Thursday, May 31, 2018

Raising the Barr

As a Contrarian by nature I do look at things often in the opposite of the mainstream but I am also a Libra so that may be something to do with it.

The last weekend I spent at what ostensibly is another example of White Privilege although I saw a handful of Black elderly women and a couple of black men, one Chinese man and a few young white people at the Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference. The bulk of the attendees, of which there were 200, were white people well over age 45 and largely women.   This is the biggest prospective writers be they former or current who are interested in publishing a memoir or some type of personal based essay or novel.  This is the large cohort funding the absurd MFA programs across the country.  And for quite some time are money makers for Universities and Colleges but serve few.

 The Conference was in Pittsburgh which was the second choice of my relocation plans as they have the same emphasis on medical industrial services as does Nashville.  I wish now I had chosen to move to Pittsburgh as frankly it is a far more superior gentrifying City.  Many residents are expressing frustration as with it comes rising costs and displacement but the city has a strong infrastructure that enables many to walk, ride, or just simply commute to work despite some complaints about transit and traffic.  They need to come to Nashville to see how bad that really is before commenting.  I also thought that Pittsburgh was a way more integrated and had more faces of color wandering about throughout the city during the long weekend I was there.  And I never heard the expression "The Pennsylvania Way" or the "Nashville Way" ever from the residents with whom I spoke and actually laughed when I asked them if that was an expression ever used in casual interactions.  They are a sports town, however, as the Stanley Cup and Super Bowl can attest and they can wax on about teams all day. Working class down to its roots they seem to embrace that ouvere in the same way Nashville believes it is the Paris of the South.  No that is just on the border of Tennessee, seriously there is a Paris Tennessee.

 I spoke with few participants as I am horrible at networking and I was also fighting my "black lung" disease, which living in Nashville is a common ailment given the bowl like nature of the geography; Asthma is a real issue here and again the countdown to leaving cannot come soon enough.  So being ill I simply just wanted as minimal conversation as possible as it was exhausting.  But I had as much success talking to the participants as I do here in Nashville and found them as one would find writers, self involved, utterly unaware of a larger picture and frankly boring as writing about one's self does do.  You can only talk about yourself so long and so much.  And in turn I found the conference lacking in actual real advice in self publishing, finding representation, promotion, marketing, working with Editors and legal and financial considerations when you elect to write and that generates conversation but nope they had writing prompts on tables to generate exchanges.   That bombed day one and I skipped the next morning breakfast to have room service.   I hope that next year that they enable one to have a day pass and sign up for the workshops you find beneficial as there were only two and I may have found another that might have been useful but it was at a conflicted time in which the one I chose was less so.  Again, information and disclosure is part of writing and funny how little was explained as to the content and subject of the talk.  Writing is a skill and funny how in some forms and types of writing not everyone excels.   My favorite statement was: There are more writers than readers.  Really?  Every writer should read so it should mathematically equal itself out and therefore telling a writer that you may never be read is not true.  One person will read at least one other persons writing and that could be a friend, a family member, a reader, a fellow writer and you should be happy that at least one did.  But to then follow it up with upbeat statements that Writers change the world then you better be one who is read.  Been to a Library?  I go every week and even I can't read all the books there let alone the ones that line my own personal collection.   I am an avid reader and hence I buy many books as I know I cannot get to them in a library time frame so I buy it so it can remind me daily that I need to read, more and often.  What most of these conferences do is not teach necessary skills but sell shit to those who fail to have them.   I am beginning to believe that those who do, do, those who can't teach.   Frankly just do it and I was impressed that one woman and her friend were electing to publish their own literary journal and were exhausted from the negative feedback which they felt was akin to ageism so there you go.  Little was truly addressed to this graying crowd about the reality of this and options in which to find ways to still be read by that one person.

So my goal was to write, to stop excusing and distracting myself from this order I need to fill my sole and raise the bar to be better.

Then to return home I found the usual Tennessee shit which I wrote about in the Daily Dump.  So I instead buckled down to catch up on the bad TV and get my health back on track after the past year of neglecting it with more excuses centered around my dental health.  I have since had my zirconium bridge placed before leaving for Pittsburgh so it was a joy to eat like a normal person and sit in a restaurant have a meal and not feel like shit.  Who knew it was possible?

Speaking of normal I see Roseanne Barr went off the deep end and tweeted utterly inappropriate and yes racist remarks about Valerie Jarret.  If anyone followed her over Twitter over the years you would know she is unstable emotionally, functionally illiterate and clearly exhibiting mental illness.  I had to quit following her in the same way one does with Trump as nothing good comes from it and to make yourself angry is one thing to laugh at another and frankly there are better things to do with my time.  I need to raise the bar when it comes to filling my time.

When I read Jimmy Kimmel's response to the Barr meltdown I respected his opinion.   And yes he reminds me a lot of Howard Stern, who Kimmel has openly admired and modeled himself after, as one who is utterly a hypocrite who has tried to evolve.   Stern back in the day I found hillarious and he used to eviscerate people daily, hourly on his show.  A show Trump used to do the same and yet Stern over the years has tried to grow and change but frankly the man is 60 plus years old that is what you do so it is not something in which to be proud but accept and move forward.  Stern has made apologies and is trying to reconcile and justify his rage and I respect it but I am no longer a member of the Stern nation and have long dumped Sirius as my radio is all Sonos and I get BBC America and that is all I need to get me through the day.  Anger? I just watch the Real Housewives of New York or well any of the franchises as those bitches hate each other.

Bill Maher who also has had is issues when he was on Politically Incorrect on ABC it was immediately cancelled and his HBO show has also come under fire for his use of the word "Nigger" in reference to himself as the type of slave he would be if said came to be today.  It was a bad joke but a joke as he did not refer to or call anyone a name even in inference.  Barr did not do this and it was not a joke unless you are a Trumptard then it's hilarious.  Maher apologized and at times I think his Islamaphobia is off putting but I choose to shut the show off at that point as I frankly find it appalling, that is the good thing about TV you can do that.  The same thing with Roseanne Barr as her reboot brought all kinds of  hysterics, but people watched.  If the angry raging machine had not watched the ratings I suspect would be lower and in turn this issue of her cancellation would be much different.  The show sucked, it was not funny and oddly out of touch.  Not surprising as Roseanne is a wealthy woman and for years lived on a Macadamia plantation which at one point she tried to have a reality show about that which failed.  No one wants to see the real Roseanne as she is nuts.  This is not something to watch unless paid to do so and are a medical professional.    And Maher too recently commented about Roseanne and thought this version was not the woman who he knew and loved so and there are many more that frankly have known her for years, throughout her earlier struggles with multiple marriages and problems during the first run, all which are indicative that perhaps it was less about here being a "strong woman" and more a disturbed one.   But as long as money comes in all the slights, bizarre antics and the rest are ignored.

Which brings me to to the last bullshit #MeToo story that I heard about Morgan Freeman.  Mr. Freeman is 80 years old.  He had health problems and it is clear from anyone who watched the Oscars where he spoke with some challenge and was clearly suffering the pangs of age he is no threat to anyone.  So when I read about a CNN reporter alleging he sexually harassed her I thought WTF?  Let me see you are not employed by him, he has no authority over your work or can affect your employment how is that harassing.  You mean you cannot get up walk out and call CNN and say send someone else that this old man is saying shit that makes you uncomfortable?  You cannot correct him in a dignified manner and ask him to stop with the inappropriate remarks and in turn remind him that you are the press and this kind of language is on the record?  Grow up and handle your shit. Raise the bar and step over it and own it.

 We are never going to handle any of this until we learn how to speak to each other face to face, fear offending someone, taking offense and working to resolve it.  I have tried too many times to talk to women of late and they are utterly off the chain with offense.  I suggested to a woman at the conference who teaches in a ESL school that since her programs are now cancelled and she is moving to a new job she feels for her students and is worried about them.  I suggested she write a flash fiction story about her school and her students telling their stories in their voices to let people know about what is happening in our society with our fear over Immigrants.  She said she could not do that as she is not of their race or country and cannot tell their story.  My response was, "Who will then?"  That ended the dialogue.  Unless you are overwhelmingly positive, glowing and constantly repeating the script you will be as isolated as I am living here.  But I know it is everywhere as we are fucking afraid.  Of what well that depends on you.  Grow up and live but live unafraid.   Raise the bar. 

Quit talking about her. Go out and find a park to walk in and pick up litter to make your world cleaner.  Go to your Library and find that book you have meant to read and read it.  Say hello to someone you pass on the street and buy a coffee for the person behind you in Starbucks, that will end the bullshit about bias. We all have it get over it. Raise the bar.

Jimmy Kimmel: ‘The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion’
by Samantha Schmidt
The Washington Post
May 31 2018

Jimmy Kimmel has seen his late-night profile skyrocket through his emotional pleas for health-care legislation, his impassioned calls for gun control and his fierce criticism of President Trump. He has been referred to as “America’s conscience,” and, by all accounts, fits comfortably on the political left.

