Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Not the Problem

I am on the fence about seeking therapy as each day another allegation and another man "apologizing" for his behavior.

Today the New York Times found women who had similar sexual assaults from Harvey Weinstein in the 70s, the time he blames for his behavior in the present.

Then we had the Kevin Spacey fiasco, followed by the second Editor at The New Republic stepping down from the job he took due to the first editor being removed from the position and since being revealed as a predator.

Or what about NPR? Well they too are facing hard talk. God the bastion of soft talking hard news and this. 

This is followed by more and more disturbing tales of women who are now confronting those in their past about their experiences with them that have left them shaken and tattered.

Then I read the local rag and there were Teachers fired from a local high school for reporting alleged sexual assault of a Student by a Teacher.  Yes the Principal fired them for doing what they were legally required to do. I cancelled every future gig at that school as I have said that working in these schools I always feel complicit but this pushes it in a new direction.  That is some sick shit I want no part of.

But as I came home tonight after going to another failed gig where the Teacher forgot to cancel the gig he offered me to stay as a Parapro or to sit and watch him teach. I said no thanks that I can use the time to serve better needs.  I canceled all my future gigs at that school.  Perhaps after the first of the year I may feel willingness to return, but I truly find myself walking in many of these buildings hating myself and as this Middle School is directly across from the high school I think I need a break from the area.

Yesterday a young black male student said loudly "It smells like farts in here, excuse me, excuse me did you fart?"  After a few more  of these inquiries I looked up from my reading and asked if he was talking to me and I said no I did not fart as I had not eaten today but was thinking ironically of Chili for dinner, but if I smell now I should rethink that and maybe go to a Doctor to see why I am emitting an odor.  He just laughed and said "I was playing with you."  Yes a 17 year old playing with an Adult whom he does not know.  I had passed the Teacher on the way out and she warned me about the class so I knew that I would hear and be exposed to idiocy and he did not disappoint. So rather than be offended or angry I acted surprised and grateful as if he had somehow helped me.  After he said the playing remark I said nothing and went back to reading.  I had disappointed him and there was no need to play any further.   This is not the first time I have a young black male say inappropriate comments, lay hands on me in a sexual manner and in turn watch and listen to young black women say utterly offensive things about me then in turn ask me questions that are utterly inappropriate and rude as if I was deaf and had not heard their conversation.  And so I have a snark remark ready and yes at times I get angry but of late that gets less and less.

Children here have clearly confused boundaries, the adults are equally confused, angry and exhausted and in turn it emerges in many behaviors.   A lot of this is redolent in the confusing attitude about religion and in turn the racial and sexual oppression that plagues this city.   I truly can say I want nothing to do with the people here and cannot wait to leave.

This is a State where they are number 4 in  domestic violence against women and I suspect that it includes sexual violence as they are not mutually exclusive.  I doubt much is reported as the guilt factor flies high in Jesus town. They end every news cast with be safe, I suggest they look in the mirror.

When I read this today I felt sick all over again.  I don't want to hear anymore and this means if I feel this way there will be more to follow.  Did anything come from Occupy Wall Street? Black Lives Matter?  This will be the same.   But in the meantime look to the man to left of you and to the right and ask them who they raped in their life, their answer may surprise you.  If they did not they know someone who did. 


What Experts Know About Men Who Rape

By HEATHER MURPHY
THE NEW YORK TIMES
OCT. 30, 2017


In 1976, a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University placed a rather unusual personal ad in newspapers throughout Los

He sat by his phone, skeptical that it would ring. “I didn’t think that anyone would want to respond,” said Samuel D. Smithyman, now 72 and a clinical psychologist in South Carolina.

But the phone did ring. Nearly 200 times.

At the other end of the line were a computer programmer who had raped his “sort of girlfriend,” a painter who had raped his acquaintance’s wife, and a school custodian who described 10 to 15 rapes as a means of getting even with “rich bastards” in Beverly Hills.

By the end of the summer, Dr. Smithyman had completed 50 interviews, which became the foundation for his dissertation: “The Undetected Rapist.” What was particularly surprising to him was how normal these men sounded and how diverse their backgrounds were. He concluded that few generalizations could be made.

Over the past few weeks, women across the world have recounted tales of harassment and sexual assault by posting anecdotes to social media with the hashtag #MeToo. Even just focusing on the second category, the biographies of the accused are so varied that they seem to support Dr. Smithyman’s observation.

But more recent research suggests that there are some commonalities. In the decades since his paper, scientists have been gradually filling out a picture of men who commit sexual assaults.

The most pronounced similarities have little to do with the traditional demographic categories, like race, class and marital status. Rather, other kinds of patterns have emerged: these men begin early, studies find. They may associate with others who also commit sexual violence. They usually deny that they have raped women even as they admit to nonconsensual sex.

Clarifying these and other patterns, many researchers say, is the most realistic path toward curtailing behaviors that cause so much pain.

“If you don’t really understand perpetrators, you’re never going to understand sexual violence,” said Sherry Hamby, editor of the journal Psychology of Violence. That may seem obvious, but she said she receives “10 papers on victims” for every one on perpetrators.

This may be partly connected to a tendency to consider sexual assault a women’s issue even though men usually commit the crime. But finding the right subjects also has complicated the research.

Early studies relied heavily on convicted rapists. This skewed the data, said Neil Malamuth, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been studying sexual aggression for decades.

Men in prison are often “generalists,” he said: “They would steal your television, your watch, your car. And sometimes they steal sex.”

But men who commit sexual assault, and are not imprisoned because they got away with it, are often “specialists.” There is a strong chance that this is their primary criminal transgression.

More recent studies tend to rely on anonymous surveys of college students and other communities, which come with legal language assuring subjects their answers cannot be used against them. The studies avoid using terms such as “rape” and “sexual assault.”

Instead, they ask subjects highly specific questions about their actions and tactics. The focus of most sexual aggression research is acknowledged nonconsensual sexual behavior. In questionnaires and in follow-up interviews, subjects are surprisingly open about ignoring consent.

Men who rape tend to start young, in high school or the first couple of years of college, likely crossing a line with someone they know, the research suggests.

Some of these men commit one or two sexual assaults and then stop. Others — no one can yet say what portion — maintain this behavior or even pick up the pace.

Antonia Abbey, a social psychologist at Wayne State University, has found that young men who expressed remorse were less likely to offend the following year, while those who blamed their victim were more likely to do it again.

One repeat offender put it this way: “I felt I was repaying her for sexually arousing me.”

There is a heated debate among experts about whether there is a point at which sexual assault becomes an entrenched behavior and what percentage of assaults are committed by serial predators.

Most researchers agree that the line between the occasional and frequent offender is not so clear. The recent work of Kevin Swartout, a professor of psychology and public health at Georgia State University, suggests that low-frequency offenders are more common on college campuses than previously thought.

“It’s a matter of degree, more like dosage,” said Mary P. Koss, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona, who is credited with coining the term “date rape.”

Dosage of what? Certain factors — researchers call them “risk factors” while acknowledging that these men are nonetheless responsible for their actions — have an outsize presence among those who commit sexual assaults.

Heavy drinking, perceived pressure to have sex, a belief in “rape myths” — such as the idea that no means yes — are all risk factors among men who have committed sexual assault. A peer group that uses hostile language to describe women is another one.

Yet there also seem to be personal attributes that have a mediating effect on these factors. Men who are highly aroused by rape porn — another risk factor — are less likely to attempt sexual assault if they score highly on measures of empathy, Dr. Malamuth has found.

Narcissism seems to work in the other direction, magnifying odds that men will commit sexual assault and rape.

What about the idea that rape is about power over women? Some experts feel that research into hostile attitudes toward women supports this idea.

In general, however, researchers say motives are varied and difficult to quantify.

Dr. Malamuth has noticed that repeat offenders often tell similar stories of rejection in high school and of looking on as “jocks and the football players got all the attractive women.”

As these once-unpopular, often narcissistic men become more successful, he suspects that “getting back at these women, having power over them, seems to have become a source of arousal.”

Most subjects in these studies freely acknowledge nonconsensual sex — but that does not mean they consider it real rape. Researchers encounter this contradiction again and again.

Asked “if they had penetrated against their consent,” said Dr. Koss, the subject will say yes. Asked if he did “something like rape,” the answer is almost always no.

Studies of incarcerated rapists — even men who admit to keeping sex slaves in conflict zones — find a similar disconnect. It’s not that they deny sexual assault happens; it’s just that the crime is committed by the monster over there.

And this is not a sign that the respondents are psychopaths, said Dr. Hamby, the journal editor. It’s a sign that they are human. “No one thinks they are a bad guy,” she said.
Indeed, experts note one last trait shared by men who have raped: they do not believe they are the problem.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tinted Glass

Living in the South has given me insight into the mind of the Evangelical Christian and beleaguered is not a word I would use in conjunction with them, me on the other hand.

The attitude and belief system is one of constant Martyr that must suffer in order to believe. What they believe and try to force upon others is an argument that I simply refuse to have as it is pointless. They are sure that if everyone was complicit and in turn forced to believe what they believe then the world will be perfect and they won't be angry/sad/disappointed anymore. This way it beats the whole Crusades idea as that seemed to backfire.  Fear is the number one factor in Christianity... Fear God, Fear Death, Fear Hell, Be Afraid Be Very Afraid.

So when I read this claptrap I thought you have got to be kidding me.   What this is about is how they the Christian right got into bed, a heterosexual one of course, to push their agenda on America. They truly believed the voodoo President Reagan would be their Christian Savior but alas the AIDS crisis and then the Alzehiemers so it ended that. Plus the true power brokers behind the throne would never dig that crap, this time however Trump has surrounded himself with bigger lovers of Jesus and angry assholes who may not practice their same belief system share some of the same beliefs on that Venn Diagram of angry. 

The nice thing is that J.D. Vance realized he cannot be the spokesperson for the White Trash of America in the same way Ta-Nehisi Coates is hauled out to be the spokesperson for the American black community. Even he too has admitted he has no intention of being a leader of a movement.  Write about it yes, spokesmodel not so much.  And that is the point when one writes about their own experience and their own observations about that outside of their world they are just that, observers and their observations are theirs, they are neither right nor wrong, they are just stating what they have experienced and observed. And in the world of eyewitness testimony we all see the world and the view from our window colored by whatever the glass is tinted by.    No one is anyone spokesperson nor should they be placed into that position by themselves or by others.

So here is a new Martyr to add to the ever growing and changing list of poor pitiful pearls that dominate the conservative talking heads.  We have Hugh Hewitt and then we have crazy Alex Jones, anyone on Fox, Rush Limbaugh the Grandpappy of this bullshit and whoever is pushed out in front of a microphone to tell the poor, the pitiful, the lost, the angry, the sad, the huddled masses that America was great when races knew their places and white people were in power.  The end.

Until I moved to Nashville I thought I had a handle on all this and my character and beliefs were firmly place.  After 19 months I question every value, every belief, every conception, experience and life knowledge because I have never experienced anything remotely like this.  It  has led me to isolate myself, hate myself, hate everyone I encounter, question my beliefs on race and of course faith.  No one should spend the energy and time I do doing personal inventories and daily assessments about everything and anyone who comes into my path.  I have simply accepted the fact that I have gone from one who called herself and Humanist to now a Misanthrope. So again that is my tinted glassware what is yours? 

 
(I put Kevin Sorbo up as well that whole Versace thing made me look into this asshole and he too is now a Christian.   Good one Hercules!)


Rod Dreher is the combative, oversharing blogger who speaks for today’s beleaguered Christians
By Karen Heller The Washington Post October 29 2017


BATON ROUGE — Rod Dreher’s life is an open book. Several, actually. “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming,” about his late sister. “How Dante Can Save Your Life,” about his love of the Italian poet. His latest, “The Benedict Option,” is a call to beleaguered Christians to divorce themselves from the increasingly secular American mainstream.

