Saturday, March 31, 2018

Battleax and Blowhard

Many encounter these individuals and some may be in one's own family but in reality few spend solid time with these types of individuals as they are sure they are ill educated rubes that live in flyover country and are rural types that don't read, attend church and are gun toting maniacs.

Well as we have come to learn from a father in Parkland whose daughter was killed at Stoneman Douglas, they are just like you!  Only right wing and equally vocal about guns, as in having them. Andrew Pollack is angry grieving man who felt compelled to wear a pro Trump shirt while searching for his daughter, met with Trump privately prior to the infamous "I hear you" sessions  and has been one of the few who disagree with the students and thinks all schools should be like Airports with guards, metal detectors and the like.  I respectfully disagree and will be happy to never see his angry raging grieving face again on my TV.

Then we have the Laura Ingrahm's who feel compelled to mock a kid who is trying to reconcile his grief and channel it into positive action.  David Hogg is a kid, he is not perfect, he may have been rejected from colleges but who cares, they aren't going anywhere and he will go to the college of his choice, likely on a free ride thanks to his activism. This kid has a job and this bitch would have been the first to condemn him for that if not anything else as that is who she is.  Disagree yes, respectfully no is the mantra of the wingnut nation.

So those are examples of the Blowhard and Battleax that I see and hear everyday. And many of them are educated professionals and this from a State where only one-third of the population is educated.  And in a City where there are not one but five colleges and many hospital facilities and Government offices that one would think are full of educated individuals.  To that I go hhaaaaaaaaa...

If there is one thing I had to learn is how to extricate myself from conversations let alone even starting them.  Of course I still can hear them when I ride the bus, am at the store or the gym, watch the local news or read the local rag that considers itself a paper.

Now to be fair I find these people on the left equally dismissive, ignorant and strident they just have a better vocabulary in which to express their perspective.  Yes Hillary Clinton is an example and there are many others.

I appreciate Roxanne Gay's writing and have been mystified as to why one week she is the Review section with an amazing piece that was positive and uplifting which I framed and set above my desk and then this week The New York Times placed her promptly back on the op-ed page with a rant about the reboot of the Roseanne show.  She is not alone in her dislike of the show but this is not a piece for the op-ed page but in the Style section or Arts.

 So, yes,  I will watch Roseanne as there are many thriving talented people on that show that returned and they put aside I am sure their differences and returned most willingly.  These are the same people  who were there the first time when Ms. Barr melted down on more than one occasion and this time it appears no different and like the President she supports she tweets her instability.  Here is a plan don't read or follow them or watch her show and your reasons not to are really none of my business or my concern, nor more importantly news worthy.  

There are others who dominate the cycle of hysteria and usually they are relegated to Blogs (like this one)  or Fox News and that is where it should be.  But we have now transcended the obsession over #MeToo #Times Up to the point we will not be reading books, walking into buildings, listening to music or watching movies or TV because of either the politics or behavior of the individuals in which are associated with said medium.  Sorry but I can compartmentalize my personal issues with the overall compilation of work and in turn hope they are (if not dead) getting help and learning how to work with others in a healthy productive way and in turn continue to enjoy if not enlighten us to their awakening.   Here is a good example - Tiger Woods.  So we should never let him make a living, support his kids, have pleasure, live or be among the public.  I see so he should just what die?

This article on the cancellation of a children's book due to allegations toward the illustrator is absurd. Is a parent going to sit with a child over a well written and illustrated book and go: "Well Jimmy this book would have been so much better if the artist had not been a misguided dipshit and harassed women." And which Johnny responds, "Is the bad man in jail now?"  And mother goes, "Well no he was just accused and subsequently denied due process to validate said charges and face his accuser as the law demands, so no."  I can see that going well at story time. 

Of course exceptions always exist.  Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are examples of such as they transcend predatory behavior that went on for decades and I am not comfortable watching any of their work as I will think about what they put the women through in the process. Can anyone watch Kill Bill and feel good about themselves?  And they are no different than the Doctor Nassar who was sentenced to prison for his sick and disturbing behavior.   He thrived in a culture that enabled, encouraged and participated in equal predatory behavior as we are coming to learn. But I did not work nor attend Michigan but it shows that like University of Pennsylvania when the term "rape culture" is used there is a fairly significant appropriate application.  Should you not go to those schools? No but you go in knowingly and that we are all better for it.

I have found many on the "left" equally unstable.  Dr. Cornel West during the Obama years was quite histrionic that it became overwhelming to listen to him.  At times I tune out Bill Maher as there is only so much rhetoric he can spout about religion to the point he is repetitive.  I too am guilty of that and we all are when we are impassioned about our beliefs.  And they are just that - ours.  We cannot expect everyone to accept, believe or even acknowledge your facts, your opinions or your truths. Guess what they have their own.

Living in Nashville has yes made me more isolated and in turn I find myself being as phony on most days to the point when  I hear my fake vocal tone emerge, the next thing I do is repress my self loathing so I don't go all righteous and slug someone.   "Don't go to jail doing the world a favor"  as my Mother would say and she is still dead but still right.

But ignorance is the reality in America and not just in the flyover states nor the South and that is fairly evident.  The years of decimating public education funding both for K-12 and our State Colleges and Universities are the reason our grad rates have been stagnant and our wage inequity is rampant.  But what has saved them is an educated and well to do populace that is not afraid to give and give again to support public education.   They do not do the same here.   Living here it I am amazed at how many "educated" folks fall into the Battleax or Blowhard that define the "White Trash" persona.  There is the dude I know from the Y, he  is a trial lawyer and the most idiotic individual I have met with multiple degrees.  The varying Teachers and Administrators here that define stupid in new ways despite having three letters after their name are others. 

This past week I met a Teacher who was perhaps the most ignorant credentialed woman I have met (of late).  She asked me repeatedly why I came here and when I shared that it was personal and not for public consumption but she simply rephrased the question and asked again. Then she inquired about salaries of Teaches in Washington, which I responded that it is a matter of public record but the State falls in the middle of the spectrum but are not as low as Tennessee; the reason being is that there is a strong union presence which is a common factor among states that pay Educators well.  She then felt the need to correct me inform me they have a Union (again their union does not collectively bargain so clearly we don't see nor define union in the same way).   I said that I was unaware that unions did negotiate wages and perhaps she should write the blogger of the Tennessee Education Report who writes on wages issues.  But that did not stop her from her pulpit. She then informed me that Tennessee and Davidson County is the highest paid in the nation and the State.   Again, (we seem to repeat ourselves another sign you are speaking to a battleax/blowhard) I did say I was unaware of that but whatever, but she wanted to let me know she is well paid.  I see, so this is about you.  And it went on before I could finally extricate myself from this boring battleax, as she informed me that Tennessee doesn't have a state income tax. I said I was aware and neither did Washington State.    And once again she informed me I was apparently wrong and she would look it up.  Gosh I hoped that worked out as we did not speak for the rest of the class. But later while helping kids match words with pictures was a project that seemed beyond her skill set.  A  Student came up with the worksheet and told me that she said this lesson was wrong. Okay then.   I promptly did the exercise and matched words that described the picture and handed it back to the Student.  There was some comment and then  she left the room.  I guess all her credentials and history of work enabled her to know more or care less. I always like to say, "I am White Trash, just with an education" when I meet these types.

She is a battleax and no different that the woman on the bus the other day who was regaling her bus mates about Donald Trump and how he was brought to them by God to save America. When she got off the bus the men were greatly impressed with her intelligence and politics.  I am sure she had no degrees but met the White Trash part without issue.  No wonder people are against transit, they are afraid they would encounter said trash. The class and elite here may be stupid but they are sure they are not that stupid.

Blowhards are a dime a dozen and I just laugh as here they are utterly fucking clueless.  It is surreal to the level of ignorance that I encounter. And nowhere is that more evident than there local paper, The Tennessean.  This is good for bird cages or cat litter, reading however.

And why people can't read - Blame Teachers!  DUH.  As Oklahoma is now facing the reality that their former Governor, Brownback, also brought by God, fairly destroyed public education to the point they have hairdressers teaching Science.  That is the same here, by the way.  It makes me ashamed to be a part of it and why I am getting out.  This is America - STUPID. Thank a Teacher or your Hairdresser as it may explain why. 




‘It just hurts my heart’: Low pay, big classes are the plight of Oklahoma teachers

By Moriah Balingit The Washington Post March 30 2018

TULSA — For the superintendent of this city’s public schools, the signs that her teachers are struggling can be found everywhere.

At a local restaurant, it was a teacher who served Deborah Gist recently. At the Reasor’s grocery, there’s sometimes a teacher behind the register. And then there was the Uber that the school district chief hailed to catch an early-morning flight — a teacher sat behind the wheel, trying to earn some money before heading to the classroom. There was a stack of student journals on the passenger seat.

“It’s just so wrong that it just hurts my heart,” said Gist, who has been superintendent since 2015.

Oklahoma’s teachers are among the nation’s lowest paid, and ­despite the governor and lawmakers approving a $6,100 raise this week, educators pledge to walk out Monday if their full demands — including reversal of budget cuts — are not met. For a decade, little has been done to address the plight of the state’s teachers. It is a situation that has forced many to take second jobs, rely on food pantries and donate their plasma to pay the bills.