So it would seem unlikely that Kimmel would voice his support for Roseanne Barr the day after his own network, ABC, ousted her for posting what it called an “abhorrent, repugnant” tweet about former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. But on Wednesday, Kimmel did just that.

“What @TheRealRoseanne said is indefensible, but angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good for anyone,” Kimmel tweeted. “Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now.”

Amid the fury at Barr’s racist comment, Kimmel’s contrarian tweet was a risk — and it immediately prompted a barrage of criticism. By asking his followers to “take a breath,” Kimmel managed to spur even more attacks.

Many critics, including some who professed to be his fans, accused Kimmel of being complicit, or of using mental illness to excuse racism.

“What she said is indefensible but you’re going to defend her anyway?” the writer Roxane Gay responded on Twitter. “Mental illness, if that’s what this is, does not excuse racism. It is not synonymous with racism. And critique is not attack.”

“I really like Jimmy Kimmel, so this is disappointing,” wrote Frederick Joseph. “Yes, mental health issues are real — as is racism. Roseanne didn’t call Valerie Jarrett an ape because of mental health issues, and she didn’t do a nazi holocaust parody photoshoot because of her mental issues.”

Mental illness does not give a person a “free pass” for bad behavior, tweeted Michael Fischer, “signed the rest of us with mental illnesses who aren’t lucky enough to have a celeb cape for us on twitter.”

“I am sure the people who suffer daily because of racism could use some compassion right now too,” tweeted Dani Bostick.

The comedian Livia Scott tweeted that while Kimmel might know Barr personally, “this is the time for a text to her, not a tweet to us. Stay in your lane Jimmy.”

By not staying in his “lane,” Kimmel showed the danger in sharing an unpopular, albeit nuanced, opinion in the midst of a national uproar.

Critics began picking apart the late-night host’s own checkered past involving issues of race. They once again resurfaced a clip from his Comedy Central series “The Man Show,” which ran from 1999 to 2003, branded as “a joyous celebration of chauvinism.” In at least one episode, Kimmel appeared in full-body brown makeup to portray Utah Jazz player Karl Malone.

One collage of memes read: “Remember kids, America’s Moral Authority used to make tv appearances in blackface to mock Oprah and black NBA players.”

“I guess if you’re Jimmy Kimmel it’s ok though even when you know for sure …” the tweet stated.

As Barr continued tweeting well into early Thursday morning, she retweeted a post that defended her, saying: “While Kimmel, Olbermann, Behar, Sykes & the list goes on, vehemently attack & lie about all of us & @POTUS daily, others like Rosie are destroyed for far less.”

Roseanne Barr’s offensive comments got her canceled

But Kimmel did receive his share of supporters. The actress Andie MacDowell agreed with his call for compassion, tweeting, “The cream rises to the top with empathy and compassion … two wrongs don’t make a right. I hear you. What had to happen happened. No need to be cruel.”

MacDowell followed up by saying she is glad ABC canceled Barr’s show, but at “the same time I don’t like to see the Joy people are having kicking her. I want us to be better than that …”

While some accused Kimmel of making assumptions about Barr’s mental health, Barr has been fairly open her battles with mental illness over the years. In an interview in Esquire magazine in 2001, she said she suffers from multiple personality disorder.

“It’s like living in a maze,” she told the writer, Mike Sager. “It’s like that old woman who keeps adding on to her house . … But the parts don’t get along and some of them have some real strange ideas about how to defend,” said the comedian. But after a decade of therapy, she said at the time, she managed to integrate the personalities and achieve “co-consciousness.”

In a 2012 interview with Piers Morgan, Barr said “the issue of mental health is very near and dear to me.” After many years, she said, “I’m more centered, I’m in the best place that I’ve ever been in. A lot of that is because I have done the work.”

But Barr has also been known for her unhinged, controversial tweets in recent years. In fact, Kimmel discussed her Twitter usage when he invited Barr onto his show in March to discuss the reboot of her show “Roseanne.”

When Barr mentioned her own campaign for president in 2012, Kimmel said, “you were kind of the original crazy tweeter running for president.”

Laughing, Barr seemed to agree. “Trump totally stole my act,” she said. “I ran my whole campaign on Twitter in 2012.”

Kimmel asked her about her attacks on Hillary Clinton, saying “I think you accused her of being a murderer on Twitter didn’t you.”

“I did not!” Barr insisted. Kimmel responded with a chuckle, ” Roseanne, you know I’m going to find that tweet in the next 40 seconds, right.”

Barr cursed at Kimmel, as they both continued laughing.

“I’m getting in so much trouble,” Barr also said.

“No you’re not getting in trouble,” Kimmel said. “Listen, you’re expressing your views, as crazy as they may be.”

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” aired a re-run on Thursday night. But on Wednesday night, Kimmel addressed the news that ABC was putting an end to “Roseanne.”

“You’re not going to believe this, but she tweeted something outrageous,” Kimmel said sarcastically. “I know, yeah, right, the president did it too, it’s crazy.”

He called the ABC show’s cancellation a “huge blow” to his network.

“We don’t have much on this network,” he said. “We’re hoping the NBA finals goes 11 games this year. We’re still airing ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ okay. ‘Roseanne’ was a very bigly hit for ABC, and we needed it.”

But, Kimmel joked, “the show must go on.”

“I have an idea that I think makes this work for everyone,” he said. In a sketch, he suggested a reboot of the show without Barr, focused on her co-star John Goodman, who plays Dan Conners. Its title? “Dan.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Daily Dump

As one should for health do so and in my case that means allowing myself a rant about the Great Cheeto in the Sky Trump's visit to Nashville yesterday to fund raise for the idiot Marsha Blackburn and hold a Klan rally in Downtown Nashville.

First let's talk about the costs to the city regarding said visit.  Most City offices, including the Library were closing at 2 pm for his 7 pm visit.  The MTA transit was re-routed to the Convention Center at 11 am as the Municipal Auditorium is next door to the prime transit center and the crowd, all 1000 of them to fit into a 7K center who were not admitted until 4 pm a place that holds concerts, a Museum and yet for Trump we need to shut that down.  The cost of Police, Sheriff and the like is also increased and the "downtown" core of Nashville was in turn duly affected with Guests and others who live and work and were visiting post Memorial Day in turn also pushed out costing said businesses that are adjacent I am sure untold dollars.  This does not include the roads to and from the airport, largely affecting Donelson as Trump began his whirlwind erection tour through the area.  I am sure Opry Mills was also affected by loss of business due to the rerouting of traffic.  But does it matter here in Trump CUNTRY?  No as Blackburn and Diane Black (MIA sadly) love the Trump. I hope they don't get HIV or HPV from all that.  All this while Nashville is trying to right a budget that is around 38K in shortfall (more about that in a minute).

Then we have the Roseanne scandal and frankly the woman is mentally ill and it only proves that as long as money is involved treatment and help goes ignored and for the rest of us it takes guns to realize that there is a serious issue when it comes to demonstrating the severity of mental illness.  Our prisons are now defacto mental health clinics and we see how well that is working out.  Maybe Trump Ambien tweets too?

And let's talk about Diane Black my personal favorite candidate for Governor here in Tennessee.  She is nuts.   She is a Trumptard times ten, a woman who is rich beyond the pale, lies to the n'th degree, is angry, racist, and believes Pornography is the cause behind gun violence.   She rarely votes in Congress but she is upset about free press, free speech and truth.  I love this idiot she is taking over from my Beav!  I miss Mae Beavers!  She put the special in needs.  These women however are not mentally ill they are just cunts, whoops I mean Southern Belle's.

And speaking of the Belles they need to stop feeding their kids. Food is not comfort but here in the South that and reading the Bible is considered as such and once again we make another top ten list - for Obesity and particularly children.

Next up on the hit parade I am not sure what to make of Ikea pulling out of Ikea. In the theme of an STD I have long been wearing protection when it comes to that company.  I have written many times in this blog about this "non-profit" organization that takes strong advantages of tax breaks and other means to defer paying their share of operations in the communities it sets up is kuferflugen.    There was a release of a memo that Ikea was not opening planned stores in several cities and in turn Nashville was mentioned.  Within hours denials by local and community individuals claimed it was full steam ahead, this did not however include Ikea who immediately within the hour confirmed that the planned store in Antioch would be cancelled.   This is a long line of bullshit that developers use to generate faux publicity for deals yet signed, sealed and delivered.   I cannot wait to see what the real plans are for the larger builds that are planned in downtown Nashville for right now when it veers out of restaurants and bars that are entertainment or hospitality based.  In other words we have  a glut of bad food and bars but no retail, no service business such as drugstores, dry cleaners, food, hardware, movies or other retail that offers residents options to shop  and do.  But then again every time Trump shows up they would have to close early for reasons I have yet to understand.  No other city does this when a President shows up, Obama came to Seattle and just the adjacent streets were shut but no stores, businesses or city offices felt compelled to do so.  Why is that?

