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Police Violence

We're Americans and therefore have short attention spans. The Nike / Kaepernick controversy has already turned into hilarious, parody memes.

The sad thing is, many have forgotten about the true reason for the protest in the first place. It morphed into all sorts of crazy, whether the protest was unpatriotic to anti-veteran to people boycotting the NFL. Heck, the protests even became anti-45. And now we've forgotten about all of the minorities that have been murdered by police.

In fact, I had one asshole Conservative try to tell me me it's made up stuff by the media and not really true. It's just there to rile up the Democrats. So nasty and ugly for a person to say that. And when I gave him a a Facebook react "haha" emoji, it definitely triggered the poor guy, to the point where he started slinging insults at me. What a fucking turd of a person. This is the same neighbor, who thought that the neighborhood school principle should worry more about mildew on the side of the classroom trailers, because looking at that fucked with his delicate sensibilities, instead of the principle worrying about a poor student population, where kids are homeless and don't get fed on the weekends.

Anyways, I do think the police are overly aggressive, especially when it comes to minorities. Police do have a very dangerous job, that has them see the worst of humanity. I can see how that may make one a bit jaded, or reliant on violent aggression. But it's still no excuse for the death of innocents.

In fact, there was an incidence not too far from my neighborhood, at an apartment complex. A guy was running around naked and screaming. Apparently, he was a veteran with mental health problems, and had a mix up with his medications. Clearly he was unarmed, unless somehow he had a gun shoved up his ass or was able to turn his penis into a gun. The claim was, the naked guy lunged at the police officer, which caused the officer to feel threatened and therefore shoot the poor guy, dead. I mean, couldn't the naked guy at least been tased? I'm sure there are non-lethal ways of subduing the crazy.

Whenever these incidences of reckless police violence come up, there's always statements along the lines of the need for more police training, or that officer was just a "bad apple". It would be one thing if these incidences were rare, but they seem to happen even more frequently. It's terrible.

I don't consider myself to be a racist person. However, it was ingrained into me as a child that black men are dangerous. I did grow up in a sterile, white, middle class environment. The only black people I came across were at my public school, and they usually weren't in my AP classes. My parents did try to shelter me. I wasn't allowed to drive through certain parts of town or go to certain places by myself, for the fear that some homeless guy would rape or kill me. And by homeless guy, it was insinuated that it was a black person. I have even found myself when walking the streets of cities by myself, that I hold my purse tighter when I come across a group of black men dressed in hip-hop type clothing. To be honest, I had no idea if these gentlemen were thugs, but I assumed so because of their clothing. How hypocritical of me, because I used to get terribly upset by people judging me for my appearance. I have since checked my biases and I'm not so fearful when coming across groups of people who don't look like me.

We've seen such biases hold true in other viral accounts. Apparently, if you're black, you can't BBQ peacefully in public parks without white people calling the police on you. Or if you're a black politician canvassing door-to-door, the police will be called on you. So sad. I've seen such incidences in my own neighborhood. Every 6 - 9 months there's a rash of home break-in's and everyone goes into high alert for every stranger coming through the neighborhood, which is majority white. Basically, that means if you're a minority, there's a higher probability some scared white lady is going to call the cops on you. A few months ago, someone got video of some black teens running across their yard. It could just be them being asshole teenagers. But a few neighbors panicked, and started hunting these black teens. The reason being, that police response is sometimes slow, so they felt the need to take matters into their hands, which is probably not a good thing is this scenario. My neighbors chased down these teens with their car, which freaked the teens out anymore. The entire situation sickened me.

I have called the police twice for 2 incidents involving Hispanic men. The first time, it was a teen, going into people's yards looking through the windows. A few hours later, his buddy broke into a house across the street and broke his leg doing so. The other incident, was a guy knocking on our window, early on Sunday, demanding that we give him a ride to Church after he had been walking all night. This guy still seemed drunk from the night before. These were peculiar scenarios that warranted police interference. Minorities have every right to walk the public streets in my neighborhood, peacefully. But if I see something truly suspicious or unusual, I'm calling the cops. And even with the first incident, my husband did approach the teen and asked him what the fuck he was doing. The story about the teen being "lost" didn't sit well with us. If he had a better story, then perhaps we wouldn't have called the police.

Police work is thankless work. Most people don't go into it because they love it, now. They do it, because they think the benefits will be good. My county has a depraved police department i.e. too few officers and too much area to cover. On top of that, pay is low, and benefits are no longer what they used to be. Officers maybe get 6 - 8 weeks of training. And often times, they'll stay with the county just long enough until they can go to another city or area, with better pay or benefits. Such a revolving door of inexperienced officers isn't a good thing.

