Friday, March 29, 2019

So Much for That

The endless push, both as a metaphor and literally, regarding anti-bullying has done little to stave off actually bullying. There have been numerous suicides and of course mass shootings that pretty much tell you that whatever message is being sent out is clearly not working

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
  • Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  • A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
  • 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
And last week in Charlottesville the schools were closed for two days due to threats of violence.  And they are not the only ones that have had said threats as it is a growing issue across the country. Just last year several schools in Detroit were closed    Last week one in Fairfield California, another in Pennsylvania, one in Connecticut.  They may all be fake but in today's climate it is difficult to tell.

Then we have endless violence or threats of violence against Teachers and others within the schools which  has escalated to proportions where Teachers are afraid and it is an issue significant enough to be a part of the dialogue with regards to funding for education.  Here in Nashville it was part of a town hall that Channel 5 News held to discuss the problems in the district with regards to the soon to be ex Director of Schools here.

And this issue parallels directly with the growing youth violence that dominates the cycle of news here as most crime is committed by Juveniles often well under the age of 18

Now race is the dominant issue in Nashville, most of the Educators and Staff of late voicing their concerns are Black, the Students they serve and are often both the victims and perpetrators are Black or of color so while the race card is tossed there is something to be examined as to what factors in that - systemic historic racism, poor employment or low employment, inadequate child and health care and of course religion all play a significant part in the marginalizing and disproportionate issues facing families of color. Why I put religion in this is because here in Nashville the largest and loudest voices of the choir of concern literally are choir members.  Few here are not actively engaged in Churches who hold great sway over the city and its political mien.  Many are like pop up shops when a controversy unfolds and immediately demand restitution or attention only to fold up the tent and reconfigure when another comes along. I have quit counting the groups and looking up their origins and tax status as I know for certain none have them as they are astro turf groups funded by whoever has the real agenda on file.  This to me became apparent during the transit debate and many of the "beards" as I refer to them go back to their day jobs or briefly consider a run for public office only to lose and move on.  It is a cycle you have to actually see to believe.

Then we have the real problems that are violence against their own.  I often feel that is the real reason little is done as it sort of solves the problem of where to house, put and deal with those from the Black Community.  Case in point was the recent shooting at an East Nashville Bar where two attractive white kids were killed and yet another man who was of color was killed the day before and only of late have they decided to connect the murder.  The other a near fatal injury has yet been solved but again it took the Police 23 hours to find the Waffle House shooter and he was less than a 1.5 miles away from the point of origin. But then the victims were all faces of color, the shooter however was not.  But that whole crime could have been prevented had the Police followed up on the vehicle theft found in the killers apartment complex parking lot. Imagine had they questioned the neighbors and with the description of the young man in place as he took the vehicle from a BMW sales lot with the keys and yet simply retrieved the vehicle after failing also to arrest him during a high speed chase the day before.  Things that make you go hmmm.

So when I read the story about the young Fifth Grader who died from an by a classmate during the school day there were things in the story missing that again make me go hmm.  I am appalled that an altercation grew to that level but then again I have actually seen one first hand here in school that hair, scalp and blood were all a part of the process as a young girl pulled a young man from a desk by the hair and dragged him across the floor. That school had been the scene of escalating issues over the two days I was there and since that time has had a series of problems with a Teacher taking a gun to school and a Coach assaulting a student.  It had already been in the news for all the fights and yet this is what defines Nashville Public Schools - horrific.  Although today I am a school where they are celebrating diversity and it is one of the few schools I love from its history to its present day it truly represents that in every way.  We have had, however, Teachers be assaulted and in turn hospitalized when children in that age cohort have assaulted them, we have School Resource Officers leave schools due to the verbal abuse and we have had many situations of physical assault student on student that includes sexual abuse as well.  It is non stop here and it exhausts me and it is why I call the schools dumpsters and the student are just trash bags thrown in with no regard.  It embarrasses me to be a part of something so vile that no one knows how to fix it and to say that it is all about race and racism that led to the downfall of the Director clearly thinks that what he did and more importantly failed to do for the faces of color would be considered racist if he did not share the same face of color.  How it gives him a pass is beyond my understanding.  

And when I watched CBS News cover a story about a Principal in Newark trying to save his students from shame and offer an option you realize that yes one man can make a difference.  And there are many Administrators and Teachers who don't share the same color of skin, the same religion, the same gender or culture that go the extra mile to devise programs and methods to bring dignity in the classroom.  To say one cannot learn from one who is not different than they is losing the point of diversity which I am seeing all over this school today.  I wish all days were like this here but who am I kidding.

Since I wrote this another story hit the news about a rape and assault with a broomstick in a high school locker room. Not the first nor last as I recall this from Bellevue, Washington schools a few years ago, from an elite private academy outside Nashville, and perhaps the most infamous, Steubenville Ohio.   This is a story not new in the least. That is what defines rape culture, hyper toxic masculinity.  So much for that and what MeToo was about before it was hijacked by celebrity. 


Monday, March 25, 2019


To Immolate: To kill or offer as a sacrifice, often by burning.

I often say my anger is my fire and in turn my balm to protect me from immolation.  I joke that I very rarely get into kids faces unless they plan on immolation.  I get that depression is anger turned inward and sometimes we turn it outward and yes that includes suicide as the damage it brings is like a blaze that burns through a town like those in California that takes decades to recover, if ever.

I get up angry and often go to bed that way.  Nashville has turned me into a three alarm fire that no first responders could put out.  I cope by controlling the blaze through sarcasm and avoidance.  I go out of my way to avoid encounters that put me at risk and in turn use the ability to have an extensive use of language in which to spew a spark or two.   I call the schools Dumpsters, the children Trash Bags and the people of Nashville Garbage as there is little I see here to counter or oppose that view.  As I sit here in a classroom of 8th graders I see the same behaviors and idiocy that I witness in the adults in the community - ignorance, oblivion, cruelty and sheer lack of dignity.  For a long while I said that they children are the reflections of the mirrors that were held by the adults in the room or more importantly the lack of adults to provide a solid frame in which to reflect and learn.  The sheer violence by the youth here is the most telling as once again I awoke to a man being shot on his front porch by teens demanding money.   This man at least lived but this is not the first nor last of the day or of the week with regards to gun violence here and frankly everywhere.

I used to also say I am not one who should have a gun as I might actually use it. At first I thought on others as people really annoy me but then of late I have thought what would it mean to end one's life at the end of a gun and no, I don't have the courage.

If you are following the travails and stories about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes then you will know it is a complicated story where one employee was so despondent about working for her, his marginalization in the company and in turn his name attached to the varying patents she licensed (as he was the true creator and she truly just a con artist dropout with no real knowledge experience or any cred that would be able to build such a concept) he chose to kill himself through a combination of Advil and Booze.   I remember a time when things were so bleak I was researching how to poison myself in a similar manner when Tarot Card/Gypsy stopped me and said. "Whatever you are doing there you need to stop and come see me and let me read your cards."  I laughed and went to a Yoga for Trauma class (irony I was going to that) and later dropped into her temporary "office."  I dropped a couple of hundred dollars and let her 'read' me.  If you have seen the John Oliver show he discusses this deception and how they play upon people and I say that if you are aware of it and go in with the idea that there will be so much you will believe, so much you will spend it is no different that therapy which is equal parts bullshit and equal parts more bullshit. Talking to someone, anyone at times regardless of who they are is what matters and that is the most challenging part.  One of the reasons I don't go to therapy here is that my exposure to the people have led me to believe that empathy, compassion, kindness are traits they do not possess here. They mask it behind the God Bless and the Prayer but in reality they are nasty fucks and not in a good way.

To find those who connect and are willing to listen really listen and hear you is not easy and this weekend brought that to a head when two students from Parkland chose to end their lives and one at the hand of a gun.  This weekend marked the first March for Our Lives that the survivors of Parkland had organized over the issues of guns and gun violence in America. This weekend also marked the families and survivors of Columbine getting together as they are now approaching the 20th year of that horrific shooting (April 20).   We are now likely having more and more shooting-versaries as the situation here has reached critical mass and more suicides, addictions and other problems that will result from those who survived.**ETA** Since I wrote this this morning another casualty was added to the list, a parent from Sandy Hook, Jeremy Richman.

