Racism, Insensitivity, Chicken, Watermelon and “Our Blacks”

Racial profiling has become a major issue again over the past few days and it is going to be huge news after today.  This is really a growing problem in both the media and politics particularly for the Republican party for the past few years.

Today’s news hinges on the shooting case of Trayvon Martin (a Florida teenager that was gunned down last month that has raised many questions about racial profiling on several levels including the media)

Today, the point was made by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) who wore a hooded sweater this morning on the House floor.  He then informed the House that “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

He was asked to leave by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) the presiding officer.  Rush continued to speak while Harper continued to ask him to leave the chambers and  Rush ended up being escorted out (hopefully not because he looked like a hoodlum).

I looked at a site named BlackDemographics.com and ran into these numbers:

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 42,020,743 African Americans in the USA or 13.6% of the total population of 308.7 million. The black population exceeded 500,000 in 15 states. Blacks were the largest minority group in 24 states, compared with 20 states in which Hispanics were the largest minority group..

When I see these numbers I have to wonder how so many people in important positions specifically politics and in the media have no idea what will make this big chunk of the population uncomfortable or angry.  

I can only think back to Ann Coulter a while back and her “our blacks” vs. “their blacks” rant:  5min.com coverage of the comments.  Coulter is promoting a book that supposedly clears up how the Left is rewriting history and how the Right is the ones who stand up for the blacks.  Now this self-proclaimed expert on African American needs goes into a rant that clearly shows the world that she is clueless about anything about the current African American culture. 

There have been several slips like this since the 2008 election – Check out this report from TruthDig about a news report about the Obama Bucks (You may remember that this was an image of a food stamp with then Candidate Obama’s picture a bucket of chicken, ribs and a slice of watermelon which appeared on a newsletter for Republican Women in Inland Empire, California – CNN Video).


Over the paste few years little slip ups like this have been occurring and reoccurring yet politicians and people in some media outlets persist in saying that the African American population (and other minority groups) are simply overreacting and getting bent out of shape for nothing.  

I do not feel I can really declare somebody a racist or a group racist over a slip here and there.  I do feel that there is however, a pattern of behavior that shows that some of the media and many in politics (particularly those calling themselves Republican) have an insensitivity to what the African American community is put off by and an insensitivity to the unresolved issues of the past.

In my lifetime, people were segregated in schools and public places, people were beaten, arrested, raped and killed for being persons of color.  There are people alive today who lived through these things, experienced these things, saw these things done to their loved ones and on and on.  They were called somebody’s property as a vicious attack to degrade and demoralize them, they watched and listened as people of power debated if African American people were to be considered as human or as intelligent as others and on and on.  To just use the language and the images that these people and their children find offensive will put them off.  

For people who find it puzzling because somebody offended somebody “but they didn’t mean to” there is a rule of communication to keep in mind.  Communication is not what you think you are saying, communication is what the other person thinks you are saying.  How much more true this is when you are seeking election.  

There are those who are okay with being one of Ann Coulter’s blacks and see nothing wrong with political images with buckets of chicken, watermelon, ribs, Kool-Aid and Barack Obama’s picture and that is all fine and dandy, but understand that a large majority of African Americans will be put off by such things for a very long time and seeing as they a big block of the population you might try to tick them off less and get their votes more.

Some days I wear a dress shirt and slacks and some days (like today) a wear a hooded sweater and jeans, I sure hope that nobody assumes I am a hoodlum and shoots me and I hope that nobody escorts me out of anywhere for wearing my sweater.  By the way, it is raining out and the sweater is simply a good idea.


Flight Crew Breakdown??? Hadn’t thought about this.

I was just reading an article about this and was puzzled that I had never seen this trend coming (as well as the people who oversee these crews apparently didn’t see this coming either) – Pilot Meltdown Article at TODAY  I was deeply concerned because of the absence of a plan to monitor and assist flight staff with stress and other mental health issues.

The basic story is that a pilot had a breakdown in the cabin in front of the passengers and several passengers subdued him.

