Friday, November 30, 2018

Shame Shame Shame

I spend a great deal of time being ashamed in the schools here in Nashville and hence I call them dumpsters as they are simply trashing the idea that education is a value and should be one for all. I perhaps cling to an outdated model of public education and in turn the irony being that I was privately school educated up until college where I went to the University of Washington.  There I realized how unprepared I was for most academia and I finally found my footing when I entered the Sociology program there where many of the Professors were leading the way in the field that for decades was the University of Chicago's province.  But without true mentorship and guidance I floundered into my eventual profession of Teaching which surprisingly I was and am good at.  The poor student became a better teacher and likely it was because I had many poor an inadequate Teachers whom I never would emulate.  That was Catholic School then and I suspect Catholic School now.  Just I was unaware of the raping and molesting. And the abuse and exploitation of young girls in laundries, whose children were taken from then and other things that Nuns did to equally demonstrate that the Church is toxic when it comes to their leadership.  And hence you have what you have today, the concept of collusion in that faith.  But it exists in public education and nowhere have I seen this quite like I have in Nashville.  Good times.

Now at 60 and wanting to write and explain and in turn teach through my writing what is like to live in the South, to be a Teacher in America and be a woman of a "certain age" I realize I need to get busy and just write.  Finding the time and energy seems always to be the Push Me Pull You of life. But I follow education rigorously despite my no longer wanting to work in the field as it is essential to finding new ways to explain the endless churn of the field and the current trends in what is now about reformation.  Funny how that worked out for the Catholic Church and again only shows how intertwined Church and Schools are when it comes to structure, discipline and even curriculum.

I think of education more like food but if in all fairness it is modeled after Churches down to the hierarchy and the concept of how the interaction and relationships are formed and modeled.  Think of your Teacher and how they are like a Minister or Pastor.  No one demonstrated this more than Fred Rogers who was an ordained Minister but his congregation was much larger and broader than any church or school as he found the best medium in which to preach and he opened that door for more conventional churches to follow.  Well if one thinks of the crop of TV Ministers conventional.

When I read the article about this individuals "school" I was not sure what to say or how to respond as right away the trigger concepts of race and class dominate the issue.  It is what I say repeatedly here when I discuss the odd co-dependence and strange projection which I now have come to learn is Emeshment.  The disturbing disconnect, the lack of boundaries and the way discipline is disbursed and I do mean that, it is selective it is confusing and utterly without any definitive resolution. This absurd push for restorative justice is clearly not administered correctly and the concept of Social Emotional learning is one that requires a team of individuals and family engagement otherwise it is all for naught.   I am not for mass suspensions and I do think that has become an easy catchall but the reality of having proper discipline programs again comes to one thing money and there is no demand for that when it comes to this issue.

One of the many concepts or trends is learning by those of one's own color and the other is by computers.  Either/Or Neither/Nor seem to be the reality is not matched with the ideal.  I am all for using tech but it is not the replacement for qualified, trained educators who are receiving quality, well established and tested dogma.  Things learned in the field and taught in the field and in turn from that we see what works, what doesn't and what needs to be tweaked, tossed or blessed. In all honesty that is a ever changing necessity that funding does not allow.  So we get something of this mishmash that sits on our plates that are not only leftover but on the verge of rotting.

I am frequently asked about Charters and they are littering the landscape here but they are hardly the panacea one believes and if private schools were so great then the post secondary rates of  graduation would be higher so I am not sure Education is quite as important as led to believe by the outgoing Governor.

Race, ethnicity and in turn regional attitudes do affect how education is perceived and in turn administered. Until the push under G.W. Bush there was little national focus on the curriculum then came No Child Left Behind with benchmarks that States were to achieve regarding testing in which to receive federal funds.  Then came Every Child Succeeds under Obama and with that the same and a bigger push towards Charters as his Ed Secretary, Arnie Duncan, had links to them.  Now with Trump and the Devos idiot it is religious domain time with a  push towards that and vouchers.   But again when it comes to clearly trying to understand why some children succeed and so do not there is no imperative despite all the acronyms and much of  the heavy lifting has come from the Oligarch community.  First:  Eli Broad and his Residency Program /Superintendent Academy  which I want to point out is largely attended by faces of color and he is not  and what it was and is purpose seems to go without any attention other than parental and school activism communities.  From there many of those grads have had mixed to poor success and in turn  been marginalized by their communities for their role in an institute that seems to want to privatize education not actually improve it.  Second: Bill Gates whose mishandling of the Common Core guidelines made States kill each other for something no one knew definitively that this curriculum and testing  would work but it  had a check attached and anything for money said the Prostitute.  And while our current Director was not a grad of this academy he had as a mentor a former one and many of his decisions and programs are lifted right out playbook.  And his former district was riddled with sexual scandals, grade inflation and test doctoring.  And here we are and the cards are tossed.

But few stories compare to this one of the schools of T.M. Landry. When I read this my hair stood on end.  The odd discipline, the abuse, the focus on testing, the fraudulent transcripts, the manipulation and extortion.  Then lastly the tossing of race cards wrapped in religion.  Well I have seen versions of  this in my time here, and  down to the choking, the verbal abuse and even sexual relationships. The fraudulent test data, the grade changing and graduation records are also issues that have plagued schools that serve largely poor and minority  students.    I am not sure how to explain it without finding ways to somehow prevent me from seeming racist to accuse other faces of color as failing to do their job, treat children equally and without bias and projection and I don't think  it is possible as our racial divisions are just too deep and long.  But when one exploits their own I am not sure what to make of it or what to say.   And I also have to remind myself the South's roots are intertwined and buried deep.  I don't think anything will change.   Shame shame shame.

Exhausted Yet?

In trying to find a break from the endless political coverage and the distraction that is holidays I wanted to find a book that was utter gossip about someone dead that I could use to laugh and be amused by, as they like to say, "The rich are different."  So I had checked out a book about the late Princess Margaret who I thought was the interesting royal of the family of the House of Windsor.  I have read all of 10 pages but from what I have read she was a bitch of high order and until those pesky heirs came along she was second in line to the throne.   Intellect clearly is not a high priority for those in the family and I hope it works out well for Megan as she seems bright and worldly and a breath of fresh air.  But they said that about her also dead Mother-in-Law.  Maybe this weekend I can at least read some more dish and look forward to Netflix next season of The Queen with anticipation of that phase of the royals life.  Why are these people who seem utterly boring also seem fascinating?

Of course we have our own royal "we" in the crazy Trump family.  From the trophy wife to the doting daughter and the dutiful sons it is very Shakespearean in tone down to the off with their heads the daily cry from the King of the family who is more Queen from Alice's Wonderland that that of the Lear's. But the descent into madness has found parallels that cannot be ignored.

The week of the House of  Horror of the Christmas decorations (seriously the red trees were one thing but the base of trees and the wreaths made of Be Best pencils was utterly absurd placement promotion that makes one think they believe they are still in Trump Tower and you piss on everything to ensure domination).  Then  the raging raving rambling press briefings en route to the G20 conference only moments later to change course (not the plane but Trump as always) to cancel the love fest he was looking for with Putin.  And all of this the failure to have the annual press Christmas bash makes one wonder if any creature is stirring let alone a mouse in that house.

It is not yet December and yet the chill in the air is that of those who are in a perpetual state of histrionics.  - the White Supremacists, the Media, the Poor White Men and their equally charged up wives, two angry Gay men who felt snubbed by Chelsea Clinton at the Polo Club Bar and decided to support Trump (that redefines bitchy Queen, take that Margaret!) and everyone in Nashville not getting a piece of the Amazon that is not  scheduled for delivery for three years (wow will I still want that when it gets here?).

But the city released the bid yesterday and we found:

Nashville's initial lure for Amazon's second headquarters was an annual $500-per-job grant and 50 percent off property taxes for 15 years, according to the original incentive offer released by Metro officials Thursday afternoon.

For 10,000 workers, that would have amounted to a $5 million-a-year payment and a total 15-year cost of $75 million, according to the letter signed by then-Mayor Megan Barry.
In addition, the city pledged a host of other incentives — including fully funding any needed connection to a planned mass transit system. 

The state will also pay $65 million cash and extend $21.7 million in tax breaks. In return, Amazon promised a $230 investment that will add up to $1 billion over 10 years. 

From 50K in jobs to 5K and spread out over 7 years is still the most laughable bullshit I have ever received in my stocking.  But to find out that the city is/was planning to give the $500 per job and build transit for them is sheer hubris and arrogance that boggles the mind.   Again coming off the announcement that the municipal workers will not see raises and that he has no intent of raising property taxes.  So who is doing the math here?  How will any of this be paid for and by whom?

