Category Archives: Worldly matters

Your Handy Racial Glossary

I know that with much of the racial stresses right now in America, many of you might be in need of a handy guide to help you navigate the non-white world.

Thank God you have me for that.

Here you go. If you’d like to thank me in hard currency, let me know and I’ll be glad to let you know what my PayPal account name is.

Deacon Blue’s Patented Racial Glossary for at Least Half of American Whites (NOW “Gluten-Free”!)

Angry black person—A person of the African diaspora/Black population who brings up any topic, fact or opinion that makes any white person within earshot (or sightline if viewing online) self-conscious.

Illegals—People in this country without official paperwork, typically working jobs no native-born Americans are willing to perform and contributing to their cities and towns financially by frequenting local stores, paying rent, often paying actual taxes, etc.

Justice—When a white person is either not indicted or is found not guilty of murdering a Black person, or when a Black person is killed by a police officer or white vigilante.

Police brutality—A non-existent mythical act (except for brief periods of time shortly after it happens to a white person and is caught on video).

Racism—When a white person is held accountable for assaulting and/or killing a non-white person, or when a white person is asked to consider the possibility that American society is designed to marginalize and disempower non-whites.

Reverse racism—The act of appointing, hiring or admitting a non-white (specifically, a black- or brown-skinned) person to any institution, job or position when there were still plenty of less-qualified white people to consider.

Riot—A public protest involving significant numbers of non-white people exercising their right to free speech and expressing outrage, while usually also refusing unconstitutional and baseless police commands to disperse from public areas they are entitled to gather in.

Seeking understanding—A process whereby a white person who doesn’t believe racism is a problem and doesn’t accept the concept of white privilege asks questions about both, immediately refutes all research and statistics offered to answer those questions without offering any solid counter-evidence, and insists on maintaining a firm belief in the fantasy that white supremacy is a myth and America is racially fair and equitable.

Thug—A Black man of more than 5’5″ in height and weighing more than 120 pounds or a Latino man taller than 5’6″ and weighing more than 130 pounds.

Welfare cheats—Any person receiving any kind of monetary or food-related social service benefits (whites are exempted from this label by popular consent of other white people).

It’s Not Luck; It’s Privilege

This morning, I had a brief but enlightening talk with my wife (Black Girl in Maine…check her out at her blog and on Twitter) about privilege. White privilege. Except that it began by being about “luck.”

Now, first off, let’s be clear: After being in a relationship with a black woman for around 20 years, the vast majority of those married—and having a couple of biracial kids (which really means black kids, because society isn’t going to treat them “half white”)—the existence of white privilege has not gone unnoticed by me. I know I have it, even if I don’t use it to its full potential, and I see white privilege in action everywhere, every day, all around me. If you’re non-white, you don’t need to remind me it’s there; if you’re white, don’t try to tell me it doesn’t exist.

But I learned something new today—something that even my wife herself hadn’t been able to pinpoint until now: It’s kind of insulting to black people (as well as a diminishing how screwed-up American society is about race) to say, as a white person, that you are “lucky” or “fortunate” not to have to deal with racism toward you on a constant basis.

No, you are privileged.

And there is a difference.

But more on that in a moment. First, a reminder: This “I’m lucky that my white child won’t have to worry about walking home from a store and being shot down by a police officer” and many, many similar sentiments have most recently arisen out of the chaos and pain recently in Ferguson, Missouri. While we don’t have video to give us a clear picture of what happened, all indications thus far lean toward the scenario that a white police officer got unnecessarily confrontational with two black youth, and when one of them (Michael Brown) attempted to surrender with hands raised, he got six bullets and a death sentence instead. Also, when the community protested and marched and had vigils, local police responded by yanking away their 1st Amendment rights to assemble and to exercise free speech and violated their 4th Amendment rights with all kinds of violations of personal space/property (including harassing a man for “violating curfew” when he was on his own lawn) and unlawful seizure (including raiding a church and taking supplies they were using to tend to protesters attacked by police). There were many needless arrests, and the police basically tear-gassed, terrorized and shot at the community while dressing up like an occupying military force.