And it's not like many of these police officers are getting an Associate's degree in law enforcement at an university. Many are ex-military, looking for a way to support their families. You're not getting top people taking these dangerous jobs. A neighbor of mine is a lawyer for the county, and she's always amazed if the police reports she gets use correct grammar and spelling. Apparently, that's rare. And one of the factory workers, I work alongside, is ex-police. He's a nice guy and probably one of the better workers. But what does it say that if you leave the force the only kind of work you can get is factory work?

We need more thorough and comprehensive training for our police force. We need bias training and ways to de-escalate situations without violence. I get that these men and women have difficult jobs, that no one wants to do. Still, I can be critical yet supportive? I not saying that blue lives or black lives matter the most. It's complicated. However, our police force can do better.

Bad Reputation

3 tell all books and a scathing, anonymous op-ed later, #45 is becoming even more looney, if that was even possible.

The thing is, he only has himself to blame for his bad reputation.

For example, there might be this Russian hooker pee-pee tape out there somewhere. Could you imagine any other POTUS be involved in such a crazy scenario? Maybe, Bill Clinton, but it would have been more of a sex thing vs. revenge. But #45 has a history of being petty, hanging out with prostitutes, and being an all around terrible human. This was well known even before 2016. If the pee-pee tapes are fake, he's going to need lots of proof trying to fight off that reputation.

Just look at the tweets, incoherent speeches, you'd see a mad man, ranting and raving. Then the copious amounts of resignations of White House staff. It's insane. Friday has become the news media day where you're wondering who is going to get fired or leave next. All of this is unprecedented.

Even if the stuff in those books or op-ed are embellished or taken out of context, the scenario they paint is sadly quite believable. If there were similar anonymous op-eds about other Presidents, no one would believe it. Could you imagine aids stealing papers off of Obama's desk so he wouldn't start WWIII? Nope. The most scathing thing about Obama was he smoked, wore a tan suit, and liked Grey Poupon mustard. I'll take that if that's the worst crimes you can find for that guy without delving into conspiracy.

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Protest Season

Welp, it's protest season again aka football season. And it started off with a kicker, Kaepernick is now the new spokesperson for Nike.

Good for him. Good for Nike.

Now there are a few viral pictures of Conservatives burning their Nike shoes or cutting the tops off of their socks. I don't know of any Conservatives doing this.

It's all re-damn-diculous. Nike got their money, and will now get free publicity, and people buying their stuff out of counter protest.

And how does this help the problem of police violence against people of color?

The original protest and message has now been perverted even more so. I don't see anything about that outside of Liberals suggesting that Nike shoes be donated to homeless veterans instead of being burned.

No one is talking about the the dead black people due to overly aggressive police. Instead, we're calling Conservatives snowflakes or stupid.

The original message, which was quite important, is now lost. And I find that horribly disgusting.

I'm for awareness. Some people aren't aware of the biases and violence people of color face, for the color of their skin. That message does still need to get out there. A peaceful protest during the Anthem at a football game, seemed like a decent way of doing that. I mean, the NFL dons pink everything to make us all the more aware of breast cancer. Maybe this issue of violence against black people needs their own special color?

Then again, who isn't aware of breast cancer by now? The NFL will make special pink crap, stating that some small percentage of proceeds goes to breast cancer research. There still is no breast cancer cure, but we sure do feel good buying pink shit in October. I'd much rather see real action. Young black men are still being shot by the police. People of color still face extreme biases. And what was once a good idea, a peaceful protest for awareness, have been morphed into something else, fueled by the deepening political divide in this country.

New Lows

When I think that the current administration can't go even lower, it somehow does. Separating immigrant families was pretty fucking low, and many of those kids are still separated from their parents. But going lower again, seriously?

Senator John McCain passed away a little over a week ago. I didn't necessarily care for some of his politics. Back in 2007 / 2008, when he was running for President, I wasn't as politically aware as I am now. But I did watch the debates, and he seemed somewhat alright, moderate, until he started to pander to the more Conservative factions of the GOP. Same thing goes for Romney in 2012. He was alright, until he started to pander to the more extreme parts of the GOP. Because of McCain, we got Sarah Palin. At first, I thought this was someway to get a few of the Hillary voters, who desperately wanted to see any female in the White House. But I don't vote for people just because of what they have between their legs. As Palin got more and more exposure, the more I realized how moronic she truly was. But so many people fell for her folksiness. Hey, she's just like me. I was fine with that. US politics could use more down-to-earth politicians. But outside of the folksy schtick, she didn't know that much. Or not at least what I'd want someone that could possibly become POTUS, to know.

I didn't think McCain was all THAT terrible. He had his faults just like any other US politician, but he seemed to have integrity that newer politicians lack.