The current Moron I mean Mayor has said nothing about this and has been clear to avoid any further debate about transit  but he had no problem releasing this document he had initially refused to so until the very day the Slattern was on the news talking at a TED X talk for women.  Love the line up one of the women was also on the front page or our local rag as her "acclaimed restaurant" in one of the emerging hoods - The Nations - closed.  Well she is one of three that shut doors in the area over the past year and again this was because the shiny key plan of urban development is missing some essential elements... wages and workers -  who can afford these joints.  But releasing that plan that was originally signed off by the former Slattern comes at an odd time.  Funny last week there was no plan, today a plan.  Why? Well it appears that she is now living her best life, been on the news with a new do and attitude. He must be worried.  Well he is not going to the Christmas Parade tomorrow as Kid Rock is the Grand Marshall. Funny in June he was all excited about that, again did Kid Rock change since then?

Briely is perhaps our worst Politician but that is not saying much.  Given to what I have read about this Amazon ass kiss with that promise to build green space and improve the infrastructure there is little mention of the varying other problems that plague the city - the increasing violence and endless deaths that dominate the news cycle here (we have had several suicide murders and my favorite were rich white people this time irony not covered on the black news Scoop Nashville I guess white lives don't matter to that racist piece of shit).  Then there is the lack of a safety net and the budget for City Hospital, the scandals in the Building Department, the endless incentives given to developers with no oversight (let alone logic, I call it shiny key planning) and this involved, which also includes safety and building inspections that cannot be performed due to a lack of qualified help.  And lastly the dumpsters aka the schools.  They are a shit fest and as I sit in a classroom without windows, with kids thoroughly disengaged and an internet connection that is so sporadic I wonder what they think they will do with these kids when Amazon does come here?  Hire them as custodians and security guards I guess.

The reality is that the culture here is too ingrained in the people and despite the outsiders arriving at a supposed rate of 100 day they are few and far between the educated elite that Amazon will require to work in this office.  So again by the time they do much will change and of course people will transfer, be hired outside the office and over the next seven years there may well be a push through the local schools to get the grads up to snuff.  Again that is with the next three years to plan and then add and adapt this is possible for numerous students to graduate with the necessary skill set but something tells me few if many will be local.  There is a resignation and what I have come to learn as emmeshment to describe the residents here   And in turn I equate my conversations akin to having one with a fish. The blank staring eyes that cloud over when they blink is something that one finds when you jump deep into the waters here. The poverty, the obsession with money and the church, and lastly the racism that is all ingrained as a cultural dogma has enabled the city to say that they did not need to change at all to attract such white collar workforce as Ernst and Young, Alliance Bernstein and of course Amazon so why would they have to?     Yes indeed they are arrogant here in ways that boggle the mind.

Which for now the largest employer, Vanderbilt, was held in high esteem. It covered all the bases that made this city feel important - a Southern version of an Ivy League School, a coveted football team (the obsession with sports only surpassed with the one over religion) and of course the growing medical facilities that have transformed once dying parts of the city.   Well that may be coming to an end as a Nurse killed someone there.  Funny how this does not surprise me as the hospital had been in the news over their issues with over booking surgery and in turn anesthetizing people but this one is pretty out there.  What was more disturbing was the cover up. Really this is something you choose to hide as if that won't get out there.  See if they had killed me as I feared they would have succeeded in no one knowing as I have no family. This is just one step removed from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle the trashbag public hospital that has no problem doing just that.  But this is Vanderbilt and yet they are not much better it appears.  But then look at all hospitals they are all shit frankly.

Corporations go with the money. They are here for the tax incentives, the no income tax and of course the cost of living which by their very re-location here means that will now all go away.  It still will be cheaper than New York but this is a town built on tourism and that is not going away so there is only so much draw to this town that one could tolerate and in turn this is still a very red state and getting redder with each passing day. The Plumber Governor is by far more conservative than Haslam and he carries the Religious torch which means he will burn anyone who does not respect Jesus. Then we have our State Legislature that puts the wing into nut and of course Marsha the Trumpologist.  In States that are more progressive and open to alternative lifestyles and religions let alone immigration this is going to bite the white collar classes in their asses.  Again I am leaving in a year and I cannot wait.   Otherwise it is like the Borg you must assimilate in which to survive.

Ignorance must be bliss as knowledge is exhausting. Time for a good book.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The South

I am not sure what to make of the South other than perhaps all the stereotypes are right on and nothing will ever change that.

The election in Mississippi went in a very traditional manner by electing a racist, they did however break it by said racist being a woman so that is a step up I guess. Then we have the odd blood red trees on display in the White House that I have thought were representative of the knives used to stab varying staff member on the way out.   And those we thought were out were right back in with Manafort revelations that have led Prosecutors to rescind his plea bargain.   Seriously what the flying fuck is going on in this country?

I have exhausted all patience with the morons here who are seemingly content with the endless bullshit and lies peddled to them that I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would willingly move here.  The hysteria over the Amazon jobs  and the Ernst and Young now hipster friendly EY that have up to five years to fill those obligations and by then who will verify or remember it boggles the mind.  Endless buildings are on the rise and many sit empty and more are on the horizon in some bizarre belief that this is where everyone wants to be.  Really, why?

Today at the alternative school I was at chaos reigned as usual and the endless excuse making and neglect in dealing with the problems boggle the mind.  As faces of color seem to accept that horrific behavior by the same faces of color when it comes to the children cannot be resolved. Sorry but when a boy lays supine behind my desk and chair I have a valid reason to be afraid and wonder what is wrong when he feels compel to endlessly ramble using vulgar language and veiled threats  and when asked to discontinue the verbal abuse is seemingly clueless that calling me names and using foul language to describe me and speak to me is abuse.   Right there you have a problem.   One kid could not stop himself from being just bizarre taking stuff off the desk (eventually he did return with them), opening windows and acting like a small needy child, ignoring my requests to discontinue, while attending to all this another  child finally stole something from the Teacher's desk and ran out.  (I no longer take any valuables and so I knew it wasn't anything of mine).  As the phone wasn't working I finally ran into the hall and demanded help, when finally when some adults came in and just sat there.  The students continued acting bizarre with another student pouring glue all over the desk he was at while the same angry boy-child continued to act like a three year old, the other angry boy continued  to rant on and threaten anyone who tried to contain him.  This went on for an hour with the students asking me repeatedly if I was going to cry.  That was clearly the emotion they wanted and needed but I wasn't even angry, I was bored, disturbed and yes I was afraid.  And when it was over I was told that I had no reason to be frightened and that I need to be looser. Sure tell that to the Teacher who was assaulted, the one murdered and the students shot by fellow classmates. Sure tell them to lighten up. She had nothing to say after I made that comment.  Bitch please was what I really wanted to say.

What is disturbing is that this is setting these children up for a pipeline to jail or to be shot in the street by a Cop.  These are faces of color enabling and allowing children to completely have no accountability and in turn utterly be adrift in a society that will not allow them to reconcile themselves and in turn find a place within it.   This is not right not right at all. But here in the South that is racist and I cannot for the life me pretend that I understand nor try to care at this point.  This is what I do know - that in the South all parties are culpable and in turn use their roles to manipulate and exploit the situation to their advantage.  It is one sick fucking mess of co-dependency and enmeshment.  Enmeshment is a description of a relationship between two or more people in which personal boundaries are permeable and unclear and that I see repeatedly with the students and teachers, a situation where there seem to be no lines nor sense of propriety when it comes to Adult/Child relationships.  It is some sick shit.

 Then I looked at the Trump family dynamics and thought the similarity could not be greater. They are all so  intertwined that it has been a generation of sick dynamics that have enabled them to think that their behavior is somehow exempt from normal mores. The causes of enmeshment can vary.  Sometimes there is an event or series of occurrences in a family’s history that necessitates a parent becoming protective in their child’s life, such as an illness, trauma, or significant social problems in elementary school.  At this time the parent steps in to intervene.  While this intervention may have been appropriate at the time, some parents get stuck using that same approach in new settings and become overly involved in the day to day interactions of their children.

Other times, and perhaps more frequently, enmeshment occurs as a result of family patterns being passed down through the generations.  It is a result of family and personal boundaries becoming more and more permeable, undifferentiated, and fluid.  This may be because previous generations were loose in their personal boundaries and so it was learned by the next generation to do the same.  Or it may be a conscious decision to stay away from family patterns of a previous generation that felt overly rigid in its personal boundaries.

From the New York Times examination of the Trump family finances and the way the father both bullied and manipulated the children to hide his finances and in turn build his dynasty it makes sense in wealthy families but here in Nashville where over 75% of the children in public schools are poor and largely  children of color the generational pass is that of trauma.  From this  they have no sense of purpose or of being and with that change.  And when schools do try to intervene they are circumvented by their own cultural mores or in turn the fear of being accused of racism prevents anyone from actually resolving the issues that prevent a child from fully functioning.  And again the South is very vested in their deluded misconception about their worth and history.   This is generational and no one will change history. We tried and we failed.