But I digress (as I usually do).

The killing of yet another unarmed young black man by a white police officer, followed by the overblown police response toward the entire community of black residents, prompted a lot of white people to post selfies and messages online about how lucky they were that they didn’t have to worry about their children getting shot for walking home or going to visit someone. How they were fortunate to be able to march in protest over just about anything without being arrested. And so on.

The sentiment was sound and well-meaning. A show of recognition that things are not balanced and that non-whites tend not to get the full slate of rights and privileges that white Americans get. A sign of sympathy and solidarity across racial lines.

However, the use of words like lucky and fortunate skirt around the concept of privilege.

You see, even the most well-meaning white people often cringe at the term “white privilege.” They don’t want to think of most of the institutions and systems in the United States being inherently racist, because to do so is to admit complicity in some way in the perpetuation of that inequitable system that is slanted overwhelmingly toward white people in terms of law enforcement, the justice system, employment, education, housing, healthcare, banking, loans and so many other things. Even the most liberal white person who hates racism chafes many times about being called “privileged” and they respond, “I’m not privileged; I struggle to get by and get ahead, too.” And the people who don’t believe racism even is a problem anymore say that even more vociferously.

On an intellectual level, I understand this. Even people who actively treat non-whites badly often don’t want to be called racists. They often prefer “white pride supporters” or “white rights defenders” or something like that. Likewise, white people who don’t like racism and who operated in a society that privileges white people don’t want to be labeled as “privileged” because it makes them part of the problem.

Well, almost all of us white folks are part of the problem. Because we’re all privileged.

In terms of white privilege.

You see, white privilege doesn’t mean you don’t struggle. It doesn’t mean affluence. It means you have the advantages—almost all of them—relative to non-white people. It means that when you, as a white person, are pulled over by police, chances are that while you might be nervous and anxious, you know that unless you are drunk, high or very stoned, you will not be hauled off to jail. And you almost certainly don’t fret that you will be removed from your vehicle and assaulted.

As a white person, chances are that you have never been harassed for jaywalking. That you don’t get scrutinized and followed while shopping. That you don’t get passed over for interviews or loans because of your skin color. That you don’t have your credential and qualifications questioned when you do get a good job. And so on and so on and so on.

Basically, white privilege means being able to walk around and almost never have to think about your skin color unless potential sunburn is involved. To never have to wonder except in very rare circumstances whether your skin color caused you to be treated as less than worthy or even less than human. To not have to adapt yourself to the society around you in such a drastic way that you have to deny who you are and how you feel much of the time. And, you know, when you add heterosexual and/or male privilege, you get even more free run of society. White people rarely need any kind of unity rallies or pride events or things like that (except where gender and non-hetero sexual preference come into play) because they are allowed to be who they are all the time. We whites shouldn’t complain about why so many other groups have pride events—they need them to call attention to the injustices they suffer; most whites don’t need such events at all because they’re already ahead of the game.

Non-white people get to be concerned about how they are perceived, based on skin color alone (something they can’t hide ever), pretty much ever day—and they have to worry about being treated to micro-aggressions and sometimes overt harassment or violence on a regular basis.

That is what white privilege is about. A cocoon of relative comfort and safety where your skin color is concerned. A knowledge that overall, the systems will work for you often enough, usually pretty often, frequently most of the time and—for some—pretty much all the time. But it’s never a feeling that the entire society is designed to crush your spirit or make you the butt of demeaning/dehumanizing jokes or marginalize you.

So, it’s nice for you to acknowledge that as a white person, you (like me) will not have to experience many of the fears, abuses and sometimes horrors of being black in America. Or even light brown/tan or any other shade other than pink/white. That’s an important first step. Acknowledgement of the inequities.

Please realize, though, that you aren’t lucky that you don’t face racism every day.

You are lucky that you were born white; all that comes out from that is privilege.