Even though his passing was sadly expected, the response from the Right and Left has been interesting and shocking. Many of my Liberal friends posted about it on Facebook, lamenting the death of a good man. Only 2 Liberal friends shared criticisms instead of tributes. While I do think their criticisms were valid, I did think it was asshole-ish to share them, upon the news of McCain's death. Give it a few weeks to say that shit. Not one of my Conservative friends, shared or said anything about McCain's death. Telling...

Once I heard the news of his passing, I decided to see what POTUS had to say on Facebook. His response was surprisingly, brief and generic. I wondered what was up, especially considering other political figures of either party, had much more to say. And then the comments, I know you're not supposed to read them, but I was curious. Instead of nice comments, like I had seen for Obama's eloquent response, it was mixed with a lot of nastiness. Lots of stuff along the lines of how they were glad that this RINO or traitor was dead. Appalling. To be fair, they could be Russian bots, but still, shocking. Later on I read that McCain had a higher approval rating among Democrats than Republicans. Seriously, what kind of bizarro world do we live in?

The next day, my suspicions about POTUS's canned, generic response were confirmed. Like many other politicians, an aid will write up something, the politician will make some edits, and then post the response. What's so damn difficult about doing that, the right and appropriate thing? Then there was the flag controversy. I guess to be impartial, POTUS technically did the "right" thing, but the bare fucking minimum, which also goes against prior political precedence. I get that these 2 politicians, didn't particularly care for each other. That's A-OK. But to be such a petty cunt about it, is so shameful. He truly couldn't put his pettiness aside for a few days and be a decent fucking person for once. SAD!!

What I find sad about all of this, is that instead of the news media focusing on the life and legacy of John McCain, it became the T-word show. Perhaps he couldn't tolerate, not being the center of attention for a few days. So, so shameful.

This should have been an easy win for him. A notable person in your party dies. Don't be a petty cunt about it.

I was shocked by the level of pettiness. I shouldn't be, given his history of being awful, but I still have this crazy idea that if you're POTUS, you at least behave better when someone dies.

Sound The Alarm?

As of late, I'm been growing especially weary of "alarmist" news. Maybe, it's because my jar o' fucks-to-give, is running low. There's a lot of outrageous stuff going on in the world right now. However, I need to save what little outrage I have left, for things that truly matter. The outrage fatigue is real.

We all probably have that Facebook friend who shares 10+ political articles every day. They can be a bit annoying. I probably read a good 10 or more such articles myself every day. However, I don't feel the need to share every single one of them. The ones I do share, are usually because I think they made an interesting point, not something sensational. And with these over-sharers, I wonder how much of the stuff they share, they truly even read past the headline? It can take me sometimes a good hour or two to read all that stuff, and I'm probably a faster reader than most. Where do they have time for that shit? I barely do...

Here's case #1 - asbestos alarmism.

Several friends shared this article about asbestos (https://archpaper.com/2018/08/epa-asbestos-manufacturing/). Yup, alarming. But the headline and some of the article contents are quite misleading. This particular quote is just so wrong "Walsh pointed out to Fast Company that chlorine-based plastics are commonly found in building-product materials and that “virtually all” asbestos in the U.S. is used in the industrial process to make chlorine. This includes PVC and vinyl plastics, which is largely found in the creation of pipes, tiles, flooring, adhesives, paints, and roofing products."

So here's the perspective from a scientist, who probably knows a bit better. Currently, >90% of asbestos in the USA is used in the manufacturing process for Chlorine gas. It's less than 400 tons this industry uses each year. That's actually quite a small amount, relatively. There are alternative ways to make Chlorine gas, but for these companies to upgrade their process, would cost millions of dollars, so that isn't happening anytime soon.

But what irked me about that quote, it insinuates that asbestos is in all PVC plastics. WRONG!! Asbestos is used to make a diaphragm for the Chlorine gas manufacturing process, and I don't see how the asbestos contaminates a gas. I guess one could make an argument that by supporting the Chlorine gas industry, you're also supporting the usage of asbestos. But I don't see that argument being made at all.

Also, I don't see any architects or civil engineers pushing to use asbestos in buildings anymore. The hazards of asbestos are well known, and no one is going to spec that shit. Companies don't want to deal with the risk of exposing their employees to asbestos, let alone the construction contractors.

So basically this is a "nothing burger"?

Sources matter too. Arch Paper, what the hell is that? Well, after some quick googling, it is a legitimate news source. However, with so many articles these days, they're basically a summary of a bunch of links. Does anyone click on those links? Probably not. Some of those sources, I wouldn't consider to be so great, at least from a science perspective.

In such situations, I like to go directly to the "horse's mouth". In this case, the actual EPA SNUR (Significant New Use Rules) for asbestos. First off, it's only a proposed rule that's not even approved. And what this PROPOSED rule states, is that if there's a new proposed use for asbestos, the EPA needs to review it to see if the use is legitimate. If it's not legitimate, that new use of asbestos doesn't get approved. Don't get me wrong, I don't trust the fucks the current administration has hired at the EPA. It's quite easy to vilify the current administration, and for good reason. But so much outrage over something that's not really all that existent.

