Uncle George, You’re Disappointing Me

George Takei, who makes me laugh uproariously every day with his hilarious facebook posts, has just joined the ranks of the misinformed activists. The Supreme Court recently ruled that employers should not be required by law to pay for birth control. The case, involving Hobby Lobby, had been argued because the new Affordable Care Act (which, by the way, has raised my premiums and stunted my benefits quite drastically) required all employers to offer health insurance that also covered all types of birth control 100%. Hobby Lobby had argued that because of the religious beliefs of the owners, they shouldn’t be required to pay for certain types of birth control.

Everyone is losing their minds over this. Today, Uncle George (as so many affectionately call him) took to his blog to condemn the decision. He wrote, “Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that. Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability. Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ there’s no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue.”

Oh my. That’s strong verbiage indeed. It’s also a little over the top.

What nobody is reporting is that the SCOTUS ruling only affects morning-after pills and IUDs, the latter of which tends to cause pulmonary embolism and stroke. Hobby Lobby is still offering insurance that covers 16 different types of birth control. Rather than talk about the specifics of the case, though, everyone would rather act as if it was a crushing blow that meant any employer could opt out of BC coverage and women will never be able to obtain it. Oh, the horror!

Calm down, kids. You’re basing your entire argument on a lie that has turned into hysteria. Discrimination? Please. Some forms of birth control are already incredibly cheap. I have diabetes. I have to take medication and check my blood sugar multiple times a day. My insurance covers birth control of all kinds, including the morning-after pill, at 100% – drugs that I will never use. I can’t opt out of it by saying, “hey, I’m a gold-star lesbian, I don’t need this stuff.” It only covers about half the cost of my diabetes medications, glucometer, and test strips, which I need to stay healthy and alive. THIS is what I call discrimination: not being allowed to opt out of birth control coverage because I am a woman, yet not getting the same kind of coverage for life-saving meds.

Where the hell are our priorities? Birth control is so important that the government wants to require insurance companies to cover it completely, but the drugs that help keep me alive have to be paid for out of my own pocket at rates that far outstrip the cost of BC before insurance pays a dime.

Whiskey tango foxtrot…?

To be fair, Uncle George is correct on a couple of things. Hobby Lobby does have 401(k) retirement plans that are invested in pharmaceutical companies that produce the morning-after pills. They also have a lot of products that are made in China, a country that places a strict cap on the number of children a family can have and forces abortions and sterilization once that limit is met. Is that hypocritical? Absolutely. Not exactly the best thought plan in the world.

The SCOTUS decision is hardly discriminatory, and to call it such is just this side of being a base lie. Nobody is saying that these companies can fire someone for taking BC. Nobody is saying that these companies can pry into an employee’s medical records to see if they are using BC. Nobody is saying that they can opt out of insurance that covers any and all forms of BC at all. There is absolutely nothing about the ruling that allows any business to impose the owners’ religious views on employees. What they are saying is that companies should not be required to provide insurance that covers abortifacient drugs. If I can afford my diabetes meds on my salary, you can afford the less expensive Plan B pills on yours (which I promise is higher – public safety doesn’t pay as much as you think).

I still haven’t figured out when our society decided that private businesses are subject to the government’s every wish and whim. I’m struggling to understand why people think the government should have such control over businesses that the people who own and manage them have absolutely no say in what the company will offer their employees or invest in. A free market does not take such rights away. This kind of attitude is exactly what is driving business to move overseas in the first place.

Uncle George, I still love you. I just wish you would have thought about this before you went off the deep end about it. I am a woman and I see absolutely nothing discriminatory about the decision. What I DO see is a society bent on chipping away at basic rights and freedoms. That needs to stop.

“Senseless Act of Terror”

Today the bodies of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel were discovered in the village of Halhul in the West Bank. They had been bound and executed. They had been dead for some time, and investigators believe they were murdered shortly after they were kidnapped.

I have had to view many a homicide victim over the past six years. I have had to inform families – mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses – that their loved ones are never coming home. I have a good idea what the IDF soldiers are going through right now. I have never had that visit from my colleagues to tell me that a member of my family has died, so I can’t say that I know what they are dealing with. I know, however, that it is an indescribable pain. The sights and sounds of a family mourning a lost child is almost unbearable.