Ailments to avoid jailment

So, recently we were treated to a case in which “affluenza,” a disease that sometimes ravages communities of rich, white Americans, was used as a legal defense. As Wikipedia put it:

In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch to 10 years probation for drunk driving and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison. The defendant was witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in his father’s Ford F-350, speeding (70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone), and had a blood alcohol content of .24%, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas, when he was tested 3 hours after the accident. Traces of Valium were also in his system. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert by the defense, testified in court that the teen was a product of affluenza and was unable to link his bad behavior with consequences due to his parents teaching him that wealth buys privilege.

And today, there was the verdict in the case of the killing of Jordan Davis, which put me in mind of the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, the latter being a case in which the killer completely got off the hook.

So, I started thinking, why stop at affluenza? Why not find more terrible, illusory diseases with which we can insulate ourselves from responsibility? And so, good people, I provide you with your future legal defenses. You can tell ’em what ails ya, so they just won’t jail ya…

Affluenza – A chronic condition, easily transmittable via family wealth, that renders a person incapable of realizing (or caring) that there are consequences to his or her actions that might adversely affect others, even when those consequences are things like disfigurement, dismemberment and death.

Thugibetes – An incurable disease that renders white people unable to tell good black/brown/tan-from-something-other-than-a-sunlamp people from bad people of the aforementioned non-white hues. This disease is known to sometimes trigger an irresistible reflexive response known as standyourground.

Rapeheimer’s disease – A degenerative, untreatable, progressive condition that eventually renders a man incapable of understanding the meaning of the word “no” when uttered by a woman he wants to have sex with and/or from conceiving that a woman being unconscious cannot consent to sex.

You’re welcome, America! Oh, and also, a special you’re welcome to the trial lawyers. I’ll expect a kickback fee if you use thugibetes or Rapeheimer’s disease in your future cases.


The Shutdown vs. the Real World

I know that some out there are blaming President Obama for the shutdown, and saying that if only he’d negotiated more (i.e. capitulated to unreasonable demands and terrorist-style hostage-taking measures) Congress could have averted this.


For those of you still confused, let me offer an analogy that I think hits pretty close to accurate and that you may understand better:

Imagine that you work for a big company that has had a plan in the works for a couple years to change the health insurance plan. There was some major debate and contention over it, but ultimately, management and employees agreed on the plan.

Still, a few people who really hated it wasted the company’s time with dozens of meetings trying to get the plan changed back to the old, shittier system. Their efforts failed.

So, a few days before people are supposed to start signing up with the new health insurance plan, the minority of people dead-set against it threaten to shut down the company.

And, indeed, in an alliance between the human resources department, the accounts payable department and a few executives, that small number of people block the entrances to the company, shut down the IT department, refuse to release paychecks to much of the company and refuse to pay a lot of the bills. They declare that they are perfectly willing to let people not get paid, ruin the reputation of the company and possibly fundamentally damage the ability of the business itself to recover.

A few dozen people.

Shutting down your company and cutting off paychecks to you and/or people close to you.

Willing to let the company metaphorically burn to the ground, affecting your future livelihood.

All over a healthcare plan they don’t like but that the majority gave the green light to.

So, if you’re still supporting the people in Congress who’ve ensured this shutdown because they want to shut down the Affordable Care Act, I guess you’re not one of the rank and file workers in the company.

You must be one of the collaborators who’s happy to see chaos because you didn’t get your way.

In other words, you’re a petulant child.

I’ve put up with a lot of useless and damaging crap, like the failure-ridden No Child Left Behind Act and the civil liberties-taking USA Patriot Act that President Bush put into place, and I never would have supported a government shutdown to de-fund or delay either one of them.

That’s because I’m a damn adult, and I accept I can’t always get my way.

It’s high time for a lot of other people to grow up, too.


What to Say About Trayvon Martin…and George Zimmerman

I really wanted my wife to look this over before I posted it, but she’s a bit busy this week (hell, this summer), so I’ll just go with it, or it will be a moot point soon as it won’t be timely.

