United We Stand

So I’ve gotten more than a few questions about my opinion on the whole United debacle. I relented and commented on a few FB friend’s posts regarding it. I say relented because I pretty much avoid FB for anything other than fun chat and dog videos. It has become too toxic and successful discourse is rarely possible anymore. 

Anyway, how do you think I feel? I’m appalled. The idea that a passenger who paid full fare for a ticket can be physically yanked off a plane for overbooking is reprehensible. I don’t care if it was United Express (contracted by United). I don’t care that it was a security official not an actual United employee who did the beating/dragging. I don’t care that it’s in the fine print a paying customer can be booted off a flight for virtually any reason. Greed should not be more important that humans.1  I don’t care about all the reasons why he could have complied. This person paid full-fare to board a plane and fly home. It is not his fault the flight was overbooked out of the misplaced idea that profit is more important than good service. None of that matters. We should all be appalled at the very idea this can be allowed.  And lastly, I don’t care another flight might have been delayed or *gasp* other people might have been inconvenienced. You know what?  Sometimes we get inconvenienced. The world does not revolved around our personal bubble of existence. There were plenty of better ways to handle this. 

Don’t get it bent, I’m not dragging out the lynch mob torch for United just yet. Frankly, I think people are missing the forest for the trees here. This could just as easily have happened on any airline. United just ended up being the unlucky beneficiary. I know many United employees (from the both the old Continental and United) who are very dedicated to their jobs and I’m sure many of them are struggling to fend off drama from both sides right now. And being a long time Southwest customer, I can tell you first hand they routinely kick people off flights. All major airlines have the same or similar policy. The big picture here is how many people feel it was perfectly justified. It was NOT ok. And the fallout witch hunt to demean and degrade the victim aftewards was just as disgusting. When your moral code justifies physically dragging a paying customer of a plane to avoid inconveniencing someone else, perhaps you should re-examine your sense of morality. That is the real tragedy IMO. 

Our society is crumbling around us bit by bit. Greed, anti-intellectualism, and personal indifference are destroying our sense of right and wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as I have breath to say it. The one good thing out of this debacle is the outrage was so bad I’m pretty sure no airline will ever try this again. Maybe we’ll see some good reforms put in place to ensure something we used to take for granted would never happen will actually never happen again. Either way, I’m sure everyone will have forgotten all about it next week when the next faux scandal comes along.  




  1. Notice I said ‘should not be’ vs ‘isn’t. This clearly demonstrates it’s past tense now. []

Recovery

I’ve been avoiding social media and most of the news these last few days. It’s all been so depressing and sad I just needed a chance to recover before I dove back into it all. And on queue, everyone is jockeying for the moral superiority. What a total turn off. Ugh.1

Believe it or not, some of my readers are/were Donald supporters.  I know, crazy right? I make no bones about supporting mostly democrats these days. It isn’t because I’m a hard core party line groupy, they just often make the most sense and/or are will do less damage based on the choices given. I was an ardent (and still am) Hillary supporter. She would have been good for this country, all the rhetoric notwithstanding. She had her issues that concerned me, but so does our current President. Anyway, I got a few snarky humble-brag emails from a couple of aforementioned readers. My response to them is my response to all, “careful what you wish for, because once you get it, you’re stuck with it.” In this case, we are stuck with Donald for at least 4 years. Watching the disaster that is his transition has been both hilarious and frightening. These clowns can’t even manage a transition and yet magically we expect them to manage a country, foreign affairs, the national budget. Really? 

I hope we recover from this. I’m a pretty optimistic person but I see this as sign of bad things to come. I truly hope I’m wrong. And unlike everyone trying to point fingers, I don’t blame the people who voted. I don’t blame the people who voted for Donald, Jill, or Gary. At least they got off their asses and voted. They exercised their right to help determine their future. And while it certainly played a role, I don’t blame the voter id laws or the clowns trying to intimidate voters at polling places. It is arguable that without these influences Hillary might have won. Now imagine if half of the non-voting voters had actually gone to the polls. A mere 25% of the absent voting publc would have changed everything. It would have offset all the attempts above and then some. How do I know this? Statistics don’t lie. Statistics repeatedly show lower voter turnouts benefit the republicans. Even with all the shenanigans above, Hillary still won the popular vote by over a million votes (and still counting). That means the crazy, insane voting block, which represents only 1/25 of the total, consistently swings elections because other voters stay home. Over and over again we see it play out. And we saw it again this year. Not voting for your interests is a vote against them. 