The revolt in Oklahoma comes amid a wave of teacher protests that have no recent parallel in the United States. In West Virginia, educators stayed out for nine tense days before winning a pay raise. In Arizona, teachers are threatening to strike unless the state gives them a 20 percent salary increase. In Kentucky, educators shut down at least 20 school systems Friday as they converged on the state capitol to protest pension reforms. “Don’t make us go West Virginia on you,” one protester’s sign read.

Earlier this year, educators in Oklahoma turned heartbroken — and desperate — as the legislature failed to boost their salaries. Then, about 1,000 miles to the east, West Virginia’s teachers walked off the job and leveraged a 5 percent raise after shutting down schools. Suddenly, whispers about the possibility of a strike in Oklahoma grew to a full-throated roar, even as teachers agonized over whether they should leave their students behind.

“We had been talking about it forever,” said Randi Cowan, a third-grade teacher in Tulsa who earned $33,746 last year and lives in a home built by Habitat for Humanity. “But then somebody else did it and . . . it just ignited our fire.”

As in West Virginia, educators in Oklahoma have reached a breaking point, fed up with stagnant wages and cuts to education funding. The idea of a walkout began to gain traction in mid-February after a proposed salary increase failed to win enough support among lawmakers. A ­superintendent circulated a petition asking colleagues if they would support a teacher walkout.

Then a 25-year-old social studies teacher, inspired by what happened in West Virginia, began a Facebook group titled “Oklahoma Teacher Walkout — The Time is Now!” It has ballooned to 70,000 members, including educators from Oklahoma and West Virginia and supportive parents.

Educators — backed by the state’s teachers unions — demanded a $10,000 raise for themselves and a $5,000 raise for support personnel. They are also asking the state to restore budget cuts and boost spending on schools by $200 million over three years. If they do not get what they want by Monday, teachers in about 140 school districts — including some of the state’s largest — plan to walk off the job.

In 2016, Oklahoma ranked 49th in teacher pay — lower even than West Virginia, which was 48th. The average compensation package of an Oklahoma teacher was $45,276 a year, according to the National Education Association, a figure that includes a high-priced health plan and other benefits. That’s far less than educators in neighboring states, making it difficult — for many districts, impossible — to find and keep qualified teachers.

Oklahoma’s 2016 teacher of the year, Shawn Sheehan, decamped for Texas last year, joining many other teachers who sought higher-paying jobs.

Robert Bohn, an agriculture teacher in the small town of Cement, said he could make $20,000 more annually teaching in Texas. He pointed down the two-lane highway. “Texas is just an hour that way,” Bohn said.

The state’s funding crisis began at least a decade ago when the recession hit, leading lawmakers to take a cleaver to education spending. Even after the state’s economy recovered, long-standing tax cuts and plunging oil prices constrained state revenue and depleted education funding. In this deeply conservative state, lawmakers have resisted raising taxes — and doing so requires a three-quarters majority of the legislature.

Adjusted for inflation, the amount the state spends per student has fallen nearly 30 percent over the past decade, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The consequences are evident across the state.

Virginia Ayers, a sixth-grade teacher at a Tulsa elementary school with many students from low-income families, has 36 youngsters in her class. In rural Cement, school system leaders could no longer afford to keep the lights on five days a week, so they cut the academic week to four days. It’s not the only district: Last year, 96 had four-day school weeks.

In Bartlesville, Superintendent Chuck McCauley, desperate for a math teacher, hired a candidate with a physical education degree and no classroom experience. “We’re literally hiring people right now that we would not have even interviewed 10 years ago,” McCauley said.

[ With state budget in crisis, many Oklahoma schools hold classes four days a week]

Paltry pay has taken an obvious toll on the lives of teachers. Some live paycheck to paycheck and face eviction because they cannot keep up with the bills. Struggling for survival, many have put off saving for retirement and emergencies. One teacher, a single mother of two young children, lived with her mother and shared a bed with her youngsters because she could not afford rent. Her own children were enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides coverage to families with modest incomes, and she made so little that she qualified for a Habitat for Humanity home.

Ayers took out a high-interest payday loan for a $1,300 car repair. But she could not afford loan payments and groceries, so to feed herself, she began lining up at a plasma center twice a week, earning $20 to $40 for each donation. It made her lethargic in the classroom.

“It left me tired most of the time,” said Ayers, who also developed shingles.

She once had to turn to a church — John 3:16 Mission — for help paying a utility bill. There, she caught a glimpse of some of her students in an after-school program.

“It made me ashamed because I’m trying to inspire children to go to college, to have a better life,” Ayers said. “Here I went to college for nine years, and I can’t even support myself. What kind of role model was that?”

Jennifer Thornton, a third-grade teacher at a high-poverty elementary school in Tulsa, said she supports herself and her teenage son on less than $2,000 a month. Two years ago, she had to have brain surgery, and after the medical bills mounted, she showed up at the John 3:16 Mission food pantry. She spotted some of her students on the church playground and prayed they had not recognized her.

“It was so embarrassing,” Thornton said, breaking down into tears. “They and their families are in the same situation . . . but it did not make it much easier.”

In her darkened cinder-block apartment, Thornton opened the cabinets to reveal about a dozen cans. In the refrigerator, there was little more than an empty egg carton and a smattering of condiments sitting forlornly. The cans, she said, came from an adoring student whose mother realized Thornton was struggling when she saw her collecting leftover food from a Valentine’s Day party. The boy brought her a bag of groceries — also culled from a food pantry.

“Teaching in the state breaks my heart every day,” Thornton said. “I don’t know how much longer I can do it at all without a pay raise.”

At Hale High in Tulsa, about a dozen students hunched over phones on a recent weekday, listening to music or chatting during what was supposed to be their biology class. There was little to distinguish the room as a biology classroom — just a poster of the periodic table and a pile of dusty textbooks. Two teachers had quit since the start of the school year. On this day, nearly three weeks after the last teacher left, a local hairdresser serving as a substitute teacher took attendance but had no work to give students.

“My grade is high, but still, I want to learn a lot because I do like science,” said Delvon McKinney, a 17-year-old 10th-grader who spends idle class time charging his phone. He also went several weeks without an art teacher last semester. The constant churn of teachers frustrates him. “You get comfortable, and they’re gone.”

Two and a half hours southwest of Oklahoma City, in Comanche County, Bohn oversees 40 acres of land, raising chickens, pigs and cattle. He rises about 5:30 a.m. and in the darkness feeds his cattle and horses. His small-scale farm — where he also grows and cans peaches — feeds his family, including his wife, a kindergarten teacher who was forced to retire because of a disability, and his 14-year-old daughter. He supports them on the $50,000 a year he earns through an extended contract and also makes money as a church pastor.

At Cement High, he teaches students to raise their own food so they, too, can supplement their families’ diets. He has two safes in his classroom, housing shotguns for the school’s champion shooting team.

Bohn is a registered Republican who voted for President Trump, and he is leery of unions. But the problems that he faces in the classroom — decrepit computers and old textbooks — transcend politics for him.

As the sun rose over the school, a pump jack extracted oil from the earth beneath the classrooms, a mechanical hum filling the air. It stood between the school building and the softball field that Bohn turned into an orchard.

The machine is an ever present reminder of the state’s most dominant, and powerful, industry. Bohn stood in its shadow as the mechanical head bobbed up and down and shared his belief that oil companies were not paying their fair share — until this week, when, along with the teacher pay increase, the legislature voted to hike taxes on oil production.

“There’s oil wells right on the school grounds,” he said, “and yet we don’t get much of anything from it.”


 

Friday, March 30, 2018

F*&K me

Craigslist has shut down their "personal" section due to the new Congressional law regarding sex trafficking.

What has everyone in arms seems to be  largely Gay men, Sex Workers and sad lonely men who are now heading back to Ashley Madison after their hacking scandal a few years ago.  Men need their cocks sucked people and they need it bad! I have not heard one single woman or married woman complain that they cannot find a way to get laid.  Just go to work.. oh wait guess not.

Well I for one think the bullshit surrounding sex trafficking is utter bullshit. Right now we have here in Tennessee the idiot, Trump lover (but not in a payoff way) Diane Black running for Governor driving down down the highway in search of sex traffickers. Really? Are they in some gigantic truck or bus that makes it easy to spot?   When I think of human trafficking I think of the semi that left dozens of Immigrants roasting to death from lack of air and water,  or running for their lives on boats that sink due to overcrowding or weather.  And yes many are forced into sex servitude in exchange for "freedom" but the reality is that this like many other bullshit crime targets is exaggerated.

Recently in Seattle the King County Police decided to create as Prostitution roundup entirely funded by an anti-sex work group and of course it was bullshit and led to nothing.  Yes free or at least affordable  sex and speech please!

I used the Craigslist personals when I was first divorced a decade ago, I met a great lover and a few nice folks but mostly it was sad fucked up men, many married and utterly in it for fucking.  After a while the trash stinks and you need to take it out.   I have read not one but two articles about how predatory men troll online dating sites for women in my age group to exploit and rob. The Atlantic has an excellent story about such a man, The Perfect Man Who Wasn't, who preyed on lonely hearts a story that is not new in the least.   And yes men have been harmed too.