According to the timeline of events, Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali were on their way home from Yeshiva (Jewish seminary) when they were taken by force. One of the boys called the emergency line and was able to tell police that they had been kidnapped; the line then went dead. They weren’t heard from again. Millions of Jews and supporters the world over held vigil to pray and hope for their safe return. Today, that hope was shattered. Naftali Frenkel was a dual US-Israeli citizen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked genuinely exhausted and expressed a sadness that few politicians have ever conveyed when he spoke to the press about the news. He vowed to bring the killers to justice. Two Hamas operatives have been missing since the kidnapping. There has been no word on what action Israel will take.

President Obama said, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”

I am tired of hearing the word “senseless” used to describe terrorism. It isn’t senseless. This attack, like all the others before it carried out against innocent Israelis, was not meaningless. We know exactly what these attacks are about. It is about unbridled, uncontrolled hatred against Jews. What for? Jews no longer “know their place.” We refuse to be dhimmis anymore. We won’t stare at the ground out of respect when an Arab passes by. We won’t pay taxes for being the lowest of low infidels. Jews established a homeland in a region we’ve had a presence in for over three millennia and have the nerve to defend it.

There is nothing about this that isn’t simple to explain. To continue to refer to such acts as “senseless” is akin to burying one’s head in the sand. This was an act of pure hatred, one that is sadly familiar to Jews. I am sad to admit this, but even as I prayed desperately for the safe return of the three missing boys, I knew how it would end. It always ends the same way. Palestinian jihadists only know hatred and death.

Golda Meir said, “we will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” It is heartbreaking to wonder if she knew how things would turn in Israel’s history.

Police Brutality

People are often far too eager to claim police brutality. I’ve seen false claims happen right in front of me. What happened yesterday in Pittsburgh appears to be one of those instances – a young woman claiming police brutality to save face.

It helps her cause that she’s a lesbian who was taking part in Pridefest. Because homophobia.

During the gay pride celebration in Pittsburgh yesterday, several Christian groups were protesting within legal parameters. Ariel Lawther was engaged in a heated argument with 36-year-old protester Eric Moure. Lawther’s age has been reported at somewhere between 19 and 22 years of age. According to Moure, Lawther became physical, shoving him – that’s when rookie officer Souroth Chatterji intervened. Both Moure and Officer Chatterji told the same story: upon the officer’s intervention, Lawther turned on him, hitting him with her fists and kicking him in the groin.

That was when things got hairy. Only ten seconds of video was recorded by a bystander. That was of Officer Chatterji pulling Lawther out of the crowd by her hair and punching her in the abdomen.

The video really doesn’t tell us much. It was captured at the end of the altercation and shows nothing of what was going on between Lawther and Moure. Officer Chatterji says he had already admonished Lawther and her friends not to engage in an argument with the protesters as it would lead to a fight. Officer Chatterji also says he clearly heard her tell Moure, “I will f—ing kill you!”

First things first. The protesters.

I do not give a damn how angry you may be at any protesters. I don’t give a damn what they are saying. Christians are going to protest outside of gay pride parades and festivals. It’s going to happen. We all know what those protesters are going to say. It is nothing new to anybody. You need to let them do what they’ll do and say what they’ll say. The instant you talk smack, issue threats, or get violent, YOU are the one in the wrong – it matters none what they have said or done. You deserve to go to jail. You are wrong and should be ashamed of yourself. I grew up in Evangelical Christianity and I know perfectly well how unpleasant those protesters can be; know now that nothing they do or say can ever excuse your boorish behavior if you refuse to control yourself.

You need to walk away and leave them alone. If they put their hands on you, attract all the attention you can before you fight back. Unless they do intend to do physical harm, you have no business at all engaging in any argument with them. WALK AWAY. That is what adults in the real world do.

Second…the arrest.

She clearly assaulted a protester and needed to be arrested. According to her own statements to officers after her arrest, she knew she was being violent and that it was wrong. She apologized to the officer and told him, “I didn’t know you were a cop.” She admits to assaulting him in that phrase. If an officer is being assaulted, he has every right to use force to subdue his attacker. Period. The teenager (yes, she was 16 years old) who took the video with a cell phone (who can be heard screaming “what are you doing?!?”) claims that she didn’t see Lawther get violent with the officer; she’s probably telling the truth. She also probably didn’t see what precipitated the moment she filmed. There was a pretty good-sized crowd there and the video shows that crowd getting in the way just before the officer throws punches.

