, doesn’t want have coffee with you anymore afterwards.

All of this is cause and effect…..an action causes and opposite reaction – especially in polarizing debates like this one!  When you make a choice in one direction, chances are someone or something will come at you with one from the opposite direction.

Source Internet: Arlington National Cemetery

You can only offend people who choose to be offended.   

Being offended is a choice you  make anytime you interact with people who are different than you are….that you don’t agree with.  Being the kind of person I am with the kind of upbringing I had and living where I do now….not easy being me (or Kyle who shares a lot of my views on things).   I am originally from Sioux Falls South Dakota,  my family is comprised of conservative, Roman Catholic and or Christian white people who fall also into the Trump demographic.  My Dad, who is about the same age as our President, served in the Navy and is a Trump supporter.  This is hard for me but I have had to learn to accept it.  It’s his right to do and think whatever the hell he wants as long as he doesn’t try and impose it on me and he doesn’t.   We just don’t talk about it!

In my family and with some friends we do a lot of agreeing to disagree to keep the peace between us.   There are many subjects so heated we have decided it’s better if we don’t discuss them at all which is frustrating (mainly for me) but that just the way it is.  My parents are Baby Boomers who came from upbringings where you just don’t talk about politics, religion or other controversial things if it means there will be a fight.  Apparently our President didn’t get that generational memo.

A saying my Mom taught me and I have to remind myself often of it when doing this blog, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t fucking say it! Bite your tongue!”  Sometimes, and my Mom knows this about me, I go for the jugular and say what nobody else will say.  She taught me that too!  She is my sensei for the art of  brutal honesty!

During one of my recent visits with my parents that’s what we discovered about ourselves.   When they did part of their winter birding at our place, I had exclaimed, “Well what can we talk about that we actually agree on?!”  Turns out we could agree on was eating meat lol!  We agreed most anything else (media, religion and especially politics) is just off limits!  So we just duke it out playing cribbage lol!

I have thought recently it would be so cool if we could just get Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jon Un  in a video game simulator and duke it out like they did in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  This way they, and the rest of us, would be so much happier and safer lol!   Imagine what the world could be like if we agreed to settle all our real world differences like that?!  That’s why a lot of gamers  like Player Vs. Player.  You can K.O your opponent over and over but the real person you are fighting with is still left alive to fight another day and no planet is destroyed for it!

6 Jan 2017 – Dad and I playing a hand of cribbage. He beat me but Kyle came back and avenged me lol.

So, yes,  may be we’ll find out it’s true the Russians have exploited yet another weakness in our country (besides knowing we like to elect television celebrities for President) and are using it to their advantage.  That doesn’t change the fact that what these men are kneeling about is still going on in 2017!!!   We still have people donning white hoods and robes for the KKK, we still have people  murdering people who aren’t white and heterosexual and using God’s word to justify it (read about yet another transgender man murdered just yesterday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/joey-steinfeld-transgender-teen_us_59cbd381e4b05063fe0e7183), we still have people worshipping Adolph Hitler and we still have people segregating themselves because of race, color, creed, gender and sexual orientation….America’s got a long ways to go to be even o.k. again trolls or not! 

These videos have some good points on this debate:

 

 

Even if this Russian hacker trolling is really going on, even if Trump is President,  it doesn’t change what all of this is really about:  

http://www.dictionary.com/e/star-spangled-banner/the 3rd verse of our country’s national anthem which most,  like me probably until recently didn’t even know existed: 

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

and statistics like this – a disproportionate number, based on population, of black people are being killed with lethal force in police involved shootings: 

https://thesocietypages.org/toolbox/police-killing-of-blacks/

 

Updated September 25th, 2017

Data as of September 25th, 2017 according to the Washington Post

So far in 2017 (as of Sept 25th), unarmed blacks make up 31% of those that were unarmed and killed by police. However, according to the latest US Census estimates, blacks make up only 13.3% of the population.

In this case, “unarmed” is defined as no weapon of any kind. The good news is that the use of lethal force by police on those that are unarmed seems to be declining. However, blacks remain a disproportionate number of the victims.

 

Data source for figures above: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings-2017/

When comparing complete data of 2016 to 2015, those that were unarmed (no weapon of any kind) that were killed by police continued to be disproportionally black, relative to the population size. However, the black/white racial discrepancy in the portion of the population compared to the portion of those that were unarmed when killed by police has decreased.

Below is a look at the percentages by race under all conditions (armed with a gun, knife, unarmed, etc.) when police used lethal force comparing 2015 and 2016.