And on the heels of Ikea the lamented MLS stadium that is being built down the street from my home is now undergoing a change of design.  Funny how that was etched in stone when Barry was Mayor but now with budget shortfalls and a new Chief the plans were altered and a  public meeting was held showing them for input.  Guess that input worked? No it was again decided well in advance but they went ahead with the meeting, played nice well not really and submitted the change order immediately after.  Shocking? No, not really this is the South or just Nashville.

Again the 38K shortfall comes from a lack of revenue, revenue anticipated by property taxes that oddly were appealed and in turn given.  So that means many of the homeowners of Nashville may be house rich but cash poor or that the massive commercial properties were also awarded tax deference.  Oh look, I was right!

When the largest shopping mall operator in the United States acquired Opry Mills in 2007, it paid $379 million, according to Simon Property Group’s most recent annual report.

Ten years later, after the mall was flooded and rebuilt, the Davidson County Property Assessor’s office valued the property at $334 million. But Simon appealed and won a 10 percent reduction, which meant an annual tax savings for the conglomerate of more than $430,000.

Opry Mills, the land and shopping center by the Cumberland River, was one of about 1,000 high-value commercial properties whose owners successfully appealed the 2017 Nashville reassessment. Those commercial properties accounted for more than 80 percent of the county’s total reduction in assessed value, according to a Tennessean analysis of assessment data.

Successful appeals last year exceeded expectations, and Metro Nashville government is now grappling with a property tax shortfall of between $20 and $25 million.

It comes when the city is financially strained, with its school district losing millions in state funding, a government-wide hiring freeze and an underfunded safety-net hospital.
Large properties are tough to appraise

Major commercial landowners were able to win big concessions on their property, experts say, because the reassessment hit during a booming real estate market, while swaths of Nashville were redeveloping — making it difficult for county assessors to capture market values. Also, large properties are tough to appraise, since there are fewer similar comparisons.

On average, commercial properties valued at more than $1 million, that won appeals, received a 20 percent reduction in assessed value, the analysis showed. These include some of the city's biggest apartment complexes, hospitals, parking garages and shopping centers. That's slightly more than the average for all commercial properties, and greater than the 13 percent average for residential properties.

Out of the $20 million in lost taxes, $12.4 million came from the Metro Board of Equalization’s reductions on commercial properties. Assessor Vivian Wilhoite’s office is appealing 11 decisions to State Board of Equalization, including the Opry Mills reduction.

“It may be that the market was expanding so quickly that it was hard to keep up with it,” said Larry Clark, director of strategic initiatives for the International Association of Assessing Officers. “Unfortunately, local jurisdictions are asked to appraise all kinds of properties, some of which they may not be qualified to appraise. There are bound to be mistakes made along the way.”
'I’m very confident in the values that we appraised'

Officials from Assessor’s office defended the 2017 reappraisal, which saw a record 37 percent average value increase over the last appraisal four years earlier.

Assessor Vivian Wilhoite, who was elected in 2016, said her office had to consider any new information that property owners presented during an appeal, and make reductions when warranted. The greatest share of lost value came during formal appeals at the Board of Equalization, which Wilhoite pointed out, is independent from her office.

“It’s not something that we have any control over,” she said.

Property owners were more likely to win an appeal last year than in the previous reappraisal. The Metro Board of Equalization changed 61 percent of appraisals in 2017 compared to 55 percent in 2013. At the informal appeal level, the Assessor's office changed 69 percent of appeals, compared to 64 percent in 2013.

The Metro Board of Equalization is a panel of five Davidson County property owners, plus five alternates, who are appointed by the mayor and approved by the Metro Council. Some are real estate professionals, including a commercial developer, a real estate agent, and a real estate attorney.

Board Chairman Derrick Starks did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Large properties better equipped to handle appraisals

The board gave a 22 percent reduction to the owners of Element Music Row, the luxury apartment complex at 1515 Demonbreun St. Element’s owners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based development company called Childress Klein, brought their own appraisal to the board, showing the property’s expected rental income. The board agreed to lower the county's appraisal from $160.9 million to $125 million. With the appeal, the company will save $453,000 a year in taxes. Reappraisals are valid for four years.

Large commercial property owners sometimes spend thousands of dollars to hire experts and conduct their own appraisals. Smaller mom-and-pop owners, on the other hand, aren’t as well-equipped to argue against a reappraisal.

“The larger properties — it’s to their advantage to try to get a reduction,” said Richard Exton, an appraiser who is running for Register of Deeds in the May 1 election. “It makes sense to spend the money and get an appraisal done.”)

Element Music Row was one of 11 properties on Demonbreun to win appeals. The downtown street is emblematic of Nashville’s redevelopment. During recent years, private developers built or are in the process of constructing luxury condominiums and apartments, a full-service hotel, Class A office buildings and corporate headquarters.

“In an area that is rapidly developing, you probably have a mix of properties,” said Clark from the assessors association. You might have old buildings that are being converted to lofts, he said, complicating valuations. “Finding rents and other information that will support both is difficult. How you judge that in-between is really the stickler in these cases.”

Each year, property owners can appeal their current valuation. The deadline for informal appeals at the Assessor’s office is April 27. The deadline for formal reviews by the Metro Board of Equalization is typically mid-June, officials said.

I walked among the "Gulch" last night and found dozens of single family dwellings torn down and rebuilt into the tall skinny attached homes dominating the area.  Many of them are vacant and for sale in the upper scale of the market.  I want to point out that the median wage here is 45-47K and when you have a home that is 10 times that you are buying a home out of your income level.  This is what happened in 2008 and unless I am wrong here and the wages are higher than reported it would be akin to the numbers that 100 people a day are moving here and all with degrees and in turn jobs that pay six figures I clearly have been looking at the wrong research.  I can find nothing that supports this and in turn the numbers have been dropped, the housing units built are turned over fast, offering numerous move in specials so again who is moving here and what they are earning seems disproportionate.  What I do see is "branding" and renaming neighborhoods in a push to encourage people to move there despite the issues that plague the area.  My favorite is the Gulch and Germantown.  And again why did these properties go into foreclosure?  

 I spoke with a local business owner who just opened a small market near my home and it took over a year just to get the business opened. He was permitted to do so and that was uneventful but then finding skilled craftsman available in the time scheme to do the permitted work to meet the building codes and requirements were delayed, inspections delayed as there is another problem with this as well with homes being badly constructed, failures by the city to do timely inspections or lack of qualified inspectors and other contractors that affect the overall quality of a neighborhood and in turn build.    Just ask the City about this home inspector.

I have said repeatedly here that the council and permit offices go forth with all kinds of approvals with no logic, rhyme or reason.  When the wealthy can afford to bypass the system they have no problems finding ways to finish their projects but at what costs? I watch as the cell pods aka Bento Box (as that is the current name) be constructed across the street, I frankly cannot wait as they paid for the silent zone and in turn the street adjacent will now become a one way in which to accommodate that (as the 4 barricades that are required cannot be built due to street angle)  That will of course mean more problems but hey this is Nashville.  We don't just do stupid we do big stupid.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Belle of the Ball

I was working on an essay about Southern Women long perceived as Southern Belle's in the form of Melanie Wilkes versus Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.   I have a tendency to believe Scarlett was too timid and think that Bette Davis as Charlotte  in Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte was more accurate.  The battle ax paranoid pesonality really suits but add touch of Olivia De Haviland's faux sincerity as Melanie is a great combine of what defines the Southern Belle.

In Tennessee we have so many Belles of the ball that it often is hard to decide who would win the sash.  I miss Mae Beavers who has not quite left the political arena as who doesn't love the Beav?! We have of course a few others but none quite as fanfuckingtastic as Diane Black.  I have nothing good to say about the Trumpster Teahag so I won't list all that I find repugnant about the woman to save time for the current champ of cuntbusters, Marsha Blackburn, for whom the great orange troll is arriving today to fund raise for as well as hold his version of White Supremacist rally sans tiki torches.  I said Nashville is stupid and a lot of it, and it will be meeting at Municipal Auditorium today to prove it, IQ tests not required. 

And to prove that Nashville is not blue nor liberal I do want to remind one that this is the Bible Belt and the reality is that anyone living here, engaging in politics must court Churches and Congregations like one would go on Match to make sure you appeal to the largest contingency in which to get chosen as the special one. Jesus votes here and yet in today's climate he would be a Immigrant and brown, just saying.

Let's review just some of the hateful legislation or acts that the women here have been a part of:  Allowing Therapists to refuse treatment for anyone of the LGBQT community; banning Drag Acts as they are akin to Cabaret Acts aka Stripping; Attempting toilet banning; Having In God We Trust in the doorways of every school.  There was an attempt by 53 Legislators to intervene in a divorce of a Gay Couple; Preventing Gays from fostering or adopting children; keeping child marriage permissible as forbidding it would open the State Constitution to allow Gay Marriage. Liberal gun laws that let one cross state lines.  Care for a waffle anyone?  Conservative if not absurd sex education laws  but there is the soon to be gateway law to at least teach about abuse. Good thing as there are over 300 cases of said abuse in Nashville Public Schools.