But really, every work by this conservative Christian writer is a literary act of confession, a quest for purpose and a purge of disillusionment. An influential and prolific blogger for the American Conservative — he averages 1.3 million monthly page views on his blog — Dreher is credited with helping introduce J.D. Vance of “Hillbilly Elegy” to a larger audience. He founded the “crunchy con” ideology — another book, back in 2006 — wedding cultural and moral conservatism with an organic, co-op-and-Birkenstock lifestyle.

He is, however, no supporter of President Trump.

“I’m a social and cultural conservative, and I think Trump is a disaster,” says Dreher, 50. Asked why, he spits back, “Because of his incompetence, his recklessness and his malice. Plus, he is destroying conservatism as a credible public philosophy. The conservative movement needed serious reform, but this is annihilation.”

Once “a typical conservative Republican,” Dreher is now a registered independent and last voted for president in 2008 — when he wrote in author Wendell Berry. He left the Republican Party after growing disenchanted with the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in his beloved home state.

“I really thought the Republican Party was something you could count on. I had made a false idol of them,” he says. As a traditionalist, he became upset that the “GOP has been captive to neoconservatism, which is basically right-wing, pro-market liberalism.” So he turned “my hopes to religious and cultural renewal.”

Today, “the most important political issue for me,” he says, “is defending religious liberty, ” which he sees as under assault in a secularized nation that embraces what he calls “LGBT orthodoxy” and disrespects traditional Christian values.

Published in March, “The Benedict Option” draws inspiration from the 6th-century saint who retreated from the Roman Empire to create separate faith-based communities, a prescription Dreher suggests for the like-minded in these morally compromised times.

“The loss of the Christian religion is why the West has been fragmenting for some time, a process that is accelerating,” he writes, sometimes referring to the current climate in almost End Times terms. He advises readers to “secede culturally from the mainstream” and adopt a “hands-on localism” in politics, inspired by former Czech dissident Vaclav Havel and others who defied Eastern Bloc communism. New York Times columnist David Brooks, an early admirer and good friend, deemed the latest book “the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade.”

Which didn’t stop Dreher from taking issue at length — he does almost everything at length — with Brooks’s insights.

Dreher thrives on intellectual opposition. He emailed me, almost proudly, that a close papal adviser had denounced his book, an action he dissected in a 3,700-word post titled “Does Pope Francis oppose The Benedict Option?”

He’s also a sharer of deep personal pain, especially his rejection by his late father and sister, and subsequently by his nieces.

Each Dreher volume arrives upholstered with a subtitle — “Benedict’s” is “A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation” — but they all boil down to “Rod’s search for existential meaning and harmony.”

“The whole journey of my life is trying to find a home,” he says. It’s a journey he readily shares in his posts — as many as 10 a day. The man burps copy.

In a shiny shopping mall not far from his house, Dreher arrives in a long-sleeved T-shirt that appears as though it might double as sleepwear, L.L. Bean duck boots, largely vertical hair that he says “looks like rats nested on my scalp,” and thick-framed Le Corbusier glasses purchased in Paris that are somewhat at war with the home-office frump.

Wrapped around his left wrist is a chotki prayer rope of hand-knotted black wool beads. His former Orthodox priest asked him to silently invoke the Jesus Prayer 500 times a day. “It was the hardest thing for me because my mind is racing constantly,” he says. Now, he does 100, though not daily.

It takes all of 10 minutes for him to unload his emotional and philosophical struggles in a wannabe hipster coffee/doughnut/slider/brew house, a metaphor for the source of his existential pain and familial estrangement: He got fancy; his family did not.

We’re here because we can’t be in his home for lengthy reasons shared in emails and conversation and . . . oh, never mind.

It’s stupid loud. Coffee grinders and blaring music require Dreher to semi-yell intimate moments of extreme rejection.

“You’re so easy to talk to,” he says.

Perhaps, but you get the feeling that he might unload to almost anyone and that it’s always a half-hour before closing in the graduate school library of his mind.

Filters are for coffee and air conditioners. Dreher has none.

“He feels emotion strongly, right there on the surface,” says his good friend Frederica Mathewes-Green. “He’s almost childlike. He just doesn’t have any shame.”

He was raised a “Christmas-and-Easter Methodist,” but yearned for more faith in his life. He became a devout Catholic, converting in 1993.

But the priest sexual-abuse scandal wrecked him, “like having my faith pulled out of me by my fingernails.” In 2006, he and his family joined the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The family relocated to Baton Rouge from his home town of St. Francisville, La., a year ago for the local church of his new faith, which, on a good Sunday, attracts a congregation of 30. His wife, Julie, teaches at a school specializing in classical Christian education, based on biblical readings and emphasizing grammar, logic and rhetoric. Their three children, ages 18 to 11, all attend.

Julie is a constant in his conversation. Two decades ago, Dreher was celibate and yearning for a life partner. “He prayed that God would make him fall in love at first sight,” Mathewes-Green recalls. “I told him, ‘Maybe you should start with friendship.’ ”

One night at an Austin bookstore, he saw Julie and fell in love at first sight. “He persuaded her and her date to come for dinner,” Mathewes-Green says, “then he placed himself between Julie and her date and just monopolized her.”

Dreher proposed four months later. They’ve been married 19 years.

“The Benedict Option” preaches living in a like-minded religious community to promote faith and values, yet Dreher knows few people here. He spends much of his time alone at home writing. Most of his friendships are epistolary.

“What I really love about Rod is that, even as he’s insisting upon certain truths, he’s obviously completely conflicted,” the conservative gay writer Andrew Sullivan told the New Yorker. “And he’s a mess! I don’t think he’d disagree with that. But he’s a mess in the best possible way, because he hasn’t anesthetized himself.”

We’re getting right into it, the mess.

Dreher long lived in big cities — New York, Washington, Dallas, Philadelphia — where he worked as a movie critic and conservative opinion writer. He moved his family back to St. Francisville (pop. 1,675), to be with his revered father and the daughters of his late sister, his only sibling — the Ruthie of “Little Way” — after she died in 2011 of lung cancer. But he was slapped by familial rejection.

“They didn’t want to have very much to do with us. And I confronted my father with this, and we had an argument, a really bitter argument,” Dreher says. “I told him, ‘Those girls won’t accept us,’ Ruthie’s two younger girls. ‘They’re not rude. They just won’t accept us.’ ”

Rod’s father said to his only son, “Can you blame them? You’re so damn weird.”

He shares that his family called him a “user.” His sister once said of him, “Isn’t that just like Rod? He’ll only talk to people if he can get something out of them.”

He tells the bouillabaisse story, which appears in both “Little Way” and “Dante.” Everyone who knows about Dreher knows the bouillabaisse story — “the iconic moment in my relationship with my family” — when he prepared the French fish stew and his family wouldn’t eat it because it wasn’t the Louisiana country cooking they knew and loved. His father, especially, seemed to nurse a grudge.

“I’d moved my family back all the way from the East Coast to their doorstep, but he wouldn’t let me cross that threshold because I wasn’t like them in every way,” he says. “It broke me. I was diagnosed with chronic mono, Epstein-Barr.” That was in 2012. He’s better now.

He still reveres his father, a health inspector, who was so unlike him.

“I was actually an idol worshiper. I realize I put my father in the place of God the Father in my heart,” Dreher says. “I had never really believed that God loved me, even though I’ve been a practicing Christian since my mid-20s.” Still, he says he found some measure of peace after his father’s death in 2015.

Except he’s still talking about the conflicts. At length he quotes Dante, who saved his life, but not completely. He’s on to Benedict and the monks he visited in Umbria for 10 days. Most likely, there will be another saint or poet who will inspire a 3,000-word post that will become another book in his search for enlightenment.

“The consistent theme of my journey is disillusionment, so painfully with the Catholic Church, the Republican Party, my family. The stories that I use to explain my family turned out to be inadequate,” he says. “Maybe I’ll try my hand at fiction, or there’s some future in TV writing,” a different way to understand the story.

And, perhaps, share the bouillabaisse tale anew.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Government is too powerful

How many of you have heard that statement?  When I heard it recently I asked for specifics or an example of how the Government has encroached on one's personal rights or entitlements.   I was not given any actual legitimate expected response such as - the NSA, the ability of Police and Law enforcement to access phone and computers, warantless searches,  civil asset forfeiture, voting rights and suppression - none what an educated and informed individual and largely liberal individual would refer. No, I got the whole taking tax monies to fund welfare allow immigrants in.  In other words racist shit.

This goes back to of course all things in America that are a point of reference - the Civil War.  It has never ended and never will.  The other is Religion and this country may have been founded on the idea of separation of Church and State but that is a twain that has never been divided.  And today the anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials is an irony that cannot be overlooked.

And then we have FDR and the rise of the Democratic party during both an economic depression and also a war.   How anyone liberal could do such a thing has been an issue that the Republicans cannot fathom in the same way Democrats cannot fathom Lincoln was in charge during the Civil War in apparently the same incredulity when Trump just found out that Lincoln was, yes, a Republican.Yes and he was against Slavery! What?  And a Christian!  What?

Other Government programs such as the gray area of Social Security, Medicare but not Medicaid, and the Military are encroachments into massively run governmental programs.   Those are, of course not debatable,dependant upon one's age,  but largely seen as programs  called "entitlements" which again are  Government run programs that have extensive tentacles into the community and have been rife with corruption and exploitation by the private sector. But hey who cares as long as I got mine, right?  Being in the Military enables one to be ostensibly on the Government payroll for life but that is in Service to the Country the way Teaching is not however.  Guns I guess are the distinction. Public Library's, Transit, Schools are of course not thought of as Government entities but they are but they are local not national and that distinguishes the debate.  All politics are local. Well until they aren't such as when the Supreme Court or Congress interferes with said local politics. Brown vs the Board of Education anyone?   In other words racist shit. 

I am reading The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore, A Story of American Rage, by Jared Yates Sexton. I saw his book at the Southern Festival of Books, picked up a copy and attended his talk on the last day of the festival and the book is about Trump but not solely about Trump.  But all things lead to Trump and the rage that inspired his own campaign strategy that is one step removed from The Southern Strategy and a throw back to commie baiting of the 50s from Trump's buddy Ray Cohn  Trump surrounds himself with paranoid sycophants who profess loyalty but what they have is a sick co-dependence that you see in dysfunctional families.  Think of all the times workplaces call themselves like a family and you think why the fuck would you work with your family, work is where you get away from them.  But for some replicating that dynamic is essential for survival and coping.  Thanks I pass.  Oh wait I work in Education the most dysfunctional of them all. But that is why I do it  as it is easy to see the duplicates and dynamics of a family structure - aka Patriarchal - and in turn either ignore or work around them. I have managed to do as such until I moved here to Nashville and then the disease was too ingrained to ignore.  A disease filled to the brim with Christianity and racism, and there you see the two co-joined like twins Ben Carson cannot separate. 

But because I moved here I have a clearer understanding of the dynamics of what is happening right now across the country and the rage that permeates the landscape.  Race is a factor but money is the true issue.  There was little concern about equality and equity when white people had decent paying jobs and all the bells and whistles that accompany it.  As long as white people had the better house, car and school, all the equality you wanted was fine as long as it was not forced upon them. Then it was and for awhile the white people managed to circumvent it and then 2008 happened and suddenly white people found themselves like the people of color that lived on the other side of town. The ability to self segregate while pretending to embrace diversity and equality also parallels the election of the first black President, Barack Obama.  Even his name made those afraid even more so. Black people are fine if they are sports stars, singers or those in professions where weird names and politics have no place.  Funny they always had but you can pick and choose if you give a damn, a fist or a knee when it is your team winning.

Americans have always had an ability to turn a blind eye or live in hypocrisy or how else could you explain a slave owner in every distasteful sense of the word, Thomas Jefferson, writing: All Men are created equal. Well the word men right there was flag.