I don’t buy the bullshit argument we need to coddle straight white men. We don’t need to coddle them. We need to get more women, minorities, and LGBTI foks to the ballot box and kick their selfish asses to the curb. As a collective we outnumber the selfish white men. And here is the crux of the problem IMO. White society is slowly realizing the system no longer predominantly represents them anymore. It scares the shit out of them. Deep down they are afraid of becoming the minority and discovering what it feels like to be discriminated against. This is what drives the cognitive dissonance that allows people to look past Donald’s racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc, etc, etc behaviors. They can’t reconcile the contradiction so they block it out. This is what won the election for Donald IMO. 

I’ve said it before,2  indifference is going to destroy us. The more we abandon our cherished rights and freedoms, the faster they will be taken from us. We run to social media to whine or we run into the streets demanding “something be done“. Meanwhile, the people in power keep on doing what their doing. They know there is very little consequence so what’s to fear? 

The republicans do get credit for reading the writing on the wall. They took full advantage of the openness3 of the internet and social media. They never let up with their false attacks on opponents. Social media has become the perfect dissemination tool for “story” after story of half truths and flat out lies to confuse an increasingly poorly educated populace. Even our normal media outlets have shifted away from truth and facts to trying to garner ad-clicks. The flashier or more outrageous the headline the better. Doesn’t matter anymore if the headline matches the story. People then see these shitty stories, shared and reshared over time and develop a completely contrary view of reality based on lies and half truths. It’s only now, after it might be too late, suddenly social media is taking notice. No mention yet from traditional media. Maybe they just need to die out and be replaced. 

We’ve built the perfect democracy busting engine using a trifecta of parts; indifference, ignorance, and a media platform devoid of integrity. 




  1. I know this article is probably too long to hold the attention of most folks so I won’t bother with the ‘long rant ahead’ admonishment. I mean even the headline is devoid of anything flashy. hehehe []
  2. And again, I hate being right here []
  3. Read no regulation on what’s called news []

Great Again

You know what I hear when people say, “…make America great again”? 

  • I hear white people who want things to go back to the way they were when they could blithely ignore the racial injustices in the world because of white privilege. They want the ability to keep pretending racism doesn’t exist because they never see it (Or want to see it).
  • I hear white men who want women to go back to being home bound and barefoot. They don’t like the idea of a strong women or that women deserve equality in the workforce.
  • I hear white people who want gays to go back to pretending they don’t exist. They don’t want to be faced with the soul-chilling idea that a religion they were institutionalized into since birth might be flawed. They pretend gay-bashing or deaths of the LGBT community are their own fault for being so ‘different.’  They don’t want to be faced with the idea that Trans people are real and just want to feel safe in society.
  • I hear white people who suddenly notice the world, society, and media no longer features them as the primary representation of America. Deep down I think they are afraid they might end up going thru what minorities or gays have gone thru for decades. 

I hate to break it to ya white people but America wasn’t always great for everyone. Many of us faced untold hardships, harm, and even death at the hands of your indifference. Even a poor white person has a leg up on many minorities and gays. And guess what? We aren’t going to go back to hiding or pretending we don’t exist. Minorities are not going back to separate but equal.

America is great. It is also horribly flawed. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even a role model in many areas anymore. Our greed and indifference mixed with rising anti-intellectualism is slowly leading to our undoing. It’s not the ‘blacks, gays, muslims, women, etc’ that have ruined this country, it is your willful selfishness and blind indifference to the injustices faced by others not like yourself.

And if being faced with the idea that you bear indirect (and direct) shame for said actions is too much to bear, try walking in a black man’s shoes for awhile. Try to have a normal life as a minority, a gay/lesbian/Trans person. Tyr being a Muslim women in an oppressive fundamentalist country. You have no idea what makes America great because you aren’t part of that equation. If you think America needs to be great again, here’s a news flash for ya, YOU are the problem.

 

Scared? Welcome to our world.