Remember women are mothers and in turn larger than life figure heads in many homes and particularly the South which is why I am already suspect as nothing has fallen out of my vagina so I must be barren due to being a heathen as why would I not want a suckling infant at my teat? I have been married is that not the same thing?

Not a fan of the women here and I have simply stopped trying to navigate the social system here.  I find them repugnant.  And few women demonstrate the hypocrisy of Nashville's pols than the former Mayor, Megan Barry.  If you have never read anything of what I have to say about that Slattern you can do a search.  She proved to me that the women here are better off in the kitchen and take Blackburn and Black with you and whip me up some biscuits with sweet tea.

The Pew Research Center does a very good job providing the numbers of Conservatives by Race and Gender here in Tennessee.  Trust me if Nashville is a blue city then it is as blue as the Cumberland River.  It is very pink city and women love pink.

In Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn’s embrace of Trump tests her standing with female voters

“I will give you good, solid conservative representation,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn said as she campaigned in Tennessee on Saturday. (Mary Jordan/The Washington Post)
by Mary Jordan May 28 at 7:12 PM Email the author

FAIRFIELD GLADE, Tenn. — Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the conservative lawmaker who boasts of packing a pistol in her purse and of her passion for President Trump, had just left a pancake breakfast Saturday when a woman moved close.

“How as a woman can you support Donald Trump?” asked Marcia Storrison, a Democratic retiree in this heavily Republican area of hilly green golf courses. “His lies! I believe in facts. . . . I don’t understand how a woman can be supportive of what is going on.”

“Trump is working very hard for us,” replied the Republican congresswoman, touting his record on jobs and the economy.

But Storrison wasn’t satisfied. Trump has taken women’s rights “back to the 1950s,” she told Blackburn.

In a year when a surging number of female candidates on the left are tapping into support from women such as Storrison, Blackburn — who is facing centrist Democrat and former governor Phil Bredesen in a close Senate race — is taking the opposite tack by embracing the polarizing president.

Blackburn, one of Trump’s most vocal congressional surrogates, shares his hard-line views on immigration and often adopts a similarly pugilistic tone, calling herself “politically incorrect and proud of it.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), holding a "Make America Great Again" hat, at the Capitol in November 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Her alliance with Trump will be center stage Tuesday, when the president is scheduled to appear with her at a rally in Nashville and then headline a fundraiser for her Senate campaign.

Aligning herself with Trump would seem to be a political win in Tennessee, which he easily won in 2016.

But Blackburn’s stance puts her at a distance from many of the women she will need to win over: While 59 percent of male Tennessee voters approve of Trump, only 48 percent of female voters do, according to a Vanderbilt University poll earlier this month.

That could be a key factor in what is emerging as a tight race to replace the retiring GOP incumbent, Sen. Bob Corker — a campaign cited by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as one that could determine control of the Senate.

[McConnell warns control of the Senate is ‘absolutely’ in play in midterms]

Then-candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with Rep. Marsha Blackburn during a policy speech on child care in Aston, Pa., in September 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Bredesen is ahead in early polls, and many analysts predict the success of Blackburn, the presumptive GOP nominee, could turn on her ability to win over female voters. The Vanderbilt poll showed that 46 percent of women viewed Blackburn favorably, compared with the 72 percent of women who approved of Bredesen.

“They will be one of, if not the, determinant in the race,” said Joshua Clinton, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt. “Gender is going to be a huge component.”

That is a complicated prospect for Blackburn, who asked to be called “congressman” instead of “congresswoman” when she arrived on Capitol Hill and has steered clear of gender in her bid this year — even though she would make history as the state’s first female senator.

When asked in an interview how significant that milestone would be, Blackburn demurred.

“I don’t campaign on the gender issue,” she responded, adding that she is the most qualified person running.

Some of Blackburn’s allies have pointed to Corker’s tepid support for her — while he has praised Bredesen and called him a friend — as a sign of a “good-old-boys network,” as one put it. Others dispute that, noting that Corker, a moderate, is far more aligned politically with Bredesen than Blackburn.

Blackburn, for her part, declined to endorse the idea that she faced sexism in her bid. “There will always be people who will say it is there,” she said. “. . . I am not.”

Instead of engaging on gender issues, Blackburn, 65, is emphasizing her conservative credentials.

“The left calls me a wing nut or a knuckle-dragging conservative, and you know what? I say, bring it on,” she says in a campaign kickoff ad, describing herself as “a hard-core, card-carrying conservative.”

The eight-term House member has gained national visibility as a frequent commentator on Fox News. And she has the backing of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, part of the Koch political network, which began running ads supporting her this weekend.

On Saturday, Blackburn had many fans as she circulated through the pancake breakfast at a community center in Fairfield Glade, in a room filled with older, white people — many wearing red-white-and-blue shirts for Memorial Day.

She moved from table to table, introducing herself and cheerfully saying, “We keep the taxes low and the legislation light!”

As she handed out her business cards and shook hands, one man asked her, “What will you do for me if you’re elected?”

“I will give you good, solid conservative representation,” Blackburn replied instantly, without elaboration.

“She is so beautiful,” said more than one retiree.

“Go get ’em, Marsha!” another woman shouted.

Jan Elwood, who was working a table for the Fairfield Glade Ladies Club, said one key reason she supports Blackburn is that she is against abortion.

It remains to be seen whether the blue wave that Democrats are hoping will lift their candidates in the midterms — expected to be powered by women — will wash through Tennessee. But liberals in the state said they are seeing rising political engagement and a resolve to defeat Blackburn, in part because of her record on reproductive rights.

“Her track record is abysmal,” said Sarah McCall, a director at Women for Tennessee’s Future, which is endorsing progressive female candidates.

Still, Blackburn’s race may well be decided by the strength of her support among Republicans and independents.

That’s where it could come down to women such as Colleen Conway-Welch, an influential Republican in Tennessee. She recently held a fundraiser for Bredesen, who was a close friend of her husband’s.

“Honestly, I think we need more people who fall in the center,” said Conway-Welch, who said Bredesen did a good job as governor and Nashville mayor and believes in doing the “right thing, not the party thing.”

Conway-Welch said she very much wants her Republican Party to keep control of the Senate.

But with five months to go before the midterms, she said, she had not yet made up her mind about whom to vote for.

Lux et veritas

It is the Yale motto meaning Light and Truth.  Funny when I think of the Ivy League those are two words that don't come to mind in the least.

Yale is the Alma Mater of the Bush Dynasty and the Romney Clan. The Clinton's met there and even Jodie Foster has a degree from said institution.  She took a long break from being a child actor and has a fairly well established pedigree.  There were many actors who have benefited from Yale's acclaimed theatre and arts program and with that I give them a pass but as for any other white bread that found themselves in the acclaimed hall I will pass.    I have not met one single individual that had one ounce of dignity and perspective that possesses degrees from said institutions like Yale.

The "writer" J.D. Vance of Hillbilly Elegy went to Yale and is as a big a right wing douche as any of the others with less colorful backgrounds which may include Dr. Ben Carson who is also a Yale Graduate.  He seems to be on the drugs he administered to patients given his bizarre demeanor and arrogance.   Intelligent? I would not have him remove a fatty tumor from my body but I am sure in his heyday he was a good surgeon. Whatever that means.  I bet that he and John Bolton really yuck it up in Trump Cabinet meetings. Shame Clarence Thomas can't join them.

I could go on with the famous grads of Yale and again realize they have an acclaimed theater college so don't count any of them... HEEYYY Fonzie!   But the bulk of the minds are largely conservative and even those liberal are not very left of the right as there in the esteemed halls one learns early the art of self preservation.

I read this in the UK Guardian and it outs the writer as an Addict and in turn Graduate of Yale who brilliantly reminds the readers that much of the wealth and history of the esteemed school are vested heavily in hypocrisy.  Shocking, I know! Not really.  There is your truth and light.

As an Oxycontin 'junkie' at Yale, I saw how my addiction helped fund the university

Through attending an Ivy League university as an addict, I learned that while I might be considered ‘deplorable’, elites are not much better

Mon 28 May 2018
Matthew Jeffrey Abrams
Guardian UK

I’m a junkie – recovered now for 14 years, but a junkie just the same. A high-school dropout and chronic runaway, I spent my later teenage years shooting black tar heroin and smuggling drugs across the Mexican border – mostly ketamine and OxyContin, the latter of which I also shot. Back then I was a loser, a washout, a petty narcotrafficker, a statistical blip in the opioid epidemic.

But today I’m also a doctor (of the illegitimate variety, mind you). Clean at 19, I spent my later twenties at Yale University earning a PhD, which I completed last spring. There I was a scholar, a student, a teacher,a valued member of an exclusive intellectual community.

Being a junkie in the Ivy League doesn’t guarantee success, but it does guarantee perspective. I learned a lot about America’s upper crust, and I saw much that my colleagues never could. But only last week, during a visit to my alma mater, did I begin to understand the role that Yale played in my own addiction.