Before I get into the blog post proper, two things to note:

  1. I am not here to argue the legalities, the moralities or the details of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, though I will repeat some of my thoughts via Twitter since the jury handed down a “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch guy who shot unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin dead; the main reason for this post is to reach out to non-black people, particularly the white ones, about the issue of “what should you say?” (or not)
  2. To my black readers, who will probably read this too to make sure I haven’t lost my mind and am up to no-good, this is not a post in which I am trying to steal attention away from the aftermath of this case and bring it to myself. In fact, it is a post I am making only because my black wife suggested I probably should

So, how do I feel about the culmination about the Trayvon Martin case? Here’s what I said on Twitter in the 24 hours after the verdict came in, in chronological order:

  • July 13: Tonight marks a great victory for those who want to ensure that black people can continue to be assaulted/killed w/o fear of repercussions
  • July 13: Remember, if black person isn’t cooperating at 1st w/ your desire to “stand your ground” just keep following/harassing them until they do
  • July 14: Justice only for those with whom you identify or justice geared for majority is not justice at all. It is instead a pass to allow wrongdoing
  • July 14: Succinct, calm and clear–if you don’t get this, you’ll probably *never* get it RT White supremacy, meet Black rage
  • July 14: Supplement to previous tweet, black woman faces 20 yrs for firing *warning* shots near abusive husband, b/c denied Stand Your Ground defense
  • July 14: Even when Blacks *don’t* riot, they are fucked RT Right Wingers Post Fake Race Riot Video After Zimmerman Verdict
  • July 14: And, with that, I’m probably done posting about the Trayvon Martin verdict debacle. Will still mourn it & pray for Trayvon’s family though
  • July 14: No, it’s not that the issue doesn’t matter anymore. But I’ve said piece & as wife tweeted last night, allies must sometimes just stand aside

So, now you’re probably wondering, since I said I’ve spoken my piece already, “Why, Jeff, aren’t you shutting up like you said you would, and then stepping aside to let black folks work this out and have their say?”

Well, because I’m not really here to talk about this tragedy or my own place in it, except to note that the night of the verdict, I was useless. Utterly useless. I had intended to write some fiction. Instead, after hearing about the verdict, I was done. Toast. Yes, my wife and I talked about it a bit, but I couldn’t do anything else remotely useful that night (I wasn’t much better the next morning). Couldn’t write. Couldn’t watch a movie. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t play a game on my PC or phone. No, I could only just sit, with a stabbing pain in my temple and a churning in my gut, and stare into space.

I felt useless, and I felt helpless. I have a 21-year-old black stepson, who’s been in situations where he was a hair away from being a victim like Trayvon, without having done a thing to deserve being at risk of a beating or death. I have a nearly 8-year-old black daughter who will face her own challenges, many of them less potentially deadly than black males face, but still horrible. And no, I won’t call them biracial because society isn’t gonna…everyone who sees them in this society as it stands now will never see the white in them; only the black that their brown skin advertises (and marks them with stereotypes at times).

OK, I’ve said that. Why? Is this about me and my pain? No. My pain doesn’t matter one iota of defecation compared to the pain of Trayvon Martin’s family and the pain of black people who feel once again abandoned by the justice system.

Thing is, though, I didn’t know what to do or say, and there are probably a lot of non-black folks out there who didn’t agree with this killing or this verdict…especially white ones…who felt like crap when they heard the verdict but didn’t know what to say.

Say something.

Dammit, say something.

As my wife tweeted the day after the verdict, “your silence says more than an awkward statement would” (or something like that).

You don’t need to say much. You don’t need to pontificate. You don’t need to roll out empty platitudes like “I wish I could do something.”

You can.