We are all complicit in this by not giving a flying fuck about people. Social media is not a compensation or method of connecting to those in the real world.  The lack of engagement, the ability to hide and in turn abuse, ignore or simply live in a bubble of bullshit has turned us against one another in ways that I see in the children.  They are rude, they are disconnected, they are morons and it shows in the adults they become.  I witnessed a man at my coffee shop openly gesture, look and talk about me to his girlfriend and when I covered my face with my newspaper but just enough to still observe him, he laughed and said: "She just covered her face with the newspaper." His girlfriend did not look in my direction nor seem to give a shit but he and I stared each other down as he walked out right by me, my face full of rage and his arrogance.  Yes this is the Nashville way - assholia.

And while kids are frequently found with guns with them on campus I doubt seriously any of them would ever act on committing such an atrocious act I don't doubt they would gun me down on the way to a bus, out on a walk or sitting on my doorstep.  This is your future America, be afraid be very afraid as we are immolating.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The "Good" Ol' South

There is nothing good about the old South let alone the one in the present.   As I wind down my time in Tennessee, the Volunteer State, I can hardly wait to volunteer my way out of here.

Nashville has really worn out its welcome on the moniker the "it" city and it now calls itself a city on the rise.  Sure until a flood comes and wipes that out then sure you are on the rise.

One of the many measures of a supposed city's success economically is the Crane Watch. This is just another concocted concept designed by the construction industry.  Sure as that building is a measure of an economic boon and Nashville coming out of a flood in 2010 needed to improve and with the grants associated with disaster, cheap real estate and the designation of opportunity zones it made it ripe to pick the fruit of this once little big town.  And of course the promise of several thousand vaguely defined jobs from three companies locating offices here (Alliance Bernstein, Ernst and Young and AMAZON) the histrionics over some of the more ambitious projects are sure to validate the absurdity surrounding Nashville's rise. 

This is from the article as counting cranes is just that counting cranes and what it means is whatever the counter decides it means:   

Because the crane index in many ways also reflects the state of the economy several years earlier, when projects were conceived, it can obscure current realities, brokers and developers say. Washington, for instance, seems to be on a hot streak, with 28 cranes this winter, up from 25 last summer and just a few shy of its 31-crane high in summer 2015.

 Yet office rents declined in the fourth quarter last year, according to the real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, as a surge of office buildings came online. And political gridlock, exemplified by the partial government shutdown in December and January, could sap job creation and, by extension, demand, said Nathan J. Edwards, a senior director of research for Cushman & Wakefield.

One of the largest job creation numbers comes from construction be that residential or commercial and again Nashville was in need of both.  But then again that flood thing does that to a community just ask those in North Carolina, Texas and now large swaths of the Midwest.  And we can expect more from that fake Global Warming thing that Trump mentions in between slamming dead John McCain and fake news.

Nashville has done little to no planning for said flood and again it is predicted if not expected to do so again so I find it fascinating that the acclaimed 5th and Broad project has the audacity to put a museum of collections regarding the role of African American Music and Culture on the ground floor right in prime flood zone.  Really good idea when they built the State museum adjacent to the largest historically defined Black Community.  A museum that is too big for its current collection and way out of proportion for its needs.   All while another document  and records one is being built across the park.  When it comes to white history there is no  building big enough apparently.  But it is out of the flood zone.

But then I thought ironically water is symbol of cleansing of a ritual washing of the skin and in turn often used in religious ceremonies via Baptism.   Perhaps here in the Bible belt it is God's way of saying that the South needs to be cleaned up as for religious folk they are sure judgemental and shit.

Mississippi  just passed a law that literally makes abortion illegal before a woman knows she has conceived.  Wow just wow given the poverty and illiteracy in that state this is just another way of proving that they have earned their bottom ranking in State tallies across the board.    Tennessee likes to constantly compare itself to the bottom as saying that they are not at least them.  Yes you are.

The legislature here on its quest to be equally oppressive and idiotic are moving towards similar legislation but have added hating the Gay community to its to do list and doing so by writing a bill with very bizarre wording and language that when you apply Southern idioms or in this case idiots translations to Northern speak is in fact discriminatory.

But being Gay here brings up a whole nother mess of shit so don't be gay and don't be black as HIV rates are higher here for that population than in the rest of the United States. It is near to impossible to get treatment (let alone respect) as that disease is not getting the recognition, the education and more importantly the prevention and treatment it does elsewhere in the United States. 

And on the heels of Black History Month, the wealthiest county in apparently the United States (as they tell us here in Nashville apparently believing that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos live there) has their GOP representatives in a tither that the schools are teaching about inclusion and privilege.  Oh my lord Sally pass the Sweet Tea and Biscuits!!  This of course followed the interesting lessons on Slavery during said month that asked Students to imagine their families had slaves and go home and create a chore list appropriate for said slaves.  Those Teachers have since resigned. Hey come to Nashville as this district is in a mess that it required a religious rally to keep the idiot that is the current Director of Schools of Scandals. There is no scandal too large or small here in this city's schools that Phil Williams of Channel 5 News has failed to investigate. But keep rolling on like that river about to crest and flood.

And lastly the head of the Democratic Party here called the State Racist.  Yes, yes it is but you never say any thoughts such as this out loud or ever.  Denial is the other river that runs along Nashville's border.

The chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party has issued an apology after saying certain Democratic candidates have struggled to gain traction because the state is racist.

Mary Mancini, re-elected by the state party's executive committee in January to her third two-year term as its leader, says she chose the wrong words while discussing the state of politics in Tennessee during a recent tour to visit local county Democratic parties.

"We have a little bit of a problem in this state, and I'm just going to say it out right," Mancini said while speaking earlier this month with the Coffee County Democratic Party. "This is a racist state."

Mancini made the comment while talking about how the state party should continue to put forward candidates who are less conventional in Tennessee, including black and Latino people, millennials and members of the LGBTQ community.

"We have to disregard that old trope that Tennessee Democrats have been living under, which is that we have to find a candidate that looks like the community," she said.

In an audio recording of a second recent county party meeting with Mancini, she can also be heard calling Tennessee "a very racist state."

After an interview about her recent comments, in which Mancini pointed to "leadership in the Republican Party who like to inflame our differences," she later released a statement to the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee apologizing for her remarks during the meetings.

"In the heat and the frustration of seeing and hearing the constant drumbeat of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia coming from the Republicans at the state legislature, I used a poor choice of words and vented my frustration and I apologize," Mancini said.

"My statement is not representative of how I or the Tennessee Democratic Party view the people of our state. Racism is not an issue that we can shy away from addressing head-on. However, I am more aware than ever that words matter when discussing tough issues like race. I commit to continuing this conversation thoughtfully and respectfully with the voters of Tennessee."

In the interview, Mancini alleged that the state GOP was causing division to "become ingrained" in residents around the state, but acknowledged that racism persisted in the Democratic Party, too.

In a statement, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said it was disappointing that Mancini called the state racist. He said Republicans are working to “lift all Tennesseans up,” citing the state’s economy and efforts to boost educational attainment.

While speaking to Coffee County Democrats, Mancini talked about how even some Democrats in state House District 82 — which was represented for years by Craig Fitzhugh until he did not seek re-election in order to run for governor — suggested that Andrea Bond-Johnson, an African-American candidate for the seat, wouldn't have a shot at winning there due to the small minority population.

"Two out of the three counties in that area are extraordinarily racist," Mancini told the group.

Asked in the interview about the comment, Mancini said she agreed there were still racist members of the Democratic Party, but that she was uninterested in keeping their support or that kind of thinking in the party.

"I wasn’t the only one who was told that we need to run someone who is not African-American in that district, because (some believed) an African-American cannot win in that district because white people will not vote for an African-American."

Mancini's apology follows freshman Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, apologizing last fall for saying "Tennessee is racist" and that Republican voters are uneducated.

Mancini at the time called Lamar's remarks "a mistake made in anger after witnessing intense voter suppression aimed at people of color," but defended Lamar's frustration.