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-02-57-pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While whites makeup the greatest number and largest percentage of victims of lethal force by the police in the US, it remains important to compare the rates to the distribution in the general population. As is evident in the figure above, there was a slight increase in the percentage of victims of police use of lethal force that were white and slight decrease in the percentage that were black. However, relative to the percentage of the general population, blacks are still over-represented as victims of the police use of lethal force under all conditions (see below). Whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders are under-represented relative to their portion of the general population.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-9-34-23-pm

 

 

. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The police killing of blacks has been splashed across the headlines for over a year and a half now and for much of the time we lacked data to decipher any trends.

Data is a crucial part of constructing sociological theory and empirical research.

Arguably, it should be a greater part of public debate and a greater influence on public policy decisions. In the last year and a half, the media coverage of, public concern about and social movement mobilization around the police killing of blacks has greatly increased. Several cases received particular media attention, in large part because of either the video coverage of the death (Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, and others) or the subsequent protests (Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Michael Brown in Ferguson).

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.56.20 AM

The police seem to be disproportionally using lethal force on Black citizens. The best data available in 2015 and 2016 on this topic was from the Guardian newspaper out of UK. Due to the lack of any other systematic data collection on how many people police kill, the Guardian started a project they call, “The Counted”. Through police reports, their own investigation and readers tips, they have assembled this data and made it publically available. Click here to access the Guardian’s “The Counted” website. On the site, you can also access more news stories about each death and sort the data by state and other characteristics. The Washington Post continues to track this data in 2017.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.55.40 AM

When teaching this topic, any topic really, it is important to demonstrate to students how sociological conclusions come to be through empirical data, not the opinion of the professor or the view of select media outlets. Below I have generated several tables and figures analyzing data from “The Counted”. You can also download an Excel file of the data and use it in class. I use it for introductory Excel exercises in my Quantitative Research Methods course. The tables and figures below would also be good for the race section of any Introduction to Sociology course, a social problems course, a criminology class and/or a race and ethnic relations course. I hope you find it useful.

. . .

When police kill a suspect or innocent bystander, does race matter?

Which racial or ethnic group in the US is the most frequent victim of deadly force from law enforcement officers? On the surface, the answer is clear, whites. You can see in the chart below that in 2015, in the US, 578 whites were killed by police. This is nearly double the number of blacks at 301. However, we need to compare these rates to the rates of each group in the general population. Of course (non-Hispanic) whites are the most frequent victims, they are the largest portion of the population – 62.2% in 2014 according to US Census estimates. If we lived in a society where one’s race had no impact, then we would expect to see the portion of each racial/ethnic group killed by police equal to that of the portion in the general population. That is not what is evident from the 2015 data.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.13.21 PM

Whites make up a disproportionally smaller portion of those killed by law enforcement compared to their portion of the general population – 11.3% less. Blacks, on the other hand, make up a disproportionally larger portion of those killed (26.5%) compared to the general population (13.2%) – 13.3% more or double!

Hispanics make up victims of lethal police force at about the same rate as they are in general US population, as do Native Americans. The data distinguish Arab Americans, but the US Census data does not. Asians made up a much lower portion of those killed by police relative to the portion of the general population (2.1% vs. 5.6%).

The same data as the table above is presented in column chart below. Here is visually evident the disproportionally higher percentage of blacks killed by police relative to population.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.16.01 PM

Being a law enforcement officer is a dangerous job. There are certainly times when lethal force by an officer is justified. When a suspect has a firearm, the police and any others in the area are at much greater risk and under most of these conditions it is at least understandable why deadly force is used. The table and chart below show the armed status of the victims in 2015. Just under half, 48.6%, of those killed by police were in possession of a known firearm. Meaning, it was visible during the interaction with the police. Almost a third had something other than a firearm. This included knives, vehicles, non-lethal (BB) guns, etc. However, US police still killed 223 people in 2015 alone that were completely unarmed. That is nearly a fifth of all those killed.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.17.31 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.19.39 PM

Most, 95.2%, of those killed by police in 2015 were men. The pie chart below shows that only 4.8% of the victims identified as anything other than male.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.20.18 PM

How were people in the US killed by police in 2015? Mostly by gunshots. The table and pie chart below shows that 89.1% of the people killed were killed by the officer(s) using their gun. Tasers, which are designed to be non-lethal, killed 49 people or 4.3% of the total. Forty-one people, or 3.6%, died in custody and 2.9% were struck by a vehicle (intentionally or on accident).