Case #2 - glyphosate alarmism

Another Facebook friend shared a terrible infographic about glyphosate found in foods such as Oreo cookies, cereal, and Goldfish crackers.

I took many issues with this infographic. The source was from a company that sold herbal remedies. Secondly, there were no specs as to what the safe levels of glyphosate were - just the numbers, which tell me nothing, as a scientist. Also, no mention on how these number were acquired, no mention of test method, no link to where these numbers even came from.

Her response, was that this was all over the news (which is true) and she had concerns about what her grandchild was eating. She then shared an article, from a legitimate source about it. The thing was, I had already read that article, and it confirmed other stuff I have read about glyphosate. Basically, we don't know how harmful it is. There have been studies and the results are inconclusive. Some show it as a carcinogen and others not so much. Even the EU, which is normally pretty strict about this sort of stuff, has approved the usage of glyphosate.

My take, as a scientist, is that glyphosate needs to be properly studied and in multiple ways. There are the people that spray the crops with it, which is a different entry route (skin, breathing) vs. food (digestions). Those would require very different tests. From the food aspect, it's very difficult to replicated the complexities of human digestion in a lab. Remember the lead scare in children's toys from awhile ago? Well some of that was due to the testers, doing a complete acid digestion on whatever paint chips, or toy pieces. You'll extract all the lead that way. However, such acid digestions are far more extreme than what happens within the human stomach. And even with digestion, there's the stomach route or what happens if the toy is only placed in the mouth? How much lead gets extracted with human saliva alone?

Basically, test methods matter, as well as data interpretation. A lot of testing now, is either dealing with cells in a petri dish or testing on mice / rats. Those tests provide interesting information, but does that scale up to what happens to humans? Not always. I've read things about the animal testing, and things matter regarding the type of rat used (some varieties are more prone to cancers than other), or whether enough rats of multiple ages, genders, and varieties are used. When you take that into account, the testing gets quite expensive to test on so many rats.

Another point I made about all of the foods listed in the shitty infographic, is that they were all carb and / or sugar heavy. I'd say obesity and problems that stem from that are more problematic that exposure to glyphosate. Everything in moderation, right? Your grandchild would probably be better off eating a piece of fruit, some carrot sticks vs. Goldfish crackers or an Oreo cookie.

Now if you want to debate other aspects of glyphosate, such as modern day farming practices, or immoral aspects of the large companies that make agriculture chemicals, then let's discuss that with facts.

Could glyphosate be harmful, possibly, but right now, the science isn't there yet.

I guess some would call this "fake news". Maybe. It's definitely worth reporting about, but not with the alarmist vigor.

Modern day journalism is different. I remember my hometown newspaper was quite fat. Most households in my neighborhood would get it. Now, not so much. That paper is a thin shell of its former self. Even the Thanksgiving paper, normally filled with ads, is thin. Fewer households get the paper. Why? There are so many more sources of news now, thanks to the internet. You no longer have to rely on your local newspaper or the main 4-5 local news stations. You can get that all for free online, and have it catered to your viewpoint.

I've also read that for the few papers that are still around, there are increased expectations from their reporters. They're expected to have their own social media accounts where they post news articles multiple times a day. There's only so much to Tweet about. And if the purpose is to drive up clicks, you're going to go for the alarmist headlines.

We've become a nation of people who don't read past headlines. I can't tell you how many times I've clicking on an "alarming" headline, only to see that whatever news was a nothing burger. But with all of the competition, that's what news has become. Who can strive up the most emotional alarm, because that's how you're going to make money from ads. I hate it. I want the cold, hard and often boring facts, but sadly that doesn't making for interesting news stories that grab your attention.

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Civility

It finally happened. I unfriended someone on Facebook over politics. I'm sure I've been unfriended for similar reasons, but I've been trying to not do the same. I see it as *your* Facebook and you have a right to post whatever you want. In this situation, it wasn't so much about this guy posting things I didn't agree with. Most of the time, I scroll right past whatever, like I do with many things on Facebook - your jogging map, shitty pictures of your food. This time, it's because he trolls and I don't have time for that shit.

I shared this article (https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/07/sarah-sanders-russia-and-the-absolution-of-chaos/565610/) about SHS. It's an opinion piece but it made some valid and interesting points about this crazy week of politics. SHS has one of the most difficult jobs right now and she's damn good at it, defending the indefensible. At least it wasn't attacking her appearance, like I know some of my Liberal friends have done. To be honest, I never paid much attention to whoever the president's Press Secretary was. Because for the most part, it was boring same-old same-old. I'd expect for the Press Secretary to put some sort of spin on whatever. But with this current administration, I'm dizzy from all of the spinning.