I read this on Vox and I think it describes this region perfectly:

In Baptized in Blood, historian Charles Reagan Wilson describes the South’s Lost Cause narrative as “a mythic construct that helped white Southerners define a cultural identity in the aftermath of Confederate defeat.” The civil religion of the Lost Cause is on full display at a place like the Jefferson Davis Museum, recasting Confederate history as heroic and virtuous.

And the Lost Cause isn’t just a Southern myth; it’s a national one. This is why you see Confederate flags in Maine. It’s why the current president can say “they are trying to take away our history and our heritage” at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, and still get wild applause. It’s why the domestic terrorist who rammed his car into counterprotesters in Charlottesville was born and raised far away from the South, in Ohio. It’s why cities from Birmingham to Brooklyn are grappling with what to do about their Confederate monuments. 

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, put it well: “The North won the Civil War, but the South won the narrative war.”

And hence that is why here the endless bullshit and lies that mask as facts and truths fit so well into the current climate.  I cannot stress enough how tragic. How grim. How pathetic it is and here in Tennessee they think that as long as they aren't Mississippi they are doing great. Well what Ole Miss has is not much better than Tennessee and all the jobs from white liberal companies will not change that. 

Face Place

I never got into Facebook and you think someone with no friends, ample spare time, massive opinions would be a perfect sucker for their data trolling, false news making, game playing (and by that I mean the Executive staff) site that wants to connect the world.  I can do that by going to Disneyland and riding its a Small World and have just as much fun in the hall of Presidents and seeing the robot dummy of Trump who is likely less stiff fake and dumb as the real one.

I am private, very obsessively private.  It took me a long time to realize people don't give a shit, or I always knew so I finally cultivated a private face and a public face.  At home I can say and do what I want and no one can hear me and from that I can allow myself anger, tears and laughter without the bullshit that comes from trying to please everyone everywhere all the time.  And maybe that is what Facebook is - the private side of people who they can unleash, reveal or expose for all the world to see - clearly that is working out well as outing people now is far more fun than the old school type about exposing peoples private sexual identity.  Besides isn't that what Wikileaks was for?  Remember when they were beloved too?  Ah times change, people however don't.

I blog under a pseudonym and at one point had to change the blog address/name as a former Attorney, that would be number two for those keeping track, who read my blog and my insults and comments about him and the justice system when I was going through perhaps the worst stage of my life and I used the blog as an outlet for my private thoughts.   He then confronted my third Attorney whom I call Opie the parent caretaker of the current in now out of rehab for being insane who never read the blog nor cared about any one's thoughts let alone mine.  So when Opie herd of it he refused to read the blog but warned me and in turn I immediately changed the name and have moved on.  If one thing I know about Kevin and Ted they redefine narcissists times ten and Ted's meltdown on Facebook is the only thing I think is hilarious to follow, along with the Wow Air complaint site which is folding its tent as Wow Air is soon folding its tent, so see it works!  By it I mean venting as eventually it catches up to the source.  But I have seen repeatedly the stories the endless tormenting of individuals who express their opinion regardless of the issue of free speech despite the content of said speech. Again you cannot please all of the people all of the time.  So when your colleagues Facebook page has pics of his recent camping adventure with White Nationalists rather than tell your boss, tell him and let him know that you find his hobbies repugnant and you will only work with him as you must but keep it professional.   Again people have to make a living, even assholes and as long as they are not burning Tiki torches at work you are good to go just don't eat anything they bring to the company potluck.

I am not sure we understand the lines and today we seem to need to blur them and be friends with our co workers and hence Tech does that better than anyone with their campuses and games and food with endless perks and strategies to both seclude you under some guise of preventing intellectual property theft and in turn work 22 hours a day.   Again the reality that people do need down time and a life outside of work.  But now with social media fuck that shit you literally can film yourself taking a shit and upload it to let everyone see it.   Sounds great!

The revelations about Facebook in The New York Times about how they worked to cover up their nasty deeds including hiring the equivalent of what Harvey Firestein did to silence his accusers should not be surprising. They move fast and break things and by things your kneecaps.  The reality that the modern version of Feminist who took no interest in the Women's March and her entire career has been reliant if not dependent upon men who not only share her skin color but her religion makes it even more repugnant give Facebook's issues with both.

This article in The Washington Post discusses how black employees were marginalized again is not surprising.   This is the business that uses and exploits Asian individuals through H1B1 Visas and have compounds in which they live to shield them from the great unwashed and surround themselves with a coterie of like minds who do not offer conflict or even a difference of an opinion. Much like the current residence of the White House.   Remember when Steve Jobs would change license plates on his car and drive like a psycho through the Valley?  Nah me either he is a hero, dead but a hero.

There is a high tolerance for weirdness in the Valley and when you are rich you are pretty much given a free pass for everything.  Ask Trump about his remark murdering people and given his admiration for strong arm leaders like Putin I am sure its only a matter of time....

I laugh now at the movie about Facebook that everyone said was a falsehood, like the news on Facebook only with better looking people. And remember Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In? Well she meant lean in like the Godfather to issue a warning. Poor Fredo.

So when you sign on post pics, reveal some bullshit about what you do or who you are doing it with remember no one actually gives a fuck but the Facebook people do as they see you as dollar signs and like the Mafia, no one ever really leaves.

Do You Have a Moral Duty to Leave Facebook?

The platform has been used to disrupt elections, disseminate propaganda and promote hate. Regular users should ask if they are implicated in these failings.

By S. Matthew Liao
The New York Times|Opinon
Nov. 24, 2018

I joined Facebook in 2008, and for the most part, I have benefited from being on it. Lately, however, I have wondered whether I should delete my Facebook account. As a philosopher with a special interest in ethics, I am using “should” in the moral sense. That is, in light of recent events implicating Facebook in objectionable behavior, is there a duty to leave it?

In moral philosophy, it is common to draw a distinction between duties to oneself and duties to others. From a self-regarding perspective, there are numerous reasons one might have a duty to leave Facebook. For one thing, Facebook can be time-consuming and addictive, to no fruitful end. In addition, as researchers have demonstrated, Facebook use can worsen depression and anxiety. Someone who finds himself mindlessly and compulsively scrolling through Facebook, or who is constantly comparing himself unfavorably with his Facebook friends, might therefore have a duty of self-care to get off Facebook.

From the perspective of one’s duties to others, the possibility of a duty to leave Facebook arises once one recognizes that Facebook has played a significant role in undermining democratic values around the world. For example, Facebook has been used to spread white supremacist propaganda and anti-Semitic messages in and outside the United States. The United Nations has blamed Facebook for the dissemination of hate speech against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar that resulted in their ethnic cleansing.

Facebook also enabled the political data firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of millions of voters in the United States so they could be targeted with personalized political advertisements. A significant amount of fake news can be found on Facebook, and for many users, Facebook has become a large echo chamber, where people merely seek out information that reinforces their views.

Some people might think that because they mostly share photos of their cats on Facebook, such concerns do not apply to them. But this is not so, for three reasons. First, even if one does not contribute directly to the dissemination of fake news or hang out in echo chambers, simply being on Facebook encourages one’s friends to stay on Facebook, and some of those friends might engage in such activities. This influence on others is known as a (positive) network effect, where increased numbers of people improve the value of a product.

Second, by being on Facebook one serves as a data point for Facebook’s social media experiment, even if one encounters none of Facebook’s experimental manipulations. In doing so, one could be helping Facebook to refine its algorithms so that it can better single out specific individuals for certain purposes, some of which could be as nefarious as those of Cambridge Analytica.

Consider an analogy. When testing the safety and efficacy of new drugs, subjects are randomly assigned either to an experimental group or a control group, and only subjects in the experimental group receive the new drug. Nevertheless, the subjects in the control group are essential to the experiment.

Third, using Facebook is not just an individual action but also a collective one that may be akin to failing to pay taxes. A few people failing to pay taxes might not make much of a difference to a government’s budget, but such an action may nevertheless be wrong because it is a failure to participate in a collective action that achieves a certain good end. In a similar vein, choosing to remain on Facebook might not directly undermine democratic values. But such an action could also be wrong because we might be failing to participate in a collective action (that is, leaving Facebook) that would prevent the deterioration of democracy.

So do we have an obligation to leave Facebook for others’ sake? The answer is a resounding yes for those who are intentionally spreading hate speech and fake news on Facebook. For those of us who do not engage in such objectionable behavior, it is helpful to consider whether Facebook has crossed certain moral “red lines,” entering the realm of outright wickedness.

For me at least, Facebook would have crossed a moral red line if it had, for example, intentionally sold the data of its users to Cambridge Analytica with the full knowledge that company would use the data subversively to influence a democratic election. Likewise, Facebook would have crossed a red line if it had intentionally assisted in the dissemination of hate speech in Myanmar. But the evidence indicates that Facebook did not intend for those things to occur on its platform.