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.21.50 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.23.03 PM

In 2014, 12-year old Tamir Rice was shot on site by Cleveland police as he played with a toy gun. While the person who called 911 told the dispatcher that the gun was probably fake, she failed to pass that along to the officers. The officers pulled up within feet of Tamir and killed him within seconds. How many others who were in possession of a nonlethal firearm (toy, BB gun, etc.) were killed by police in 2015? Thirty-seven. In the table below we see that blacks were disproportionate victims under these conditions.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.23.42 PM

If we just look at those that were unarmed, does the racialized pattern that disadvantages blacks continue? According to the data and shown in the table and chart below, unarmed whites continue to make up a smaller percentage of victims than their portion of the population, while unarmed blacks make up about two and a half times the portion of the unarmed victims compared to their portion of the general population.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.24.24 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.25.22 PM

The average age of those killed by law enforcement officers in the US in 2015 under all conditions was 37. The age distribution is surprisingly broad with a range of 6 to 87 years old. Just over 30% of the victims were between the ages of 18 to 29. Another 28% were between the ages of 30 to 39. Nineteen of those killed were minors under the age of 18. Surprisingly, 214 people who were killed by police in the US in 2015 were 50 years old or older! This accounts for nearly a fifth of the victims. The most prevalent age was 24 with 46 victims.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.26.22 PM

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 12.27.45 PM

Through the analysis of this data a pattern emerges. Compared to their portion of the overall population, blacks are disproportionally the victims of lethal force by law enforcement officers, even when they are unarmed. While most of those killed by police were white, the portion of white victims is lower than the portion of whites in the general population, more than 10% lower. The vast majority of those killed by police were men and most died from gunshots. Only about half of the victims were armed with a gun themselves. The victims in 2015 varied widely in age, but most were between 18 and 39 years old. This data further solidifies the concerns and demands of the Black Lives Matters movement; there is a pattern of police using deadly force disproportionally on blacks that needs to be addressed by policy makers and police departments across the nation.

Here is an attempt at documenting all the unarmed people of color killed by police from 1999-2014

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.10.41 PMa

 

The Mirror of Hate

I found this today whilst looking for some new paths to trod here on WordPress and wanted to share it. It’s so important in these divisive times to get to know each other and pull closer together.  This is an important read for those trying to understand what it can be like to be an immigrant trying to make a life in America.

A Light Circle

“What are you?”

I get asked this question all the time, wherever I go. “What are you?” I grew so tired of hearing it that I once answered on a whim: “Guess.” The man who had asked me proceeded to list off all the Asian nationalities he knew of: “Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Mongolian…” It was around the tenth guess, that I nodded. Oddly, he was not satisfied with my answer. To be honest, neither was I. He looked at me incredulously and walked away. I could understand his disappointment, perhaps he was hoping to achieve some sort of confirmation for his painstakingly-built system of racial order. At the very least, he made a good effort to pin me down.

In all honesty, I don’t really know what I am. On paper, I am a two-time immigrant, my husband is also an immigrant and my children are even…

View original post 2,219 more words

27 Sept 2017 This town needs an Enema….

Hello to you.  It’s 6:45 am as I write this part of my note to you.  I’ve been on here for awhile compiling headlines etc.  It’s therapeutic and gives me a false sense of having some sort of control I type laughing uneasily to myself lol.  What is a word I use a lot when I am feeling the way I am, the all-purpose one….

Episode #12 – Using Proper English – The Many Uses of the F word

Some headlines that caught my eye and I am not happy about most of them…..just scratching the surface.  Yesterday I found myself so angry and bitter….just 9 months and all of “this.”  I know and love so many people who don’t see anything wrong with what is happening and I wonder almost daily why I am the one with labels, in therapy and taking medication!

This town needs an enema…….take it away Ben and Jimmy…….

Mad Lib Theater with Benedict Cumberbatch

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-battered-puerto-rico-governor-warns-of-a-humanitarian-crisis/ar-AAssMWv?OCID=ansmsnnews11

I hope these folks get relief soon.  It sounds like our government is trying to do something but in some ways it seems like they are being treated much differently than Texas or Florida.   

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/interior-secretary-ryan-zinke-fracking-is-proof-gods-got-a-good-sense-of-humor-and-he-loves-us/article/2635573 

It is disturbing to me that our Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke presumes to think evidence of God’s sense of humor is the highly destructive HUMAN activity of fracking….does he even know what fracking is?!  I think his God has a seriously fucked up sense of  humor if fracking is funny.  Ask the people who are losing their drinking water and their homes if fracking is funny!  As a homeowner who in both those categories, fracking is not a joke!  Facepalm! 