Kaepernick

I’ve gotten a few requests for my thoughts on this whole faux scandal. I say faux because I love how people go out of their way to “out American” others. It is just another in a series of sad stories showing our growing ignorance as a nation. Anyway, since I work for a law-enforcement related agency, people often assume I’m always gonna side with the police. Wrong. While I certainly have insights that others might not have at times, I always strive to be on the side of fairness and truth. 
First, Kapernick has the right to not stand. He has that right because of the men/women who have fought for it. Being a free American means you can criticize your country’s failings, perceived or otherwise. Actually calling out your leader’s failings is as American as one can get if you read our constitution. As to Kaepernick, he certainly isn’t immune to fallout from said behavior, but stop trying to shame him for it.

As to the man himself, I find his behavior a bit hypocritical. For someone who often uses racial slurs,1 it seems a bit disingenuous to suddenly find a moral compass now. And considering his influence and place in society as a famous football playing millionaire, I’m struggling to find the sincerity in his actions. Rumor has it his new girlfriend is big in the BLM movement and I can’t help but wonder if that has influenced his ideas, not that her influence is necessarily a bad thing. Being enlightened by others is perfectly fine; however, what else is he doing? Is he meeting w/local police agencies? Is he donating money to community groups? Is he doing anything besides his now infamous ‘sitting’ exercise? I don’t need to disparage the man to show the contrast of his actions. 

At the end of the day, there is a very real problem between minority communities and police agencies. But it isn’t always about racism. There are many social, cultural, & economic variables affecting the divide. Trying to conflate it all into one giant polarizing idea of black & white2 is simplistic and often the tool of the biased. As I’ve said before, acknowledging failures by law enforcement doesn’t make me support law enforcement any less. Nor does calling out the bad players within the BLM movement make me any less supportive of fair and equal treatment for minorities.  And  speaking of the bad players, am I only the only seeing the irony here? We proclaim loudly that BLM and others can protest peacefully w/o resorting to violence and the moment someone does, we attack him as anti-American. So what we really want is to completely avoid the inherent problems still festering in our society. 

The sensationalized style of our media and news consumption only lends itself to dividing all sides even further apart. The focus isn’t on truth or even honest reporting. It’s solely on generating outrage which turns into ad-clicks. 

So I accept his right to sit and protest. Just as I accept he probably isn’t doing it for the right reasons. Either way, those are my feelings on the subject. 




  1. He has been fined for them before []
  2. see what I did there? Hehehe []

Scalia

I’m still digesting the news Antonin Scalia has died. I know in today’s environment of fast-moving news, this is old news for sure. That aside, my instinctual reaction was one of joy. I’ll be honest the realization I was joyful over someone’s death bothered me a bit. The initial idea was a man w/so much influence to harm me and mine was gone. This sort of visceral reaction reminded me of my step-mother’s death. Unlike my foster mom, I was ecstatic when my step-mom died. She was the only person on this planet I’v ever felt true malevolence toward and I threw a party when she died.

Why did I associate a man who has never personally done me any direct harm with a women who delighted in abusing me daily as a child? Yes, his influence did harm me in very indirect ways but it wasn’t a direct connection. Why would I associate him with my step-mother? I mean I didn’t care for Scalia but I never hated him.1 I don’t really have an answer yet but distinctions matter and I’m working my way thru the grey areas. (pun intended)

If you know me, you know I try not to see the world thru the lens of absolutes. It has become one of the defining characteristics of my id. It is easy to believe in simplistic right/wrong, good/bad actions. It requires no sense of self or morality to avoid delving beyond the idea of ‘you wronged me’ mentality. I am fond of saying the devil is in the details. While part of me is glad the man is no longer in a position to do me harm, I’m not celebrating his death. He had a right to life as much as I did. I can’t bring myself to celebrate his life but I’m working on disentangling my emotions over his death.

People like Scalia truly believe their ideologies. He wasn’t an ignorant follower. He was well-educated and even respected as judge for decades. While he deftly avoided any real-world interactions with the LGBT community, he believed what he was doing was right. Of course, it is much easier to marginalize people when you avoid getting to know them as human beings. History is littered with examples over and over. This by itself is often a marker for a failed ideology.