Mancini said the state party is on the right path forward and has encouraged people of color and other candidates representing minority groups in Tennessee to continue running for office.

"I think it’s hard to be a party that is not winning," Mancini said. "So I think people look for ways in which we can win. I think this is a long process of changing our thought process, building the Tennessee Democratic Party for the future, and not for looking back in the past.

"I think that’s a very important change that we have to make and we have started to make and that we have to continue to make."

Yes the good ole boys run the South like it still is a plantation and you best behave now, ya hear, or face the broom switch. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Gone to Hell

Literally as that is what it feels like at the present, that we are in Hell not even purgatory but full on blazing Hell.  The irony was that the greatest surf guitarist, Dick Dale, passed this week and he is playing the soundtrack upon arrival, fast, furious and with speed we are in it deep and there may be no way out.

The last week brought another illustration of the great anger of the great white male only this time he was not American but Australian. At least we are keeping it in the "A" letters; However, he fit the American profile to meet another letter, the perfect T.  He was white, just age 28 as that sweet spot is between ages 24-28. Unemployed, with no family or ties to the community he was living in.  He was angry and wrote the standard manifesto blaming all non-white, non-Christian people for the worlds problems.  While he cited Trump hew was conflicted about the rest of the Trump sphere of global relationships which at one point made me realize he was so not American as that required some insight and awareness.  That then was immediately retracted when in Court flashed his 'gang' sign of white supremacy.  Why then did I suddenly think of the great song, America, from West Side Story when I watched this?  That is so not about white people.  But then again diversity rules or not as a show about Latino Americans starring the fantastic star of that musical was just canceled on Netflix.  Coming to a binge near you, The Best of Enemies, doing for the KKK what Green Book did for white people too!

*** for the record I liked Green Book as it introduced me to the music of Don Shirley who on the piano was as fierce as Dick Dale. And I loved the male stars they are great actors and that they gave dignity to what is a very undignified time let's just leave it at that****

We have now more hate and loathing as Trump is attacking the dead John McCain which again shows that integrity and dignity and traits which he does not possess.  I was no fan of McCain and I loathe his daughter but I don't feel compelled to share that with the world with each passing brain fart.  Even Sarah Palin managed to keep her mouth shut and was largely invisible during the time of public mourning. So follow that lead who woulda thunk it?  Perhaps Mr. Kellyanne Conaway is right that the President has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, his diagnosis seems more on target than any of the other Physicians who have declared Trump both healthy and cognitively capable.

Then as we role along not as merrily more fallback from the movement that is not just MeToo but now YouToo with  the resignation of an executive from Warner Brothers due to his "relationship" with a young aspiring Actress.  While it seemed consensual it was of course a man in a higher position and in turn a younger woman who allowed this with the promise of enabling access to professional work.  And to think Robert Kraft was shamed for his hiring an Asian prostitute to give him a hand job.  True she was exploited and trafficked but hey he had needs and asking her about her immigration status was probably extra.   A man has needs and only so much time. Ask apparently Brett Ratner, Kerry Packer, Kevin Tsujihara as they passed that girl around like dirty sock and cost as much.

And when desperate times call for desperate measures people behave and do shit that at times seems unfathomable and in fact often is.  I can only say I have said too much, tried to hard, fucked the wrong man and failed to rely on my instincts when the shit hits the fan.  And no age is not a better teacher it just means your older not necessarily wiser.  Emotions rule in a crisis but when grown men in a position of power exploit young women with promises of "something more" they should check themselves at the door and head to an Oriental Spa for a hand job and then cum down, whoops I mean calm down before acting on those impulses.  Well there are always another way to shoot a load. I think that says all I need to on that subject.

Meanwhile in Shitsville, I laughed as the outrage over incentives to Amazon lasted a hot minute here in 'it' city.  Despite the reality that the types of jobs, the salaries and where the prospective employees were coming from (inside the region vs transfers) was of course skirted and pleated with no definitive answers but donations to varying schools and organizations and some political lobbying on behalf of the LGBQT community regarding the continuing bills written to oppress Gay rights was made.  If anyone thinks this Legislature is going to spend some time thinking they are less aware than the NZ Terrorist, they are full tilt boogie with the Plumber in charge.  Ain't no stopping us now!

Yesterday at Vanderbilt which once again seems to provide with entertainment coupled with concern,  as a woman is suing them for removing the wrong kidney. Funny a year ago I was insistent that I leave the hospital with the two kidneys I came in with seems now to be quite prescient.  But there as I planned for my implants, dental not breast, I was chatting with the X-Ray Tech about the lack of transportation options including sidewalks and crosswalks (she was impressed that I did not own a car and ride buses throughout the city, I failed to tell her I was in a rental car that day) and another tech raced in going, "There she goes again, I can hear her." And to that I wanted to say, "Why the fuck do you care about our conversation it was hardly done to enrage or cause issue as I was simply responding to what she asked me how I managed driving in and I told her I didn't.  And that is why I simply responded that I was talking about transit, just a fact and observation along with experience and I left it at that and she in turn realized the entertainment portion was over.   I realized after she left I told the woman that I also work in the schools and they are equally as horrible and despite all the proclamations about Amazon and money and wages there is little give back to the community and nowhere does it prove it when in fact it is Vanderbilt that is the largest employer in both education and medical care and in turn the biggest draw to the city and little is done to address the needs of its workers. She concurred as Vanderbilt does not pay its staff the wages that are akin to the white collar ones promised by Amzon, et al. . And Vanderbilt has a largely diverse staff of varying levels of education and skills set who are least likely to demand wages or collectively organize given the way the school and hospital are split entities.   But again I point to the story about Dr. Eugene Gu about how "liberal" Nashville is.   I was also clear that the politics and climate here (not just the weather as that too will be a major issue)  will also have an affect on who comes and who stays.  I am not the only one who thinks that but I don't go into denial as the article in the Tennessean seems to promote. The reality is that for every act the City passes the State does its best to circumvent it.  Nashville is not progressive nor inclusive in any way.

I read this article in the New York Times about Women Economists and how they are incredibly marginalized and face high levels of sexual abuse in the field but one comment stood out by Lisa D. Cook: " I'm just going to keep on being nice and one day people will believe me. I'm going to keep on being smart, and one day people will believe me. I'm going to keep on sending out these papers, and one day people will believe me."

That is how I feel living here that one day people will believe me.  Even in the most innocuous of situations, like yesterday, I was shocked how the tech stormed in laughing as if I was a source of entertainment to be placed there for amusement. I don't think she meant it that way but that is what it is like to live here, to state an opinion heavily derived from fact and be so marginalized that you question all your beliefs, your thoughts and your character.   Nashville is a fuckhole.  And the people who live here  are fucking douchebags who can go to hell.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Take A Break

It is spring break time here in Nashville for the public schools and with it an uptick in teen violence culminating yesterday with a teen shooting his mother in the head then running into the street to take his own life.  Clearly the Social Emotional Learning component that the schools added to their curriculum as part of the restorative justice program is working out well.

Today we are awaiting a tornado or some other weather that I think sums up what it like to live in Nashville there is always a storm on the horizon.

The one thing I have learned here in the South is that they run on their own time zone and in turn like rugs lie regularly until they are rolled up and beaten to be clean but then always some dirt remains deep in the weave.

Then my happy day happened when the newest and best scandal to hit the National Enquirer since the Bezos dick pick, Varsity Blues. And while it seems to come from a TV Plot the city of Nashville, that hates to be ignored or as I call the city "The Ramona" (housewives fan will get the reference) which became the city of it due to one, began to immediately ingratiate themselves.  The local rag, citing an affidavit that they did not bother to reprint or link to,  that Vanderbilt was so proud yesterday that they claimed  it was impossible for any progeny of the rich and/or famous to enroll via their sports plan in such a manner. At Vanderbilt, the "lowest" football players have a 3.4 GPA and "have to be big time players," the affidavit stated, quoting the witness. "Can't hide (a student) there."  What they neglect to mention is that this company avoided mainstream star making sports such as football and basketball and instead focused on no less important ones but less scrutinized ones, such as Crew or Water Polo.   Those are not big programs here as what matters here are football and basketball and they save those for future rapists and kids who are exploited for their talent then cut loose with a degree they failed to earn or be able to use if they don't succeed in professional sports.  And in turn do any rich fucks care about this school?  And again we already know that many high schools do their best to cover up and in turn mask their athletes real grades but again I only work in education.  What I find hilarious is that I doubt they have standards that these kids without the help could have enrolled so bitch please! 