Stand by the black community. Let them know you are sympathetic. Maybe you can’t change society, but show that you give a crap. Retweet a link to a story about how blacks are far less likely to be able to claim “stand your ground status” and how whites are way more likely to get off for killing a black person than vice-versa. Post on Facebook that you can’t imagine the pain but your thoughts are with Trayvon Martin’s family. Even if you say only one thing and it isn’t much, say it. Even if you might risk saying the wrong thing, say something.

Because I’ve seen only a very small percentage of people in my Twitter timeline who are white and are posting anything about this verdict.

You may not mean for your silence to mean anything, but it is more likely to be perceived as “not caring” than it is to be perceived as “respectful silence.”

Don’t make it about you. Don’t make a big to-do about it. But say something to show that you actually give a shit.

The Whisteblower…Or Whatever He Is

Edward Snowden.

Ahhhh…almost like a breath of fresh air in the news recently, what with the ugliness happening in the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin for no discernible reason I’ve been able to see.

So, I’m a pretty left-leaning guy. I like transparency in government as much as possible. I’m not in favor of people’s civil liberties being trounced. I’m usually in favor of underdogs. So, of course I’d be on the bandwagon of people calling Snowden a hero…after all, a lot of fellow left-leaning folks I see online and outright flaming liberals are singing his praises.

Only I’m not.

I certainly wasn’t jumping on the “hang him for treason” bandwagon at first, either, and I’m still not. But while I adopted a cautious wait-and-see attitude, the more I see, the more I want to see this man in prison.

I mean, first there’s the talk that he was a pretty staunch supporter of government monitoring of civilian communications when a conservative/GOP administration was doing it, suggesting he might be trying to strike a blow against Obama more than anything else. There’s also the way he didn’t just blow a whistle but also hustled out of town with, apparently, some laptops full of classified information (potential money for a rainy day? bargaining chips? other?). There’s also the fact that, like it or not, he was in a position where he pretty much vowed to follow his leaders and keep secrets, and he didn’t…and I’m the kind of guy who likes to see another guy stick to his word.

But, most of all, I am disturbed by how he simply ran.

He ran away. I’ve seen heroes in action in the past, and the real heroes are the ones who say, “I’m doing this because it’s the right thing, and I will stand before authorities, the courts, and anyone else to say that on record.”

Now, I realize that treatment of people who cross or skirt the line of terrorism, treason, espionage, etc. can face some pretty nasty repercussions. So, I totally get not wanting to get tossed into some deep, dark hole in Guantanamo. I really do.

But why did he flee the country, instead of seeking asylum in an embassy here in the States? Why run away from everything, unless…perhaps…it’s really the attention he wants? Or to hurt a particular administration at the expense of national interests (like the GOP in Congress)? Or maybe even to profit from all this while looking like he did a good thing.

Frankly, he’s lucky he’s only being charged with espionage and not with treason. And I suspect if he weren’t a young white guy, there would be a whole lot more effort to bring him back by whatever means necessary.

Also, I don’t feel like what Snowden did really revealed that much about the government that most people with functioning brains didn’t already know it was likely doing. I don’t see how it’s any different than plans (both intended and actually carried out) of the previous administration.

I don’t think Snowden blew much in the way of whistles. But he sure seems to be blowing a trumpet for some fanfare.

An “Apology” Template for Sincere Racists

I’ve piled on Paula Deen with criticism on Twitter yesterday and today already; no need to rub salt in the wounds here at the blog. But, having just seen her apology video, I feel like I need to say something to people in general with racist attitudes who may one day need to publicly apologize.

If you are sincerely sorry, that will probably show. If people ridicule you after your apology, as is already the case with Deen, you probably know you’re racist and didn’t fake your regret well enough, or you’re still confused about what racism is.

You see, being sorry that you’re taking heat, and hurting because of it, isn’t the same as being sorry about what you’ve said and done.