Incidents like these do not help the cause of gay rights. They only serve to thoroughly embarrass us. Young gay people are essentially being taught that self-restraint is a thing of the past – you should express yourself regardless of how negative your emotions are.

Learn now a very important lesson, kids. Self-restraint is very important in the real world. You are going to hear people say things that offend you or otherwise hurt your feelings. No amount of offense will ever excuse losing your temper, starting an argument, or becoming physically violent in any way, shape, or form. I have had members of the Phelps clan say things far worse than anything those protesters were saying to you in Pittsburgh. I never yelled, never spit, never shoved, and never hit. You need to learn to tolerate people you don’t like…just like you’re demanding of the extremist religious types you can’t stand.

Don’t get into those kinds of altercations and you won’t have to deal with the police.


President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point yesterday. The speech was a complete embarrassment, yet the graduating cadets remained as professional and respectful as ever.

I’m not sure I would have been able to be so classy.

CNN’s Jim Clancy described the President’s reception at West Point as “icy”. Charles Krauthammer called his speech “literally pointless”. Even the Washington Post reported that his speech reeked of a “takedown of Rand Paul”.

In short, the President picked the most inappropriate time and place possible to pontificate about his foreign policy.

Rather than laud the success of the cadets, rather than applaud their achievements in difficult times, rather than send an inspiring message about their futures as officers in the US Army, President Obama stumped about himself. He defended his beliefs (and so in a very broken, hard-to-follow fashion). This is what happens when we have a President who has no military experience or understanding of foreign policy: we get a guy who will use a revered tradition to tell his detractors to piss off.

It was like watching a train wreck, to be quite honest. After making a remark about the class of 2014 being the first to be less likely to go into combat since 9/11, he turned his commencement speech into a rant. He started chastising those who don’t believe that America is at her strongest, saying that we are engaging in partisan politics. He pitifully whittled the war debate down to those who want war and those who want diplomacy. Yet again, he compared himself to his predecessor – George W. Bush – in a thinly-veiled swipe at the man. Then, after saying in his first year in office that he didn’t believe in American exceptionalism, he suddenly changed tack and said he believed in it “with every fiber of my being.”

He also said in no uncertain terms that we really don’t need the military. He said we had the greatest military in the world, then said, “but just because we have the biggest hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Huh? So his message is, “good job on graduating, but we don’t really need you”?

President Obama is as classless as he his clueless.

The First Lady is just as bad. She famously posed with a sign that bore the hashtag “bringbackourgirls”, making a cheap statement on Twitter about the Boko Haram terrorist group that kidnapped more than two hundred school girls and threatened to sell them into sexual slavery if the Nigerian government refused to release several imprisoned terrorists. I have to ask, what on Earth makes anyone think that a terrorist organization (one that our esteemed former Secretary of State vociferously defended) is going to respond to a social media campaign? The attempt to shame them into submission is incredibly juvenile and proves just how little President and First Lady Obama understand about foreign policy issues. I mean…Twitter? Really? Is this the new face of liberal politics?

Mrs. Obama’s school lunch program has also come under fire. Students who found lunches based on her new guidelines inedible started posting pictures of their new lunches on social media. Schools started losing money because students weren’t buying lunch. Why would they buy something that smells and tastes awful? My foster daughter tells me that her school lunches are so bad that even though she gets them for free, she won’t touch them – she says a kind of barbecue sandwich with no meat in it, imitation steak sandwiches and overcooked tater tots are the usual fare, and the salad bar is no better.

Congressional Republicans have been trying to pass a bill that would make it easier for schools to give the choice to parents and students on whether to follow the guidelines that limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that kids are eating. The First Lady’s response? A temper tantrum. While her daughters attend an elite private school and get the best food money can buy, public school kids are turning to Chee-tos and candy bars to replace the disgusting alternatives now offered in their schools – and Mrs. Obama is pushing the fact that, as a mom, she cares. She openly attacked the attempt, ignoring the fact that even the School Nutrition Association thinks the guidelines are too strict and expensive, as “unacceptable.”

I’m sorry. I was unaware that she had been elected to any office.

I feel like we’re hearing Marie Antoinette ignorantly pan, “let them eat cake!” The First Family wants for nothing, and they have no idea how much it costs to eat the way they do. They are not interested in how this sort of thing affects the middle class or even the poor. I swear, the next thing we hear from her is going to be, “well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” The day she goes to my girl’s high school and eats what the students are expected to eat – and DOESN’T gag – I’ll believe she gives a damn.


Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were arrested for breaking into a van and stealing several computers during their junior year. They so impressed their probation officers (Harris in particular) with their good manners and apparent willingness to change that they were released from probation several months early. One year later, they took a pile of homemade bombs and three guns into Columbine High School and went on a rampage, killing 13 before committing suicide. Harris wore a plain white t-shirt that read “natural selection.”

After he made himself infamous with his final violent act, his journals were discovered. He wrote about the probation process and the adults involved. He ranted that the owner of the van was to blame for leaving his computers in plain sight, and he (Harris) had every right to take them because the victim was “a dumbass.” Most of his journal entries were along those lines. He railed about being superior; he believed that natural selection gave him every right to assert that superiority.

Elliot Rodger, the UCSB shooter, sounds eerily like Eric Harris.

The Friday before he went on his killing spree, Rodger posted eight different videos to YouTube and sent a nearly 140-page diatribe to several sources, including the media. In one video, he says, “I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am the superior one, the true alpha male.” He expresses frustration bordering on rage that girls have never taken an interest in him. In his final acts, he stabbed three roommates to death in his apartment, then went on a drive-by shooting spree that killed three more. He ran over four people in his expensive black BMW before getting into a shoot-out with police, then shot himself in the head.

There’s something more to this kid, though, that it seems everyone is missing. He was diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome and had difficulty making friends when he was in private schools. His parents reportedly sent him to the best schools available; he wanted for nothing, with Gucci and Prada being his favorite styles. An incident he describes himself in one of his videos is very telling, though. He talks about being at a party and being angry with women for not paying attention to him, so he tries to shove several girls off of a ledge. Several men at the party, angry with him for his actions, tossed him over the ledge instead, injuring his ankle. He leaves, discovers that he’s lost his Gucci sunglasses, and goes back to get them – only to find the same angry men waiting to beat the crap out of him. They did so, sending him home a mess.

I don’t give a damn who you are – if you try to shove women over a balcony, yeah, you deserve a first-rate beatdown. Had I been there, I would have done the same thing. I do not care what your motives are or how hurt you are. One does not alleviate their pain by inflicting pain on others. It doesn’t work that way.

Rodger’s own description of some of the things he’s done tells us quite a bit about him. He was an angry boy who always found the most inappropriate methods for expressing his anger. Then he simply couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to be around him. His parents were the liberal anti-gun sort, typical of the Hollywood types who teach their kids the “peace and love” mantra without ever teaching them chivalry, honor, and respect. He was probably never taught that the way to a girl’s heart is to first respect her and show interest in her (NOT of the sexual variety). It doesn’t take much. It had nothing to do with his race (as he angrily claimed). It had everything to do with the fact that he was a sociopath who believed himself superior to everyone else and was never taught to care about other people. All he cared about was himself – his feelings, his desires, his passions. When he discovered that the world was not going to give him what he wanted he pitched a hissy fit.

This had nothing to do with women, his unrequited sexual drive, or his loneliness. It sure as hell wasn’t about the NRA or the gun culture. Rodger used knives and his car along with his guns to kill and maim. This had everything to do with his selfish, sociopathic attitude and outlook on life. To blame it on anything else is shortsighted at best.

Article Of Faith

Hillary Clinton is either a moron or a liar.

While delivering a speech before the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Oxon Hill, MD yesterday, Miss “What Difference Does It Make” said the following:

“I think again we’re way out of balance. I think that we’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime. And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people. And I think you can say that and still support the right of people to own guns.”

Anybody? Anywhere? Anytime? Oh, dear. Let’s have a talk.

Nobody is suggesting that just anyone should be allowed to have a gun. It is currently illegal for a convicted felon (or someone convicted of a misdemeanor involving violence) to purchase or possess a firearm. I have never disputed the fact that they should not be allowed to have guns, nor has the NRA. Second Amendment supporters believe that law is perfectly sound.

Anywhere? Well, we believe we should be allowed to carry our lawfully-owned guns to a lot of places that we’re not allowed to, but we still obey the law. We have always believed that gun-free zones are little more than massive targets for bad guys. Exactly one shooting that has taken place in the past two decades took place in an area that was NOT a gun-free zone, and the shooter was stopped by the very item that liberals like Clinton say should be banned: a high-capacity magazine (it jammed, something that well-trained gun owners know is always a problem). Yes, we should be allowed to carry our guns when we take our kids to school. Yes, we should be allowed to carry our guns to church. However, the law also says that if any establishment does not want its patrons bringing their steel, they can put up a sign and we have to leave them in the car.