The fact that those things did occur, however, means that Facebook needs to be much more proactive in fixing such problems. Will it? The recent worrisome revelation that Facebook hired an opposition-research firm that attempted to discredit protesters by claiming that they were agents of the financier George Soros is not encouraging. While there still appears to be some daylight between Facebook and what is being done on its platform or in its name, darkness is crowding in.

That said, we should not place the responsibility to uphold democratic values entirely on Facebook. As moral agents, we should also hold ourselves responsible for our conduct, and we should be reflective about what we say, react to and share when we are on social media. Among Twitter users, a common refrain is “retweets are not endorsements.” In a similar manner, one might also think that “sharing” or “reacting to” are not “endorsements.” This is a mistake. By sharing or reacting to a post, even if one explicitly criticizes the post, one is amplifying the message of that post and signaling that the post warrants further attention.

For now I’m going to stay on Facebook. But if new information suggests that Facebook has crossed a moral red line, we will all have an obligation to opt out.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thanks and Full

I live alone and have no friends nor family in which to spend any time with let alone a holiday but I still cook a full meal spread, I just have more leftovers in which to use for meals in the days that follow.  I have done the orphan dinners, invited others and once had a family in which to share the repast but as I get older I truly seem less engaged than one should.  It did not help I worked retail for many years and had a Mother who did as well so it changes your perspective and once again the violence that followed neither shocked nor surprised me.  The holidays don't have any special significance or trauma associated with them on a personal level and as a result I am pretty much fine finding the sole exercise class and coffee shop open to spend the morning, cook in the day and watch a movie at night.   A day like any other.

Living in Nashville has made me more isolated and insular than I ever believed possible. I find massive excuses to avoid going to the Symphony and missed not one but two concerts that I was looking forward to but not enough to find the energy in which to engage.  I suspect this has to do with the school year and by the end of day I need to be in a quiet place without people and when I do go I find myself regretting it immediately as the adults here are not much better than the children.

Right now the arrogance and humble bragging of this "city" is beyond nauseating.  The absurdity that Amazon in coming with 5K jobs of which the average being 105K in annual salary cannot be believed.  This cannot be until it is established on what the skill set and the job requirements provided and in turn the range of salary for each position is listed. That is a year away.  Again, if that average was in fact spread among the workers in total it would put approximately 2500 workers making said base salary and this would include executives and management which is highly unlikely if not absurd as they should be double the average. The idea is there a spectrum, with a median salary and when all salaries are totaled among the workforce an average is determined, so the higher salaries will raise the average of the lower ones but that average is spread among a small but equal cohort when it comes to skills and experience.  But Nashville is in histrionics over this but this is not a city of well educated people who could do the math,  so again the city seems to be wetting itself on the long game and when it's Amazon it always is the long con.

Schools and Universities here are planning to prepare grads for the unspecified jobs with the non specific descriptions and salaries without even knowing what those skills and jobs are.  I see that working out well.   Just peruse our local rag to see the endless articles about the second coming of Bezos who is the new Baby Jesus.

Then we have the self congratulatory letter from our post scandal Mayor who suddenly has forgotten the 35M budget shortfall and will be putting in the necessary infrastructure repairs and upgrades in preparation for the Amazon immediately.  Let's hope the other river, the Cumberland, doesn't beat it to the punch and overflow again given what we are hearing about Climate change and weather forecasts for the future.

Dear Metro employees,

In recent weeks we’ve launched a major initiative to plant 500,000 trees before 2050; enacted a new Metro workplace policy to support survivors of domestic violence; and announced that Amazon and EY are bringing 5,600 high-paying jobs to Nashville and that the SEC will hold basketball tournaments at Bridgestone Arena every year through 2035.

We’ve also marched down Broadway with our city’s veterans; hosted the CMA Awards, which honor the best of country music; launched a major food-saver challenge to area restaurants and hotels; and learned that Davidson County’s growth in both total personal income and per-capita income in 2017 ranked in the top 10 among the nation’s 100 largest counties.

What do these announcements, events and data have in common? The answer is you.

Without you and your dedication to public service, Nashville wouldn’t be the fast-growing and widely admired city it is. Businesses, new residents and visitors wouldn’t be flocking here, and we wouldn’t be able to pull off the special events that we routinely present without a hitch.

You make it all possible. You keep us safe. You educate our children. You keep our streets, our public spaces and our water clean, from downtown to every corner of Davidson County. You do all the tasks that are necessary, if not always well-known, to keep a city moving every day.

And many of you have been doing it for a long, long time. I had the privilege of honoring 170 employees who have now served the city for 30 years, 35 years, 40 years and even longer at the Mayor’s Service Awards ceremony last week.

So as I get ready for my first Thanksgiving as mayor, let me express how thankful I am for your hard work and your commitment to Nashville and its citizens. Your selflessness, sacrifice and work ethic inspire me.

Thank you for everything you do. I hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

Warm wishes,

Mayor David Briley

I have never met people so ignorant and self obsessed like Nashvillians.  Many who have come here are from poorer communities that they were on the verge of homelessness or in abject poverty and found minimum wage work that was non-existent in their home towns. As most of the jobs here are service oriented they have few benefits, low salaries  but they fill the large void of unemployment and in turn keep the numbers down in that regards. Then we have those who have higher skills sets  and in turn have come with the demands their position requires and in turn higher wages which has contributed to the boon in real estate and a rise in our median wage to about 63K.  But no the elite unless transferred here are not just packing their wagon to come here.    This data shows where the influx is coming from. - largely intrastate migration.   But again most jobs here do not need higher education and the reality is that four years in the Drive to 55 I wonder now with the Plumber if the switch to a more voc-tech centric education will be the focus?

When asked where I am from and what brought me here finally made sense as the people here aspire to be Seattle, cool, wealthy, a pretty city with smart people.  They are incredulous anyone would move here while simultaneously never leaving here and thinking its the end all be all is largely more the same bullshit I have come to learn here.  What about the comment by the Mayor about the largest personal and per capita income in counties this size. WTF?  They are obsessed with this shit and they never mention the ones that are less positive and of course provide a source for such claims.  At the end of the day I have little good to say and the adage goes: "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing." So I don't.  It makes for even a lonelier existence.  Hence I travel but with the dental work coming up that means staying put and finding ways to work and survive.  More bullshit more energy spent waiting to leave.

But while I consider myself an outlier with at least some long range plans and the ability to move many do not and yet we are at an epidemic of loneliness.  I have no workplace or church or other club to join to find like minds.  I tried the Porch, Meetup and volunteering and then I realized that I was the least of the problem and that the people here are assholes like Massachusetts only less educated.  They call them Massholes for a reasons and I call them Nashvilians for the same.

The op-ed piece I read in The New York Times yesterday (below)  did not focus new light on the subject but it explains the obsession with politics and one perusal of social media demonstrates how those forums are seemingly nothing but.   The source is also perhaps one of the more disingenuous GOP Senators I have read of late.  Ben Sasse can shove his moral rectitude up his ass as he contributes to much of the political landscape of hostility and abuse that we can link historically to  GOP; this is directed at and most specifically to that of Newt Gingrich or as The Atlantic calls, The Man Who Broke Politics.   I still love Sasse's  false narrative from his last book (The Vanishing American now available online for 3.89)  about working in the corn fields during his breaks from Yale and Oxford. What.ever.

And let us not forget Mitch McConnell who oversees the Senate who is an equally obstinate angry individual who uses his pulpit to endlessly bully.  You reap what you sow and in turn when   I spend time  looking at the crazy on social media I read the rants by the  same people who decry Trump for his endless twitter rants but  are doing much of the same.  Got a new drug or just upping the ones you are on?  There are only so many ways you can preach to the choir before you need a new script.   When I find myself writing snark on comment sections of newspapers you know its desperate times and this is desperate measure.   Even I who spends little time with others manages to get to a gym, to yoga, to go for a walk and watch something on television that is enlightening or at least entertaining.  I finally watched the HULU series, The Looming Tower, and learned about Mike O'Neill whose complex personality was as much  his downfall as it was  his success.  Hell of a man and I am glad I heard of him now as those are the people you need to remember from a tragedy, the heroes not the villains.  That is how I want to leave here, recalling that what mattered.  It may not be enough but it is not nothing.   That is how we should remember how many celebrate holidays with not just a full plate but one that is not empty.  We may need to find our lives in need of other ways to be full.

How Loneliness Is Tearing America Apart
When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics.

By Arthur C. Brooks
Mr. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Nov. 23, 2018

America is suffering an epidemic of loneliness.

According to a recent large-scale survey from the health care provider Cigna, most Americans suffer from strong feelings of loneliness and a lack of significance in their relationships. Nearly half say they sometimes or always feel alone or “left out.” Thirteen percent of Americans say that zero people know them well. The survey, which charts social isolation using a common measure known as the U.C.L.A. Loneliness Scale, shows that loneliness is worse in each successive generation.

This problem is at the heart of the new book “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” by Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. Mr. Sasse argues that “loneliness is killing us,” citing, among other things, the skyrocketing rates of suicide and overdose deaths in America. This year, 45,000 Americans will take their lives, and more than 70,000 will die from drug overdoses.