And so, to all of you out there who hold racist beliefs but realize they may be a little screwed up (and you want to begin change but haven’t quite figure out how to yet) or those of you who have said racist things or done racist things recently and don’t understand why people are taking it badly and wish they wouldn’t be so “sensitive,” here is a template for you. Modify as needed. But remember, in the end, to own your feelings, however screwed up they may be, instead of faking contrition or simply asking to be forgiven without giving any indication you’ve done anything to mend your ways or repair the damage you’ve done. I suspect people will respect you more for being yourself, however fucked up, rather than pretending regret you don’t possess.

Template for Public Apology If You Are Racist

Clearly, my actions as reported in the media recently have put me in a racist light, and that may or may not be true. To be honest, I can’t really say I feel sorry for what I did, because I didn’t think that what I did was evil. If I thought it was, I wouldn’t have done it. Honestly, when this mess first started, I felt like people were being oversensitive, and a part of me still thinks that.

Certainly, what I did wasn’t meant to hurt people who don’t deserve to be hurt and for anyone who feels it was aimed at them or that I have unfairly included them under an umbrella of insult or accusation, I’m sorry. Frankly, I simply don’t see most people who look like you in a good light. Maybe most of you are OK, but that’s not the way I’ve seen it.

Now, I never thought I was racist; just figured I was seeing things the way they are. I’m still not sure I think I am racist. But with so many more of you out there saying I did something racist than are saying I didn’t, I may have to reevaluate my opinion of myself and my beliefs.

But the bottom line is, I can’t promise you I’m going to change, and I’m not sure I want to. My friends and family are still who they were before, and these are people who had no problems with my attitudes and views and, in fact, have supported them. I’m still going to be hanging around them. Also, I simply feel more comfortable hanging around people who are like me. Most of us feel that way. I have to decide if it’s more important and comfortable to me to remain as I am and continue to hold the same views, or to change. I probably won’t change, though, because just like you wouldn’t simply change your views because I told you to, I don’t want to change because someone else told me too, either.

However, I can say this: What I did is deemed unacceptable by most people in this country. That’s obvious, because I’ve been called out on what I did—and if there is one thing I am sorry for truly and sincerely, it is having done what I did so obviously, instead of keeping it to myself. And, you’re right, what I did was inappropriate for its blatancy. So, while I cannot promise I will stop holding views you see as racist or stop telling racist jokes to my friends and family, I can say that I will, out a sense of decency that I was clearly lacking, not continue to do this in any public fashion, nor subject people who work for me or with whom I work to the kind of thing I’ve been called out on.

I had no right to be in the faces of the people whose faces I got into, and that includes you, the public. But neither do I feel you have any right to tell me who to be in private, so, honestly, I’m probably not going to change much inside. From now on, though, I will keep it inside and undercover, like I should have done to begin with.

The $1.3 billion ideological football

So, saw a tweet by Sarah Palin someone had commented on in my timeline, talking about President Obama giving $1.3 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood even though Congress told him not to. It smelled like horsecrap from the get-go, but you know what?

It took me going through five or six Google search pages before I finally found one story nestled amongst all the angry repostings at conservative blogs and right-wing “news” sites that actually explained what really happened: It was military aid to Egypt, which we’ve been giving for years upon years upon years…and the only issue was that the Obama administration loosened some “democracy” restrictions so that the money could go where it was supposed to.

Nothing shady. Simply that, technically, Egypt wasn’t democratic enough to qualify. But the thing is, through multiple administration’s we’ve overlooked political and human rights abuses in Egypt (and Israel…and Saudi Arabia) because it would be political, diplomatic, military, security and stability suicide to do otherwise in the Middle East. You don’t start slapping your key allies in a tricky region like that.

But somehow, all that gets twisted into Obama giving a fat load of money to a Muslim group.

This makes me fear for the future of this country that people eat this stuff up and repeat it online without questioning it for even a moment and making an effort to find out what’s really going on.

Does the truth make this $1.3 billion wonderful news? No. There are still reasons to be concerned if it’s the right thing to do, but that’s on top of a lot of other damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t decisions we make worldwide to keep peace, keep the economy going and all that.