Then we have women and the issues of sexuality and that again is rearing an ugly head. When Gays were flamboyant hairdressers it was great, then AIDS came and they were dangerous.  Or we had the demands that Caityln Bruce use the ladies room when you loved him as an Olympian. It was all too much when your wages were stagnant, your house under repossession and your son hooked on Heroin.  Funny you did not see a problem when crack was the drug of choice then it meant round them up and put them in jail; however, the opioid crisis means that now we need to understand addiction.

And lastly jobs.  The belief that NAFTA, free trade, the global economy was taking jobs. That wanting clean air, clean water were a problem that explains why one is not working  is all part of the Government extending its reach.  Sure poor people, people largely of color they don't work hard enough to earn clean air and water as if the same pipes and sky are somehow different due to the color of your skin or where you live.  Government is not a problem until it is.

Government runs the Police and the Military and they are revered and war crimes or police malfeasance threatens the values that the status quo hold dear.  And yet the Government is too powerful.   Ah contradictions or oxymoron's.  I lead with morons as that is largely the issue and morons are notorious for contradicting themselves.  I should know I live in the South.

All things began and ended with the Civil War. And that war is longer than Afghanistan but shhh don't tell anyone.



Federal Government Is More Powerful Than State Government

John B. Judis is a senior editor of The New Republic and the author of the forthcoming "Genesis: Truman, American Jews and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict."

July 16, 2013
The New York Times
Any dispute about which is more powerful -- the federal government or the states -- was settled in 1789 when the Constitution granted the federal government the right to collect taxes, regulate interstate commerce, raise an army and adjudicate legal disputes between states. It’s not called the “Supreme Court” for nothing.
In 1789 the Constitution granted the federal government the right to collect taxes and raise an army. Since then its authority has trumped state politics.
States, or alliances of states, have attempted to nullify federal power, but the federal government has eventually prevailed, although in the case of Southern slavery, it took a four-year war for the federal government to do so. Beyond that, states have served as pockets of resistance or innovation, attempting to weaken federal laws, or to advance new legislation that the federal government is not yet ready to consider.

On the left, states during the Progressive Era introduced economic legislation that the New Deal later adopted for the nation. That led Louis Brandeis to dub them “laboratories of democracy.” Recently, states have pioneered universal health insurance and climate change regulation. On the right, Republican governors are currently attempting to reduce the scope of the Affordable Care Act and to impose restrictions on abortion that undermine the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The question about these efforts, like those from the left during the Progressive Era efforts, is whether they can be expanded nationally. That will depend on whether the opponents of the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, or older New Deal reforms can elect a president and a majority in Congress that shares their point of view. Otherwise, like the state attempts to defy Brown v. Board of Education, these efforts will become the subject of still another “lost cause.”










 


Why Would I Lie?

I did not see Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda on Chris Hayes discussing the predatory culture of Hollywood, the Restaurant Industry, the Fashion Industry, Politics or well anywhere there is a man who is rich, white and and over 21.  That was the barometer of permission in my home and I look back on it now as the beginnings of what we now call White Privilege.

But the one thing that I agree with is that we would not here one word about this if these people were not White and Rich and Famous. Only Lupita Nyong'o has been the only face of color that has come forward with allegations about Fat Fuck Weinstein.  So hey at least he was not a racist, that has be something! 

There is another concept that needs to be addressed that these women were and are afraid regardless. True they are famous and have that ability to hire the appropriate Lawyers, Therapists and Publicists that can enable them to restore their lives and credibility despite the machine that normally works overtime to discredit anyone who decides to pursue legal recourse or at least an apology and admission of truth.  Guilt no truth yes and in some cases there have been at least this in the cases of John Besh and even former President Bush (although that was silly and sad as the man is ill and in wheelchair and I question his cognitive functioning so really that one needs to be let go).

As for Fat Fuck Weinstein he claims the 40 some encounters he had with these Actresses were all consensual and yet now Directors and other Actors are admitting they knew and hired women, defended women or in fact continued to work with him despite their knowledge from first hand sources to work with FFW.  Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarentino I mean you.

Then the last two women to come forward and share their sad horrid stories, Annabella Sciorra and Darryl Hannah, to Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker,  I found myself finally losing my shit. 

The bigger question is will this change for any woman? No.  We have never reconciled our historical marker of slavery and in turn the racism that exists in this country for anyone not white nor male.  The pass we give to white women is this. Wow Fonda was right.


Will Harvey Weinstein’s Fall Finally Reform Men?

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
THE NEW YORK TIMES
OCTOBER 28 2017

Has America at last reached a turning point on sexual harassment? Watching the events of the past three weeks, one can hope.

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sudden and overdue expulsion from Hollywood for his serial predation, hundreds of long-silent women are calling out powerful, influential men at a remarkable clip and accusing them of sexual misconduct: Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios; the film director James Toback; the literary critic Leon Wieseltier; the restaurateur and celebrity chef John Besh; and the political commentator Mark Halperin, to name just a few.

Several of these men have accepted some degree of responsibility for their behavior. Former President George Bush, now 93 and using a wheelchair, apologized last week after multiple women said he groped them and whispered a crude joke during photo ops. He described it as an “attempt at humor.”

Let’s not forget — let’s not ever forget — Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, three giants of American popular culture who treated women despicably for decades, and paid a price, whether through criminal prosecution, public humiliation, job loss or forking out tens of millions of dollars in hush money. #MeToo, indeed.

This reckoning is all to the good, even if it is far too late. It feels as though a real and lasting transformation may be afoot — until you remember that this isn’t the first time women have sounded the alarm.

Remember Anita Hill, who told a firing line of skeptical senators the story of constant harassment by her boss, Clarence Thomas, more than 25 years ago. The lawmakers, every one of them male, seemed less concerned with the alleged misconduct of a Supreme Court nominee than that a woman would drag such a tawdry subject into the halls of Congress. While Ms. Hill’s brave testimony prompted a sharp rise in sexual-harassment claims, she was vilified in public; nearly twice as many Americans said at the time that they believed now-Justice Thomas’s account of what happened over hers.

Remember former President Bill Clinton, whose popularity endures despite a long string of allegations of sexual misconduct and, in one case, rape — all of which he has denied. Mr. Clinton did eventually admit to the affair with an intern, Monica Lewinsky, that nearly toppled his presidency, but he pointed out that it was not illegal.

Then, of course, there’s the current occupant of the Oval Office, who won the election only weeks after the public heard him brag about grabbing women’s genitalia, and who once said that if his daughter were ever sexually harassed at work, she should go find a new job. That president leads a party intent on passing laws that would re-establish gender norms and hierarchies from the middle of the last century (Defund Planned Parenthood! No abortions after six weeks!) — making it harder for women to attain the social equality and economic independence that would go a long way toward reducing sexual harassment in the workplace.

In other words, even the highest-profile opportunities to change America’s endemic culture of sexual harassment, which is overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, committed by men against women, can somehow be lost or swept away. How do we keep that from happening again?

And how do we ensure that progress filters down to average American workplaces, where sexual harassment occurs all the time but rarely gets media attention? The answer is part cultural, part economic and part legal.

The most conservative estimates say 25 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at work, although the real number is surely much higher, since only a small fraction of such behavior is ever reported. As many as 90 percent of workers who are harassed never file a formal complaint, according to a 2016 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which receives more than 12,000 complaints of sex-based harassment each year.

The reasons for this silence are obvious: Women fear retaliation, indifference or disbelief if they speak up. If it’s hard for rich and famous people, so many of whom kept silent in the face of Mr. Weinstein’s well-known depredations, imagine how much harder it is for someone with no political or economic power. But the Weinstein saga also illustrates what a difference it can make when women join together — and men join with them — to confront harassers openly.

HOW TO CHANGE THE CULTURE The key is to foster work environments where women feel safe and men feel obliged to report sexual harassment. “People need to be afraid not just of doing these things, but also of not doing anything when someone around them does it,” Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, told The Times’s Nicholas Kristof last week. “If you know something is happening and you fail to take action, whether you are a man or a woman — especially when you are in power — you are responsible, too.”

But speaking up only goes so far if employers don’t make reporting harassment easy or the consequences for harassers swift and clear. Treating sexual harassment seriously is essential, not to protect against liability or to safeguard the bottom line, but because it’s wrong for anyone to have to endure harassment at work. (Though it sure helps when liability and the bottom line are at stake, too.)

Some of the nation’s largest companies are moving in the right direction. For example, McDonald’s, Burger King, Aramark and Walmart have signed on to a program requiring their tomato growers to adhere to a code of conduct that prohibits sexual harassment and assault of farmworkers, and provides a clear system for the growers’ 30,000 workers to file complaints. Fourteen businesses are part of the program; many more should join.

IT’S ABOUT POWER AND MONEY Sexual-harassment culture is tied directly to the economics of the workplace. Since harassment is about power, it’s no surprise that it thrives in industries where women are systematically kept out of powerful roles — and paid less for doing the same work as men. (This may help explain why sexual-harassment cases make up nearly half of all harassment complaints from the private sector, but less than 10 percent of those from employees of the federal government, where women have more opportunities to rise to positions of authority.)

Too often, male harassers use their economic power to silence women, as Mr. Weinstein and Mr. O’Reilly did repeatedly, offering them hefty payments in return for signing nondisclosure agreements. If employers were more responsive and harassment cases were easier to pursue in the courts, there would be fewer of these settlements, which can be good for individual women but allow the predatory behavior to continue unchecked.

One compromise could be to require businesses to report how many sexual-harassment claims they settle every year, or even how many complaints they receive. This would at least give prospective employees a chance to assess how bad the problem is at a given company, and could lead to greater public scrutiny in more extreme cases.

LEGAL BARRIERS The Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion and other protected classes. Twelve years later, it made employers liable for supervisors’ harassment of workers. But in 2013, the court stepped backward, ruling that employers are liable only for racial or sexual harassment by a supervisor who has the power to fire a worker or prevent his or her promotion. In a 5-to-4 ruling, with only male justices in the majority, the court held that employers are not automatically liable for harassment by the larger number of supervisors who don’t have that power, even if they control all other aspects of a worker’s daily activities.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the decision ignored the realities of the modern workplace, and the “particular threatening character” of a supervisor’s power and authority, even one not vested with the power to fire. A worker who confronts a harassing supervisor risks “receiving an undesirable or unsafe work assignment or an unwanted transfer. She may be saddled with an excessive workload or with placement on a shift spanning hours disruptive of her family life.”

Congress could and should overturn that ruling today by passing a law that reinstates the broader and more realistic definition of a supervisor. But good luck with that; Capitol Hill can’t even keep its own house in order. Representative Jackie Speier of California, who said she was sexually assaulted years ago when she was a congressional staff member, told Politico on Thursday that the compliance office tasked with handling harassment complaints is “toothless,” and said that Congress has been “a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long.”

This may turn out to be the year when the tide finally turned on sexual harassment. The elements for a permanent cultural shift are certainly in place. More women have entered the work force, and the pay gap with men is closing, though not fast enough. More women than men are graduating from college; more are earning advanced degrees; and increasing numbers are managers, though the proportions of women still become thinner and thinner the higher in management you look. And, crucially, the internet and social media have opened a door to instant communication and community support that didn’t exist before, helping women feel less isolation and shame about their experiences, and more confident that speaking out will have a positive result.

In the end, though, the most lasting change will have to come from men, who are doing virtually all the sexual harassing. Boys must be raised to understand why that behavior is wrong, teenagers need to be reminded of it and grown men need to pay for it until they get the message.

I have had sex with bosses out of confusion, misunderstanding, fear and attraction.  As a woman in my 20s I was not educated, nor informed about sex, sexuality and the dynamics it possesses.  So when I heard of Monica Lewinsky I did not condemn her as I got it I really did.  Anita Hill had balls and she too was dragged through the wringer.  Women are thought of as Virgins or Whores and that has not changed.  