Our country is obsessed with sex, with drugs, with booze and the rest of it notsomuch.  I am pro legal prostitution, I am pro legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing many others and I don't have a problem with booze.  Here in Tennessee the irony is that as they debate legalizing medical marijuana they are seriously considering restricting the ability for someone to buy booze if they get a DUI and this is from a city that makes it living off booze. Good.luck.with.that.  I imagine 40 year old men standing outside liquor stores like teenagers and saying, "Hey lady can you get me a fifth of Scotch?" There is a new way to find a date!  See it works out.

But Craigslist is a sewer.  It is not just the personal sites it is the for sale sites, for rent and even services where many users have found themselves victims of crimes that are not related to fucking in the least.  Remember the Craigslist Killer?  Irony that was a fitting death.  Good times.

Why I respect the idea that online dating should be permitted but in reality you need full ID's, photos and vetting.   Not.going.to.happen.  Well you are going to have to find your one night stands the old-fashioned way - at bars or at golf courses where porn stars are.




Sexual freedom is at risk from these damning new bills passed by Congress

Craigslist closed its personal ads due to Congress’s patriarchal, homophobic bid to control sex workers. It won’t stop there

Steven W Thrasher
Guardian UK
Thu 29 Mar 2018

Craigslist shut down its personals section entirely last week. This left me shaken – for what it portends about my own sexual history with Craiglist’s “M4M” personals, about the safety of sex workers, and about the growing surveillance of sexual freedoms in the US.

The reason for the shutdown? The US Congress had just passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta) and Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (Sesta) bills. Donald Trump seems likely to sign these anti-sex bills into law, even as the nation hears all about him allegedly getting spanked by adult film star Stormy Daniels.

As Craigslist explained on its site, Fosta seeks “to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully”. If any sex work happens on their site, Craigslist itself could be sued.

“We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking Craigslist personals offline,” the ever simple internet billboard wrote. “Hopefully we can bring them back some day. To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through Craigslist, we wish you every happiness!”

If you think none of this applies to you because you’re not queer or into kink or sex work, think again

That kind sentiment hit me hard. One frigid February night in 2007 – a few weeks after my mother had died, deep in the darkest winter of my life – I responded to a Craigslist ad in the “men seeking men” category. We met that night and had sex.

Afterwards, we talked a bit in that lovely post-orgasmic way gay men sometimes do, in that space of connection that Craigslist M4M has made possible for me to meet other gay men in the far reaches of the globe. He was a smart and delightful man. We didn’t live in the same city, but later when we did, we dated for several years. Except in very rare instances, shame and embarrassment kept me from ever telling anyone that I’d met this boyfriend in this way. But he became one of the great loves of my life and is still a dear friend.

It’s sad that no one else will get to meet their boyfriends or missed connections on Craigslist any more, but my sadness isn’t only about the loss of “respectable” connections. I mourn all the connections people had through Craigslist that were meaningful for them, including sex work.

Craiglist M4M was fundamental to exploring my budding sexuality, and I hooked up with guys through it in my 20s. I don’t have the kind of face or body that generated much interest on Match.com when I was in my 20s, and I still don’t have the right looks to generate any interest on Grindr or Tindr.

But sometimes, in the flirting exchange of emails generated by Craiglist ads, I found men to explore with – sometimes sexually, sometimes not. It’s a tragedy other people won’t have the freedom to explore as I did in this way.

But stymying sexual acts like mine wasn’t even the primary intent of Sesta or Fosta. The major purpose of these bills is to conflate coerced sex tracking with willing sex work, as well as to better punish anyone who willingly engages in sex work (and any website that facilitates it). This is a particular economic assault on people who are queer, trans and/or formerly incarcerated who have been locked out of other forms of earning income.

As senior reporter at In Justice Today, Melissa Gira Grant has been writing for some time, these bills are opposed by survivors of sex trafficking and will put the lives of sex workers ever more at risk. The answer now is to make sex work legal and to facilitate ways it can be done more safely, not to drive it more underground.

More people should care about sex workers’ rights. But if you think none of this applies to you because you’re not queer or into kink or sex work, think again: the US Congress wants to further regulate sex by way of the internet, and most people’s modern sex lives interact with the internet.

Craigslist shut down its entire personal section because of the overreaching congressional desire to control sex work. And there’s no reason Congress couldn’t similarly intimidate Tindr or Grindr to remove you or shut down entirely as it has Craigslist – and then where would you be?

There has been worry that the #MeToo movement could lead to a sex panic. But the real sex panic is not due to feminism run amok, but due to the patriarchal, homophobic, transantagonistic, theocratic desire of the US Congress to control sex workers – and, by extension, to smother the sexual desires of any of us who don’t want to conform to their puritanical ways.

Freebook



I have no Social Media presence unless you count Twitter which is under the pseudonym I write with. I write under such for personal protection as I write about many issues I encounter in my daily life and I feel that a veneer of privacy is essential for my own protection. I have no Facebook page nor want one and never felt compelled to put myself out there for many reasons and today the I told you so has definitely been a plus when it comes to that.

I am in the middle of reading Brotopia and the one individual that the author sings praises about is Sheryl Sandberg.  I don't know Ms. Sandberg and I can only comment on her book which I found trite and useless but to some they use it as a Bible and good for them.  Her history in tech is well documented and it was her concept of AdWords that led Google to be profitable and why you are annoyed by them every time you sign on with oddly every single thing you have ever looked at or perused online.  Google has that right as you signed off of it when you signed up for Email through their server or use the search engine to peruse that Golf catalog for a gift for your dad.  The same goes with Blogger or any other connected use that they have which you access FREE.  Your data is your price you pay to use something another provides free.  No such thing as a free lunch they say.

But in this current hysteria over the Cambridge Analytica saga and Facebook there is one person invisible in the midst of this - Sheryl Sandberg. Now the "genius" Mark Zuckerberg denies the truth  but has agreed to testify before Congress,  and he sent an agent to England to do the same and yet Sheryl is leaning out and I have to wonder why given her import in the previous Administration.  Hmm that may be why?

And Apple has come out against the pay for play model which given Apple's own role in the dynamic I find interesting. But Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs and frankly that is something that I appreciate.

But the Valley is the current industry that matters in America. It is a cyclical process.  The other titan of said industry, Jeff Bezos, is following in a long tradition of monopoly and by that I don't mean the game.  The Nation did an amazing issue dedicated the problems of large consolidations of industry and reality how it affects us as both customers and taxpayers.  Funny how the Douchebag-in-Chief is now firing tweets in The Bezos direction but it is highly unlikely anyone is willing to resolve this issue as we know from history they are the true powers behind the throne and co-dependency proves that in this corporations are people too!

What is interesting is that the entire bullcrap around profiling and metrics that by your "likes" and such they have a group of supposed Psychologists able to discern a personality profile and in turn target ads and articles is just more neuro quackery.  But if you believe a Medium or a Tarot Card reader what is the diff.  I love Astrology too! But it does do a pretty good gage of a persons immediate characteristics and qualities as that is what generalizing, stereotyping and over analyzing someone does.  They just are able to do it en mass.  And this is the same crap that they are doing to profile and determine someone's history on crime and their likelihood of doing so again.  And that too has been questioned as it is largely racist in outcome.  Programmers put their own bias, knowledge and familiarity into the code - data in - data out.   

The reality behind Cambridge Analytics and the Palantir are ways to generate money. And while Britain heard from the pink haired whistle blower the real names behind the company, the Mercer Family of Breitbart and Banning fame and Peter Thiel of the angry gay man who destroyed Gawker and metaphorically blew Trump are the ones who again fall to the wayside.  Money pays but those who talk are an entirely different animal.  And the reality is that we are all getting something free from them and in turn making them wealthy.  Free email, free shipping, free texts but you pay in ways that are beyond the pale.  Getting something for nothing is sometimes worth what you pay for.

Spy Contractor’s Idea Helped Cambridge Analytica Harvest Facebook Data

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MATTHEW ROSENBERG
THE NEW YORK TIMES  MARCH 27, 2018

As a start-up called Cambridge Analytica sought to harvest the Facebook data of tens of millions of Americans in summer 2014, the company received help from at least one employee at Palantir Technologies, a top Silicon Valley contractor to American spy agencies and the Pentagon.

It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

Cambridge ultimately took a similar approach. By early summer, the company found a university researcher to harvest data using a personality questionnaire and Facebook app. The researcher scraped private data from over 50 million Facebook users — and Cambridge Analytica went into business selling so-called psychometric profiles of American voters, setting itself on a collision course with regulators and lawmakers in the United States and Britain.

The revelations pulled Palantir — co-founded by the wealthy libertarian Peter Thiel — into the furor surrounding Cambridge, which improperly obtained Facebook data to build analytical tools it deployed on behalf of Donald J. Trump and other Republican candidates in 2016. Mr. Thiel, a supporter of President Trump, serves on the board at Facebook.

“There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,” said Christopher Wylie, a data expert and Cambridge Analytica co-founder, in testimony before British lawmakers on Tuesday.

Cambridge Analytica has found itself confronting a deepening crisis since reports about the firm’s data harvesting were published this month in The New York Times, The Observer of London and The
The connections between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica were thrust into the spotlight by Mr. Wylie’s testimony on Tuesday. Both companies are linked to tech-driven billionaires who backed Mr. Trump’s campaign: Cambridge is chiefly owned by Robert Mercer, the computer scientist and hedge fund magnate, while Palantir was co-founded in 2003 by Mr. Thiel, who was an initial investor in Facebook.