The thing I find disconcerting was the way the 6 month examination for flight crews was described.  The article states that the examination “includes questions about pilot’s psychological condition.”

My problem with this is that if it simply involves questions about the psychological condition asked by a medical professional there a few assumptions:

  • That the person has had their psychological condition examined fully aware of his/her psychological condition.
  • That if the person was unaware of an impending breakdown etc. the medical professional would be able to diagnose any disorder or troubles using the questions listed.
  • That psychological challenges and disorders are so obvious that a brief check every 6 months is enough to diagnose these things.

Many of us, post 9-11 have some level of anxiety when flying, particularly on long flights.  Some of us more than others.  I have been on flights where there were passengers who had slightly heated discussions with flight attendants and it immediately draws far more of my attention then it ever would have prior to 9-11.

The passenger who looks a bit shady to me gets a watchful eye particularly when standing up or walking to and from the bathroom.

I am usually a pretty level headed person who often talks others down from panicking over such things, but this has stuck with me for many years.

I had not spent much time wondering how similar thoughts could affect pilots, co-pilots, flight attendants etc.  There must be some fear level etc. that they experience also.

What level of psychological care or analysis is necessary for people in these positions to maintain stability with all of the stress and to proactively avoid breakdowns and such.

At the least, regular interactions with psychological professionals that took deep interest in each person’s mental health seems like it would be a must with what would seem to be a fairly stressful job.   

It would seem logical that the longer this kind of stress goes on not being confronted and managed the more we would see breakdowns of this sort.  

No More $36.00 Candy & $39.00 Espresso

Another post from a while ago…..

Have you ever gone to the ATM machine to take out twenty dollars and later find out that that was really an overdraft and there was a fee of thirty or thirty-five dollars?  Or have you ever decided to make a real small purchase from a local store or from the dollar menu of your nearest fast food place and not realizing that you were out of money in your account turned a one or two dollar purchase into a thirty five dollar KitKat or McDouble?

Welcome to one of the greatest sources of revenue that many banks have; our ignorance or inability to balance our accounts.  It happens to everybody and our ignorance is the banks blessing.

The truth is we all had been given a this special “service” that many banks provide in which they will, in the unlikely event that I make a mistake with my balance, pay whatever I am trying to get and charge me a small fee for this service.

The thing that makes it hard to believe is that I could accidently bring my account to zero without noticing and then make several small purchases (lets say a dollar each) and incur a thirty-five dollar fee for each purchase.

Lets look at what that means.  Lets say I take 5 trips to the local gas station and get a one dollar coffee after my account has reached zero.

 5 $1.00 purchases X $35.00 fee each = $180.00

 That’s one hundred, seventy-five dollars ($175.00) profit that goes to the bank for loaning me five dollars ($5.00).

This great service that the banks are doing for me is an automatic part of many bank accounts you open in the United States.  In some cases it has been a service, but in many cases it has been a terrible punishment for a simple mistake. 

There are new laws in the works that will make two huge changes to this system.

The first change is that this “overdraft protection” has to be optional and a person opening an account has to opt in to this program.  Any person who does not want to have “overdraft protection” will have to have the option to opt out.

The other big change has to do with ATM withdrawals.  If a withdrawal is going to overdraft a person’s account the ATM machine is going to have to tell the person and inform the person of the fee that will be imposed.  In this manner the person is choosing at the time if he or she in fact wants to use this service or not.

Is this the end of the thirty-six dollar candy bar or the thirty-nine or forty dollar cup of coffee?  I have my doubts.  But I do believe that these new laws will at least allow people to chose if they want to spend a bunch of money they do not have and to chose if it is worth thirty-five dollars in fees for whatever they are trying to buy at the time.

Childishness, Fear Tactics, Gullibility, and Accidental Terrorism

If you are new to my blog, My old Blog simply disappeared a while back and I set this up as a replacement.  I found one post from 2009 online (yes just one-go figure) so I am posting it here…


What is going on in American politics?  It seems to be a childish fight to see who can scare more people into agreeing with their party’s lunatic fringe.  President Theodore Roosevelt told us that every movement has its lunatic fringe and the parties are definitely no exception. 