Believe me when I tell you that you are not deplorables, that you are assets to this country.

Spring having arrived, I visited Yale, which wears the season well. I wandered the campus before entering Dwight Chapel, which stands in the heart of Old Campus and hosts a small morning AA meeting. I used to attend that meeting quite regularly, although I remember our fellowship being mostly indigents from the nearby New Haven Green and kids from local rehabs. I remember two things: we were opioid addicts, and we were invisible to the Yale community – ignored, really, like unwelcome pests.

And it was then, sitting alone in that musty chapel, when it hit me: to my left stood the Skull and Bones crypt , the secret windowless clubhouse for the country’s most exclusive private society, whose founder’s extended family had become the largest American merchants in the Indo-Chinese opium trade. And beyond the crypt stood Yale’s medical campus, which has received major gifts from the Sackler family, whose wealth comes largely from owning Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin. Purdue Pharma criminally misbranded that drug to make it appear harmless. The company pleaded guilty in 2007 and agreed to pay around $600m in fines.

But behind me, I also realized, beyond the Old Campus quad filled with elite Yale undergrads (one of whom, I’ll never forget, once wore a $70,000 Patek Phillippe wristwatch to my class), stood the New Haven Green. Many times while crossing the Green I was offered heroin and OxyContin, and more than once I saw EMTs attempting to revive an addict with naloxone. What’s more, across the street stands New Haven City Hall, where last October the city formally sued Purdue Pharma for their brazen behavior and illegal practices.

The irony would be comical if it were not so lethal: I once violated federal laws to smuggle a drug across an international border that was manufactured by a company whose malfeasance simultaneously exacerbated my own addiction and, through the personal donations by the owners of Purdue, enriched a university that would later grant me a PhD.

While Oxycontin had almost killed me, it had also helped build Yale’s vaunted Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences. So had every opioid addict in my little chapel meeting – so had every dope fiend in America.

I’ve learned much about this country’s powerful and elite, but I have no interest in scolding them. People and places like Yale will never change. I’d rather address my junkie brothers and sisters, and everyone else that this epidemic has touched:

Listen, friends, I have a dual identity, and I have for most of my life. I’m an addict kid and a suburban child, an Ivy-League insider and a dope–shooting outsider, a deplorable and a doctor. I’ve learned first–hand how little regard the wealthy, corporate and institutional worlds have for us, even supposed liberal bastions like Yale. I’ve learned that while we have the privilege of perspective, they have the perspective of privilege. And I’ve learned something else: they are wrong about us. We are not worthless, or weak.

Dear brothers and sisters, believe me when I tell you that you are no less special or brilliant or talented or ambitious than the Yale students I once knew and taught.

Believe me when I tell you that you are not deplorables, that you are assets to this country, that your will and resolve to hustle and survive make you uniquely equipped for the contemporary world. Believe me when I tell you that you are wanted, and useful, and important and deserve to thrive. Believe me when I tell you that I love you, and so do so many others, and that you should never, ever give up.

Monday, May 28, 2018

See It Say It

 I watched the nationwide recognition efforts by citizens and groups across the country honoring those who have died in military service for America.  I do believe it should be across the services as we forget that there are many others who have been in service to our country that led to the end of their lives.  Start with Teachers who were killed in Public Schools or other innocents who were only trying to serve the country by attending school, going to a movie or even shopping.  Yes we have many causalities thanks to gun violence and war is one way, living in a country that enables anyone to get a gun and use it to wreak havoc another.

Here in Nashville they wet themselves over Military and Police and there was a what I expected - nothing.  Some of the outlying areas did acknowledge the day but here we covered another stabbing and murder of a man who rented a room to another who decided to memorialize him in a plastic bin in a closet.  

It has temporarily quieted down as school is just out and I suspect the crazy will ratchet up in the next few weeks.  I was away in Pittsburgh for a few days and came home to find my planter box thrown half way down the street and a package stolen.  I love that my neighbors noted none of it.  Gee you did not see the planter sitting in the middle of the sidewalk there?   This is Nashville - stupid and a lot of it.

I have said repeatedly that the children are the reflection of the population at large - violent, angry, stupid.  It colors my entire world view of the city and places me in a distinct position of trusting no one nor respecting anyone for their role in enabling this via their simple lack of engagement.  The local Mayor "election" took place and the current Mayor who assumed his role was naturally re-elected by 53% of the vote.  This seemed to surprise the local paper as his closest contender was a strange woman who is a Fox commentator, Carol Swain, with 23% of the vote.  The entire opposition was largely members of the black community and of course that split the vote and frankly was for reasons unclear as the gig is for 18 months and why spend the money and time unless this was a feeler to see if they should run in in the major election.  The answer is no.  Of course here in Nashville that is racist speak as how dare you say anything critical about a Black person as you must be racist. For the record there was another right wing white dude who go 0% so what.the.fuck.ever.  Again this is Nashville - stupid and a lot of it.  

So Friday brought another school shooting and a Teacher took the kid out with a basketball and tackling him. Wait for that to be the next solution, arming Teachers with sporting equipment and learning martial arts.  Beats the rock idea or eliminating doors which have all been mentioned. Gun control? Fuck no.  Here is where America is a lot like Nashville - stupid and a lot of it.

The increasing violence will have lasting affects.  I can't stress that enough.  As I have been exposed to the most damaged children I have ever met in my 20 years in schools, I have had enough. I like living and after being out of Nashville for four days I found myself appreciating living and walking and talking to normal people in a normal city that embraces working class and moves to the future with a measured affect.  I am so appreciative of Darryl the Lyft Driver who made my last hours in the city memorable.  Thank you for being a gracious host. 

Come to Nashville and meet what poverty has wrought - violence and stupidity.  Great deadly combo.  From now on I am going to say it as I see it.  Life is truly too short to do otherwise. 

Have You Ever Seen Someone Be Killed?

A single data point that complicates how we think about who is in prison.

By Emily Badger
The New York Times
May 25, 2018

Researchers with the Boston Reentry Study were one year into their interviews, following 122 men and women as they returned from prison to their neighborhoods and families, when they asked the kind of question that’s hard to broach until you know someone well.

They prompted the study’s participants to think back to childhood. “Did you ever see someone get killed during that time?”

Childhood violence, including deadly violence, kept coming up in the previous conversations. The references suggested a level of childhood trauma among people leaving prison that standard survey questions don’t capture. And so the researchers wanted to be methodical — to ask everyone, directly, just like this.

The answers, among hundreds of other questions the study explored, give insight into the life trajectories that precede prison, and the limitations of the criminal justice system that places people there. In total, 42 percent of the study’s participants said “yes.”

That shocked even the investigators.

“I’ve never seen anyone be killed; I’m 54 years old, and I think I will probably not see that in my life,” said Bruce Western, a Harvard sociologist who describes the study in the new book “Homeward.” “And it was incredibly common in the lives of the respondents we talked to.”

Among these children — many who would later commit violence themselves, enter prison and struggle to re-enter society — some witnessed a killing more than once. So the statistic is an understatement, Mr. Western said.

Across their entire lives, the people in the study variously acted as offender, victim, participant and witness to violence, sometimes multiple roles at a time. That reality is messier than the one the criminal justice system recognizes.

“There is an unstated assumption deep in the DNA of criminal justice jurisprudence that the world divides into two categories, and there are victims and offenders,” Mr. Western said. “And the system delivers a certain kind of accountability by punishing offenders on behalf of victims.”

That clear line disappears, though, in the life histories of these former prisoners. Most of them were raised in poverty, in chaotic environments where routines and adult supervision were rare, and where their families were under stress.

Violence was common, not because poor people are more prone to it, but because poverty shapes social interaction in a way that makes violence more likely, research suggests. Anyone dropped into the same environment, Mr. Western said, could be swept up by violence, too.

Studies show that children who experience trauma are more likely later in life to suffer from asthma, depression, unemployment, and they’re also more likely to use drugs. The more trauma a child faces, the higher these odds. Children perform less well on standardized tests right after violent crimes have occurred in their neighborhood — even if they didn’t personally witness the violence.

The typical measures of trauma — “adverse childhood experiences” that include growing up in a household with physical or substance abuse — don’t gauge anything quite like witnessing lethal violence. That distress alters the picture of the population the Boston Reentry Study followed: These adults in the criminal justice system were once children exposed to awful things.

What, then, is to be done with the knowledge that four in 10 prisoners typical to the Massachusetts state prison system saw someone killed as a child?

Mr. Western argues that this should force us to reconsider the simplified model of offenders-and-victims, and to allow more second chances to people we peg in the first category.

“The whole ethical foundation of our system of punishment I think is threatened once you take into account the reality of people’s lives,” he said. In the study, the people who had experienced the most extreme childhood trauma and violence also struggled the most in adulthood with drug addiction and mental and health problems. The line between the two is not straightforward. But it’s also not irrelevant.