Anytime? I think that was answered by my response to the “anywhere” remark.

Nobody is suggesting that guns be that easy to obtain. None of us ever have. What we’re saying is that you’re proposing too many rules, too many laws, and too many limits on our very clear freedoms. Most of the rules you’re trying to write into law are already in the law. You just don’t feel right unless you get a law passed after a tragedy.

My faith is that you actually, deep down, want what’s best for this country – even though you have a piss-poor way of showing it, Mrs. Clinton.

(Side note: can anyone tell me why Clinton was the one speaking at a conference on mental health? As I recall, her education is in legal matters. Unless they decided that her eight years in the White House dealing with Bill’s crap made her fully qualified, I really don’t understand why someone thought Hillary was the best choice for this summit.)

The Magical Minimum Wage

Over the hubbub of the minimum wage hike racket, I’ve heard a lot of people shouting about different sides of the debate. Yesterday, someone shared this picture on Facebook:


I’m getting tired of hearing the debate. Here’s the real facts.

Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour will be disastrous. You want inflation? Double the minimum wage then stand back and watch the fallout. I can’t believe nobody is wondering why gas prices more than doubled after Obama took office. I will tell you why: federal minimum wage was kicked up from $4.75 an hour to $7.25 an hour. Businesses do not eat those losses; they pass them on to the consumer. When a business that pays minimum wage for new workers suddenly has to pay twice what they were paying, they’re not going to sit there and say, “oh, well – we’re not gonna make as much money!” No. They’re going to raise the price of everything they sell. Everything is going to cost more, from a loaf of bread to a gallon of gasoline to a crappy McDonald’s hamburger. It’s going to go way up in cost, so it’ll go way up in price.

The more a business has to pay to make a product, the more it costs for the consumer to enjoy it. My girlfriend’s 22-inch tube TV cost about $100 when she bought it. My 55-inch flat-screen cost about $600 when my dad got it for me for Christmas a year ago. The technology of both of these items is very different; a tube TV (which they no longer make) is simple to build and the parts are cheap. A large flat-screen requires more expensive parts, more time, and more labor to build. Compare two different restaurants: McDonald’s and Smashburger. A quarter pounder at McDonald’s costs about $4 (depending on where in the country you are). A “small” hamburger at Smashburger costs about $6. Why? Because Smashburger pays more for better ingredients and they pay their employees slightly more than minimum wage.

The concept is the same for workers. The more a business pays its workers, the more the consumer will pay for the products being assembled and sold by those workers. My iPhone cost me about $200 (I had to sign a new contract with my cell carrier to get it that low, but hey…). My iPhone was also assembled at a factory in China. Had my phone been assembled at a plant in the US, it would have been exorbitantly expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Why? Because workers in the US cost that much more.

The principle will not change if minimum wage is doubled. These people keep thinking, “oh, if I only made more money…” Yet they refuse to face the fact that if they make the government force their employer to pay them more, things are going to go downhill fast. Their employer will raise the price of the food they’re making, driving some consumers away. The poor people who tend to eat at places like McDonald’s won’t be able to afford it anymore. The cost of basic necessities will shoot up. Suddenly, making more money means nothing because the problems just followed them right into their new predicament. These people don’t think about the consequences of their demands.

What I’m going to say next is going to really piss off a few people, but it needs to be said.

If you want a better life, you have to make it yourself.

I used to work for JP Morgan Chase. After that, I worked for American Express. I hated working in an office setting and having to kiss ass everywhere I went. I really, truly, genuinely hated my job. I made a lot of money, but I hated where I was and felt like I was in a dead end profession. I would prove my abilities beyond everyone else, but would always lose out on promotions to new departments because my boss needed me where I was. I was tired of it. So, I took a pay cut to go work as an EMT full-time. I’m actually making more money now because I love my job and I’m willing to work a lot of overtime. I can take my EMT certification back to my home state and make even more money there. Emergency medical and rescue are always in demand, and since I am capable of dealing with people who are bleeding and throwing up, it works for me. I wanted to make a change in my life and be happy, so I went out and found something that would facilitate that for me.