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/26/politics/health-care-republican-senate-vote/

“In the end, three Republicans had publicly opposed the bill: Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins and Rand Paul. ” — THANK YOU!!!

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/09/26/coffee-sold-in-california-could-carry-cancer-warning-labels.html

https://dailycoffeenews.com/2013/11/15/acrylamide-in-coffee-what-roasters-should-know/

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday released a consumer warning on acrylamide, a naturally a chemical found in cooked foods — including coffee — that is known to cause cancer in animals.”

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/head-of-drug-enforcement-administration-to-leave-alluding-to-dismay-over-trump/ar-AAsvc2E?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Another conscientious objector…….it’s starting to feel very “1984” around here — has anyone else noticed how inundated the headlines are with news and pictures of the President?  I’m surprised someone hasn’t posted a picture of him on the toilet Tweeting some random bullshit yet. 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/saudi-king-issues-decree-allowing-women-to-drive-state-media/ar-AAsuWkC?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Yes, a positive headline that I hope truly manifests.  You go Saudi King Salman!

I am ashamed (something actually worth being ashamed of) as a lifelong American citizen to just have recently found out there are two more verses to my countries national anthem and after learning what they are, can see why NFL players and their owners are taking a knee at games now:

http://www.dictionary.com/e/star-spangled-banner/

The Forgotten Verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Do you know all the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”? Many people have difficulty memorizing the lyrics of the first verse of this song, which is commonly performed at sports events and other public gatherings. But did you know that there are three additional verses that we almost never hear?

In 1814, the poet and lyricist Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” originally known as “Defense of Fort M’Henry.” During the War of 1812, Key witnessed the attacks on Baltimore and wrote the words based on his experiences this night. These lyrics were printed in local newspapers and set to the tune of an existing song called “Anacreon in Heaven,” and then officially arranged by John Philip Sousa. Key’s famous lyrics entered the world as a broadside ballad, or a song written on a topical subject, and printed for wide distribution.

More than a century later, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, and in 1931, the US Congress confirmed the decision. The tune has kicked off ceremonies of national importance and athletic events ever since.

While the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is widely known by the American public, the last three verses are generally omitted in performances. Here are all the four verses, as they were written 200 years ago by Key:

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, ’Tis the star-spangled banner—O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I was curious, following this professional sports line about the statistics regarding getting into the ranks of professional sports and as I suspected….many are drafted but only a few remain.   Young people honestly need to know these odds before putting all their hopes and dreams into such a course:

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-professional-athletics

Estimated probability of competing in professional athletics

More than 480,000 compete as NCAA athletes, and just a select few within each sport move on to compete at the professional or Olympic level.

The table presents of how many NCAA athletes move on to professional careers in sports like basketball, football, baseball and ice hockey.  Professional opportunities are extremely limited and the likelihood of a high school or even college athlete becoming a professional athlete is very low.

In contrast, the likelihood of an NCAA athlete earning a college degree is significantly greater; graduation success rates are 86% in Division I, 71% in Division II and 87% in Division III.

Download the 2017 Probablility of Competing Beyond High School Figures and Methodology

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Picks # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro* % NCAA to Total Pro^
Baseball 34,554 7,679 1,206 695 9.1%
M Basketball 18,684 4,152 60 44 1.1% 19.1%
W Basketball 16,593 3,687 36 35 0.9% 4.9%
Football 73,660 16,369 253 251 1.5% 1.9%
M Ice Hockey 4,102 912 211 51 5.6%
M Soccer 24,803 5,512 81 75 1.4%

Percent NCAA to Major Pro figures are based on the number of draft picks made in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS drafts only.  See methods notes for important details on the definition of NHL draftee in men’s ice hockey.  Column percentages were calculated as (#NCAA Drafted) / (Approximate # Draft Eligible).

Percent NCAA to Total Pro takes the number of pro opportunities from the “% NCAA to Major Pro” calculation and adds in some additional professional opportunities that we were able to quantify.  So, for football, this calculation includes NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena League slots available to first-year professionals.  For men’s basketball we accounted for NBA, NBA D-League and international opportunities.  For women’s basketball, we assessed WNBA and international roster slots.  See methods notes for details on these calculations.  Data on full-time international professional opportunities available in baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer were not analyzed here.