Mr. Sasse’s assertion that loneliness is killing us takes on even darker significance in the wake of the mail-bomb campaign against critics of President Trump and the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, both of which were perpetrated by isolated — and apparently very lonely — men. Mr. Sasse’s book was published before these events, but he presciently described what he believes lonely people increasingly do to fill the hole of belonging in their lives: They turn to angry politics.

In the “siloed,” or isolated, worlds of cable television, ideological punditry, campus politics and social media, people find a sense of community in the polarized tribes forming on the left and the right in America. Essentially, people locate their sense of “us” through the contempt peddled about “them” on the other side of the political spectrum.

There is profit to be made here. The “outrage industrial complex” is what I call the industries that accumulate wealth and power by providing this simulacrum of community that people crave — but cannot seem to find in real life.

Why are we becoming so lonely? One reason is the changing nature of work. Work is one of the key sources of friendship and community. Think of your own relationships; surely many of your closest friendships — perhaps even your relationship with your spouse — started in the workplace. Yet the reality of the workplace is rapidly attenuating, as people hop from job to job, and from city to city, as steady work becomes harder to find and the “gig” economy grows.

Mr. Sasse worries even more, however, about a pervasive feeling of homelessness: Too many Americans don’t have a place they think of as home — a “thick” community in which people know and look out for one another and invest in relationships that are not transient. To adopt a phrase coined in Sports Illustrated, one might say we increasingly lack that “hometown gym on a Friday night feeling.”

Mr. Sasse finds this phrase irresistible and warmly relates it to his own life growing up in Fremont, Neb., a town of 26,000 residents. He describes the high school sports events on Friday nights that drew the townspeople together in a common love for their neighbors and community that made most differences — especially political differences — seem trivial. He relates with deep fondness the feelings he experienced, after moving away for a couple of decades for school and work, when he returned to Fremont’s small-town life with his family, and the deep sense of belonging it created.
In what might be called “the social capital of death,” Mr. Sasse charmingly describes the sense of being rooted that it gives him, at a robust and healthy 46, to own a burial plot for himself in Fremont’s local cemetery. A prĂ©cis of Mr. Sasse’s recommendations to America thus might be this: Go where you get that hometown-gym-on-a-Friday-night feeling, put down roots and make plans to fertilize the soil.

That can be a tricky proposition for many of us. On reading the book, I asked myself where I might get that hometown-gym feeling, where I have natural roots, where I can imagine being buried. No specific place came to mind. I have no Fremont — not even Seattle, my hometown, which is a perfectly nice place, but one I unsentimentally left behind 35 years ago.

All this is particularly germane to my wife and me at the moment, as we prepare to move from Maryland to Massachusetts in the coming months. We fear the loneliness we are sure to feel as we enter a completely new place where neither of us grew up or has ever lived. Is a thick community and the happiness it brings out of reach for rootless cosmopolitans like us?

I recently put these questions to Mr. Sasse. He told me I had it all wrong — that moving back home and going to the gym on Friday aren’t actually the point; rather, the trick is “learning how to intentionally invest in the places where we actually live.” In other words, being a member of a community isn’t about whether I have a Fremont. It isn’t about how I feel about any place I have lived, nor about my fear of isolation in a new city. It is about the neighbor I choose to be in the community I wind up calling my home.

And there lies the challenge to each of us in a country suffering from loneliness and ripped apart by political opportunists seeking to capitalize on that isolation. Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal, when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Darker Nights

Fall means a time for shorter days and longer nights and this fall we went from 60 to 0 in  record time.  I had noted earlier that we had no fall and that until October most of the trees were holding both to their leaves and their shade of green.  Within a week that all changed and I headed South where the weather was 91 degrees in the shade.  Unseasonably warm and all in a time of immense stress as election day neared.

As fall settled in the weather went much colder and here in Nashville it has been all over the gauge as winter seems to have moved in up to the north and east with gusto and an early Christmas surprise.  Why wait to make snow angels!  Meanwhile the flames of California found themselves two fold: Turning the entire state nearly blue as that is the Pacific but the waves should have gone farther into the central coastal region as the flames that burned there were both bright and hot bringing a very unhappy Thanksgiving to those residents of the area.  They may find themselves with rain this weekend and that may be way more welcome than Turkey.

Of course we had the Resting Dump Face in Chief make idiot remarks, he is good at one thing - those - and in turn we saw people rising from the ashes like a phoenix to show how good fires make good neighbors but little can be said of the neighborhood for in some cases there is one no longer.

I am not sure what to say as I watch the devastation and in turn another moronic Hausfrau show up to pretend she cares and other reality whore with their private fire fighters that shows that even nature they seemingly need to control. Not to mention the other rich idiots who  will  rebuild and go on as if it was only a  blip on the radar.  Tell me what they are doing for the hundreds of families living in tent towns or those who have no clue - right now in the 700 mark - who have no idea where their relatives, friends and co-workers may be?    I have seen too much of late, the destruction of Hawaii with its volcanoes, the Hurricanes that destroyed much of the gulf coast and parts of the Carolina's in October.  And we still have much to do with our family, our Americans in Puerto Rico as we go onto the next with each effort taking from the last.   The reality is that the very phrase "natural disasters" seems to be a farce as well as they are of nature but they seem very much man made. Climate change is real and there is no news that is fake about this.  And nature is what is our resource, our safe space and our true economy.  And we have crashed it like no other depression in history.

Then we have the shootings. Really, I cannot stress that the time for moments of silence and prayer are over.  We need to be loud we need to speak up and we need to demand change and by that I mean gun control. The year is not up but living here in Nashville every day I hear another story about another gun and how it was used to shoot someone or at least threaten them.  We love our guns like our sweet tea and to deny that we have a real problem with poverty is a farce.  Funny less than six months ago the Mayor stood and said we are a city in arrears and must tighten out belts only a week ago to then open the vaults and write a blank check to Amazon. Funny times change and people don't.  They told the big wigs of Amazon that this was a City on Fire, a metaphor that could not be more inappropriate and again that is Nashvile, vile in every way.  True that it was written a year ago and leads off with a quote from the former Slattern Mayor who was convicted on fraud charges, but hey that was then this is now and this is the city of now! What.the.fuck.ever.

Yesterday I came home from work and they were posting a sign on the building that units are for sale starting at 199K.  To that I go: What.the.fuck.ever.   Seriously the building has 65 units and most are occupied with tenants.  In the last year I saw much turnover in the building and we now have more couples and families which was odd but also more faces of color. In comparison to many apartments in the area this one lacks.  It lacks outdoor space, communal areas and a safe space for mail and packages. There is no covered nor assigned parking nor is the area well lit and there is one way out and one way in as it is one way street with the railroad tracks that  run behind the building and cross the main road which means they often slow down or stop blocking  traffic for hours.  This does not include the horns blasting 24/7 as we await the final decision on a silent zone when the building across the street is completed (cell pods yes those) which is supposedly paying the fees associated with this.  What.the.fuck.ever.

To suddenly turn a nearly 95% occupied building despite its flaws into condos seems odd. There is a great deal of building here, single family homes and some luxury condos so what market this is is clearly investment for either Airbnb or short term rentals as no way would anyone buy this to live here and presume that the builder has established the appropriate trust fund, established bylaws and all the necessary paperwork in which to make this a functioning condo building. And again as I live here the idea of a Condo board with some of my neighbors is not only laughable it is absurd.  And not because of the color of their complexion but the reality of intellect, ability to manage and engage.  We barely speak to each other now so how will that work when making decisions to operate the building and handle finances?

What I do think this was was the owner's attempt to dump those units and clean house.  You cannot kick out paying residents but you can either out price them by raising rents or selling the property.  He chose the former as again there is only so much you can charge as there are many more buildings with way more perks (still badly run however) that one can rent from so why again would you which is the same argument in which to buy one.

The reality is that racism is alive and well and the current agent from the property management company is also black and it would make sense that more tenants would be faces of color - like likes like - and that is the way of the world.  I have zero problem with it and in fact the most disturbing tenants are the white beanie wearing dude with the two pit bulls (funny his neighbor is a young black dude who has, wait for it, a French bulldog so much for that stereotype) and the weird white guy with numerous cats.  They bother me more go figure.  Plus can you not love a Frenchie?  Pit bulls are fine but irony is that we have a one dog rule but who is going to argue with that dude and again while the little gal "in charge" is black she is  truly stupid and again if she is from here I am not surprised as again the education here lacks and her former white equivalent was even dumber so there you go equality attained.

To have to deal with this with people who seem so resigned and oddly spoiled given their lack of wages and education is surreal.  I actually think they are so used to be maligned and marginalized they have no clue how to change the situation and landscape, hence the voting issues here with TN being the lowest voting on record in America and in turn their sheer level of false bravado that comes from the whole Southern City on Fire bullshit they peddle here.  When you are dumb you are dumb and it makes sense why some of the most corrupt and venal politicians have come from the South.