If you are going to screw around in high school, refuse to attend college, and spend all your time and money trying to have fun, then the consequence is that you’ll never be worth more than minimum wage. You’ll never have marketable skills. Thus you will never have a better job.

Oh, and this whole thing about having kids and working minimum wage? Oh, please. If you hadn’t hopped in bed, you wouldn’t have a kid. If you couldn’t afford a kid, you should have thought about that before jumping in the backseat of that car. Yay, you had sex! I’m glad it was fun! Now, here’s the consequence – a responsibility to take care of a tiny little person who will be completely dependent on you for the next eighteen years (likely longer, considering how poorly you’ll teach basic principles of responsibility). Just like you’re not thinking now about how your demand for more money will affect the future, you didn’t think about how that twenty minutes of fun might affect your personal future. Whose fault is that? I didn’t benefit from you having sex. Why should I have to pay for it?

Cry me a damn river.

Find a trade school – yeah, the ones that your beloved President makes fun of when he tells you to go get an education – and learn an in-demand skill. Learn how to weld. Learn how to fix a car. Learn to be a plumber, an electrician, or a licensed contractor. Go learn medical coding and billing. All of those professions make a lot more money than fast food does (and don’t require mopping up after a patient who misses the emesis bag). And, bonus, you won’t have other minimum-wage earners yelling at you for screwing up their orders and throwing food at you.

You want more money? Go find a way to earn it honestly rather than twisting people’s arms with some emotional appeal that will only make things worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop expecting everyone else to pay your way for you, and make your own life better. Nobody is responsible for you and your spawn except YOU. Forcing the minimum wage up with not magically solve your problems, nor will yelling at me that you slaved over a hot stove for that cheap chicken sandwich that I just bought to get my blood sugar back up again. I tell you what…do that for 24 hours at a stretch and I’ll be impressed.


I used to work for banks as a fraud investigator. In fraud, we talked every day to the bad guy trying to pass themselves off as the customer. We always had the occasional stretch of about a week or so where the same two or three men with heavy accents would call in on multiple accounts – and they’d have a hell of a lot of information on the customer they were trying to rob through us. We weren’t stupid. The accent, by the by, was Nigerian. I learned long ago how to tell different accents apart. Any time we had a fraud trend going with the bad guy calling us, the bad guy was always Nigerian.

One day, I announced to my team in our open chat session that another trend was starting. I’d just ended a call with a man who spoke with a heavy Nigerian accent and he was trying to pass himself off as a customer to open a card we had stopped making a lot of highly suspicious transactions. Out of nowhere, a black woman on our team typed, “how do you know he’s Nigerian? I’m Nigerian, and I don’t have an accent! I think you’re a racist!”

She said this for twenty people to see.

The team immediately exploded. I went on the most professionally outraged tirade I could muster. I explained, “you did not grow up in Nigeria. Your ancestors may be Nigerian, but you did not grow up speaking Hausa, thus you do not speak English with a heavy accent. This guy clearly did because he speaks with a very distinct accent. I’m from Texas, so to your ear, I speak with an accent – are you racist against me for pointing that out last week?”

That meltdown was the talk of the entire floor until I left the company. The woman involved transferred to another unit quickly after the exchange. She was never required to apologize to me (and I wouldn’t have wanted them to force her to), but everyone knew she was being hysterical for a silly reason and that was enough for me.

After that, I tend to laugh uproariously whenever a black person starts losing their mind over something I say and accusing me of being a racist. I talk about welfare needing more checks and balances; YOU OWE ME FOR SLAVERY! HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST I HAVEN’T EARNED THIS MONEY! I talk about food stamps not being a right; I get the same response. I talk about how you can own your future, get an education, and work hard to have the things you want; HOW CAN I?!? YOU CRACKERS OWN THE WHOLE SYSTEM! YOU AND THE JEWS AND THE CHINESE AND THE INDIANS, YOU OWN EVERYTHING!!!

Imagine my amusement, then, when a friend sent me this video. Before you click, be prepared – the last half is pretty foul. It’s NSFW. When you’re home and the young kids aren’t around, click the link and watch all six minutes. If you have older kids, have them sit down and watch it, then explain to them just why she’s a moron. Note that she’s losing her mind because the clerk at the store wanted her to pay $0.20 – yes, twenty cents – for water.

You own your own future. YOU. If you give it up to other people, it is your fault. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you live in as a child. If you want to make a better life for yourself, you will find a way. Stop blaming the system and the white man for your willing failures. Stop blaming circumstance or your parents for the crimes you commit. Stop expecting everyone else to pay your way through life when you waste your high school years “having fun”.