The infamous Twitter Doctor, Eugene GU,  who was a a Resident at Vanderbilt Hospital about the racism and discrimination in that facility and despite that the college is distinctly separate it is no less bizarre.  See Carol Swain as one of the many faculty who demonstrate the crazy that goes on here to show how not racist they are.   Dr Gu was outspoken about his very liberal political beliefs and he paid the price by losing his job.    As an expert in the field of pre natal obstetrics his opinion on the current slate of laws that the wonderful legislature is passing regarding abortion is just another way of demonstrating how bat fucking shit crazy here.  Take some personal responsibility yourself.  The same legislature that refuses to expand medical care and access, against wage laws to improve the standard of living and all while preaching christian ethics is an irony wrapped in a conundrum of bullshit.

But as I have said many times to people: Know your enemy and from them you learn how to work around them.  It is very much a metaphor used in sports and you can't spit your tobacco far enough to not here someone referencing a local team in any conversation.  Amazon was smart enough to find local grads to push their agenda and where they failed in New York they managed to do here so welcome.  When do we change the name of the Cumberland to the Amazon?   What I love is that the same man who wrote the editorial lived here but makes no plan of moving back here.  Stupid is a does and clearly he is not stupid.   Amazon has a notorious history for not embracing the community nor partaking in interactive processes with communities or with employees.  As of late they are making  some donations to local charities from their 11 billion un-taxed revenue to educational services (they did this in Seattle too) to placate the locals but will  also make for another nice deduction in which to further avoid paying taxes. 

And to add this is again another bunch of crap, literally. As the assault on the Gay community continues with another bill focusing on of course - toilets. These people are so used to shitting in the woodshed I am not sure why the care about those who elect to use a public toilet. And I do find it disturbing that someone is so concerned with what I am doing behind a stall door. Well this is Tennessee the shithole capital of America.

I will write more about Varsity Blues when I can sit down and read the actual documents and allow for more developments to unfold.  But this to me is the confirmation of what I have long suspected about education and in turn the ultimate issues with helicopter parenting and how it damages everyone in their path.  This is a massive failure for the children as they will always have this stigmata burned onto their skin.  I see the same with children of poverty here in Nashville. They go to jail for very different yet ironically very similar reasons - the failure of education and parents to get them the help they need.

I need a break from this and I need out of Nashville but nothing good comes easy. Someone should be teaching people that.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

My Aggressive for Your Passive

 Coming from Seattle I get passive aggressive behavior I really do.  In Seattle it comes in two forms: Agree and do not disagree or hear a lovely ad hominem attack but with multi syllabic insults.  The other is via complaints to authority figures.  In public schools kids would complain about anything and anyone and it was applauded as they were expressing their voice. Teachers and aids felt compelled to complain endlessly about other Teachers or even Students in a way to get support or find resolution about their own issues.  No one ever in my day felt compelled to be strong individuals or independent thinkers and that is why the chorus of "blame the union" seemed to resonate in the public sphere.  Here in Nashville there is no union and there is no collective as it is all fear based. But this is no less passive or aggressive in its manner as it works.   Silence is golden for those in power.

Amazon has really capitalized on it as individuals who work within the company are often reviewed using "information" given to an individuals superior with no supporting documentation let alone who is filing said complaint.  The endless "I'm telling" is something you hear repeatedly and might explain why the calls on Black people eating/walking/gardening/swimming/sleeping/reading are in largely white communities that are highly liberal and often from well educated individuals.   No one in Nashville will be calling the Police on a black man wearing swimming shoes at the pool as well there are no black people at the pool!  Seriously that stereotype/archetype exists for a reason. But in all honesty who gives a shit?  Segregation and Discrimination here is the passive to the aggressive here.  A city ringed with public housing, long neglected, riddled with crime, third rate schools, poor transit, no medical care but all run by White People with well placed Black faces on Councils and School Boards to ensure that whatever is done by the minority for the minority will remain in the hands of the minority.  The ones with the least power in which to pull the purse strings and all that is within said purse. 

To understand passive aggression is to experience it and in turn practice it:  Passive aggression is an indirect expression or communication of hostility, through deliberate, aggressive means. It is a purposeful, although covert, resistance to open and honest communication. Examples of passive aggression include the silent treatment, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, withholding of praise or approval, purposefully excluding others from conversation or activity, deliberate (and repeated) failure to accomplish requested tasks, moodiness and learned helplessness. It can include a seemingly apathetic resistance to complying with expectations in interpersonal and occupational situations.
In the South it is demonstrated and also known as “sugar-coated anger.” It is a developed coping skill. These tendencies can be born out of a childhood environment where it did not feel safe to express anger. Instead of witnessing or experiencing honest expression of emotions, one may learn to deny or repress feelings. This eventually leads to finding alternate ways to express these emotions, especially frustration and anger. These individuals know of no safe, healthy way to directly communicate their feelings, and therefore resort to veiled methods.

I have long said that Southern Hospitality was created to mask the "honor code" that is a strong personality trait of the character of Southerners, particularly male, to cover anger and hostility particularly to Strangers who are seen with suspicion and doubt.  Psychology Today has many articles on studies done to demonstrate how this works and I have written on the subject many times to try to understand the nativist way of thinking I have come up against since living here.

But the most obvious is the Passive Aggressive manner in which resonates throughout the city, from its children to the adults, the bizarre blessings to admonishments that are masked in a type of baiting responses to get you upset/angry/riled up in which then to enable the provocateur to prove his/her point that you are not from here and therefore are a great source of amusement in which to ignore and dismiss.   I wear the comment or statement "I'm not from here" quite proudly. I really need a t-shirt with that one it would speed up the process. 

Signe Whitson L.S.W.
Psychology Today

The Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle
How unsuspecting adults get caught up in destructive passive aggressive dynamics

Posted Jul 24, 2013

The Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle explains how rational, straightforward, assertive adults can momentarily and unexpectedly depart from their typical personas and take on inappropriate, childlike, and unprofessional behaviors (Long, Long & Whitson, 2008). It describes and predicts the endless, repetitive cycles of conflict that occur when a passive aggressive individual succeeds in getting someone else to act out their anger for them.

The Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle (PACC) helps observers to be able to look beyond behavior and better understand what is occurring beneath the surface. Take this real-life example of a seemingly minor conflict between a teacher and child that elicited an apparent major over-reaction by the adult:

Teacher: Jessie, can you please wheel the lunch cart out into the hallway?

Jessie: OK.

(Jessie doesn't move from his seat.)

Teacher: Jessie, will you please wheel the cart out now?

Jessie: Just a second.

(Again, Jessie doesn't move.)

Teacher: Jessie, that cart needs to go out now so that we can get started with math. I don’t want you to miss anything.

Jessie: I will. (Smiling.)

(For the third time, Jessie sits still in his seat.)

Teacher: I see you must be working in slow motion today, Jessie. Let's see if another student can move just a tad bit faster than you. Lisa, will you please wheel the lunch cart into the hall?

Jessie: No. I said I would do it. (Gets up slowly).

Jessie wheels the lunch cart toward the classroom door, banging it against several desks along the way. He runs the cart over a classmate's foot. Just before reaching the door, he knocks the cart into the teacher's desk, knocking over a vase of fresh flowers. The glass vase shatters all over the floor. She momentarily loses control! The teacher from the classroom next door hurries over when she hears all of the noise.

Teacher: Jessie, you can't even carry out the simplest job in this classroom. Why can't you do anything right? You are going to clean that whole mess up young man. And you'll do it after school because you are not going to interrupt my math lesson. I know that's what you were trying to do. Are you happy with yourself?