The problem is not that these extremes exist, the problem is that these extreme segments of both of the major parties are dominating our politics at every turn.  A never-ending assault of scary statements and end of the world “if we support this” or “don’t support that” prophecies and on and on. 

I  have been wondering, in this era of so much media and information, how this could be so effective and not repulsive to most.  Then I realized, that there is a large portion of the country that is elderly and concerned (for example) about health care who tend not to use as much internet etc. and would only have the words of someone they trust to believe as the facts.  This gloom and doom, it’s the end of the world greatly impacts that group and any others that may not be as apt or able to do more research beyond what someone they perceive as an expert says.  So there are really people who believe our Hanitys and Moores are the gospel (depending on which lunatic extreme is more comfortable to you)

There is so much childishness going on that is becoming stupid.  This weird thing where people are being told to just disrupt town hall meetings with random yelling etc. talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.  All any smart politician would do in the future is simply record a message, control who is in the crowd, or just not have them at all.  Does one party not think if you do it now, they will do the same thing later.

The real trouble is that terribly ill informed people are believing things that are not factual and starting fist fights at political events and ultimately completely dividing the country.

To some this division is desirable, but for those of us who live in California we know there are only two possibilities.

A one party system where the lunatic fringe of that party can easily overtake our politics or a system where both parties get so angry at the other that everyone drifts toward their lunatic fringe and refuses to compromise on anything which in the end means absolutely nothing can ever get done.  Everything ends in a stalemate.

The whole idea of our government is that there are different sides that negotiate and agree at some point on any issue that comes up even if that means that sometimes they agree to just put off an issue here and an issue there.

Now, whenever a politician says he or she will make a compromise with the other party that person is a traitor, and is punished in the media, by his or her party, and by voters and constituents who are told this person sold them out.  If compromise is punished on either side, how is anything supposed to get done?  This is the mindset and techniques used by the extremes of our party system that are gaining more and more control of our country and media. 

As far as I am concerned I have a new term for this.  Accidental terrorism.  This is an inadvertent attempt to destroy or entire political system just to prove a few idealistic points. 

The politicians are not the ones who will be punished when this all plays out.  The so called experts on television and in our media will not be the ones who suffer.  The people who make over $200k or over $250k who are so concerned about paying more taxes are not the ones who are going to suffer.  It is the average person who although gullible when it comes to this sort of information, we all just want to live peaceful lives with the opportunity to support our families and better ourselves with hard work. 

I attached a link to a clip that I hope you can access.  It is not to say that one party is better than the other, it is to show how stupid the whole thing is.

This childish war to have one or the other extreme’s way is really a war against democracy and more specifically the average middle class person. 

Everyone knows (for example) that there is a terrible health care problem.  One side is fighting any sort of solution saying things should stay the way they are (Einstein – Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting the same results) and the other side is coming up with a plan to insure everyone while secretly using it as a Trojan Horse to sneak in a bunch of stuff such as money for abortions.  In the meantime the American people suffer and pick a side to protest with while still losing healthcare by the thousands daily. 

Ask yourself, if you were a terrorist who wanted to destroy America would your money be better spent on blowing up some airplane here or there or on some politicians on the lunatic extremes who will invest that money and the money of other Americans to make sure our entire government is in a stalemate. 

I know all of us have our deep personal commitments, but there has to be some kind of compromises for our system to work.  We have to get the lunatic fringes out of power and elect people with our individual values who know how to compromise and when to so that our government will not get stalemated.  Especially since in the last election one party almost gook over completely.  NO!   Everything will not be perfect and everything will not go your way (no matter which party you prefer).  But, the truth is this country will never get everyone to agree on anything and if you are waiting for your party to take over so you can have your way, you are really a part of the problem.  An involuntary tool of those who wish to destroy our political system and our government!

I'm clearly from another world and I'm not sure there are any intelligent life forms here…

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