This guy could have written some sort of constructive criticism, and I'd be OK with that. Let's have a civil debate then. But that didn't happen. Instead, this was the comment "voluminous hogwash deflection...the Atlantic???😂". This guy has criticized my sources before saying they're nothing but Liberal swill, even NPR. While, his conspiracy blogs and even more partisan news sources are far better. This same guy has also sent me paragraph long and typo riddled rants about how Pizzagate and the Hillary-Uranium conspiracies are real. Ironically, he's actually a smart person, college educated, and get this - works for a government agency.

Sources do matter. I've made an effort the past 2 years or so to make sure the majority of the news I consume, is from more "center" sources. There's never going to be a true unbiased source but I prefer to go with news from an organization that has been around awhile. The Atlantic has been in publication for 150+ years. It's a smidge left-of-center, and their editor is a smart guy, Conservative, but voted for Hillary. I'll take that over Breitbart, Huffington Post, Occupy Democrats, or whatever other partisan swill is out there.

Anyways, I'm done having some guy try to lecture and troll me, when I have tried to be civil to him. I wanted to call him some bad names, but I refrained. Instead, unfriend. I don't have time for that anymore.

Civility is one of those things I've been going back and forth on for awhile now. I'm good with some civil unrest ala the Civil Rights movement. I'm OK with someone scaling the Statue of Liberty to protest immigration fuckery or even blimps of baby POTUS. It could be a double edged sword of kicking people in his administration out of restaurants though. I'm OK with them being heckled during their dinner though.

I'm done with hypocrisy though. I've seen some of my Conservative friends advocate for Liberals to be civil. Sure, but this is coming from people who haven't been so civil themselves. In fact, I'd say that the Republican party has been less than civil for a long time. I read this op-ed (https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/06/26/so-now-you-want-civility/) and I'm done with tolerating such incivilities. I've been called a libtard way too many times - often by men. Women tend to at least be more up for civil debate rather than name calling.

I used to think that if we didn't call Republicans racists or bigots or whatever -ist, we'd be able to get through more to them. I've tried being nice, civil, and fact based. But that doesn't work anymore in today's partisan political world. On occasion, I will go on Conservative Facebook pages and news sights to see their interpretation of whatever news story, and even read the comments. It's like wondering into a different world. It's not all MAGA or POTUS 2020. But some of the comments are the same stuff I see my Liberal friends write. For example, I saw a comment about how Liberals want a Russian war and they love violence. WTF? But replace the L with a C, and I've seen the same stuff on my news media.

We sadly live in 2 VERY different worlds now. And no amount of factual based, sincere comments are going to pop that bubble anymore.

Us Liberals are trying to resist. But it seems like our marches, postcards, and knitted pink hats have been in vain. It feels good but what has it accomplished? We're hoping for this November blue wave or the Mueller investigation to pan out. But what if that doesn't happen? What's next? What if he wins in 2020? Will The Handmaid's Tale become real?

I look back onto the protests of the 1960s, whether it was the Civil Rights movement, anti-war protests, or women marching for more rights. Turns out they weren't so civil. Heck, I'm pretty sure that at that time, many people probably thought that the sit-in protests during the Civil Rights movement, was black people being uncivil. I guess it depends on your definition of civility?

Given the bubbles we live in, I don't see how pictures of these marches or pictures of crying immigrant children in cages, is going to sway minds. I think shit is going to have to get even worse, sadly.

What made white people have a change of heart during the Civil Rights movement? Probably, the terrible pictures and videos of black protesters being attacked by dogs. News reports of lynchings or bombings. Sadly, I think it might take some Liberals dying for some Conservatives to have a change of heart. And probably, some white, pretty Liberal lady with her beautiful child dying at a protest. It wasn't enough for Liberal protesters to die and get injured in Charlottesville. There were "fine" people on both sides, right? It's going to take more than that.

I hate it. But emotions rule us instead of facts these days. Until there are gory viral videos of pretty white ladies getting hurt at these protests, and that can't be ignored, nothing is going to change these cult-like mindsets.

Jumping To Conclusions

Within the past week or so, I've noticed some interesting situations, all online, of people jumping to some bad conclusions. I get it. There's a lot to be enraged at these days. Emotions are strong. But problems are often complex. I get that wanting to put things into convenient, tidy boxes makes it easier for our lizard brains to comprehend. However, it often does a disservice to those impacted by these problems.

Example #1:

LinkedIn is one of those social media platforms that I don't use too readily. I keep it updated with work / employment stuff, but that's it. I don't comment or share articles there. Quite frankly, I'm hesitant to do so, just in case a future employer didn't like something I did on that platform. At least with Facebook, I hopefully keep that shit sort of hidden. As for this blog, well, it would take them a minute to find, I hope.