Mr. Western is not proposing a sentencing formula — say, additional mercy for each adverse childhood experience. But there is some precedent for the philosophy he describes: When well-off, otherwise successful young adults get into trouble, we often take the entirety of their lives into account in punishing them. Supporters say “but he’s a good kid,” and lawyers argue “but he has a bright future.” We consider counselors and treatment programs, not just prison.

By contrast, for the poor, Mr. Western said, an entire life is more often reduced to the criminal event at hand: “There’s neither a past, nor a future.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

"Poor" People

I put that in quotes as that is the way the rich view the poor, as some cluster of individuals due to circumstance they are poor.  This is usually attributed to race and ethnicity as white people who are rich do feel some guilt and in turn surround themselves with those who come here via an H1B1 Visa to demonstrate their equality and openness to those who are "different."  I have met and known many of those who come from India and China and found them to be the most conservative individuals I have ever met.  And yes guess what even those from Spanish speaking countries are often quite conservative largely due to their engagement in the Catholic Church.  So to presume all Immigrants are card carrying liberals rarely actually meets and speaks to them.   But let's all hold hands and prove how open we are to the poor and all that.

Trump opened the door for the hate wagon to drive through. The irony that his Presidency is largely supported by the Evangelical cohort cannot be lost, the most conservative and judgemental of all faiths seem to have no problem shoving racism, infidelity and fraud (as that is much of the issues behind Trump's bankruptcy) into the back of the Bible.

Living in the dead zone for the Bible Belt I have long held suspicion that these are the most hypocritical idiots on the planet. They profess the Bible but when it comes to walking the walk not so much.  Hence the prosperity pulpit and other memes that from the pulpit have less to do with God and more to do with greed that enables the Evangelical right to preach the bullshit they do.

This Sunday I went to Church.  To say it was an alt church of hipsters would be an accurate description but oddly still diverse.  It was not as odd and masculine as the former Mars Hill Church in Seattle that I wandered into when they took over and restored an abandoned Church in downtown Seattle. Irony that the Church too has disbanded as it was one of the most bizarre scenes I have ever witnessed in a Church - largely young, white males, chest thumping, espousing hate.  It was akin to watching a Hitler Youth rally.     Thankfully Storyville coffee exists and I get my beans every two weeks to remind me of the joyous times sitting in the Pike Street Market one on a Sunday doing my religion of reading The New York Times.  And yes I knew of their agenda, I had actually walked into a Mars Church and heard the bullshit, at that time the founder was anti Yoga, but I also believed that these kids needed to see other people, have dialogs and exchanges that would contradict the idiocy of Mark Driscoll.  And today they still exist and have a different message.  So again opening minds is always an uphill battle.

So when I was invited to the Legacy Church I went with an open mind and I found it interesting. I had no complaints and would possibly go again if so invited, but alone no.  Again I don't think this is a place for me as a single woman and I simply don't have the connections to fit in comfortably which is odd given the messages of the Church.  This is where the line of hypocrisy is drawn when it comes to religion.

And when I read this story about the Silicon Valley Minister I was surprised and relieved.  Honesty should be the foundation of the Church and of late the Poor Persons Ministry long advocated by Rev. William Barber in North Carolina has finally crossed state line here and activists are starting to step up here in Nashville, the city that distrusts outsiders in the same way they loathe conflict.

And coming from liberal bastions like Seattle and San Francisco where I had also lived, this message did not shock me.  What I saw in Seattle was this overwhelming need to talk the talk and walk it not so much.  The reality is that when it comes down to the me versus you, me will always win.  Just the current hysteria in the Seattle Public Schools over HCC (Highly Capable) learning is just another example of many ways that when it comes right down to it, families care about their kids first and if your family can benefit great but don't let it harm my kid.   

**Seattle has been working to eliminate Advanced Placement etc for years by creating a Honors for All type program so that all kids can access the AP and other advanced curriculum that has largely been the provenance of white families who can afford the tutoring, testing and fees associated with placement and achievement and by dismantling this they in turn open the door to wider enrollment and less self segregation.  It is going over like a lead balloon.  Schools integrated - yes, Classes - not so much. **

So when I saw Nasvhille had started a Gifted and Talented program I busted out laughing as it was putting random kids only those enrolled in the 8th grade into a room and labeling them that.  No curriculum nor endorsed/trained teacher and this was to do what?  The reality is that it should start at 5th Grade and they follow the cohort through middle school until 8th to see what testing data results.  But in many of the schools they did not even bother to do that as some were simply on call Teachers that roved throughout the building and taught part time in overflow classes.  It was a joke and farce like all things in Nashville Public Schools.  

So when it comes to Church and faith I have a similar disbelief and while I respect those who choose said avenue I want nothing to do with it.  And clearly even those deep within want nothing to do with it either.  Funny how the Minister's Parishioners did not want to hear the truth as that is the point of religion - myths.   And yes in my visit the hit for money was subliminal and clear with a story about a family who tithed, had some crisis that in turn challenged that and then suddenly a miracle happened and an insurance policy that the family had paid them off and all was right with the world!  Miracle? Myth or Coincidence?  Hey I am all for Prayer and solace it guides but it always comes down to money.  And yes I through 10 bucks in the kitty as I felt I got my money's worth. I am just not sure how one defines worth when it comes to faith.

'Elitist den of hate': Silicon Valley pastor decries hypocrisy of area's rich liberals

Gregory Stevens resigns after tweets about Palo Alto, slamming tech industry greed and empty social justice promises

Sam Levin in San Francisco
UK Guardian
Tue 22 May 2018

A Silicon Valley pastor has resigned from his church after calling the city of Palo Alto an “elitist shit den of hate” and criticizing the hypocrisy of “social justice” activism in the region.

Gregory Stevens confirmed Monday that he had stepped down from the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, an LGBT-inclusive congregation, after his personal tweets calling out the contradictions of wealthy liberals in northern California surfaced at a recent council hearing.

In emails to the Guardian, the 28-year-old minister detailed his “exasperation” with Palo Alto, a city in the heart of the technology industry, surrounded by severe income inequality and poverty.

“I believe Palo Alto is a ghetto of wealth, power, and elitist liberalism by proxy, meaning that many community members claim to want to fight for social justice issues, but that desire doesn’t translate into action,” Stevens wrote, lamenting that it was impossible for low-income people to live in the city. “The insane wealth inequality and the ignorance toward actual social justice is absolutely terrifying.”

He later added: “The tech industry is motivated by endless profit, elite status, rampant greed, and the myth that their technologies are somehow always improving the world.”

Local headlines about Stevens, who has faced intense backlash from residents and city leaders, labeled his tweets “nasty”, “vile”, “unsavory” and “unholy”, highlighting posts in which he called Palo Alto “disgusting” and said: “I hate ‘social justice’ in Palo Alto. What a fucking joke.”

Local critics had surfaced Stevens’ tweets while opposing an effort by the church to get permits to allow new community activities in the space. His old tweets were geared to “small group of progressive ministers and Leftist political activists”, he said, adding that he had vented his frustrations in “an unprofessional and often hurtful way” and was resigning to “minimize the negativity” facing the church.

But, he later added, “I think rage and anger toward oppression and injustice is a Biblical calling on our lives.”

The underlying messages to Stevens’ tweets, however, touched on continuing tension in Silicon Valley, where some of the world’s wealthiest companies and entrepreneurs have pledged to better the world through innovations, yet working class families and poor residents struggle to afford the most basic necessities. The region has one of the worst homelessness crises in the country and a huge shortage of affordable housing, forcing tens of thousands of low-income workers to commute more than 50 miles to work.

Stevens, who is queer and has lived in Palo Alto for nearly three years, noted that his church was located in one of the richest neighborhoods in the city, with houses worth anywhere from $5m to $15m.

“Jesus was a homeless Jew who said it was harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to get through the eye of a needle,” he wrote, adding: “It is very difficult to do Christian ministry, a ministry that calls us to fight with and for the poor and marginalized among us, in the midst of an enclave of wealth and power.”

He argued that the church’s rich neighbors could afford to “feed and house” all the homeless people in Palo Alto and surrounding cities, but instead focused on passing laws that further criminalized this population, encouraging police to harass those sleeping outside or in cars. The city had also made it hard for the church to provide meals for the homeless by requiring costly permits, he said.

In his email to the Guardian, Stevens was also outspoken about the harms of the tech sector, accusing Facebook of “completely destroying (through rapid gentrification) the historical black and brown East Palo Alto neighborhood”, which is adjacent to the tech company’s Menlo Park headquarters and not far from his church.

“The working class does not benefit from these ‘advances’, but cook, clean, and baby sit rich babies before heading off to home on long hours of public transit.”

Stevens said he was originally drawn to the church because of its “progressive Baptist theology”, noting historical Baptist figures such as Nat Turner, who led a slave revolt, and Martin Luther King Jr. He said he was also inspired by the local pastor, a gay man who had fought for years to be ordained.