The Sterling Incident

By now I’m sure we all know that LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape chastising his trophy girlfriend for posting pictures of herself with famous black athletes – and forbidding her from bringing them to games. His racist rants have just earned him a lifetime ban from all things NBA and rumors that the NBA board will force him to sell the team.

There’s a lot of emotions revolving around this. I have friends who are thrilled that Sterling is getting his comeuppance. I have others who don’t care. Still others are upset that his privacy was violated and that he’s being punished for views he expressed in the privacy of his own home.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Donald Sterling has a girlfriend, known only as V. Stiviano. Yeah, he’s married, but he keeps this trophy who is at least half a century his junior because he likes to have a pretty girl on his arm, right? In 2006, the Department of Justice (the BUSH DOJ, no less) brought him up on charges of discriminating against certain races in renting out apartments in his properties around the LA area. In 2009 he was sued by a coach when he remarked that he wanted to fill his team with “poor black boys from the South and a white head coach.” So really, it was no surprise that Sterling was a fuming racist. Sterling’s wife sued Stiviano for fraud, and Stiviano had vowed that she would get even – and she did. The day he got mad at her and started flipping out over pictures of her with Magic Johnson, she recorded him.

A few days ago, her tapes were published by gossip site TMZ.

Now, all of a sudden, they’re willing to do something. He’s been outed two previous times as a racist, but NOW they’re going to do something, now that Magic Johnson is involved. It rings rather hollow that it’s taken this long, but it’s done. Sterling is banned. Something about this made it worse than the previous incidents and now he’s toast.

Here’s where I tell you what I think.

The First Amendment protects us from the government – not from private entities. I can’t say it enough because people somehow get it in their heads that the First Amendment is there to protect us from employers, too (and stores, restaurants, etc.). Let me say it again: the First Amendment is there to protect us from the government. The government had no hand in this, so the Constitutional rights argument holds no water.

That said, does Sterling have a right to expect a certain amount of privacy in his own home? Of course he does. I have friends who are upset that his career is being ruined over personal beliefs voiced in his private home. Okay…is this really the first time any of us has heard of a jilted lover ruining their sugar daddy with something like this? This story is just about the oldest in creation. Creepy rich guy has a wife. Wife isn’t young and pretty anymore. Creepy rich guy buys a girlfriend and publicly shames wife. Wife gets mad and tries to get back at trophy skank of a girlfriend. Trophy skank vows revenge. Trophy skank does something to publicly humiliate lover and shamed wife. Is this really new? Do we not watch plotlines like this in the shows and movies that we watch – and then cheer the skank?

Folks, being banned from the NBA isn’t going to ruin Sterling’s finances. He should have been banned after the first incident, when he was caught saying out loud that he refused to rent to Latinos because they “drink and smoke and hang around the place” and refused to rent to blacks because “they smell and attract vermin.” That should have been enough, but somehow, it wasn’t. And it’s not like it wasn’t highly publicized and talked about.

Sterling is really only getting what people have wanted for several years. Yes, he has a right to free speech – but we as equal citizens have the same right to tell him we aren’t willing to do business with him. The NBA now has an obligation to react to this. This is the third incident in which he has been proven to be a blathering racist, and if they allow him to continue showing up and sitting in his courtside seats, the NBA stands to lose a lot of money when people stop coming to games and buying their merchandise. They are moving to save their image. Donald Sterling dug his own grave here. He deserves exactly what’s happening.

(None of this, BTW, is to mention the fact that rap stars who use racist and homophobic slurs in their work haven’t been banned. In that sense it does, yet again, ring slightly hollow.)

Oppression in the System

Last night, Bill O’Reilly had Oklahoma volunteer militia leader Scott Shaw on his program to talk about the Bundy Ranch fiasco. O’Reilly asked, “what is the difference between what you’re doing and what the Occupy movement was doing?” He said both were dissenting against a system that they believe was oppressive.

There’s a huge difference, Bill. I’d like to think that you’re just trying to figure out if Shaw does, but I don’t know.