The Palantir employee, Alfredas Chmieliauskas, works on business development for the company, according to his LinkedIn page. In an initial statement, Palantir said it had “never had a relationship with Cambridge Analytica, nor have we ever worked on any Cambridge Analytica data.” Later on Tuesday, Palantir revised its account, saying that Mr. Chmieliauskas was not acting on the company’s behalf when he advised Mr. Wylie on the Facebook data.

“We learned today that an employee, in 2013-2014, engaged in an entirely personal capacity with people associated with Cambridge Analytica,” the company said. “We are looking into this and will take the appropriate action.”

The company said it was continuing to investigate but knew of no other employees who took part in the effort. Mr. Wylie told lawmakers that multiple Palantir employees played a role.

Documents and interviews indicate that starting in 2013, Mr. Chmieliauskas began corresponding with Mr. Wylie and a colleague from his Gmail account. At the time, Mr. Wylie and the colleague worked for the British defense and intelligence contractor SCL Group, which formed Cambridge Analytica with Mr. Mercer the next year. The three shared Google documents to brainstorm ideas about using big data to create sophisticated behavioral profiles, a product code-named “Big Daddy.”

A former intern at SCL — Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of Eric Schmidt, then Google’s executive chairman — urged the company to link up with Palantir, according to Mr. Wylie’s testimony and a June 2013 email viewed by The Times.

“Ever come across Palantir. Amusingly Eric Schmidt’s daughter was an intern with us and is trying to push us towards them?” one SCL employee wrote to a colleague in the email.

Ms. Schmidt did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesman for Cambridge Analytica.

In early 2013, Alexander Nix, an SCL director who became chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, and a Palantir executive discussed working together on election campaigns.

A Palantir spokeswoman acknowledged that the companies had briefly considered working together but said that Palantir declined a partnership, in part because executives there wanted to steer clear of election work. Emails reviewed by The Times indicate that Mr. Nix and Mr. Chmieliauskas sought to revive talks about a formal partnership through early 2014, but Palantir executives again declined.

In his testimony, Mr. Wylie acknowledged that Palantir and Cambridge Analytica never signed a contract or entered into a formal business relationship. But he said some Palantir employees helped engineer Cambridge’s psychographic models.

“There were Palantir staff who would come into the office and work on the data,” Mr. Wylie told lawmakers. “And we would go and meet with Palantir staff at Palantir.” He did not provide an exact number for the employees or identify them.

Palantir employees were impressed with Cambridge’s backing from Mr. Mercer, one of the world’s richest men, according to messages viewed by The Times. And Cambridge Analytica viewed Palantir’s Silicon Valley ties as a valuable resource for launching and expanding its own business.

In an interview this month with The Times, Mr. Wylie said that Palantir employees were eager to learn more about using Facebook data and psychographics. Those discussions continued through spring 2014, according to Mr. Wylie.

Mr. Wylie said that he and Mr. Nix visited Palantir’s London office on Soho Square. One side was set up like a high-security office, Mr. Wylie said, with separate rooms that could be entered only with particular codes. The other side, he said, was like a tech start-up — “weird inspirational quotes and stuff on the wall and free beer, and there’s a Ping-Pong table.”

Mr. Chmieliauskas continued to communicate with Mr. Wylie’s team in 2014, as the Cambridge employees were locked in protracted negotiations with a researcher at Cambridge University, Michal Kosinski, to obtain Facebook data through an app Mr. Kosinski had built. The data was crucial to efficiently scale up Cambridge’s psychometrics products so they could be used in elections and for corporate clients.

“I had left field idea,” Mr. Chmieliauskas wrote in May 2014. “What about replicating the work of the cambridge prof as a mobile app that connects to facebook?” Reproducing the app, Mr. Chmieliauskas wrote, “could be a valuable leverage negotiating with the guy.”

Those negotiations failed. But Mr. Wylie struck gold with another Cambridge researcher, the Russian-American psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, who built his own personality quiz app for Facebook. Over subsequent months, Dr. Kogan’s work helped Cambridge develop psychological profiles of millions of American voters.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Know thy Neighbor

I am greatly impressed with the students of Parkland and how they are still diligently pursuing their goals of gun laws and of electing those into office that will pursue a similar agenda. All of this while still finishing school and grieving. A lesser one would be in their bed with the covers pulled up and they are the exception frankly as there is nothing wrong with the latter over the former.

These kids are different and they have a long road ahead with many hurdles but that is the advantage of youth and the ability to ignore said hurdles as they are small roadblocks in life when your life is so young.

Today I sit in an English Language Learners class just a floor up from where I was Monday. The Teacher in that class and I had a frank discussion about the schools, the expectations and of course the students who are a part of this high school. I did not have the same discussion as this is a different class, different Teacher and different dynamic. The ELL kids that she started with have been cut by half and in turn those that have joined in or are still a part are either no better or worse with their skill set of language acquisition.

The stereotypes exist and the reality exists that for many they will either make it or not and that is not any different that the reality of what black men face in America either. They are late to the party many of these Immigrants but they will find the road no less filled with potholes, barricades, walls and roadblocks more than most. The insular communities that they create do provide somewhat of an internal wall in which to find work and support and community but the full assimilation and integration in America becomes increasingly more tangential with each passing day.

It became so disturbing to listen to an African Immigrant and a Latino Immigrant verbally spar and abuse each other that I pulled out my Iphone, earbuds and listened to music so loudly my eardrums were thumping and yet it was not enough. I could not take it anymore and went across the hall to have at least the loudest of them removed. For the last 15 minutes it has been quiet. So again what am I to do when the reality hits and I am to be in charge of their security. The irony was we had a Tornado drill and I screamed at the top of my lungs to get the hell out, shut up and move to the first floor of the building (We we on floor 2 and the written instructions were totally different than the ones we were receiving over the intercom which again proves that they have not a fucking clue how to manage any of it).  So as they left  I promptly shut the door, turned the lights off and stayed in the room relieved  and sad that they had to return. When they did they were so off the charts with behavior I got my coat, my purse, walked to security and said I am leaving if I don't get help.  One kid yelled as he was being removed yelled, "She hates me." Kid in normal times I would have said no you only annoy me but I said nothing and realized he was right I do.  I truly have nothing good to say or offer on any of these troubled disturbed children,

Then I read the below editorial and thought there is a lot here that proves once again how mishandled the Cruz kid was for years.  What was amazing that this little girl agreed to tutor him but why she was is again bizarre.  Had they kept an accurate record of his behavior that went with him throughout every school they would know his history and those children with whom he had direct encounters with that put both at risk.  No kid needs to go to jail and yes that would be the knee jerk reaction once the assault occurred with the apple, no he needed detention, restriction of access, observation and of course consistent expectations that enable everyone to know what is what when it comes to kids and their needs.   Schools that are too big, districts that like Nashville enable parents to transfer a kid from school to school without recourse and the history of his or her behavior is buried. I saw this in Seattle with two boys who had history of sexual abuse and assaults and in turn they went on to another school and without any record committed the same again.  One Teacher was fired as a result and had to sue to get her job back as his parent never mentioned to her any of her son's issues prior to their leaving on a cross country field trip.   Parents want to protect kids but in reality they mean their own.

Kids do not need to go to jail and Nicholas Cruz had he been tagged after that assault, given counseling, a behavior contract and consistent expectations he may not have gotten a gun.  But he chose to and could and made his decision.   Had he gone down the road to the other school, the largely Spanish speaking one I wonder if any of this would have resulted and I think not.  Stoneman Douglas is a high achieving school, its diversity is evident but when you see the largest majority of kids who are the front line speakers of this movement they are white and come from stable established homes.  The sole girl who has a Latin surname and considers herself bisexual is the exception and not surprising the most vocal and confident as she is likely an anomaly in her class.  Being different in high school is not always a good thing and she is taking some heat from the trolls as a result.

I understand this young girls anger and rage that walk up and sit down is insufficient but it is part of the movement as it should be from all ends of the spectrum of needs we need to do to ensure community building.  I am afraid and I walk in schools everyday. No one should feel that way and this is one way to eliminate it by knowing your community.



I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends.

The New York Time
Opinion
By Isabelle Robinson
March 27, 2018


PARKLAND, Fla. — My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends, most likely discussing One Direction or Ed Sheeran, when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking. I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.

The apple that he had thrown at my back rolled slowly along the tiled floor. A cafeteria aide rushed over to ask me if I was O.K. I don’t remember if Mr. Cruz was confronted over his actions, but in my 12-year-old naïveté, I trusted that the adults around me would take care of the situation.

Five years later, hiding in a dark closet inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I would discover just how wrong I was.

I am not writing this piece to malign Nikolas Cruz any more than he already has been. I have faith that history will condemn him for his crimes. I am writing this because of the disturbing number of comments I’ve read that go something like this: Maybe if Mr. Cruz’s classmates and peers had been a little nicer to him, the shooting at Stoneman Douglas would never have occurred.