But Palo Alto, he said, “wanted nothing to do with actual justice and was more so interested in guarding their enclave of power and wealth”, adding: “If the wealth inequalities are not addressed, any talk about climate change, homelessness, and migrant rights is in vain.”

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Welfare Works

 Here in Tennessee we are gearing up for an off-year election and the throw downs have been fast and furious.  In  a state that never expanded Medicaid they are already working towards ensuring work requirements are in place for those who receive this service.  The irony is not lost that the largest portion of jobs are in the service sector, in a right-to-work state with incredibly low paying jobs that provide no health care benefit of any kind.  So it works then because then they qualify for Medicaid, right?  Wrong.

I have a lot of conversations and fewer now that I realize anytime I do open my mouth the reality is that I am a dirtbag who has the audacity to ask questions and comment on some of my observations and cite data that questions the bullshit that dominates the horizon here in the city of it.  A recent Ed Blogger and TV Investigative Journalist Phil Williams a Racist Cancer. Okay then. I was just called a Racist and Bitch recently so its all good as mine is not terminal.

The South does not like inquisitions well, they find them rude and impolite. Southern Hospitality has a low bar in defining hospitality.  That said they have an equally low bar when it crosses into poverty here.  Nashville has declining poverty but that is just the result of moving it out a simple way of cooking the books and they like that here, clearly given our School District and City shortfall.   The damage of poverty is something to see to believe. I have never seen nor experienced it first hand as I have since relocating here.  I used to feel bad for them I now feel bad for myself having to cope with it.  I have no tools in this carpetbag in which to use to do anything for either them or myself and each day is another in an endless line of walking among a city who is utterly aware but choose to be oblivious, like the markers on each corner and on every building, the truth is that to be ignored.

Facts are like truths they have their own.  The GOP clings to this unicorn like the mythical one of meritocracy,  that wealth trickles down. No that is just piss and don't tell me its raining.  We are all getting rick rolled.

G.O.P. Insists Making Poor People Work Lifts Them Up. Where’s the Proof?

By Eduardo Porter
The New York Times|Business 
May 15, 2018

There’s something almost eerie about the unwavering nature of the Republican system of belief.

The nationalists who propelled President Trump into office may appear locked in an existential battle with the party’s pro-trade globalists. In truth, the Republican Party is still driven by the two propositions that have guided it for decades: cutting government aid will free poor Americans to shake dependency and get ahead, and cutting taxes on the well-to-do will bring prosperity to all.

In December, Republicans dusted off the old trickle-down slogans to justify a nearly $2 trillion tax cut, blithely ignoring a virtual consensus among economists and glossing over a 40-year body of evidence that the only people who benefit from tax cuts for the rich are, well, the rich.

Now, the party is moving on to the government-aid part of the canon. In January, the Trump administration freed states to demand that Medicaid beneficiaries get a job, a move likely to bump hundreds of thousands of poor Americans off their health insurance.

It was just the beginning. As early as this week, Republicans in the House could vote for a new farm bill that would impose work requirements for recipients of food stamps, dropping maybe two million Americans from the program, according to the liberal-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, and cutting benefits by $23 billion over 10 years, according to government estimates.

Indeed, the administration’s ultimate goal is to attach work requirements to the entire social safety net. In the words of the president, “We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.”

History, however, has proved that this doctrine, too, is mostly wrong. We have been here before, more than 20 years ago, when the embattled President Bill Clinton embraced the Republicans’ “welfare to work” strategy and replaced the federal program to aid poor families with children with a rash of state-managed programs that imposed stringent work requirements on beneficiaries.

Work requirements did, of course, encourage the mostly poor single mothers of able body and mind who did not already hold a job to get one. Their earnings from work increased. As they left the welfare rolls, government spending on welfare payments declined.

But what did not happen is perhaps more important: The incomes of all the mothers ostensibly freed from dependence hardly rose at all. The loss of welfare payments pretty much canceled out their earnings from work. With little education and virtually no access to training, they got stuck in the low-wage labor market that has taken over so much of the American economy.

Young children did no worse when their mothers got jobs in terms of either cognitive abilities or socialization skills. But unless the mothers’ incomes rose, they did no better either. Mothers who for some reason could not get a job — or go on disability — got a raw deal.

For his 2004 book “American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare,” my colleague Jason DeParle spoke at length to Angie, a single mother of four living in Milwaukee.

“On welfare, Angie was a low-income single mother, raising her children in a dangerous neighborhood in a household roiled by chaos,” he wrote. “She couldn’t pay the bills. She drank lots of beer. And her kids needed a father. Off welfare, she was a low-income single mother, raising her children in a dangerous neighborhood in a household roiled by chaos. She couldn’t pay the bills. She drank lots of beer. And her kids needed a father.”

There are 41 million poor people in America, according to the Census Bureau, four million more than in 1996. Before welfare reform kicked in, 68 percent of poor families got help from the federal entitlement to the poor. By 2016, its replacement served only 23 percent.

Benefits shriveled over the period: In 35 states, benefits are at least a fifth lower than they were when welfare was overhauled. In most states, they take families less than a third of the way out of poverty.

“What is crucial to understand is what we mean by success,” said Gordon Berlin, who runs the policy analysis firm MDRC. “Is the goal of welfare about reducing poverty or about reducing dependency?”

Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. For all the lofty pronouncements surrounding the 1996 welfare reform, Mr. Clinton’s goals were political: “to remove welfare from national political attention so that it would no longer cost the Democrats votes,” as Christopher Jencks of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government noted.

Republicans were motivated, of course, by doctrine. “Much of the Republican welfare reform policy was based on values,” wrote Ron Haskins, one of the top architects of the Republican welfare strategy that Mr. Clinton signed into law, in his insider tell-all “Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform Law.”

Research into the potential effects of ending welfare as America then knew it seems to have played only a bit role.

What motivates Republicans today? Raw dogma? They cannot be hoping to pay for their tax cuts by cutting nutrition benefits. Other than Medicare and Social Security, there is no program in the meager social safety net with enough money to pay for those.

I have suggested that Mr. Trump’s approach to welfare might be calibrated to appeal to the white blue-collar voters in his base who feel that anti-poverty programs amount to using their taxes to help undeserving black and Hispanic recipients.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the president and congressional Republicans honestly want to tweak welfare to improve the lot of poor Americans; to build a safety net that revolves around work but also provides help when work can’t be had.

There is, in fact, a lot of research on what works and what doesn’t. Much of it was carried out by MDRC, which starting in the late 1980s conducted more than a dozen experiments in cities around the country to explore the consequences of different paths from welfare to work.

Here are some thoughts: Rather than threatening workers to get them to join the work force, offer carrots instead. The earned-income tax credit, for instance, which increases the incomes of workers on low wages, has done a great job not only in drawing single mothers into the work force but in improving their incomes as well, delivering additional benefits for their children.

MDRC also identified a series of programs to “make work pay.” Spending real money on training has been found to help workers escape dead-end jobs at low wages. I am not optimistic that these ideas will find their way into the policy mix, however. They just don’t fit in the Republican system of belief.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Crash Test Dummies

The young man was on a homicidal suicidal mission in Texas that now in the midst of prayers and wishes comes "I knew it would happen" to add to the lexicon following a shooting.

Again this is where we are with the idea of mass shootings, knowing it will happen, followed by prayers, idiotic concepts by the NRA which now includes fewer doors and then onto the next.

I have been quite clear that I have a bad feeling about Nashville and their need to be a part of the big dog pack, the endless violence by teens throughout the city and a Police force that seems a blend of idiocy and racist with their odd handling of the Waffle House shooting versus the Mas Tacos one and the one at Opry Mills Mall.  None of them seemed to have any consistent logic and plan of action other than fortuitous good luck of observant citizens.

When I recall the shooting outside Seattle a few years back a Substitute claimed to have tried to warn the school and then was later found out to be confused and was named in a lawsuit which the district extricated themselves as she was not a full time employee of the district despite the fact that she was hired and compensated by the Marysville School District, go figure.

Three years ago during a three hour lockdown at Ballard High School I was subbing, but for some reason I got the luck of the draw and I had an amazing group of kids who just were calm but scared and I spoke to a parent or two and promised the kids we would be fine.  I wasn't planning on dying and neither were they as I just felt it.   The two other Teachers, one a SPED and another an aid, were useless so I was relieved that it was a false alarm.  But I knew that early on as one does (I can't explain it but the halls were quiet and the time so long as we have learned it is usually quick loud and chaotic)  and so by hour two I laughed and said to the kids we would be fine and I needed to date a Hotty Swattie.  As soon it was over I went back to the room cleaned it put backpacks on desks, righted the order so the kids would come into a clean space without any lingering unpleasantness.  And it was just that but that did not stop the  SPED teacher after it was over to reprimand me.  Really? And why I suspect is because Substitutes are crash test dummies.  As Substitutes we are all right to work employees and are not covered by the same insurance/workman comp nor eligible for unemployment, pension or health care through the district; however, we are required to possess all the licenses and credentials of Teachers and adhere to the district's policies. What are we? We are Crash Test Dummies.