As I look on the horizon to the early setting sun I used to love dusk and still do there is something about the sky's changing colors and the drop in temperature that invites warm sweaters and a cool evening walk to take away the day that never changes in season.  One thing is always consistent and work is that and today as I Substitute Teach and have for many years I have found myself using that time to console, to cajole and chide myself for giving a fuck.  I had to change that dynamic living here and I am mystified why anyone would but then compared to some cities that have utterly been decimated by economics, politics and opioids, the new deadly triangle, this city with its low paying easily attained service jobs seem like not Nashville but Nirvana.  And it explains the suppressed anger and rage that you had to come hundreds of mile to serve a beer while everyone else around you seems to be better, doing better and making more money than you.  A darker nights means happy hour starts earlier and better to fake it til you make it or at least make it home to start the same again tomorrow.

I truly hate it here and I finally have allowed myself to admit that and perhaps once away I can find the dusk again and recall what I did like about it but that is like the spring a long way off.

To those in challenges of any kind, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving for at least we are alive to tell each other about it.  That is what it means to be human to live again another day.

Get Sick

And I don't mean in that amazed way that I believe as slang may have passed; however, I do mean in the health way as we approach the end of ACA sign up and the endless on/off switch of what will happen with regards to its long term picture on the horizon of the White House lawn.

There are many states that have continued to add Medicaid to their options and of course the endless debate over work requirements continue in that same way Voter fraud dominates the GOP talking points.  For some reason poor people are often perceived as sinister and duplicitous and yet the largest fraudsters when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid is the future Senator from Florida, Rick Scott.  Hmm a bald white guy who is akin to Lex Luther I see no issue there.  RIP Stan Lee.

States that had already signed up for the federal supplement to aid Medicaid and offer larger enrollment have found their health has improved in more ways than one.  Wow shocking how that works, keep people healthy then they can work.  See how that works?

Here of course in the deep red waters that house this port of Tennessee we have steadfastly refused to expand Medicaid for reasons that are obvious - race.  This is the one time the State would refuse free money if it meant helping faces of color.  The sea is red here with the blood of the Confederates who fought to maintain their supremacy if by supremacy you mean white and stupid then yes. 

Our new Governor the Plumber is hard core Conservative and Religious which nowadays are redundant and the equally red State legislature will not be going to visit that anytime soon so no to improving health care.  The irony and the conundrum wrapped in a contradiction is not lost given the health care presence in Nashville.  I am sure no one told Amazon about the soft underbelly of the state of the residents, such as lack of skill sets to make 150K, the lack of overall education and of course the poverty that runs as deep as the Cumberland.  Sure Amazon is hiring talent locally and by locally you mean people moving her who are qualified to take said jobs then yes.

I do have a question: If this is not a HQ.3 then why are the salaries the same as the HQ2 gigs. Odd given that they are highly focused on tech and this hub was about logistics and retail.  Interesting....or just that is Amazon's go to figure?

I do find it interesting that while they ask this question the last sentence says it all - not by much. Tennessee always has to find the dig, the cut, the slam as if to remind everyone that they are always better. And by better they mean fatter and dumber. 

 This is how they do it here, its the Nashville way.

Medicaid expansion: Three deep-red states just did it. Why not Tennessee?
Brett Kelman, Nashville Tennessean Published 10:00 p.m. CT Nov. 19, 2018

If the Affordable Care Act were repealed, would it mean a return to a time when not all of them could get health insurance? USA Today Network - Tennessee, Knoxville News Sentinel

When polls closed on Election Day, one of the biggest winners wasn’t a politician at all.

Medicaid expansion – a government policy that extends taxpayer-funded health coverage to the moderately poor – saw significant victories against long odds last week. Although loudly opposed by Republicans lawmakers, ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid were approved by voters in the deep-red states of Utah, Nebraska and Idaho. Kansas and Wisconsin also elected new Democrat governors who vowed to expand Medicaid when their Republican predecessors had not.

The results appear to show increasing non-partisan voter support for expansion, which was once a political lightning rod because of its legal framework under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. But, as nearly three-fourths of the nation have now expanded Medicaid, a critical question remains: Will Tennessee?

Based on the election results, probably not.

Tennessee is of the unhealthiest states in the country. Nearly 7 percent of the population – or about 450,000 Tennesseans – do not have any health coverage, largely because they cannot afford it. Medicaid expansion would extend coverage to most of these residents, but the only pathway to expansion leads through a Republican-dominated legislature that has previously rejected similar proposals. And if expansion somehow sneaks past lawmakers, it will also face opposition from a new governor.

Gov.-elect Bill Lee, a Republican businessman, won a lopsided victory over last week over Democrat candidate Karl Dean, a former Nashville mayor who made Medicaid expansion the central promise of his campaign. Lee, on the other hand, said repeatedly that as governor he would oppose expansion because he considers the proposal too expensive and the existing Medicaid program “fundamentally flawed.”

"Obamacare will not expand in Tennessee under my watch,” Lee said over the summer, when asked about Medicaid expansion by The Tennessean. “Health care costs are skyrocketing, and that would make it even worse."

In a series of interviews and public statements throughout his campaign, Lee instead pushed efforts to improve Tennessee’s health by reducing the cost of medical care and insurance premiums, and routinely rejected Medicaid expansion as too costly and shortsighted. He proposed expanded telemedicine and reforming the existing Medicaid program to become more efficient but never provided details on how many Tennesseans would gain access to health care under these proposals.

“I think we have to advocate for a (Medicaid) model that works, and the current model isn’t working,” Lee said during an interview in October. “It's not working because it’s a model that was addressed to meet the needs from years ago, but not the needs of the future.”

Medicaid is a government program, funded jointly by the federal and state government, that funds health coverage for the poor and disabled. Generally, people are eligible for Medicaid coverage if their income is at or below 133 percent of the poverty line. The Affordable Care Act, passed by the Obama Administration, gives states the ability to expand eligible to 138 percent of the poverty line, with the promise to pay for 90 percent of the increase cost.

That 5 percent expansion might sound inconsequential, but in Tennessee, it would be massive. If the program were to expand, estimates say that more than 300,000 Tennesseans would now be eligible for coverage, which would completely transform the health care landscape across the state.

Because of this huge potential impact, Democrats often argue that Tennessee is losing out on about $1.4 billion in federal funding a year – estimated by comparing to other states – by refusing to seize the Obamacare option to expand the program.

But Lee and other opponents of Medicaid expansion argue that this funding could later vanish, leaving the state to pay for health care bills that it can’t afford on its own.

“How do we know that the rules of the game aren’t going to change once we get into this agreement?” said Stephanie Whitt, of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a conservative-leaning think tank that opposes expansion.

“It is simply unsustainable for the government to be the ones paying for the majority of health care costs, and right now the federal government says it will pay for 90 percent,” she added. “But we don’t know that this is forever, and the states are going to pick up that cost eventually.”

At least one prominent Tennessee Republican is not opposed to expansion.

Gov. Bill Haslam tried to bring coverage to these Tennesseans in 2015, when he crossed party lines to proposal Medicaid expansion to the state lawmakers. Legislative leaders balked at the proposal then killed it in committee, and Haslam’s plan never received a vote in either the House or the Senate.

Gov. Bill Haslam announces his proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee during a December news conference at the state Capitol in Nashville. The governor called the state legislature into a special session that began Monday to take up the proposal, which would make Tennessee the 28th state plus Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (Photo: AP)

Haslam has called the failed Medicaid proposal one of his biggest regrets, and now that he is leaving office, the campaign for expansion is losing its most powerful advocate. His allies in the proposal are trying to stay positive but acknowledge that the path to expansion is now steeper than ever before.

“Obviously, we took a run at it in 2015, and it was unsuccessful,” said Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association, which worked with Haslam towards expansion. “Since then, we’ve have continued to work with the governor and the Legislature to try to accomplish it, and frankly, we haven’t gotten too far. And we are still going to push for it during the Lee administration.”

“I’m the eternal optimistic, and I think there is always a pathway if we can sit down and talk about,” Becker added. “One thing we did hear, certainly, from the governor-elect is that he is open to talking about finding solutions to the problems we have in this state. And I take him at his word.”

HASLAM: At some point, Tennessee can 'come out ahead' in expanding Medicaid
Ballot initiatives not an option

Becker and other proponents of expansion ultimately have no choice but to work with Lee and the Legislature because Tennessee law forbids them to pursue the strategy that worked in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho.

Lawmakers in these states had also blocked prior attempts to expand Medicaid, so voters ultimately used ballot initiatives to circumvent them completely. Proponents in the three states collected more than 200,000 signatures to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot and directly in the hands of voters.