This deeply dangerous sentiment, expressed under the #WalkUpNotOut hashtag, implies that acts of school violence can be prevented if students befriend disturbed and potentially dangerous classmates. The idea that we are to blame, even implicitly, for the murders of our friends and teachers is a slap in the face to all Stoneman Douglas victims and survivors.

A year after I was assaulted by Mr. Cruz, I was assigned to tutor him through my school’s peer counseling program. Being a peer counselor was the first real responsibility I had ever had, my first glimpse of adulthood, and I took it very seriously.

Despite my discomfort, I sat down with him, alone. I was forced to endure his cursing me out and ogling my chest until the hourlong session ended. When I was done, I felt a surge of pride for having organized his binder and helped him with his homework.

Looking back, I am horrified. I now understand that I was left, unassisted, with a student who had a known history of rage and brutality.

Like many pre-teenage and teenage girls, I possessed — and still, to an extent, possess — a strong desire to please. I strive to win the praise of the adults in my life and long to be seen as mature beyond my years. I would have done almost anything to win the approval of my teachers.


This is not to say that children should reject their more socially awkward or isolated peers — not at all. As a former peer counselor and current teacher’s assistant, I strongly believe in and have seen the benefits of reaching out to those who need kindness most.

But students should not be expected to cure the ills of our genuinely troubled classmates, or even our friends, because we first and foremost go to school to learn. The implication that Mr. Cruz’s mental health problems could have been solved if only he had been loved more by his fellow students is both a gross misunderstanding of how these diseases work and a dangerous suggestion that puts children on the front line.

It is not the obligation of children to befriend classmates who have demonstrated aggressive, unpredictable or violent tendencies. It is the responsibility of the school administration and guidance department to seek out those students and get them the help that they need, even if it is extremely specialized attention that cannot be provided at the same institution.

No amount of kindness or compassion alone would have changed the person that Nikolas Cruz is and was, or the horrendous actions he perpetrated. That is a weak excuse for the failures of our school system, our government and our gun laws.

My little sister is now the age that I was when I was left alone with Mr. Cruz, anxious and defenseless. The thought of her being put in the same situation that I was fills me with rage. I hope that she will never know the fear that I have become so accustomed to in the past month: The slightest unexpected sound makes my throat constrict and my neck hairs curl. I beg her to trust her gut whenever she feels unsafe. And I demand that the adults in her life protect her.

Waste Not, Want Not

A phrase used as a way to advise someone not to waste anything, because they might need it in the future and that applies in the case of medical care.

The exploitation and opportunity wasted regarding how deeply flawed our medical system is not wasted.   Over the last few days CBS investigated a group buying up failing rural hospitals and in turn billing tests to outside labs which they also owned or had investment interest in and were receiving reimbursements at over 100% payback on claims.  Gosh think you get refused or have a significant deductible before you can get covered, these guys had it down.

Then we have the Surgeons and others pushing on patients unnecessary tests and treatments under the idea that it was to prevent them from malpractice litigation.  Meanwhile filing and actually doing a medical malpractice suit across the country has become literally impossible so that is another one we can call BS on.  The reality is that in the pay for play deals that are often established and in turn hospital for profit management demands this as a means to generate funds.  As who wants to be a failing hospital?

This comes from ProPublica one of the few sites of investigative journalism left in the U.S. and they dedicate a reporter to the medical industrial complex to cover how we are paying more for medical care and getting less results than any other industrialized nation.  

This study comes from my former home state and I sued a Hospital and their Physicians on my own with regards to neglect of care and abuse.  The University of Washington and their role at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle is a dump, largely funded by being the number one Trauma Center for several states and in turn the city requiring everyone to go to one place in which to be exploited and dumped if poor.  They are a shithole with a history of shit.  

It is also the home of Swedish Medical Centers that had a neurosurgeon that was so dangerous the staff demanded action and asked the largely ineffectual Medical Board of the State to rescind his license to practice.  Seattle is great if you don't get sick.




Unnecessary Medical Care Is More Common Than You Think

A study in Washington state found that in a single year more than 600,000 patients underwent treatment they didn’t need, at an estimated cost of $282 million. “Do no harm” should include the cost of care, too, the report author says.

by Marshall Allen Feb. 1,2018
ProPublica
Wasted Medicine
Squandered Health Care Dollars

This story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog.

It’s one of the intractable financial boondoggles of the U.S. health care system: Lots and lots of patients get lots and lots of tests and procedures that they don’t need.

Women still get annual cervical cancer testing even when it’s recommended every three to five years for most women. Healthy patients are subjected to slates of unnecessary lab work before elective procedures. Doctors routinely order annual electrocardiograms and other heart tests for people who don’t need them.

That all adds up to a substantial expense that helps drive up the cost of care for all of us. Just how much, though, is seldom tallied. So, the Washington Health Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to making care safer and more affordable, decided to find out.

The group scoured the insurance claims from 1.3 million patients in Washington state who received one of 47 tests or services that medical experts have flagged as overused or unnecessary. What they found should cause both doctors and their patients to rethink that next referral. In a single year:

More than 600,000 patients underwent a treatment they didn’t need, treatments that collectively cost an estimated $282 million.

More than a third of the money spent on the 47 tests or services went to unnecessary care.

Three of four annual cervical cancer screenings were performed on women who had adequate prior screenings — at a cost of $19 million.

About 85 percent of the lab tests to prep healthy patients for low-risk surgery were unnecessary — squandering about $86 million.

Needless annual heart tests on low-risk patients consumed $40 million.

Susie Dade, deputy director of the alliance and primary author of the report released Thursday, said almost half the care examined was wasteful. Much of it comprised the sort of low-cost, ubiquitous tests and treatments that don’t garner a second look. But “little things add up,” she said. “It’s easy for a single doctor and patient to say, ‘Why not do this test? What difference does it make?’”

An epidemic of unnecessary treatment is wasting billions of health care dollars a year. Patients and taxpayers are paying for it.

ProPublica has spent the past year examining how the American health care system squanders money — often in ways that are overlooked by providers and patients alike. The waste is widespread — estimated at $765 billion a year by the National Academy of Medicine, about a fourth of all the money spent each year on health care.

The waste contributes to health care costs that have outpaced inflation for decades, making patients and employers desperate for relief. This week Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan rattled the industry by pledging to create their own venture to lower their health care costs.

Wasted spending isn’t hard to find once researchers — and reporters — look for it. An analysis in Virginia identified $586 million in wasted spending in a single year. Minnesota looked at fewer treatments and found about $55 million in unnecessary spending.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor at The Dartmouth Institute who writes books about overuse, said the findings come back to “Economics 101.” The medical system is still dominated by a payment system that pays providers for doing tests and procedures. “Incentives matter,” Welch said. “As long as people are paid more to do more they will tend to do too much.”

Dade said the medical community’s pledge to “Do no harm” should also cover saddling patients with medical bills they can’t pay. “Doing things that are unnecessary and then sending patients big bills is financial harm,” she said.

Officials from Washington’s hospital and medical associations didn’t quibble with the alliance’s findings, calling them an important step in reducing the money wasted by the medical system. But they said patients bear some responsibility for wasteful treatment. Patients often insist that a medical provider “do something,” like write a prescription or perform a test. That mindset has contributed to problems like the overuse of antibiotics — one of the items examined in the study.

And, the report may help change assumptions made by providers and patients that lead to unnecessary care, said Jennifer Graves, vice president for patient safety at the Washington State Hospital Association. Often a prescription or technology isn’t going to provide a simple cure, Graves said. “Watching and waiting” might be a better approach, she said.

To identify waste, the alliance study ran commercial insurance claims through a software tool called the Milliman MedInsight Health Waste Calculator. The services were provided during a one-year period starting in mid-2015. The claims were for tests and treatments identified as frequently overused by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign. The tool categorized the services one of three ways: necessary, likely wasteful or wasteful.

The report’s “call to action” said overuse must become a focus of “honest discussions” about the value of health care. It also said the system needs to transition from paying for the volume of services to paying for the value of what’s provided.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Jesus Spares



Apparently molesters, adulterors and rapists are spared Jesus wrath, good to know.

Here in Nashville every day is another special day of crazy.
Harwell calls for Rep. David Byrd to resign ahead of report alleging sexual misconduct
Joel Ebert, USA TODAY NETWORK - March 27, 2018

House Speaker Beth Harwell is calling for yet another Republican lawmaker to resign as he faces allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

On Tuesday, Harwell called for Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, to resign ahead of a WSMV story that is set to feature three women accusing the lawmaker of inappropriate sexual conduct decades ago.

Although the accusations against him are years old, Byrd is the third Tennessee lawmaker to face allegations of sexual misdeeds in as many years.

While the full story is scheduled to air Tuesday evening, WSMV reported during a 4 p.m. preview that the women were teenagers on Byrd’s basketball team when the alleged misconduct happened more than 30 years ago.

More: Tennessee lawmakers tout bill to curb sexual harassment in music industry

Lawsuit: Woman says Nashville nonprofit leader 'masturbated in front of her'

The allegations date back to when Byrd served as head coach of the Wayne County High School women’s basketball team, the Lady Cats.

In a statement, Harwell's spokeswoman, Kara Owen, said, "Speaker Harwell believes David Byrd should step down. The allegations are not related to the legislature."

Byrd is expected to release a statement addressing the allegations.