Jessie: (Looks briefly at the teacher from the classroom next door then says,) No, ma'am. It was just an accident. I didn't know you'd be so upset about a kid making a mistake. I'm sorry.

Teacher: (Caught off guard with Jessie's response. Embarrassed at her outburst.) I'm sorry too, Jessie. I shouldn't have said that. Everyone makes mistakes. Let's all help Jessie clean this up.
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To the observing teacher from next door, Jessie's teacher seems to have over-reacted to her student's mistake and engaged in cruel, humiliating behavior. Truth be told, it is any educator's responsibility to maintain emotional control and refrain from responses that belittle students. Still, the Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle explains how this seemingly minor classroom incident escalated so quickly and is useful in providing educators and other adults with insight into how passive aggressive behaviors can so-suddenly provoke relationship-damaging reactions in unsuspecting adults. Without insight into the PACC, adults are doomed to engage in these no-win conflicts time and again.

The following is a breakdown of the five stages of the PACC, with reference to how it played out between Jessie and his classroom teacher.

Stage 1: The Self-Concept & Irrational Beliefs of the Passive Aggressive Person

Stage 1 represents a passive aggressive person’s developmental life history. Based on specific formative events during his early life, Jessie has developed the belief that the direct expression of anger is dangerous and needs to be avoided. His psychological solution to this problem is to conceal his anger behind a facade of infuriating passive aggressive behaviors, as we will explore further in Stage 4.

Jessie is proud of his ability to control anger and to remain rational and calm during conflict situations. He feels smart and clever about his ability to devise various ways to get back at others indirectly and without their knowledge. This awareness gives the person an emotional high and a feeling of power and pleasure at manipulating others so easily.
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Stage 2: The Stressful Incident

When a passive aggressive person is asked or told to do a specific task, the request often activates irrational beliefs, based on early life experiences:

• I have to do everything in this classroom

• That teacher is always picking on me

• She is singling me out. I'll get back at her and she'll never even see it coming.

Indeed, for people like Jessie, ordinary, everyday requests from authority figures often trigger angry responses based on such irrational beliefs. Instead of expressing these angry thoughts aloud, however, the passive aggressive person reserves his feelings for the moment. He pushes them below the surface because he is guided by the powerful set of irrational beliefs that anger = unacceptable.

Stage 3: The Passive Aggressive Person's Feelings

The passive aggressive person has learned over the years to defend against his angry feelings by denying them and projecting them onto others. Because the normal feelings of anger are unacceptable to him, they are masked and expressed in passive aggressive behaviors.

Stage 4: The Passive Aggressive Person's Behavior
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The behavior of most passive aggressive individuals is both purposeful and intentional. What's more, the passive-aggressive person derives genuine pleasure out of frustrating others. They engage in a variety of behaviors designed to "get back at" or infuriate others, including:

• Denying feelings of anger

• Withdrawing and sulking

• Procrastinating

• Carrying out tasks inefficiently or unacceptably

• Exacting hidden revenge

Jessie procrastinated. He verbally complied with his teacher's request ("OK," "Just a second," "I will.) but behaviorally delayed. He eventually wheeled out the cart in a manner that was intentionally unacceptable. All of these purposeful passive aggressive behaviors proved quite successful in eliciting an angry response from his teacher, who had no awareness of the trap she was falling in to.

Stage 5: The Reactions of Others

In a stressful situation, the person who behaves passive aggressively will create feelings of anger in a target. If the target is unaware of this dynamic and acts on the feelings of anger, she will behave in uncharacteristic, relationship-damaging ways.

As is quite typical of a PACC, at first Jessie's teacher remained calm, accommodating his procrastination and temporary compliance. By the second and third requests, she was surely beginning to feel more agitated, though she continued her polite, assertive manner. At the fourth request, her irritation becomes apparent in the form of the sarcasm in her response. For adults, sarcasm is often a red flag that they have begun to be caught up in a Conflict Cycle and are beginning to mirror a child's behaviors. With knowledge of the PACC, this could have been a good time for the teacher to check her own emotions, think about what was happening beneath the surface, and disengage from the dynamic with Jessie.

Instead, before she even knew it, she heard the clamor of banging desks, a student crying out in pain after having his foot run over by a heavy lunch cart, and a vase of flowers shattered all over the floor. She reacted in an instant, in frustration and with anger, her words belittling her student in front of all of his peers.

Jessie, still in perfect control of his emotions, feigns shock. He apologizes to the teacher, using appropriate words while also sending a clear, unstated message:

• I don’t know why you got so angry. It was just a mistake.

• I didn’t yell, swear, hit, or break anything. But what you did was scary. I don’t like to have someone blow up at me.

• I don’t deserve to be yelled at in front of my classmates. I think you overreacted to this situation and mistreated me. Don’t you believe you owe me an apology?

The teacher, immediately feeling guilty about the temper tantrum, also feels embarrassed to have been observed in the moment by her colleague. She ends up apologizing profusely. When this happens, Jessie reluctantly accepts the apology, but in the meantime, his deep-rooted beliefs about the danger of anger have been confirmed. The only thing that is truly resolved in this situation is that the destructive interpersonal relationship between Jessie and his teacher will continue.

The majority of teachers, parents, spouses and co-workers involved in daily interactions with passive aggressive individuals are ultimately beaten down by the relationship. Most end up feeling confused, angry, guilty, and doubtful about the stability of their own mental health. How is it possible for this destructive interpersonal pattern to occur over and over again with reasonable adults? How does it happen that the targeted adults end up accepting the blame and responsibility for this dysfunctional dynamic? The answer is clear and painful: they are unaware of the psychology of passive aggression. (Long, Long & Whitson, 2008). Understanding and insight into the repetitive nature of the Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle can help adults disengage from destructive conflicts and choose relationship-building responses.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The End of Winter

As the winter comes to an end it was long it was cold and it was a mess.  When I think of the word mess it can refer to many things from the state of cleanliness to the state of being.  When I look back on my time in Nashville I will say it was a "hot mess."  True it was hotter than hell here and I found the summers unbearable, but I moved here in a way that I regret now and did not actually have a sense of purpose or direction which contributed to some of my frustration and confusion, and lastly it refers to the people here as they are one hot mess of a community.

I tried, I did. I look at every attempt to join and in turn build community and while I am not a social person and make friends easily I was at least willing to try and perhaps fall back on the belief of Southern Hospitality to enable me to finally do so.  I failed and it was not from lack of trying it was from lack of knowledge that there is no such thing as hospitality it is a legend, an urban myth, an anathema.

This past month once again the schools are the focus of what, where, when, how and why I am exhausted from dealing with the idiocy.  And no I don't think it is better in many other places but I do know that the coasts spend more time (not money however) at least superficially caring about education and information than here in the South.  I am exhausted from the lying which I realize is much more second nature than hospitality as that is what they think is hospitable - lying.  They lie without even realizing it is second nature.  Much of it has to do with ignorance and rather than admit they made a mistake, don't know or actually don't even care they lie.  And when you want to see what it is like just turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or read Twitter to see what it is like when you spend any amount of time monitoring Trump's bullshit.  At least his is laughable but to hear it endlessly from the great unwashed it takes a toll.   There is nothing remotely entertaining about it in the least.

The embattled Director of Nashville Public Schools has decided that race and money play into his failures as a director and in turn he means his race and the lack of money he needs to implement his plans.  He fails to mention how he misspent the money he did have and in turn is sure that it is about race on that as well.  Meanwhile to acknowledge how Tennessee handles race the schools had varying exercises in race that included marking water fountains "white" and "colored" only.  Another had students go home to imagine what it was like to have slaves and a Charter School closed due to a violation of safety rules displacing 150 students and irony it was located in a Church and its population largely if not exclusively faces of color. Way to end Black History Month.   This is not the first time dumping occurs by charters onto public schools as they do this around testing time to rig the scores but this was a big dump.  And you wonder why I call the schools dumpsters?  And of course the hysteria over Abortion continues now making it illegal if a fetal heartbeat is detected and the never ending anti Gay legislation that this week was about revoking the right for Gay individuals to marry but that is just added to the one that wants to make it illegal for them to adopt.  That led to a newcomer "job creator"  and "white collar" Alliance Bernstein to actually get into the fight. They are "not from here" but they will learn soon enough to not rock the boat.