Let’s talk first about the Occupy Wall Street movement. First of all, they were protesting not the system, but a set of ideas – mainly perceived social and economic inequality. “I am the 99%” memes popped up all over the place, with uber-liberal fanatics posting pictures of themselves holding up signs bemoaning their minimum-wage jobs, lack of benefits, crappy apartments, and college degrees that cost too much money and gave little in return. More dramatic protesters set up tents and camped out in public parks and in front of high-powered businesses. Even more defacated on police cars and vandalized the parks and businesses they were protesting. Some went so far as to riot, smashing bank windows and even looting on a couple of occasions. It was not a peaceful protest by any means. When rampant crime was reported in Occupy camps, protest leaders warned their people not to go to the police about it. They added that they were angry about corporate influence on the political process somewhere in the mix. The so-called 99% began as a rabble and rapidly devolved into a modern-day attempt at a French Revolution. The bonus? It wasn’t started by Americans. It was started by a Canadian socialist group called Adbusters who said, “America needs its own Tahrir” (referencing the 1977 bread riots in Egypt).

The Occupy movement demanded a change in the very fabric of American society, not just its corporate structure. They demanded all student loans be forgiven, home foreclosures cease, a raise in minimum wage, better jobs, government income distribution – basically they were insisting that nobody should be wealthier than anyone else and they were going to terrorize the public until they got what they wanted. They referred to themselves as slaves to the system (oh, please). They were out to push the idea that the government should take care of its citizens.

Cliven Bundy is the antithesis to the OWS movement. His family arrived in the area sometime in the 1870’s and has been raising cattle there ever since. The government has argued that they have owned that land since the 1848 purchase from Mexico; unfortunately, the federal government can’t really stand on that alone. They may have owned it, but it was open for cattle driving and grazing for a very long time. In 1933 the Grazing Bureau was started; in 1934 the Taylor Grazing Act was passed, meant to regulate cattle grazing on public lands. The Act provided a system of permits for grazing on public lands, but that system was given the ability to revoke any permit at any time for any or no reason and gave no rights or claim to lands by ranchers. In 1954, Cliven and his father began actively grazing their cattle in Bunkerville. In 1973, suddenly the Bureau of Land Management (which is what the Grazing Bureau became in 1946) decided to start requiring Cliven’s father to start paying for the right to graze cattle there. In 1993, the rules changed due to the status of the desert tortoise; the animal was placed on the endangered species list. That meant that large swaths of Bunkerville were no longer usable for grazing.

Cliven refused to stop grazing, claiming that the cattle were no threat to the desert tortoise. The BLM began fining him for grazing his cattle there and he refused to pay the fines because there was no evidence that the tortoise was threatened by his cattle. He also provided some evidence (although the courts dismissed it) that his family had been grazing cattle on the land since 1877. Then the government began telling Cliven that he had to reduce his 908-head herd drastically. While it is true that Cliven was technically breaking the law, that law was unjust. After 20 years of legal wrangling the BLM decided to stop arguing and get serious. They sent a small army to the Bundy ranch to begin rounding up cattle. Some cattle were shot and buried in mass graves. The Bundys called for help, and several militias showed up to stand up to federal agents who were killing animals in the name of…saving animals.

To be fair, some of the militiamen were complete morons. I’d love to slap Richard Mack silly for admitting to having strategized putting women at the front of the protest so the shock factor would be high if the feds got violent (dude, you don’t even think of that kind of thing – and if you do, you don’t friggin’ say it out loud!). Scott Shaw wasn’t able to articulate the differences between OWS and the Bundy Standoff very well at all. Either way, the differences are both simple and complex at the same time. OWS was a bunch of slackers who wanted to take from innocent, hardworking people to make their own lives more comfortable when they weren’t willing to work for it. Cliven Bundy has centered his entire life around hard work and earning every single thing he has.

(Of course, none of this is to mention the fact that Nevada Senator Harry Reid has his grubby fingers all over this. His son, Rory, has been trying to secure the Bunkerville land at an unbelievably low price in order to secure a deal with a Chinese company to build a solar plant there. Reid pushed to have a former aide installed as the head of the BLM to rush the process of getting Bundy kicked off of the Bunkerville property to make sure the deal moves forward. But, you know, it’s really the Republicans who are infringing on people’s rights.)

By the way…it’s worth mentioning that the BLM agents destroyed at least one desert tortoise den (that we know of) while enforcing the protection of the animal. The BLM’s Desert Tortoise Conservation Center is also about to close, and in the process will euthanize half of the over 1,400 animals currently in its care. Yeah, I can see how important the conservation effort is that it required a heavily armed response.