Byrd, who graduated from the school in 1975 and coached there for 24 years, also spent eight years as the school’s principal.

"They say what he did scarred them for decades," said reporter Alanna Autler, who began investigating the allegations three months ago.

WSMV, which hasn't yet specified the women's allegations against Byrd, reported that one of the women decided to call Byrd last month, during which phone call he apologized to her for what occurred.

The channel, which has a recording of the phone call, reported that Byrd backed out of an interview they had scheduled with him.

As of Tuesday, Byrd still signaling interest in re-election

The 60-year-old lawmaker — frequently referred to as “Coach” — first ran for office in 2014, when he narrowly defeated Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah.

He was unopposed in the 2016 primary and general election. His district includes Hardin, Lewis and Wayne counties and portions of Lawrence County.

As of Tuesday, Byrd was the only person to create a campaign account to run for District 71 in the upcoming primary election — signaling his interest in seeking re-election.

This year, Byrd has made headlines for sponsoring a bill that would allow a select number of teachers to carry guns on campuses across the state.

The women's claims against Byrd make him the third lawmaker in three years to face allegations of sexual misconduct.

In 2016, the House expelled Jeremy Durham after a Tennessean investigation prompted an attorney general report that found the Williamson County Republican had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with at least 22 women.

In 2017, Mark Lovell, a West Tennesee Republican, resigned after being accused of inappropriately touching a woman. A House committee found he violated the legislature’s sexual harassment policy.

It is not immediately clear if there will be an investigation into the allegations against Byrd.

In her statement, Harwell did not call for an investigation.

To combat sexual harassment, earlier this year House members were required to participate in an in-person training, while their Senate counterparts watched an online video.

Byrd is married, has two children, one grandchild and one great-grandchild, according to his legislative website.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University and a master’s degree from Tennessee State University.
Note that this fucker was in schools as this should shock me but that would be no, not really. What would shock me is a day where I don't hear about an adult authority figure fucking some kid.  But he is not the only one - Jesus take the wheel.

Then we have the biggest lie that Nashville has been shoving down the throats of the residents more than a Teacher or Preacher here does his dick.

Nashville's population growth drops below 100 people a day
Mike Reicher, USA TODAY NETWORK – March 26, 2018 |

For the fist time since 2011, Nashville's growth has slowed.

The population of the metro area grew by an average of 94 people a day from 2016 to July 2017, according to Census estimates — dropping below the famed "100 people a day" marker synonymous with Nashville's boom.

This milestone is another sign that Nashville's expansion may be cooling. Residential real estate prices have moderated, a record-setting run of monthly tourism growth came to an end in 2016, and the city is tightening its belt. Still, the area enjoys record-low unemployment and a diverse, thriving economy.

In each of the six previous years, the region steadily ratcheted up its population growth — from a 1.3 percent increase in 2011 to 2.2 percent in 2016. Then, the expansion eased to 1.8 percent in 2017.

The newly-released Census data are estimates as of July 1 each year. They account for migration, deaths and births. Nashville's metro area includes Davidson and surrounding counties — from Rutherford southeast, to Hickman, Robertson and Macon. It does not include Montgomery County.

In 2017, the metro area had 1,903,045 residents, up from 1,868,855 in 2016, or 34,190 more people in a year.

Out of the nation's largest metropolitan areas Nashville had the 10th-fastest growth. There are 53 metro areas with a population of 1 million or more. Austin, Texas, with a 2.7 percent increase, had the fastest growth in 2017, followed by Raleigh, N.C., and Orlando.

Again this odd number is cited as something specific to Nashville and I have repeatedly said it is not possible as the city could not handle that kind of influx and where are they?  They live outside of Nashville and dominate the discussion of traffic as they commute to the "city" to work, live no, work yes.  So the transit feedback is largely due to the reality that it does not address that nor have any plans specified to include those areas that are the ones most affected by growth.  The Slattern neglected by intent or by accident to include the Mayors in the most populated regions that line I-24 and I-65 whom would be most willing or able to discuss their role in fixing this chronic problem. Well there are only so many hours in the day and you got to fuck your bodyguard in the cemetery, bitch please!

The reality is that Nashville has tried to make significant changes and they are circumvented by the Legislature to nip any of that in the bud such as decriminalizing marijuana, plastic bags, minimum wage rises, sanctuary city or anything progressive and liberal.

The transit bill is one such example of the division that exists in the City. The rich really don't want it but the poor are convinced by the rich that they don't want it either.  It is a bizarre co-dependence that is reflected in the increased violence and culture of a city in conflict. 

The city that Nashville aspires to be is unclear but Seattle seems to be their one they have focused in their rear view mirror. Well never.going.to.happen. The education factor alone is one reason, the other is the bullshit laws and right wing agenda that holds this region back.  Seattle now is one of the top five cities/regions in the nation that are growing at a rapid clip.  And as I have written before the exodus from San Francisco is largely a factor in that as Seattle always had that city in the rear view mirror.

Nashville is a tier B city and should look to Madison, Portland and other cites of comparable size as a way to understand the necessary infrastructure and social demands that these cities have that Nashville fails to meet.   They will always have the Jesus factor and the reality is that I am afraid that may be the single reason this will never truly be an "it" city and I cannot wait to leave "it."  Spare me Jesus, just take the moving van's wheel.  







Gun Crazy



While America struggles with the reality of gun violence with regards to mass shootings its the small stuff stupid regarding guns that needs to be addressed.

The morons keep citing the Second Amendment.  Yes that was written at a time when a country needed to have a citizen armed in which to form an army after establishing a new Country and secured by way of a War.   The idea of independence and that security that comes from a nascent country  led them to come up with the plant which ensured some legal means in which to mobilize should another country try to threaten its existence, say Spain for one.  And without the established resources in which to fund, organize and establish a state organized military against that of a country with the history of said army and the resources to mobilize and utilize one was the reasoning behind said amendment.

The reality today is we have State Police, City Police, County Sheriffs, full Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and of course National Guard which we can rally at any time should another country attempt to invade our shores or our current Government go insane and to enact some type of repressive act against the citizenry of the United States.  And we know for a fact that we don't need any guns to do that anymore thanks to the cyber wars that do as much damage without bloodshed so who really needs guns?

No one does and if you hunt you need to not you sick fuck.  Hunting down and killing animals is a sick blood sport and frankly has no place in modern society.

But if they come for one Amendment will that mean they come for others.  Yes and I can see that free speech is equally traumatizing but we heal faster and with less damage so I would be willing to fight for that one, not just with guns.

I have said and will say again to my Doctor unless there is any medical necessity for me to remain in Nashville after next year she better provide a compelling reason for me to stay beyond that. As of May my last appointment for my reconstruction is complete.  I have committed to a year for follow up and observation to ensure all the parts are functioning and I am complying with what I need to do to be healthy.   At that point I can assess if further treatment is needed and do I actually need a Surgeon with the skills that Vega provides to finish the work or can I find someone equally capable but I am sure less adorable to complete the work.  At that point I plan to come home and pack my shit and close out my apartment and go.

I am selling everything prior to that and mostly through Consignment as no one in their right mind would have a moving sale as that is an invite to be robbed here.   There is so much petty ass yet still violent crime here that it boggles the mind for a city this size.  The youth here are batshit and in my discussion with another Teacher yesterday she and I spoke about the Students this year and she thinks that they are by far more violent and dangerous she has seen in her 20 years of teaching.  She too was like me a professional who became a Teacher later in life and has a perspective that enables her to realize what it means to be successful and productive in the workplace and how the changes in social and economics have affected the city and the schools.  She has had enough and is leaving Nashville schools and the city; her son is a Teacher here and her Significant Other runs a business here  but she cannot live and continue to work in schools here that drain her on a daily basis and I agree wholeheartedly.   And this is from someone who was born and raised here.  Enough said.  

Everyday there is some "incident" at one school after another.  Her school has again an issue with a Teacher and Student relationship that is crossing boundaries and she can do nothing given their history with regards to this issue.  But then I reassured her this is not just at her school. And she knew as it was at her son's school as well.  Add to this the increased violent and aggressive behavior exhibited by students of which she again can do nothing thanks to the SEL plan that is now the new go to. The very plan that the staff is being laid off from due to a 7.5 million dollar shortfall.  A shortfall due to 500 hundred drop in enrollment.  A per cap of funding that is average $2,800 a student so do the math.  Those are some expensive kids or there is more to the story. The best part of this was this Teacher was an Accountant for ten years prior to becoming a Teacher and even doing the math in her head this did not add up.  Gosh really!?

 At her school recently  a student tried to immolate another student by filling a cap with perfume and then lighting it afire and throwing it on the other student.  This is the same school where a student during a course of a robbery was accidentally shot and killed by his accomplice, another student. I had already spoken to one Teacher who felt compelled to go to the funeral despite the fact that she knew him and had real problems with him. The Teacher today confirmed that assessment and agreed but she said to take a valuable half day off to attend a funeral for a student she disliked made her feel hypocritical.  I understood and said that this was a young new Teacher give her time and she will become immune.

That led us to the discussion about guns and violence and the protocol about how we are to save life's and secure the students.   We both shook our heads and I pointed to her exit door and said I would walk out that door and start running.  No sorry I cannot and will not go to any lengths to save anyone here as they would not for me.  Quid pro quo and Golden Rule means nothing here.