Point is that as bad as the left has been at times, I have never seen anything in my lifetime as batshit crazy as the right wing since Obama took office. It’s downright frightening how quickly they cling to obvious lies and reject obvious and verifiable truths. Not even gray areas. Things you can actually look up and see they aren’t true, but the right wing continues to insist they are, so loudly and for so long that they become seen as truth by a good chunk of America.

I mean, if Obama had cut $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt saying that he can’t reward them since they’re moving too slowly on reforms, the Republicans and Tea Party and all the rest would be accusing him of trying to destabilize the Middle East, back away from a key ally and hurt American-based contractors who ultimately supply many of the items that military aid would end up buying.

I criticized George W. Bush for a lot of things, not the least of which was entangling us in a terrible, costly war using patently untrue reasons to justify it. I mostly criticized him for obvious conflicts of interest, like putting people on a committee meant to protect children from lead exposure who had been paid by industry for years to debunk research on lead’s health impact…or giving Iraq contracts to Halliburton, a company his vice president was intimately involved with…or taking long and frequent vacations to Texas during one of the most unsettled U.S. periods (in terms of peace and security) of my lifetime.

I’ve got my beefs with Obama, too. Difference is that for two presidential election cycles now, he’s clearly been the candidate with his head screwed on the tightest and the one who’s most likely to give somewhat of a crap about most Americans instead of solely kneeling to the very wealthy ones. So, while I think he’s done a lot of things wrong and I’m not sure he’s always responded as well as he could to crises, I’m going to mostly side with him.

And when I do criticize him, it will be based on truth, not lies and conspiracy theories…just like I have with any other president.

Privacy? What’s That?

It’s amazing to me that people are all up in arms about the government gathering data on so many of us, so often, that they have to built a whole new big data center to store data about our phone calls.

Considering that most of our addresses, names, places of work and other intimate data are plastered all over privately owned sites online, I’d pretty much consider our government completely clueless if it wasn’t gathering data of its own.

Oh, you can cry all you want about invasion of privacy and tax dollars and boo hoo hoo (and it seems we’ve found an issue here for the far left and the far right to both agree on)…but for years now, most of you have been giving your personal data away online, willingly, to often be sold to companies. Facebook does it all the time, and that’s just the biggest offender.

But you do it because you like the convenience of things like online shopping and you like having social media outlets that you don’t have to pay for. You give away a bunch of really personal, valuable stuff for a pittance (allowing yourself to be screwed over) because it’s worth it to most of you to be screwed over.

Well, guess what? You get a lot of benefits from the federal government, like highways, some modicum of protection of our food supply, regulation of pharmaceuticals so that they’re less likely to kill us while treating the symptoms of a disease, disaster relief, military protection and so much more.

Does it feel good to know the government is spying on all of us all the time?


But why feign surprise now? Why be outraged?

You’ve been giving it away for free for ages already.

I Am Not My Spouse’s Keeper

Much has already been said on the Internet about heckler Ellen Hurtz and our nation’s first lady, Michelle Obama, including by Awesomely Luvvie, my even more awesome wife and media outlets like the Washington Post.

I’m not going to rehash the points already made on this matter, and whether Obama was out of line (hint: she wasn’t) or whether Hurtz had any right to feel “taken aback” for getting scolded (she doesn’t). I’m going to simply say this:

No matter how good, noble or heartfelt your cause is, if you interrupt me in the middle of a speech to confront me about an issue I have no direct influence over…in other words, telling me to tell my spouse what to do about something…I will not be as nice as Obama was. I will start rapping you over the head with the microphone and ask you what you’re going to do about stopping the Westboro Baptist Church folks from constantly protesting at funerals of innocent victims who have nothing to do with the damned issues the church is foaming at their collective mouths about.

Because clearly, since you use similar tactic of protesting in a completely out-of-context manner, it must mean you have influence over them and should conduct an intervention with them.

It only makes slightly less sense than expecting a person’s spouse to dictate to them how they should approach their job with regard to your issue.