While I won’t mourn Scalia’s passing, I don’t hate him. I try not to take joy in his death. It should be beneath me to feel that way. I am grateful he will no longer be in a position to influence my very existence. I will remember the lesson he taught us. We cannot let our own ideological beliefs blind us to the suffering of others. We cannot become so rigid in our thinking we forget human beings do not require permission or conformity to exist.




  1. Contrary to what you read, the act of hating someone takes a lot of energy. It is a dedication of sorts. []

Error

Has anyone else noticed a decline in the overall quality of news as of late? I seem to be noticing more and more that traditional publications (online and off) are just getting sloppy.

I keep up with a variety of news and tech sites. Almost every day I read or see gross incompetence glaring errors in published articles. Be it, the title is inappropriately devoid of punctuation, random typos, or flat out bad reporting, it is more and more common. Part of me wonders if the encroachment of blo​gging and other non-traditional platforms are the reason. Maybe the traditional media outlets feel pressured to get news out quickly and catching errors is an afterthought. That would at least explain the punctuation and typos. However, it does not explain the bad reporting.

A couple of my favorite news sites for all things Android are just going from bad to worse lately. One site posted a review between the S6 and the M9 based solely on the specs. No actual hands on review, just the specs. And the author admitted as much it the article. Sadly, his review was just flat out wrong. Specs can be impressive but anyone who has owned multiple smartphones can tell you higher specs doesn’t always mean better. Said site seems to be getting worse in this area. I’m to the point of just removing it from my news feed.

The other site posted a link, retracted it, changed a few facts and the title, and then pushed it out again.1 I guess they forgot that their RSS feed pushes out notifications. I opt for the ‘full text’ option on RSS updates so I had a birds-eye view of the corrections. At least the updated article had corrected several errors and inaccuracies. I emailed the author politely to let him know and he acted like I was being a dick! I mean, how dare I point out his stupid mistake so he can avoid it in the future?

I’ll be the first to admit my writing style is not perfect. I use a lot of deliberate slang and colloquialisms in my writing style. I am not trying to be overly critical as much as point out the declining accuracy in the written text. I tend to overlook the casual error but if I am being completely honest, I tend to not trust articles that are so poorly written. If you can’t be bothered to proof-read your work, how am I supposed to trust the content?




  1. I do this one a lot in error so can relate []

Duty

​I’ve gotten more than a few inquiries on my thoughts regarding the Missouri incident.  In a word, it’s a mess. You have a citizenry that is under-educated and have all but abandoned their civic duties. Granted, they can’t be blamed so much for that but looting your own community demonstrates a level of ignorance that is becoming more and mor prevelant in this country.

I come from very poor means. It is hard to care about community involvement when your sole existence is about survival. But, if we hope to stop problems like this we have to encourage said communities to be and do better. We need to shift our priorities away from the accumulation of wealth and to the betterment of people. Education is a huge component. An educated community is often more involved. Of course, the powers that be want you to be dumb because you are easier to control.

Then you have a police force in a small town that has all the authority and very little oversight. This is not unusual per se. Visit any small rural area and you’ll see similar stories. Does that mean all rural depts are bad? No, of course not. But as the facts unfold, it is glaringly obvious the agency is lacking in any sort of oversight or accountability from its citizens. The abundance of hard-core military grade gadgets is simply crazy.

At the end of the day a young man lost his life. His implied guilt or innocence is not a valid reason on its own for his death. And as the facts are told and clarified, there is a larger cloud over the agency vs the officer involved. The often inflammatory (and even sometimes inaccurate) reporting from many media outlets hasn’t helped the situation. And of course, the emergent mob-mentality of our social media commentary is just icing on the cake. If social media is your only source of news, you are part of the problem. If you don’t know the details of a story or incident, keep your mouth shut until you do. Don’t share links you haven’t read because of a link-baiting headline. And you f**kers who share every story with the idea “it can’t hurt“, need a serious ass-whooping. /rant

Are there bad officers? Of course there are. But for every bad cop, there are easily 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because cops doing their duty don’t generate sensational headlines or ad-clicks.1  A few bad cops do not make them all bad and isolated stories of abuse do not paint an accurate picture.  Yes, our law-enforcement should be held to a higher standard, but humans are fallible no matter their position in life. To avoid the corruption we as the citizenry must be involved.