And the district with our bizarre Superintendent who has Social Emotional Learning as one his priorities has already announced layoffs and from where?  Not his cabinet of social emotional support staff but of the ones serving the schools in said SEL department.  So much for that priority.  Well it was that or paper and they already have that on life support.  And given our problem with water they may end up having to fix that lead issue since the man trying to not fix it just quit when he got caught covering up his lies.

Yes Nashville is crazy.  Deadly crazy.

Youth violence task force makes dozens of arrests
Posted: Mar 26, 2018 WSMV

Metro Police's Juvenile Crime Task Force has seized firearms and recovered stolen cars while arrested almost 100 people.

"We have an issue right now with these young teenagers committing very violent crime and this police department is not going to put up with it," said Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron on Feb. 15, the same day Chief Steve Anderson announced a task force designed to combat youth violence in Nashville.

A week later News4 told you about police arresting a 16-year-old accused of pistol-whipping a hair stylist as she took out the trash and a 12-year-old charged with carjacking a mom at gunpoint as she waited for her daughter to get out of ballet.

"There's no denying it's a problem, and it's scary because they seem to be so young," said one Nashville resident.

It's now been a month and a half and it appears police are sticking to their guns.

So far, the juvenile crime task force has seized 29 guns, recovered eight stolen or carjacked cars, arrested 60 adults and 37 teens, among them 19-year-old Rondell Tyson, who was charged not once, but twice in just a few weeks time for allegedly having drugs, a stolen gun and a stolen car.

They have also arrested three teens ages 17, 14, and 13.

Police said they were going around bumping into people's cars then robbing them at gunpoint.

In one case they shot a Nashville musician.

Investigators are still looking for two other teens who they think may be involved.

"My hope would be if anybody in the area saw anything that they would let the police know," said the victim's mother.

Police said you never know how many lives you may have saved when you take a gun out of the hands of a teenager carrying it on the street.

If you know of a child with a gun, police said, give them a call.

The task force is made up of 16 officers, four sergeants and one lieutenant.




Monday, March 26, 2018

The Weather Report



Well I realized this weekend I have turned into my Mother and Father who adored salacious gossip, speculation and reading the varying tabloids that sat on our coffee table with the other esteemed magazines and journals that were also must reads in our home.   My father digested all reading materials and my mother perused more and was more into photos versus words as those were to say the least eye catching.  I suspect today both would take high amusement over the current state of the Idiot-in-Chief, Donald Trump.

The weather report this weekend was high on storms with a chill due to the 60 Minutes interview with the adult film actress whom the IIC had a ONE NIGHT STAND with years ago and was paid to be silenced by one of the many Trump lackeys who was stupid enough to take our a second mortgage on his home to fund say pay off.  That 130K was considered a campaign donation and that is the real issue as it violated campaign finance laws and moron laws as this is dude is an "Attorney" and should be able to read law.  Law? What's that said most Attorney's just let me talk around it!

So like all gossip mongers I tuned into 60 Minutes to watch Anderson Cooper weather the Storm and I was duly unimpressed.  I had already read an odd article in The New York Times that was almost akin to the one they did on the White Supremacist a few months ago.  This one however was in the Style section which portrayed her as intelligent, ambitious and highly focused.  Well to fuck on camera and make it look real is hard! I saw it in Harry Met Sally and same diff.

After realizing that my beloved New York Times has lost its collective marbles of late in an desperate attempt to generate readers I actually considered condensing my subscription to weekends only.. then I realized no its the weekend editions that suck the life force out me much like Stormy Daniels does.

What a fucking hot mess of a joke that interview was. The real revelation and real affair was Cooper's interview the former Playboy bunny who did have an AFFAIR with the Trump.  Even she questioned some of the aspects of Stormy Daniels story regarding where the fucking took place and that was cleared up at least in the interview.  I needed to know the details people which well I already knew from the earlier Wall Street Journal which included shark week and other salacious details that Cooper did not bother to go into as clearly he did not believe a word she said. 

Some of the more bizarre elements was her claims of threats and her denial of this being a pitch for money.  Funny in Trumps encounter with the Bunny she was offered money after fucking  him which she refused.  The Storm did not mention any money offer nor did she have any other sexual encounters with Trump other than what we have been led to believe was an invite to the Trump lair for an attempt to get spanked again or whatever he is into.    Then suddenly out of the blue  her attempt to sell this story to the tabs was suddenly circumvented by the payoff.  Meanwhile 17 other women had filed lawsuits, the Access Hollywood tape was out there and pretty much it was "old" news about Trump and his sexual idiocy.   So why the secrecy? It only led to the belief that there was more behind the story than an old man fucking a professional whore.

The timing of this was odd and in turn another smokescreen to blow over what exactly? Trump's infidelity or his inability to run a legal professional campaign.   I go with the latter and that only seems to lead to more trails that when a wind blows it picks up a lot of shit and this storm is not over when it comes to the campaign and his involvement with Russia.

As the winds calmed this weekend after the Storm hit the reality is we have a sick old fuck in office.  The man is a weird pervert or just a man and seems to compare professional whores to his Daughter.  All I could think of was Chris Rock and his aspiring goal to keep the kid off the pole.  Donald Trump seems to think otherwise.  Do men actually do this while looking for women to fuck?  Wow that is some sick shit.   But no I do not think that Trump molested or harmed his daughter and those who allege such shit need to realize that this is now the proverbial line in the sand.  Ivanka is complicit in the Grifting of America by the Trump familia but she does have children and a Mother who would not be afraid to say something at this point.  Maybe the Thugs threatened her and Jared too?

Trump is a crazy motherfucker and talking about the current President of the United States fucking a porn star is akin to children finding out that their parents still fuck.   I often think if the walls of the White House could talk what shit would they say.   I wonder if Anderson Cooper could hire one of the Real Housewives Mediums to read the energy in the Lincoln Bedroom?  Yowza!

The best article I read this week was the interview with the leader of the Gay Mafia, Barry Diller.  I loved that they avoided that question about him being gay and married to a woman but hey the Times they are a changing.  But his observations about Trump were the most interesting as he discusses how that during their encounter all Trump did was rave to Diller about Diller.  That was a contrary picture of what we have learned about Trump with the professional Whore and the Bunny (a great movie title I think) where he talks incessantly about himself.  It shows how Trump has no ability to converse with people and very much discriminates and in turn is needy regardless.    It explains why he seemingly switches positions given on whom he is speaking with.  In other words a moron with no clear concept, thoughts, values or beliefs.  Its all smoke, mirrors and ass kissing.  Or spanking.

Meanwhile in America we are getting fucked and getting the bill that could lead us to war, annihilation and disaster which we have not seen in over a half a century.   For morons who are educated in American schools that is 50 years.  There is nothing I can say that it is the kids in Parkland who may save us.  Yes these kids getting people registered to vote, to inspire, to activate, to participate in the political spectrum is what we need.  I have said repeatedly that a Politician given 2000 votes or a check for 2000 dollars will take  the votes as that is what guarantees a win.  So are you with them or against them?  The storm is coming.



















Sunday, March 25, 2018

Shoot, I missed it!

I have been virulently anti-gun for decades.  Columbine deeply affected me as a Teacher, I read the book on the subject to better understand what truly transpired on that horrendous day and I recall the day of Sandy Hook I was at a "better" high school in Seattle with the class of hell that I walked out the door before my day was "technically" over and realized that this when Toto, we were not in Kansas anymore.

Since that time I cannot recall all the incidents of gun violence - in the mall, in the car, on the street, at the school, at the college, in the house, in the church, at work, at the night club and the movie theater, at a baseball game, at a town hall.   This could be the new Clue with only one weapon and many shooters - almost always white, male and under 30.

I did not go to Nashville's March for Our Lives as I did not go the Women's March nor any other public event in a city I want little or nothing to do with.  The clock is ticking like a time bomb - not that have one should anyone feel compelled to send the Cops to my door, AGAIN (thanks Vanderbilt).  This is called an expression of speech and here in the land of literal and of idiocy the ability to distinguish the two is not possible.

**On that note our School Superintendent when speaking recently about Nashville referred to the people here as crazy, then said that they are always trying to look under his skirt and its like a first date where you have gone from holding hands to aaaargh.  While I agree on the former the latter is perhaps the most absurd metaphor for the recent demands of an audit and explanation of an enrollment drop that led to a 7.5M dollar shortfall.  Yes sexual metaphors always winning in a district with 5 Title IX suits, numerous staff being investigated or terminated due to allegations of assault or sexual impropriety.  Sure good plan, whose crazy now?

Words matter, actions matter and I cannot say enough how proud I am of the students from Stoneman Douglas who organized this and managed all of this during a time of grief, anger and fear.  It is not easy in the best of times for those twice their age I cannot imagine this at age 18.  I participated in that march in my soul and wished I was in DC to see their faces, hear their words and share in their tears.  Instead I watched the CBS Special, 39 Days, which is the amount of time this has happened since the shooting in Parkland.  I was never more proud and it reminded me of why I became a Teacher as the power of kids when they choose the positive over the negative is a powerful force that Star Wars cannot compete. 