I thought being a Virgin until 18 to a boyfriend who is one of the few men I have any respect for now at 40 years later is quite telling.   I have always had a male approach to sex as I learned quickly it is a commodity.  One man said to me, "I have never had sex with a Prostitute."  My response, "That you know of."  But when it come to sex when it comes to women, we are all Prostitutes to men.  The fact was as these stories unfolded,  I found myself doing a sexual inventory about the men whom I had been fucked and fucked over by.  Some were consensual, some were utterly influenced by way too much drink and in turn the idea that it would somehow protect or enable me to keep my job in a subliminal way.  I can't recall every encounter as that trauma is too much for any sole person to do.  I have been fucking lucky. I have been raped twice. And one that ended quite differently.  And all by men I dated and knew.

Once under way too much alcohol by a partner who should not have touched me as I was not able to consent under the law and despite our previous relationship it was not something I recall and when I woke up it did not "feel" right and I contacted the Police and in turn was shut down.  Although I think they believed me I was in no position to truly provide evidence and testimony. Little did I know how that would come back to haunt me decades later.

The second was with again a partner whom I originally consented and then it got ugly and turned into a situation that was not consensual nor something I wanted at all.  His name was Chris Harrison and no why he was not the host of the Bachelor that name is one you don't forget. He was evil and likely still is.

The last was I suspect was coitus interruptus as it never made it that far.  Char was a 24 year old doctorate student in Chemistry at the University of Washington. I met him after he completed his B.S. and was working at a lab.  He was all of 21 and of mixed Middle Eastern descent from Portland.  He had not yet started Grad school and was very good looking and quite nice.  Our "relationship" was brief as he was too young and I jokingly told him to call me when he hit 24 as that was cut off age.  I was 50 at the time.   Funny that age difference is not a problem when the man is the senior but when you are a woman it is utterly a different reaction.

Char called me a couple of years later and said he had made the cutoff date and at the time my dog had been dead a year and I was feeling out of sorts and considering a move to Denver to find some work of meaning and a life of one as Seattle and I were done.  One cannot go home again that much is true.

I met him for a drink and that is the last memory I have for over a week.  I sustained a massive traumatic brain injury from my car hitting a pole straight on. I am lucky to be alive and in turn I still to this day actually believe that the accident saved my life in more than one realized.  I was found in coma with a blood alcohol count of .18 which is akin to alcohol poisoning. The blood test done at the hospital confirmed positive for benzodiazephine a drug component found in date rape drugs.  A chemistry student would have no problem acquiring said drug and not a problem using it.

The reality is that I suspect that he was the individual the witness who came upon my car immediately after the accident who leaned in on the passenger side and told him I was still breathing and in turn walked off into the night.  That is a matter of the police record and that man despite a camera at the corner that records running red lights and such was never suponeaned and in turn my cell phone records confirming that said "Char" existed.

But I think I drove into that pole on purpose as the damage was solely to the drivers side and something flipped in my brain and I think Char was the passenger and hence the getting in/out on that side and walking off into the night.  He was taking me to my home and had anything happened to me there I would never have known nor recalled thanks to the drugs.  Had I had a seizure or adverse reaction to the drugs and alcohol he poured down my throat it would have been weeks before I would have been found. 

That night chased me for five years and four court cases.  Two civil and two criminal ending in me losing both appeals.  I am still running.   And the same argument and debate is what I hear today.  And the same question I asked my Attorneys and those who opposed me: Why would I lie? 

The answer is irrelevant as women are not valued nor respected in America.  Black Lives Matter as do Women's, as do Children's and Immigrants and those not Christian. Get over it and move over the couch is full of all of us wanting to be heard and no one is listening.  I know, I learned that the hard way.



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Southern Man



I have said that Donald Trump is the first Southern President.  Again we have had others but this is the new South and he is representative of this "new" South - white, angry, stupid.

We have had the last few days Senators calling out the Il Douchebag in Chief for being an idiot.  We can debate if he is a fucking idiot but we can agree he is definitely an idiot.  And what I love is that it is a Senator from Tennessee, Corker, doing most of the shouting. While another, Graham, suddenly besties with this idiot.  This defines the South, the lying and the liar and all of them dancing to their own tune of self preservation.  The South shall rise again!

One of the many accusations and that in fact is a fact is the push for Nativism and subsequent isolation of America from the rest of the world.   The deal maker has a deal for anyone not white, not rich and not stupid - FUCK OFF.

When I moved to Nashville I had hope and no preconceived notions other than I knew it would be "different" but I had no idea how different that would be.  From the over 50% of residents being Evangelical to the level of poverty that borders every corner in the City-Town I was in for a rude awakening. And by rude I mean the people they are incredibly rude when they don't wash their phoniness in Sweet Tea.  I have quit even being polite unless I simply feel like it.

Again I mark most of my experiences through my job in the schools and the reality of what I experience and feel there is bleak and the few days I do come out with hope I realize they are few and farther in between with each day.

The other day I was at an elementary school and the gig once again was not the one I signed up for but in a way it all worked out in a very backhanded way, much like compliments her in the South.  The Teacher has been "out" for many days off and on throughout the year, (which began in August btw) however, this was warranted as she had been head butted by a student the day before and took a day off to recover. The other Teachers were already disgusted and angry about this particular Teacher, the school, the district and their jobs and this of course trickles down to the Students who in turn pick up on this and may explain why one of them felt compelled to physically assault her.  He was not her Student but one whom was in some encounter or situation that enabled this to occur, again truth and facts are often obfuscated here.  But I found the kids delightful and one young student was so in charge and confident I could not believe she was a third grader.   This is a school of largely Immigrant families and their language issues are one thing and the poverty another.   But they were truly children I believed in and anyone who feels different needs to open their hearts and minds.  They were being fitted for coats that day as part of the PTSA and a local charity drive as many schools here have pantry's and clothing closets to serve the families in need and they were so cute I felt as if I stepped into another city.  What would make their assimilation into our communities is fairly simple - English.  What they don't have are ways to elevate families by offering them English classes as well, job placement and housing assistance. Gee ya think that would help in stabilizing a situation of a family at risk regardless of their "status." 

Schools have more secondary workers from Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists  and others whose job is to assist the schools to enable their students to succeed, yet there is no way they can serve that many students with that many needs.  It is a caseload of impossible as it is not just the child they are working with it should be the family.  Any efforts to improve a Child should be in partnership with the family and without it is all for nought.  So all of my feelings about my new adopted city is colored from this and it is something that I cannot ignore despite my desire to do so.

After school in this incredibly diverse neighborhood I went to Plaza Marachi and had a Cafe Cubano and picked up amazing Greek food all under one roof. I had a great conversation with a Nashville native and while we did not agree on much politically we were in the same place about the growth of Nashville and how stupidly planned it is.  Little makes sense and it reflects the chaos and catch up that has been neglected for decades.   The transportation plan is one and when I am agreeing with a critic of it that says something as I am very pro transit but it resembles Seattle's down to the creation of a tunnel under the city that I am shocked that they thought this was what Nashville needed. No it needs Sidewalks, Crosswalks, Bike Lanes and better traffic light management, enforcement of driving laws and in turn education of those to what public transport can be and should be to serve not just Davidson County but the ones adjacent that commute in and out on a daily basis.

During my discussion the Gentleman said that I would end up staying here as few he has met has ever had a bad thing to stay about the city and the area.  I did not correct, amend or offer any contradiction as I did not want to end what had been one of my few positive interactions with a stranger that I have had since moving here, so I kept my mouth shut.  I am determined to be out of here in the next 18 months.  That puts me at the three year mark and I can make just that without losing my mind.

So when I watched the daily crime/weather/traffic report they had a story about Nashville symbols being iconic in the world.  OMG this is almost sad the constant chest thumping and bragging that dominates the bullshit 100 people a day moving here.  Again that is impossible but hey math is not a strong suit here.

So I actually pulled up a blog by a local moron and she truly defines moron. I have read idiocy and this was my favorite among many posts about how great Nashville is in compared to the rest of the world. And this defines the Nashville way with regards to public transport.

As I mentioned above, my sister lives in Manhattan.  I absolutely love it there, everything about it, other than the fact everywhere you go is literally a production. It took her an hour and a half by car yesterday to travel .7 miles , POINT SEVEN MILES!! You've gotta be kidding me!  I know the Nashville traffic is bad, but at least we all mostly have cars that we can drive to get around, and hey, if not, there's always Uber!
I had to get to the airport one time while visiting her and was forced to ride the Subway alone.  I'm gonna let you guys know right off the bat, that didn't end so well.  It ended in tears.  If you have never ridden on a subway before, I feel like it's something everyone needs to experience at least once in your lifetime.  Just make sure when you do you have about 2 extra hours to spare.  Maybe it's just my horrible sense of direction that got me in the position of being terrified of them, but either way there's no turning back.  I would spend 20x the price to never have to ride one again.  We are so lucky that if we need to run to the store to get something, we can get in out cars & do that!  We don't have to pay $1000 a month for a parking spot.  I'm so thankful I don't live somewhere where getting around is that much of an ordeal. 

Or this insight on California

In other news,  I was flying out to California about a month ago for work, deep in thought, as I watched all the scenery we passed from above.  To be completely honest the boring, non colorful scenery pretty much sucked.  I thought to myself how strange it was to me that there was NO grass for as far as my eye could see..  I had never thought about something as simple as caring about grass, but it was the lack of that made me realize that I loved having it.  Then, I began to think of all the things I would really miss, if I ever moved away from the amazing city of Nashville! I have been spending a lot of time lately with several of my friends who have moved away from here and they all definitely agree with this list that will remind you just how amazing Nashville and surrounding areas are!

By the way she also said this:

I'm allergic to it (Grass), it  makes me itch, but I gotta say I would be sad without it.  I can't imagine living in a place that didn't have grass, trees and plants everywhere.  I love walking through the grass on a hot summer day.  I even love the smell of freshly cut grass.  I would take green earth over the dirt and a desert, any old day.  I love gardens and fresh produce, and seeing cows and horses graze.  When my sweet little niece comes to visit from New York I always take her to see the horses at the end of my parents street.  She is amazed by it because she doesn't get to see that back home in Manhattan.

There are so many things wrong with this, the arrogance, the idiocy, the need to contradict herself without any details or facts to support said beliefs.  Sound familiar?

Today we are having a White Supramacist rally in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville and the towns are having prayer vigils by standing in the city square to pray the evil away.  But here in the buckle of the belt of Jesus this is the solution to the problem - Prayer.  Fuck that Jesus. Tell that to the innocent people sitting in a Church,  a Mosque or a Synagogue that have been victims of shootings or bombings for being of color or of another faith.

I am exhausted dealing with the query about what Church I belong as I belong to the faith of Humanism and my faith has been challenged of late.  But the concept of Southernism is something that I truly see in our White House, by the supposed Ivy League, smart, deal maker, confabulates, exaggerator, racist who calls himself President as I surely don't.  

In all my years I have been in opposition to many as I am a contrarian by nature.  But that said I am also a well read and well informed one.  I make my decisions based on my values as a humanist I do not need a pulpit to provide them; however, I have found many a Church sermon in my day spiritual enlightening but not anything necessary to change my mind or values.  Bad things happen to good people and despite it all my Parents instilled in me a sense of self and place in this world.  I cannot say they did so directly or in fact indirectly by having an open door philosophy in our home which enabled me to meet many kinds of people and in turn learn about them and their values.  And through that I absorbed many perspectives that had I not I might be like the moron in the posts I quoted.

I have never read or experienced quite the bizarre nativism that exists in the South. They live, breathe and die the South.  Trump exudes that same sense of entitlement and arrogance that truly makes him the first Southern President in the 21st Century.  Bill Clinton was less of a bubba.  And Jimmy Carter not even a contender.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Me the What the Fuckever

Another day another story of another white man in a position of power assaulting and tormenting women in pursuit of sex.