And speaking of, our citizenry is becoming ill-educated every day it seems. Subjective validation is often more important than facts or reason. Religious fanatacism and personal greed have trumped our morals. We’ve gone from ‘what can I do for my society‘ to ‘what can society do for me?‘ The idea of civic duty or responsibility is a foreign idea to most folks these days. A citizenry that abandons it’s overseers is quickly overrun by their own indifference. Absolute power corrupts absolute as the old adage goes. You cannot give away your power thru inaction and then wonder why the abuses keep happening. Proclaming your outrage on social media and demanding change does nothing to help and only serves to feed the problem.

Perform your civic duties. Vote, serve on jury duty and most of all, be involved in your community. Go to community meetings. Know your local policy makers and pay attention to their actions. Only then will your actions carry weight and effect change. Otherwise, you end up just being another sheep being guided by those in power, often to your detriment.




  1. Poor comparison but I see the same mis-characterization in my volunteer work with animals regarding pitbulls. []

Rants

For a long time I tried not to talk too much about politics or current event sort of subjects on le blog. I just didn’t want to beat a horse that everyone else was beating. I go off on some things from time to time but I’ve always kept the focus of the blog squarely on myself.

These days, I find less and less need to fight my personal demons in this space. And while I’ll continue to blather on about my personal development, I feel it is time to start branching out. I think I have a good perspective on much of the happenings in the world. And as I love to harp, I’m good at seeing subtle but often important distinctions in things.

I guess what I’m saying is you, dear reader, should expect to start seeing more current event type rants here. Not everyday and certainly not the focus but I like to think it will add a good mixture to the chronicle that is my life.

Crash

A reader asked if I’d be willing to blog about the recent plane crash at SFO since I work in a field related to the incident. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can add. I was off that day so I had no direct involvement. Being a critical incident, I did check in with work, as required, to make sure I wasn’t being called in. Beyond that, I was not much involved. SFO has it’s own police/fire support systems. SF, as a city, does/will send resources as needed/requested but we would not be the lead in this scenario. The incident itself falls to the Feds so we wouldn’t even do primary investigations.

*

An emergency worker can go a lifetime w/o something of this magnitude happening. Even those of us trained to deal with day to day emergencies take pause for things like this. Thankfully, it was not a catastrophic event. The fact it turned out to be minor (in loss of life) was a huge stroke of luck and relief. Not to belittle the lives that were lost, but it could have been so much worse.

There are a variety of things that kick into action when events like this happen. Mass casualty Incidents (MCI’s) can quickly overwhelm local resources. Cali along with most states now work within the IC (Incident Command) system, which is meant to unify and standardize logistics, resource allocation, patient care, after incident care, etc. It and systems like it create a framework of response and resources to quickly be coordinated in a very meaningful and useful way.

Dong

Ding dong Prop 8 and DOMA (parts at least) are dead! lol It is high time too. Courtesy of the rulings, ss-couples can now not only be recognized at the state level but also the federal level. This is truly historic times for us.

To wake up and feel like an equal citizen for the first time1 is amazing. And unlike before Prop 8, there is a sense of finality to the issue. There will be no more Prop 8s. We’ve gained recognition at a whole new level and I couldn’t be happier. To feel recognized and accepted under the law is just unbelievable. In a way, it is almost anti-climactic.

Of course, the fight is not over. We still have equal rights for our Trans brethren and we still have a slew of states that don’t yet recognize gay marriage and/or bar it completely. The latter is only a matter of time. If you read the DOMA ruling, the justices pretty much set it up. The bias and basis for these laws is based only on discrimination and ignorant religious dogma. As new cases wind their way thru the courts back to the supreme court, the issue of ss-marriage will be decided once and for all. All the states with these horrible restrictions and bans on ss-marriage will have to suck it up, just like they did for women voting, the end of segregation, and interracial marriages. All of which, they also tried to use religious dogma to enforce.

The tide has shifted to our side. Thanks to the multitudes of us living openly/honestly, the world is beginning to see we really aren’t that different. We want the same things in life. We aren’t out to destroy civilization. Hardly. lol With 7 billion people clogging up this poor planet, there is zero danger there. I look forward to the future w/new dreams that I never thought possible.




  1. Ok. 2nd time. The first time was when California ruled we could get married before Prop 8 []