Anyways, I get occasional emails from LinkedIn about various articles, that I do read on occasion. One was about how POTUS's immigration policies are impacting farms or there aren't enough landscapers. There are fewer workers to harvest crops, leaving them to rot in the field. I've seen several articles about this already. I then made the mistake of reading the comments.

The top comment was some guy, blaming lazy Generation Z / teenagers. At least he wasn't blaming Millennials, because they really aren't teens anymore. In this guy's eyes, teenagers should be doing that sort of work, but they're too lazy now to do it.

So let's take a step back and think about this rationally.

First off, if you're under 18, there are stricter labor laws. You can't use certain equipment, you can only work so many hours, have to have so many breaks, etc. To an employer, that can be extra headaches they don't want to deal with, and I don't blame them.

Secondly, let's look as to where these farms are. They're in sparsely populated rural areas. Even though I live in a suburb of Atlanta, I would have to drive 40 - 60 miles easily, to get to a farm. Maybe if I lived in the exurbs, it wouldn't be as bad. That's a long ways to drive for a summer job. And what if you don't have a car? That's lots of extra driving for the parents to be doing so their kid can work. Most parents aren't going to do that or can't do that.

I was lucky enough to have a car while in high school. It was an used old person's car my parents bought for me. They paid for the insurance, I had to pay for gas with babysitting and other monies. But I've read lately, that many of these youngins are waiting until they're 18 or older to even start learning how to drive. The parent taxi is far more convenient and the helicopter parents probably prefer it that way. I know my parents didn't like me even driving the 10 minutes to my boyfriend's house at night. Either I was going to hit a deer or my car would break down and some guy would rape / kill me.

Besides cars are expensive, especially if you can only afford a beater that needs constant repairs.

So it's far more complicated that just "teenagers are lazy". I knew kids that would pick corn during the Indiana summers and it was brutal, being in the hot sun all day like that. At least the corn picking season was only for a few short weeks.

Example #2:

The mid-century elementary school in my neighborhood is too small and old for the current student population. A new school is being built and the old one will be eventually torn down. The construction is making my neighbors extra crazy. Many are upset by the trees being torn down and the displacement of the deer and other critters. I think that sucks too. But it beats having an old school with a bunch of shitty trailers outside, and speeding parents and teachers through the neighborhood. The same people that complain about the trailers or speeders are the same ones complaining about the construction. Maybe they just like complaining?

Anyways, apparently some of the contractors are from out-of-state. There was some outrage about tax dollars going to other states. That is infuriating. But did anyone bother asking how or why that was happening before typing their angry comments? Nope.

Here's the deal, with the uptick in the economy also means an uptick in construction. There are many large developments currently under construction in Atlanta - toll ways, interchange improvements, condos, strip malls, new houses being built or old ones being gutted and remodeled. Because of all of that, there's a shortage in construction workers. Some never went back to that field after the Recession, and others retired due to injury or aging out of the profession. Because of this shortage, they're recruiting people from out-of-state, as that's the only way, unless you want the project pushed back a few more years. I'm not sure how I knew this, but I'm guessing there was a blurb about it on NPR or a friend shared an article on Facebook.

Are tax dollars going out-of-state? Yes, but there are legitimate reasons why.

I actually commented in this situation and even shared an article about how some of the local high schools are trying to provide some of the students with vocational training in Construction, so they could get into this in-demand field sooner vs. later. One neighbor did reply about how they know of 3 local construction firms that could be doing this sort of work with local workers....hmmm....so you know the inner workings of those companies THAT well? Maybe they bid and didn't get the job. Maybe they didn't want the job as schools aren't their thing. Who knows. The bidding process for these sorts of jobs is quite complex. I've seen the proposals put together by the architects and engineers. They're lengthy documents.

Example #3:

A Facebook friend posted about how him and his wife were recently approved to foster. Of course there were many congratulatory comments and offers of old baby clothes or babysitting. And to be fair, that's where my mind jumped too as well. They're going to foster, kids? They do seem like the type of people that would do that sort of thing. Turns out, it was a bit of a joke-y misleading post. They're fostering a kitty!!! At least this conclusion jump, wasn't so political, and still had a happy ending.

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Frustration

June 2018 must have been a bad month. From a journal I rarely posted in anymore, to now 7 posts this month! It can't help but feel like this country is getting more and more insane every day, and I need somewhere to scream into the open void.

Throughout all of this, I've been trying to stay as objective as I can. It's tough. I know I lean quite Left, but I want to check my biases, and not just beat up on Conservatives. What I crave most, is facts. The truth, even if it means spending a good 15 minutes or more trying to digest a complicated article. I'll take that over hyperbole, memes, rhetoric, (dis)infographics, and bad debate tactics. I've found some of that truth. It's comforting. I just wish others would take the time to understand and seek the truth AND believe it. But it's too easy to be manipulated by clickbait headlines, tweets, conspiracy, and edited, partisan videos.