But this option is not available in Tennessee, a state with no legal framework for a statewide ballot initiative that skips the Legislature completely. Signature-supported initiatives are permitted in some Tennessee municipalities, but no amount of signatures can put a decision on the ballot statewide without approval from lawmakers.

There is at least some evidence that, if Tennessee allowed a statewide vote on Medical expansion, it would pass. Despite opposition in the Legislature, a springtime poll by Vanderbilt University estimated two-third of Tennesseans favor expansion.

For comparison, support was not that high in any of the three red states that pass expansion initiatives on Election Day.

Monday, November 19, 2018

In a Word

NO!  I am horrified at this spectacle that came from this bullshit.  What it did do was confirm what I have suspected that our acting Mayor Briley is a bigger douchebag than I knew.  I had read his background and history and thought years of living in San Francisco would enable him to have an air of knowledge non-existent that I have found the rubes possess that are in elected office here.  But alas no.  A chance encounter at my local bakery witnessed an arrogant angry white man of which I am well accustomed living here.  But this took pandering to new heights, in a word - WOW.

Question Mayor. What year will all these incentives be paid back? Year five after the full employment totals are met?  Will the 150K jobs marker be the benchmark in which to determine the credits.  So if there are 5000 jobs what percent of  that cohort would make the average income a 150K?  How many would have to be earning that number or would that mean a whole average which results  from a salary range that could have several executives earning high six figures with some distribution that could go as low as what, say what -  50K?  And then add the total salaries divide by 5000 and get an approximate range of 150K to meet the threshold? WHICH? WHAT? WHEN?

Then we have the claim of 12K jobs created as a result of these 5000 jobs.   What jobs and how will they get here? On the non-existent roads and buses or via the highways already at peak traffic?  Oh let's talk about the public schools that feed into the colleges here that are supposed to educate and train the workforce. True the Tennessee Promise enables two years of community college but is that enough and what about that program for adults who need to be retrained. Will there be time and money while waiting for Amazon to arrive?  Again do we know specifically what skill sets those are and did TSU, Vanderbilt and the rest get a heads up to adjust accordingly?  And in a word those are what -  EXACTLY?

And you claim that all the credits will be paid back via sales and property taxes, the most regressive manner of how revenue is generated and adds to further income inequality.  Good on ya there Mayor. The cost of living goes up for everyone but the poor pays for the rich. Welcome Amazon? In a word, FUCK.

This is the biggest load of shit I have heard living here and I have heard a lot. In a word this is BULLSHIT.

Did Tennessee taxpayers get a good deal with $102M Amazon payment?
Sandy Mazza, Nashville, The Tennessean Nov. 19, 2018 |

Amazon chooses Nashville to bring 5,000 jobs to downtown Nashville Tennessean

Amazon's bureaucratic suitors were ardent and creative.

Atlanta offered a private airport lounge. Dallas promised a new exclusive college to prepare local workers for Amazon jobs. Both of those cities, and others coast-to-coast, extended billions of dollars in incentives.

The two winners, New York and Virginia, will together pay the the world's third most valuable company between $2.6 billion and $4.6 billion, according to varying analyses of the incentives packages.

Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey were rejected despite ponying up more than $6 billion each.

Nashville won a smaller prize in the year-long countrywide sweepstakes to be home to Amazon's next headquarters. A management hub for the company's East Coast operations will be built at the new Nashville Yards development under construction north of the Gulch for 5,000 workers.

Tennessee's offer of $102 million in cash and tax breaks for the honor of being an Amazon host city paled in comparison to the East Coast winners.

But the state's package includes $15 million cash from Nashville's general operating budget, which contended with a $34 million shortfall in June that left Metro schools officials struggling to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, Amazon executives repeatedly said they were more interested in tech talent than monetary perks.

Some financial analysts aren't convinced the sweeteners are a good deal for taxpayers.

"Why are we doing this? There's no rhyme or reason to the subsidies," said Michael Farren, an economist and researcher at George Mason University. "These incentives don't actually work. They don't change the decision in most cases of where a company will move."

Government-funded business incentives only succeed in swaying companies 2 percent to 25 percent of the time, according to an analysis by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Yet the losers weren't consoled by the fact that they can keep their money.

"This does not make us happy," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. "It calls upon us to look hard upon ourselves to say: 'Why can we not be New York City and Washington D.C.?'"

Rawlings acknowledged that Dallas could have provided more than its $600 million offer. But, he said, "We didn't want to give away the farm."

The unusually public bidding process pitted 238 U.S. cities against one another, and spurred skepticism about the value of incentives, in general.

"Public officials are just supposed to put a bunch of money on the table and hope it all works out," said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First. "I think Amazon always knew what its short list looked like. Allowing places like Virginia Beach and Frisco, Texas, to bid looks very much like a ploy to put pressure on the two finalists."

Politicians seize win

The clear winners in the business incentives process are the politicians who rely on them as evidence of their success in the short term, Farren said.

"For politicians, it's actually beneficial to them in voter's eyes to be seen as doing something," he said. "The appearance of motivating economic growth is more important than the actual actions that lead to real economic growth."

Tennessee leaders cheered their deal-making prowess, reassuring taxpayers the expenses are negligible.

Bob Rolfe, the state Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, was so overjoyed by the HQ2 sweepstakes consolation prize of a 5,000-job operations hub in Nashville that he planted a kiss on Amazon executive Holly Sullivan's cheek during a Tuesday press conference.

Gov. Bill Haslam declared that the incentives would be repaid in just over a year from Amazon's investment, and that the returns would come in spades for many years.

"In my opinion, this may be the governor's most outstanding economic development accomplishment in his eight years in office," Rolfe said. "This is the largest jobs announcement in the state's history."

Nashville Mayor David Briley described the incentives as a no-brainer.

"It’s a relatively minor investment for the city," Briley said. "We will collect those revenues back in sales tax and property taxes associated with these developments very quickly."
Nashville hub more management, less tech

Tennessee is usually relatively conservative when it comes to offering financial incentives to businesses. But, in this case, it offered up more cash than it ordinarily would, said Katie Culp, partner in accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller's state and local tax group.

"Amazon bypassed some really aggressive offers," Culp said. "Tennessee and Virginia are more conservative, from an incentives climate standpoint. But, unless you can eradicate incentives everywhere, it's difficult to be able to say: 'OK we don't have to offer anything.'"

Virginia and New York will each get major tech hubs with roughly 25,000 new highly paid, skilled employees.

But Nashville's Amazon Operations Center of Excellence will likely be less of a tech hub, analysts said.

"It seems like it will be more similar to a mid-sized or smaller company moving their headquarters, rather than one of the top high tech companies in the world hiring 10,000 programmers and software developers," said Gad Levanon, chief economist at The Conference Board. "It's more management and business operations."

Local job creation is key

Nashville's $15 million incentive is enough to pay for 14 police officers for seven years, according to an analysis by Farren.

City leaders said the payments of $500 per Amazon job for seven years won't come due until 2023, when the majority of employees will be working in new offices at 10th Avenue and Church Street.

The state promised a $65 million cash grant for capital expenses and $22 million worth of breaks on franchise and excise taxes.

That cost is equal to paying full tuition for more than 800 University of Tennessee students, Farren said.

The key to whether incentivized new business has a positive impact on communities lies in how many local employees it hires and the number of jobs it creates, according to research by W.E. Upjohn Institute.

Amazon is already a major employer of Vanderbilt University graduates and the new operations hub could help keep more of them in Nashville, said M. Eric Johnson, dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management.

"These are not service sector jobs," Johnson said. "They're not jobs that will fly away. They're jobs that will be rooted here and contribute in many ways to our overall economy."
'No one's paying us to hire people'

Tennessee has yet to finalize its incentives contract with Amazon.

But officials have promised to only pay the company if it meets the deal's threshold of hiring at least 5,000 employees.

Still, many questions remain about the deal's benefit to the community, including strains on downtown traffic and services.

Telisha Cobb, a Nashville community organizer and co-owner of Marathon Music Works events venue, said she's not looking forward to Amazon's arrival.

Already, housing costs and rent downtown are too high for many of her employees.

Small businesses are increasingly unable to compete with larger companies as building rents and marketing costs soar, she said.

"We don't ask the hard questions: Are these jobs for people who live in Nashville?" Cobb said. "All the money Amazon saves is money they can put into marketing. We don't have the ability to do that. We're having to compete on a really unequal playing field, not to mention no one's paying us to hire people."

Save Space

No, not Safe Space as there is no such thing.  Maybe in one's home if one's home is built like a fortress and you don't allow negative thought or ideas inside so that eliminates the internet, TV, Movies or Books. Sounds like a lot of fun!  But save some space in that bunker for those who are afraid of living.  That will be a hell of a big bunker.

In the real world people are assholes and some more than others.  Again if you never leave the bubble you may not know that and since I spent my summer going to "secondary" cities I can assure that people are people and most people are pretty fucking amazing.  True there are idiots but that is in just a stupid way not a dangerous way. Okay exception Resting Dump Face in Chief who simply due to his position is in the latter but until the morons of America actually elected him he was more of the former.  But I have been most lucky to have discovered cities that are no longer flyover to me.