So at this point Bill Cosby is pretty much going "See I told you black men are prosecuted unfairly" then he promptly got together with OJ to ask children the damnest things.

But the point is clear.  Of all the men who have committed crimes Bill Cosby is awaiting trial and OJ is on parole for a crime of robbery, not murder of which he was acquitted and in turn informed said Parole Board that he had led a largely conflict free life.  Ah revisionist history is the tale of almost all Convicts when they are famous.  Anthony Weiner will soon find this out.

So I wanted to inventory the men who have found themselves being accused and/or apologizing and/or losing their jobs since women decided to come forward and share their story of abuse and harassment.  Some were raped and some did comply with the sexual demands after being fed booze, being bullied or feeling simply coerced into sex to get or keep work.  That is one job no one should do.

First up the King of Perverts:  Harvey Weinstein at last count we have 40.  Right now he is rehab and I am sure that the AA policy that you contact all those you have hurt will hit triple digits and he will need a spread sheet. Pun intended

Next up the Pick up Artist:  James Toback we have 200.  This is the man who used FedEx copy centers as his personal single bar.  I can barely get help there but hey!

Fuck it.. CNN did a tally its here.  But honestly the George H.W. Bush story is sad and not about Bush but about that woman who simply did not slap the elderly sick man's hand away and move on. I hardly think her story is anywhere near the level of Toback/Weinstein/et.al

But there are some that CNN overlooked.

We have Casey Affleck who has one more that the big brother - 2

We have two more from the Art and Literary World

Knight Landesman (no he was not on Game of Thrones) publisher of Artforum magazine - 9 women.

Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades who was preparing to unveil a new magazine next week, apologized on Tuesday for “offenses against some of my colleagues in the past” after several women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances.

Bill O'Reilly - well he is just walking harassment.  But we know there were at least 4 settlements at Fox when he was there.

So what or who will be the new target of allegations of harming women. Oh wait what about men you ask. Well yes we have one, Kevin Sorbo.  Who the fuck is Kevin Sorbo you ask? Well let me tell you I didn't recall him either and then I did.

Mr. Sorbo was someone in the 80s. And claims he was harassed by the dead designer, Gianni Versace.   So accusing a dead man who cannot explain this is up there with the hysteria over Poppy Bush.  But hey he was telling another fuckwit who has no career, Adam Corolla, so that may explain that.    But if anything it should driver viewers to American Horror Story the Versace Murder coming to Fox soon!

And this story about Col. Christopher de los Santos who killed himself after accusations destroyed his career has led to his heirs to sue UC Davis.  Okay then

But there are other Universities with similar stories. Funny they don't get front page coverage but they exist.

There is this one out of Rochester, New York.  Or this one from San Jose State Or this one from Boston University.   How about Columbia University, classier.  And yes even the heartland of Ohio

I could Google this shit all day and what does it prove? Well that men in positions of power and/or authority love to fuck people or fuck them over or try to fuck them. It is all about fucking whatever, whoever, whenever.  I get it. I really do.

So do people care? No unless they do then they care.  But nothing will change and this is the new scandal du jour.  Ladies get those pussy hats and hit the streets or not.  Whatever.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Is this covered?

As the free for all and chaos ensues regarding the Affordable Care Act and will he or won't he support reform, little changes with regards to the Medical Industrial Complex. I recall an Attorney once reprimanding me for using that term and I laughed and said I can't take credit for it but thanks. Lawyers dumber than Doctors.

When I read the headline I thought Angelina Jolie has changed her mind or one of the Real Housewives went too far this time. But no this was an accident. Alright then.

And no this is not the first time nor will it be the last.   Think the Criminal Justice system is a hot mess well this is the same industry that shares a lab space. Think about that and what it means when technicians can find you guilty or innocent and in turn destroy your life.  These people are not geniuses who are exempt from stupidity.

Think of all the great Scientists and other minds that are being assembled in the White House that will place your health and life at risk as they choose to believe their science.  That is akin to the statement "my truth" which means what exactly?

The real issue here is that we are sure that Doctors and Scientists are infallible and bad news they aren't and neither is the Pope.  This comment says quite a bit about how people feel regarding Physicians. 

My collegue's pregnant wife was told she had a 4-inch ovarian cyst and required surgery. They were Kaiser patients, so the second and third opinions came from within Kaiser. I said to my collegue that I was sorry for his wife and her severe pain, and now facing a surgery while pregnant. He said she had no pain. I was immediately alarmed. How can she have a huge cyst with no pain? He proceeded to tell me about the fancy, expensive schools where these three doctors had gotten their medical training. He said there was an ultrasound that showed the cyst. I said it could be the baby, not a cyst. They put the wife under, cut her open, and there was NO CYST. My collegue recounted their surprise after the surgery. I said, so you are telling me none of these doctors bothered to FEEL this supposed cyst that somehow caused no pain with their hands before cutting her? He said, "I guess not, but they ARE the best." This couple didn't even report these dangerous doctors to the medical board. I'm sure they and their fancy parchment are out there endangering people daily. I don't care if they went to Stanford and Harvard. These guys are idiots

And when Angelina Jolie went all nuts, well further nuts, and wrote about her bizarre need to have a double Mastectomy and Hysterectomy I knew that it was going to be a gold mine for Surgeons - both Oncology and Plastic - as women would run amok getting tested. If you have never watched the Real Housewives of Orange County I suggest you do as I get all my mental health and cancer knowledge via these crazy bitches.  I miss the lunatic star fucker Terry Dubrow who never saw a boob he could not fix.  This is the great mind behind The Swan where debasing and degrading women is a sport in Hollywood just ask anyone!  

But as you can read below it doesn't work out that well and whoops! I hope she met her deductible. 


Damaged for the rest of my life’: Woman says surgeons mistakenly removed her breasts and uterus

The Washington Post
By Lindsey Bever October 24 2017

Elisha Cooke-Moore had been told she had cancer-causing genes.

The 36-year-old mother said an obstetrician-gynecologist noted that the results of her genetic testing showed she had a 50 percent chance of getting breast cancer and up to an 80 percent chance of getting uterine cancer, so she underwent a recommended double mastectomy and hysterectomy to try to beat the odds.

But Cooke-Moore, 36, from Gold Beach, Ore., said that months after she had the surgeries, she learned that her medical team was wrong — the test results were negative. Now she is suing Curry County Health District and members of her medical team for $1.8 million.

“I am damaged for the rest of my life,” she told The Washington Post in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, her voice cracking.

The lawsuit states that Cooke-Moore had a total hysterectomy in August 2016 and, not two months later, a prophylactic bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy along with breast implants.

During an annual exam in 2015, Cooke-Moore received genetic testing to determine her risk of breast and other cancers. Cooke-Moore said she had expressed concerns to her doctor regarding a family history of cancer, so it was agreed she would be tested for a BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation. Although the results were negative, her nurse practitioner misinterpreted them — and Cooke-Moore was told she had the MLH1 gene mutation and Lynch syndrome, according to the medical malpractice lawsuit.

The National Institutes of Health states that Lynch syndrome increases the risks of many types of cancer, particularly those in the colon and rectum, but also ovarian, uterine and other cancers.

Cooke-Moore said her nurse practitioner, who seemingly misread the results, referred her to specialists within the Curry Health Network — gynecologist William Fitts, who performed her hysterectomy and then recommended surgeon Jessica Carlson to handled her double mastectomy and reconstruction. But Cooke-Moore said neither of the doctors independently confirmed the results.

The lawsuit claims that Cooke-Moore's medical team “continued to negligently rely upon the misinterpreted genetic testing results.”

Cooke-Moore said a doctor even wrote a letter to her children, who do not live with her, urging them to get tested for the mutation.

“I'm dumbfounded. We're all dumbfounded,” said Cooke-Moore's attorney, Christopher Cauble. “They all should have caught this.”

Cauble said that in addition to needless operations, his client's replacement implants were placed during the double mastectomy surgery, prompting at least 10 corrective surgeries to manage complications.

Representatives for the Curry Health Network and an attorney for the hospital and Fitts did not respond to requests for comment. An attorney for Carlson said she could not comment on pending litigation.

Cooke-Moore said she discovered the mistake earlier this year while reading through her test results and noticed that it read “negative.”

“Devastated,” she said, remembering how she felt at the time. “I'm just not sure how you can mistake a negative for a positive.”

If she had it to do over, Cooke-Moore said that she would probably get a second opinion before she agreed to have the surgeries.

More and more, medical experts are encouraging second opinions — not out of distrust, but to ensure that the doctor and patient are making the best decisions.

“Every patient has a right to a second opinion,” Joseph Fins, chief of medical ethics at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, told Columnist Steven Petrow, “and it would worry me if a physician was opposed.”

Major hospital systems, including the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, even have remote second-opinion services so that patients across the country can more easily seek peace of mind.

Petrow recently wrote an op-ed for The Post titled: “I heard what my doctor thinks; now I want a second opinion. How do I get one?” In it, he bullet-pointed how patients should handle second opinions:

•Don’t be talked out of seeking another opinion by your current doctor or anyone else; this is your decision.

•Be upfront but respectful with your doctor. You are partners in this, and having your doctor on your side makes it easier to transfer your medical records and coordinate care.

•Don’t shop for a specialist who will tell you what you want to hear. You need the unvarnished truth.

•Provide the second doctor with all relevant information in your medical record. Fins warns about the “discontinuity of care if all the facts don’t follow you.”

Cooke-Moore said she was too trusting.

“I trusted my community,” Cooke-Moore said, adding that she has since been diagnosed with PTSD. “I guess shame on me. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I did.”

Eulogy for an Idiot



I said yesterday, "This is already becoming a long week and it is only Tuesday!" then I promptly drowned my sorrows in a Pumpkin Spice Latte, the beverage choice of white women this time of year.  (Well Martha Stewart called it basic and she is the Queen of White Women but then again Monarchy's are overrated)

Since moving to Nashville I have spent the better part of the last 18 months resigned that this is one fucked up place and then as I watched the world and the rest of America implode I did find it comfort to realize I am not alone but the world is a lonely place right now.   As I write this it is 2 A.M.  and another sleepless night listening to the radio discuss the day's events as viewed through the prism of those not American and they find it our Country pretty much fucked as that caption says it all.  We are a reflection of the Chief Asshole in Charge.  And sadly the thought of Impeaching him and having Mike Pence as President is cold comfort in a world of climate change.

I am amazed at the stupidity of those around me and that too is a factor that puts me in sheer exhaustion when dealing with children as I have hard time distinguishing them from those in a position of power.  As is from them, the ones in charge of influencing and changing lives, I can see what the children are to become and it is bleak and frankly terrifying.

I was in a High School yesterday and got there early even before anyone in the office showed up. When someone did I signed in and went to one office and peaked in no one there, then went to another which was the wrong office but managed to get the rosters and hear a lecture on how to run a classroom which was fine and then in turn went to a third office to get let in said room.   This all took about 20 minutes or longer so had I actually arrived at my call time I would have been late.  Well surprise I came home after being in the building all day to a message on my office phone asking where I was.  Try down the hall.  I had a parade of people in and out of the room all morning including kids as the Teacher was taking his 2nd period on a Field Trip.  So when I go there there was no lesson plans, nothing; So I waited in the class with the hope someone would track me down to let me know what was happening because at 7 am the start of the day I had nothing not even kids.  Which was great as I used the time to go to the bathroom, tidy the room and just wait.  Finally he arrived and we talked figured out a plan and he went to confirm transport, chaperones etc.  Kids came with permission slips and I took them, used the attendance roster to reconcile the slips and give slips to kids to basically forge a parents name (but hey they were Seniors so I had zero problem with that) and get it back to me before they left and I would keep/watch those staying behind and sub for the other classes that were not going. 

