Monday, November 23, 2015

Are We Actually Going to Start Holding White Males Accountable?

Dallas, Texas, mayor Mike Rawlings said on Saturday,
I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up. But we don’t isolate young white men on this issue. 
Mr. Rawlings was speaking in opposition to other Southern political leaders who don't want Syrian refugees in their area. He said that he is more afraid of white men with guns than Syrian refugees.

Are we as a society finally going to stop giving the top of our hierarchies, white males, a pass as we treat their violence and support of guns as an "isolated incident"? This way of viewing white males is characteristic of how hierarchies work, where we have many ways to keep top groups unaccountable for their actions that affect everyone else or society as a whole. For lower groups, like black males or Muslims, a few are thought to represent everyone in that group when the hierarchy is strong.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Corporate Welfare to Walmart

The American people subsidize Walmart by 6.2 billion dollars a year by providing services to its employees. Walmart gets away with making huge profits by paying workers so low that they can't live.

But we come to the rescue by giving them our tax dollars that go to big companies like Walmart.

Kind of like paying for privately-owned male sports teams to make huge profits and pay huge salaries to a few players, when we provide these for-profit enterprises tax-payer-paid places to do business (stadiums).

Welfare for the rich.

Ex-Mormons Not Supporting the Mormon Religious Hierarchy

Many ex-Mormons are deciding not to support the sexual orientation hierarchy that the Mormon church is expounding. People are leaving in droves, which contributes to the fall of hierarchies masquerading as religions, such as the Mormon church. Really, it is good when hierarchies expose themselves, as it makes them easier to see so that people who don't support hierarchies have a much clearer choice to make. The noble causes used to disguise hierarchies become less powerful.

The church instructed leaders that Mormons in same-sex relationships are to be treated as “apostates,” which means that they are subject to excommunication. Children being raised by two moms or two dads, the edict held, should be banished from the church until they become adults and can renounce their parent’s union.

Sen. Sherrod Brown: White Men are the Terrorists of the United States

When we wrote our op-ed in the Washington Post about white males and gun violence, we received many negative emails and were even featured as the lead story on Rush Limbaugh's diatribe. We were in the forefront of discussing how people in the top group of hierarchies are let off the hook and not held accountable, and how the top group is assumed to represent everyone.

In other words, our society does not commit terrorism in the United States, white males in the United States commit terrorism.

But now, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D) let people know on Thursday that most terrorist acts that have occurred in the United States since 9/11/01, have come at the hands of  “white males.”

“They are generally white males, who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks, they’re just different kinds of terrorists,” he continued.

“The federal government and local communities have done a pretty good job at keeping us safe. Not keeping us safe from crazy gunmen coming into schools and movie theaters sometimes but certainly keeping us safe from foreigners attacking this country.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Honoring Wisdom

If our country really honored wisdom, here is what we would have:
From "Stone Soup," by Jan Eliot.

Jan's comment: "This is one of my favorite Stone Soup cartoons of all time. The dollar amount needs an update, but Val still nails it."

Stone Soup Classics every day at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day to everyone who served, including Harriet Tubman.

Tubman offered her services to the Union Army, and in early 1862, she went to South Carolina to provide badly needed nursing care for black soldiers and newly liberated slaves. Working with General David Hunter, Tubman also began spying and scouting missions behind Confederate lines. In June of 1863, she accompanied Colonel James Montgomery in an assault on several plantations along the Combahee River, rescuing more than 700 slaves. Her deed was celebrated in the press and she became even more famous.

With the end of the war, Tubman returned to Auburn, NY and married a Civil War veteran. Although her service in the Union Army was much publicized, she had great difficulty in getting a pension from the government, but was eventually awarded a nurse’s pension in the 1880s. (as presented on the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park Facebook page).


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Religions Teach Children to be Less Generous

We learn hierarchies in many ways, including religion. Particularly in hierarchical religions, there are "in" groups and "out" groups, and people not in one's religion do not deserve what those in one's religion deserve.

It is not surprise then, that research is showing that children from religious households are actually less generous than kids from a secular background.

"It’s sometimes claimed that secular families are dysfunctional and rudderless because they lack the security of religion. But sociologist Vern Bengston, who has run California’s Longitudinal Study of Generations since 1971, says this isn’t true: “Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents … The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.”"

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Starbucke - Drive-Thru Order Using Sign Language

The Starbucks near the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is now able to take drive-thru orders using American Sign Language (ASL). Rebecca King, a resident of St. Augustine, has posted a candid video of her experience.

Hierarchies are breaking down all over, including the abilities/disabilities hierarchy.

Seattle Leads Way in Campaign Finance Reform

Voters in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday approved a first-in-the-nation "democracy voucher" in a ballot initiative that might inspire other cities to follow in the model of campaign finance reform. 

The innovative public campaign financing program has been reported to be an opportunity to give everyday voters more control over the city's elections while limiting the power of corporate and special interests.

Each voter will receive four $25 vouchers usable in Seattle campaigns for mayor, city council and city attorney with the money only being released to candidates that agree to follow I-122's rules, which include participating in three debates and accepting lower contribution and spending limits. 

The measure also prohibits elected officials and their high-level staff from lobbying the city government within three years of leaving office and enacts limits on campaign contributions from people or entities that have contracts with the city.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Margaret Spellings – State Your Position

An opinion piece in The Charlotte Observer states that incoming president Margaret Spellings must accept gay and lesbian students and support them or resign her position as the president of the University of North Carolina.

She appears to have a conflict of interest in her new job, which requires her to be welcoming to students regardless of sexual orientation. In her past positions, she has not been so.

This opinion piece suggests she be made to answer direct questions as to her intent before she takes office.

For more information concerning her stands against LGBT equality, see the Slate article below.

Middle-aged Whites Dying Faster than Most in US

Two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton (2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science winner) Anne Case  concluded that rising annual death rates among middle-aged white Americans have been increasing. Deaths in this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse, alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.
They came to their conclusions by analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in middle-aged white Americans  have been rising, not falling.

Primarily, they saw evidence of the declining health and fortunes of poorly educated American whites, which caused the whole group to decline.

Supposedly, these are a similar group of people who support Republican politics more often, which corresponds to the support of hierarchies. Wonder if it relates to stress from the fall of hierarchies, as the causes of death seem to be behavior. Since Republican policies usually hurt the poor, there must be some reason they vote against their best interests.