Methodology and Notes

General

  • College participation numbers are from the NCAA’s 2015-16 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.  These college numbers account for participation in college athletics at NCAA-member schools only.
  • To estimate the number of NCAA student-athletes in a sport eligible for a particular year’s professional draft, the total number of NCAA student-athlete participants in the sport was divided by 4.5.  This figure was used to provide a general estimate of the number of student-athletes in a draft cohort (single draft class) in a given year, accounting for redshirting, degree completion delays due to transfer, etc. that extend the average time to graduation to just beyond four year in all sports.  In other words, we observe a year-to-year departure rate (whether due to graduation, dropout or departure for a professional sports opportunity) of just below one-quarter of the total number of student-athletes in each sport.  Because the sports examined (M/W basketball, football, baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer) have dramatically different rules for draft eligibility, these calculations should be treated as estimates only.
  • Data on available professional opportunities are described below for each sport.

Baseball

  • MLB draft data from 2016.  There were 1,206 draft picks in that year; 695 of those picked were from NCAA schools (source: MLB Draft Tracker 2016).  Of the 695, Division I student-athletes comprised 595 of those chosen, Division II provided 80 and Division III had 20.
  • Percent NCAA to Pro calculated as number of NCAA student-athletes taken in the draft (n=695) divided by the approximate number draft eligible.  Not all of the student-athletes drafted go on to play professional baseball and many draftees fail to reach the Major League.

Men’s Basketball

  • NBA draft data from 2016.  There were 60 draft slots in that year, but only 44 went to NCAA players (others chosen were international players not attending U.S. colleges).  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 44 NCAA selections. Since 2006, 12 international players have been drafted on average each year.
  • On 2016-17 opening day NBA rosters, former NCAA players filled 80% of roster spots (all were from Division I schools).  (Source: Jim Sukup, College Basketball News).
  • Data on other professional opportunities in men’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com.  Tracking 2016-17 international opportunities for the 2016 draft cohort, it was determined that an additional 751 former NCAA student-athletes played internationally, in the NBA D-League, or in the NBA as undrafted players (535 from Division I, 181 from Division II and 35 from Division III) after leaving college; this includes international players who attended NCAA institutions (previous versions of this document did not include these players).  These numbers were combined with the NBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [44 + 751] / 4,152 = 19%).
  • We estimate that 3.6% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NBA draft (44 / 1,216).  However, in total, 48% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (NBA, D-League, or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [44 + 535] / 1,216). Approximately 14% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the NBA in 2016 (32 / 225), while 74% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [32 + 134] / 225).

Women’s Basketball

  • WNBA draft data from 2016. There were 36 draft slots in that year’s draft, 35 of which went to NCAA players (other selection was an international player not attending a U.S. college).  All 35 NCAA selections came from Division I colleges. Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 35 NCAA selections.
  • Data on international professional opportunities in women’s basketball were collected by NCAA staff with the assistance of Marek Wojtera from eurobasket.com, and are limited to the 2016 draft cohort.  It was determined that an additional 146 former NCAA student-athletes from the cohort played internationally in 2016-17 (131 from Division I, 14 from Division II and 1 from Division III).  These numbers were combined with the WNBA draftees to calculate an approximate NCAA to Total Professional opportunities figure (calculated as [35 + 146] / 3,687 = 4.9%).
  • We estimate that 3.2% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 WNBA draft (35 / 1,110).  However, in total, 15% of draft-eligible Division I players competed professionally (WNBA or internationally) in their first year after leaving college (calculated as [35 + 131] / 1,110). Approximately 12% of draft-eligible players from the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) were drafted by the WNBA in 2015 (24 / 203), while 28% played professionally somewhere in their first year post-college (calculated as [24 + 33] / 203).