At any time if they needed me to cover a class the thing to do was call the classroom and if I did not answer that either, since I had clearly not returned the phone call to my home (or cell which if I was actually working would be turned off) was to page me over the intercom or send someone into the room to see if I was alive.  NONE of that happened.  Well Teachers did but they were not looking for me but they saw me there so again did they look on the sign in sheet when I checked in? No.  What it was was that I did not come to them and be sent on the run around through the building to cover for those gigs unfilled.   Hey here is a plan rather than have people run a building the size of a mall, put a sign on the door and direct kids to those classrooms where the Teachers or Subs are and have them go to them.  The kids should be the ones moving not the Adults as it is impossible to move through these places easily.  Just lock the door and sign on it directing kids where to go.  Fuck the tardy's and just record anyone absent who gets lost in the transition.   At one school they direct all the kids to the Theater and the Teachers just go there to cover them for a study period.  Again just send them to the unused classrooms each period it is easier.  But no.

I cancelled all my future gigs at that school and will wait a few weeks before returning as they have the memory of sieves and this will be pushed aside as another day another crisis solved.  They love crisis here it is there directive as this city wants desperately to have some type of mass shooting or event that can prove how good they are as people, first responders as victims.  Christianity or Victimhood I cannot tell the difference.

So by the time I navigated Nashville traffic (I have a car rental)  and made it home later so I missed the evening news.  I did not miss the local news as the local crime/traffic/weather report is boring as shit but I did hear that Nashville's shootings are up 300 this year to 900  from 600 hundred last year.  These include fatalities to damage by guns to property and people.  Yes it is safe here if you mean safe from sanity yes.

But I checked online news and saw Jeff Flake retiring.  This follows our  Senator Corker who has now rescinded his support for Trump which did not surprise me as Southerners are liars and now that he is out he can say what is the truth without recourse.  Yes Corker just figured out that Trump is a fucking idiot!   Told you they are slow here.   Marsha Blackburn is still a Trump lover so don't worry he still carries most of the Old Hickory State.  Populism, yea yea!

Donald Trump is our truly first Southern President the same way Clinton was our first Black President.  I used to love that one.   Funny Jimmy Carter a true deep Southerner was a lousy President but an amazing ex President in the same way Corker is now a lame Duck Senator who can pretty much talk smack and do nothing about it however.   No moves to Impeach or even help those amass a case to stop Trump, nope.  Flake writes a book, goes on a book tour has a high profile fundraiser starring Condolezza Rice only last week to suddenly come out and go, never mind!  Flake is living up to that name.

Which then brings me to another Southerner, John Besh.  If you don't watch Top Chef or care about this you would not know him.  But trust me he was the shit.  Now he is a fucking idiot.  Another predator and business owner who enabled and allowed a culture of harassment and abuse to dominate his business.  He had partners and employees who turned a blind eye or a grabby hand to partake of the abuse of women.   Love that he was an Ex Marine and saved NOLA post Katrina, built an empire but now is stepping down to find God and Family. Should have thought about that when he started fucking the staff.

Just like Harvey had his enablers including his brother, Bob, who it appears now also had a problem that enabled this to go on for years.  They need the short crotch zipper that keeps the penis in the pants as Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm discovered.  Funny Leon taught him the technique on how to get that sucker out (yes pun intended) easier.   This is one lesson few in Hollywood need, clearly!

During my pumpkin latte I had a chance to talk to one of the sweetest Barista's there and she shared with me some history.  She has lost close to 100 pounds and is reconciling her anger about why she put on the weight.  Well her Stepfather began raping her at 13.  He is out of her family's life for the last three years and she wanted to rid him off her skin so she has been working on this alone and she looks great.  She has never told her Mother nor had a discussion with her younger sisters about this abuse and her own emotional fragility but she needs to.   I get it, #MeToo and all that.  So as we cried and laughed and tried to understand the hysteria that is now suddenly about a situation that women have been facing for decades it becomes impossible to swim upstream now for all the shit floating down.  I am sick of it.  I am truly sick of the stories.  I grew up in a time where the phrase/term "Sexual Harassment" did not even exist.  The concept yes, the legal concept no until Anita Hill.  Ah Joe Biden look to his role on that one.

I love that in Nashville where there is a huge Country Music industry and I am sure awash with similar stories the best our local rag, The Tennessean,  found was some D list actress that was raped by a stranger in 1989.  I almost shit myself with #WHOCARES.   The story was again so Southern that I had a hard time believing it.  She was 19 getting gas at a Station when a Man asked her for jumper cables and she had them! Then she gets in her car to take him to his car where along the way he threatens her with a knife and she drives him and her to an alley two blocks from her home where he rapes her.  Takes her checkbook and threatens her and she runs into the street to get help. Then she finds out he has gone to her workplace to find her and the Cops have no fingerprints to find him off the car but her checkbook is suddenly found and they get them off that. And it appears he has a record and they find him and the case goes to trial where he threatens to kill her and then is sentenced for 300 years (aka life).   She of course has always had Jesus as good victims/martyrs do and gets on with her life for 20 years until the stories about Hollywood start and they  PTSD her and she recounts this for the Tennessean.  Really this is the best you can do here? 

Read all what I just wrote and find the holes there that would make a great cheese sauce prepared by John Besh!   Seriously I am never eating out after reading those stories it makes Kitchen Confidential seem blase in comparison.  But those hands have touched your food!  Secret Sauce anyone?  The irony that Anthony Bourdain was calling this asshole out on Twitter was not lost on me. He has a history of his own that while well documented doesn't make it any less sinister.

Every day is another story about another Fucking Idiot who in a sense of power, entitlement or just boredom the need to sexually abuse and harass women.  James Toback who looks like a Weinstein only if possible uglier, used to lurk in FedEx's to find his prey.  Okay I am there quite a bit and I am still trying to figure out how that would work.  "Hey nice copy there and are you single?"  I clearly need to step up my game. Right now his numbers are making Bill Cosby go, "Wow I could have done it without slipping them a mickey?" 

This weekend we have a White Racist rally in a town just 60 miles south of Nashville and I say Halloween is a great time for this kind of thing because after bashing heads just head up to Broadway and hit some honky tonks. Nothing says racial supremacy more than bad beer and country music!

I am surrounded by stupid and we are importing more and Nashville seems so proud of their bullshit stats that I still cannot substantiate that 100 people a day are moving here.  Does that include the Students at the Colleges who are here for four years and other transients that may be here for Military or other job related transfers?  Seriously who is moving here? If they were educated professionals then we would see less violence, have more discussions that are based in sound logic and facts and in turn decent sane people elected into office?  Do you honestly believe they will find an educated, informed logical individual to replace Corker? No. Have you met Mae Beavers? She defines FUCKING IDIOT. 















Monday, October 23, 2017

Poor Me

Clearly a couple of years ago pre-Bezos The Washington Post went BuzzFeed and went with the 5 point list so popular with the non-reading set. 

I am a person of three, give me three examples to support your belief/argument or as an example of the point you are making.  I see the Millennials literally mean give me five!  If you can succinctly summarize a policy, a system of beliefs, a theory in 5 bullet points than great but I prefer paragraphs, logic, context, examples, sources and of course an opposing concept or belief.   A good example of said writing this week was the article in The New York Times I read about Body Cams on Police and if they are all that one believes in changing Police performance.   Note the writer comments and sources opposing views and clearly has a perspective indicative by the Title, which is the equivalent of a loss leader in retail to get people in the door or click bait when you are perusing an article.  In all honesty Titles were always that way and that is the point - eyes to page. 

And when I found this article in the Post I was appalled as while we can at times give the top five reasons for anything, to do this with regards to poverty is absurd.  The complexity of the subject is not easily defined, explained or summarized in such a manner.  I did not myself understand poverty until I moved to Nashville and this is light in comparison to what surrounds the region.

To understand the subject start with Deep South by Paul Therox as it was the definitive book for me to explain what he has witnessed and in turn enabled me to have at least some insight into this issue.  I have not read the book she mentions and I have no interest in it because again people are complicated, the issue is complicated and in turn add race, societal context and of course income.

Money is the real issue and when I was talking to my Acupuncturist this weekend we discussed the composition of most of the public schools as his wife is an Occupational Therapist so she is in the schools daily and sees much of what I see on a daily basis traveling throughout the district.  We see schools utterly confused as to what to do and in turn children literally out of control.  It used to be one or two and there were ways to handle and manage this but this has long since changed in that dynamic.  You now have only one or two kids who are manageable the rest not.  It is impossible to teach or do anything in this scenario and all of the talk means nothing until you have actually set foot in these schools and experienced and witnessed what I have.  I still have not forgotten the woman in the middle school I was at fighting tears after watching shear chaos in the room and her pleas for help and none existed.    And yes race is a factor as most of the most disruptive kids are black but move to another area in town and you will find the white trash factor high there and it equally off the rails.  But we focus on race and frankly that is a double edged sword as again if black families have decent jobs, affordable homes, resources available for child care and for decent food, medical care and opportunities in which to make choices that benefit their families we would see less violence and less trauma in said homes and kids.  And so rather than kick them out we just let them run wild and have restorative justice which means they apologize and then back to the next.  It solves nothing.

To restore order families must be involved, engaged, committed to their children, to their schools and their community. To believe that this will serve them and in turn enable them to have opportunities and options that will provide them with a quality of life that is above just living to survive.  But hey that takes time, effort and what? MONEY.

Does this book break ground. No. Does it repeat what we already know? Yes. Does it offer any tangible solution on how to resolve the problem? No. What does it do? Makes you feel better and be more empathetic and sympathetic.  Gee that will do what exactly?




Five stereotypes about poor families and education
By Valerie Strauss October 28, 2013


Here is an excerpt from a new book called “Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap,” by Paul C. Gorski, associate professor of integrative studies at George Mason University. The book, which draws from years of research to analyze educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students, is part of the Multicultural Education Series of books edited by James A. Banks and published by Teachers College Columbia University.


The Trouble with the ‘Culture of Poverty’ and Other Stereotypes about People in Poverty by Paul C. Gorski

A long-time colleague of mine with a penchant for road rage—I’ll call him Frederick—is fond of flinging the word “jerk” at drivers whose driving skills have offended him in some way. That is, he is fond of flinging this term at male drivers, or drivers he assumes to be men, and reserves it for them exclusively. When a driver he assumes to be a woman pulls in front of him, neglects to use a turn signal, or drives a few miles per hour under the speed limit, his response is different. Rather than calling her a jerk, he shakes his head, brow furled, and exclaims with exasperation, “Women drivers!”

I have challenged Frederick several times on what appears, to me, to be a clear case of gender stereotyping, of a biased view that looks a lot like sexism. He responds to my challenges firmly: “That’s not a stereotype. It’s my experience. Women are bad drivers.” He tends to append to this defense the common refrain, “Plus, there’s a hint of truth in stereotypes; otherwise, why would so many people believe them?”

As troubling as his attitude might be, Frederick is not alone in his view or in his tendency to see somebody within his gender group who has offended his sensibilities as an outlier, a jerk, while interpreting a female offender as representing all women. A long history of psycho-social research details the human tendency to imagine our own social and cultural groups as diverse while we imagine “the other,” people belonging to a social or cultural group with which we are less familiar, as being, for all intents and purposes, all the same (e.g., Meiser & Hewstone, 2004).

Cognitively speaking, our stereotyping has been shown to be a natural and necessary human response in the face of limited context-specific knowledge. A woman’s stereotype about men might prove to be an over-generalization in most instances but her intuition eventually could protect her from sexual assault. However, the content of stereotypes is only partially organic, only partially based upon a measured consideration of the totality of our experiences. Stereotypes grow, as well, from how we’re socialized (Shier, Jones, & Graham, 2010). They are the result of what we are taught to think about poor people, for instance, even if we are poor, through celebrations of “meritocracy” or by watching a parent lock the car doors when driving through certain parts of town. They grow, as well, from a desire to find self-meaning by distinguishing between social and cultural in groups with which we do and do not identify (Homsey, 2008). That’s the heady science of it….