But as a woman of a certain age I have one advantage that can be also a disadvantage the invisibility of presence.  I am outgoing and that enables me to generate conversations, have a radar that let's me assess a situation and quickly extricate myself from potential problems.  Add to this an amazing memory for faces (not names I truly rarely give a shit and then immediately forget them when not in use.  I never said I wasn't a bitch) that allows me to recall who I have encountered before and what flag (if any) was raised.  I am much more in alert now a days than I was before in life when someone I knew did try to kill me but once burned once learned.

And that is why I don't date anymore.  I have no way to meet men in safe spaces which would enable me to learn more about them while SPEAKING to them face to face, meeting friends and seeing them in their element be that the gym, at work or some social environment that gives a fuller picture.  In today's world we just have and app for that.

Really have we not learned anything?  The endless tales of harm including murder from Craigslist. The Ashley Madison scandal. The Grindr house of horrors  which makes one label this a killer app in every sense of the word.   Then we have endless stories about other dating sites that have led to women and men being robbed, assaulted and raped. 

It appears that Bustle and Tinder are the sites du jour and again I have read in the New York Times more sagas in their Modern Love section about failed romances tied to these sites than I care to in a lifetime.   My favorite was the Sugar Daddy story. Bitch please what part of that site would make one think anyone on there was sincere and honest?   And of course the role of the "Influencer" and now Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can enable you to find love or whatever you need for the now.

As for women over 18 we are sorta kinda fucked without dinner and that can be both literally and figureatively.  Men, however,  have no problem meeting anyone at any age,  willing to go the distance, again that can have any meaning, but women are no longer desirable once the pussy has a closed for servicing sign on the door.  Mine says not just closed but out of business.    There is game and there is game but again maybe its age or experience or just acknowledging that I suck at it... metaphor only at the parlor games of my youth.  I am not good at networking nor caring about what I can get out of every situation and that is dating which may explain why I was and am not good at it. I live in the now and if I like your company now that may or may not mean I like you later so take time and figure that out.  No one has that time and with men that means let's fuck now talk later.

Yes and we need legislation to monitor and regulate social media that much is true but really how do we moderate and control human behavior when it comes to sexuality?  Well apparently we are to make everyone heterosexual, christian and white and meet in Church where we will have women stay at home and have children to ensure that we can avoid having immigrants do the jobs no one wants and stop all that abortion as well.   Sounds great! Can I get a Witness.  Home is the best safe space right?  Sure tell that to women whose husbands cheat, abuse and harm others. You know the GOP members of Congress.  Right Duncan Hunter?

As my mother used to say, "Take them to a motel, don't exchange last names, get it done and get out." She was right.  And I add, "Get over it"  Seriously I have no idea how to make dating, safer, better and kinder.  So just live your best life and it may work out.  Or not but hey we could go back to 1950 and make America great again right?

The case for cracking down on Tinder lies
There should be a legal penalty for obtaining sex through fraud.

By Irina D. Manta
The Washington Post
November 16 2018

Irina D. Manta is a professor at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, its associate dean for research and faculty development, and the founding director of its Center for Intellectual Property Law.

Anyone who uses an online dating site — Tinder, Bumble and the rest — quickly learns that people don’t always look like their photos, they sometimes add an inch or two to their height and maybe they fudge their weight. One study found that 80 percent of people lie in their profiles. Many falsehoods are mild, easy to see through within seconds of meeting someone in person and do little harm.

But other lies are more dangerous: They become instruments of sexual fraud. A 44-year-old woman in Britain, for example, fell in love with a man who told her he was a single businessman who often traveled for work. A year later, she learned that he was a married London lawyer using a fake name to sleep with several other women whom he had apparently tricked in the same way.

There have always been people who tell lies to get sex, but apps make it easy to deceive victims on an unprecedented scale, and in relative anonymity, well outside the perpetrators’ social circles. Yet we punish low-level shoplifting, or false claims in commercial advertising, more harshly than we punish most forms of sexual deception, despite the suffering and harm to one’s dignity the latter brings. For a woman in her late 30s or early 40s who wants to marry and have children, the opportunity cost of a fraudulent relationship can add another dimension to the pain in the form of diminished fertility.

Legislators have been wary of wading into this terrain, for reasons both reasonable (it can be difficult to document deception or measure the harm it causes) and less so (nonmarital sex is a risky business, and people who are duped supposedly deserve what they get). In a forthcoming law review, I propose that state lawmakers confront this issue with statutes that would punish, with relatively modest sanctions, material lies that deceived someone into having sexual relations. Confining the cases to small-claims court — which, in the District, would mean that fines would be capped at $10,000 — would deter individual liars, and the cost would add up fast for serial fraudsters.

One way to measure dating-app fraud would be to look for information that (1) was misleading and (2) involved one or more material facts about a person that (3) a reasonable person could have used to decide whether to engage in sexual intercourse. While such legal intervention wouldn’t capture every possible form of sexual fraud (think of lies that originated in a bar rather than on an app), these measures would make a real dent in addressing some of the large-scale problems in today’s dating marketplace.

This legal standard is modeled on how we treat misleading commercial branding through statutes like the Lanham Act. In both the world of brands and the world of dating, there’s an incentive for sellers to misrepresent what they are peddling to gain an advantage. Yet the law recognizes that outright deception about important facts that shape the decision to buy a product not only inflicts real harm on individuals, it also causes markets to break down, because “search costs” balloon. If people can’t trust sellers, they will be forced to undertake expensive or time-consuming investigations of products, or they will simply hold on to their money.

Such concerns led the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in an important 1988 case , to reject trademark registration for the name “Lovee Lamb” for synthetic car-seat covers: The products were not made with real lamb’s wool, and a mistaken impression that they were might have swayed purchasing decisions. We can use a similar standard to deal with wolves in sheep’s clothing in the dating arena.

Currently, the law only haphazardly penalizes misrepresentations in the context of sex. Some states make it illegal for people to lie about their sexually-transmitted-disease status (such as HIV positivity), although prosecutions are rare. In other situations, the legal landscape shields victims from some harms and not others without much rhyme or reason, largely driven by historical happenstance or high-profile stories of abuse that drove narrow legislation.

One case that resulted in legal punishment involved a Tennessee defendant who telephoned women and duped them into believing that he was a current sexual partner or friend. He then asked to have sex with the women after they’d blindfolded themselves, supposedly to fulfill a fantasy — and either entirely or partly succeeded in the ruse with three victims. He was convicted of two counts of rape by fraud and one count of attempted rape by fraud, which resulted in a 15-year sentence. In 2002, a California man broke into a sleeping woman’s bedroom and let her believe that he was her husband (who was asleep next to her), then penetrated her. The perpetrator was convicted of rape and sexual penetration by artifice, pretense or concealment, and assault with intent to commit rape, which resulted in a sentence of six years in state prison.

The impact of dating apps, and the associated lying, is only going to grow. By 2013, one-third of married Americans had met their spouses online, and it is estimated that by 2040, more than two-thirds of people will have met their significant others that way. (I found my own husband on Bumble. ) But even as apps amplify the harms caused by lies, they make documenting lies easier, because people’s misleading profiles can be reviewed, and text messages repeating the lies can be saved.

Perhaps all seduction involves embellishment — after all, isn’t makeup or a push-up bra trickery, when the truth might be disappointing? But lies exist on a spectrum, as the law around false advertising already recognizes. You are allowed to boast that a product is “the best in the world,” whether or not that is accurate in the eye of the buyer, and dating-profile claims of being “witty” or “the most amazing cook you’ll ever meet” should be treated similarly. New laws in the dating area should focus on lies that are clearly false, are not easily discoverable before sex takes place, and have a potentially large dignitary or emotional impact. Lies related to physical appearance would thus typically not be punishable, while ones about marital status, fertility circumstances (say, existing children or the ability to have future children) or employment may lead to sanctions.

States might draw the line on deception differently. A number of them may decide that a married man who omits his status from his profile is guilty of misrepresentation. A more cautious approach that requires explicit misrepresentation could also be justified.

Some Tinder users who bend the truth might say they do it so that potential mates don’t weed them out. They hope to win people over in person, and at times they succeed. But “I won’t be able to get laid as easily” is a poor argument for lying in the sexual setting. That line of thinking reflects an often misogynistic attitude of entitlement to sex that, in its more extreme forms, has been used to justify rape and has been embraced recently by the “involuntary celibacy,” or incel, movement.

Most people understand that there is no right to have sex with a particular person — or with anyone at all, if nobody is willing. The #MeToo movement rightly subjects all sorts of behaviors in the dating arena to greater questioning, and the legal boundaries in this context are up for fresh discussion. How to handle sexual fraud in the age of Tinder should be a part of those debates.