The Sarah Sanders thing is still getting to me. I still have very mixed feelings about it all. I despise her, but it all sets a bad precedent going forward.

I remember when all of the debate over religious freedoms started and the ridiculousness of forcing Christians to bake cakes for gay weddings. Like there's anywhere in the Bible that tells you it's mandatory to wipe wedding cake over each other's faces. Perhaps, that wasn't in my Catholic version, I read growing up. When these debates were and still going on, there was always mention of a "slippery slope" that being able to discriminate based on your "sincerely held beliefs". What does "sincerely held beliefs" all entail? Is there some true sense to the interpretations or is it going to be a legal excuse to be awful to people we don't like?

I've had some mixed feelings about the cakes for gay weddings debacle. It does seem petty. Although, I do get the need to respect a person's, and maybe even a company's religious beliefs. For example, I think it's OK for Hobby Lobby to sell all sorts of cheap Christian stuff, that's made in China, or to be closed on Sundays. I knew that going to the store. However, to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, that strikes a nerve with me. It's why I haven't shopped there in probably a good 6-7 years, and I buy a lot of craft supplies too.

Don't like gay weddings? Don't go to them. But cakes? Cakes? Like many of our silly wedding traditions, they often have Pagan or Victorian roots. It's nothing to do with religion at all, but instead, some sort of frivolous tradition. Sort of like how I cut a log in half at my wedding in lieu of a bouquet or garter toss. Also, no dollar dances. What's so religious about these things? It's not like you're the person forced to carry out the ceremony. There has to be some sort of boundaries, but come on. It's just a fucking cake. I thought one aspect of being a working adult, is that sometimes you have to do a lot of things you don't like doing, or agree with. But you'll do it for money, to support your family.

Anyways, going back to the crazy. I'm starting to get extra frustrated with the current political climate. Some of my fellow Democrats, even more so. There's only so much resisting, marching, writing postcards, knitting pussy hats, we can do. It feels ineffective. Shit has only gotten even more terrible, despite our efforts. Whatever POTUS handlers / tamers there were, have left. The Republicans who were supposed to be the "check" are feckless. A few will on occasion, create a stink, but almost always end up voting along party lines. The controversies have only gotten even more divisive and nasty.

There's hope of this mythical "Blue Wave". However, no one knows if that will truly happen, especially after the 2016 election, and November seems all so far away. There's hope that the Mueller probe will wrap up with some sort of conviction. That's been going on for a year, but with no end in sight, and the rhetoric of witch hunts and love struck FBI agents continues. As much as I want to check out of politics, I can't anymore. I have issues very dear to me, such as a pre-existing health condition, to worry about. The safety of my job, my access to birth control.

I've tried to be civil even though I want to spew obscenities left and right about POTUS and his administration and followers. But I know that's not going to help much, outside of venting excess energy, but hurting others in the meantime. It's getting tougher to be civil.

I'm starting to notice my fellow Democrats are losing it too. They're OK with going down that slippery slope, they used to warn us about. I don't blame them. Politics has changed. Decorum seems lost. I do blame the guy up top. He changed it and not for good. At the time, the US political system could have used some shaking up. However, now it feels like it's being attacked by bombshells, left and right.

I don't want to turn this into whataboutism. Just because they do it, or we do it, doesn't make it right. However, I see more and more of my Liberal friends turning that way. Objectivity, forgiveness, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, are distant memories. We're turning to their tactics, but they've already several years of being those trolls, and can't be shamed. Do us Liberals, have thick enough skin to fight against these trolls? You know they'll use it against us, because we still have some shame left. But who knows, that could be changing here soon.

Last year, around the time of the Jon Ossoff defeat, I got into it with a Conservative troll online, as I tend to do. He was gloating about taunting the sad Liberals on Jon Ossoff's Facebook page. It struck a nerve with me. Your party won. Be happy they did. Let us Democrats mourn in peace. Isn't that what sports is supposed to teach children, how to be a good sport, whether you win or lose the game? Have we forgetting these important lessons, or now is the focus too much on winning or participation trophies? Seriously though, why instigate such shit. It's petty. His response to me was this diatribe about how Liberals are his sworn enemy. It was shocking to hear someone spew something like that. I don't particularly care for Conservative politics, but I have dear family and friends that are Conservative. I'm not ready to call them the enemy yet or declare war on them.

I'm seeing more and more of my Democratic friend prepare for war. They're done putting up with this shit. Honestly, I don't blame their frustrations. I want him gone too. I want this stain on American history to be gone. However, is this a war we can win? They can't be shamed. They have more guns and control our food supply.