Football

  • NFL draft data from 2016.  There were 253 draft picks in that year’s draft, 251 of whom were former NCAA players.  NCAA to Major Pro figure calculated using these data.
  • NCAA divisional breakdown of the 251 NCAA players selected in the 2016 NFL draft: Division I FBS (228), Division I FCS (20), Division II (3).  The five football conferences with autonomous governance accounted for 189 of the 251 NCAA draft picks (SEC=51, Big Ten=47, ACC=33 [includes Notre Dame], Pac-12=32, Big 12=26).
  • Data on Arena League and Canadian Football League opportunities were collected by NCAA staff via rosters on each organization’s website (sources: cfl.ca and arenafootball.com) in March 2017.  Due to the timing of each league’s season, the 2015 draft cohort was used to estimate unique playing opportunities in the Arena League, while the 2016 draft cohort was used to track CFL rookies. It was determined that an additional 57 former NCAA student-athletes from those draft cohorts were listed on a roster (28 in the CFL, 29 in the Arena League).  Across these two leagues, there were 29 former Division I FBS players, 14 from Division I FCS, 13 from Division II and 1 from Division III.  These numbers were combined with the NFL draftees to calculate an NCAA to Total Professional opportunities proportion (calculated as [251 + 57] /16,369).
  • We estimate that 3.9% of draft-eligible Division I players were chosen in the 2016 NFL draft (248 / 6,307).  Limiting this calculation to subdivision, 6.7% of FBS players were estimated to be drafted (228 / 3,404), as compared to 0.7% of FCS players (20 / 2,902).  Narrowing further to the five Division I conferences with autonomous governance (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), we estimate that 11% were drafted (189 / 1,747).  Accounting for Arena League and CFL opportunities, the NCAA to Total Professional figures are estimated as 4.6% for Division I ([248 + 43] / 6,307), 7.4% for FBS ([222 + 29] / 3,404) and 12% for the five autonomous conferences ([189+ 19] / 1,747).

Men’s ice hockey

  • NHL draft data from 2015 (source: hockeydb.com).  There were 211 draft picks in that year.  Only 7 players from NCAA rosters were selected in that draft (all from Division I teams).  However, this is not indicative of the likelihood of going from a college team to a professional team due to the nature of the NHL draft, where players are typically selected prior to turning college-aged.
  • In examining the subsequent hockey pathways of 2015 draftees (hockeydb.com), it was determined that 51 of the 211 (source: collegehockeyinc.com) attended an NCAA college for any period of time through February 2017. These numbers, although not fully comparable to those used in the other sports examined, were used to calculate an approximate NCAA to Major Pro percentage.  Note that only a small subset of players drafted ever play in an NHL game.  Undrafted college players may go on to sign contracts with NHL teams after completing college (those numbers are not part of the current NCAA to Major Pro calculation).
  • In 2016, 30% of players on active NHL rosters played college hockey (all in Division I), up from about 20% in the year 2000 (source: collegehockeyinc.com).  71% of former college players in the NHL played at least three college seasons, and 36% played all four. Thanks to Nate Ewell at College Hockey, Inc. for providing these data.

Men’s soccer

  • MLS SuperDraft data from 2016.  There were 81 draft slots in that year, but only 75 players were selected (all from NCAA schools).  Of the 75 picks, 72 were NCAA Division I student-athletes, two were from Division II and one was from Division III.  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 75 NCAA selections. (Source: mlssoccer.com).
  • These calculations do not account for other domestic (e.g., NASL, USL) or international professional soccer opportunities.

Last Updated: March 10, 2017

and finally, this was sobering.  We only have 4 major airline carriers to choose from now?!  So basically we are back to fewer choices but not for a good reason.  It was very disheartening to find out a product brand Tom’s of Maine I bought, thinking it was a small company, is actually owned by Colgate-Palmolive!  You really have to pay attention anymore to not end up buying products and supporting companies you are trying to boycott! 

Tom’s of Maine was founded by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970 with US$5,000. The company is based in Kennebunk, Maine, USA and is currently a division of multinational conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive. Tom’s of Maine has approximately 150 employees.

Tom’s of Maine – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom’s_of_Maine

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

DivineSpice

Dine . Divine!

Mrinalini Raj

I LEAVE YOUR ROAD TO WALK ON MY GRASS.

raulconde001

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Be Blogger (Official)

I am a freelance writer and blogger with a passion to create original content. I develop web content and write for online and offline magazines. I'm a seasoned blogger with expertise in writing impressive blog posts, comments, and use of social media.

Inspire me

Love, Relationship, Lifestyle, Purpose, Marriage & Family

C.E Hall

Freelance Content Writer

A Light Circle

Welcome to a Light Circle

Butterfly Mind

Creative Nonfiction by Andrea Badgley

thewallgalleryblog

Artist Kirt Tisdale talks about his Art Gallery

My Cup of English Tea

Setting up a Brand-New Life in London

FLOW ART STATION

THE CONTEMPORARY MAGAZINE

World Hum Map and Database Project

Research and World Hum News from www.thehum.info

Hear The Flowers Sing

A girl's attempts at exploring a city's essence

dymoonblog

A fine WordPress.com site

Easy Blog

All about our truly best friend...

Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

A Blog of memories, thoughts, feelings, and second chances...

Endless Light and Love

My Spiritual Journey