So now lets talk about money the most important talk in the South.  The economy is winning right? For whom or what or how is again another issue of debate.  Low end store Charlotte Russe is adding its name to the list of closures, along with Payless Shoes, some Family Dollar stores (you know its bad when they are closing up shops but then again they own every type/form of dollar stores so they literally compete with themselves).  Abercrombie and Fitch are closing some stores, along with Gap, JC Penny and Victoria's Secret will join the list.  Gymboree is done and filed for bankruptcy. Chicos, White House Black Market (remember when Michelle Obama used to wear their clothes) will join the list of closures as we begin to end the first quarter of the year. All of this on the heels of the largest trade deficit in history!  Trump loves to take credit for bullshit let's see how he does on this one.

With the Lordstown GM plant closed as of yesterday there is a great deal of anger, confusion and frustration with those who had made their lives and livelihoods a center around that industry.  They were able to provide for their families with minimal education and training and in turn survived working all during economic turndowns and other issues that plagued the auto industry.  Somehow they are still clinging to hope and prayer that it will be figured out and that someone or thing will rescue them.

The Washington Post profiled the community and in turn the loss of the plant and its affects on workers, their morale and what it means for their future.  Only one man seemed to grasp  the need to be open, to be retrained, to diversify and to find work by piecemeal together employment.  He was the only one who seemed to get this "I work hard bullshit" that is often offered as a justification for being ignorant.  The best part was that he was Black and maybe that resilience and lack of reliance on others was a reflection of his race and his personal experiences as a Black man although it was not discussed in the piece it could not go ignored.  The comment section which veered into over 1000  was rife with political debate but a great deal of it focused on the seeming unwillingness by the now former staff to retrain, to learn new skills and to try to adapt.  Work hard sure but learn hard no.  These are the people who came of age in the 1980's when education funding declined and in turn they still had a reasonable connection to their cultural and regional history that enabled them to function and remain in place with some ups and downs but without the ability to access knowledge, the ceasing of unions and their role in fighting for such basics as retraining and other tools to enable workers to gain education this is what we have - stupid Americans who are angry and marginalized and vote for Trump.

Amazon is the new angel that most Americans see as the Gabriel who will rescue them from poverty and social isolation.  They are sure that the jobs will allow them to be productive, to work hard and to of course attain the markings of what success for the working class defines as such - home ownership, a car, and other basic necessities.  Well good plan to not plan on that.  That mantra that college graduates make more means what exactly and unless you actually know first had one who managed to climb out of the hole and build a career on their own two feet it is akin to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The reality is that we actually refer to Kylie Jenner as "self made" in the same manner Donald Trump claims to be.   But we want to believe Mulder!

One of the many comments I read at the end of the article discussed what it was like to grow up in that type of community and be disdained for wanting more and in turn how it was like to go home and still be thought of as a black sheep or traitor for getting an education and being successful.   When you read the article it was almost a resignation that they had little to actually show for their hard work and now were going to become like those they had mocked or derided as lazy, relying on government handouts aka the "Welfare Queen."  Again what the training fails to do is provide those mental health resources that are able to work with individuals who have little confidence and even less "grit" to realize their potential in which to at least try.  But the reality is that until you face the truth you will get nothing but lies as lying is easy it makes you feel better.  It absolves you of blame and responsibility.  I get it. I really do living here in Nashville. The endless lying and bullshit is exhausting on the receiving end if you know it but most don't so it is the balm to heal the wound.

Winter leaves a lot of coldness in the air and the warm air of spring is often a balm to soothe the spirit.  I just rely on spirits now and everyday wait for the coming of fall to exit this shithole called Nashville.

Big Dick

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
                                Henry The Fourth, Part 2 Act 3, scene 1, 26–31

From this comes the phrase: Heavy is The Head That Wears.  It has come to mean that a person in charge, or in a leadership role, has to bear many responsibilities, and it is a very tough job. These leaders could influence people to do the right things, and they in turn could make them do wrong things.

But in reality that is line which applies to anyone in an executive role be that in a home, in a business or even in a family.  The reality is that when you are at the top you can easily be at the bottom in a much shorter time than it took to get to the top. Funny how that works out.

 I think that phrase succinctly sums up Donald Trump and his entire administration and we are not in calm seas as this Captain is incapable of righting the ship and finding the course and we all must sail on this vessel unsure if this is the Titanic and we are heading for crash into an object that will inevitably bring us down.  Funny how an iceberg is a perfect metaphor for a man who abjectly refuses to believe in Global Warming and Climate Change as that is what our seas are like, full of treacherous objects in which we must navigate around.  Clearly these are rough waters.

As the lack of leadership continues to dominate the news the real leaders of America's economy are the Oligarchs that are less Russian but no less heavy handed in their ways of navigating their course of business.  The first one that comes to mind of late is of course Jeff Bezos of Amazon.  His bizarre sordid tales of his marital infidelities and in turn equally bizarre accusations of the Government and its role in releasing his personal messages and classic dick pics was odd but not actually that shocking given what we know about our Government's surveillance program. Well oddly that came to an end the other day after years of actually accomplishing nothing.  Shocking, I know! Not really.   But we revere CEO's and are sure that they are the smartest, bestest and brightest and they can do anything cause their rich bitch!  Hence we see now CEO's such as Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg tease about running for President.  Yes running a business is much like running a country and we can see how well that worked out by electing one who largely ran a marginally successful one and did so by licensing out his name/brand, the same method in which he is running the country.  I am all pro delegating but then there needs to be someone in the room at some point to ensure the minons are not running amok.

Trump tipped his hat yesterday that while he uses his bully pulpit to do just that bully and shout out names and verbal abuse to those he feels wrong him as a way of modeling how he shows he is large and in charge, he is the Big Dick and no one fucks him.  But then in a meeting where Tim Cook the CEO of Apple (the one company who stood up to Government intervention and should be a target of Trump's ire) was called Tim Apple.  Ah yes heavy is the head that it has memory lapses or gaps as one is never shocked when it comes to the level of ignorance of our commander in chief.  I have always thought men love to compare dick sizes and I think in this case we know who has that one.  Score one for Apple.

Meanwhile Amazon has been a target of Trump's ire.  This may be largely due to his owning Washington Post but he has never been shy of pointing fingers in any direction.  So as the story unfolds about Bezos sordid personal life, the one thing is to know that America's richest man is just that a man who feels compelled to send a dick pic, class is not learned or earned the same way stock values are.    Amazon has always challenged the way its business is perceived and in turn how it has done business.  For years it ran without a profit while still getting high marks from Wall Street.  Maybe they saw dick pics too and thought if it is that big the man attached must be a powerful fuck in every sense of the word.  But in turn Amazon put its hands in so many pots it makes one wonder if it knows what is cooking in that kitchen.  But they have one strong philosophy they strong arm and bully in ways that Trump envy's and in turn cities bend over to that dick and are willing to get fucked without dinner or lube.  

Amazon’s Hard Bargain Extends Far Beyond New York

By Karen Weise, Manny Fernandez and John Eligon
The New York Times
March 3, 2019

SEATTLE — When Texas officials pushed Amazon to pay nearly $270 million in back sales taxes in 2010, Amazon responded by closing its only warehouse in the state and scrapping expansion plans there. Two years later, the officials agreed to waive the past taxes in exchange for Amazon opening new warehouses.

A similar scene played out in South Carolina, where officials decided in 2011 to deny Amazon a sales tax break. After threatening to stop hiring in the state, the company got the tax exemption by promising to hire more people.

And last year in Seattle, the company’s hometown, Amazon halted plans to build one tower and threatened to lease out one under construction when local officials pushed a tax on large employers. The City Council passed a smaller version of the tax, but the company helped finance a successful opposition to repeal it. Now, Amazon plans to lease out its space in the tower under construction anyway.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a “shock to the system” when Amazon, facing criticism for the deal it reached to build a headquarters in the city, abruptly dropped the plans. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is still trying to woo them back. But the reversal mirrored the company’s interactions with officials in other states.