… When I teach a class or deliver a workshop about poverty and schools, I often begin by asking participants to reflect on a question: Why are poor people poor? Answers vary. However, even when participants believe that societal inequities are responsible for a portion of or even most poverty they almost always qualify their responses with a litany of stereotypes: Poor people are lazy. They don’t care about education. They’re alcoholics and drug abusers. They don’t want to work; instead, they are addicted to the welfare system. Unfortunately, these are not outlier views. Most people in the U.S. believe that poor people are poor because of their own deficiencies rather than inequitable access to services and opportunities (Rank, Yoon, & Hirschl, 2003).

So, what if I told you that some stereotypes commonly associated with poor people, such as a propensity for alcohol abuse, are truer of wealthy people than they are of poor people (Galea et al, 2007)? It’s true. But how often do we, in the education world, apply this stereotype to wealthy people? How often do we hear, “No wonder so many rich kids don’t do well at college; their parents are all alcoholics…”?

On the other hand, I might have 5, 10, or 20 low-income students who do not fit a particular stereotype about poor people, but if I have 2 or 3 who do fit it, those 2 or 3 can become, if I’m not aware of my biases, sufficient evidence to confirm my existing stereotype. As Jervis (2006) explains, “Given the complexity and ambiguity of our world, it is unfortunately true that beliefs for which a good deal of evidence can be mustered often turn out to be mistaken” (p. 643). If a low-income student regularly does not turn in homework, am I quicker to attribute it to her socioeconomic status than I would for a student in my own economic bracket?

Let’s consider another school-based example. There exist several common stereotypes about poor people in the U.S. that suggest that they are inattentive and, as a result, ineffective parents. Low-income parents or guardians who do not attend parent-teacher conferences can become targets of stereotyping—or worse, targets of blame—by those educators. According to Jervis (2006),

Judgments…can be self-reinforcing as ambiguous evidence is taken not only to be consistent with preexisting beliefs, but to confirm them. Logically, the latter is the case only when the evidence both fits with the belief and does not fit the competing ones. But people rarely probe the latter possibility as carefully as they should. (p. 651)

So, whereas a more well-to-do parent or guardian might be pardoned for missing structured opportunities for family involvement—she’s traveling for work—a low-income parent or guardian’s lack of this sort of involvement might be interpreted as additional evidence of disinterest in her or his child’s schooling (Pattereson, Hale, & Stessman, 2007).

In our efforts to become equity literate educators, one of our first tasks is to understand our own socializations and the ways in which we have bought into the stereotypes that hinder our abilities to connect with low-income families, or any families, in the most authentic, open way. It’s not easy. It takes an awful lot of humility to say we harbor stereotypes. The fact that many of us have been trained as teachers and administrators with frameworks like the “culture of poverty” that encourage stereotyping does not help. One important step in this process, though, is to nudge ourselves to rethink some of the most common stereotypes that exist about people in poverty and the extent to which we have been duped into believing them.

Mis-perceivers Are We: Common Stereotypes about Poor Families and Education

Poor people in the U.S. are stereotyped in innumerable ways (Williams, 2009). A vast majority of these stereotypes are just plain inaccurate. In fact, some are truer of wealthy people than poor people.

I decided several years ago to test a list of the stereotypes about people in poverty that are most common among my teacher education students against social science evidence (Gorski, 2008a), a process I revisited more recently in preparation for writing this book (Gorski, 2012). Is there a hint of truth in every stereotype? I wondered.

Here’s what I found.

Stereotype 1: Poor People Do Not Value Education

The most popular measure of parental attitudes about education, particularly among teachers, is “family involvement” (Jeynes, 2011). This stands to reason, as research consistently confirms a correlation between family involvement and school achievement (Lee & Bowen, 2006; Oyserman, Brickman, & Rhodes, 2007). However, too often, our notions of family involvement are limited in scope, focused only on in-school involvement—the kind of involvement that requires parents and guardians to visit their children’s schools or classrooms. While it is true that low-income parents and guardians are less likely to participate in this brand of “involvement” (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005), they engage in home-based involvement strategies, such as encouraging children to read and limiting television watching, more frequently than their wealthier counterparts (Lee & Bowen, 2006).

It might be easy, given the stereotype that low-income families do not value education, to associate low-income families’ less consistent engagement in on-site, publicly visible, school involvement, such as parent-teacher conferences, with an ethic that devalues education. In fact, research has shown that many teachers assume that low-income families are completely uninvolved in their children’s education (Patterson, Hale, & Stessman, 2007). However, in order to assume a direct relationship between disparities in on-site involvement and a disregard for the importance of school, we would have to omit considerable amounts of contrary evidence. First, low-income parents and guardians experience significant class-specific barriers to school involvement. These include consequences associated with the scarcity of living wage jobs, such as the ability to afford childcare or public transportation or the ability to afford to take time off from wage work (Bower & Griffin, 2011; Li, 2010). They also include the weight of low-income parents’ and guardians’ own school experiences, which often were hostile and unwelcoming (Lee & Bowen, 2006). Although some schools and districts have responded to these challenges by providing on-site childcare, transportation, and other mitigations, the fact remains that, on average, this type of involvement is considerably less accessible to poor families than to wealthier ones.

Broadly speaking, there simply is no evidence, beyond differences in on-site involvement, that attitudes about the value of education in poor communities differ in any substantial way from those in wealthier communities. The evidence, in fact, suggests that attitudes about the value of education among families in poverty are identical to those among families in other socioeconomic strata. In other words, poor people, demonstrating impressive resilience, value education just as much as wealthy people (Compton-Lilly, 2003; Grenfell & James, 1998) despite the fact that they often experience schools as unwelcoming and inequitable.

For example:

in a study of low-income urban families, Compton-Lilly (2000) found that parents overwhelmingly have high educational expectations for their children and expect their children’s teachers to have equally high expectations for them, particularly in reading;
in their study focusing on low-income African American parents, Cirecie West-Olatunji and her colleagues (2010) found that they regularly reached out to their children’s schools and stressed the importance of education to their children;
similarly, Patricia Jennings (2004), in her study on how women on welfare respond to the “culture of poverty” stereotype, found that single mothers voraciously valued and sought out educational opportunities for themselves, both as a way to secure living wage work and as an opportunity to model the importance of school to their children;
based on their study of 234 low-income parents and guardians, Kathryn Drummond and Deborah Stipek (2004) found that they worked tirelessly to support their children’s intellectual development;
during an ethnographic study of a racially diverse group of low-income families, Guofang Li (2010) found that parents, including those who were not English-proficient, used a variety of strategies to bolster their children’s literacy development;
a recent study shows, contrasting popular perception, that poor families invest just as much time as their wealthier counterparts exploring school options for their children (Grady, Bielick, & Aud, 2010); and
using data from the more than 20,000 families that participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Carey Cooper and her colleagues (2010) found, quite simply, that “poor parents reported engaging their children in home-learning activities as often as nonpoor parents” (p. 876).

As with any stereotype, the notion that people in poverty don’t value education might have more to do with our well-intended misinterpretations of social realities than with their disinterest in school. For example, some low-income families, and particularly low-income immigrant families, may not be as informed as their wealthier counterparts about how educational systems in the U.S. work (Ceja, 2006; Lareau & Meininger, 2008), an obvious consequence of the alienation from school systems many poor people experience, starting with their time as students. It can be easy to interpret this lack of understanding, which is a symptom, itself, of educational inequities, as disinterest. Similarly, it can be easy to interpret lower levels of some types of school involvement, including types that are not scheduled or structured to be accessible to low-income families, as evidence that low-income parents simply don’t care about school. But these interpretations, in the end, are based more on stereotype than reality. They are, for the most part, just plain wrong.

The challenge for us, then, is to do the difficult work of considering what we are apt to misinterpret, not simply as a fluffy attempt at “inclusion,” but as a high-stakes matter of student success. After all, research also shows that when teachers perceive that their parents value education, they tend to assess student work more positively (Hill & Craft, 2003). Bias matters.

Stereotype 2: Poor People Are Lazy

Another common stereotype about poor people, and particularly poor people of color (Cleaveland, 2008; Seccombe, 2002), is that they are lazy or have weak work ethics (Kelly, 2010). Unfortunately, despite its inaccuracy, the “laziness” image of people in poverty and the stigma attached to it has particularly devastating effects on the morale of poor communities (Cleaveland, 2008).

The truth is, there is no indication that poor people are lazier or have weaker work ethics than people from other socioeconomic groups (Iversen & Farber, 1996; Wilson, 1997). To the contrary, all indications are that poor people work just as hard as, and perhaps harder than, people from higher socioeconomic brackets (Reamer, Waldron, Hatcher, & Hayes, 2008). In fact, poor working adults work, on average, 2,500 hours per year, the rough equivalent of 1.2 full time jobs (Waldron, Roberts, & Reamer, 2004), often patching together several part-time jobs in order to support their families. People living in poverty who are working part-time are more likely than people from other socioeconomic conditions to be doing so involuntarily, despite seeking full-time work (Kim, 1999).

This is an astounding display of resilience in light of the fact that working low-income people are concentrated in the lowest-paying jobs with the most negligible opportunities for advancement; in jobs that require the most intense manual labor and offer virtually no benefits, such as paid sick leave (Kim, 1999). If you are thinking, Well, then they should find better-paying jobs, consider this: more than one out of five jobs in the U.S. pays at a rate that is below the poverty threshold (Waldron et al, 2004). And prospects are growing steadily dimmer, as more and more new jobs pay a poverty-level or lower wage (Reamer et al, 2008). According to the National Employment Law Project (2011), after increased unemployment rates over the last several years, the “recovery” brought back over a million jobs, but a disproportionate number of them were low-wage jobs, which accounted for 23% of job losses prior to 2010, but nearly half of newly available jobs as of 2011. Meanwhile, less than half of the jobs the Department of Labor predicts will be added to the U.S. economy by 2018 will pay enough to keep a two-worker, two-child, family out of poverty (Wider Opportunities for Women, 2010).

Stereotype 3: Poor People Are Substance Abusers

As I mentioned earlier, low-income people in the U.S. are less likely to use or abuse alcohol than their wealthier counterparts (Galea et al, 2007; Keyes & Hasin, 2008; NSDUH, 2004). Interestingly, this pattern is consistent internationally. Around the world, alcohol use and addiction are associated positively with income; in other words, the higher somebody’s income, the more likely he is to use alcohol or to be an alcoholic (Degenhardt et al, 2008).

Patterns of alcohol use among youth are a little less definitive. Some studies suggest that, as with the broader population, alcohol consumption and addiction are positively related to income. For example, in their study of two populations of high school students, one predominantly white and economically privileged and the other predominantly African American and low-income, Kevin Chen and his colleagues (2003) found significantly higher alcohol consumption in the former than the latter. Studies by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2004) and Monitoring the Future (2008) suggest that alcohol use among youth is equally distributed across socioeconomic strata. What is certain is that alcohol use and addiction are less prevalent overall among low-income people than among their wealthier counterparts. This is particularly astounding, and an indication of tremendous resiliency among low-income communities, when we consider that alcohol abuse can be a side effect of discrimination and social deprivation, such as inequitable access to social services (Lee & Jeon, 2005).

Similarly, there is little evidence that low-income people are more likely than wealthier people to use illicit drugs. Drug use in the U.S. is distributed fairly evenly across income levels (Degenhardt et al, 2008; Saxe, et al., 2001), regardless of age and other factors. According to Monitoring the Future (2008), for instance, found that socioeconomic status does not predict rates of alcohol use and abuse among youth.