Here in Tennessee we need to only have a fingerprint clearance and in turn some college the rest notsomuch. This year the District attempted to outsource some hard to place schools and in turn use an agency like Kelly Girls to find Substitutes.  I have heard nothing about its success or failure in regards to placement or quality of subs but I suspect in the budget crunch they will be taking over that office full time.  Fine by me I have no idea who is in the Metro Office nor do I care and I suspect that is mutual as they have no interest in communicating with any sub about any issue and I suspect few schools file complaints as did those in Seattle over Subs.  Many subs were banned from buildings and in turn often written up and reviewed and as we were members of the Union we had to pay dues and in turn had high daily wages, ability to build seniority, in turn have benefits and sick days.

We were paid to train and in turn had access to information, had emails and correspondence with Teachers and schools through the district email.  I doubt the Sub Office knows I have said email as they said we were not to have log ons when I went to the first and only training meeting.   Again we are crash test dummies and in turn need to be treated as such.

But we are in every classroom and in some cases we staff schools full time. And yet we get nothing.  So again when the Teacher here left the absurd lesson plan with take the kids to the small gym, get equipment and in turn lock it up or they will steal it my response was: "No fucking way."  Again the kids did not hear my explanation that it was about liability insurance and security of which I was not covered so I would not be able to meet that request, they just droned on and on and on.  So let's try to imagine me during a crisis trying to get their attention and in turn cooperation to follow instructions during a lockdown.  They are incapable of it and frankly I don't think they have a clue on how to self manage their emotions during a regular school day let alone a crisis.

So as the victims list has been released there was  a Substitute Teacher.  I know for a fact I will ensure that I am never on said list and with only 8 months before I wind down and out I plan on keeping that promise.

Santa Fe shooting: substitute teacher and Pakistani student among victims

Ten killed and 10 wounded in shooting at Texas high school
‘It’s happening everywhere’: Santa Fe saddened but not surprised after high school shooting

Associated Press in Santa Fe, Texas

Sat 19 May 2018 0

A substitute teacher who relatives said had a “lust for life” and a foreign exchange student from Pakistan were among the first confirmed victims of Friday’s mass shooting at a Texas high school.
Santa Fe shooting: 'Thoughts and prayers' met with louder calls for change
Read more

Among those injured on Friday were a school resource officer and a sophomore baseball player.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, was held on a capital murder charge after authorities said he fatally shot 10 people and wounded 10 others at his high school in Santa Fe, about 30 miles south-east of Houston.

Family members confirmed that substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale was among those killed. Tisdale’s niece, Leia Olinde, said Tisdale was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses last year.

“She helped me put it on, she helped fix my hair,” Olinde, 25, said through tears. “She was wonderful. She was just so loving. I’ve never met a woman who loved her family so much.”

She said Tisdale was married to her husband for close to 40 years and that the two had three children and eight grandchildren. Tisdale’s house was the center for family gatherings and she loved cooking Thanksgiving dinner and decorating her house, Olinde said.

Olinde’s fiance, Eric Sanders, said of Tisdale that “words don’t explain her lust for life and the joy she got from helping people”.

According to a leader at a program for foreign exchange students and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, Pakistani student Sabika Sheikh was also killed.

Megan Lysaght, manager of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad program (YES), sent a letter to students in the program confirming the news. “Please know that the YES program is devastated by this loss and we will remember Sabika and her families in our thoughts and prayers,” Lysaght wrote.

She said the program would be holding a moment of silence for the girl, who was pictured beaming in a shirt that said “Texas” in a photo being shared on social media.

Lysaght declined further comment when contacted by the Associated Press and referred calls to a state department spokesman. The Pakistan Embassy in Washington identified Sheikh as a victim of the shooting on Twitter and wrote that “our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika’s family and friends”.

The Pakistan Association of Greater Houston said on Facebook Sabika was due to go home for Eid al-Fitr, a three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

“May Allah bless her soul and may she RIP,” the statement said.

Among the wounded, school police officer John Barnes was shot in the arm when he confronted the gunman. A bullet damaged the bone and a major blood vessel around Barnes’ elbow, which required surgery to repair, said David Marshall, chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He said Barnes was in stable condition. Barnes was the first to engage Pagourtzis, according to Marshall.

Sophomore baseball player Rome Shubert said the gunman walked into his classroom and tossed something on to desks. Shubert told the Houston Chronicle he then heard “three loud pops” before the attacker fled into the hall. Shubert said he realized he had been wounded as he was running out of the back door.

Shubert sid he was hit in the back of his head with what he says was a bullet, but that it “missed everything vital”. He also tweeted that he was OK and stable.

On Saturday, a hospital treating three of the injured said one patient, a minor, was in good condition. The other two patients were in critical condition.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bang Bang

A week after Teacher Appreciation Week I find myself feeling less than appreciated but then again to the Nashville Public Schools the Substitutes are less than valued they are crash test dummies in which to kick, trash and crash until needed.   I hate my job, my life and every single school that I have walked into these past two years.  What was disdain has now accelerated into fear for personal safety and in turn sanity.

Presently we are averaging a school shooting a week, and in Illinois a young man was talked down from a shooting.  And with today another in Texas  that at this time I write this 8 are dead.  The reasons behind the shooting today are emerging but it appears that explosives were found which make this very similar to Columbine as the shooters placed pipe bombs along the exterior of the building but the Custodians found them and disposed of them not realizing what they were and oddly they failed or the casualties would be worse.

But when we say "shooting" we are not always referring to an active shooting situations with mass casualties as they include suicides, accidental shootings, and other gun related incidents on any type of school campus.  So understanding that distinction is essential to understand the often false narrative that accompanies gun violence and stories about guns.

Then we have the lunatic who showed up at Trump's Golf Course in Florida and was ready to take out a few golfers for maybe playing to slow?

Add to the list the insanity here and I suspect elsewhere of exceeding violence in the schools and here in Nashville it is record breaking when it comes to sexual and physical assault by both Teacher and Student, and those are the ones of record .

Add to this week that another family have been found to for years serially abuse their children to the point where the State investigated and then returned the Mother to the home only to realize that this was more extensive than believed.  And this is another example of how when it comes to handling child abuse complaints or inquiries little is done until too late.  The Women who drove their car off the cliff, the former Mayor of Seattle, the Reverend, the Doctors, the Celebrities and many many more who daily inflict pain on others in some bizarre need to satisfy their own rage and deviancy.  I knew yesterday me screaming at the top of my lungs over an idiot kid calling me a liar was a way over the top response but I am tired of being ignored and not being listened to nor respected in any civilized manner.   And this only validates my belief that if a disaster with a shooter did happen I would turn out the lights, shut the door with me on the other side and run for the exit.  I am not even going to apologize or explain and truly I doubt anyone would care let alone understand why.  It took several Teachers to finally agree that me taking kids that were already trouble to a small gym with equipment of which I was to be responsible and somehow think that was okay for a 60 year old woman to do.  To then be called a liar by a Student when I said that I could not nor would due to liability issues was true I just chose to explain in a way that once again was over the heads and the comprehension skills of these students.  They are utterly unaccountable in their behavior so why would I be accountable for their safety?

Guns seem to be the weapon of choice for men under 30 to resolve disputes, settle scores, prove manhood and mend broken hearts.    There is your toxic masculinity.  We have men and boys raping boys and girls and coercing women into sexual relationships long after puberty without recourse.  And the response to this is to of course drop race cards, come up with bizarre analogies and other stories that somehow defend and excuse said behavior.  So far I am loving the whole 70s thing as a reason. I loved the 70s show and don't recall that as a topic but maybe Ashton Kuchner could do a reboot with that as a theme.

But then when the President of the United States is confused about HIV and HPV we have another problem. And given this man's history of problems it seems to be just another to add to burgeoning list.   When Bill Gates jokes about it during a speech but also feels it necessary to comment about Trump's observations and comments on Gate's daughter I see why he and his wife were upset.  This is how women are valued and seen.  When we are fertile, attractive we are still valued when not we are ignored, dismissed and trashed with the crash test dummies.  And this might be why men treat women that way - we are disposable.

From Cannes where the elite meet, greet and advocate all thing theater the reality is that one-half the worlds population are women and yet there is an absurd dress code.  So they respond by making the Jury entirely of women to show respect. That is one start but the film industry is not any different than any other.  Then we can break that down by color and ethnicity and in turn those who have changed genders in which to embrace all that comes from being a woman and have a parade, then what?  This last week has made me hate being a woman, hate myself even more than normal as I cannot recall a time when I was loved as a person, that I mattered and that I had something to offer. This is not living it is existing.  Maybe that is why the NRA wants us to have guns so we can end it all and let Immigrants clean up the mess

 Births are way down in America so now if you want to know the real reason the GOP want to ban sex education, sexual health information, access to birth control/family planning and abortion this may be why.  Otherwise we are going to have to tear down those walls!  Reagan is back and the next up shoulder pads.  The 70s are over.  Never mind Ashton.