Virtually all of America’s largest businesses drive a hard bargain with governments, angling for benefits and financial incentives. Amazon, though, often plays politics with a distinctive message: Give us what we want, or we’ll leave and take our jobs elsewhere.

The tactics help Amazon squeeze as much as possible out of politicians.

“They are just as cutthroat as can be,” said Alex Pearlstein, vice president at Market Street Services, which helps cities, including those with Amazon warehouses, attract employers.

New York’s experience with Amazon also exposed the company’s limited experience with building community relationships. The company did not hire any local employees or lobbyists to connect with New York residents in advance of announcing the deal. Until recent years, almost no one at the company worked full-time in community or government relations, though it now has more than 100 lobbyists registered in statehouses to push its priorities.

That lack of a significant on-the-ground strategy helped doom the deal in New York, and it is causing headaches elsewhere.

Amazon’s promise to deliver practically any item within two days means that it needs warehouses near major population centers, not just where it gets the best deal. In Edison, N.J., noise complaints pressured the company to spend $3 million to build a high wall around a warehouse. Outside of Chicago in Joliet, Ill., Amazon pays for an extra police officer to help manage traffic — and lawmakers want the company to do more.

“Amazon doesn’t like any friction,” said Margaret O’Mara, a professor at the University of Washington who researches the history of tech companies. But the desire for more urban locations, she said, means “it can’t be my way or the highway.”s

The company’s initial pitch is usually simple, saying that its offices and warehouses will deliver quality jobs. And it banks on the public’s widespread trust in the company’s low prices, wide selection and fast delivery. Many politicians and locals are delighted when Amazon arrives and say that the company delivers the jobs it has pledged.

Over all, the company has collected more than $2.4 billion taxpayer subsidies for its offices, warehouses and data centers, according to Good Jobs First, a nonprofit organization that tracks corporate tax breaks.

A company spokeswoman said, “Amazon has created more than 250,000 full-time American jobs and has invested hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.” She added, “We are active participants working to support the communities where we operate.”

Asked recently by a business publication if Amazon would change anything about the headquarters search in retrospect, Holly Sullivan, the Amazon executive who led the search, said: “You know, no. I think it was rewarding for us internally.”

In 2010, Texas’s top finance official said Amazon owed $269 million because it had failed to pay sales taxes from 2005 to 2009. Amazon said it did not need to collect the tax because it lacked brick-and-mortar stores in the state. It then shuttered its warehouse at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that employed about 120 people and dropped plans to build more outposts in Texas.

Under a settlement in 2012, the state gave up on the tax charges in exchange for Amazon’s promise to create 2,500 jobs and spend at least $200 million on facilities. Amazon also agreed to begin collecting sales tax and pay the state.

Once the deal was reached, Amazon expanded rapidly across Texas, with millions in subsidies from the state. The company now operates about 20 sites in Texas.

“In our viewpoint, it’s a lot better to get them into compliance voluntarily than spend a whole lot of time fighting about the past periods,” said Karey Barton, the state’s associate deputy comptroller for tax.

For one of the new warehouses, in San Marcos, between Austin and San Antonio, Amazon received a $16.6 million tax rebate. The warehouse has nearly 3,000 employees, making it the largest private employer in town.

“Everything that they told us and promised us on the number of jobs and that kind of thing has surpassed their timelines,” said Kristy Stark, the communications director for the City of San Marcos. “We have nothing but positive things to say.”

Amazon waged a nearly identical war in South Carolina, when officials, including then-Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, opposed a sales tax break. It pulled job listings off its website for a warehouse under construction near Columbia and canceled contracts for the new facility.

The threat worked, rallying support from businesses and government leaders. The legislature gave Amazon a five-year grace period for collecting sales taxes, while Amazon conceded that it would tell residents how much they owed in sales tax.

Nevertheless, the company kept its distance from local lawmakers. In 2009, the mayor and governor threw a groundbreaking ceremony for new Amazon buildings. No Amazon executives attended.

In recent years, Amazon made some gestures of civic responsibility, including in 2017, when it committed to build a shelter for homeless families in a new tower. That year, Amazon also hired its first employee to build a team focused on philanthropy. More than a dozen people now work on that effort.

But it didn’t speak up on policy issues, including ways to address the skyrocketing housing prices in the area. That changed in 2018, when the City Council debated a tax on large employers, which was meant to pay for homeless services and affordable housing.

Amazon stood up in opposition, telling a newspaper columnist that it would halt plans to build one new tower and reconsider its lease on a second. The threat sent shock waves through the city.

After a wrenching public process, the city passed a head tax that was roughly half the size of the initial proposal.

That did not placate Amazon, which said the city was not effectively spending the money it already had. The message struck a chord with some frustrated homeowners, who said that the city spent millions on the homeless programs and yet encampments stood by their homes and parks. They joined forces on a signature drive to put a repeal of the tax on the ballot.

Amazon was one of largest donors to a repeal campaign, which paid about $345,000 to a firm, Morning in America, to gather signatures and print fliers and shirts.

With anger growing over the tax, the council relented and repealed it. “This is not a winnable battle at this time,” Lisa Herbold, a member of the City Council, said before the vote. “The opposition has unlimited resources.”

New Headaches

As Amazon expands, including closer to more major cities like New York and Chicago, it is facing more local demands.

“People think that Amazon is a 100 percent sleek machine,” said Beth Gutelius, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on warehouses. In reality, a lot falls through the cracks. “Even if they are trying to be strategic locally, they can’t actually do it because they are so big and sprawling.”

In late 2017, Amazon opened a warehouse in Edison, N.J., near New York. The site used to be a quiet warehouse for comforters and bedding, but lights now shine and trucks rumble at all hours. Amazon made some changes, like having the trucks emit a low hiss, rather than beep, on the loading docks. But neighbors said commotion was still intrusive.

Lisa Bukachevsky, who lives behind the warehouse, said she tried to hire a lawyer, but none would take her case. “They said, ‘You don’t have enough money to fight Amazon,’” she said.

The town attorney took up the issue, and Amazon hired a sound engineer and then constructed the 20-foot tall wall that cost $3 million.

The wall helps block the light, but not much of the noise, Ms. Bukachevsky said. She and her husband, Mark, say Amazon could have saved a lot of headache if it had consulted the community first.

“I’m not anti-Amazon,” Mr. Bukachevsky said, adding that he owns Amazon stock. “I’m anti-noise.”

In Illinois, Amazon initially resisted opening facilities because that would have required it to start collecting sales taxes, said John E. Greuling, the president of the Will County Center for Economic Development. But then, Mr. Greuling said, “They realized Illinois was too important a location for them.”

Just a few years later, the company has 7,000 people across five facilities in Will County, which includes Joliet, making it the largest employer in an area evolving into a major logistics hub. The first Amazon warehouse to open in Joliet received a state tax incentive of $71.5 million for up to 10 years.

About two miles south of downtown Joliet, along State Route 53, a routine plays out several times a day that causes some dread among locals. Amazon employees’ cars line up along a narrow street perpendicular to the highway. One after the next, they turn onto the busy four-lane thoroughfare, creating a long caravan during shift changes.

Local residents trying to maneuver their way along this major artery can get stuck sitting at stop signs for 5 or 10 minutes. Amazon pays a local police officer to manage the flow during the holiday season and is part of a public-private group working to address traffic.

Some local officials, including Denise Winfrey, the Will County board speaker, say they fear the deals that lured Amazon and other major companies to the region did not give the state enough resources to fix the infrastructure, which is increasingly stressed as Amazon and others use them.