But again why I choose to not partake in Nashville is that this is a city divided by three factors: Money, Religion and Race.   Yes, race is at the last of the list as that is exactly how they divide and classify the city priorities.  I cannot stress that enough as I doubt any student from the less academic achieving schools attended said march and we already know that the black community feels slighted here by the movement as theirs are the ones most affected by guns.    Again seeing the correlation that it is the issue of guns that is the commonality and that by access and availability to buy, sell and steal guns the reality is that this community has had way too many young lives lost to gun violence.  And no the black community cannot solve this on their own, they need work, jobs and education in which to climb said proverbial ladder that we know is already wobbly, missing rungs and inadequate, especially those that hold black men.  But through division we conquer. 

I see a conflicted and very typical conundrum when I moved here to the South.  The reality of poverty and marginalization and how that affects generation after generation here as I am constantly reminded of on every corner, outside my window, on every building, sidewalk, building, every park.  Just like guns the signs that mark some utterly irrelevant person or moment in history is there as a constant reminder that this area came from violence; violence that led to people enslaved against their rights and denied their freedoms as established by the same Constitution the gun fuck nuts hold so dear.  A region marked by violence to defend said rights to condemn to servitude individuals brought into a country in which they neither knew or had no choice.  

And that struggle is ongoing today.  Still in shackles but of a different kind, the drug wars, mass incarceration and other bizarre laws to be oddly offset by a litany of social services that are in some ways to compensate and enable the white lords to excuse themselves for it all.  Clearly that did not work.    We have tried laws, we have tried action and we have come back full circle to realize that enough was not enough when it comes to equality.  

So what about guns?  This is parallel to many movements that preceded it and from the children we shall learn.   I have learned many things from the children of Nashville and none of it positive, none of it good.  I write daily about my experiences in the schools and truly I have not been able to count on one hand the positive experiences or encounters I have had with students here.  It makes me embarrassed, angry and sad. I am in total social isolation as with passing encounters the conversations veer towards God, Money and Race.  The reality is that money wants to be in the primary location but in good taste it falls second and then race if addressed is only in veiled words and inferences. 

The tragedy in Parkland is something again in Nashville they ignore with deliberation as little news coverage was given to the march yesterday and little to any of it here at all.   Again not surprising as there is a weird hyper-competitiveness here that is oddly coupled with resignation that dominates all encounters. They spend hours here listing where Nashville falls on ubiquitous lists, still calling itself the "it" city which has long moved on, the endless obsession with sports where even a former terminated football coach called the area what?  Crazy.   Gee ya think?  

Yesterday the "international" airport with only one "international" flight direct did a drill yesterday to demonstrate their handling of an emergency if two planes collided mid air. Not if they collided on the tarmac but MID AIR!  They did this on a Saturday morning where anyone waiting for a flight could witness.  How comforting or how fucking bizarre?   Have they had any major incidents here regarding planes ever?  No.  No Broadway musical will be written about the diversion of flights during a disaster I can assure you.  

I have never seen a city wish, hope and aspire like this one and it includes terrorism, disasters and violence.  They do a fuck all shitty job on the small scale violence that occurs here daily.  Our news is filled with story after story about crimes after crimes, followed by traffic accidents, fires and some more crime then weather than any other news story.  So the march? Barely acknowledged in passing.  And the way it was discussed it was mentioned as "adversarial" and "accusatory" on one station.  And the legion of counter-protesters that usually dominates the discussion were oddly quiet yesterday.  They are all pro life except when it comes to gun violence.  Ah that Jesus thing again.  I guess he packed heat.

At one point I do laugh and then I realized I am laughing not with them but at them.  I have no interest in trying anymore.  As I walk into schools I go to the classroom, remove any potential problems or issues.  Sadly you cannot even put them just on the Teacher's desk as they have no sense of personal space just taking stuff off the desk and I cannot tell you how many signs or instructions about this are posted but reading is not fundamental here. I again experienced this first hand where I wrote the student's instructions on the board about what they needed to do, put the work on a table, in trays, labeled the trays "In" "Out"  and told them to take one from the out box and then put the finished work in the in box, the confusion that resulted blew my mind.. not with a gun.   

Then we have the issues about sex, body space and familiarity as again further demonstrated  in this same school and many others when kids  enter the room and embrace me.   I find this appalling unless you are 8 years old, 16 not so much.   These kids are so fucked up and why I get the puberty thing it transcends anything I have ever seen before.   I am beyond trying to excuse, explain let alone understand any of it.  

So as my clock ticks down, like the time bomb metaphor, I have a year left in which to figure out the road out of here.  I plan on jumping on a plane that won't crash mid air and leave.  Come from away?  I would just to see the "it" city and if 'it' has been cured.  I doubt it. This is terminal.  





  

'Something has got to be done:' Activists across Tennessee take to streets for gun control
Natalie Allison, USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee Published March 24, 2018 |

As hundreds of thousands of people around the nation marched Saturday in a call for increased gun control, youth and adults in Tennessee were among those moved to action.

In Nashville and Memphis, thousands filled the streets to take part in the nationwide March for Our Lives, a largely student-led event against gun violence in light of a shooting that left 17 dead last month at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

Marchers in Nashville, an estimated 10,000 to 12,000, according to event organizers, filed into the streets of downtown carrying signs with photos of their children, slogans about the danger of attending school and demands for politicians to act.

Families with children and babies in strollers marched alongside teenagers, young adults and the elderly in a diverse demonstration involving a wide spectrum of participants.

“Nineteen grandchildren and I want to keep them,” she said.

"My son was killed by a gun," read the sign Tommy Bugg, 77, held high during the event.

With tears in his eyes throughout the morning, he hugged others he had just met at the march, which was the first time Bugg had attended a protest to make his feelings known about the need for background checks and bans on bump stocks and assault weapons.

In 1981 in Rutherford County, his 17-year-old son Mark Bugg bought a handgun at a firearm store and used it to commit suicide at their home. Bugg, a Navy veteran, said he is still traumatized from finding the teenager dead in the bathtub, fully clothed, with a gunshot wound.

In the years since, he has written letters to his representatives, to senators and to governors calling for laws that make it more difficult to buy a gun — all to no avail, Bugg said. Like others gathered at the Nashville march, many of whom were children and young adults, Saturday was a new experience in activism.

It was that for Catherine Eagle and her daughter Chloe, 17, who drove from Knoxville at 4 a.m. to be a part of the demonstration in Nashville.

The march was a somewhat unlikely activity for a family that takes guns to the shooting range and for a woman who is a member of the National Rifle Association, though Catherine Eagle said she has "always been for gun control."

"I'm all for people having guns within regulations, but we had to be here," she said. "Something has got to be done."

The group was met with nearly zero opposition, bringing out only a couple counterprotesters who regularly show up with religious signs at events around Nashville.

In Clarksville, instead of marching, a small group gathered at McGregor Park, where some shared songs and speeches against gun violence.

More: Students rally for safer schools at March for Our Lives Clarksville

Protests began later in the day at the University of Tennessee, where approximately 1,000 students and activists gathered for the Knoxville March for Our Lives.

Those attending listened to anti-gun violence speakers and then marched to Circle Park.

Dinah Haney, a 15-year-old Powell High School student, was one of several speakers. She said she is "part of the mass shooting generation."

Ed Nelson, Navy veteran and UT student, listed off gun violence events around the country at the Knoxville event, adding "thoughts and prayers," after each. The crowd met it with booing and: "Thoughts and prayers are not enough!"

"I look around you all today and it looks like those thoughts and prayers have been answered," Nelson said at the end.

Led by students chanting "enough is enough," an estimated 1,500 protesters in Memphis marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, bound for the National Civil Rights Museum.

There, they heard from children and young adults who have lost family members to gun violence before the crowd broke into chants of "Don't stop here," calling for those gathered to move to the polls, as speakers did in Nashville.

About 1.500 people swarmed downtown Memphis for the March For Our Lives Saturday morning, calling for stricter gun control laws and safer schools. Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal

Nashville Mayor David Briley, who took the stage outside Metro Courthouse just before the march began, said to the crowd that "being here is not enough" and was "not going to change" the situation without voting. He urged them to take part in the May 1 primary, which in Nashville also includes a $5.4 billion transit referendum backed by Briley.

"Until you do that, until you start showing that the young people are willing to stand up and see this country go in a different direction, it will not happen," Briley said.

He compared the growing movement calling for gun reform to civil rights actions in the 1960s, likening student organizer Abby Braffman, a Vanderbilt University freshman from Parkland, to Nashville activist Diane Nash.

In 1960, Nash stood on the steps of city hall in Nashville, where Briley and the others had gathered, to ask then-mayor Ben West whether he believed segregation was wrong. West agreed that it was.

"Find out how you're going to sacrifice to change the direction of this city and country," Briley said.

When the group returned to Public Square after the march, Naomi Tutu, daughter of South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu, warned the group that they "cannot stop here."

Braffman is also new to activism and stumbled into the role of organizer after returning from Parkland after the shooting and making a Facebook event. She said her goal was to gather 5,000 for the march in Nashville. With funds raised, organizers plan to hold another public event.

"Today made me so proud,” she said addressing the crowd as she closed the march. "This has been an incredible roller coaster and the journey does not stop here. I’ve said it a few times and I’ll continue to say it, this is a movement and not a march.”