It is true, of course, that alcohol and drug abuse exist in poor communities, just as it exists in wealthier communities. It also is true that substance abuse is a serious issue that has deleterious effects on youth regardless of their socioeconomic status. I certainly am not making the point that we should not attend to drug and alcohol use among low-income people or consider how it affects students’ opportunities to achieve in school. We should. We also should realize that when these problems do exist in low-income families, they have the potential to be particularly devastating because people in poverty who are struggling with substance abuse generally do not have at their disposal the sorts of recovery opportunities available to wealthier families. Nor do they have access to preventative medical attention that might catch and treat growing dependencies before they become full-fledged addictions. This is one of many reasons to advocate for universal health care as one way to ensure equitable educational opportunity.

What we must try not to do is falsely associate drug and alcohol use and addiction with a “culture of poverty” or think of it as yet another example of why poor people are poor.

Stereotype 4: Poor People Are Linguistically Deficient and Poor Communicators

Mirroring attitudes in the broader society, many educators have been led to believe erroneously that poor people, like my Grandma, are linguistically deficient (Collins, 1988; Miller, Cho, & Bracey, 2005). This is a particularly dangerous stereotype given the extent to which students’ identities are associated with their languages (Gayles & Denerville, 2007; Grant, Oka, & Baker, 2009). Criticizing a person’s language means criticizing her or his deepest self. It can lead students targeted in this way to feel disconnected from school (Christensen, 2008).

Fortunately, there is good reason not to criticize. When teachers assume that language is a marker of intelligence, the stereotype that poor people are also language-poor negatively affects their assessments of low-income students’ performance (Grant, Oka, & Baker, 2009). This stereotype is built upon two shaky assumptions: (1) that poor children do not enter school with the volume or type of vocabulary they need to succeed (and that this is a reflection of parent disinterest in education), and (2) that the use of particular variations of English reflect inferior language capabilities.

The idea that children from low-income families enter school linguistically deprived, with smaller or less complex vocabularies than their wealthier peers, and that this condition is a result of family “cultures” that devalue learning, has become part of the “common sense” of education reform. What you might not know is that the idea that low-income students are linguistically deficient is based largely on a single study of a few dozen economically diverse families in the Kansas City area (Hart & Risley, 1995), as described in great detail by Curt Dudley-Marling and Krista Lucas (2009) in their essay, “Pathologizing the Language and Culture of Poor Children.”

Studies have shown, indeed, that low-income and working class children begin school with less-developed reading skills on average than their wealthier counterparts (Children’s Defense Fund, 2008). This initial discrepancy can foreshadow lags in reading proficiency throughout their school lives (Duncan et al, 2007). However, there is no evidence that this discrepancy in reading skills is connected to a language use deficiency or that it reflects parental disinterest in education. Similarly, based on their study involving a sample of 1,364 racially diverse public school children, Veronique Dupere and her colleagues (2010) concluded that reading score differences between low-income and wealthier students could be explained largely by discrepancies in the sorts of institutions to which they had access throughout early childhood. For example, poor and working class families, unlike many of their wealthier counterparts, rarely have access to high-quality early childhood education programs that support children’s language learning in intensive, engaging ways (Kilburn & Karoly, 2008; Temple, Reynolds, & Arteaga, 2010).

The second shaky notion, that particular variations of English reflect superior or inferior language capabilities, incorrectly assumes the existence of “superior” and “inferior” language varieties (Miller, Cho, & Bracey, 2005). Linguists roundly reject this superior/inferior dichotomy. Some call it “standard language ideology” in reference to the presumptuous and familiar term, “standard English” (Lippi-Green, 1994). According to Kathryn Woolard and Bambi Schieffelin (1994), “Moral indignation over nonstandard forms [of language] derives from ideological associations of the standard with the qualities valued within the culture, such as clarity or truthfulness” (p. 64). In fact, since at least the early 1970s linguists have bemoaned the ways in which students are taught to misunderstand the nature of language, including the false dichotomy of “correct/proper” and “incorrect/improper” language varieties (Baugh, 1983; Burling, 1973).

In linguistic reality, all variations of a language and all dialects, from what some people call “Black English Vernacular” (Gayles & Denerville, 2007) to the Appalachian English spoken by my Grandma (Luhman, 1990), are highly structured with their own sets of grammatical rules (Miller, Cho, & Bracey, 2005). These variations of English, like so-called “standard” English, are not indicators of poor intelligence or deficient cultures. Instead, they are indicators of the regional, cultural, and social contexts in which somebody learned to speak. Among linguists this is no revelation. More than 100 years of linguistic research points to the fact that all languages and language varieties are communicatively equal because they are, in their contexts, equally complex and coherent (see, for example, Boas, 1911; Chomsky, 1965; Labov, 1972; Newmeyer, 1985; Terry et al., 2010). As James Collins (1988) explains, “…languages are systems, of formidable and roughly equal complexity, whether classic ‘world languages’ or the speech of economically simple societies, whether prestige standards or stigmatized dialects” (p. 301).

Another common language stereotype is that children from poor families primarily speak with an “informal” register or style, as I might speak with my sister or a close friend, while their middle class and wealthier peers speak with a “formal” register, as I might speak during a job interview. However, like other forms of code-switching—the ways we modify behavior based on the context in which we find ourselves—all people use a broad range of language registers (Brizuela, Andersen, & Stallings, 1999; Edwards, 1976), regardless of the variety of language we speak. The false association, for instance, of middle Appalachian English with informal register mistakes “formal” ways of speaking with what we call “standard” English.

To be clear, I do not mean to suggest that students, low-income or not, do not need to learn the varieties of English that will help them gain access to the fullest range of educational and vocational opportunities. I believe, in fact, that I, as an educator, have a responsibility to help students develop a firm understanding of, and ability to use, what some people mistakenly call “standard” English. But I believe that I should do so without denigrating the language varieties spoken in students’ homes and communities and without wrongly assuming that students’ language varieties are indicators of their intelligence.

A related stereotype, and one that is featured prominently in the “culture of poverty” or “mindset of poverty” model (Payne, 2005), is that low-income people are ineffective communicators. Ruby Payne has said, and incorrectly so, that people in poverty often fight with each other because they do not have the necessary verbal communication skills to resolve conflicts. “Words are not seen as being very effective in generational poverty to resolve differences; fists are,” (2006, ¶ 3) she has written in her brief essay, “Reflections on Katrina and the Role of Poverty in the Gulf Coast Crisis.”

Contrasting this stereotype, studies have shown that low-income people communicate with the same sophistication as their wealthier peers. For example, Mary Ohmer and her colleagues (2010) studied the communication strategies used by members of a low-income, predominantly African American community who had assembled to confront a variety of neighborhood problems. They documented how people at these gatherings discussed and modeled complex communication techniques that could help them address these problems effectively with their neighbors. They talked, for instance, about using language to de-escalate conflict, being conscious of their tone of voice, and approaching their neighbors in an inviting, non-hostile manner.

Their study reminded me of the time I spent as a child with my Grandma’s peoples in the mountains of Appalachian western Maryland, where I never heard so much as a raised voice nor saw a single person lay anything other than a friendly hand on anybody else.

Stereotype 5: Poor People Are Ineffective and Inattentive Parents

In my experience, the “bad parent” stereotype is based largely on other false stereotypes, like the ones we already have debunked: poor parents don’t value education, poor parents are substance abusers, and so on. It also is based on decontextualized considerations of other sorts of evidence. For instance, when I hear that low-income children watch television and participate in other sedentary activities at higher rates than their wealthier peers, my initial reaction might be, “A-ha, further evidence that poor parents are inattentive to children’s well-being.” In order to reach that conclusion, though, I would have to ignore the fact that low-income youth have considerably less access to a whole range of after school and extracurricular activities, as well as to recreational facilities, than their wealthier peers (Macleod et al., 2008; Shann, 2001).

Researchers routinely have found that low-income parents and guardians are extremely attentive to their children’s needs despite the many barriers they must overcome to provide for their families. This is no less true for poor single mothers, who often are the most scorned targets of the “bad parent” stereotype. We already established, for instance, that poor single mothers overwhelmingly claim a sense of responsibility for inspiring their children to pursue higher education. More broadly speaking, when Robert Hawkins (2010) used a variety of qualitative research techniques to examine how 20 formerly homeless single mothers use their social networks to improve their lives, he found that they prioritized the wellbeing of their children in virtually every decision they made. He also found that they were not shy about seeking the help they needed to provide a good life for their children, even when doing so made them vulnerable or uncomfortable.

In fact, following their longitudinal study of low-income families, a follow-up to Annette Lareau’s (2000) now-famous study of how socioeconomic class affects children’s home lives, she and Elliot Weininger (2008) unequivocally denounced the “bad parent” stereotype. They concluded that “working class and poor parents are no less deeply committed … to the well being of their children than are middle class parents” (p. 142).

The Dangers of Stereotypes and Stereotype Threat

Why, you may be wondering, are we spending so much time on stereotypes? Why are we focusing on all of this negativity rather than talking about what we can do to strengthen educational opportunities for all students?

… In the end, our understandings of poverty and our attitudes toward poor families play an enormous role, and perhaps the most enormous role, in how we see and treat our low-income students (Robinson, 2007; Williams, 2009), not to mention the lengths to which we will or will not go to advocate for them and their educational rights.

The dangers of not doing so are plentiful. Stereotypes can make us unnecessarily afraid or accusatory of our own students, including our most disenfranchised students, not to mention their families. They can misguide us into expressing low expectations for poor youth and their families or to blame them for very the ways in which the barriers they face impede their abilities to engage with schools the way some of us might engage with schools.

Complicating matters, according to Claude Steele (2010), an expert on stereotyping and its dangers, people who are stereotyped are attuned to the ways in which they are stereotyped. As a result, the accuracy of a stereotype about people in poverty might be irrelevant to the toll the stereotype takes on our low-income students. He explains:

This means that whenever we’re in a situation where a bad stereotype could be applied to us—such as those about being old, poor, rich, or female—we know it. We know what ‘people could think.’ We know that anything we do that fits the stereotype could be taken as confirming it. And we know that, for that reason, we could be judged and treated accordingly. (p. 5)

The weight of this “knowing,” imagining the very possibility that somebody might target them with a stereotype, can affect students’ school performance and emotional wellbeing, as research on stereotype susceptibility and stereotype threat has demonstrated (McKown & Weinstein, 2003; Steele, 2010). Stereotype threat, according to Bettina Spencer and Emanuele Castano (2007), occurs when people who share a particular identity—race, for example, or socioeconomic status—perform below their potential on an assigned task due to fear that their performance will confirm negative stereotypes people already have about them. The stereotype threat hypothesis might sound like a far-fetched idea, particularly for those of us who never have been consistent targets of bias related race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or other identities. We might wonder how stereotypes can have such an immediate and measureable effect on students. But stereotype threat is real as evidenced by a robust and constantly growing collection of studies demonstrating its effects (Steele, 2010). Most of the researchers studying stereotype threat have focused on its effects for students of color and female students. However, stereotype threat also affects low-income students. For example, when informed that their socioeconomic status is relevant to a task they are being asked to complete, such as by being told before a test that students in poverty do not do as well on it, on average, as wealthier students, low-income students perform worse than they when nobody suggests the disparity (Spencer & Castano, 2007).

So our understandings of and attitude about people in poverty, even if we don’t believe we are applying them to individual students, have an effect on low-income students’ school performance. Stereotypes and biases matter. They matter in an extremely practical and immediate way. And no amount of resources or pedagogical strategies will help us provide the best opportunity for low-income students to reach their full potentials as learners if we do not attend, first, to the stereotypes, biases, and assumptions we have about them and their families. Our first practical task, then, is this: identify, then work on expunging, what we thought we knew about poor people if what we thought we knew paints families in poverty with broad, negative, stereotype-ridden strokes.