“If you’re in the area, using the resources, you have the people, you’re stopping through the neighborhoods, you’re driving through the streets — you have some responsibility to make sure that you are contributing positively to the community beyond the jobs,” Ms. Winfrey said.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


I watched 3 hours of the Leaving Neverland documentary and the Oprah Winfrey interview that followed but I stopped at the last hour as I found myself deep in trigger warning territory.  Now I have never been molested as a Child but I have been sexually abused and like many victims I found myself complicit in a way as I invited the Vampire into my home and in turn allowed the sexual abuse to continue way beyond what was expected and desired. I own that much.  Then within the year I was drugged, taken somewhere and had liquor shoved down my throat and put into a car to drive myself home.  I was found dying in my car by a witness who saw a man come up the car open the passenger door, reach in and say: "She is still breathing." And then walk away from the scene.  I was taken to the hospital in a coma, awoke in full blown Traumatic Brain Injury with no advocate nor anyone to identify or help me and while I was delusional and fully insane (as you are post TBI). My blood alcohol count was through the roof and I tested positive for Benzodiazpines and when I came too I  said crazy shit that makes no sense (I read the hospital transcripts which were enough to realize how damaged and bizarre I sounded). And from that moment when  I regained consciousness I also had no ability to remember what happened to me or what was happening to me as TBI causes short term memory failure.  I did not come out of that state of post trauma amnesia for a week (again not uncommon with TBI) when I found my car gone and me utterly confused and terrified what the fuck had gone on when I was with my date that night of Feb 8, 2012.  I have been running from that night ever since.

Rage and fear do many things to many people.  I remember wanting to scream on a mountaintop that I was a victim and had done nothing to deserve this but then after constant rejection and abuse and disbelief by those who had to hear my complaints, concerns, beliefs I realized that they don't even when a check is on the other end.   And it is always about money. 

But when those who never knew Michael and seemingly have vested their every sense of living to obsess over a man long dead with clear problems distinct from those stories about his sexual derangement I have to wonder what you are missing in your life to carry on over this story and why you cannot let and let live.  Believe or not but to target, threaten and do harm is ironically a trait you share with your icon.  How sad. How grim. How pathetic. 

When two of the victims of Michael Jackson came forward we know that they were not the only ones as we do know of two others who tried to seek retribution or at least acknowledgement of this and like me who went through the system and found myself on the receiving end of the courts hostility and abuse towards those they view as "criminal' I get it. I really do. I see today that one Attorney, Kevin Trombold still practices with a skill set was no better than a Public Defender which he used to do and so now charges ostensible for the same service.  Ted Vosk has lost his mind attempted suicide by gun and then by walking into the wild and ending up on Go Fund Me to get into rehab which he escaped and then returned. Whatever meds he is currently on seem to be working but I used to take great pleasure in watching his meltdowns on Facebook while his wife was off skiing and hiking. Okay then.   Then lastly the Prosecutor of my case, Jennifer Miller, is a single shingle Lawyer who now plays saviors to the same people she used to once despise. Turn on the fake light and get paid to do right. She was a cunt then and likely still is.  Ted Vosk during trial did call that one right, it was the one right thing he did.

You never escape it.  This morning as I made coffee the TV had an ad for Capital One using a Michael Jackson song, I nearly vomited and I cannot imagine what that would be like for the men trying to recover.  Mr. Safechuck was clear when he said to Oprah it will be the rest of his life that this process will occur.  Yes he is right about that.

The lure of celebrity culture and of course the idea of flying close to the stars when you are a nothing cannot be lost but when parents project that onto their children they are doing them no service.  I cannot imagine any parent thinking any 30 year old man or woman sleeping with a child not their own at any age is a good idea.  But the fear of rejection is a big part of how those who wish to harm play upon.  We have seen this repeatedly with Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, R. Kelly. The rumors, the reputations and whispers are in their own clique and when you are on the outside looking in I am not sure how you are sure to know what is being said. And given the hysteria around this Michael Jackson documentary you can see how vested people are in believing whatever myth the dead Jackson manages to summon from the grave. And all of it has to do with one thing - money.

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Luke Perry as he was the "it" boy of another era and like many crushes and fascinations of my past he was just that. I saw him on Watch What Happens Live and he was funny and interesting and that was that. Maybe I just don't get fandom or maybe I just am so out of touch with the idea of worshiping a dead rock star to the point of extreme that it was difficult for me to navigate the bullshit on social media about this documentary but once again it was no shocking nor surprising as we vest all of ourselves on the extrinsic as that will somehow compensate for the lack of what we have within, real friends, real family, real work and real community.  We live on the outside afraid to go inside to find the truth. 

So to stop thinking about all of this I went to the gym to cleanse the anger that courses inside and I opened the Vanity Fair from last month and there was an article about Justice Kavanaugh and  Georgetown Prep the school he attended when the "alleged" assault on Ms. Ford transpired.  What was more horrifying was the secondary story about another student, Eric Ryuk.  Well Mr. Ryuk could easily be Mr. Safechuck or Mr. Robson when he decided to name his accuser, a Priest and Teacher at the school. The smears, the inferences the attacks were not dissimilar and he found himself between desperation and frustrations.  This culture of silence and wall of denial is nothing that anyone has found when they too decide to change the dynamic and tone of the conversation.   This is one such example from the article:

  By January 2004, the situation escalated, with alumni waging a vicious and baseless smear campaign against Ruyak. In one e-mail that circulated within the Prep community, an alumnus claimed that “Eric flat-out admitted that he made the whole thing up.” The e-mail referenced Ruyak’s “rocky coming-out experience” as a possible motive—even though Ruyak had not yet come out—and expressed shock that he had not been expelled “for the lies he spread about Fr. Orr.” (Contacted today, the writer of the e-mail admits he had no basis for such claims, and is mortified that he wrote it.) As the rumor mill went into overdrive, the Ruyaks recall hearing all sorts of things: Eric was a sexual deviant; his parents had molested him; Eric was dying from AIDS
 This same crew which while under the auspices of God seemed to do the same when the Kavanaugh accusations became public. 
Meghan McCaleb initiated a letter, circulated among a group of Visitation, Stone Ridge, and Holy Child alums, asking for them to add their names to a letter attesting to Kavanaugh’s character. Within a span of minutes, says one alum from the group, many women had signed—most without knowing the substance of the allegations against Kavanaugh. What’s more, two sources familiar with the letter estimate that three-quarters of the signees didn’t really know Kavanaugh, and weren’t in a position to attest to his actions as a young man
 And again this is not shocking nor surprising in the least as this is what I see/hear in Tennessee anytime anyone has the audacity to confront the wall of lies.  A way bigger wall than any Trump could build in Mexico.   Ad hominem attacks, vicious mockery and debasement are all forms of entertainment here when it comes to pointing fingers, laying blame and finding fault. Yesterday I was at one of the acclaimed high schools and I said into no one in particular as the kids came in, "Well I am officially coffee-d out for today." And as I dumped the residue of my coffee into the lab sinks I saw a kid start the make fun face of which I am more than familiar. As no kid heard it other than him he was ignored but I stared right at him and he said nothing more.  Then later part of his same crew asked me what I was reading in the paper.  I said, "Well this is yesterday's as it was such bad news I thought I would wait a day as none of it good so I thought a day later might be less bad, I was wrong" And then I held up the front page that had the Trump/Kim fiasco, a story about MJ and another about human trafficking.  Using the paper as shield and distraction I once again saw the eye rolling and face making as if I am doing something beyond weird.  So I said, "Thanks for reminding me of my convo with your Teacher earlier when I said I was leaving Nashville as I found you kids the rudest nastiest of my career. from the smirking, eye rolling, derogatory commentary it is so exhausting that I have finally said enough and am out of here in six months and cannot wait to leave." One said, "So you have not found Southern Hospitality all that?" I said, "No, I have never experienced it and you kids do nothing to change that view so why pretend that it exists you are all too rude to believe so what.ever I am out in six months."   And I watched them have the second face of shock, meets wow this is horrible not embarrassed or even remotely so but more like they got caught is how I see it and I always will. And I walked out of the school that day going well the trash bags are flying as the dumpsters are released.  This is how I see the children here and one finds way of coping to manage the stress and rage that you find as your pain follows you from place to place.  Forgiveness is not an option as I have no one to forgive but forget that is the truth.

Believe or not but that is for your domain don't harass abuse torment and continue on doing so as until you have walked into another man or woman's shoes you have no fucking clue how they feel.  I hate Nashville as it is never a land that enabled me to be free of my demons and why? They have too many of their own that share the airspace.