I'm hoping that war isn't the answer but perhaps that's the only way things will change, and hopefully for the better.

Civility and Guillotines

Whatever happened to "when they go low, we go high"? I'll admit it becomes more and more difficult to do these days.

One of the latest political controversies is Sarah Sanders getting kicked out of a restaurant. I get the political point the restaurant was more than likely making i.e. Sarah Sanders and her party gloated about bakers not having to make wedding cakes for gay weddings. Although, the more I read about that court case, it wasn't 100% that way. The case was one based on other arguments.

I like what the restaurant did. I get their point. But I don't know if I 100% agree with what they did. Two wrongs don't make a right? The unfortunate thing is, this situation is going to be nothing but fodder for the MAGA crowd about how awful Dems or Libtards are, while they completely miss the political point.

It's tough, but I'm trying hard to stay somewhat even keeled about these political conundrums. I don't want my biases to get in the way. I mean, what if this was Obama's Press Secretary who was kicked out of some rural BBQ restaurant? I'm certain I'd be livid. Perhaps I am being too generous to the other side despite their deplorability. I know of others who have said fuck it, and refuse to even entertain the other side now.

But is political civility completely gone now? I don't want to stoop to their levels, but it seems like civility doesn't work much anymore.

I look back on the Civil Rights movement and their peaceful protests. But perhaps the African American protesters knew they couldn't come across as mean or angry, as that would play right into stereotypes of the dangerous and angry Black person, and therefore ruin the points they were trying make with their protests. Instead, there was enough empathy from White America of seeing these peaceful people being horribly abused. Change happened.

However it seems like we're becoming less and less empathetic as a country. It's tough to feel empathy for someone you think is deplorable. It's to the point, where we don't even see people from the other party as people. Instead, they're horrible monsters. It's like with Hillary Clinton. You'd see t-shirts with "Trump that bitch" on it and her face. While these same people would say they respect woman. Except, they didn't see Hillary Clinton as a woman or a person. My Republican father even had a doormat with Hillary's face on it. This was over a decade ago. I sort of rolled my eyes at it and let it go. But now, I realize how awful that doormat truly was.

I want to think that we can settle such political disagreements in a civil way, with politeness and respect vs. name calling and violence. But are we getting to the point of no return? Civility doesn't seem to register or even get the point across much anymore. While disrespect, even if deserved, adds more fuel to the fire. I want to think that as a country, we're better than this. But then again, very few revolutions were won without violence. Is now the time to stock up on guillotines? Is this what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?

New Lows

When I think that the current administration can't get any lower, it does. How much lower can that bar go? And will his followers still continue to defend the indefensible?

I think the thing that has unfortunately saddened me the most about this immigration / family separation debacle, is that we can't agree that it's wrong. Instead, it's whataboutisms, straw man arguments, finger pointing, lies about child actors or phony sob stories. Seriously, have we devolved this much as a civilized society?

I've heard of his supporters being almost cult like with their adoration. In fact, I have a friend who refers to it as "Cult 45". It's sadly kind of true. I've seen way to many comments about how Liberals should support their President no matter what, and how they had to support Obama for 8 years....I'm doubtful about that Obama support. Sadly, I think we also can't distinguish legitimate criticisms from insults anymore. It's become where any POTUS criticism means you're against the tribe, and you're out.

The Republican party has morphed into something else. It's now the Trump party. I know of several Republicans who like to say they didn't vote for him in the primaries. They would have prefered Ted Cruz, heck, I'd prefer Ted Cruz and his sliminess at this point. They'll say things like, I wish he didn't tweet as much. Or that's just Trump being Trump. Um no. I'm done with excusing his behavior. I did legitimately try to give him a chance to redeem himself. But after the stupid debate about crowd sizes and then the travel bans, I was done. It's been downhill ever since.

As I look over my neglected RSS feed, it's been nothing but one controversy after the next. Give it another week, and we'll be onto the next bit of crazy outrage. It's exhausting.

For awhile, I was proud that I didn't hide or unfriend anyone on Facebook due to their opposing politics, although I wonder if some people unfriended me because of mine. I thought it was petty when people would post things like "if you're OK with racism or sexism, unfriend me now". But now, I'm finding it harder and harder to keep my few Republican friends in my life, at least via Facebook. I don't think they're necessarily bad people for their politics, but I find the arguments they make to be highly flawed. Although, I doubt my counter-arguments do much good to changing their way of thinking. I'm pretty sure I've made similar whatabout or straw man arguments in the past. I'm hoping I've become wiser to that. Still, it's tough seeing them defend someone so heinous with faulty information. I don't want to retreat further into my Liberal bubble, but it's becoming more and more appealing every day. Will these Republicans eventually come around? Heck, even my own Republican father is losing his entrancement with the guy. Will others follow suit?